Category Archives: Knowing God

Jesus My Healer

“Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’? “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” Luke 5:24 (NKJ)

My spiritual objective and “heart’s desire” for 2015 is to experience a greater fullness of God in my life. Exactly how that is accomplished, I am totally dependent upon the Holy Spirit to guide and direct me (John 16:13). Guess what? You have to be careful what you ask for. I recently had the unique opportunity to experience Him in a new way—as my Healer. I’m not saying Jesus has never healed me. However, this time, Jesus extended His healing touch through exposure of sin in my life.

In Luke 5, Jesus is “walking the talk” He proclaimed after reading Isaiah 61 in the synagogue at Nazareth. He is “preaching, healing, and setting the bruised at liberty.” A great portion of Jesus’ ministry was dedicated to healing and setting at liberty those who were possessed by demons and/or oppressed by “spirits of infirmities” (Luke 13:11).

In our Scripture narrative (Luke 5:17-26), Jesus is healing people at a local home. Certain men, hearing that the “power of the Lord was present” (v. 17), brought a friend with palsy to Jesus. Blocked by the multitudes, the men sought a more direct way into the house by lifting the thatch roof and lowered the man “into the midst before Jesus”. Jesus realizing the faith they had place in His healing ability, responded: “Your sins are forgiven.” Why sins forgiven and not “you are healed”? Jesus lived in a culture where the assumption was that sickness was a result of sin. Jesus wanted to prove to the scribes and Pharisees that HE HAD THE POWER ON EARTH to forgive sins. Based on their assumption, and to illustrate His power, Jesus said to the man “your sins are forgiven…take your mat and go home” (v. 20).  Healing followed the forgiveness of sin. Back to my experience!

I asked the Lord during my devotion time to show me the root of my tendency to “food binge”. I identified it in my initial prayer, as a “spirit of gluttony.” I prayed quietly and waited to hear His response. I expected a “remembrance”, an “unhealthy attachment”, or even the revealing of a “past wounding”. The Spirit of the Lord responded, “The source of your food binge is your willful disobedience and defiance against what God has purposed for you. Your body is the means of accomplishing that purpose.” I was shocked! The light of the Holy Spirit had revealed my sin. I had chosen to respond to the desires of the flesh when I should have died to them (Rom. 6: 11). What appeared at first to be an act against my own body was, in reality, an act of sin against God. I immediately confessed my sin and renounced any future control my flesh had over my life. I am now healed because God forgave my sin. Healing followed the forgiveness of sin.

Sometimes the issues we may struggle with—overeating, unfounded fear, sleeplessness, may really be an issue of unconfessed sin in our lives. David described these as “secret faults and presumptuous sins” (Ps. 19:12, 13). Romans 13:14 admonishes believers to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof.” Jesus is our Healer. He wants to heal those places that have been hidden from His view (or so we think). Invite Him today into your heart and let Him heal you. Don’t be surprised if His first order of business is to forgive! Healing follows the forgiveness of sin.

Good to the Last Byte…
Unbelievers can be possessed by demonic forces. Believers, on the other hand, cannot be possessed. This is because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. They can, however, be “oppressed.” One cause of that oppression could be the entry of sin in their life or through unconfessed sin. That is why it is so important to continually ask the Holy Spirit to shed His light of truth on any area of our lives that cause us to remain in our sin. Sometimes we may not be aware of what that might be, but the Holy Spirit will lovingly reveal it, if you would but ask  (Ps. 139:23, 24). Click here and invite the Holy Spirit to begin His “search.”

Search me, O God…and know my heart

Here are some of the traits which can indicate a carnal, worldly heart. By prayer, will you hold your heart open to the searchlight of God, until you see the foundation there? “Search me, a God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23, 24).

As you read, examine yourself in the very presence of God. Are you ever conscious of…

A secret spirit of pride – a feeling of superiority, however slight, in view of your education, success, or position; because of your good background or appearance; because of your natural gifts and abilities. An important, independent spirit.

Love of human praise – a secret fondness to be noticed; a drawing attention to self in conversation; a self-satisfied feeling when you have had the floor in speaking or praying.

Stirrings of anger or impatience – which you may call nervousness or holy indignation; a touchy, sensitive spirit; a tendency to resent or retaliate when disapproved of or contradicted; a desire to reply to another with sharp words.

