COMMENTARY ON JOHN 4

The Book of John is unique among the Gospel accounts. You may read it when you are yet in shallow waters near the shore, and you will find Jesus there. You may read it and find yourself totally immersed in deep truths about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I will go deep, and if it is too much, don’t worry! Stay in the shallow waters for a bit. He will take you deeper, as you get to know Him!

Chapter 4 gives us a glimpse of what Jesus will do in human hearts, if we ask Him. And we see the power of giving testimony vs. Jesus actual words, and a miraculous healing. Jesus’ influence goes far beyond all we can ask or think (Ephesians 3:20)!

Verses 1-2 — Jesus knew the Pharisees would persecute Him for making and baptizing even more disciples than John the Baptist. He was an even bigger threat to their religious power structure. And note that Jesus’ disciples baptized, but He did not. Why? His is not water baptism, but baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Verses 3-6 — Jesus began a long journey into Galilee, and passed through Samaria (36 miles from Jerusalem). He came to Sychar, a large city in Samaria. Jacob’s well was there. The reference may be to Genesis 26:22ff, and the well Jacob named “Rehoboth,” (broad place). Jesus is about to show many people the broad place (place of liberty) that is the kingdom of God.

He was weary from the long journey, and sat alone by the well, at noon. The disciples had gone into the city to purchase food (see verse 8).

Verses 7-8 A woman came to draw water at an unusual time of day; normally, water is drawn at sunset. In a few verses, we’ll find out why she came at noon. Jesus simply said, “Give Me a drink.”

Verses 9-10 — The Samaritan woman pointed out that Jews don’t talk with Samaritans. So why did Jesus speak to her? The people of Samaria worshiped God and other gods (see 2Kings 17:24-41), so they were shunned by the Israelites. But Jesus said that if she knew  1) the gift of God and 2) who it was that said, ‘Give me a drink,’ she would have asked Him and He would have given her living water.

It sounds like a riddle, but it isn’t. He is the gift of God to the world (John 3:16). And so He had much more to offer her than she could offer to Him. She could quench His natural thirst with water from the cistern, but His living water is the Holy Spirit (see John 7:37-39), a never-ending fountain of God’s eternal life and power!

Verses 11-12 — She wondered how He could give her water. When she asked, she was thinking of natural water. She likely had a jug with her, and a rope to lower it down into the well (Greek phrear, a hole in the ground, a cistern). He was empty-handed, so how could He give her this living water? Was He greater than “our father,” Jacob (indicating she was a descendant of Abraham), who gave them this well?

Verses 13-15 — Jesus told her that everyone who drinks of the natural water from Jacob’s well will thirst again. It is just natural water.

But His living water is not natural water. And whoever drinks of the water He will give (through the baptism of the Holy Spirit), will never thirst again. How do I know it is the baptism of the Holy Spirit He is speaking of, and not the first step, which is salvation through faith in Christ? Because John identifies this living water as the Holy Spirit WHO WAS NOT YET GIVEN BECAUSE JESUS WAS NOT YET GLORIFIED (restored to His original position at the right hand of God the Father). That living water was given in Acts 2, baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire.

When you are filled with God, He is an unending source. The water He will give will become “like a well of water springing up to eternal life.” Eternal life is the water in His fountain! [NOTE: My translation, the NASB, says “well,” but the original Greek is “fountain.”] Cisterns will run dry. His fountain springs up, gushes, and leaps! What gushes forth? Eternal life! It is the rushing, flood-stage rivers of eternal life flowing from our innermost beings, as in John 7:38, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. It flows out to others, and yet we never run dry!

The woman then asked Jesus for His water, but she was still thinking in the natural. She didn’t want to have to come all the way to the cistern to draw water. He said if she drank His water, she’d never thirst again. So she wanted His water.

Verses 16-19 — Now we find out why the woman came alone to draw water at noon rather than sunset, like the others in Sychar. Jesus changed the subject on her, to drive home the fact that He wasn’t talking about natural things. He  told her to call her husband, knowing full well that she has had five husbands, and the man she now had was not her husband.

She said, “I have no husband.” He then told her what had transpired in her life, though this was the first time they had met. And she understood that He was from God and called Him a prophet. There was no other way for Him to know her history. It was because of her history, because she was an adulteress, that she was shunned by the people of her city and forced to go out to the well at noon, the hottest part of the day.

Verse 20 — The woman told Jesus that her ancestors worshiped on the mountain where Sychar was located. God was worshiped in Samaria, at one time. But then many gods were worshiped there, and the Lord sent Northern Israel into exile in Assyria, except for a small remnant. She called into question worship of God on the mountain versus God in Jerusalem. The Jews said God could only be worshiped in Jerusalem, because the Temple was there, signifying God’s presence, in the Holy of Holies.

Verses 21-22 — Jesus responded by saying, “Believe Me.” If you will believe Him today, He will show you that the time is not only coming, but is now here (see Verse 23), when you are able to worship God the Father regardless of where you are geographically, be it the Temple, a church, or a dungeon (see Acts 16:25). This is the first time “the Father” is used in John 4. There is the Father, and then there is Jesus.

In Samaria’s worship of God, they omitted the historical books of the Old Testament (Tenakh), as well as the Prophets and the Psalms. They did not know the full Word of God, so they did not know God.

But “we” worship what we know, He said. The Jews worshiped the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and did not omit any of the Tenakh.

And He said salvation comes from the Jews. What did He mean? The Messiah (the Christ) was prophesied to be a Jew, born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). Isaiah prophesies, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given,” followed by many Messianic titles (Isaiah 9:6-7). So from a Jewish mother and the Holy Spirit comes Jesus Christ the Jew, the seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15), the Savior of both Jew and Gentile (non-Jew), the gift of God to whoever will repent and believe in Him.

Verses 23-24 — Referring back to Verse 21, Jesus said an hour NOW IS when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. They will not just go through the motions and say the right words (lip service). They will be filled with the Holy Spirit, and will truly worship Him, because God the Holy Spirit is in them, leading them into true worship. No more rote rites or mouthing words, but the Spirit, large and in charge, connecting us to the Father and the Son 24/7!!! Halleujah!!!

God the Father is spirit — He is not human — and those who worship Him MUST worship Him in this way, and in truth — truly worship, not just outward acts and not just knowing “Christian-ese.”  It is essential to be filled with the Holy Spirit, after salvation, in order to worship God as He commands.

