Observations From King Nebuchadnezzar’s Life

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Oxygen Volume 18

King Nebuchadnezzar was the King of Babylon during a time of history in which the Noe-Babylonian Empire attained it’s peak and the city of Babylon it’s greatest glory. During his reign Nebuchadnezzar built temples in many of the cities his kingdom, but without question his greatest achievement was the rebuilding of Babylon, on a scale with a magnificence never before envisioned. In the midst of his great palace, he created a terraced cloister known as the hanging gardens which is recognized among the 7 wonders of the world. -(Information from http://www.bookrags.com/biography/nebuchadnezzar/)

King Nebuchadnezzar is a unique individual, and is widely recognized among Christian circles today. Inevitably if you asked anyone if they have heard of this man, the answer would more likely than not be a resounding yes. He is tied to great stories, for example the 3 Hebrew boys and the fiery furnace. But as I look into the life of this earthly king, I observe a selfish, ego driven individual. I see a reflection of man itself. Humanity has always been, and will always be selfish creatures, when given the option to help ourselves or help others undeniably most people choose to help themselves. In fact the business world has adopted this mentality, they call it the ladder of success. Only they don’t climb one successful venture after another until finally reaching their desired goal, instead they step on whoever is in the way, many times ruining that person’s chances of success. But who really cares? After all, your goals have been achieved. This is not a new reality, his mindset has existed since the fall of man, and good luck if you think that will ever change. Nebuchadnezzar was also a man who was consumed with his successes, and assumed that since he was successful, he as by default better than everyone else. This is another admirable trait of man, too often when we taste success, we begin to look down our noses at those less fortunate. During his blog I want to share a series of observations, in chronological order, that I believe reflect the nature of man.

In Daniel chapter 2, Nebuchadnezzar dreams a dream. The dream was so intense that it troubled his spirit and woke him out of his sleep. When awoke, he was in a cold sweat, his heart troubled over a dream he had just witnessed. He called for all the wise men of Babylon; the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers and the Chaldeans, in hope that one of these men could interpret his disturbing dream. There was only one problem, He couldn’t remember the dream! The wisest of Babylon were powerless in this situation, if the king couldn’t remember the dream then how can any man interpret it? They responded, “…there is none that can show it except the gods…” The king was so furious that he passed a decree, kill all the wise men of Babylon! But Daniel volunteered his services to interpret the vision. In verse 19 the Bible gives us this…“Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision…” In Matthew 13:11, Jesus told His disciples that the reason he spoke in parables was because they don’t know the mysteries of the kingdom. Only those in covenant with him can understand those mysteries. Nebuchadnezzar couldn’t remember the dream he dreamed, but to a child of God it was revealed in a vision.

The dream described a man, whose head was made of gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass. In Verse 37 Daniel tells him, your kingdom id the head of gold. God has blessed you with a great and powerful kingdom. But after you shall arise another kingdom that is inferior to yours, and after that another kingdom which is inferior. Each kingdom will become weaker and weaker, and it’s value will diminish. This obviously didn’t sit well with Nebuchadnezzar. After all the effort I spent building this kingdom, after all I’ve accomplished in making Babylon what it is today, who does this man think he is to tell me that my kingdom will diminish in strength in time! So What does this egotistical king do?

Daniel 3:1, “Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold…” He built a statue of pure gold, to show the man of God that his kingdom will never lose it’s strength! Now it is believed that this image was a replica of himself. But according to what I’ve researched, it wasn’t. It was the image of the false god of Babylon. This “idol” had a reputation of being cruel, and harsh. Historians believe the reason this idea was created wasn’t because the statue looked like Nebuchadnezzar, but because Nebuchadnezzar began to look like this statue! In other words, King Nebuchadnezzar actually began to take on the form of what he worshiped! How do you think Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego were able to shout in the fire? It’s because they took on the nature of the God they worshiped! Don’t ever think worship is over rated! When you live a lifestyle of worship, you will take on the nature of the God you worship! If your sick in your body, if you need deliverance, if you are in need of a miracle, don’t look to people for a solution, why not just worship God in the mess, and let him transfer his nature into your life! When you take on his nature, sicknesses are healed, lives are changed, minds are renewed!

