Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Means of Victory: Pray, Believe and Praise

2 Chronicles 20:1 “It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle.”

Now Jehoshaphat was a godly king of Judah.

And so when he heard of their coming to war with them, he feared; but sought the Lord.

2 Chronicles 20:3 “ And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.”

He knew that his small country could not stand against the superior numbers and warriors of these three nations.

But He knew God could save them.

2 Chronicles 20:6, 12 “And said, O Lord God of our fathers, art thou not God in heaven? And rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? And in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?

O our God, wilt thou not judge them? For we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.”

As they were praying and seeking God’s help; the Holy Spirit gave them direction through one of the appointed singers, that stood seeking God.

(2Chronicles 20:15-17) “….Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.

Tomorrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel.

Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.”

They knew they would have to go out and face the enemy; but the Lord said (twice)…..”be not afraid, nor dismayed”……and twice He reminded them that He would be with them,….and fight for them.

They all started worshipping, and thanking God for it!

2 Chronicles 20:20-21 “And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness…: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah,…; Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.

And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for His mercy endureth forever.”

Notice Jehoshaphat did not stay in Jerusalem, but led his people.

Also notice, when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers. They all wanted to praise God, even before the actual victory.

And what was the battle?

It was the Lord’s. For He caused two of the armies to unite against the third army; destroying it.

Then God caused those enemies that were left, to turn on each other!

2 Chronicles 20:22-23 “And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord sent ambushments against…which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.

For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of mount Seir, everyone helped to destroy another.”

Judah did not have to fight at all!

2 Chronicles 20:24 “And when Judah came toward the watchtower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, Behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped.”

Four days later, after taking the spoil of the armies that came to destroy them, they gathered in the same Valley.

They renamed it “Berachah”,….or Blessing.

2 Chronicles 20:26-28 “And on the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah; for there they blessed the Lord:…

Then they returned,…to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for the Lord had made them to rejoice over their enemies.

And they came to Jerusalem with psalteries and harps and trumpets unto the house of the Lord.”

Jehoshaphat was a godly king, but even godly people have enemies.

So God was sought after for His help,…..and He was found of them.

We, too, can seek the Lord and His help when we are in fear of being overcome.

Whether by enemies, troubles, or fear itself.

We are to pray, looking to Him for the help.

We are to believe Him.

And we are to praise Him for the help He sends. Whatever way He sends it.

He is the means of Victory in our lives; and He has appointed prayer and belief and praise to go before us into the battles we fight.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

God is Nigh unto them with a Broken Heart.

Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart: and saveth such that be of a contrite spirit.”

This is a promise from our God.

Often the broken heart thinks that God is far away….but not so. He is near.

This broken heart is found in all places.

We are broken in heart by our sin and many failures to such a Good God.

We are broken in heart, often, when we are in troubles and afflictions.

We are broken in heart by people’s cruelty, and circumstances which seen out of control.

We are broken in heart as we go through this weary world… grief, and loss.

Isaiah 32:2 “And a Man (and that man is Christ) shall be as a hiding place from the wind and a culvert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as a shadow of a great rock in a weary land.”

“Broken” here means “burst, to break in pieces.”

But we have a promise: The Lord is near us. I don’t know about you, but the greatest joy of my life, has been His Presence.

I’ve known it since being born again,…..and though I have failed and wavered (often),…….He has not.

He has loved me; and helped me.

Yes, I can say it has not been always the way I wanted.

But I can also say, it has been what I needed.

My broken heart, (by loss, by hate, by hurt feelings, by money troubles, by other troubles) was not always miraculously healed, but always mended.

(And “mended” means “to fasten upon, to strengthen, to cure, repair, make courageous”.)

Ezekiel 34:16a “I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which is broken, and will strengthen that which was sick:..”

“And saveth such that be of a contrite spirit.”

When we are broken in heart by our sins, and contrite (bruised)…….when we remember that we have rebelled against our Loving Lord; then God is well pleased….and is more than ready to save us.

Our sin crucified our Lord. He died for me.

Psalm 51:14, 17 “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”

Isaiah 57:15 “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”

Jeremiah 30:17a “For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord;…”

When our hearts are broken by loss, hurt, or grief; He is not there just to comfort;……but to restore.

He supports us, so we go on through the sorrow, together; and not be overcome.

(He never dismisses our loss; but seeks to hold on to us, through it.)

David felt this way, for he knew many losses, enemies, and troubles; and turned to the Lord:

Psalm 69:2, 20, 29-30 “I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.

Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I look for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.

But I am poor and sorrowful: let Thy salvation, O God, set me up on high.

I will praise the name of God with a song, and I will magnify Him with thanksgiving.”

Christ Jesus has carried our sorrows;……so we can receive His joy and peace.

His joy lifts us up out of the depths of despair.

His peace surrounds us, in His arms.

Isaiah 53:4 “Surely He had borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”

He did that for us. Receive His comfort.