Verses 25-26 — The woman began to make the connection. First, she identified Him as a  prophet, but then she remembered that Messiah was coming. He would know everything, too, just like this Jesus.

And Jesus said, “I who speak to you am.” He is saying I am the I AM, I am God the Son, the always existent One. I am the One who spoke My name to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:14). I am God, and was with God before I was sent here. I am the Messiah.

Verse 27 — The disciples returned with food, and found Jesus talking with a woman, and a Samaritan at that! Just the two of them, alone! Oh, the shame! Yet no one questioned Him.

Verse 28-30 — The woman now realized that this Jesus was the Messiah, and left her waterpot (that would be like you leaving your wallet or smart phone) and went into the city. She testified that Jesus told her everything about herself, and asked, “Is this the Christ?”  They went out of the city and came to Him.

Verse 31-34 — The disciples were like I used to be. They were focused on food, on bringing Jesus food, on the questions in their minds about Jesus talking with the Samaritan woman. “Rabbi, eat,” they said.

So He told them that they didn’t know what nourishes Him and satisfies Him. They wondered if someone already brought Him food.

So Jesus made it very clear that what nourishes and satisfies Him is to do the will of God the Father and accomplish the Father’s work. What is God’s will and God’s work? Speaking to the woman, revealing that He is the Messiah, and her testimony causing the whole city to come to see Him and be saved!

Verse 35-37 — Jesus corrects His disciples’ focus. Lift up your eyes and look on the fields! The saying in Israel and among the disciples themselves was, “Four months and then the harvest.” He said, “That’s what YOU say!” That was the natural harvest. But God’s harvest is here and now and continual. The fields are white (the color of the heads of grain)! Lift up your eyes and look!

Already those who reap God’s harvest are being paid and are gathering fruit for life eternal. Salvation is already happening!

If we look and see and act, we will find that the one who sows the gospel seed and the one who reaps (leads a person to salvation) are able to rejoice together. The sowing and reaping can happen one after the other, with no waiting! One will sow, and another will reap. It is an immediate harvest. The seed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is powerful! It is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16)!

Already! There is an urgency in Jesus’ words! Don’t be lazy. Your pay awaits! The fields are ready! Get out there! Lift up your eyes! Look!

Matthew 9:38 adds that they should beseech (beg) the Lord of the harvest (Jesus Christ) to send out workers into His harvest. The word “send out” means “eject, thrust out!” Urgency!

He said He sent His disciples to reap that which you haven’t worked for. I am the Sower (Matthew 13:3), I have done the work, and you get to reap what I sow. You have entered into My labor.

I have personally experienced His words in this verse. Those who have come to salvation through an encounter with me were prepared in advance by Him. I had very little to do with it — all I had to do was be there. Their hearts were already prepared, sometimes through words the Lord spoke through me, and sometimes entirely apart form me. Therefore, I cannot boast, except in Jesus Christ. Amen!

Verses 39-42 — The first action of the residents of Sychar was to respond to the woman’s testimony about Jesus being the Messiah. They went out to Him. He stayed there two days. And when they heard His words, they no longer needed to rely on the woman’s testimony. They knew Jesus Christ was the One, the Savior of the world. My NAS Bible stops there, I don’t know why they omitted the additional two words in the original Greek — “the Christ.” Those are essential words. No Bible translation is perfect, but the NASB is generally pretty accurate compared with the original texts. They certainly missed this one, though.

Verses 43-45 — Jesus completed His journey to Galilee. He knew and stated in other Gospel accounts that a prophet has no honor in His own country (where He was brought up). Everyone knew Him as the carpenter, the son of Mary and Joseph (Mark 6:3).

So Galilee’s residents welcomed Him, because they had been at the Feast of Passover in Jerusalem (John 2:13) and had seen what He had done — cleansing the Temple, and the miracles that are in the other Gospel accounts.

Verses 46-47 — Jesus went to Cana, where He had done the sign (attesting miracle) of changing water to wine. A royal official approached him. His son was at Capernaum, sick, at the point of death. He begged Jesus to come and heal him.

Verses 48-54 — Jesus replied that the Jews won’t believe He is who He says He is, unless they see signs. They had no faith in His words and His exhortations to repent and believe. They were accepted by them only because of the signs He did. It is still true today. So sad! We won’t bow at His words, but we are wowed by His wonders.

The royal official persisted, even with the rebuke of Jesus. He said, “Sir (not Lord or Rabbi), come!” Heal my child before he dies!

So Jesus said, “Go, your Son lives.” Jesus did not have to be physically present in order to heal and deliver. Time and space do not inhibit God’s ability to act. He can do it from anywhere! I was not healed of the incurable disease MS in a church, but in my living room, in the middle of the night —  just the Lord Jesus Christ and me.

And the man believed Jesus’ words — when Jesus commands, it must be so. So he turned toward home, but his slaves met him and told him his son was living. When did it happen? Exactly at the hour Jesus said, Your Son lives. And the royal official and his whole household believed in Jesus Christ.

This was a second sign. At the end of the Book of John, he tells us that Jesus did so many more signs and wonders that there aren’t enough books in the world to record them all (John 21:25). But the Holy Spirit directed John to use a specific set of miracles in his gospel. Why? John 20:30-31 tells us these have been written so you would believe Jesus is the Christ and would have life as God has it, eternal life.

Advertisements

IN-COURAGED!

[SW219] 02/05/2016 message notes by

Reverend/Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2016

“IN-Couraged”

Texts: Joshua 1:1-9

Deuteronomy 34:9

John 20:19

Acts 2:14, 22, 3

Acts 4:8ff

The Lord is asking me to encourage you to be IN-Couraged — His boldness, His strength, His courage IN you!

In Joshua 1:3, the Lord tells Joshua that every place on which the sole of his foot treads, the Lord has given to the sons of Israel, just as He spoke to Moses.

What a promise!

In Joshua 1:6, the Lord commands Joshua to be strong (fasten upon the Lord, be constant, be established, seize) and courageous (mighty, steadfastly minded). Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord (1Corinthians 15:58). Why? Because he SHALL give the people possession of the land.

The Lord commands Joshua again in Verse 7, and in Verse 9. Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go!

Joshua  will lead Israel in, and they will be an occupying army, possessing the land promised to them through Abraham.