Self-will – a stubborn, unteachable spirit; an argumentative manner; harsh, sarcastic expressions; an unyielding, headstrong disposition; an inclination to criticize and pick flaws when ignored or overlooked; a peevish, fretful spirit; a disposition that loves to be coaxed and humored.

Jealous disposition – a secret spirit of envy in your heart; an unpleasant sensation when told of the great success and prosperity of another; a tendency to speak of the faults and failings of those more talented and appreciated than yourself.

A dishonest, deceitful disposition – the evading and covering of the truth; the covering up of your real faults; leaving a better impression of yourself than is strictly true; false humility; exaggeration; stretching the truth.

Unbelief – a spirit of discouragement in times of pressure and opposition; lack of quietness and confidence in God; lack of faith and trust in God; a tendency to worry and complain in the midst of pain or poverty; an over- anxious feeling of dreaded outcomes.

Formality and deadness – a lack of concern for lost souls; dryness and indifference; lack of power with God.

Selfishness – love of ease; love of money.

The Holy Spirit will enable you, by confession and faith, to bring your self-life to the death. Do not patch over, but go to the depths.

Search me Lord“Create in me a clean heart, 0 God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51: 10).


Gospel Tract Society, Inc.

Independence, Missouri

Do As I Say!

Therefore, be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”

Ephesians 5:1,2 (NKJ)

 While shopping last week, I observed a frustrated parent attempting to convince their strong-willed child to follow their instruction.  After several failed attempts, the parent sternly issued this directive, “Do as I say!”  The child, discovering new wisdom (or fear) complied.  Paul instructs the new believers in Ephesus on how they are to walk out their new life of faith.  His directive to them is a blueprint for spiritual success—“Be imitators of God.”

The word imitator (mimetes) is translated “mimic”.  If we are God’s children we ought to mimic or imitate the attributes we see in our Heavenly Father.  This should not be as difficult as it sounds since we have become new creatures in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17) and partakers of God’s nature (2 Pet. 1:4).  We have within us, the spiritual makeup (Holy DNA) to reproduce God’s character in our lives.  If successful, the result is a mindset and life style that reflects “God in us” (John 17:21, 23).

In examining God’s attributes, the one from which all other attributes find their origin is love. God is love (1John 4:16) and His love was manifested to us through His only begotten Son (John 3:16).  It is through Jesus Christ, that God revealed His love for mankind.  It is this divine love, agape love that the children of God are to imitate.

Jesus modeled for mankind what the love of the Father looked like in a fallen world through His willingness to leave the splendor of heaven for the squalor of earth.  He “became poor that we might become rich in salvation and life” (2 Cor. 8:9) and was “made sin that we might be made the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).  He “humbled Himself and was obedient to death on the cross” (Phil. 2:7, 8).  Jesus’ walk of love was viewed by God as a “sweet smelling sacrifice” (Lev. 1:9, 13, 17; 2:9).  The idea behind the sweet smelling sacrifice is it was pleasing to God.

I’m sure God is often challenged by His strong-willed children.  It is His desire that we also walk in love.  With Jesus as our model, God’s Holy Word, and through the leading of the Holy Spirit, we can learn to divest ourselves of childish immaturity and self-centeredness.  In humbleness of spirit and with an obedient heart, we can walk in a manner that imitates God.  Then our lives, like Jesus’, will become a sweet smelling sacrifice that pleases our heavenly Father.

Good to the Last Byte…

One of the greatest revelations we can receive is an understanding of the enormity of God’s love.  His love is not a result of anything we deserve or can earn, but is evidence of inherent goodness.  Read  1 John 4:7-21 in your quiet time and ask the Lord to show His love for you in new ways.  I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Who Needs More?

“(I am) Asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.

I pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of his power for us who believe him.” Ephesians 1:17, 19a (NLT)

I try to be authentic in my faith walk but often time find myself guilty of behavior that resembles the world.  Although I daily pray and meditate on His Word, I am often beset by the desire for “more’—specifically more of the spiritual things that I read about or hear about from other Christian believers.  So what’s my problem?  Jesus answered me but not in the way I expected.

I asked the Lord for more faith to believe what He had for me.  I failed to realize that more faith was not to come.  Jesus told His disciples that if they had “faith the size of a small mustard seed” they could move mountains (Matt. 17:20).  Jesus refused my request for more and replaced it with the directive to do more with what He had given me.  My assignment was to step out on the faith I currently had.   I was to focus on being a “faithful steward” (Luke 12:42) and increase His investment in building the Kingdom of God.

