Author: Joy of the Gospel

Follow God’s Word

People don’t follow God’s word because they don’t believe it, don’t understand it, or think it is a joke. Jesus tells us that Satan steals God’s word before it can take root (Mark 4:15). There are three main ways people can let Satan steal God’s word from their heart.

Believe God at His Word

The first way Satan can steal God’s word from our heart is by allowing him to get us to not believe it. As the prophet Isaiah says, “Who has believed our report” (Isaiah 53:1)? Nonetheless, believing God’s word is more than thinking in our minds that it is true. Believing in God’s word involves action. And this action is doing what God’s word commands. As the apostle Paul states, “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord who has believed our report?’ ” (Romans 10:16-21). Thus, a way to believe God’s word is to do what God tells you to do. When Satan tricks us to not follow God’s commandments, he tricks us to not believe God’s words.

Recognizing God’s Word When You See It

The second way Satan can steal God’s word from our heart is making us not understand it. Like believing the word of God, understanding the word of God doesn’t only takeplace in the mind. That means it is more than logically understanding what is said. Here, understanding God’s word means to acknowledge what has been shown, said, or done to you and agreeing that it comes from God. We can look at the prophet Samuel to get a better grasp of this concept. When God spoke to Samuel at a young age, Samuel didn’t know it was God speaking to and calling him. He thought it was a human calling his name (1 Samuel 3:1-14). Scripture says this is when “the word of the Lord (wasn’t) yet revealed unto [Samuel]” (1 Samuel 3:7). So, understanding comes from recognizing how God shows up in our lives. The main way to acknowledge how God shows up in our lives is to acknowledge God’s true Word, Jesus Christ. This is the ultimate way we can understand God, by recognizing Jesus is the son of God.

God’s Word Ain’t a Joke

The last way Satan can steal God’s word from our hearts is by tricking us into thinking it is a joke. When the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were about to be destroyed by God, Lot told his sons-in-law the Lord was going to destroy where they lived. But his sons-in-law thought Lot’s words were a joke (Genesis 19:14). But again, thinking that God’s word is a joke is followed by action. For example, when Moses told the king of Egypt (Pharaoh) that hail was going to fall and kill every man and animal not under a roof (Exodus 9:18-19). However, Pharaoh thought it was a joke by not listening to what Moses said. Other people under Pharaoh listened to Moses (Exodus 9:20). But Pharaoh didn’t. 

Believing the True Word: Jesus

Why don’t you follow the word of God? Do you think you believe God’s word but don’t do what He says to do? Do you believe Jesus is real, but don’t believe he is really the son of God, the creator of the universe? Or do you think some or all of God’s word or the Bible is a joke? Do you think everything in the Bible can’t be true? Don’t let Satan trick you into not following God’s word. It is the plan of Satan for people not to follow God’s word. Why does he want people to disregard God’s word? Satan wants everyone to go to hell like him (Revelation 20:10). God doesn’t want you to have the same fate as Satan. He created you to be with him forever. Don’t believe the lie, that God’s word is a joke. But believe the Truth, that Jesus is the son of God, died for your sins, and was raised from the dead so you could live with Him forever.

Total Control

The brothers of Joseph sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites because they were jealous of him (Genesis 37:19-36). Because of this, Joseph had to spend a long time in prison (Genesis 39-41). Joseph’s brother sold him to do evil to him. But eventually, Joseph became a ruler in Egypt. There was a famine where Joseph’s brothers lived, and they needed to go to Egypt to buy food. When Joseph revealed to his brothers that he was in charge of all of Egypt, they were afraid of him. Yet Joseph said, “Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive (Genesis 50:19-20). Joseph also said, “God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God” (Genesis 45:5, 7-8).

Who’s in Control of Joseph’s (Your) Life?

Here, Joseph’s story points to Jesus because, like Joseph’s brothers, people who hated Jesus’ message and ministry wanted to kill him. Many of the people who wanted to kill Jesus were religious leaders of the day. Hate, jealousy, mercilessness, and hypocrisy fueled their desire to kill him. Thus, their reason for wanting to kill Jesus was far from righteous. It was pure evil. 

However, as God was in control of Joseph’s situation, God was in control of Jesus’ situation. Joseph’s brothers might have thought they were in total control of their brother Joseph’s life. But as Joseph said, God was in control the whole time. People probably thought they were in control of Jesus’ life. Those offended by Jesus probably said to themselves, “If we get rid of him, we won’t have to worry about his speeches that really help people and expose us to be hypocrites.” 

Control in Hardship

When Jesus died, his haters probably thought they controlled the situation. But when Jesus was raised from the dead and his name was preached throughout the land, it showed that humans are not in total control; God is. Joseph said God sent him to preserve his brothers’ future on the earth and save their lives by a great deliverance. Well, God sent Jesus to preserve humankind a future in eternity and save everyone’s lives by the greatest deliverance—the deliverance from sin. Those who wanted Jesus dead might have thought they were doing harm. But it was all a part of God’s master plan. 

Don’t you want to have a relationship with the one who has everything under control? Jesus said, all power is his (Matthew 28:18). This means that Jesus has the power to do anything. Nothing is impossible with him. And it also means that anything that happens in your life is under his supervision. Nothing happens or has happened to you that is not a part of God’s master plan. You may have gone through hell. And you may wonder why God let you or is letting you go through such hell. It may be His way of getting you to turn to Him or turn to Him more, since He is the only one that can take you of that hell. God wants you to trust Him with your life. And why wouldn’t you want to give your life to the One who is in total control of everything?