And believer, understand that your role is to occupy Satan’s territory here on earth, and possess it until the Lord comes again. And it is to ask God to bring you fully into the Promised Land with His strength and courage IN you — IN-couraged! When the end comes, Jesus Christ will bless the one who has been doing what He commanded, and condemn the one who didn’t obey (Matthew 24:46)!

Joshua needed power to obey the Lord’s command to be strong and courageous. Where did it come from?

In Numbers 27:18, the Lord says Joshua was a man in whom was the Spirit. And when Moses laid hands on him, he was filled with the spirit of wisdom.

Deuteronomy 34:9   Now Joshua the son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; and the sons of Israel listened to him and did as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Therefore, he had the Lord’s wisdom, strength and courage IN him, because the Spirit was IN him. He was IN-couraged. The Lord gave him the Spirit for that single assignment.

Today, God wants to fills you with the Holy Spirit permanently, rather than for a single assignment. Then you will have His strength, His courage and His boldness so you are able to occupy and possess the Enemy’s territory. You will become a member of an occupying army, freeing captives from sickness, demon possession, and sin, in the power and words of the Holy Spirit! He will give you what to say (Matthew 10:20).

Look at the difference between the disciples in John 20:19, after Christ was crucified, compared with Acts 2:14, 22, 36 and Acts 4:8 and forward!

In John 20:19, they hid behind locked doors for fear of the Jews. But in the scriptures in Acts, they were very strong, courageous, and bold! They now had God’s strength, courage and boldness IN them, and the actual love of God in their hearts compelled them to go (2Corinthians 5:14, Romans 5:5)!

Why the difference? They were filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost! They were IN-couraged!

Paul persecuted Christians with all his might, until he had a vision of Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. Then Ananias came to him and he was filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17). Afterward, in Christ’s strength and courage, Paul boldly proclaimed Jesus Christ and performed miraculous signs and wonders all across the known world. He was IN-couraged!

Paul joyously wrote to the church at Philippi, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13)! Amen!

Real-life testimony:

One day, we received a call from a man we had known for a couple of years. He said he was in the county jail, and needed us to come to him. We had never been behind locked doors in a jail before. But the Lord told us to go, and we went in His strength, courage and boldness.

We entered another world as we heard the thick steel door close behind us. The spiritual darkness in that place was so thick you could cut it with a knife.

We pressed on, met with the man, ministered to him with bold words from the Lord, and continued meeting with him until he was tried and sentenced to prison. He wrote us from there, and asked us to come.

I contacted the chaplain at the Maine State Prison. Come to find out, I had worked for him at the VA, before I was diagnosed with MS and had to retire on disability!

Jeff and I went through a four-hour training program. Then the chaplain asked us to come to a Bible study conducted by a man who had been doing Bible studies for the prisoners for 25 years, so we could learn how to interact with the prisoners who attended. On our way to that Bible study, we asked the Lord to give us a sign that we were to minister there. A flashing neon one, please!

When we arrived at the prison lobby, the chaplain was called to meet us. We passed through two metal detectors. Our worship gear was searched.

We were lead by the chaplain and one guard through one very thick steel door, stopping at a window to turn in our car keys and driver’s licenses and receive visitor/clergy ID badges.

Then we passed through a second very thick steel door. As we went through we saw a giant man from the Max (maximum security pod) clad in orange, shackled head-to-toe with thick chains, flanked by two large, muscular guards.

After another locked steel door, we passed the cafeteria on our right. A “man down” code was issued; that meant a fight had broken out between prisoners, and at least one prisoner was on the floor.

We continued on across the courtyard to the activities building, in the Lord’s strength and courage, completely unfazed by it all. We were on a mission — on assignment — to go in and possess this land controlled by Satan, and occupy it. And we were IN-couraged! Glory to God!

The Bible study teacher, who never missed a meeting in 25 years, missed this one. That was the first confirmation that we were to minister there. In a circle sat about twenty captives, along with the chaplain, Jeff and me.

The chaplain said he’d stay with us to guide and support us. But God stepped in, began speaking through us to the men, and soon, the chaplain said, “I’ll leave you now; you don’t need me.” That was our second confirmation from the Lord that we were to minister there.

The Lord ministered through us to these men for two years at our Monday prison worship service, as we sang and played guitar and proclaimed Jesus Christ from the Word of God.

The first time, I told them they needed to know that I wasn’t a goody two-shoes. I gave them some history of my drug addition as a teen and young adult, my drug dealing husband, and the Saturday Night Special that was at my side constantly, in case someone came into our apartment to try to steal our drugs. I told them how God came to my rescue in the middle of the night, and freed me from drug addiction in a moment of time.

Then I asked them for a show of hands. How many of you really like it here? No hands were raised. Just as I thought. How many want to come back again real soon? Again, no hands were raised.

I asked, “Do you wand to know how you can get out of this cycle of in and out, in and out, like a revolving door? Jesus Christ will change your heart, fill you with His Spirit and His love, and you won’t want to plan your next crime from here. You’ll just follow and obey Him forever.”

I told them I knew many outside of the prison walls who were in invisible chains, behind invisible bars. They needed the same thing!

What compelled us to go behind prison doors? The love of God, because the Holy Spirit had filled our hearts. And He gave us His strength, courage, and boldness! Our boast is in the Lord, not ourselves! We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!

We are not special, beloved. Some say the missionaries who go into countries so hostile that their names can’t be released, are special. Some think missionaries through the ages have been special. They had a calling, they have a calling, we have a calling, AND you do, too. Have you answered Christ’s call?

Now I’m truthin’. I’m being bold (frank and blunt). The truth is, most of the church is complacent. People go to church and leave unchanged. They live like the devil for six days and pretend to be holy and righteous on Sunday. They want the Lord to bless them, but they don’t care about blessing Him or anyone else. They are the ones I spoke of earlier, the ones with invisible chains and invisible bars.

How about you? Are you strong and courageous? Are you bold? Are you possessing and occupying Satan’s territory?

Or are you complacent, going to church and leaving unchanged? If so, repent here and now, and ask the Lord to fill you with His Spirit.

You can’t help but be changed when He comes in and fills you! And you will say with Paul and us, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” You will be IN-couraged!