I asked the Lord for more spirit to accomplish the tasks He had given me.  I again failed to realize that, like faith, more spirit was not to come.  When I first received the Lord, He placed a full measure of His Spirit within me (Rom. 12:3).  It would be the Spirit of God that would remind me of my new identity in Christ including all the power and privileges that accompanied my new life.  This is the understanding that Paul desired for the church at Ephesus—“that they would be “strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man” (Ep. 3:16).

Today I don’t need to ask God for “more”.  While I think it is God’s desire that I seek more of Him, the spiritual shortfall comes when I fail to recognize that what I desire is already mine.  I now prayer to quickly recognize the great and precious gifts He has entrusted to me (2 Pet. 1:4) and move boldly lay hold that which God has already revealed in His Word and through His Spirit.    I now know that “more” was given to me the moment I accepted Jesus as my Savior.  And that is more than enough.

 Good to the Last Byte…

The New Testament often uses the word “know” to describe how we understanding “spiritual things”—with our heart (experiential) or with our head (intellectual).  Both levels of knowledge are needful, but Jesus is calling us to experience Him through a personal relationship with Him.  It is here that we gain “more”—not in quantity but in the quality of intimacy.

Stone of Help


Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.  1 Samuel 7:12 (NKJ)

Although I have never considered myself a history buff, I must admit as I listen to hymns, I often wonder what the writer was thinking as they pinned words of encouragement and resolve, which is often the nature of hymns.  One of my favorites in time of challenge is “Come Thou Font of Every Blessing” by Robert Robinson.  The challenge can be one externally generated or an internal struggle that I am facing.  Verse two is especially reassuring. 

“Here I raise my Ebenezer, Here there by Thy help I come

And I hope by Thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home

Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wandering from the fold of God

He to rescue me from danger, Interposed His precious blood.”

In our study text we find Samuel, exercising his priestly role by raising a particular stone—Ebenezer which means “stone of help”.  Since the loss of the Ark of the Covenant, Israel had been intimidated and cowed by Philistine might.  Typically they reacted with fear to the news of impending warfare (v. 7).  But instead of taking flight, they solicited the aid of Samuel.  Samuel prayerfully “offered up” a burnt offering as atonement for Israel’s sins (Ps. 66:18) and then “cried out unto the LORD for Israel; AND THE LORD HEARD HIM” (v. 9).   The result of God’s intercession was victory.  Samuel then set up a stone reminiscent of other commemorative markers erected by Israel (Gen. 35:14; Josh. 4:9; 24:26) to pay tribute to God, apart from whom victory would have been inconceivable.  Samuel knew that the LORD would be Israel’s source of protection and defense, regardless of the enemy. The expression, “Thus far the LORD has helped us” means that the Lord was the one responsible for getting Israel to this point.  Would God not continue to do so?  Is this not also true for our lives?  Has it not been God who has safely brought us to this place today?   Will God not continue to do so as we repent and cry out for His deliverance?

Raising our “stone of help” is critical as we face the challenges of the 21st century.  In times of trouble, we tend to focus on the enormity of the problem rather than the greatness of God; we forget our true identity in Christ and transfer our trust to the fleeting security of a world that is fading away (1 John 2:17). We, like Samuel, must remember not only the things which God has delivered us from but also celebrate the place God has transported us to.  That place represents “God’s grace” for our life in that moment of need—peace, love, joy or provision and protection. 

Raising our “stone of help” will result in renewed confidence in the worst of circumstance; our confidence lie not within ourselves but in God.  Our God is dedicated to our well-being because we are His beloved children (1 John 3:1) and are of great value to Him (Luke 12:6).    Let us continually lift praises to God, our Stone of help, for His unfailing love and protection.  Thank you Father God for it is “Here by Thy help I come.”

The Details of Redemption


“Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”

Colossians 1:12-14 (NKJ)


During my personal devotions this Lenten season, the scripture texts that resonate in my spirit deal with God’s gift of salvation.  Many times we quickly define salvation as “Christ’s death for our sins” but we would be better informed by understanding “the details behind His death.”  This week, as part of our Lenten season studies, we will explore the “details of redemption.”

