Grace – Above What We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine – Part 5 of 8

 

Jesus Christ: Grace Multiplied

Indeed, we have all received grace after grace from His fullness… (John 1:16)

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In Jesus Christ the fullness of grace is revealed as it rested upon and flowed through him throughout his time of ministry. The awesome miracles performed by Jesus, his keen ability to read the hearts of those around him, the simple yet profound truths He taught, the power of the words He spoke, the impenetrable, supernatural protection which surrounded him, and the closeness of the relationship He had with our heavenly Father, all reflected the manifold grace that was upon him and operated through him.

We can see the compassionate side of grace in Jesus when a leper kneeled before him, asking to be healed. The Scripture tells us that he, “…reached out and touched him… and instantly the leprosy disappeared” (see Matthew 8:2,3). Considering that lepers were outcasts from society, deemed “unclean” by Levitical Law, and “untouchable,” the man undoubtedly experienced scorn and was shunned from the day he was declared leprous. But Jesus, full of grace mixed with compassion for this lonely and bereft being, reached out and touched him!

It was by the power of grace-filled words that Jesus raised a boy, the only son of a widow, from the dead. It happened one day when He and his disciples were walking toward a small village. As they approached the village gate, a funeral procession was coming out. Seeing the distraught mother alongside the body of her son being carried on a stretcher, Jesus went over to touch the stretcher. As the pallbearers came to a stop, the Master commanded, “Young man, I tell you: Get up!” And at that instant, the boy’s body came back to life and the lad sat up and he began to speak. And so, Jesus gave him back to his mother—raised from the dead!

The grace for healing was present in Jesus Christ in an abundant overflow. For example, as Jesus was walking through a crowd one day, a woman came up from behind him and touched the fringe of his robe. She had been suffering for twelve years from a condition that had caused her to bleed constantly. But, at the moment she touched his garment the bleeding stopped. The grace for healing was a well-spring within Jesus and she had drawn from the reservoir of that power with her faith.

The Gospels also record many occasions that the powerful grace upon Jesus set captives free, delivering them from demonic possession. One time, after crossing the Sea of Galilee in a boat, Jesus was immediately confronted by a demon-possessed man (see Luke 8:26-39). The crazed person had worn no clothes for a long time and did not live in a house, staying instead in the tombs outside of town. He terrorized anyone who came near him his wild behavior. But Jesus challenged the foul spirits inside the man, commanding them to come out of him—and they did! As soon as the news of this dramatic event reached town, many townspeople went out to see what had happened. They came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at Jesus’ feet, clothed and in his right mind. Not only had he been set free from the demons but shortly thereafter he went all through the town proclaiming the great things Jesus had done.

Indeed, in these incidents, as well as in myriad others recorded in the Gospels, Jesus demonstrated that the mighty power of God’s grace can overcome any force and heal any condition—including demon spirits, incurable diseases, and even the power of death.

Clearly, God’s manifold grace was dislayed in the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ in awesome ways. Indeed, He showed us that by God’s grace all things are possible!

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Of course, there are also many other things that Jesus did, which, if every one of them were written down, the world couldn’t contain the books that would be written. (John 21:25)

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Until the next time, walk in the Spirit… and be a blessing!

Dr. Peter

Grace – Above What We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine – Part 4 of 8

Jesus Christ: The Personification of Grace

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14) 

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Having already delved into the truth that God’s grace is prodigiously manifested throughout the Old Testament—starting with the Creation of all that is as well as in the Garden of Edenlet’s now turn to the subject of grace in the New Testament.

There we find that grace is embodied in the person of Jesus Christ. Indeed, God’s love and grace are at the very core of his being. And so, the supernatural essence of grace, and its centrality to the Gospel message, becomes overwhelmingly apparent in and through God’s dear Son.

The awesome power of God’s grace was abundantly displayed throughout Jesus’ ministry. After being baptized in the Jordan River, when the Holy Spirit descended upon him like a dove (see Matthew 3:16), Jesus started to manifest the supernatural endowment of God’s anointing for all to see.