Jesus quoted this promise when He was here on earth:

Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor;

He hath sent Me to heal the broken-hearted,

to preach deliverance to the captives,

and recovering of sight to the blind,

to set at liberty them that are bruised,

To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

He has promised. He will give it. Ask for it.

Look to Jesus, and He will heal your broken heart;… matter how it got broken.

Preaching, Teaching,

Partakers of His Holiness

Hebrews 12:10 “For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.”

Let us consider “Holiness”, for there is a lot of confusion about this word.

Holiness when it speaks about God, is His sinlessness.

This attribute is the beauty and perfection of all His attributes, which are many. He is Good, Mighty, Powerful, Merciful, full of Grace, Purposeful, Wise, and much more.

But Holiness is the greatest attribute, for His purity of thought, will, and action is wonderful.

(Imagine a God who was wicked, or greedy, or impure. What a hell, created beings would be placed in, under him.)

But holiness, when it speaks about Christians, is when we are set aside to His use.

To send us where He wills. And to give us the circumstances of our lives, as He wills.

(In essence, it is the same as sanctification. Holiness is the noun; sanctification is the process of getting there.)

So when it says “that we might be partakers of His holiness”… means that we, by the Holy Spirit within, begin to experience God’s love of purity.

We begin to seek how to please Him, by the obedience of life and heart.

This is a process, which begins at new birth, and continues on, throughout our Spiritual lives.

When we fall down, He will correct us, and we get back up, to walk with Him.

Hebrews 12:11 “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grieveous: nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”

It is for our profit…..that we might have the freedom of a life, lived in fellowship with Him.

Fellowship is what God wants to share with us.

(We go from the fellowship of children, knowing mostly His love and care….

to the fellowship of disciples, learning His ways and commands for “me”….

to the fellowship of friends, walking and sharing all He has for us….

and it continues on, and will forever!)

The Lord showed me this, very clearly once:

Isaiah 43:25 “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for my own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”

I was an alcoholic. And when I became born again, He removed the desire for the drink.

Praying about the great and wonderful grace He had given me….

…He said, “I didn’t pick you up out of the gutter, so you could be….”somebody”.

I picked you up, and cleaned you up, so that I could have fellowship with you.”

This was all for His own sake: And I praises Him for it!

Hebrews 12:12-13 “Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;

And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.”

Lift up the hands which hang down. Tired? Are you weary in well doing?

Then raise up your hands in thanksgiving and praise….

Remember the many mercies He has given you, and begin there.

Ephesians 5:19-20 “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;”

Then the present gifts, of grace and peace will come to mind, and thank Him for them.

And most of all remember to thank Him for Who He is to you. Savior, Friend, Comforter, and King.

(Don’t you feel your heart being lifted, even now?)

And the feeble knees. Those things which should be holding you steady, are feeling weak?

Strengthen them by determining to stand in your place…the place in your life that He has given you.

And not someone else’s place… being like someone else, never makes you strong.

Sometimes it takes great determination to overcome the fear; but if you will determine, He will give you power to overcome.

And if you do not know God’s Will…….will to know and He will show you.

John 7:17. “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

And make straight paths for your feet.

If you have been “wobbling” back and forth from the world’s plans,….to God’s will…….Stop! And give yourself to God, now…

(“A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” James 1:8)

Has your experience been like the ship in a storm: up, one minute; and down the next?

He has stability and established strength for you (1 Peter 5:10). You can make straight paths for your feet.

This is to set in order before Him the purpose we were created for; and the means, or way that you should take.

Seek the Lord for just what you should do, each day.

Well, you say, I have to go to work, or school. Or today I do the laundry, or visit Aunt Mary.

What it means is that we are to bring all our plans for each day to Him, and seek guidance from Him for them….what ever they are.

It is not just where we go, but in the attitude we take with us.

I have visited many people, not because they were nice, or even because they wanted to see me….

But I went, because the Lord wanted me to.

Simple as that. And then, it was according to God’s Will. The Lord’s blessing could attend it.

I have gone to my job, with the same attitude; Because the Lord told me, I was not there as men pleasers; but “I serve the Lord Christ.”

Colossians 3:23-24 “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”

This is to make straight paths for your feet. You will not stumble or fall, if you follow your Master, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Where He leads, He has gone before. When He stops us; it is so we will not fall off a cliff (even if we can not see it).

Yield to the Holy Spirit’s impressions within, and Christ’s guidance in His Word to us; and be “partakers of His Holiness”.

Isaiah 30:21 “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the Way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.”

His Voice is in our ears, if we want to hear…

This way leads to joy,…and usefulness.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Abide in Me

John 15:1 “I am the true Vine, and My Father is the husbandman.”

I want to explain, that this illustration of the Vine and the branches….was not a parable….it was an illustration of what would be.

(Parables were like shadows…..the image was there, but unclear…..Christ gave them to the general people who came to see Him….to test whether they wanted to know more about what He was saying….or just wanted to listen to stories and see the miracles He did… Luke 8:10)

But this message was to His disciples….on the way to Gethsemane….and Calvary.

This was to explain the life they would have now,….a life…”in Him”…..not just with Him.

