'Nothing between us' - I'm talking about our relationship with God, in a personal way. What is 'between' you and God? Is the space between you and God filled with faith and spirit - a pure, true channel of relationship? Or is the space between you and God filled with worry, with distance, with doubt, with hurt or misunderstanding?
Jesus told us we could bring our burdens to him, cast our cares on him, cry out to him for our needs and even our 'wants' (Mt 11:28; 1 Pe 5:7; Luke 18:1-8). We are called by Christ to come to him like a child - innocent and open about what we need. (Mt 18:3) But Jesus comes to us, also, with his request. He comes to us and asks us to 'believe' in him. He presses into us - even in the context of our prayers to him - and asks us for 'faith'. That's all. (Luke 18:8)
When Jesus was on route to a man's house to heal his daughter, the servants ran to meet them and told them that the daughter had already died, to not bother Jesus any further. Jesus turned to the man in this moment and said, 'Do not be afraid, just believe!' (Mark 5:36) Jesus walked on with this man, but more importantly, this man walked on with Jesus.
God came to us, in the person of Jesus Christ. The question now is whether we come to him. Jesus puts it in this tender, powerful way: 'Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and dine with you, and you with me.' (Revelation 3:20)
Have you come to Jesus in faith? Is the space between you and God, filled with a sincere faith in Jesus Christ?
For more on 'first steps' of faith in Christ, please visit this page on my website: https://1peter1three.weebly.com/first-steps.html
Jesus gave the disciples a 'miracle catch' of 153 fish. You can read about it in John chapter 21. But interestingly, just as the miracle was happening, Peter stepped away from it. He stepped out of the boat and into the water, and went directly to Jesus who was on the shore. (vs.7) The real 'miracle catch' in this event was not the fish, but Peter the man.
You see, Peter had denied Jesus, and left him to die alone. (John 18) In a sense, Peter - like you and me - had turned his back on God, on what he knew to be true, and he went the way of fear and 'self' rather than the way of the Lord. So at this moment when Jesus appeared on the shore while they were fishing, Peter was in a dark place, a place of separation from Christ, a place he deeply regretted and felt ashamed of. Can you relate?
So when Jesus appeared - and lavished on Peter a 'miracle catch' of fish, of provision - Peter realized that the way was open to him again to be with Christ, to be right with God, to be forgiven and restored. When Peter saw this way open before him, he stepped away from the blessing of the catch, and went directly to the Lord.
Jesus came - God in the flesh (John 1:14) - to connect personally with each and every person. One name given to Jesus was 'Emanuel', which means, 'God with us' (Matthew 1:23) - and to be with us is the primary purpose of Christ. Jesus will bless all of us at times with miracle provision, or miracle healing or protection, but his ultimate goal is that his blessings given to us, lead us to him personally - to simply be with him.
Have you actually ever turned to face Christ? Or have you only enjoyed his light on your back, or on your path? (John 5:35) Jesus calls each of us to repent of our sin (practically and sincerely turn away from our sin), and to firmly place our faith in him.
For more on taking that first, powerful step with Jesus Christ, please visit this page on my site:
Jesus himself said there would be false Christs. (Matthew 24:24) Jesus said there would be false prophets. (Mt 7:15) Jesus said there would be people who would call his name, and even do signs and wonders in his name, but they would not be true believers and followers of him. (Mt 7:21-23) Paul the apostle said there would be false Christs, false gospels, and even false 'holy spirits'. (2 Cor 11:4) Believe it or not, I find this comforting!:) I don't have to stress about the fact that there is going to be 'counterfeits' in the mix! But...
This cannot stop me knowing the true Christ, and speaking the true gospel message! I cannot fear the false, and go silent. This is pride at work. Stand up, be true, advance the gospel, and let Jesus do the judging!
And when I say to let Jesus do the judging, I mean even of YOU! Paul said that he did not care if the church judged him, if secular society judged him, and then he said, 'Indeed I do not even judge myself... It is the Lord who judges me!' (I Cor 4:3-4)
Jesus knows those who are his. (2 Tim 2:19) If we seek the Lord in truth, and call on him 'in truth', we will find the true Christ. (Jer 29:13; Ps 145:18) Jesus is one with God himself, is God himself, and when you see the true Christ you worship him. (Mt 14:33) Don't fear the false, don't even waste time fighting the false. Just lift Jesus high in faith and in word, and he will vindicate himself! (Jn 12:32)
The big question - what is my ultimate purpose?
