A Prepared Place

From the book: “The Promises of Jesus” By Vanessa Collins

Scripture Lesson

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

 John 14:1-3

Prepared PlaceMeditation

It was a strange day the disciples probably thought.  It was just all kind of strange.  Jesus was acting strange, Judas was acting real strange and now it just all seemed, well, strange.  First Jesus washed their feet at dinner, then Judas abruptly leaves and now Jesus was talking about leaving, again.  He had mentioned this leaving thing before, but this time it was different.  It seemed more imminent now.

Moving and travelling was something that the disciples were used to.  For the last 3½ years, they had been on the move.  But now Jesus was talking about going somewhere that they could not go.  They had worked together as a team for the last 3½ years, and they had left everything and everybody they knew behind. To the disciples, it was apparent that there was still a lot of work to do.  This gospel of the coming of the Kingdom of God had to be preached everywhere, including Rome and places even further away.  This was no time for the leader to bail out.  Besides, who was going to do all of that work?

It is here that we find our promise for today.  Jesus told them, in the previous chapter, that they could not go with Him.  This news was heart breaking.  However, Jesus encourages them to not allow their hearts to be troubled.  It was now time to believe, not just in God but in the power of His Son, Jesus.  He told them there were many mansions in His Father’s house, real mansions.  He told them that He would prepare a place for them and that He would return to receive them unto Himself so that they would be where He was.  Not only did they not need to fear His death, they did not need to fear their own.  They would spend eternity with Christ.

That same promise is also for us that are born again.  We will have eternal life with Jesus Christ.  Because of that, we don’t have to worry what will happen when we die.  Will we stay in the grave until the rapture?  Does our spirit immediately go to be with Christ?  Is there a holding place somewhere?  Will we be in heaven or will we be on earth?

You can have lots of fun proving or disproving the many theories there are associated with the afterlife, but there is one thing that is for sure.  When it is all said and done, we will be with Him.  That is the only thing that is important.

Affirmations

Jesus has prepared a place for me to be with Him forever.  As a born again believer, I will have eternal life.  I do not have to worry about dying.  I rejoice and I am grateful for the promise that Jesus will come again and receive me and that where He is, I will be also.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

Evidence of Your Faith

From the book: “Intensive Faith Therapy” by Vanessa Collins

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1

court supremeWe will focus on the second part of our scripture today.  According to the author of Hebrews, faith is the “evidence of things not seen”.  It is by our faith that we stand on the promises of God, even when we do not see the actual manifestation.

In our judicial system, evidence is very important in legal matters, especially criminal and civil cases.  If the system is running correctly (which, unfortunately, does not happen all the time), the party that can prove his/her case by the preponderance of evidence wins the case.  The stronger your evidence, the more likely you will have a ruling in your favor.

The best evidence you can have in a courtroom is factual, tangible evidence.  If you can, so to speak, produce the “smoking gun with fingerprints”, you have something that, in most cases, the judge will allow you to admit as evidence.  It will be admissible in court.  Admissible evidence leads directly to something else.  You can trace it to a logical conclusion.  You do not have to infer or guess where or to whom it points.  It is direct.

Sometimes, factual evidence is not available.  In this case, the lawyer may have to refer to circumstantial evidence or even hearsay.  In most cases (again, where the system is running properly) one rarely gets a major conviction based solely on circumstantial evidence.  The bigger the issue, the more evidence is needed in order to get a ruling in your favor.

How does this relate to our study?  Faith is the evidence of what we do not yet see.  How strong is the evidence that you will receive the promises of God that you are seeking?  Are you standing on strong, factual evidence or is your case weak, based on hearsay of what you think God might do?

What factual evidence do we have concerning the things of God?  Our biggest “smoking gun” if you will, is the Word of God.  As Christians, we believe that the Word of God is true.  We also have a true and righteous judge.   Psalm 96:12-13 tells us that the Lord shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His truth.  Therefore, we can stand on the Word of God as evidence to that which we seek. God even instructs us to put Him in remembrance of His Word (Isaiah 43:26).  If God says in His Word that He will do something, you can depend on that Word.  In Isaiah 46:11, The Lord tells Isaiah;

…I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.

The Word of God is our strongest evidence that God will do what He has promised.  When this evidence is presented, a favorable ruling can be counted on.

What other evidence can we use?  Lawyers often rely on the testimony of witnesses to convince the jury and judge to rule in their favor.  The best witnesses are those that are credible and are basing their testimony on actual facts that they have experienced.  If they can say, “I know this happened because I saw it”, your witnesses will have a great impact on the case.  However, if they say that we were told that something happened but they did not actually witness it, it may be ruled as hearsay and not viewed as strongly as other testimony.

