Focus on Jesus. He is good and you are loved.
No, really. God is eternally good and you are unconditionally loved. Moments and times have nothing to do with God’s love for you. He has not deserted you, He loves you, and He is forever with you.
Pastor Tina’s Words of Practical Wisdom
The battle or the struggle you are going through is not an indicator of God’s love. He uses every moment for us. Even through our Christian Journey, we go through battles. God is with us and uses it for us.
Pastor Tina encouraged us to be supernaturally infused with strength. We can stand victorious with the force of His explosive power, in and through us.
If we embrace His power, we are able to receive His deliverance. When we walk with Holy Spirit, we walk with the same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead!
Then she gave an example that if you visualize it, it might help you understand this concept a little bit more. The Bible says that if we put on the Helmet of Salvation, our mind is protected by the Word of God and that Salvation is a helmet to protect your thought from the lies of the enemy. It’s not too late!!! The enemy is relentless in his attacks, but when we have the Word of God in our hearts, it is easier for us to Speak truth. Jesus fought the devil in the wilderness with the Word and we need to do the same thing.
Declare the Word of God.
It really Is that simple. When the enemy attacks your thoughts, we need to respond that “I am more than a conqueror, I am victorious, I am the righteousness of Christ.” The strongest counterattack is the Word of God that overcomes every lie the enemy throws at us.
Did you know that you can survive but it is hard to thrive without small groups? It is there that you grow, when you can talk out and process, and laugh, and question, and pull from one another’s strengths and knowledge… In your Life Group you should be able to question and get help to stand against the attacks of the relentless enemy.
We all will face a time when we hear whispered into our ear, “Did God really say?”
The enemy still presents that thought to us. It’s the same tactic as the one he used thousands of years ago when he addressed Eve in the garden.
Pastor Travis used an illustration about seeds to explain about a harvest.
When you plant a seed, you will receive a harvest. Cause and effect.
Farmers plant seeds and say – “I will reap a harvest that is greater than the seed.” The explanation is a simple math problem. An apple seed = an apple tree. One apple tree = many apples. Each apple having many seeds will produce many more trees with many more apples. Are you beginning to see the cycle?
Jesus came in an agricultural time in history. He used what the people around Him understood to illustrate Heavenly principals. We can understand a harvest through the illustration of the apple tree, but what does that have to do with People?
The Harvest is not things … The Harvest is souls.
The #1 purpose of the church is to bring souls to a flourishing relationship with Jesus Christ. And this is not only for the House of God, but this should also be a goal in your own home. Are you treating each other with the love that would show Christ to your family and your friends?
Tithes and Offerings
Why am I including this for this post? Well, many people in the church are afraid to talk about money. Everyone is fine as long as the message is about what God does for Me, but when the moment the offering is spoken of, many find that the most convenient time to get up and go to the restroom, or they roll their eyes, and think of this as a necessary evil. The tithe is not evil. It is a biblical principal. Did you know that the tithe is a commandment that comes with a blessing? It is also a time where God challenges us to test Him. Really!
Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the Lord blessed him. And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great:
Isaac is in the middle of famine. When there is no water it is hard for seeds to grow. Isaac sowed seeds anyways, and he received a large harvest. How is that possible? Because the Lord blessed Him.
The problem is churches have Hypersensitive to use the word offering, because of there are those who have abused the word.
Isaac sowed and he got a 100 fold return. The Bible says that he became really rich. The blessing of God was on him.
Biblical principal of farming.
There was a farmer in field on knees weeping. He spent time doing what he did and the field was empty. There was no harvest to be found. Nothing grew that season.
His wife said, “I don’t get it. Was something wrong with the seeds?”
The farmer turned questioning, “What seed? I just prayed.”