I once heard a meaningless endeavor described as 'making beds in a burning house.' This analogy stuck and never faded from my memory. It is a chilling image of the completely inane, or 'absurd'. And yet, the only reason it chills a man is because it describes most of mankind throughout most of history. People are investing every ounce of their strength and soul back into a life that is decaying as they build it, destined to die. If the house is on fire, honestly, don't bother making the beds.
Jesus - God in the flesh (John 1:14) - has told us what our grand purpose is! He has given each and every one of us a map for life, a road to eternity, an investment portfolio that will never diminish in value, only increase...
When Jesus was asked 'how' to pray, he said this: Pray to God that His Kingdom would come, and His will would be done, here on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10) Jesus gave us a prayer - and a life cause - to bring God's Kingdom (as it is in heaven), to earth! This is God's grand purpose, and we are called to pray it and partner in it. You and I have an 'ultimate purpose' in Jesus Christ - to bring the Kingdom of Jesus Christ to the hearts of people, and to this hurting world!
It starts with you, however. If Jesus is not your King, then you cannot bring His Kingdom to others. Is Jesus your King? Have you repented of your sin, and put your faith in Jesus? If you do, you step through the 'door' of Christ, into the Kingdom of God. (John 10:9) Here you find the true God, your true self, and your eternal purpose - starting here and now!
Faith is God's access point to his truth. God has chosen faith - an undefinable means of 'knowing', to offer us 'life that is truly life.' (1 Tim :19)
Faith is not 'blind hope'. Blind hope is blind hope. No, faith is when a soul 'acts on' belief. For example, when you know something is true deep down in your soul, you can 'act' on it, or not act on it. You know this is the case. Think of things you do that you know are not right to do. Like, when you are alone, and you believe, know, would even instruct others that to look at certain images - like pornography - is not right to do, not good to do. But if you choose to do it, you are deliberately acting against something you know deep down to be right and true. The same is true in the opposite direction. Like, for example, when you know somewhere deep down that Jesus Christ is true. You can't prove it, you can't see or point at him, but deep down in your soul, your spirit, you know that Jesus is true. You had this revelation, and you know it is true. Well, if you 'adopt' this truth. If you actually commit your soul, your spirit, your heart to this truth, well, that's 'faith'. If you know Christ is true, but do not commit your soul, your spirit, your heart to this 'belief', well, you are choosing to not put your 'faith' in him.
So to know something is true - is not the same as 'claiming' it for your life, for your heart, for your actions. What you act on does not reveal what you believe, but it does reveal what you 'walk in', or what you have actually placed your faith in.
God works in and through faith. Faith is his access point to his truth, his Kingdom. If you want the 'truths' of God, you have to not only 'believe', but to have 'faith' - i.e. adopt, claim, walk in the 'belief'. I sometimes think of faith as 'belief in action.' Some key verses that distinguish between belief and faith are: John 8:31-32, James 2:19, Isaiah 29:13 (Look them up!)
When Christ reveals his truth to you - i.e. that He is Lord, that He is life, that He is everything - this is the 'door of Christ' before you. (John 10:9) You need to walk through the door! Yesterday I was pondering this scripture, while looking at, and even running my hand over a door frame. I was struck by how definitive a doorway is. Jesus said, 'I am the door, and anyone who enters through me will be saved.' (John 10:9) This is an incredible image, an incredible truth. Jesus referred to people who were 'near' (but not 'in' - Mark 12:34). Jesus referred to people enjoying the 'light' of truth, but not entering into it. (John 5:35, 39-40) To know Jesus is as 'actual' as knowing another person. Have you ever acted on your belief? Have you ever closed your physical eyes, and turned the eyes of your heart towards Jesus, and actually said sorry for the sin in your life, and told him that you believe in him, that you will follow him?
After going to and through the 'door' of Jesus Christ, you will embark on a life that builds on faith. Jesus - who you will know in spirit and truth - is the 'cornerstone' of God's building in your life. (Eph 2:19-20) And your truest self becomes a 'faith person'. Paul the apostle put it like this: 'I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God...' (Gal 2:20) So when we act on faith in Jesus, we step into our real life, which is a 'construct' standing on faith. This is not natural to our 'flesh', or our earthly bodies and our society. And this is why 'faith' is a challenge. And the rubber really hits the road when we start to 'build' on faith, putting our money where our mouth is - like taking earthly money and investing it in spiritual things (tithing, giving, sacrificing), like taking a private, spiritual experience of faith in Jesus Christ, and talking about it with real words, to real people...