Jesus Christ calls you today to be IN-couraged. He calls you to ask Him to fill you with His Spirit so you can go in and possess the land and occupy it, as you should! Will you obey His call?

MARK 14 COMMENTARY

This is a commentary for you and me. It isn’t complicated, because Jesus wants you to understand it, so you can be healed physically and even more importantly, in your relationship with God, which was broken by sin.

In Chapter 14, Jesus Christ shows you and me that His death was planned from the beginning. He was not surprised or unaware. It was why He was sent by God the Father. We see Him in the garden, asking that the cup (crucifixion) might pass from Him, but praying, “Not My will, but Thine be done, Father.” We see the secrecy, fear of public opinion, and blindness of His accusers, and we see that we all will deny Jesus until our hearts are made new at our own personal Pentecost.
Verse 1-2 — The spiritually blind priests and scribes seek to arrest Jesus secretly, and kill Him. Secrecy is needed because they fear public backlash, even a large riot because many Jews were in the city for Passover. The irony is that the true Passover Lamb, the Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36), Jesus Christ, was the One sent to take away even the sins of those who plotted to kill Him, if they turn to Him, confess their sins and ask Him to forgive them. He is willing to forgive even those who will soon murder Him!

Would you do that? You will, after you are filled with the Holy Spirit. You will no longer live for yourself, but you will live so that the world would come to faith in Jesus Christ. Look at Stephen! He had the power to forgive even his murderers, because He was filled with God (Acts 7:60)!

You may say, “Amazing! The Jewish religious leaders wanted to kill God’s own Son!” But Jesus is a threat to the position and reputation of all who are in power, even those who believe they can live without Jesus Christ, as I did. I was my own god, doing what I pleased, rejecting Jesus Christ as a myth or legend. But I was simply existing, and under God’s wrath for my sin and rejection of His Son, deceived by the one who kills, steals and destroys.

Jesus Christ sees sinful hearts and calls them to turn to Him. Not a popular message! But if you will heed it — oh, my! Like me, you will find that He will save you from God’s wrath and fill you abundantly with His life (John 10:10), His love, His Spirit, until it overflows!

Verses 3-5 — At Simon the Leper’s home, a woman comes with an alabaster vial of pure spikenard, a rare perfume made from plants and  spices from the Far East. That single vial is worth 100 days’ wages (see verse 5). At $15.00 an hour, 8 hours a day for 100 days, in today’s economy, that one bottle would be worth $12,000. She pours it out. She isn’t thinking about the cost. She anoints Jesus’ head, to honor Him. The air was filled with the fragrance.

IMPORTANT POINT: You honor Jesus Christ when you worship Him with everything that is in you. Like the woman with the alabaster vial, pour out every drop that you possess, regardless of the cost! If you are full of His Spirit, you have truly honored Him by offering yourself to Him completely. Then you are full of HIs love, and you anoint His head with that love. The time has come that you worship God the Father and God the Son in Spirit and in truth. God seeks such ones (John 4:23-24).

The disciples, as usual, do not understand. Why is the perfume wasted? It could have been sold and the money given to the poor. They do not yet understand worship. So they scold the woman for her extravagance.

IMPORTANT POINT: Don’t be surprised if some scold you because you worship the Lord extravagantly. It makes some folks uncomfortable. Love them in spite of it, pray for them, but don’t let them stop you. Go to the back of the church, out into the foyer, whatever you need to do to worship the One you love!

Verses 6-9 — Jesus rebukes them for scolding the woman. She has done a good thing. Don’t bother her. You will always have the poor, but I won’t always be here on earth with you. She’s doing what she can while she’s here. She’s preparing Me for My burial.

Jesus knows what was about to happen. He knows why He was sent by the Father. He knows He will soon be dead and buried in a tomb.

Instead of worshiping the Lord while He was with them, the disciples have chosen to point fingers at an extravagant worshiper who knows she only has that moment to honor and worship Him. They will continue to miss the truth until their blind eyes and hard hearts are healed, at Pentecost. It is the same for every human on the planet.

He also tells you and me that we will always have the poor. Poverty will not be conquered until everything is made new by God. Help the poor, but know that there is no earthly solution to poverty. The greedy will remain greedy. The “haves” will always have far more than they need; therefore, the “have nots” will never have enough, until everything is brought to a close.

The woman exhibits such pure worship, honor, and love that her act will always be told when the gospel is told to the whole world. It will be a memorial to her. That prophecy is fulfilled as I write this to you.

How much does extravagant worship bless God? How important is it to worship the Father in Spirit and truth? More than you can think or imagine.

Verses 10-11 — Judas, one of the twelve disciples, goes to betray Jesus to the chief priests. He is promised money. He will lead them to Jesus. The priests and scribes excitedly plot and plan — they have Him now! The blind lead the blind, and both will fall into a pit.

Look at Zechariah 11:12-13. It was a prophecy of this transaction. Judas will return the money he is paid, after Jesus has been arrested and condemned. He will be remorseful, but not repentant. He will say, “I have sinned,” but not “Father, forgive me.” The priests won’t want to accept the money because it is dirty money now. So the Jewish leaders will use it to buy a potter’s field for the burial of strangers (Matthew 27:17). Then Judas will hang himself because of his shame.

Verses 12-16 — The time has come to sacrifice the Passover lamb, part of the Jewish celebration of their freedom from slavery in Egypt, recorded in the Book of Exodus. But the real Passover Lamb is about to be sacrificed on a cross, so that all who come to Him will receive freedom from slavery to the sin nature they were born with.

The Passover meal is called the seder (SAY-der). Passover, which launches the Feast of Unleavened Bread, starts that evening. Jesus sends His disciples ahead to prepare to eat the seder. They find everything just as He instructed. The man carrying the water pitcher is a highly unusual sight — that task was for women. That man had prepared the room in advance. He probably didn’t know why, until Jesus’ disciples came and asked for it.

IMPORTANT POINT: Jesus sees everything ahead of time. He sees you, that you are coming near, and He calls you to repent and surrender to Him. You will find as soon as you do, you will have victory in every circumstance and against the temptations that Satan dangles in front of you (James 1:14-15).  Your lusts, upon which Satan plays, will be gone, dead and buried  (1Peter 4:1-2, Galatians 5:24).