Redemption (apolutrosis) is the purchase back of something that had been lost, by the payment of a ransom.   In the God’s plan of salvation, man was lost as a result of the entrance of sin into the world.  (Gen. 3)  Why was redemption required?  God’s holiness required that sin be “dealt with.”  God’s justice required a ransom to “redeem” for wrongdoing.  How was redemption to be accomplished? “Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” (Heb. 9:12)  Who would redeem us?  “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself (Jesus Christ) likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”  (Heb. 2:14-15)

To further illustrate redemption, I offer this personal story.  I remember my parent’s “patient and tireless” love for me.  I especially remember their offer to assist me with my finances as I began my new career as an elementary teacher.  Like most young adults establishing themselves, I was indebted “to credit.”  My parents, after seeing me struggle would “pay off” my debt with my promise to limit my use of the credit card.  Well, a year later, I was back in debt.  My parents again, “made the offer to pay, I promised not to stray, but the debt would not stay away.”  This happened on many occasions, I’m embarrassed to say.   I finally had to decline their generous offer and learn to better manage my monies.  The point of this illustration is that my parents were willing to pay the debt to the creditors—my debt—a debt that they had no part in creating.

Likewise, God, our Heavenly Father, through His Son, has provided a way to eliminate our sin debt.  “Christ, who knew no sin, became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21) The debt against us is not viewed as simply cancelled, but paid in full. Christ’s blood is the “ransom” by which the deliverance of His people from the servitude of sin and from its penal consequences has been secured.   Why would God want to redeem man?  Because of His great love for us—we are His children and heirs to His kingdom.  He “patiently and tirelessly” loves us and desires that we would be free to realize all He has promised to and for us.  Just like my parents desired for me.

Good to the Last Byte…

Paul said in his letter to the Corinthians, that God “had delivered him, was delivering him and would deliver him” from all hurt and harm. (2 Cor. 1:9-10)  While Paul was speaking of God’s acts of protection and provision, He also acknowledges God’s ultimate victory over the power of sin.  God not only defeated Satan and sin but He annihilated it.   (Col. 2:15)

Celebrating Lent 2014-Barna Update



Lenten celebration began on Ash Wednesday (March 5th) marking the beginning of a 40-day period of fasting, repentance, and spiritual discipline.  So what do people really do during the Lenten season?  Is this still the best way to prepare for Easter?  We’d like to offer you new insights into this holiest of seasons from the Barna Research Group.       Check it out  and let is know what you think in the comments below.   Hope you find it “insightful”.

In His Presence

“And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way…”  Luke 24:32 (KJV)

 After experiencing the presence of the Lord, it is hard to return to “business as usual.”  As His truth and righteousness burn in our hearts, we leave renewed and ready to follow the path He has designed for our life. 

In His presence, Peter, James and John experienced the transfiguration of Christ (Matt. 17:1-13).  They were so astonished with what they saw and heard that they desired to build a tabernacle to glorify the Lord.  These disciples came desiring to be part of Jesus’ “in crowd” but left instead as witnesses of the Christ (Acts 1:8). 

 In His presence, the Samaritan woman found the chance for a new beginning (John 4).  Often ostracized and demeaned by both men and women, this woman was offered refreshment that satisfied the soul’s true thirst—unconditional love and forgiveness.  The woman at the well came desiring physical water but found instead a Savior and everlasting life (John 4:14).   

 In His presence, Zacchaeus initially came as a seeker (Luke 19:2).  He hoped to merely catch a glimpse of this great prophet.  Imagine Zacchaeus’ (and the hypocritical observers’) surprise with Jesus’ invitation to “abide” at his home.   Zacchaeus came to observe from a tree but became the object of Jesus’ attention and the “poster child” for true reconciliation. (Luke 19:9)

 We often come into God’s presence unknowingly like the woman at the well.  Other times, we are like Zacchaeus, very intentional in our desire to see the glory of the Lord.  Regardless of how we come into His presence, it is important that we leave changed for the better and ready to accomplish the purpose He has established for our life. 

 Good to the Last Byte…

We often face obstacles that hinder our ability to come into God’s presence.  Don’t let the distractions of this world or the deception of Satan keep you from the best God has for you.  “…in your presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16:11).

Practicing the Presence of God

“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?”  Psalm 139:7 (NKJ)

What exactly is meant by the phrase, “practicing the presence of God”?  In pursuit of an answer to that question, I found the best definitions from two renowned practitioners of this spiritual habit.  Following are their responses for your consideration. 

