Newsletter for Mar 2012
In Mark 6:30-44 we read about one of the most incredible miracles Jesus ever performed. Jesus and the twelve Apostles attempted to get away for some rest at a secluded shoreline distanced from the cities and villages. But when the people realized where they had gone, they came from everywhere and gathered around them.
Jesus spent the entire day teaching and when it was nearly evening, the Apostles encouraged Him to send the people home. He explained that the people hadn't eaten and were too far from home to start their journey on an empty stomach. This culminated with Jesus speaking a blessing over five loaves of bread (what we might call dinner rolls) and two fish which were miraculously multiplied into enough food to feed untold thousands of people (five thousand men plus all the women and children).
In verse 45 Jesus told the disciples to get into their ship and head for Bethsaida while He sent the people home. Jesus then got alone for prayer. Here is what happened next, including a verse from the Gospel of John not included in Mark's account of the event:
46And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray. 47And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. 48And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. 49But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: 50For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid. 51And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased (…and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went. - John 6:21): and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered. 52For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened. (Mark 6:46-52)
The Apostles watched as Jesus spoke over the loaves and fish. He then divided them to the twelve Apostles who went forth and began distributing the food to the thousands. As they broke off pieces of bread and fish to give to the people, the food never diminished. No matter how much they gave away, their hands were still full. Then, when everyone was finished eating, there was so much left over that it filled twelve baskets!
But just a few hours later, "they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure and wondered" because Jesus had spoken to a terrible storm and it ceased. Not only that, they were immediately at the other side of the sea at their destination. In such a short time they had already forgotten the power released when Jesus spoke and were shaken to the core at His authority over the wind and waves. What is even more amazing is the fact that this entire incident had been prophesied!
21Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! 22And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing. 23They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; 24These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. 25For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. 26They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. 27They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit's end. 28Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. 29He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. 30Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven. (Psalm 107:21-30)
Before we get too critical of the Apostles, let's think about our own lives. How many times have we seen God move on our behalf, only to turn around days later and fret over a trial? Then, how many times have we again acted surprised when He moved once more?
I've known of people who prayed for a healing, but then acted shocked when the healing manifested. It almost makes you wonder what they were thinking when they prayed. God has said in His word that we can pray for the sick and see them healed; why should we be surprised when it happens?
This is such a contrast to the way Jesus ministered. When He prayed, He knew He would get results. When He spoke, He knew He would get results. When He commanded devils to come out of people, He knew He would get results. Then, without any hesitation, in John 14:12 He said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also." The only reason He said this was because He knew it was true!
The religious mind struggles mightily with this thought. In fact, those words of Jesus are adamantly refuted by innumerable Christians: "No one can do those works but Jesus alone!"…"Why, who do you think you are, Jesus?"…"That was only for the Apostles, not for Christians today!"…"That was only for the days of the New Testament, not for the times we live in!"
What it comes down to is whether or not we are willing to accept what God has said in His word even if we don't understand. When Christians start saying, "Explain to me how that works," concerning the things of God, they are exposing their lack of faith. Get it settled now: It is impossible to come up with an educated, intellectual definition or explanation of how healing or confession or faith or anything else that comes from God operates.
Too often as Believers we want to analyze before we accept. If we had used that same approach concerning our salvation, we would still be lost; after all, how do you explain the process of being born again? We must come to the place of accepting without analysis or we will live in a constant state of spiritual flux; vacillating between belief and unbelief and never seeing consistency in our walk with God. When we pray for people to be healed and their healing manifests, yes, it is a time for rejoicing; but we shouldn't act surprised: people are supposed to get healed when we pray for them.
Jesus said, "…he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also." The truth is, all Christians believe in Jesus; otherwise, they wouldn't be Christians. Therefore, the believing He is speaking about must go beyond just believing in Him for salvation. We believe in His words that we must be born again, but we must also believe everything else He said if we are going to carry on His works here on earth.