Verses 17-21 — Jesus announces that He will be betrayed, and that the betrayer is one of the disciples. They are grieved. Each says to Him, “Surely, not I?” In other words, I couldn’t possibly betray you, could I? They are shocked and not sure of their own ability to stand with Him. Woe to the one who betrays Jesus Christ — it would be better if he had not lived. Even though it is the plan of God that Jesus be betrayed, falsely tried and crucified, Jesus warns of eternal punishment for those who are a part of it.

Verses 22-25 — This is what the church sometimes calls, “Communion.” It is done in remembrance of these verses, and of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. Jesus breaks bread, shares it with His disciples, and says it is His body. Indeed, His body will be horribly beaten on their behalf, and ours.

He pours out wine, the Cup of Redemption in the seder meal ceremony, and shares it with them, telling them it is His blood which will initiate a new covenant (a legal promise to perform something), not like the old one (Hebrews 8:9, Jeremiah 31:31). His blood, He tells them, is poured out for many (all who will come to Him).

Indeed, when He hung on the cross, the earth was baptized with massive quantities of His blood. It poured out from His side, when the Roman soldiers pierced it.

He says He won’t drink of wine again until He drinks the Cup of Rejoicing (or Expectation), the final cup of the seder meal, with them when they (and you and I) rule and reign with Him at the end of things. They sing a hymn, a Hallel Psalm, part of the seder meal ceremony. They camp in a familiar location, the Mount of Olives.

Verses 26-31 — Jesus tells them that though just one betrays Him, they will all fall away. They will run. They will abandon Him. It must be so, for it is a fulfillment of prophecy given by God to one of His prophets long ago (Zechariah 13:7).

Jesus tells them He will be raised, after giving His body and blood for them and us. And He will forgive them for fleeing, and restore them. He promises that they will all meet with Him in Galilee.

Peter protests, not understanding that Jesus must die for him and all of us (Isaiah 53:5). He says he won’t fall away. But Jesus tells him he will, that very night. Peter will deny Jesus three times, even before a rooster crows twice. But Peter insists he will be loyal, and the rest join in. We won’t deny You, Jesus! But they will. All of them will, by scattering.

IMPORTANT POINT: Do you see that God is in control, not man? What does that mean to you? It means you must yield to His will and His ways, and He will lead you, He will empower you to obey Him when you ask Him to fill you with His Spirit. He will heal you. He will fulfill His Word in your life.

Verses 32-42 — Jesus is in the garden at Gethsemane. He is grieved. He knows what is coming. He knows He will be beaten so badly that He won’t be recognizable as human (Isaiah 52:14). But worse, He knows that in the moment He carries the sin of the world upon Himself, He will be separated from God the Father for the first time in eternity.

James, John and Peter are to keep watch while He prays. They fall asleep. He asks His Father to take the cup from Him. All things are possible with the Father. YET! YET! Yet not MY will, but what YOU will (see Verse 36).

He finds the watchers sleeping. He warns them that the spirit of man is willing to be on the watch, but man’s flesh is weak.

Again, He asks the Father. Again, He says, “Not My will, but Yours, Father.” Again He finds them sleeping. Again He prays. Again He returns. It is enough. It is time. He is being betrayed. Go! The one who betrays Him is coming.

IMPORTANT POINT: Again, Jesus knows all of these things in advance. He knows when His betrayer is coming, before he arrives. He knows He was sent by the Father to die. He knows in advance that will mean separation from the Father for the first time in eternity. These verses emphasize the tremendous cost paid by the Father and the Son so you and I could be made right with God.

Verses 43-52 — Immediately, while Jesus is speaking, Judas comes with a large crowd carrying swords and clubs. In John 18:3, John records that there are 600 Roman soldiers among the crowd, along with the chief priests and the Pharisees. Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss. Jesus is seized.

One of the disciples (John writes that it was Peter, in John 18:10), cuts off the ear of one of the high priest’s slave. It is useless. Jesus must be taken. It is the fulfillment of prophecy.

Jesus speaks to those who seize Him. Why didn’t you arrest Me earlier? Why do you do it at night, as if I was a robber? I have been among you, teaching every day in the Temple. But this is to fulfill the scriptures. Prophecy must be fulfilled, and you don’t even understand that you are fulfilling it by capturing Me. You do not understand that this event is far beyond your ability to change. God has said it, and it will be done.

Then a young man (probably Mark himself) wearing just a sheet because he had been sleeping, is seized, but he pulls free of the sheet and runs naked and vulnerable into the night. It is the same for you, if you run from Jesus. You run naked into the night, completely vulnerable to the world around you. I ran naked into the night until I was 45 years old. Then I came back to Jesus Christ.

Verses 53-65 — Now begins the illegal trial. It is illegal because it is done at night and Jesus has no legal representation, among other illegalities. Peter has followed Jesus at a distance, as the Roman cohort delivers Him to the chief priests and the Sanhedrin, a council of 71 Jewish religious leaders.

At the illegal trial, some witnesses falsely claim that Jesus said He would destroy this Temple and rebuild it without human assistance in three days. But Jesus really said that if the Jewish leaders destroyed the temple which is His body, He would rebuild it in three days (when He was raised from the dead on the third day (see John 2:19-22).

False testimony is given. None of their testimonies agree. So the high priest asks Jesus, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” And Jesus says, “I am, and you will see when I come again.”

Considering this to be blasphemy, the high priest tears his clothes in disgust. No further testimony is needed. Jesus has said He is the Son of God, the Messiah, the Christ. He says He is God. Blasphemy! He deserves death! Then everyone spits on God the Son, blindfolds Him and beats Him with their fists, telling Him to prophesy and tell them who hit Him. They mock Him. They slap Him or strike Him with rods.

Verses 66-72 — Meanwhile, Peter betrays Jesus Christ three times: 1) as he warms himself by the fire, to the servant-girl of the high priest; 2) after he moves to the porch, to the servant-girl again confronts him; and 3) to the bystanders. I do not know Him! And when the rooster crows twice. And Peter weeps, he wails aloud. He had sworn he would not deny Jesus, but it has happened just as Jesus said.

IMPORTANT POINT: Even after denying Jesus three times, Peter was restored after Jesus rose form the dead. And after Peter was filled with the Spirit at Pentecost, he never denied Jesus Christ again. No matter how far you have strayed, no matter how you have sinned, no matter how many times you have denied Him, He will restore you. Then you will ask Him to do the same in you as He did in Peter, and He will fill you with His Spirit. You will never deny Him again.