 “…to acknowledge the Presence of God who is really there is actually a form of prayer, a way of praying always as the Scriptures exhort us to do.  When we do this, the eyes and ears of our hearts are open to receive the word He is always speaking.  We enter into a path of obedience perhaps unknown to us before where we joyfully acknowledge, ‘Jesus is Lord.’   

Leanne Payne, The Healing Presence

 “…continual conversation with Him, with freedom and in simplicity.  That we need only to recognize God intimately present with us, to address ourselves to Him every moment, that we may beg His assistance for knowing His will in things doubtful, and for rightly performing those which we plainly see He requires of us, offering them to Him before we do them, and giving Him thanks when we have done.” 

Brother Lawrence, Practicing the Presence of God  

 Practicing the presence of God is built on several foundational truths about God and His relationship with believers. 

 1)      God lives within us.  “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” 1 Cor. 3:16.  Before returning to His Father, Jesus promised to send “another Comforter” that would abide with them forever (John 14:16).  That Comforter was the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity.  He guides believers in all truth—truth that He hears from the Father (John 16:13). 

2)      God desires to communicate with us.   “Then God went up from him in the place where He talked with him.” Genesis 35:13.  God is not some distant deity disinterested in His children’s daily affairs.  We cry “Abba Father” (Gal. 4:6) knowing He hears our every word; in response we are to listen intently as He directs us:  “this is the way walk in it” (Isa. 30:21).  Communication between the Father and His children result in unity of thought and agreement in purpose.   

 3)     God wishes to be in relationship with us.  “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8a.  It has always been God’s desire to be in unbroken fellowship with man.  By instituting His plan of salvation, He created the means by which that which was lost in the Garden of Eden could be restored.  Now reconciled to God (Col. 1:20-21), man is once again free to fellowship with his Creator. 

 Jesus Christ was the greatest practitioner of living in the presence of God.  Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus synchronized His every move based on what He heard from His Father (John 5:30).  Living in continual communion with God, Jesus modeled the power of practicing the presence.     With these definitions and truths in hand, the spiritual reality of practicing the presence of God releases His fullness into the believer’s life.  There is peace, joy and love in abundance.   In unhindered communion with God, believers are able to live life more victoriously.    

 Good to the Last Byte…

In practicing the presence of God, believers live moment to moment in awareness and acknowledgement of God’s presence.  Awareness of God’s presence means that in our heart, we proclaim Christ is Lord.  In Him “we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).   Acknowledgement of God’s presence means that we live our life attentively listening to His voice.  We live in unbroken communication with Him—“He in us and we in Him” (John 17:23).   

Love’s Holy Enabler

And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.  Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him.  And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.  1 John 3:23-24 (NKJV)

It is not always easy for believers to exhibit “agape” love.    Agape love is more than an emotional response.  It is an intentional act of one’s will.  This type of love demands that believers do what’s best for others.  It values and esteems, unselfishly ready to serve (John 15:13; 1 John 3:16, 17).   In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul describes agape love “in action”: Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.   Love never fails.  

But what about that person who abuses you or maligns your reputation?  Jesus’ teaching on love directs believers to not only love our enemies, but also “bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matt. 5:44).  Love, bless, do good, AND pray?  Is this a difficult request?  Yes but not impossible.   Our ability to love as God commands is NOT natural; it can only be accomplished “supernaturally” through the enabling of the Holy Spirit.  How does that happen?

When the Holy Spirit takes residence in the believer’s life at conversion, He begins to conform the believer to the image of Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:29); this includes instilling in them the desire to obey His commandments: I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. (Ezekiel 36:27)

As the believer’s personal relationship with the Lord grows (through prayer, reading God’s Word, and meditation), the Holy Spirit enables the believer to better express agape love.  Love is the “first fruit” of the Spirit (Gal. 5: 22).  It is God’s Spirit abiding within us that enables us to love like God.  “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God and God in Him” (1 John 4:16).

Good to the Last Byte… 

In the past, God has directed me to pray for people who have not treated me very nicely.  I asked, “Why me? He didn’t answer.”  And what were the results?  Did the person treat me better?  No but being obedient to His directive resulted in new freedom and personal insight about the Holy Spirit’s awesome power.   In His power, I could see that person as God did and love them (Rom. 5:8).   In His power, I learned I can do things that seem impossible in my “natural strength”.  God is faithful to His promise when He said, “I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Is. 41:10).