“Abide”. (From verses four to ten, Jesus speaks of “abide”, eight times!)

This “abiding” is to remain in constant fellowship with the Lord.

How could they do that, if He was going away?

The answer is The Vine and the branches.

Jesus is the Vine….the source of all our life, strength, joy, and fruit bearing.

We (the disciples then,….us, now) are the branches….the extension of His life, strength, joy, and fruit bearing,….here,…since He is in heaven.

This illustration, is for the individual….our abiding is personal.

It is always “first in me”…….this is where everything for our spiritual life, is tuned into the harmony of vine and branches….into the song of union with our risen Lord.

(Yes, it leads….and He requires….fruit from us….the fruit of the Spirit [Galatians 5:22-23]…..and the fruit of a Christian, which is another Christian.)

But the main stress of this illustration….is abiding.

This is an amazing term…especially when we think that Christ Jesus…the Son of God…is saying this….to me….to us.

John 15:2 “Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit the Father taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.”

Since the Holy Spirit is within us, as our Holy Guest….we would think abiding would be easy…..but….

There are many things in our lives which keep us separated from Christ….

…..many things which we often keep hidden….except from Him….

….but which have never fully been “cut off”….pruned by the Father.

(Perhaps it is because in some way, we are hanging on to them….maybe….because we wish they had just never happened…..instead of letting God deal with them.

…..we would like God to just make the whole thing go away….but unfortunately, once things happen…..and we react to them…they are part of our history….

There is only freedom from them….when we allow the Father to “purge” these.

“Purge” is to cleanse….to prune….to expiate….

Cleansing in this fashion is to be brought to the point where the pain and resentment is gone…..but the lesson remains. It is a time between you and your Lord….bringing the whole thing to Him….

and Him “cutting off”:

..from the influence of the devil in it….for a lot of the pain we feel, often, is his twisting the knife that someone stabbed us with.

…from the unforgiving part of us…that says…

….”no, I will not be treated this way! I will not forgive….I will take my revenge in my emotions and thoughts, if not in action.”

This is life-killing, by the way….been there…terrible time to get out of the imaginary pit I dug for myself and that person.

…then…taking the pain… beautiful this fruit is!!!!!!! And giving us freedom.

That is why He says…John 15:3 “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”

For you feel clean….like the smell after a gentle rain,….it is the cleansing of the soul….you stand purified before the Lord….from guilt, anger, hurt, etc.)

Joshua said to Israel, when they refused to go in to have what God promised because of fear….”they are bread for us”. So, going through these things with our God….will make us stronger. “Let us go up at once.” (Numbers 14:8-9)

And the Lord is saying the same to the disciples….they were afraid because He was leaving them.

So He says, “…..the things that you will pass through, will make you stronger…..remember My Words….and trust….and I will send My Spirit to you, and we will be in constant communion still.”

John 15:4-6 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch can not bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the Vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.

I am the Vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit, for without Me ye can do nothing.”

If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered: and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”

Abiding is the answer. To remain in constant fellowship with the Lord by the Holy Spirit… yielding to the Vine’s life giving flow,…

Maybe someone is saying, “I know I am born again….but hearing the Lord in the hustle and bustle of my life is….hard.”

That is where abiding is so important.

There is hiding behind Jesus….and that is good….He will allow it….

….but He invites us to “abide in Me, and I in you”……union with HIm in everything, and…

That is best…

When you have a child, and you are out in public, you are constantly aware of where they are….your eye is on them.

So is God’s eye on us….watching for the danger ahead:

Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way that thou shalt go: I will guide thee with Mine eye.”

When you, as a parent, think there is “something”….all you have to do is reach out and touch your child….or call to them.

The Holy Spirit does the same….He touches our spirit, impresses our mind with His Word, and gives us a feeling of unease,….or peace. (John 16:13)

Abide means, that during your day, you keep your eye on the Lord….knowing He is keeping His eye on you.

Praying in the Spirit….if you feel uneasy….letting Him know.

Psalm 32:6 “For this shall every one that is godly pray unto Thee in a time when Thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.”

“Quench not the Spirit” (1Thessalonians 5:19)

We abide in Him when we no longer resist His Will in anything…being obedient to the gentle impressions of the Holy Spirit…yielding to Christ’s life through Him.

A branch of itself can do nothing,….but abiding in the Vine, it will bring forth much fruit.

John 15:7 “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”

(Notice….”unto you”…..this is all about our personal relationship with Christ Jesus….by the Holy Spirit.)

This is an amazing verse. If we are born again, and we are being obedient to His Word to us….we can ask what we will….and He will work it…in us!

He will work, by His Holy Spirit, that God honoring fruit, in our life….and it comes by yielding to His life giving flow….just yielding.

John 15:8-10 “Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit, so shall ye be My disciples.

As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you: continue ye in My love.

If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love, even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.”

And herein is the choice fruit…..His love.

We will have an abiding knowledge of His Will…..for the Father Husbandman will cut off those things which hinder our knowing, and doing.

We will, by HIs Spirit, bear fruit to the Lord, in our life.