MARK 13 COMMENTARY

This is a commentary for you and me. It isn’t complicated, because Jesus wants you to understand it, so you can be healed physically and even more importantly, in your relationship with God, which was broken by sin.

Chapter 13 reflects Jesus Christ’s love for those who are His. He briefs His disciples, and you, about future events that will climax with His return to gather you and me. His instructions, as you see these things unfold? Be ready, take heed, keep on the alert!
Verses 1-2 — Throughout Jesus Christ’s ministry on the earth, He taught in the Temple, surrounded by many disciples besides the Twelve. On this occasion, one comments on the beauty and majesty of the Temple. Jesus says not one stone would be left upon another. Everything will be in ruins. Indeed, this was fulfilled in 70 AD, when Roman soldiers destroyed the Temple.

Why? The Jewish leaders rejected their Messiah, their Christ. God the Father’s will is that our bodies become His temples, and that He and His Son dwell in us, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit (John 14:23). Temple worship is no longer needed, since men and women become His temples. Think of it! God in you, so where you go, He goes. Where you walk, He WORKS!

For those who rejected their Christ the punishment was that the Temple building which they worshiped like an idol or a talisman, would be destroyed.

IMPORTANT POINT: Once you have been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, ask Him to make your body His temple by filling you with His Spirit. He will do it! His will is fulfilled when you are filled full!

Verses 3-13 — Now four disciples question Jesus privately. When will the Temple be destroyed? What will be the sign that it is going to happen?

Jesus says this:

— Many will come in His name and say they are the Christ or are of Him, to try to seduce you, to draw you away, to cause you to wander from Him. They will say they are Him, or His representatives, but they will not live as He lived when He was on the earth, nor will they teach what He taught. They will speak ear-tickling words (2Timothy 4:3), for their own financial gain. It is happening even today.

— There will be wars and rumors of wars, but that is still not the end. There will be a ramping-up of unrest and war in the world, earthquakes at an ever-increasing rate, and famines. These are only the beginning of birth pangs, though. Like birth pangs, they will continue to increase in frequency and intensity.

— Be on your guard. Behold, beware, take heed! Christians will be arrested, taken to court, flogged, and stand before governors and kings, as a testimony to the governors and kings. What will be the testimony, when you stand before governors and kings? The testimony is this — the Holy Spirit will speak through you, as you stand before your accusers. And they will know it is Jesus speaking through you (Acts 4:13).

Already, across the earth, many Christians are murdered and martyred because they refused to renounce Christ — more in the 20th and 21st centuries than in all centuries from the time Jesus was crucified. You can find out more by going to persecution.com, the web site for Voice of the Martyrs. Remember the Coptic Christians who were lined up on the beach by ISIS and beheaded because they refused to renounce Jesus? It will become like that everywhere, and worse.

Family ties will mean nothing. Many will (and now do) expose Christian family members so they are arrested or simply killed on the spot.

In Verse 10, the Lord specifies that the gospel must first be preached to all nations. That is nearly accomplished by today’s missionaries, but I believe He also refers to Revelation 14:7, when the angel flies in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tongue and people.

IMPORTANT POINT: Jesus gives people the opportunity to come to Him until the very last moment of time. He so desires that all be saved, but He knows some will reject, even then.

— You will be hated by ALL because of the name of Jesus Christ. He promises it in John 15:18 and forward, and tells us that it is because you are not of the world system; you simply live in the world. Hatred for true Christians will continue to intensify greatly, even among family members.

And so Jesus says, “Endure! Remain! Stand fast! Persevere! Have courage amidst pain and adversity! If you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you will have His courage in you. That is Who you need in these last days. Then you will be saved. But aren’t you already saved? Yes, but there is a greater salvation, a time when Jesus will gather His true church. The whole world will see it, when He gathers you (Mark 13:26, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Verses 14-23 — Jesus tells us what will happen just before He returns:

— There will be an abomination of desolation in the Temple. Wasn’t the Temple destroyed in 70 AD? Doesn’t the Muslim Dome of the Rock stand in its place, or near its original footprint? Yes, but Israel is planning a Third Temple. Go to http://templeinstitute.org to learn more.

— To that Temple will come a great abomination — a total sacrilege. At that time, everyone who heeds Christ’s words is to flee, and not take time to gather up any belongings. The references to pregnant women and young mothers, and winter, may indicate that it will be when we least expect it, and perhaps in the hardest season of the year to be without shelter.

—In those days, when the abomination of desolation is in the Third Temple, a tribulation will occur which has never been seen before and which will never be seen again. Great pressure, great affliction, great persecution, great trouble is coming to the church. It will be so difficult, that the time of it will be shortened, so those who are His followers are able to stand it.

— And at that time, false priests and prophets will be more prevalent than ever, performing false signs and wonders. Again, He says that those who are chosen by Him at that time must not believe anyone who says they are the Christ. Those who are chosen by Him at that time will know when He comes.

— He says, take heed, beware, pay attention. He has told you EVERYTHING in advance. He has not left out any detail that you need to know. He has told you in advance because He is God the Son, deity, and sees all that was, is, and ever will be. He was like that even when He dwelled on the earth.

IMPORTANT POINT: Preachers often “humanize” Jesus. He is confused, He is afraid. He is unsure. It is utter nonsense, an attempt to mold Jesus into our image so we are more comfortable with Him or so we can “identify” with Him. Do not listen to such preachers, but run from them.

Verses 24-27 — Then, after the tribulation he speaks about in verse 19, the signs of the end will happen, and the Son of Man (one of the names of Jesus Christ) will come in the clouds with great power and glory. It will be a powerful and glory-filled sight, and everyone will see. Then comes the gathering of His church from across the earth — from the farthest away to the nearest.

There is some difference of interpretation on when the church goes up, and some believe that the church goes up, then another group called “the elect,” perhaps the 144,000 from the Book of Revelation. But the main point is to be ready, be on the alert!

Verses 28-32 — You can tell when a fig tree is about to bear fruit (not the day or the hour, but the season of summer). In the same way, you will know that He is coming soon (not the day or the hour, but the season), when you see what He has described in the previous verses. You will know that He is near, right at the door.