 

Being led by the Spirit, one of his first public preaching “assignments” was at the synagogue in his boyhood hometown, Nazareth. There, He read from one of the messianic prophecies of Isaiah (that the “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor…” [see Luke 4:18]). When He finished preaching, He rolled up the scroll and said, “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”

Since the congregation was blind to Jesus’ true identity, considering him as nothing more than the son of a local carpenter named Joseph, such words struck them as an outrageous blasphemy against the Lord. They became so furious that they mobbed Jesus and forced him to the edge of the hill on which the village was built, intending to push him over the cliff.

But, as the Scripture (Luke 4:20) informs us, “…he passed right through the crowd and went on his way.” Indeed, God’s grace was upon him—and protected him like a “guard-all” shield! They had tried to kill the “upstart” preacher from among their midst, but they could not!

And, as we shall see, that was just the beginning of the exploits of Jesus Christ in the spirit realm. The wisdom with which He taught and the miracles He performed throughout his three and a half years of ministry were all manifestations of the grace of God that was upon him.

Truly, God’s grace upon the Lord Jesus Christ was greater than most believers can even imagine!

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Until the next time, walk in the Spirit… and be a blessing!

Dr. Peter

Grace – Above What We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine – Part 3 of 8

Grace in the Old Testament

God’s great grace is displayed throughout the Scriptures—from his marvelous act of Creation of everything that is, as described in the first chapter of the Book of Genesis, to the closing verses of the Book of Revelation, which tell of his grace upon us and the soon return of Jesus Christ for his people.

Many fail to see or realize that God’s grace is abundantly displayedeven throughout the Old Testament.

For example, after Eve committed high treason against God by disobediently eating the forbidden fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the Lord still chose to use her as an instrument of judgement over her wily tempter, the serpent (i.e., Satan). As the Lord prophesied, one of Eve’s descendants would one day “crush the head” of the serpent, delivering humanity from the power of Satan’s grasp. In other words, God’s grace was upon Eve, and her descendants, despite her terrible deed of rebellion.

God displayed his grace time and again when He chose men like Abraham, Noah, Moses, and others, to serve him and his purposes. Clearly, these were imperfect men and none of them were worthy in and of themselves.

It was only by God’s grace that Noah and his family were saved from a worldwide deluge. God’s judgement enveloped the entire earth, but the grace of God rested upon Noah and his family.

God entered into an everlasting covenant with Abraham by which all the families of the earth would be blessed. Indeed, that unbreakable promise is a powerful display of God’s grace.

The heavenly manna which wafted down from the sky like dew and fed the children of Israel in the wilderness for forty years was a tangible, daily display of God’s mercy and grace, especially in light of the Hebrew’s constant complaints as they wandered.

Joshua, when leading an entourage of Levitical priests, musicians, and warriors as they circled around the walls of Jericho, experienced a tremendous manifestation of God’s grace when, upon the Lord’s instruction, they blew their trumpets and shouted all at once, and  Jericho’s walls came tumbling down. At that instant God’s grace came in the form of supernatural, miraculous power displayed on behalf of his people.

We need to expand our thinking, and when we do, we’ll find that God’s great grace is manifested everywhere, in both the Old and New Testaments—and in our lives, especially as we cooperate with God’s purposes.

God’s grace truly is greater than we imagine!

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Until the next time, walk in the Spirit… and be a blessing!

Dr. Peter

Grace – Above What We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine – Part 2 of 8

Set Free Indeed!

Sin and death rule over humanity like a cruel, menacing slave driver. That’s been the dark spiritual reality of mankind ever since Adam and Eve chose to disobey God in the Garden of Eden and fell into sin.

However, the Bible has wonderful, liberating news that comes directly from the realm of the Spirit. The “law of sin and death” which reign over this world have been overcome!

Our Avenger and Liberator is the One who is the Son of the Living God—Jesus Christ! He has forever broken the power of sin. Indeed, as the Scripture reveals to us, “the law of the Spirit in Christ Jesus” has set us free from “the law of sin and death!” (see Romans 8:2) The spiritual bondage under which this world groans has been broken—but only for those who believe and have been born-again into God’s family.

This is the essence of the “Gospel of Grace.” Scripture informs us that it’s by “grace through faith” that we’re saved, and that “grace is not of ourselves, it is God’s gift.” (Ephesians 2:8,9)

Set free indeed! Of course, it’s much more than any of us deserves—that’s why it’s called “grace!”