Romans 10:17 tells us, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." But what if all we've heard for years is that Jesus' words in John 14:12 do not apply to us? Our belief system would be dominated by the world-based logic of religious analytics which essentially deny the works of deity. We would be living by a doctrine which summarily concludes the following: "Christians cannot do the works of Jesus because those works require the power of God, and such power is totally unavailable to man." However, the Bible states differently.
Recently, two men who are members of Jehovah's Witness knocked on my front door. To make a long story short, they were telling me that there is not going to be a literal new earth, and that God has no reason to destroy the present earth because it is in a state of total perfection. They used two verses from the Old Testament pulled out of context as the basis for their belief.
Shocked at this aberrant use of scripture, I referenced passage after passage in the Bible which refute such a belief, but they held on to those two verses. I made reference to the Greek and Hebrew which totally discredited what they were saying, but they held on to their verses. I even pointed out that the Second Law of Thermodynamics proves that everything is in a constant state of degeneration; that caused them a moment of confusion, but they held on to the same two verses pulled out of context.
The bizarre irony of that encounter is this: the entire time they were insisting that planet earth is in a state of total perfection, they were standing on my front porch in February, clutching their overcoats to try and stay warm, huddling under an umbrella to avoid a near-freezing drizzle, and surrounded by a neighborhood with trees barren of the leaves which had died and fallen off a few months earlier. In other words, they were encompassed by the imperfection they were denying existed! My heart went out to them: they were so zealous to serve God and no doubt love Him; but they are deceived so badly they do not know the One they are trying to serve.
I am convinced that some Christians are no different than those two members of Jehovah's Witness. No matter what scriptures you show them, no matter how you keep everything in context, and no matter what the original Greek or Hebrew have to say, some Believers are going to continue to exalt their religious traditions over the truth of God's word. Here is what Jesus had to say about this:
6He answered and said unto them, Well hath Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Colossians 1:13 states that God has delivered us from the power of darkness into the kingdom of His Dear Son. When Jesus was on earth He ministered according to the laws of that kingdom. He understood the kingdom and how it can govern conditions on earth. For example, there is no sickness in the kingdom of God; therefore, the power in that kingdom can produce healing in a person's body, no matter what the affliction. Likewise, there are no storms in God's kingdom; therefore, the power in that kingdom can calm a raging sea.
The challenge facing so many Christians is that they are more accustomed to living by the laws of a fallen creation than they are the kingdom of which they are citizens. This is why many of them refute the idea that Believers can lay hands on the sick and get them healed; such a thing cannot happen according to the laws of fallen creation. But according to kingdom law, we can lay hands on the sick and expect healing.
The more we learn to operate according to the laws of the kingdom of God, the more we are going to see God's will accomplished on earth. The only revelation we have of His kingdom, how it works, how its power can be released in this world, and how we can live and minister by kingdom principles is the Bible. Simply by studying the lives of Jesus, the Apostles and other Believers as detailed in the New Testament, we gain insight about the kingdom.
On the other hand, if we continue to allow religious traditions developed by human reasoning to govern our beliefs, those traditions will render the principles of the kingdom to be of no effect. We will remain citizens of God's kingdom, but falling short of our kingdom potential as God's children. Think about it: aren't we much better off accepting what God has said over what man has conceived?
If God said confessing His word brings results, then it brings results. If God said faith comes by hearing His word, then that is how faith comes. If God said we have been made His righteousness, then we are righteous. If God said praying in tongues edifies us spiritually, then we are edified when pray in that manner. I don't need to understand the intricacies of the laws of aerodynamics before I decide to buy a plane ticket. In the same fashion, I don't need to understand the physics of Heaven before I accept God's word for my life.
God's word cannot fail; but we can fail to accept God's word. I encourage you to make a decision that no matter what you do or don't understand, you will accept that everything God has said about life in His kingdom is as true today as it was when He first said it!
Yours in His Love!