What testimony are you using to build your case and build your faith?  Proverbs 14:5 tells us that a “faithful witness will not lie”.  Are you listening to the witness of the “faithful” in God?  You need to surround yourself by those that will give you ammunition for your case.  Leave the doubters alone!  You need people in your life that know that God will make a way.  You will then have a faith that is strong and able to withstand the scrutiny of the courtroom of life.


For your edification, answer the following questions.

What type of evidence would a lawyer rather have in a courtroom, factual or circumstantial?

 Answer the following questions in your own words.

Why is the Word of God strong evidence for the Christian?

Why is the testimony of a faithful witness important to you?

 We want to not just hear the word, but put it into action in our lives.  Answer the questions below to help you apply this lesson to your life.

What is one of the major promises that you are seeking God to fulfill in your life right now?

What evidence do you have in the Word of God that God will do what you are seeking?

Name the “faithful witnesses” in your life that you are using to build your faith.

What is their testimony relative to your situation?

Lesson Summary

Court is now in session!!!  We know that our faith must be tried and the evidence must weigh out. We know that we have solid, truthfully evidence of God’s goodness and faithfulness to His people in the Word of God.  We are going to search out the scriptures and find our evidence.  We believe that God is a faithful judge and that He is no respecter of person.  We have no time for doubters and unbelief.  We believe God’s Word and we are building strong faith in Him. God is faithful and He faithfully takes care of His children.  See you in court!!!

I Am the Lord That Maketh All Things

From the book: “The Promises of God” By Vanessa Collins

Scripture Lesson:

Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;

Isaiah 44:24

makeallthingsMeditation

There is nothing more frustrating than depending on a promise that is later broken.  Many times people have good intentions and they try their very best to fulfill the promises they make but they are unable to.  They really meant to call but ran out of time.  They had every intention of coming but the car broke down.  They really meant to do it but something beyond their control happened, and as a result, they were unable to keep their promise.  When this happens, we understand.  We, too, have been in this position where we intended to do something, but for whatever reason, we were unable to fulfill the promise.

 

What about when you are deceived?  Sometimes people make promises that not only do they have no intention of keeping; they have no authority to make.  A salesman can promise to lower your payments, but if he does not have the authority from the manager or owner, it won’t get done.  Sure, I can promise to sell you a mansion for a $1, but if I don’t own the mansion or have authority to sell the mansion, I would not advise you to start packing.  I would have made you an empty promise.

 

God does not make empty promises.  His promises are not empty because He has authority to act on any promise He makes.  As He clearly states in today’s promise, He makes all things.  He can make the promise because He owns the stuff.  As He states, He is our redeemer.  He formed us in our mother’s womb.  He made the heavens and the earth by Himself.  Because He owns it all, He can declare a promise and it be fulfilled.

 

Many theologians today have major problems with the idea that Isaiah authored chapters 40 through 66 of the book that bears his name because of the prophetic nature of these chapters.  How could Isaiah know the specific name of the king that God would use 150 years before?  Easy.  Just as an author can tell you how their book will end before they have actually written the words on paper, God can tell Isaiah the specifics of these incidents.  God is the author.  As stated in Isaiah 44:24-28, it is He (God) that can confirm the word of His servant and perform the counsel of His messengers.

 

In this volume, we have looked at some of the most precious promises of God.  Some that many may believe are too good to be true.  Can God really fulfill these promises concerning life here on earth and eternal life to follow?  He surely can.  He is the maker of life.  He owns life.  He designed life.  He has the authority and the power to fulfill every promise made.

Affirmations

The God I serve is all powerful.  He is able and has the authority to keep any and every promise that He makes.  He is the maker of all things.  I am gratefully for God’s Word.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

We Need to Praise God…He Wants Our Worship!

worshiparleneLet me begin this study by stating God does not need our praise….we need to praise Him. Yes, God has commanded that we praise Him. Praise is so important to us that God gives us instructions in the book of Psalms on the acceptable ways to do it.

We are instructed to praise God with the clapping of our hands. Psalm 100 says to make a joyful noise with our praise. Psalms 81:1 tells us to shout loudly in some cases. Yes, praise is the time in your morning service to GET LOUD FOR GOD.

When we praise God the way scriptures say to do, others will see our praise and perhaps praise God along with us making this a glorious time in the Lord.

This loud-sounding, foot stomping, hand clapping, dancing and tongues of thanksgiving are only a warm up for worship. Praise is the time where we think of God’s goodness. It’s the time that we shake off apprehensions and thoughts of what others will say or think about us.

Worship on the other hand is different. Worship brings us closer to the heart of God. There are only two requirements for worship. Our first requirement is “relationship.”  I say this because worship is a two-way street. Worship involves us giving and God receiving: God honoring our worship and us receiving what we need from Him. We must give to get in this relationship.