We all need to grow in our understanding and appreciation of the powerful, supernatural nature of grace that is available to every son or daughter of the Most High. It is by the magnificence of grace that we are not only set free from the power of sin but also enabled to live an overcoming life.

Because of God’s great love for us, his grace equips us to be “more than conquerors” so that we can fulfill the destiny to which He has called each of us—to be victorious in this life and to rule and reign in the life to come!

Our life is meant to be lived supernaturally—dependent on God’s presence and power. If anyone claims to be a “follower of Jesus” but is attempting to do so “under their own steam,” by their own wits and self-effort, that person is destined for failure by God’s standards.

The Lord wants us to depend upon him so that He can live through us—by his grace!

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Until the next time, walk in the Spirit… and be a blessing!

Dr. Peter

Grace – Above What We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine – Part 1 of 8

An Entirely New Level of Existence

God’s kingdom was designed for imperfect people. Good thing—because we are all “works in progress.”

What we really need is more than just an “upgrade” or a “new and improved” version of who we are. Favor from “on high” is what is needed. If we’re to overcome the things which keep us down and turn us into victims in life, what’s required is more than grit and self-effort.

God’s grace is what can truly make a difference. And it’s available to those who are able to humbly receive his love, be empowered, and truly set free.

God has extended his unfailing love to all—regardless of our spiritual state. He beckons each one of us to come to him because he has the remedy for that which ails everyone—our sinful condition.

“…while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7)  Jesus Christ paid the penalty for all our sins on Calvary’s cross. Our sin debt has been “paid in full.” It’s a done deal. All we need to do is acknowledge what God has already done for us, made a way where there was no way—to him.

A key difference between what Jesus Christ taught and what religion (of whatever type) teaches is that we cannot work our way to God. No, we aren’t, and could never be, good enough. One of the basic errors of religious belief, which contradicts the clear teaching of the Holy Bible, is that there is a way to God through our own works. However, attempting to do so is like trying to construct our own personal “tower of Babel”—one made of good works—to reach him.

It is only by accepting the free love-gift of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross of Calvary that we can be reconciled to the True and Living God.

God’s gracious gift opens up a whole new dimension in life. And we can enter into that new realm—the kingdom of God. We are born-again into his family.

We are brought into a whole new level of existence. It operates in the spiritual realm but manifests in the natural. Those who are walking according to the Spirit of God find newness of life and his favor resting upon them.

And as a person grows in faith, God’s promises for his children become realized. Salvation. Blessing. Favor. Healing. And supply of everything that is needed.

Indeed, God’s grace is far above what we deserve and greater than we can imagine!

 

 

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If you have never received God’s gracious gift of salvation, but truly believe that his redeeming love purhased your salvation on Calvary’s cross, why not take a moment and speak these words out loud to the Lord:

“Heavenly Father, I know that I am a sinner in need of forgiveness. I believe that You sent your Son, Jesus Christ to die on the cross for me. His blood has paid the price for all my sins. I receive your redeeming love as a free gift and ask that You cleanse my heart right now.

I submit my will to yours and receive Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. I want your will to be done in my life. I invite your Holy Spirit to come into my heart and change me, making me more like Jesus.

Thank You for saving me. Thank You for giving me this “New life.”  From this moment forward, I’m a “new creation in Jesus Christ.”

In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!”

Congratulations!! If you believe in your heart what you have just told God, by his grace, a supernatural process has just begun. You have been “born again” and your new birth in Jesus Christ has been sealed by God’s precious Holy Spirit.

Welcome to God’s family!

If this has happened to you, please let me know about your exciting news by sending me an email at: harvest.equip@gmail.com  God bless!!

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Until the next time, walk in the Spirit… and be a blessing!

Dr. Peter

 

Being Spiritually Minded

Romans 8-6 +

For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace.  Romans 8:6

The mentality of this world is what Jesus called the “broad way that leads to destruction.” It’s a way of thinking and an approach to life that leads to failure, misery and heartache. The apostle Paul referred to it as the “mind-set of the flesh”— carnal thinking which relies on knowledge gathered by our five senses.