There are consequences, if we don’t sow. He did not sow any seeds, he just prayed to God for the harvest. He skipped his part of the promise and expected something from God instead. Now, don’t get fooled, God still loved the farmer, and God will still love you. God will love you in the middle of an empty field. There are consequences for our actions, or lack of. If I don’t sow the seeds that I have, keeping them for myself, or saving them for later, all I will have is seeds, without a harvest. Even when there is no rain, like He did with Isaac, God supernaturally blesses what you have sown. Your seed is blessed. It multiplies when it is sown. It reproduces in the soil.
Here is the soil you are planting into when you give an offering in this church. Hungry people are being fed and needs are being met. 2020 has been rough, and 2021 isn’t starting off with an economic bang either. What we are encouraged is to Don’t stop sowing. Yes, there’s a famine. But there is a principal where when we sow we will reap. When we hold back our tithes, we are holding back the harvest.
Money is not evil. The love of money is.
We can do more for the kingdom, if we have more resources. You can send missionaries, feed people, help people.
What happens if we don’t? God will not curse you if you don’t. He will love you.
He gave man the ability of creativity and wisdom to produce wealth.
Jesus tells His followers a parable of a master who was leaving his house to travel, and, before leaving he entrusted his property to his servants. Each servant was given a different amount and each servant did something different with the money. One buried it and returned the same amount of money to the master as he was given, another earned some extra money with his, and a third earned a lot with his. On the master’s return, he scolded the one who buried his talents and praised the one who made a large return. (Mathew 25:12-30) God wants us to trust Him, and to sow what He has entrusted us with. The good servant multiplied what this master gave him.
When we talk about tithes and offerings in church, the pastor is not using the Word, he’s submitting to it.
Right now, many of us are living in a form of famine. For Isaac, was there rain? Nope. But God still blessed him. I encourage you to trust Him during this time. Test Him and see if He is good.
Love according to a parable. The Good Samaritan.
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” He replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’, and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
What you need to do is to pay close attention to the original question. “What must I DO to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answers the law question with another law question. “What does the law say, and how do you read it?”
The expert answer correctly. Jesus agrees. “Do this and you will live.”
Here, the expert tries to justify his actions by asking, “Who is my neighbor?” See, the expert in the law wanted to be able to be kind to those who he chose to be kind to. We can often choose our neighbors by choosing to live in certain places. The expert would most likely live by and surround himself with other people who are like him.
The man who was attacked by robbers was half dead. Who is the one who went to help him?
The expert replied, the one who had Mercy on him.
Jesus tells him to “Go and do likewise.”
God, help us today to understand love. – Amen.
Agape love in Action.
At that time, the Law of Moses was still the law of the land and this expert came to trap Jesus into contradicting the law. He was trying to trap the author with his own work. Jesus wrote the law, and the Bible says He didn’t come to do away with it, He came to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17).
What must I DO? This question summarizes the old testament, (To be good enough in the sight of God.)
The answer is simple: Love God, Love your neighbor. Go and do that – and you will live. The rest of the old testament is pointing out that we cannot do it.
That seems a little steep doesn’t it, God? Believe this; God will tell us to do what we do not have the ability to do. For instance, you can’t love God right without God’s help.
Love your neighbor, love your God, Love yourself. Honestly, have you ever been able to do all this at the same time on the same day?
It took the expert in the Law all of 3 seconds to look for a loophole. “Really Jesus, who’s my neighbor?”
He was an expert, which means that he had boiled the law down to something manageable. They had made the law into something they could keep. What Jesus was exposing to them was that they couldn’t get to God without a savior.
What Jesus was saying is that what you think you do well, you don’t do at all. You only love who you like, not who is inconvenient to like. Even my enemy, God? Yes, Even our enemy!
Masterfully, Jesus replies: Let me tell you a story.
He then proceeds to tell the story of what has become known as the Good Samaritan. In this parable Jesus teaches us three things.
- Religion can’t heal your wounds that were caused by religion.
The religious men crossed the road to stay away from the beaten man. Religion cannot heal, and often won’t heal you. Only grace can do that.
