005: Yet Not I

It’s all about me! Isn’t this the attitude that drives our culture every day? We are told we can accomplish anything if we believe in ourselves. It’s no wonder that Christians have become infected with this philosophy too. However, the Bible says, according to Gal 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me…..” Does God really expect me to die to myself and let Christ take over? How can I abandon the plans that I have for my life? What about my desires, my preferences, my opinions?  Even if this is possible, what’s in it for me? Be sure to tune in to this podcast episode to discover the wondrous benefits of living a life dead to yourself, but alive in Christ.

Yet Not I

 

An “EVEN NOW” Faith

“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” – James 2:17 KJV

Do you possess a fair-weather faith or a faith that actually “works”? There is at least one individual in the Bible that had, what I like to call, an “Even Now” faith. What is that you ask? Let me show you.

Even Now Faith

Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat [still] in the house. 21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give [it] thee. – John 11:20-22 KJV (emphasis mine)

The text before us leads to the tomb of Lazarus – a friend of Jesus. Four days earlier, Jesus had received word that His friend was sick. They needed Jesus to come right then. Well, He didn’t!

When Jesus finally shows up, it’s all over as far as they are concerned. The tomb has been sealed, the eulogy’s been spoken, and the flowers are starting to wilt. Lazarus is dead, he’s been dead, and for all practical purposes, he’s going to stay dead.

Enter Martha stage right. She hears Jesus is coming and goes out to meet Him. But there’s something very intriguing I want you to see. John 11:20 says, “…but Mary sat still in the house.” I want you to see the difference in these ladies’ faith during this particular trial.

MARTHA GETS A BAD RAP!

We usually only hear about Martha working around the house while Mary sits at Jesus’ feet. Now, I have no intention of minimizing Mary’s character or faith. What I do want you to notice is the magnitude of Martha’s faith that often gets overlooked.

AN “AFTER THAT” FAITH

Mary usually gets all the praise. Why? Well, she’s the one we find worshipping at the feet of Jesus in John chapter 12. She had every right to worship for multiple reasons.

  1. JESUS DESERVES IT!

  2. LAZARUS HAS BEEN RAISED FROM THE DEAD! (John 12:2)

  3. SHE, BY FAITH, WAS PREPARING JESUS’ BODY FOR BURIAL. (John 12:7)

So, she did right. But how was her faith at Lazarus’ tomb? It’s wonderful to praise Jesus for raising Lazarus from the dead, but how’s your faith right after the funeral?

When Martha went to meet Jesus, our text tells us that, “…Mary sat still in the house.” She wouldn’t even go out. According to John 11:28, she only came out because Martha convinced her to.

AN “EVEN NOW” FAITH

Now notice how Martha reacted after the funeral.

Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat [still] in the house. 21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give [it] thee. – John 11:20-22 KJV (emphasis mine)

 She believed Jesus could’ve healed her brother – same as Mary. Yet her faith differed in that she said, …”even now.” Where Mary had an “After That” faith; Martha exercised an “Even Now” faith. It’s easy to trust Jesus when you’re sitting at the table with Lazarus fresh out of the casket! Can you trust Him though when things haven’t worked out your way?

Notice something else. Martha wasn’t saying that she believed Jesus could even now raise Him from the dead. I know many read the story and believe that, but that’s not the case. Look carefully at John 11:39-40:

Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been [dead] four days. 40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? - John 11:39-40 KJV

She had no concept of Jesus speaking life back into his cold corpse. So what did she mean when she said, “even now”? In spite of the fact that everything hasn’t worked out the way she had hoped, she still trusted Jesus!

So, how’s your “even now” faith? Do you still love Him when He doesn’t do things your way? Do you trust Him enough to believe that He knows best?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Cursing The Clouds

What comes to your mind when you think of clouds? Thoughts of depression, storms, doubt, bad news, etc? But I want to direct your attention to other thoughts for a few moments.

Cursing the Clouds

 #1 CLOUDS ARE GOD’S CALLING CARD!

“And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. 11 He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him [were] dark waters [and] thick clouds of the skies. 12 At the brightness [that was] before him his thick clouds passed, hail [stones] and coals of fire.” [Psa 18:10-12 KJV]

 

#2 CLOUDS ARE A REMINDER OF GOD’S FAITHFULNESS!

 “I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. 14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: 15 And I will remember my covenant, which [is] between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that [is] upon the earth.” [Gen. 9:13-16 KJV]

I’m going to be very blunt and honest. The rainbow is God’s symbol of HIS faithfulness & mercy – NOT A SYMBOL FOR A LIFESTYLE OF SIN! It was God’s reminder to Noah, and all that would follow, of God’s mercy.