God’s counsel concerning sense knowledge is to come “out of our shell” of limitation and tap into the wisdom of his counsel—to “trust in him with all our hearts” and lean not to our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). In other words, He wants us to become far more than “natural” men and women, because what He has in mind is to bring us above and beyond that—so that we become all that we were meant to be—supernaturally empowered men and women.

Trying to accomplish anything of lasting value in this world through self-effort will, in the end, prove to be empty and futile. In charting our course through the unexpected twists, turns and setbacks of life, each one of us needs a greater measure of understanding than that which we naturally possess. Wisdom that is beyond ourselves is what’s necessary to be truly successful in any meaningful way. Hopefully you have already come to the realization that the “world” has little to offer beyond trinkets, glitter, empty promises and dead-end roads. But, what you need to know, if you haven’t understood it yet, is that the Lord offers each one of us a higher way, one leads to “life and peace.”

The entrance ramp to this higher road is humility. A person must be teachable, open to counsel from on high, to enter into a higher spiritual dimension. As the Scripture says of the Lord, his ways are higher than ours and so are his thoughts (see Isaiah 55:8,9). If you want access God’s way of thinking you need to open yourself up and allow him to show you his higher ways.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that God never asks any of us to do what we’re unable to do—unless He provides a means—natural or supernatural—to do it. He wants you to be spiritually minded and He’s made a way for you to do just that!

First of all, you have to be born into his family. His provision for that is the “new birth”—being “born again” (see John 3:3-5). It’s a first, all-important, supernatural step in becoming spiritually minded.

Once you are born into God’s family the Lord gives you a precious gift—his Holy Spirit to lead and counsel you. Yet another provision He’s made is the written Word of God which is crucial to the spiritual growth of every born-again believer. But, if we are to become truly spiritually minded, we need to realize that the Bible isn’t sufficient in and of itself to bring about the necessary transformation in our thinking because, as the apostle Paul wrote, “…the letter kills but the Spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6). Indeed, it is “… those who are Phil 2-5+led by God’s Spirit [who] are God’s children” (Romans 8:14).

Our aim is to develop a relationship with the One who is the Wonderful Counselor so that we may hear and heed his voice. As the apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Philippi, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). Jesus’ thinking can be ours if we are spiritually minded. Let it be so!

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Until the next time, walk in the Spirit… and be a blessing!

Dr. Peter

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Further scriptures to consider:

That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:6, NASB)

For the natural man is not able to take in the things of the Spirit of God: for they seem foolish to him, and he is not able to have knowledge of them, because such knowledge comes only through the Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:14, BBE)

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. (Romans 8:2)

Be Not Deceived

Sowing and Reaping

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for what a man sows, that also he will reap.” Galatians 6:7

sowing L

One of the basic laws which governs nature and the spiritual realm is a very simple one: the seed you sow determines the harvest you reap. It should be common sense but it’s a truth that eludes many folks, especially those who are “wishin’ and hopin’” that somehow this universal law can be nullified in their case, at least for a time anyway, so that they won’t have to reap the woeful consequences of the bad seed they’ve been sowing.

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One of my hobbies over the years has been growing a garden. I enjoy nurturing the plants and watching them develop and eventually produce fruit. I especially like harvest-time and enjoying the fruit of my labors. For several years I cultivated a bountiful garden from which I was able to harvest large quantities of corn, tomatoes, squash, cantaloupe and much more.

Every year in the early Spring I went to Agway, the local farmer’s supply store, and bought seed. Before I drove there in my pickup truck I always had harvest-time in mind. And because of that, I can tell you that very purposefully I never bought brussels sprout seeds because the entire family detested the way they taste and would never even consider eating them. On the other hand, I always made sure that I got watermelon seeds when I went to Agway because everyone thought that nothing tasted better on a hot summer day than a cool, juicy slice of watermelon.

Like most folks, at least those with any common sense, I would never buy and plant brussels sprout seeds and then expect to be savoring the sweet taste of watermelon when the “dog-days” of summer rolled around. That isn’t how things work and, of course, it’s just plain foolish.

However, when it comes to spiritual matters, it’s pretty clear that some people live in a fantasy world in which they wishfully think there is some way of getting around the spiritual law of sowing and reaping. These are the folks who want to believe that they can do as they please, without regard for God or anyone else, and somehow the Lord will smile on them and they will walk in his blessings. And, of course, just as in the realm of nature, such notions are just plain foolish.