So now we get to Daniel 4, and Nebuchadnezzar is looking over the balcony of his palace in verse 29 and proclaims in verse 30; “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?” Here is where God finally had enough. Remember the Lord has reiterated time and time again, He will not share his glory with anybody or anything! Go will let you live a selfish lifestyle,God will let you get away with false worship, he will even let you get away with demeaning behavior towards others; but if you think you will get the credit for what God has one in your life, you’ve got another thing coming! The Bible says in the same hour he was thinking these words in his heart, something he never ever thought was possible began to happen. The prophetic dream was fulfilled, and Nebuchadnezzar was driven from his palace and became a wild beast in the fields. This indestructible man, this powerful majestic king, is now living in the fields with the animals of the earth!

After these 7 years, the Bible says, Nebuchadnezzar’s understanding returned and he lifted up his eyes to the heavens and declared, “Most High, your dominion is forever, and your kingdom from generation to generation”! All these years I thought my kingdom was unshakable, but God your kingdom is unshakable!!

Don’t wait until your living among the wild animals of this world, before you decide to worship God for who he is!

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Lord, Help My Unbelief! A Second look…

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John 4:46-54

Vs 48

Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe…

In My last blog, Lord, Help My Unbelief, we found the danger of unbelief and the consequences it could bring. Through this blog, I want to reach a little farther into the source of unbelief. In the portion of scripture I alluded to at the top, we discover a scene in which Jesus has returned for the first time to Cana of Galilee. This is where, if we can remember, Jesus performed his first miracle, by turning water into wine. As the scripture explains this scene we find immediately there is a Nobleman, whose son is sick in Capernum. Now the Bible doesn’t tell us why this Nobleman is in Galilee and his son is dying in Capernaum, all we can conclude from what little evidence we have is that he must have been here for business reasons. Now when this man heard Jesus was here he sought for him and pleaded with him to come with him to Capernaum and heal his son, who the Bible said was at the point of death. But Jesus responds in a very peculiar way…

Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe…

Jesus was addressing the mentality of humanity. I discussed in my previous blog how Gideon “fleeced” God, and Zacharias sought for a sign to know that the word was valid. Both of those examples prove to me that there is unbelief present in their spirits. See the human mind is skeptical by nature, for whatever reason we are apprehensive creatures. So the mentality of humanity says, “I’ll believe it when I see it”. While God says, “You’ll see it when you believe it”! Before Jesus even acknowledges his issue, he first addresses this man’s mentality. He could sense the unbelief in his heart, and he wanted to give him a chance to shake that spirit off of him. Aren’t you glad that Jesus always gives us an opportunity to receive more than what we’re asking for? All he wanted was for Jesus to heal his son, but Jesus said, first I’m going to heal your unbelief!

In Mark 9, that father who had a demon possessed son, was frustrated and disappointed at what looked to him like a failed ministry. And so when Jesus finally shows up, this man barks at Jesus, “I brought him to you, and you couldn’t do anything. So if you can do anything, just have compassion on us.”  What I find interesting is this is the way most people approach God. We think if we come to him with our laundry list of problems and explain to him how bad we have it, that God will be compassionate towards us. So instead of worship, we whine! This method doesn’t work folks! Jesus does not respond to pity, if he did there wouldn’t be any homeless people. But watch what he does respond to… In Matthew 8:2 a leper comes to Jesus and prays this prayer, “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean”.  What this leper just prayed is powerful, he said God I know you can heal me, I just don’t know if it’s your will. But the most important thing in my life is not being healed, it’s being in line with your will! Then the Bible says Jesus looked on him with compassion! If you want to unlock the compassion of God, start praying like that leper…

Now notice the attitude of this father; he is only focused on the problem with his child, Jesus however is after a bigger issue. This man had been blaming 9 faithless disciples, and then he started blaming Jesus. This is what we do, we want to shift the blame on everyone and everything around us in order to take the attention off ourselves. But Jesus was letting this father know, don’t blame me for the condition of your child, you raised him that way! What did you expect when you raised that boy in an unbelieving home! The issue isn’t with what I can do, the issue is with what you can do! If you can believe all things are possible to him that believes!