Then He says something that sounds strange. The disciples had asked when this would happen. Jesus said this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. If “generation” means what you and I think it means, it would appear that Jesus was wrong. But the Greek for “generation” means age, generation, or time. So this age will not pass away until these things happen. This age is called the church age, when the church is active in the world. When we are raptured (1Corinthians 15:51-53, 1Thessalonians 4:13-18), that age will end.

Please note that “church” is defined as all believers in Jesus Christ, be they Jewish or non-Jewish (Gentile).

At that time, heaven and earth will pass away; they will be replaced with a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1ff), in which God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit and the church will spend eternity with God.

Verses 33-37 — Look! Jesus speaks “take heed” and “keep on the alert” four times in this section! How important is it that you know Jesus Christ and are reconciled to the Father, and are found doing what their Master commanded them to do (Matthew 24:45-46). He has placed you in charge. You are part of an occupying army, until He returns. Don’t be sleeping when He returns. Be ready! Occupy! Be an ambassador (2Corinthians 5:18-20)!

TIME TO FLY!

[SW214] 01/01/2016 message notes by

Reverend/Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2016

“Time to Fly!”

Today I have a word of encouragement, release and confirmation for all who have waited for the Lord.

Isaiah 40:29  He gives strength to the weary,

And to him who lacks might He increases power.

30  Though youths grow weary and tired,

And vigorous young men stumble badly,

31  Yet those who wait for the Lord

Will gain new strength;

They will mount up with wings like eagles,

They will run and not get tired,

They will walk and not become weary.

This word will be confirmation to you:

You have been waiting, wrapping yourself around the Lord.

You have been careful not to run ahead of Him.

But you have become comfortable waiting.

Now the Lord says, “Fly! Sprout wings like the eagle!”

You are no longer young in Him.

He has matured you.

He has brought you through many things,

He has uses them to teach you His ways.

He has tested you,

And you have passed the test!

It has been a long road that has wearied you at times,

But you are reaching your destination.

He is changing your strength to His strength!

He is increasing His miracle-working power in you!

You will run and not get tired,

You will walk and not become weary!

All who are still young in the Lord

Have stepped out before He said, “Go!”

They have worked in their own strength

And have become weary and tired,

And they have “utterly fallen” (KJV).

But you have waited.

Time to fly! Sprout wings like the eagle.

Do you see? He has given wings to you.

Fly now! It is time.

It is the inauguration of your new season. He will give you further confirmation. But know and believe this — you will go forth in His strength!

I received four confirmations that Jeff and I are to go forth with a healing ministry: one from a leader, at my ordination in the Church of God in Christ; one from a fellow disciple of Jesus Christ; and one from a prophet. And upon hearing that one, Jeff rejoiced. That was my fourth confirmation.

Jesus Christ miraculously healed me of the incurable disease MS in 2001, in the middle of the night. Jesus Christ miraculously healed Jeff of damage from a massive heart attack in 2011, on the third day, in the hospital.

The Lord has used us to heal many, one-on-one, even to raise a woman from a coma! He has taught us much, along the way — things we needed to know before going forth. But now it is time for us to go forth with the healing anointing the Lord has given us, into a ministry of healing in every way.

Your time has come, too! You have had confirmation; this is just one more. It’s time to fly!

Now praise Him with me!  Psalm 103:1-5

O Lord, I bless You! Jeff and I do not forget how You have treated us and rewarded us!

You pardoned all our sins, and you healed us! Now Your Spirit is upon us, to heal others.

Lord, You redeemed our lives from the pit — from captivity, from great darkness, from hell itself!

You have placed your lovingkindness and compassion on our heads like a crown. You have filled our hearts!

You have satisfied our years with the goodness of You!

We are not young in years, but You have renewed our youth like the eagle!

Now we freely give what we have freely received in this new season!

For you who are young in the Lord, who have utterly fallen because you did not wait for the Lord, but tried to minister in your own strength —

The Lord knows you are tired and weary.

Come humbly to Him.

Ask Him to forgive you.

Wrap yourselves around Him,

And He will give you His strength.

He will do it!

Return to Him,

And you will receive from His hand all that you need.

LOVING HIS APPEARING

[SW212] 12/18/2015 message notes by
Reverend/Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Loving His Appearing”

Have you loved Jesus Christ’s appearing? If you have, you will not fear when He returns. And He will award you with a crown of righteousness!

But if you have not loved His appearing, you will not be ready for His soon return.

Text:

2Timothy 4:8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

“Appearing” means brightness, manifestation. It refers to what has already taken place — Jesus Christ’s presence and power when He walked the earth, and His light that He shed on all mankind (John 1:9). But it also refers to His brilliant return from heaven to earth, which will be like lightning flashing across the sky (Matthew 24:27).

What is it to love His appearing, then?

I can look back now and say I love God’s promise of Christ’s appearing in Isaiah 9, a great Light to a people living in deep darkness. I was in darkness, but then I saw His great light!

I love God’s promise of Christ’s appearing in Isaiah 60, to know that a light would come and shine upon me, and that His glory and light would even be upon me, so kings would come to the brightness of my rising, the appearing, the manifestation, the brightness of His glory literally inside of me! Glory to God!

I love His appearing as Simeon and Anna did, when Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem, to be presented and dedicated to the Lord (see Luke 2). They were waiting, the Lord had promised Simeon that he would see it in his lifetime, and God was faithful to His promise. And Anna, who had waited and fasted and prayed, joyfully proclaimed that this little child was the Son of God, the Messiah, the Christ!

I was glad when He spoke to me in the night when I had no strength to continue. I was addicted to drugs, beaten until I bled, and He healed me of my addiction.  But I did not love Him then, nor did I thank Him then. But now I can say that I love His appearing to me on that night, 35 years ago.

I loved His appearing when He came to me in the middle of the night 14 years ago, when His presence was manifested to me as He spoke to me and said I was sinking in a sea of doubt. I reached up, and cried out to Him, and shortly after, His presence was manifested to me even more, as He healed me of the incurable disease called MS! Oh, His glory moved all through me!

Not long after that, I loved His appearing when He manifested Himself in a vision to me. I looked up and saw Him on the cross, covered with His own blood. He looked down at me with a love that no words can describe. I saw what He had done for me, in living color. I awoke sobbing, with a deep understanding of His sacrifice on my behalf, and on behalf of all mankind.