How much sense does it make, for example, that a person who sows bitterness and strife wherever they go will somehow be able to reap a harvest of anything but turmoil and sour relationships? The answer is “none”—it makes no sense. Whether a person chooses to believe it or not, sowing bad seed can only produce a corrupt and evil harvest. The seeds of animosity and conflict can never produce anything that even comes close to resembling the good fruit of peace and harmony. That’s because of the universal law of sowing and reaping which the Lord put into motion at the very beginning.

While Jesus Christ was walking the earth he taught the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s a very simple idea that any child can understand. Treat people the way you want to be treated. Appreciate their worth and respect their feelings. In your dealings with them, demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit and you will be planting the seeds of goodwill and harmony in your relationships.

The Golden Rule works everywhere but the first place it should be put into practice is in your household. In fact, it’s a key to a good marriage. If you are married, you should always do your best to put yourself in your spouse’s “shoes,” as much as it’s possible anyway, and consider what is best for your spouse in every situation. That kind of consideration will go a long way in strengthening your marriage and will enhance the spiritual atmosphere in your home. Peace and harmony will reign in your household. Does that sound good to you? Then use to the Golden Rule as the guiding principle in your marriage.

reaping

Whatever your circumstance, no matter where live, the law of sowing and reaping is working in your life. If you are under the delusion that you can live in ways that foolishly disregard the basic spiritual laws established by the Living God who created you and all that is, and avoid the consequences of the bad seed you are planting, do yourself a favor before it’s too late and reconsider your ways.

God is merciful and is full of grace. But we must also take into account that He is fair and just as well. The law of sowing and reaping reflects that truth. Our God will not be mocked. The laws He established to govern the universe are there to insure that He is glorified above his creation.

So, just as the law of gravity works whether you believe in it or not, the law of sowing and reaping works as well. It is for your benefit that you live by it, and also that He may be glorified.

May the Lord bless you abundantly as you grow in your understanding of his ways and sow good seed… in faith!

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Until the next time, walk in the Spirit… and be a blessing!

Dr. Peter

 

The Gospel of Grace

“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Mat 11:28-30

Grace GospelThe good news message of Jesus Christ and of God’s kingdom is described in a variety of ways in the Scriptures—as the “power of God unto salvation,” the “gospel of grace,” the “eternal gospel,” the “gospel of Christ,” a “mystery,” and as the “gospel of God.” Of course, it is all of these… and much more.

According to at least one expert of the ancient Greek language in which the New Testament was written, the word “euangelion,” translated into English as the “good news” or “gospel,” carries with it the connotation that is not just “good news” but it is such good news that it’s almost “too good to be true.” Because it carries that implication, researchers have found that the word “euangelion” was used only very rarely in ancient manuscripts other than the writings of the New Testament. The reason for this is obvious: there really wasn’t much outside of God’s kingdom that could be considered good news that’s “almost too good to be true!”

Most Christians have little idea as to how much they have underestimated the supernatural grace that God has showered, and continues to pour out, on his children. If we fail to renew our minds with his Word or respond to it in any other way than in faith, we will end up living far below what God has planned for us. To the unrenewed mind, which is governed by human reasoning and natural understanding, the grace of God simply is too good to be true. The gospel message can’t be that easy or simple. There must be some “catch” to it.

 

But Scripture is quite clear about the “gospel of grace”:

  • God has reconciled sinful man, including you and me, to himself at the cross of Calvary.Graphic word montage of the Christian concept of grace composed in neutral earthy tones. Use as overall background or as featured art.
  • Once we become reconciled to him by receiving his son as our Savior and Lord:
    • He gives us his precious Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us
    • His favor is upon us
    • His resurrection power resides within us
    • We are granted spiritual authority in this earth
    • We are provided with “everything that pertains to life and godliness”
    • All our needs are supplied “through his riches in glory”
    • And the love of God is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit

These truths are at the very heart of the “gospel of grace.” What could we ever do to deserve such royal treatment? Receive God’s son by faith and enter into a personal relationship with God the Father. We should also accept the invitation that Jesus gave to the Galileans to “learn of him”—and, if we do, we’ll find that the heavy burdens of life weighing us down will be lifted. Being instructed by the Master in the school of the Holy Spirit will also open up the supernatural realm of God’s grace such that it becomes an everyday reality.