Our second requirement is being lead into acceptable worship. According to John 4:24, God is spirit and His worshippers must worship Him in spirit and in truth.

This kind of worship means having a pure heart open to repentance and a mind centered on God, letting the Holy Spirit be the center of our thoughts and actions. How do we get there? I’m glad you asked.

In order for us to be able to get to this point, consider our 3 R’s checklist.

1. Revelation – Knowing who God is and what He has done.

2. Recognition – Knowing the fact that God is the only one who could have done it. This knowing comes from the Holy Spirit.

3. Reaction– Falling down; the bowing of our bodies in the act of worship.

About the Author:  Arlene Bell, Minister, Author, Teacher, Psalmist, Speaker, and Co-Owner of Heart Thoughts Publishing.  Follow her Facebook page – “And the Bible Says”

Commanded to Trust

Coco CayWe are commanded to trust God.  It is not a suggestion. It is not a request. It is a command. Not to do it is sin. Not to do it indicates character flaws in our Christian personality. Therefore, if we are having trouble trusting God, He is obligated to give us situations in our lives that force us to trust Him. He wants us to mature. He loves us that much.

Let us look at a few of the scriptures that command us to trust God. First, we find Psalm 4:5. In this Psalm, David instructs those that are observing him to offer sacrifices of righteousness and to put their trust in the Lord.

Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.
Psalm 4:5

We are often challenged to trust God in the area of integrity. We may cheat a little on our taxes, or even fudge the expense report a little. It is often hard to walk in integrity with God when everyone else seems to do the opposite. We are admonished here in Psalm 4:5 to offer sacrifices of righteousness and put our trust in the Lord. We must strive not to be as the world. Just because “everybody is doing it” does not mean that it is acceptable to practice unrighteousness. We must make up in our minds and show by our actions that we want to live upright before God. Only when we do this will we see His awesome power at work in our lives.

Look at Psalm 62. In this Psalm, David proclaims his trust in God for deliverance. In verses 1-7, David realizes that his only salvation and defense is in God. Therefore, he promises to wait on God. Then, in verse 8, those that are listening to this song are told likewise to trust God.

Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.

We are to trust in God at all times. It tends to be easier to trust God when things are going well. When there is money in the bank and our loved ones are well or when we are in good physical and mental health, it is not hard to trust in the delivering power of God. But when the money runs out, when our children are cutting up or when we are in excruciating pain, our trust in God begins to waver. In this verse we are commanded to trust God at all times, during the good and the trying times.

How do we bring ourselves to trust God in trying times? We may have a desire to trust God but just cannot bring ourselves to do it. How do we get past this barrier?

One way is given to us in the verse, “pour out your heart before Him.” We must seek true relationship with God. In true relationship, we have trust. Think about some of your most trusted friends. If that relationship has grown over the years, many times there were a lot of “heart pouring” sessions that took place. They would cry on your shoulder and you would cry on theirs. Over the years, you have built a relationship with that person and, for the most part, you have a sense of trust in them.

We must pour out our hearts to God. God wants us to. Although He knows our situation, we are still commanded in scripture to keep lines of communication open with Him. Why? It is through communication that we build relationship. When we pour out our hearts to God, we let our defenses down. Therefore He can be a defense for us. When we go to Him seeking deliverance, He will deliver us.

Do you want to be mature in God and trust Him for deliverance? Good.  However, there is only one way to develop that kind of trust. He must deliver you and in order for Him to deliver you, you must be a situation that requires deliverance. How can we trust God to deliver us if we never have problems that require deliverance AND we never seek His help? One thing is for certain; life will continue to give us problems that require deliverance. The question is will we continue to seek our deliverance from God.

For your edification, answer the following questions.
In Psalm 4:5, what sacrifices are we instructed to offer to God?
According to Psalm 62:8, who are we to pour out our hearts to?

Answer the following questions in your own words.
Why is it easier to trust God when things appear to be going well?
How do you think one can offer “sacrifices of righteousness”?

We want to not just hear the word, but put it into action in our lives.  Answer the questions below to help you apply this lesson to your life.
Take a few moments to do a little personal inventory.  Are there areas in your life that the Holy Spirit has brought to your attention where you are not exercising righteousness?  List them here.
Ask God for guidance as to how He would have you handle these areas.  Most of the time God has already told us what to do, but we are afraid.  Describe the actions you should take in order to resolve the issues you have listed above.

Lesson Summary
Trust in the Lord! The command is clear. We are to put our trust in God. We have already tried trusting other things to no avail. Therefore, we have no one else to trust but God. God is all-powerful.  He is able to handle our situation. We may not understand why we are where we are right now but we must believe that God is on our side. We can trust Him. He wants us to trust Him. He requires us to do so.