We will, know His love, personally….He in me, and I in Him….a union….abide in Me.

This is the illustration Jesus gave His disciples….and us.

It is a life….of yielding, and receiving….and of knowing His eye is upon us, and His love surrounds us.

He asks all of us, to: Abide in Me.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Way of Peace

Hebrews 13:20-21 “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,

Make you perfect in every good work to do His Will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight,”

God is the God of Peace….of all peace. And we should be fully at peace with Him…..instead of at cross purposes.

Luke shows this in the announcement of Christ’s work:

Luke 1:79 “To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

The Way of Peace….

That Way begins, of course, when we are born again…..there is the peace of reconciliation by salvation.

Romans 5:1 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”

Which leads to the ministry of reconciliation…telling others of our Lord Jesus Christ:

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, not inputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”

Sometimes our ministry of reconciliation is simply a word of testimony about our Lord Jesus,….or a prayer for another,….or a conversation.

Then there is the Way of peace by sanctification…..

… denying ourselves, picking up our cross and becoming His followers in deed as well as word… obedience to His commands and calls.

(Sanctification is the setting of ourselves aside to sacred use….to be used by God in our spirit, soul, and body.

We are in fact, sanctified by all three Persons of the Trinity:

“Sanctified by God the Father”…..Jude 1 [He willed it]

“Sanctified in Christ Jesus”….1 Corinthians 1:2 [He paid the price so that we could have it]

“Through sanctification of the Spirit”…..1 Peter 1:2, 2 Thessalonians 2:13 [He works it within us on a day by day basis]

The Peace of Sanctification is a great peace….leaving the wishy-washy, fence-setting, double-minded life… gain the pure outlook….”I belong to Christ…everything I am and do, I want to do to the glory of God.”)

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly: and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Faithful is He that calleth you, Who also will do it.”

Then there is the Way of peace of repentance from backsliding….like the Prodigal.

Luke 15:17 “And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, while I perish with hunger!”

“When he came to himself” means when he realized, that the pigpen of the world was not where he belonged…..

….he belonged in his Father’s house.

But how to return? He could not return and ask for a son’s place at the table which he had refused…and left….

…what could he do?

Luke 15:18-19 “I will arise and go unto my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.”

He could return, and confess his folly and sin,…..and ask for a servant’s place….placing himself at the Father’s disposal.

Well, we all know what the Father did for the Prodigal….

….but do we know He will do the same for us?…..if we “return, O backsliding children!”

Jeremiah 3:22 “Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto Thee; for Thou art the Lord our God.”

Then there is the Way of peace in the midst of the storms of life….a peace which anchors us to Him….calming, holding us, moving us forward against the onslaught of trial and fear…

Philippians 4:7-9 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things lovely, whatsoever things are of a good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

Colossians 3:15 “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body, and be ye thankful.”

God is the God of all peace…..praise Him in all three Persons, that He is a God of peace……which covers all our separations from Him….

It is because of His Will, His precious blood, His blessed inworking….

…that we have Peace….reconciliation…..a place at His table….strength…and all these through Him.

Romans 8:31-32 “What shall we say then to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Christ’s last command to us: love one another.

John 15:17 “These things I command you, that ye love one another.”

On the way to Gethsemane, Jesus held His last conversation with His disciples before His crucifixion.

He had more to say after this command….about the Holy Spirit….

…about the persecution which would come…..and the peace they should have in Him (John 14:27)…..and about asking in His Name…..and about joy (John 16:24)…

…but this was the last command Jesus gave His disciples…..and us.

That we should love one another.

Love in scripture means the heart’s determination to do for the one who is loved….all the good we can….no matter the cost….

….that is true love….and spiritually, it is a willed determination.

Some people say that love is just an emotion…..that it is the heart’s response to someone or something.

And I say,….yes, naturally, that is true.

But when it comes to us, spiritually, God deals with us through the will….

“If any man will come after Me, let him…” Matthew 16:24

“If any man will do His will, he shall know…” John 7:17

“And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17

Therefore when He says that we should:

Love the Lord with all thy heart….Mark 12:30

He means we should will to do so…

….and when He commands us to love one another….He intends that we should will to love each other.

And why was this the last command?

I believe, that the Lord was stressing His absence….He would soon be crucified, then raised, and ascended….gone from being in bodily presence.

But the other believers….brothers and sisters in Christ….would be here. And He was showing that if we love them….we are loving Him.

John 13:34 “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”

John recorded more instances of Jesus speaking about love than the other three gospels (Matthew—ten times; Mark—six times; Luke—ten times; John—nineteen times)….to love God, to love your neighbor, to love each other.

It is interesting that John is the gospel where Jesus asks Peter;….after His resurrection….”lovest thou Me more than these?”

Almost the whole last chapter is taken up with the story of Peter leaving Jerusalem…to “go a fishing”…..leading the other disciples to go, too.

And Jesus, manifesting Himself to them, on the shore….

….and restoring Peter….who had denied the Lord three times,…..

……with three affirmations of faith, and love….”yea, Lord (there is the faith), Thou knowest that I love Thee (there is the love).”