Friend, whether you realize it or not, God has your interests at heart and wants only the very best for you. That’s why He gave his son to die in your place—to cancel a sin-debt that you could not pay and set you free from the power of sin.

Learn of him and grow in your understanding of his good news: that God’s grace is sufficient to supply for your every need and that He is always generous in every way. Don’t make the mistake of low-rating the grace of God and his benefits. It’s all part of the “package deal”—and it’s called the gospel of grace!

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Each one of us needs to grow in our appreciation of the incomparable power and riches of the gospel of grace. Why not take the time right now to ask your heavenly Father to increase your understanding:

Understanding“Heavenly Father, I ask that you give me a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of You. I pray that the eyes of my heart be enlightened so I may know what is the hope of my calling, what are the glorious riches of your inheritance in me, and the immeasurable greatness of your power toward me, according to the working of your mighty strength. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”

This request to the Father is adapted from a prayer the apostle Paul prayed for the believers at the church of Ephesus, as recorded in Ephesians 1:17-19. Wisdom would have each one of us meditate regularly upon the words of this prayer and to wholeheartedly seek the Lord for its fulfillment. It is a powerful prayer that, if prayed in faith, you can expect to see answered in ways beyond your imagination with 100% certainty.

May the Lord bless you abundantly!

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Until the next time, walk in the Spirit… and be a blessing!

Dr. Peter

 

The “New Birth”

http://thebiblerevival.com/clipart/1908/john3.jpg Jesus, the Saviour of the world Artist: UNKNOWN; Illustrator of Bible Card Date: Published 1904

“There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent You to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with You.” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”  (John 3:1-3, NLT)

One of the esteemed religious rulers of Israel, Nicodemus, came to Jesus Christ under the cover of darkness one night to learn about the secrets behind the signs and wonders which followed the Master everywhere He went. Rabbi Jesus took the opportunity to share profound and mysterious truths with the well-versed leader, especially about the need for him to go beyond his current sense-based understanding of the Scriptures and to be “born again,” so that an entirely new spiritual reality would open to him. According to the Jesus, unless a person is born again, “he cannot see the kingdom of God.” In other words, Nicodemus needed to have a spiritual experiencea supernatural “new birth”before the realities of God’s kingdom would even become discernible to him. 

Being born again—experiencing the “new birth”—is all-important according to Jesus Christ; yet it is a truth that is not understood or appreciated by many who are seeking after God.

To illustrate the significance of the new birth let us use an analogy from the sports world. It’s something like the “batter’s box” in the game of baseball. If a baseball player, as long as he’s not a designated runner, wants to get on base he must first get out of the dugout and stand in the batter’s box by home plate. Going to the batter’s box isn’t an option, it’s a requirement of the game; a player cannot simply decide to go from the dugout and stand on first base, or second or third base for that matter, if he hasn’t first stood in the batter’s box.

Likewise, as Jesus informed Nicodemus, everyone who is truly seeking after God has to go through the experience being “born again”—that is, go the spiritual “batter’s box” of God—before advancing in their spiritual journey toward knowing the God of the Bible and his ways. A person can be sincere and well-intentioned, attend church regularly, read the Scriptures every day, and do their best to live a good life—which are all good things—but if that person hasn’t been “born again,” he simply won’t be able to see the kingdom of God, let alone be allowed to enter into it—according to the spiritual umpire of eternity, Jesus Christ.

If a person desires tborn-again-musto do anything of significance in light of eternity he or she must heed the words of Jesus—the One who came to show us the way. After all, He is “the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6).

Being “born again” is a matter of both the heart and the head. According to the Scriptures it is a supernatural experience. It happens when a person believes in their heart that Jesus Christ is Lord and confesses (that is, says with his or her mouth) that God has raised him from the dead. A person must do both: while belief is critical, it is just as important to declare to God and to others what it is that’s believed (see Romans 10:9,10).