Here is another visual. Picture a Self-righteousness man who is a half-dead one. He is alive on the outside while being desperately broken on the inside. This kind of man does not understand the cross.
He has been inflicted by religion with more religion. When this occurred, his wounds did not get better, just deeper.
This is just speculation but think about this. If the priest had looked at the man’s eyes, he could have seen a reflection of himself. He was afraid to see himself as wounded, broken, and sinful. The wounded many was a reminder of own brokenness.
The priest and Levite bowed up and internally exclaimed, “I am self-righteous!”
On the contrary, we gain salvation by learning how to believe. The more we fight this internal battle of desperately needed God, and proclaiming our own self-righteousness, we will end up exactly where this man is, broken and wounded on the side of a bad road.
Robbers and bandits attacked this man. The enemy robs intimacy, abundant life, innocence, joy and good things.
Those who strive to climb religious ladders are often the ones who are half-dead. Something is still missing inside. Those who place their faith in Christ will be promoted. (Psalm 75:6)
Even when we were dead in sins, (Jesus) hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved:)
Those who have placed your faith in Jesus have died with Christ and have been made alive in Christ through His resurrection.
It is by grace you are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.
Faith by grace = saved.
Which was the neighbor? = Mercy.
Are you beginning to understand the concept?
- Love moves toward pain.
Religion moved away from the hurting man. Love was drawn toward him.
The best the priest and the Levite did was to point out, call out, walk away. In contrast, the Samaritan walked to him, bind his wounds, and take him to a safe place.
Love doesn’t move past pain. When love sees pain, it is compelled to move towards the pain.
That’s a defining separation of Religion vs. Grace. Religion says, “You’ve made your bed”, Grace says, “I laid in it for you.” God is not indifferent towards you. He is present, walking with you as you heal from pain. He was with you when it happened, as He is with you while you heal.
In the book of Genesis, God is hovering over deep, He is hovering over you now. In fact, the Bible says that He dances over you.
In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear you not: and to Zion, Let not your hands be slack. The Lord your God in the midst of you is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over you with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over you with singing.
God doesn’t want you to run from the pain. He will allow moments in your life that annoy you to remind you that He will heal it if you just stop running. He is telling us, “I want you to trust me, and have a healthy healed perspective. Let me heal your heart.” Is it the only shovel deep enough to get to the pain? See, God loves you too much to let it go.
The temptation is for us to treat the symptom and to avoid the root.
When we treat ourselves, we usually try to take what we consider, the easy way out. We get the high of a new relationship, to help us forget the pain of the old one. Oh! Here’s one that is even worse, we chose to become more Religious. Pastor Travis says that can be an even harder addiction to break than street drugs. We tell ourselves, “I can do this, I can do it right, I can be righteous!” But the problem is, those are pie crust promises, easily made, easily broken, as Mary Poppins says.
What you need to realize is, that you Will fail. You cannot strive to become more righteous aside from having a relationship with Jesus Christ. And it is through Him that you will understand that You already ARE loved by God!
The religious leaders moved away from the hurting man because they didn’t know what to do with him. When you are hiding pain your own pain, you have nothing left to help others with.
In contrast, Jesus says, “Look at MY wounds. Look what they did to me, and I still rose. That same resurrection power, lives inside of you.” Through the love of Jesus, all of your hurts, wounds, pains, failures, even though you are wounded, you can still rise again.
Love moves toward pain. Historically, the road Jesus was talking about was a Real road, a dangerous road, because of thieves and bandits. The question is, why would the man have been traveling alone on that road to begin with? It was known to be a dangerous road! If he was on that road alone, it could be that he was on that road alone because he was in pain before he even started.
The pain in you will cause you to push away who God is bringing to you. The walls we put up to protect ourselves with, will be the same walls that keep us in a prison. They will cause us to stay out of relationship with anyone. They lie to us and remind us that “they” hurt me and convince us that that “I just want to be alone.”