Unbelief is never cheap, it cost more than it pays

-Woodrow Kroll

It wasn’t that Jesus didn’t care about the condition of the child, He just knew that if daddy never addressed the unbelief in his spirit that boy’s chances of living an overcoming life were slim to none. You see unbelief never comes cheap, as Woodrow Kroll explained, it always comes with a high price tag. When Zacharias fell victim to unbelief it made him dumb; but when this dad fell victim to this spiritual disease his boy ended up with a dumb spirit. What’s scary is that the father still knew where to go for help, eventually it got bad enough for him to decide I’ve had enough. But when that child came into the presence of God, the Bible says that he fell to the ground and started wallowing around. Even in the presence of God, this boy was almost unreachable. he couldn’t hear God’s word, because he was deaf, and he couldn’t plead for help because he was dumb and unable to speak! I mentioned in part 1 how Hebrews 12 gives us a blueprint for conquering this spirit.

Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…”

But just looking at him isn’t the solution. Jesus explained in John 3:14, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the son of man be lifted up.” The serpents were sent into the camp of Israel because God had enough with their murmuring and unbelief, and so the only remedy for this wound was for Moses to build a serpent of brass, put it on a pole, and lift it up. And whoever looked on that serpent would be healed of their wound. Jesus took it a step further in John 12:32, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me”. In comparison to the brazen serpent in the wilderness, Jesus said if I be lifted up, I will draw you to me. That’s beautiful! Look at what happened in the book of Isaiah. The first 5 chapters show Isaiah pointing to everyone else problems. Woe to those who rise early to drink, woe to those who call evil good and good evil, woe to those who exchange light for darkness and darkness for light… Woe, Woe, Woe, Woe! But in Isaiah 6, Isaiah said he saw the Lord high and lifted up! No longer was it everyone elses fault, no longer was Isaiah pointing fingers to everyone else, now Isaiah is looking at the glory of God, and he cries woe is me! I’m the one with the problem! This is why the author of Hebrews encouraged us to look at him, but when you look at him, you better see Him as he is, high and lifted up! Because something happens when He is lifted up! This is what happened to that father in Mark 9, all of a sudden it was as if a curtain was rolled back. He got it, and tears began to pour down his face as he cried, “Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief!” What he was saying was, I finally see you for who you are, you’re not just a prophet, you’re not just a teacher, Lord I believe! You are God! And when that man finally saw Him high and lifted up he realized what the real problem was. Lord, I recognize now it’s not your fault, I recognize its not your disciples fault; this is my fault! I’ve been his way for too long, so help my unbelief!

What a beautiful revelation, once you come to that realization Jesus can begin the process of healing your unbelief.

Looking back at our opening text, we can see why Jesus makes this statement. There is a need to address unbelief before he can address the sick child. Same principle as in Mark 9, only this time Jesus gives us a revelation that will help us avoid unbelief in the future. That nobleman seems to ignore the comment of Jesus, and continues his plea for help. “Sir, come quickly”! Jesus proceeds to test him, and to reveal to us an important principle. As the man is pleading, Jesus tells him, “Go thy way, thy son liveth”. Jesus is trying to get us to understand the power of His word, and also reveal to us the faithlessness of man. He knows we seek the signs, but he’s telling this nobleman, if you can believe my word, then the signs will appear.  See what happens more often than not, in our zeal for the miraculous we often overlook the word in search of the sign. But the Bible never says we should seek after signs, but it does promise that these signs shall follow them that believe (Mark 16:17). Believe what? The word!

In John 1:1, John tells us “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God”. Then verse 14 tells us that the word was made flesh and dwelt among us. But what I have always wondered is, why verse 14 isn’t verse 2? After all it would be easier to quote John 1:1-2, “In the beginning was the word, the word was with God and the word was God. And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us. Makes sense right? But when you investigate John 1, we find a critical observation. John is stressing the power and the authority of the word.