The Lord showed me the supernatural nature of the “new birth” back in the early 1980s. I was at a gathering of Christian believers in which there was an altar call at the end of the meeting. As several attendees went forward I noticed a dark-skinned African-American mother and her teenage daughter among them. By the facial expression and body language of the daughter it seemed as if she perhaps was under spiritual or psychological duress. Amazingly, however, as she started to repeat the “sinner’s prayer,” I saw a spiritual light begin to bathe her body—starting at her head and washing gently back and forth all the way down to her feet. By the time she finished saying the prayer, I saw a person who was totally transformed! Before, when she was walking with her mom to the front of the room, I saw her in the “natural”—that is, a teenager who looked as if she was spiritually oppressed. But, when that teenage girl was done praying, her “inner being” had been completely bathed in a supernatural light—glowing from head to toe! 

I saw this with my eyes and yet I was seeing into the reality of the spirit world: “Except a man [or woman] be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

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If you, dear friend, have not yet had the supernatural, life-changing experience of being “born again” by the spirit of the living God—I strongly urge you to consider that there is no time like now for you to do so. As the Scripture says, “now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2b).

jesussaaviourTo become “born again” starts with a belief within you—inside your heart. If you truly believe that “Jesus is Lord” and “God has raised him from the dead,” tell him so now (see Romans 10:9,10). That’s right, speak it out loud—and say to the Lord, also, that you want Jesus Christ to be the Lord of your life.

And finally, as part of your prayer, you should tell the Lord that you repent of your sins (that is, you are genuinely sorry for the things you have done against him and others and make a firm decision to not do them in the future). Since you need his power to make your decision a reality, tell he Lord that you turn to him and surrender yourself completely to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Once you have done so, He will cleanse you from all your sins and you will be a “new creation” in Him—born again!

If, for the first time, you did say that prayer, “Congratulations!!” …and welcome into the family of God!!!

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Please let us know if you just became a born again believer—and we will do what we can to help you on your new path. Just send a message to Dr. Peter at harvest.equip@gmail.com telling us about your experience and letting us know the best way to get in touch with you. 

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Until the next time, walk in the Spirit… and be a blessing!

Dr. Peter

Drawing Near to God

“Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him.” Heb 11:6, HCSB

Draw-Near-to-God 1As children of the “Most High” God, our lives are meant to be a supernatural journey, one in which we “walk by faith and not by sight.”  The Holy Spirit is our guide as the journey of life unfolds before us and we overcome life’s struggles. The supernatural is to be part-and-parcel of all we experience. The spiritual truths of the kingdom of God—supernatural realities—are opened to us. And that is how God intended it to be, for heaven’s reality to come and reign in this earth through us, his children.

Call unto Me and I will show you great and mighty things which you don’t know” the Lord has beckoned. That is a promise and a challenge which, if we receive it, will cause us to move upward in the high calling of Christ—from one glory to the next as God has purposed.

Our heavenly Father wants us to be “faith children” at all times— relying and depending on him and his Word. And as we grow closer to him and get to know him better we find that He is everything the Scriptures have told us He is, but even more so!

Nearly every born-again believer knows the Scripture, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. That beloved verse brings to us a marvellous truth. But the “word of God” that builds and strengthens our faith should be heard not only from the mouths of those who preach, prophesy and teach, but also directly from God himself!

Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice.” Friend, are you a follower of Jesus Christ? If so, then you are one of his “sheep!” And since He is your Great Shepherd, then you must simply accept what He said: you hear his voice. He didn’t hedge his statement by adding a condition or the word “might” to it, as in, “My sheep might hear my voice.” No, He was quite clear: “My sheep hear my voice.” Do not doubt it—and especially do not dispute it. Since Jesus said it, it is so!

You may not have thought much about it, but one of the most important differences between you, as a child of God, and those on the outside of his family, is that you have the ability to hear his voice. And that is awesome!

Think about it.

And as you do, here are just a few questions that you might also ponder:

When you commune with the Lord, do you do all of the talking or do you listen to him as well? In other words, is your prayer time one of mutual sharing?

How frequently do you hear the voice of God?draw-near-to-god-james

Do you want to grow in your ability to hear from him?

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Until the next time, walk in the Spirit… and be a blessing!

Dr. Peter