It Shall Be Done – The Law of Agreement

Scripture Lesson

 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 18:19

shallbedoneMeditation
Agreement on earth is a powerful thing.  Nations have risen and fallen just on the power of agreement.  The word “agree” means to concur or to consent to as a course of action.  We have often misunderstood the word “touching” as used here to mean physical touch.  The word translated here is “peri” which means about, concerning, on account of, because of, around, near.  So we are told by Jesus in this scripture that if two people shall agree on earth concerning anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them.  What a powerful promise!  Is God really prepared to back this up?  We can come up with some pretty wild stuff.  Does Jesus really know what He is saying?

Well, God has found himself in some very interesting positions because of this law of agreement.  Now this law did not just come into effect when Jesus spoke about it.  It has been in effect since God gave man freewill.  And it as made for some very interesting times.

One of the most memorable is the Tower of Babel mentioned in Genesis 11.  Although you may have heard differently, the Bible does not tell us that these people were wicked or that their motives were bad.  We do know that their desire to build a city and a tower got God’s attention and that He “came down” to see what they were doing.  Since the word “heaven”, used here, also means sky, God was not concerned that they would build a tower that would reach to where He abode. We have many skyscrapers today, so I do not think God has a problem with tall buildings.  God seems to be concerned with the fact that these people, being on one accord, would be unlimited in what they could do.

So did God take their power away?  Did He cancel the Law of Agreement?  No.  He scattered them by changing their language.  Did He tell them that they were wrong? No.  He did not send a prophetic message to them.  He just caused them to move.  Guess what? They got with people of their own language, and they moved to other areas and did exactly what they were going to do there.  They built cities and towers all over the world.  Perhaps it wasn’t what they were agreeing to do that was the problem.  It was who they were agreeing with.

Maybe you find yourself in the same place.  God may be stirring things up not because of what you are believing Him for, but maybe it is who you are agreeing with.  If the language people around you are using is becoming confusing, perhaps it is time to move on.  Since we have been on this journey of renewing our minds, I am sure that our language has become confusing to many.  We are not talking about lack and sickness and the works of the enemy.  We are proclaiming the power of God in our lives.

Affirmations
I agree with the Word of God.  I am who it says I am.  I have what it says I have.  I will seek God’s wisdom when I agree with someone concerning their prayers.  I rejoice and I am grateful for the promise that when we agree concerning anything, it will be done for us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I Will Heal Their Land

Scripture Lesson

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14

healthelandMeditation
King Solomon had completed the biggest project of his reign.  He built the temple of God.  What an honor!  Although this was a dream of his father, David, God chose to give this project to Solomon.  It was magnificent and would become one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.  This day, the day for the dedication of the temple, was for God.  Solomon made sure to try to show God his love and admiration.  He sacrificed thousands of burnt offerings in an attempt to show God how much he cared.  He prayed earnestly that God would be pleased with his efforts and that God would honor this place as His dwelling place.

Solomon also prayed about the sins of the people.  Not their current sins, but their future sins.  Being wise, Solomon knew how hard it was to walk according to the law.  He struggled with it and knew his people did also.  But He loved God and he wanted to be assured that their sins would not separate them too far from God.  God responded to Solomon’s prayer in an awesome way.  First, He sent fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice.  He then filled the temple with His glory so strongly that the priest could not enter in.  Finally, He verbally responded to Solomon’s prayer in a dream about a week later.  It is from this response that we get our promise for today.

God explains the power that the people have concerning judgments that would come as a result of sin.  He tells Solomon that if He decides to judge the people by drought, locust or sickness, that there is a way out.  If His people, which are called by His name, would humble themselves, and pray, and seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will He hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.  Again, we see Jehovah Rapha, The Lord that Heals, at work.  Even in the face of sin, God is ready to heal.  Healing is truly in God’s nature.

Although this seems like a pretty easy formula to follow, the children of Israel were not able to do it on a consistent basis.  As a result, they lost the land that God had promised to heal and are still, to this very day fighting for the promised land that God gave them.

For the New Testament Christian, this verse can be summed up in one word, JESUS.  It is through Jesus that we humble ourselves before God.  It is in the name of Jesus that we now pray.  It is through Jesus that we seek the face of God since Jesus said if we see Him, we see the Father.  It is through Jesus that we have access to the Holy Spirit, whereby we can trade our wicked ways, or works of the flesh, for the fruit of the Spirit.  And finally, it is through Jesus that we realize the promise.  God hears us from heaven, He forgives our sins and He heals our land.

Affirmations
God is my Jehovah Rapha, The Lord that Heals.  I thank God for my salvation through Jesus Christ.  I thank God for the abiding Holy Spirit.  I rejoice and am grateful for the fact that God hears us from heaven, forgives our sins and heals our land.  In Jesus’ name, Amen

This article is from the book, “The Promises of God”  by Vanessa Collins.  It is available on Amazon.