That rainbow could only be seen in the cloud. We dread the clouds but sometimes it’s the only way to truly see God’s faithfulness! It takes those clouds to bring to light the proof of God’s promises.

#3 CLOUDS PROVIDE GUIDANCE!

 “And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: 22 He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, [from] before the people.”  [Exo 13:21-22 KJV]

Admit it, there are places in life you would’ve never chosen. And from our limited perspective, things do not always look like the right direction. In this passage in Exodus, God used the pillar of a cloud to guide His people Israel. God had a destination in mind, but He knew there would be challenges for them along the way. So He used His cloud to make sure they pressed onward.

There have been dark and cloudy times in my own life that have pushed me through unchartered waters. Places I would have never picked on my own, but places God knew I needed to be.

#4 CLOUDS ACCOMPANY THE LORD’S ARRIVAL

“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, [one] like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.” [Dan 7:13 KJV]

“And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” [Mat 24:30 KJV]

“Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they [also] which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” [Rev 1:7 KJV]

Notice especially the last Bible verse, “Behold, He comes with clouds.” Those clouds that we are so quick to curse will escort the Lord’s return!

#5 CLOUDS WILL ESCORT JESUS’ FOLLOWERS TO HEAVEN!

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” [1Th 4:16-18 KJV]

One day, and I believe very soon, every born-again believer in Christ is going to be called out of this earth. With the call of God Himself, we’ll rise to meet Him in the clouds. Even if we go the way of the grave before that happens, we’re still going to meet together in the clouds. What a day that will be!

What’s the moral of this blog post? Don’t be so quick to curse the clouds. Clouds have a number of very significant meanings. And what clouds exactly am I referring to? Not just the physical clouds we see in the sky. Rather the storms of life that we see as so negative.

Always remember:

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.”  [Rom 8:28 KJV]

 

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004: A Golden Thread

Is there a “Golden Thread” in Scripture that ties all things together? Can there really be one central theme of God’s Word? Find out in this podcast episode.

Excuses Are Not

jeff mckee

003: What Did You Expect?

What Did You Expect

This message was original shared at Victory Assembly of God. Find out more at www.victorycan.org.

Why are we surprised by what’s happening in the world today?

The wicked shall be turned into hell, [and] all the nations that forget God.                   (Psa 9:17 KJV)

Our streets resemble hell, our schools resemble hell, and it goes on and on! Did we expect something different? We’ve shaken our fists at God and declared we didn’t need Him. We’ve chosen to despise the gift of His Son Jesus who literally loved us to death! What would you have done to such a people if you were God? Could you be as merciful and long-suffering as God has been?

Listen to this message and share with those who need to hear it! And take a moment to subscribe below.

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GOING SOMEWHERE?

You’re “busy” –  I get that. Everyone is busy. No matter who you talk to, they are usually stressed over how much is going on in their lives. What I find most interesting though is how little progress is made. How many times have you sped through the day and collapsed from exhaustion only to wonder what you actually accomplished? Be honest!

Prevailing Prayer – 3 Facts You MUST Know (part 3)

“A prayer-less soul is a Christ-less soul.” 

- CHARLES SPURGEON

Prevailing With God

 

In part one of this series, I dealt with the fact that prayer grants us Access to the Almighty. (Click here to read part 1)

In part two, I showed you how prevailing prayer gives Understanding of the Almighty. (Click here to read part 2)

Now for part 3:

Prevailing Prayer – 3 Facts You MUST Know (part 2)

“Salvation never finds its way into a prayer-less heart. The Holy Spirit never abides in a prayer-less spirit. Preaching never edifies a prayer-less soul. Christ knows nothing of  prayer-less Christians. The gospel cannot be projected by a prayer-less preacher” – E.M. Bounds Power Through Prayer

Prevailing With God

 

In part one of this series I dealt with the fact that prayer grants us Access to the Almighty. (Click here to read part 1) Now, I would like to point your attention to the second fact you need to know about prayer:

Prevailing Prayer – 3 Facts You MUST Know (part 1)

“Jesus Christ was often seen against the backdrop of the rising sun or the starlit sky while He prayed. While the masses were asleep in bed Jesus was agonizing in prayer. Here is our example my friend: He was so busy and pressed for time during the day as He went about doing good and as He was thronged by the multitudes the He felt the necessity either to pray all night or to arise a great while before day and commune with His Father”        – Ray H. Hughes

Prevailing With God