Are you Married? Did you have a tiff?
When we are angry, we isolate, to self-protect. That’s not safe, it makes us an easy target for the enemy. He whispers something in our ears that sounds a lot like our own voice. Ready? Here the Dangerous whisper, “I don’t need anybody. I’m going to do it myself. I Don’t need a man/woman/ life group/ friend. I can do this on my OWN.” The truth is, we need Jesus and we need each other. WE are THE BODY. We are called to cry, laugh, fight, and rejoice, with one another. We Need each other!
The Levite and priest may have had something to do with the broken man’s situation. In his time, they were the ones who commanded self-righteousness. Perhaps he isolated so others couldn’t see that he wasn’t perfect. Just maybe, they walked away, so they wouldn’t be associated with the one they already pushed away.
Jesus = Hope.
Jesus moves toward pain.
Have you ever asked somebody, “Are you OK?” and get the response of “Yeah, I’m fine.” When you know very well that person is Not fine. You can read it all over them that something is Not fine. Have you ever asked again, “No really, how are you doing?” This time you get, “Well, I could be better.” Ahhh! Now you are cracking the surface. See, we have been isolated for so long we won’t open our heart.
Because we believe the lie that says, they will think I am not valuable, I’m not worthy, and I deserve it, I should be rejected.” Lies!!!
Samaritan and Jewish people didn’t get along. In this parable, who was the Samaritan? Pastor Travis suggests that it was Jesus. Watch this, He is half-Jewish and half something else. He was despised and rejected by His own.
Let the Word of God speak for itself.
All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers …
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in time of trouble.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off your shoulder, and his yoke from off your neck, and the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing.
And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
His Blood washed away all of our sins!
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Jesus binds up the broken hearted.
And has raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
He put the man on the back of his own beast.
The Samaritan brought the man to the Inn. Jesus gave us the church.
The Samaritan took care of all the cost of getting the man well. Jesus says, “I paid for his salvation in full.” And then watch this, it’s very important, “I’m trusting you to do for him what I started. I will be back. I paid for salvation. Whatever it costs you to finish. I will pay back.”
It’s going to cost us time, emotional and the love in our hearts. Are you willing to take up that calling? Someone was willing to do it for you.
Jesus is good to His Word. Pressed down, shaken together, running over. He said, “Bring this man to completion.” Sure, the bandages will be there a little while. Love covers like those bandages. Jesus promises, “I will protect where you’ve been hurt. There might be a scar – but they will be your testimony!”
Thomas touched Jesus’s side. There will be a time when someone can touch the evidence of an old wound that Jesus has healed, and it will not hurt. What you have been protecting, in fear of reopening an old wound, will no longer have the power over you that it once did.
What the enemy used to take you out – God will use to lift you up. Your scar will be your platform. People do not relate to your perfection. You’ve had the same would and you have recovered. That’s encouraging to people who are still wounded.
Bind wounds – bind brokenhearted
Wine – blood
Put on beasts back, seated with Christ.
Now, You go do the same thing.
The anointing lives in you.
New wine is in you.
What’s that? You don’t know what to do?
The one who lives in you is the healer. Go reveal Him to others.
The Bride of Christ looks like Christ.
Pain is messy.
Pain in the heart is harder to deal with than pain in your flesh. Try starting with this and begin to build relationships with others who will lift you up, instead of tear you down.
- You can’t heal what you are pretending doesn’t exist.
Your pain does not determine your value.
Satan keeps your pain in the dark. Drop Phone, break it. Less valuable.
God thinks you are so valuable, before you put faith in Him, He put faith in you.
You value is determined by Christ.
- At the cross who can be accepted?
- Does not hold your past against you.
Carrying weight and guilt of shame. Embarrassed, frustrated, no worth, no value. – Hide it.
God wants to heal you. -Amen.