Verse 2, the word was creative. Verse 4, the word was life, and that life was the light of men. John’s explaining the word, the word was in the beginning with God, He (the word) was in the world, and the world comprehended him not. Verse 11, the creative word came unto his creation, but the creation rejected their creator. But (verse 12) as many as have received him (still talking about the word) to them he gave power to become the sons of God. So after John paints a glorious picture of the power and authority of the word, he explains; the creative word became flesh and dwelt among us. Let’s explain this a little deeper…

In Luke 16:19-31 we see the parable of the rich young ruler and Lazarus. Most of us are familiar with this story, as the rich man is suffering in Hell, he prays that Lazarus would dip his finger in water and touch his tongue. When that request is denied he prays that Lazarus would be sent to his fathers house to warn his family of where they might end up. But again his request was denied, Abraham makes this statement, they have Moses and the Prophets (the word) let them hear them. The rich man pleads with him, No father Abraham, but if someone rose from the dead they will repent. Abraham responds with this…

…If they won’t hear the word, then the resurrection won’t persuade them to repent either!

Ever wonder how people can be unaffected by the beauty of Calvary and the resurrection? It’s simple really, they’ve never accepted the word. Why do you think David wrote these words…“Thy word have I hid in my heart, that i might not sin against thee”? It wasn’t the punishment to sin that caused David to repent after his ordeal with Bathsheba; it was the word. Without a true hunger and desire to fall in love with the word. you will always be subject to unbelief. It’s the word that will deliver you from that isolated prison of unbelief and catapult you into a new dimension of faith. In our pursuit of the hand of God, we have neglected the word of God. It wasn’t the hand of God that healed that nobleman’s son that day, it was His word.

When I am in need of direction and the difficulties of life are trying to coax me into a mode of unbelief… Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalms119:105

If we want to overcome the stronghold of unbelief, we must renew our passion for the word of God!

increase our faith

Let’s dive into the word, and increase our faith with a fresh vision of Jesus high and lifted up!

Lord, Help My Unbelief!

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Mark 9:23-24

Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

“The curse, of this age especially, is unbelief; frittering the real meaning of God’s word away, and making it all figure and fiction.”

-Catherine Booth

Unbelief is one of the greatest challenges in living for God. When considering all of life’s turmoil, heartache, pain and regret; it is easy to figure out why. Is it any wonder why our world is as chaotic as it currently is? Our adversary, the Bible says, walks about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). He has been researching humanity for centuries, seeking the perfect avenue to devour. I am of the opinion that Satan’s method of choice isn’t parties, alcohol, drugs, promiscuity or any other sin; his method is unbelief! Years of faithfulness and perseverance can be erased in a few moments of unbelief! Unbelief is a prison, that can not easily be escaped, it will challenge your faith, it will challenge your knowledge of the word and it will torment you until it destroys you. Unbelief will literally cause the greatest prayer warriors, greatest worshipers and greatest preachers to become silent!

Zacharias was a priest serving in the temple and his wife Elizabeth was a descendant of Aaron. Talk about pedigree! Zacharias was at the temple performing his duties, when suddenly an angel of the Lord interrupts him with a word from God! I love it whenever God interrupts our ordinary, average, mundane lives and offers us something incredible! So the angel begins to speak a prophetic word into Zacharias’ life, “you’re going to have a son, and he will be the prophesied forerunner to the messiah”! Zacharias’ response?

Luke 1:18-20

And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not m words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.

Zacharias was saying, God look at how old we are! Don’t you realize how long we’ve tried to have children. It’s not possible, not with us anyway! And Gabriel became a little frustrated; Zacharia, I am speaking to you the purpose of God! It’s not about what you can do, it’s about what God can do through you. And because of your unbelief you will be dumb and unable to speak.

I’m convinced we have too many silent priests, silent pastors, silent Sunday school teachers and silent worshipers because of unbelief! The answer to the chaos of our world is simply a renewed faith in the word of God! I don’t care if it makes sense; If God said it, let it be! I don’t care how many times you’ve failed; If God said it, let it be! I don’t care if your ill-qualified; if God said it, let it be! It’s not time for the church of the living God to become consumed with the reasons why it can’t happen, but it’s time to stand on the promises of God, and proclaim to the world, if God said it, let it be!

John MacArthur once said,

Demanding sensational proof is not evidence of faith, but doubt. To long for the visible sign, the big miracle or the dramatic proof is nothing but masked unbelief. It is the farthest thing from faith.