This chapter is almost a “P.S. I Love You”……to the whole book…..for John ends the chapter before this, with:

John 20:31 “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name.”

Yet it could not be left hanging…..what would become of the one who denied the Lord Jesus, the night He was betrayed….

… the record of Peter….telling the Lord (not that he believed in Him; for Peter was a believer, though he had sinned greatly)….but he told the Lord that he loved Him.

Even Peter could be forgiven….what tender mercies the Lord always shows.

John continues to stress that last command of the Lord’s…..

1 John 3:23 “And this is His commandment, That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment.”

(1 John is the fellowship book….it stresses the light and love of God….in us and through us.

It is also called the “know so” book….at least twenty-three times it says we “know”.

1 John 2:5 “But whoso keepeth His Word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him.”)

John was mending nets when Jesus called him to follow Him (Matthew 5:21)…….and throughout his ministry, John sought “to mend” the doctrine of faith…..because of those who would add to, or subtract from the simple gospel of Christ.

He preached, and reminded the Church of the Words of Christ, the ministry of Christ…the death and resurrection of Christ…..and the commandments of Christ….always pointing to Him, who is Eternal Life…..

….for this is the ministry of everyone of us….to point others to Christ,….and remind them of Christ

1 John 4:7-11, 16 “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”

Christ’s last command was to “love one another”….

We should seek the welfare of all men….

…..but for the household of faith; we should love them….to do for them all the good we can….

….for Christ’s sake.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Whole Duty of Man

To begin this, I want to explain mercy.

Mercy is God’s kindness to sinners.

There is temporal mercy (Matthew 5:45) where God sends rain on the good and the bad.

There is spiritual mercy for the saved (Titus 3:5-7). It is the lovingkindness of God as our Father, seeing to us, as His children.

Encouraging, and reproving us; to help us attain to all He has for us.

Some time back I was having a study in Ecclesiastes. At the end of this book we find:

Ecclesiastes 12:13 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

Ecclesiastes is a book Solomon wrote about all his experiments into the “grand purpose of life”,….”under the sun”.

Which simply means, Solomon, given wisdom from God, tried to find the purpose for life, by natural means.

(It was after the twenty years he took to build the Temple; a labor of love, which his father, David, charged him to do.

Solomon saw to every detail…loving every minute; and the dedication of the Temple was the highlight of his reign. But then….what was he to do?)

So Solomon began a trial of many things. And what did he find?

Ecclesiastes 1:2, 13-14 “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.

And I gave my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.

I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.”

“Vanity” is nothing. At the end of his trials into building, and mirth, and wine, and knowledge; Solomon found that the greatest wisdom is to “Fear God, and keep His commandments”.

For he could not find any greater purpose than to serve God in the work He gives.

He had built cities. Fortified them.

He had written books of proverbs for instruction. Many had come to hear and see him….for the wisdom he expressed.

He had wisely ruled his people, and they had been at peace.

Yet he says:

Ecclesiastes 2:18-19 “Yea, I hated all my labor which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.

And who knoweth whither he shall be a wise man or a fool? Yet shall he have rule over all my labor wherein I have labored, and wherein I have showed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.”

Nothing he tried, seemed to satisfy him.

And he sees that God has set eternity in man’s heart, and no man can be satisfied with anything but God and His Will.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He hath made everything beautiful in His time: also He hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.”

“The world” here is actually “eternity”. God has placed eternity in the hearts of man, so that they will know there is more to life than “eat, drink and be merry”.

Man can not naturally find out God’s Will for himself. No, it is spiritually discerned. In other words, the Holy Spirit must show it to you.

1 Corinthians 2:12, 14 “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

1 Corinthians 2:9-10 “But it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.

But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”

And in the end, Solomon realized that real life and wisdom came only in the personal relationship to God.

That is what “Fear God” is. It is the personal heart of man, bowing in subjection and dependence on God, in a personal relationship—fellowship.

It was too late for the good he could have done (1 Kings 11:4, 9-11) for his people and for his children.

(Years had past in all this experimentation…..and when he was an old man, his many wives (which was a sin)…led him astray….so that he let them worship the way they wanted….a great sin…for it introduced idols into Jerusalem.)

But some people believe that Solomon co-wrote the eighty-ninth Psalm (I do).

There you find him rejoicing in the God of mercy, and His faithfulness:

Psalm 89:1 “I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever: with my mouth will I make known Thy faithfulness to all generations.”

Remembering God’s goodness to him in speaking to him:

Psalm 89:14-15 “Justice and judgement are the habitation of Thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before Thy face.

Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound (His voice and word): they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of Thy countenance.”

There you see his confession:

Psalm 89:38, 44 “But Thou hast cast off and abhorred, Thou hast been wroth with Thine anointed.

Thou hast made his glory to cease, and cast his throne down to the ground.”

And you have his cry for God’s mercy for himself and his people:

Psalm 89:47, 49 “Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast Thou made all men in vain?

Lord, where are Thy former lovingkindnesses, which Thou swearest unto David in Thy truth?”