God has chosen to use faith as the access point to his Kingdom, and to use faith as the building blocks of that same Kingdom life. It is humbling. It is unseen. It is spiritual. But it as beautiful, limitless and comforting as the wind! I leave you with these 3 scriptures to ponder.
'The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.’ (John 3:8)
'We live by faith not by sight.' (2 Corinthians 5:7)
'Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.' (Hebrews 11:6)
The purpose of God, through Jesus Christ, is to be 'with you'. (Matthew 1:23) The purpose of God, in Jesus Christ, is to be 'in you'. (Colossians 1:27) Jesus came - God in the flesh - to bring God back into 'relationship' with you.
There is a powerful 'communication' of Jesus to a church, which we find in Revelation chapter 2. Jesus speaks to this church and commends them for their 'works', for their fortitude, their faithfulness even in persecution. But Jesus says this: 'I have this against you: You have lost your first love.' (Rev 2:4) Jesus goes on to say that unless they return to this 'love' - the very heart of his purpose on earth - then he would 'remove their lampstand'. (vs.5) Jesus is not about 'good works' or even fight and fortitude. He is primarily interested in a love relationship with you, with me, with anyone who will repent and believe. (John 5:24)
Have you ever gone through the 'door' of Jesus Christ - in repentance and faith? (John 10:9) To actually cross the threshold and step into a personal relationship with Christ, is why he lived, died and rose again. Rules already existed, religion and 'good works' were already in every corner of the world. But when Jesus was born, he was given the name - and the purpose - of 'Emanuel', which means, 'God with us.' (Matthew 1:23)
Turn your heart and mind to Jesus today. Turn away from the sin in your life (repentance), and say out loud, 'Jesus I believe in you!' (faith)
'Anyone who hears my voice and believes... has eternal life and will not be condemned. He has crossed over from death to life!' John 5:24
For more on 'First Steps' with Jesus Christ, visit: https://1peter1three.weebly.com/first-steps.html
Jesus – God in the flesh (John 1:14) – came to be known. How can we ‘know’ him? Also, why should we know him?
Jesus was named, ‘Emanuel’, which means ‘God with us.’ Two scriptures to look up (or search up) regarding this ‘name’, are: Isaiah 7:14 (This was written 600 B.C.), and Matthew 1:23. For more on Christ’s identity, I encourage you to search up these other incredible scriptures: Isaiah 9:1-7, John 10:30, John 14:9, Colossians 1:15-20, Colossians 2:9, Hebrews 1:3, and John 1:1-5. The purpose of Christ coming to the world is captured in his very name: ‘God with us.’ Christ came to unite mankind to God. Christ came to be with us, and in us. (Colossians 1:27)
‘Why Jesus?’: Well, primarily because Jesus is true. We come to Jesus because he is the truth of God. Jesus said, ‘I am the truth.’ (John 14:6) And, secondly, we come to Jesus because of what he promises us. Jesus comes to and through us with the very Spirit of God. He pours his forgiveness and eternal life into our beings, he saves our souls. We come to Christ for that ‘life that is truly life.’ (1 Tim 6:19)
How? How can we know Jesus Christ in a real, personal and powerful way? Jesus came to be known. How can we know him? The answer is: by faith. What does faith in Jesus look like practically? Well, the first words of Jesus himself in the book of Mark were, 'Repent and believe!' (Mark 1:15) Faith in Jesus is practical. It is a heart that says, 'I believe!' Does your heart say this today. Can you utter it out loud in words? 'I believe in Jesus Christ!' And it is a life that 'repents of sin.' Show your belief in Jesus by actually repenting of your sin. Tell Jesus now that you are sorry for your sin, and you are today turning away from it. This is repentance! Can you say this prayer out loud? 'Dear Jesus, I am so sorry for all the sin and darkness in my life. Today I turn away from my sin, I repent of it!'
If today you have believed on Jesus, and repented of your sin, you are saved! Jesus himself has 'sealed you with his spirit'. (Ephesians 1:14) It is really important that you take first steps now, and keep walking with Christ! Please check out this link on my website called, 'First Steps': https://1peter1three.weebly.com/first-steps.html
Peter Walker. I hope you enjoy these reflections. Please feel free to comment!:)