I will love His appearing when He brings revival to the church — not a jumping and hollering revival, but a falling-on-your-face and weeping revival as His holiness and majesty is powerfully manifested to the church, and He heals her of her sin.

And I love the promise of His appearing once again, like lighting flashing across the sky. Everyone will see it! That time is coming soon!

What will happen then? Some will be judged and punished. Those who love His appearing will not fear judgment, though, because God has filled them with His perfect love, poured into their hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5, 1John 4:18).
Praise God!

Then those who love His appearing will receive a crown of righteousness. It won’t be because of anything we have done, but because of what He has done in us! Praise His name!

Therefore, I love the promise of His soon appearing! I am ready!

What is God’s heart in this scripture? That you be ready!

Why wouldn’t you be ready? If we look at the whole chapter, it’s about standing firm in the truth which is in Christ, and on the Word of God, amidst a time when many are turning away from it.

Paul gives a solemn charge to Timothy, and to all who preach and teach. As he writes, Paul stands before God and Christ, spiritually. He swears it, by Christ’s appearing and His kingdom.

What is Paul’s charge? Preach the Word. Don’t make excuses for it. Don’t apologize for it. Don’t water it down. Reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all patience and instruction.

Why? The time has come now when many do not endure sound doctrine, but want only messages that make them feel good when they hear them (ear-tickling messages). And they pile up around themselves heaps of teachers who will teach that way. They turn aside to false teaching, taught by those who have no conscience, who do not love His appearing, but the appearance of money in their coffers. That’s the truth!

But we who love His appearing will be sober, watchful in all things, and will be about our Father’s business (Luke 2:49), evangelizing and ministering, doing what God has ordained and empowered us to do.

We will fight the good fight against the prince of the power of the air, Satan. We will keep the faith despite the tremendous pressure to cave in and dumb down our message.

Beloved, if there is no sword, there is no conviction, there is no surgery, there is no healing.

It is the double-edged sword of God’s unadulterated Word that pierces, divides, and exposes so hearts are convicted and heart surgery can be done by the Holy Ghost. I love to watch Him operate! Don’t you?

He operated on me, and the outcome was LIFE, ABUNDANTLY, ’TIL IT OVERFLOWS TO OTHERS!

ALTAR CALL:

Ask Him to do heart surgery on you this morning! Ask Him to forgive you, then ask Him to fill you with the Holy Ghost, and you, too, will love His appearing. He will manifest Himself to you:

John 14:21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”

In Matthew 24 and elsewhere, He commands you to be ready. Let Him fill your heart with His love today, so you love His appearing, because you know you will not face judgment and punishment when He comes. Then you will be ready!

STRONG SUPPORT

[SW210] 11/27/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Strong Support”

God watches over you, to strongly support you, if your heart is completely His!

2Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.

— “The eyes of the Lord . . . His face, holy intimacy, His favor in view

— move to and fro . . . travel, run

— throughout the earth . . . over the whole earth

— that He may strongly support . . . fasten upon, strengthen, aid, encourage, help

— those whose heart is completely His . . . whose heart is perfect toward Him (KJV).”

My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus! (Philippians 4:19)
He goes before you and is your rear guard (Isaiah 52:12)!

He is your refuge and strength, an ever-present help in time of need (Psalm 46:1).

He takes you from strength to strength (Psalm 84:7)!

He is with you and will strengthen you (Isaiah 41:10)!

No weapon formed against you will prosper (Isaiah 54:7)!

You are kept by the power of God (1Peter 1:5)

I will be with you always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20)

These promises are for those whose heart is perfect toward Him, completely His . . .

But we have to look at the rest of the verse we began with . . . I cannot speak, “Peace, peace” when there is no peace (Jeremiah 6:14, Ezekiel 13:10).

“. . . You (Asa, king of Judah) have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars.”

In what did Asa (and in what does the church) act foolishly?

2 Chronicles 14:2  Asa did good and right, called on the Lord and not man, and Ethiopia’s army, which was nearly twice the size of Judah’s, was routed by the Lord.

After Asa’s victory, the prophet Azariah warns him . . .

2Chronicles 15:1   Now the Spirit of God came on Azariah the son of Oded,  2 and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Listen to me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: the Lord is with you when you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.

2Chronicles 15:7 “But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work.”

2Chronicles 15:8   Now when Asa heard these words and the prophecy which Azariah the son of Oded the prophet spoke, he took courage and removed the abominable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities which he had captured in the hill country of Ephraim. He then restored the altar of the Lord which was in front of the porch of the Lord.

BUT WHEN ANOTHER ENEMY THREATENS . . .

2 Chronicles 16:1 The king of Israel comes to fight Judah. Asa does not call on the Lord, who gave him such a great victory over Ethiopia. Instead, he bribes Ben-hadad, the king of Aram. But the Arameans were Judah’s enemy, too, off and on, as was their custom.

2 Chronicles 16:7 So the prophet Hanani calls Asa out — he lied on his enemy to defeat his enemy! Don’t you remember Ethiopia, King Asa?

That was the foolish thing that Asa did. And he was enraged at Hanani and imprisoned him.

Asa’s heart was not completely the Lord’s.

Three years later, Asa died of a disease in his feet. He did not seek the Lord for healing, but the physicians.

Beloved . . .

—When you as a church leader seek man’s wisdom and man’s ways to make your church successful,

— or when you speak peace, peace when there is no peace, just to increase your numbers,

— or when you as a Christian seek natural means for provision, healing and deliverance instead of humbly asking the Lord for help,

. . . you sin as Asa sinned — he did not believe the Lord was able to rescue him; you do not seek the Lord’s wisdom, you do not believe He will increase your numbers, you do not believe He is your provision.

Asa did not repent before the Lord. He no longer sought the Lord, even for healing of the disease in his feet. But you can repent, right now!

The Lord wants His promises to be yours. But in order to do that, you must give your heart entirely to Him and no other.

How do you give your heart entirely to Him? Only the Father can do it, when you ask Him —

Ezekiel 36:26 “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  27 “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”

Romans 5:5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

1Timothy 1:5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

This purity of heart, this devotion to God, comes when you are filled with the Holy Spirit!

When you ask the Lord to fill you, He will make you steadfast, immovable always abounding in the work of the Lord (1Corinthians 15:58)!

And His eyes will move to and fro across the earth, to strongly support you, because your heart is completely His!q Turn to Him today! Amen!