And finally his submission to the Lord:

Psalm 89:52 “Blessed be the Lord forever. Amen (Let it be whatever You will), and amen.”

He only prays for mercy, here. For as a sinner, he needed that spiritual lovingkindness of his Heavenly Father for himself.

Solomon has left us a lesson: the world and all it’s greatest things, can not fill our hearts. Only God can satisfy to the full.

We can be happy in the moment; but we always want more happiness.

But in the Lord, is contentment and joy. (Joy is the Presence of God in my life, springing up in newness and light.)

No matter where we are in our spiritual experience; we may also pray for mercy from our Heavenly Father. He may correct; but He will come and restore the peace and joy we need.

Solomon says: Let us hear….

After growing old trying all sorts of things….Let us hear the conclusion of the matter:

Fear God (reverence….be in awe….see His Holiness….see His Almightiness….and bow. Someone has said, “If you fall on your knees before God, you won’t ‘fall’ for every trick of the world and the devil”)….

…..and keep His commandments,…

….for this is the whole duty of man.

Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The Peace of God

Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

The word “keep” here means to protect, to garrison.

That is what God’s peace does for us. It protects our hearts, which are our emotions. (How often they run away with us!)

And it protects our minds, which are our thoughts, both random and reasoned.

His peace puts us in a strong place, where things don’t upset us; or hurt us, like they usually do.

His peace gives us rest of mind; not panic or wild imaginations of what could happen.

But it is His peace. We very often have none of our own.

But He comes and speaks to us, calming our fears; and delivering us by His protection.

It passes all our understanding, for we can try and reason away bad thoughts or anger….but it usually does not work.

But, when we let His peace come, we know real power and rest in the situation.

He has it for us; He says:

Philippians 4:6 “Be careful for nothing (do not worry);

but in everything (yes, everything, big and little)

by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

He hears and gives us His peace. Just talk to Him, and receive His peace, and praise Him for it.

Preaching, Teaching, and Note

The lessons of the wilderness

Now I want to start out by saying….the Israelites going to Canaan is a great study to the Christian.

They had been redeemed from Egypt and bondage….like when we are born again….we have crossed a great Sea, which drowns all our old enemies in the cross of Christ.

They sang the first song written in the Bible….a song of praise to their Redeemer:

Exodus 15:13 “Thou in Thy mercy hast led forth the people which Thou hast redeemed: Thou hast guided them in Thy strength unto Thy Holy habitation.”

They were then to go into the wilderness…..go to Mt. Sinai….become a nation under God’s rule and law (where they spent a year, learning these, and setting up the Tabernacle)……..and go to Canaan.

The whole trip should have taken about two years……but…..unbelief made the journey…(or rather wanderings till the unbelieving generation died)……a lot longer.

Our journey from the time we are born again,….till we begin to realize all our portion and inheritance in Christ….having His power and stability in our lives…..varies.

It depends on our belief……will we learn the lessons of the wilderness?

Or murmur,…in unbelief….?

What are those lessons?

First, (and I think most important)……just because we are in God’s Path, does not mean we won’t have problems.

The children of Israel left their praise to the Lord after the Red Sea,…..and three days later began murmuring because of water troubles….their barrels of water were empty…and the water they came to….was bitter….undrinkable.

Here, at Marah (bitterness)….they found that it is what we do about the troubles that matter…

…..for they murmured….but Moses cried unto the Lord…

….and the Lord turned the bitter waters, sweet.

There the Lord told them, trying to get them to see the value of learning lessons:

Exodus 15:26 “And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord they God, and wilt do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.”

Second, that the Lord uses everything to teach us lessons…if we will learn…

A month and a half later, they are in a wilderness, far from everything…and they are running out of food….

….instead of praying, seeking God, remembering God provision from before….they murmur (it seems they have learned how to do that, very well)…

God uses this time of testing, to give them Manna,….a miraculous bread from heaven, which is outside their tents every morning to gather….

…to show them the importance of the Sabbath,….for they were to gather double the Manna on the day before, so they would not gather on the Sabbath….for it was a day set aside to fellowship with the Lord…

…..and to give them an abundance of quail….providing a delicacy in a wilderness.

Exodus 16:12 “I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God.”

Third, that warfare was necessary to defend what God gives you.

Israel came out of the barren wilderness and started ascending into a mountainous area….where there was no wells of water.

The Lord gave them water from a Rock (which speaks of Christ, crucified….opening a well of living water for us John 7:38-39)…

…but that brought an enemy which wanted to drive off Israel from the water….so they could have it. They attacked Israel….

Understand, these Israelites were a slave people….they were not warriors;..

….yet they were going to have to fight to obtain the land God would bring them to….and God would begin to show them how to fight….God’s way:

Exodus 17:9-11 “And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.

So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek:…

And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.”

Joshua fought with sword….but Moses prayed with the rod lifted up to God.

Both are necessary to win the Lord’s battles.

Fourth, God is Holy….and it is in acknowledging that….that we can have fellowship….as God draws us to Him.