I know, we’re human, Gideon revealed the personality of man when he “fleeced” God. It’s in our nature to demand a sign, or some symbol of confirmation. But if God has to use flash cards to get you to follow his word, is that really faith? This brings us back to our opening text. This father was in distress. Could you imagine watching your child being tormented by an evil spirit? As the story unfolds, we realize that this man obviously knew who the “church” was. He found 9 of the 12 disciples and pleads with them to help him. They try with what limited revelation they had to cast out this devil, but they were unsuccessful.

How many times have we brought our needs to “church” only to find they didn’t possess what I needed. Can I encourage some reader somewhere, the answer is not in a religious structure, it’s in Jesus! If the denomination you are a part of relegates Jesus as third wheel, or some part of a triune Godhead, then chances are you will find what this father found. A watered down version of the truth! I’m not saying these men weren’t sincere, I’m not saying they didn’t love God, they just didn’t see Jesus like Peter, John and James did! Don’t measure a church by how big their buildings or programs are, measure a church by how they see Jesus!

Jesus comes to them, and rebukes the 9 disciples who were there and calls them a faithless generation. Obviously the spirit of unbelief had latched onto these 9 disciples. Jesus asks the boy’s father, how long has he been like his? The father drops his head as responds, since he was a child. This reveals a greater depth of the situation, this boy is the way he is because of the way he was raised! And this is the greatest cause of unbelief, life’s unfortunate circumstances can arrest your faith and lock you in a prison of unbelief. How can I ever have anything better? How can I ever be more than this? This is ho I was raised! My entire family is this way! God can’t change my mess, God can’t deliver me from all of this! And because of unbelief we have bound the hands of Jesus from working in our lives!

But this desperate father realized the prison that had him bound, and cried with a loud voice; “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief”! It is unfortunate that life plays out the way it does, I would love to tell you that once you find Jesus he removes all of your baggage and life is completely different. Eventually, yes it can be; but unfortunately your past will continue to follow you and threaten your faith. And when the word of God, or the voice of God comes to you, you will immediately begin to relive those painful memories of your past.  And the sad reality is many precious people, overflowing with potential sit silent in an isolated prison of unbelief.

Hebrews 12:1-2

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…

Hebrews tells us we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, people who have been there and done that! Examples of men and woman who have overcome seemingly insurmountable odds and achieved great things through God! It’s time to lay aside every weight and sin which drags us down and hinders our performance, so we can do what god has called us to do! The only way to escape the prison of unbelief is to release the weight of your past, the weight of your hurts and the weight of your disappointments and mistakes you’ve made. How do we accomplish this? Looking unto Jesus, who is the author of my faith, but this next part is incredible, he’s also the finisher!

The greatest counter to the spirit of unbelief is the recognition that God is writing the story of my life! And he not only created me, but he still holds the pen, and as long as the pen is in the authors hand, it’s not over yet! Zacharias understand, the author still has the pen in his hand! If you are struggling with unbelief, and are being tormented by your past, understand Jesus still holds the pen of your life, and if you will look to him, and release your weights; he will write a brand new chapter in the book of your life!

Philippians 1:6

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

BE encouraged today, the author is not finished writing! How will your story end? The only one who can influence the direction of the author is you! Don’t settle for a shortchanged version, submit to his word, and pray this prayer…

“Lord, I Believe, Help My Unbelief!”

patience

Great Expectation

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John 5:3-5

In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water; whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.

William Shakespeare is highly regarded as a great poet and author. In fact, he is considered to be the greatest writer in the English language. His writings however, seem to have a twisted nature about them. As death and tragedy seem to play major roles in his dramas. In Fact William Shakespeare once said this unbelievable quote…

Expectation is the root of all disappointment!

I’m not sure what happened to him in his lifetime, I am convinced however, William Shakespeare gave up way too early! Expectation never leads to disappointment, not with God on your side! The disappointment comes only when  God’s people throw in the towel of surrender too soon!

