Friday, September 27, 2013

Prayer, Faith, and the LORD's Fast

by Gregory A. Johnson
Prayer, Faith, and the LORD's Fast, by Gregory A. Johnson
Some people think that faith is believing that God will do what you want him to do—if you pray and
believe, God will act in the way you want him to act on behalf of your situation or circumstance. They have been taught that if you mix some fasting with praying and believing, you can really get God’s attention, and he will do more of what you want him to do. With this type of thinking, glory is given to the individual who can supposedly move God into action. A true move of God will be in such a way that only God receives the glory.

Faith is believing that God will keep his word, doing what is right because he is in control and loves his children. It is in prayer where we receive more of his grace and mercy in our time of need as we release all of our worries and anxieties to him. Our human nature tries to hold on to them, but his nature is to bear them all if we just release them to him.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Greatest Characteristic of a Christ-follower

by Gregory A. Johnson
By Wingchi Poon (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Christ-follower walks in faith, hope, and love.

Christ-followers have faith in the One they follow. They trust Jesus with their present and their future. They even trust Jesus with their finances, realizing that they are blessed so that they can bless others.

The hope of the Christ-follower is different from the hope of those who don’t follow Christ. The hope of a Christ-follower is surrounded in expectation, while the hope of others is surrounded in wishful thinking. Christ’s followers fully expect the LORD to keep His promises because they serve Him with total abandonment.

The love of Christ’s followers is a supernatural gift that is given to them by the Holy Spirit. With this supernatural gift, they are able to love not only the lovable, but also the unlovable. They love as Christ has loved them.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Retaliation is not a part of the Kingdom

by Gregory A. Johnson

By DoD photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Wayne W. Edwards, U.S. Navy [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Although the people of Jesus' day were looking for a messiah to come and relieve them from Roman oppression, Jesus did not come and bring the war they anticipated their messiah to bring; He brought peace. The people were not looking for peace; they were looking for retaliation against the oppressors and occupying forces of their day, but retaliation is not a part of the Kingdom—peace is. Because of this, they rejected Jesus as the Messiah.

There is peace in the Kingdom that is established in Jesus, and there is no one better to reveal the peace of the Kingdom than Jesus Himself. The prophet Isaiah told of Jesus coming into our world as Sar-Shalom—the Hebrew word for Prince of Peace: "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6).

At His birth the angels sang, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" (Luke 2:14).

As He entered Jerusalem one last time heading to a cross to suffer and die, the multitudes of people that lined the dusty road sang, "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" (Luke 19:38).

The angels sang of peace on earth pointing to Kingdom now; the people sang of peace in heaven pointing to Kingdom future.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Taken Out of this World

by Gregory A. Johnson

By illustrators of the 1728 Figures de la Bible, Gerard Hoet (1648–1733) and others, published by P. de Hondt in The Hague in 1728 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
God took Enoch
For many years, it has been popular to trace a family’s ancestry back as far as one can go. There are many resources available now, including the Internet, which makes information for genealogical research more readily available.

The genealogy of Noah is given in Genesis 5:1-32 of the Bible and traces all the way back to Adam. It is interesting to note that after stating the name of each ancestor and years of his life, it is always stated that the individual died, except in one instance—Enoch. It does not state that Enoch died, but instead it says “God took him.”

Enoch was close to God, and God enjoyed his company very much. They would walk with each other every day. I imagine God waited for Enoch to awaken each day so they could spend time together. One day, God just took Enoch into His presence to be with Him for all eternity. Enoch bypassed death.

God has made a way for us to have eternal life through Jesus Christ. We can walk with Him every day, and one day He will take us to be with Him forever. God taking Enoch typifies the great gathering in the sky with the LORD that is to come for Christ-followers.