Israel went on to Mt Sinai…where they camped before the mount.

The Lord said to Moses…to tell the people:

Exodus 19:4-5 “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagle’s wings, and brought you unto Myself.

Now therefore, if you will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then shall ye be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is mine:”

Here was an invitation to be the people of God, which was promised to Abraham….

….but God would first show them His holiness…

Exodus 19:10-12 “And the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow; and let them wash their clothes.

And be ready against the third day: for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.

And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about…”

Why? Because God is not our “buddy”….He is our God…Holy and Almighty.

A right relationship with our Lord begins with us seeing ourselves as sinners…then….as His people, with the privilege of fellowship.

Exodus 24:1, 10-11 “And He said unto Moses, Come up unto the Lord, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off.

And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under His feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in His clearness.

And upon the nobles of the children of Israel He laid not His hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.”

(We, too, can “sup” with Him….Revelation 3:20 “…I will come in to him, and will sup with him and he with Me.”

But only as we,…”be zealous therefore and repent.” Revelation 3:19)

But what did they do with these privileges?

To be His people…they agreed.

Exodus 24:7 “And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said we will do and be obedient.”

But to have that personal relationship….

…they refused…another lesson they would not learn…

Exodus 20:19-20 “And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.

And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God has come to prove you, and that His fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.”

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10)…..that awe of His Person, that reverence of His Ways…leads us to complete surrender and trust.

But they chose….again…their way…not God’s.

Fifth, time is in God’s hands…and we should be in step with Him, even when we can not see what is going on.

(I might add here, if they had learned the other lessons…even the lesson of personal reliance on the Word of God for themselves…they would not have suffered such a chastening.)

Exodus 32:1 “And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.”

Let me say, this is so wrong on so many levels:

The term “delayed”, is wrong….for the timing was God’s not theirs.

They were in a very pleasant place to wait…water, food, their families….what delay?

Then, they had just heard God say…several times…not to make idols, or worship any other god, but Him.

Moses was not the One who brought them out of Egypt….but God had saved them from Pharaoh, slavery, and the Red Sea.

What were they thinking?

(Yet, can we say we have not failed, by looking at what we consider a delay…rather than to the Lord?)

Aaron makes an idol…which they had seen in Egypt…and they make themselves naked and defiled before it (Exodus 32:19, 25)

God sends Moses back to camp to deal with the people…

Exodus 32: 26-27 “And Moses stood at the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord’s side? Let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.

And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.”

This is the first judgement on the people where a fellow Israelite has to do the punishment.

Here is where God separates the Levites for the priesthood, because they were “…on the Lord’s side”…..repenting of their sin…

They went through the camp….and those that did not run and hide in shame in their tents…were slain as these met them. (Three thousand died because they heard God, but refused to honor His claims upon them)

Sixth, When God is ready to bestow a blessing, do not ask “to check it over”……but believe Him, and enter into it.

Israel had left Sinai, after building the Tabernacle and seeing God’s glory come down upon it,…..and had crossed another bit of wilderness….

….they had come to Canaan, the promised land….to a place called Kadesh-barnea…..

…here, they were to make their entry into the land.

(They would not cross the Jordon, next to Jericho (as the next generation did)……..but instead were about 100 miles south of that….coming into a beautiful fertile land….a land that, when taken, would reap great benefits…supplying all Israel with food and water, till they conquered the rest.)

It was a beautiful place….mountains on one side, and the fertile land on the other.

Moses tells them that we have arrived….it is now time to possess all that God has for you!

Deuteronomy 1:21 “Behold, the Lord thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath said unto thee: fear not, neither be discouraged.”

God was reminding them that He had promised the land to Abraham….and He had brought them to it….He would surely give it to Abraham’s children.

But….Israel had other ideas….

Deuteronomy 1:22-23 “And ye came near unto me everyone of you, and said, We will send men before us, and they shall search us out the land, and bring us word again by which way we must go up….

And the saying pleased me well:….”

In Numbers 13:1-2, it says, “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Send thou men, that they may search the land…”

When the Israelites came to the land…..they refused to go and possess it at once…..but spoke to Moses about sending men to “search out” the land….

….oddly, he thought it a good plan….he should have recognized their hesitation to obey……

….but he asked God about it…

….and God allowed it….telling Moses to do it.

But that was not the original idea. They were there to possess…..not to search. “Go up and possess it..”

Dividing the land was after the conquest….

….yet, it seemed like such a good idea….

….let everyone know the beauty and plenty of the place!

Yet….it turned out all wrong….for all they saw……was the strong people that lived there….so when they returned….they made all the people afraid…

Numbers 13:31 “But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.”

There was only two men that believed God….and wanted to go in to possess,….now.

Numbers 13:26-27, 30 “And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me?…

Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.”

Israel was to turn back into the wilderness,….and all that generation….twenty years old and older, except Caleb and Joshua….would wander for thirty-eight more years…till they died.

(The next generation came in, and under Joshua, they got the land, as God had said.)

The lessons they could have learned….they refused.

The land they could have had….they refused.