This passage reveals to us a pool, known as the Pool of Bethesda, where at a certain season, or as the original translation states it- in due season, an angel of the Lord would come and stir the water. 5 porches were built to house the amount of “impotent folk” that came in search of a miracle. Halt, blind, withered; they all came to this pool hoping that they might be the beneficiary of this great supernatural phenomenon! Now it’s easy to get so caught up in the dialogue of this passage and miss one of the most critical elements of faith. We can focus on the angel, we can focus on the season or the miracle; but the power of this text is found in verse number 3…

WAITING FOR A MOVING OF THE WATER…

As verse number 5 reveals to us the condition of a certain man listed among the sick, he is also listed among the faithful who in verse 3 were waiting for a move of God! Wow! 38 years of pain, 38 years of turmoil, 38 years of sickness, 38 years of paralysis and this man was still waiting on a move of God!38 years of hopelessness was not enough to rob this man of his faith! I don’t know how many people were healed as he sat there, but I do know that no one else’s miracle ever discouraged him! He rejoiced with them, and was encouraged because he knew, God still heals!

Some people can hardly make it 2 services without a touch from God before they backslide! But this story is letting us know, there is power in waiting on a move of God! He never allowed the spirit of discouragement get on him, he understood as long as mercy is available, as long as there are people still being delivered and healed, there is still hope! There is still a chance I can make it!

I want to encourage all readers right now- Don’t allow your mess to pervert the message! The message says God heals, the message says God delivers, the message says God saves, God loves and God forgives! But your mess says, it’s too late, I’m too sick, I’ve been this way for too long. Blind Bartimaeus never allowed his mess to change the message. With beggars garments draped over his slumping shoulders and the weight of being blind his entire life, he began to scream at the top of his lungs, JESUS THOU SON OF DAVID HAVE MERCY ON ME!His mess told him Jesus doesn’t have time for you, his mess told him you’re a beggar, your a nothing and a nobody on the way to nowhere! But the message of mercy told him, “Whatsoever you ask in my name believing you shall receive”! Your mess wants to tell you your disqualified for a miracle, but you need to realize, your mess just qualified you for a miracle!

That lame man never allowed his mess to pervert the message! He kept his faith even in the most trying times of his life! And notice this man doesn’t have to seek after Jesus, Jesus came seeking after him! All throughout scripture we find people having to come to him, exercise their faith towards him, but here Jesus actually came looking for this man! This is what I want you to get out of this blog, needs attract God’s attention, needs do not produce miracles. God is attracted by your need, but he responds to your expectation! Someone needs to be encouraged, you’ve been faithful, you’ve been expecting a move of God in your life and in your situations. Jesus set the precedent, expectation is always the birthplace for the miraculous!

I don’t know what your dealing with, I don’t know what challenges you’re facing, I don’t know what ailments you’ve endured; I do know now is not the time to get discouraged, it’s time to expect a move of God!

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Proverbs 23:18

For surely there is an end and thine expectation shall not be cut off!

The Prison of Human Affirmation

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John 5:6-9, 14

When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked…

John 5 is perhaps one of the most captivating stories in the Bible. It is here we see the miraculous phenomenon of the angel from heaven coming down at a certain season to trouble the waters. And it was during this troubling, or literally stirring, of the water where people from all diseases and handicaps were healed by the supernatural power of God. There are a lot of angles to talk about from this story alone, but what I want to focus on for this blog is what I feel to be one of the most critical elements of Christianity. Jesus came to this man, whom the Bible says had laid here paralyzed for 38 years, and asks him an important question. Will you be made whole? The man replies, Sir I have no man to help me! Every time I try and make my way to the water, someone always beats me to it! This man mistakenly thought Jesus was mad at him, and so he tries to explain his condition. He thought Jesus was condemning him for being that way for that long, but Jesus wasn’t condemning him, he was measuring his faith.

This man’s response reveals what I believe is the greatest hindrance to humanity. This lame man’s limited understanding told him, that if he would be delivered, it would require someone else getting involved and pushing him across that threshold. This is the mentality of our world; we view the opinion of doctors, lawyers and counselors as equal to God. You say no, then why is it a doctor can pronounce our death, and a preacher under the anointing can proclaim life, and we believe the doctors reports instead. Living with this mentality will prevent you from ever being complete.