The God they said they would obey….they refused to believe….and so refused to obey.

“…and how long will it be ere they believe Me, for all the signs which I have shown among them?” (Numbers 13:11)

What about us? Are we learning the lessons which come to us?….

…lessons which show us about our God, and about the Way He would lead us.

They are often hard….but necessary to walk in…..

…and we should always remember: we are walking in this Way, with HimOur Christian walk here, is about growing in grace….to grow up into Christ….and have all those blessings He has for us (Ephesians 1:3)….if we will believe Him.

Preaching, Teaching,

Paul’s Conversion, and a Certain Disciple.

(To convert, is to change one thing, into another…

Conversion, here, means to spiritually change the direction of your life, by placing yourself on the foundation of Christ Jesus.)

To begin this, we must understand that Saul was a “up and coming” Pharisee.

He was going to be somebody in the Jewish Religion!

He was zealous concerning the Law; “a Hebrew of the Hebrews”. (Philippians 3:5)

But things began to “change”, when he heard, and saw a follower of Jesus Christ, die a martyr’s death.

For the man, Stephen, asked God to forgive them; and Saul knew that this is how a true follower of God would act. (Saul was there as a representative of the Council who judged Stephen. Acts 7:54-58)

But the “change”, then,….was not toward the Light he had seen,….but sent him fighting against it.

Vicious was his attack on all of “this Way”.

Acts 26:9-11 “I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.

Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.

And I punished them in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.”

And why was he “exceedingly mad against them”?

Because, as we shall see, God was pricking his heart; and telling him that “this Way” was the right way.

That Jesus Christ was indeed the Son of God.

But he refused to listen, or to bow to God’s Way. Instead he would fight against it.

By destroying Christ’s followers; he would destroy this Way. (So he thought)

Acts 9:1-2 “And Saul yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest.

And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whither they be men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.”

So he is going to take his hatred of this Way to other cities; to Damascus. He gathers men to come as escorts for the prisoners he will bring back.

Everything is proceeding according to his plan.

But he has a surprise in store;…..for this is not according to God’s plan.

Acts 9:3 “And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven.”

Almost to his journeys end, close to Damascus; God shines a light down upon him that he can not ignore!

Acts 9:4-6 “And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, Why persecutest thou Me?

And he said, Who art thou Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.”

Here, Saul falls to the ground. The Light is blinding, and he can not stand against it.

He falls (finally in the right position before Jesus Christ), and then he is spoken to: Why are you persecuting Me, Saul?

(Notice that Jesus always identifies Himself with His people: Their persecution is His, as well.)

Saul is quite shocked! He thought he was just fighting against people; Who was he fighting against?

The Lord Jesus Christ then tells him, “It is I, you are trying to destroy. And I am here to tell you, you can not.

I have been pricking your heart with the truth of Who I am for some time.

You just keep kicking against it.

Stop fighting My Way. Stop fighting the Light I have given you.”

Saul, having heard Christ Jesus for himself, gives himself over to Him: “Lord……What would You have me to do?”

Yielding simple allegiance, and seeking to obey; Saul gives up his life into the hands of Jesus Christ.

“I am Yours, what do you want me to do? Go on, or go back, or what?”

The Lord then calls him on to Damascus, not as persecutor of His people, but as brother to those of this Way.

The rest would be “told” him, when he got there.

Acts 9:8 “And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they lead him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.”

Refusing to see the Light God first gave him, Saul is now blinded for a time. They lead him to Damascus.

Saul is now fasting, waiting to hear from the Lord the instruction he was promised.

And now to the “certain disciple”:

Acts 9:10-12 “And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision; Ananias, and he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.

And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,

And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.”

Ananias spoke up;….he did not say he would not go, for he had called Jesus, Lord. (He is not Lord to you, if you will not do what He says.)

But he prays a prayer that we all would be well to imitate, when we are afraid about doing God’s Will:

Ananias told God what he had heard about Saul, the evil he had done in Jerusalem, and that he had come to do the same here in Damascus.

In other words, Ananias told God his fear, and ask what to do about it.

Now God knew this, but as Ananias prayed this information to the Lord, peace came upon his heart. A peace that passeth understanding.

Ananias was then ready to hear what Jesus said to him: “Go”

Acts 9:15-16 “But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”

And so Ananias, went; doing exactly what Jesus had commanded him to do for Saul.

Praying for him to receive his sight, and to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

(And because he went and prayed for Saul; every reward Saul [His name was later changed to Paul] will receive from the Lord,…..Ananias will receive a part, too.)

And what did Saul do?

Acts 9:19-20,22 “…Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.

And straightway preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

And Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which were at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.”

Acts 26:19-20 “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision:

But showed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coast of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.”

Saul continued on, doing the Will of Christ Jesus, his Lord, through many afflictions, and persecutions of his own;…..till, at the last he could say:

2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:”

Conversion meant for Saul that he spiritually changed the direction of his life by placing himself on the foundation of Jesus Christ, his Lord.

Have you been converted to Christ?

Is Jesus Christ your Lord?