In Luke 17, 10 lepers come to Jesus pleading for mercy. Their leprosy had ruined their lives, it isolated them from society and loved ones, it created a stigma ad caused them to be viewed as second class citizens. Jesus gives them odd advice, he tells them to go show themselves to the priest. Now this was probably viewed as ridiculous, after all it was the priest who labeled them unclean in the first place. But the Bible says that as they went, something happened. Their obedience to the word of God brought healing. But one leper decided to return back to Jesus and worship Him! 9 Jewish boys were still headed back to the priest, but one man who by the ay was a Samaritan decided to give God praise for his healing. This Samaritan knew what it was like to be labeled, he knew what it was like to be a second class citizen, he knew what it was like to be considered a dog and scum. Those church boys were headed to the priest, because they needed a word of confirmation, to affirm them that Jesus had just healed them; and they lived the rest of their lives with the scars and wounds of their past.

One man said, if God said it, that’s good enough for me! And when this man comeback, without the approval and affirmation of man, Jesus said your faith has made you whole! His obedience to his word brought healing, but when he released his faith to receive the word, he was made completely whole!

Most of us live our lives in obedience to the word of God, and because of that Jesus has already begun a work in your life. You’re not who you used to be, you’re not still bound by your past. But if you sit around and wait for someone to approve or affirm your new lifestyle, you will always struggle with the scars of your past! But if you will allow your faith to be released to receive the word as it is written, then completion is headed your way Someone needs to make up your mid, If Jesus says I’m forgiven, I’m forgiven; If Jesus says I’m healed, then I’m healed!!I don’t need a doctor’s approval, I don’t need a lawyers approval, I don’t need man’s affirmation, If you said it I believe it and I’m worshiping you for it!

So Jesus doesn’t waste any more time, he tells the man I’m about to prove to you that you don’t need man, all you need is me! Now get up, pick up your bed and walk! And the Bible says immediately! Was he healed? No! He was made whole! He didn’t argue semantics, methods or process; he received the word of God and said that’s good enough for me! And his faith made him whole! Some of you wonder, how do I go beyond just a healing and move on from these scars of my past? The answer? Stop relying on people and programs to affirm your new lifestyle and just learn to trust God and believe him for his word! If God has called you, then know God will sustain you!!! But you must allow your mind to be released from the prison of human affirmation! Healing came through obedience, wholeness comes from faith!

The adulterous woman was caught in the act and was drug like a dog to the feet of Jesus to be judged. Those religious people stood there in their self righteousness, and quoted the words of Moses. Moses says she should be stoned, but what do you say Jesus? Jesus responds, he who is without sin, let him cast the first stone. The conviction of mercy caused them to one by one drop their stones of judgement and walk away slowly. Jesus then looks at this woman, and asks her, where are thine accusers? Does anyone condemn thee? She says no man sir, and Jesus says neither do I condemn thee. Your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more. Notice that this woman still believed she was guilty because the people said she was guilty. What I find fascinating is that Jesus doesn’t call the people condemners, he calls them accusers. Why does he do this? Because the only person with the power to condemn is the person with the power to save! If you don’t have the power to save anybody, you don’t have the power to condemn anybody! Jesus is trying to change her mentality! All her life she listened to the voices of men tell her she was worthless, that she was trash; all her life she was used and abused by the very men she sought to please. But Jesus not only said your sins are forgiven, he said go and sin no more! He wasn’t telling her to never commit another sin, that is humanly impossible; rather he was telling her I have just released you from the bondage of the sins of your past, and I am releasing you from the influence of sin in your future!

He was releasing her from the prison of human affirmation! He was telling her no longer will you need a man to validate you, no longer will you depend on man’s affirmation to tell you what you’re worth; but now the God of glory is here telling you YOU’RE VALUABLE! Some of you have been depending on human affirmation to make you feel valuable for long enough; but God wants to deliver his people from this prison! Your value doesn’t come from people, your value comes from God! Until we can be delivered from this mental prison, we will never experience completeness. As long as we are dependent on human affirmation we will always conform to the opinions of others, but God wants a people to be secure in Him! Completeness comes when we realize that God is for me; and if God be for me it doesn’t matter what is against me! For Greater is he that is in me, than he that is in the world!

Psalm 118:8-9

It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.

Why? Because trusting in human affirmation from fickle carnal people will leave you broken, hurt and confused. But trusting in God and his word, will not only bring you life, but life more abundantly!

you are valuable