Reflection

Lord, Heavenly Father, thank you for being in total control of my life. Lord, you are so wonderful. You know my thoughts. And you know what is going to happen to me in the future. You also know what I need. You know the areas in my life I need to develop and mature. Thank you for being a true Father, one who cares not only for my body but for my spiritual growth and health. To you, Lord, be all the glory forever, Amen.

Can Jesus Heal the Naaman in You?

Naaman, a captain of the army of Syria, sent for Elisha to heal him of his leprosy. The prophet Elisha sent a servant to give Naaman a message. This message was for Naaman to wash himself in the Jordan River seven times to be healed from leprosy (2 Kings 5:10). But Naaman got upset (5:11). He got upset because he thought Elisha should heal him differently. Naaman said, “I thought, He [would] surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover [me]” (5:11). But the servants of Naaman came to Naaman. And they told him to not think of the manner of his healing, but the opportunity to be healed (5:13). Naaman listened to the advice of his servants. He washed himself seven times in the Jordan River. And God healed him from his leprosy. 

Jesus Heals the Soul

Elisha points to Jesus’ care for not only your body but your soul. See, Jesus wants to heal you of more than your superficial problems. He wants to heal your soul. Jesus wants to heal you from the deep issues of being jealous, angry, proud, dishonest, unbelieving, and other traits, which will cause you to go to hell. Jesus is more concerned with the well-being of your soul than with the things of this world. He knows your soul is more valuable than anything in this world.

Naaman had to get over his pride to get healed of his leprosy. And his healing wouldn’t have happened if Elisha healed him in the way he wanted. Naaman had to receive the commandments of God through the prophet Elisha humbly.

A story involving Jesus contrasts the story of Elisha and Naaman. And ironically, it involves another captain in the army. In this story, a Roman commander sends a servant to ask Jesus to heal his servant, and Jesus says he will (Matthew 8:5-7). But when Jesus is on his way, the Roman commander sends another servant to Jesus to tell Jesus, “Just say that the servant is healed” (Matthew 8:8; Luke 7:6-7). The Roman commander said he was not worthy enough for Jesus to step foot in his house (Matthew 8:8; Luke 7:6-7).

What Makes Faith Great?

When the Roman commander said this, Jesus “marvelled, and said, ‘Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel’ “ (Matthew 8:10; Luke 7:9). Now, some people think Jesus said this because the Roman commander believed Jesus could heal his servant from afar. But there are other examples of people believing that Jesus could heal this way (John 4:43-54). What made the Roman commander’s faith great was not how he believed Jesus could heal his servant, but the humility attached to the Roman commander’s faith.

Unlike Naaman, the Roman commander did not have a problem with pride. The Roman commander didn’t need Jesus to come inside his house and make a big event out of healing his servant.

Do you have a problem with pride? Do you have a problem with anger, jealousy, lying, or unbelief? Does following Jesus require you to get over one of these things or some other area in your life? Is something stopping you from accepting Jesus’ love and healing power? Whether it is pride or some other area in your life, you must make sure nothing stops you from experiencing the love, mercy, and grace of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Cares for All of You

Jesus wants to help you. But he wants to help you completely. Making sure you have enough money is important, but Jesus wants you to be spiritually rich. Others respecting you is ideal, but Jesus wants to make sure you remain humble. Being ambitious can be a benefit, but Jesus doesn’t want you to be jealous or envy other people’s stuff. Jesus wants your soul to be healthy because he knows healthy souls will live with him forever. Sick souls live in hell. Why not not believe and accept someone who cares for your complete self?

Reflection

Thank you, almighty God, who sent your precious son. Thank you, Jesus, for caring for all of me. I know I might think my body is important. But I thank you, who reminds me my soul is the most important. Thank you for caring about the things that really matter in my life. Lord, you are all and know everything. Thank you for revealing the things in my life I need to get over so I can live with you forever. I am so glad you know how to help me get over the things in my life which keep me from experiencing your love and healing.

Den of Lions

Daniel loved God, prayed to God three times a day, and God blessed him. King Darius wanted to make Daniel the head of his whole kingdom (Daniel 6:3). But some jealous princes conspired to kill Daniel (6:4-5). They tricked King Darius into making a law that made prayer to anyone except the king within 30 days punishable by death to kill Daniel (6:7-9).

The law said if anybody prayed to another besides the king, that person would be thrown in the den of lions (6:7). Daniel knew of this law and its consequences, but he kept praying three times a day like he usually did (6:10). Because of his resolve to pray, he was arrested and thrown into the den of lions (6:11-17). Yet he did nothing wrong.

Jesus & the Den of Lions

Daniel points to Jesus’ love for not only God but you. Jesus knew people were out to kill him for proclaiming how everyone can have eternal life (John 7:1, 8:37, 40). And the only “wrong” things Jesus did was to tell people how they should love each other, love God for real, and not be phony. He did not stop doing what God wanted, even if he had to die for it. He kept on praying, preaching the kingdom of God, and healing the sick and diseased. Jesus knew his haters would catch up to him and kill him. But he didn’t stop.

How Much Jesus Loves You

So why would Jesus do this? Because he loves you. To Jesus, dying was a small price to pay for your soul. Jesus believed death was well worth the opportunity for him to have a personal relationship with you. He knew the price of your life was his death. But if that meant that you could one day live with him forever, he was more than willing to die unjustly.

Wouldn’t you like to be in a relationship with someone willing to die for you? Wouldn’t you want to know a person who was willing to die unjustly because he loves you so much? Don’t you want to know the man, even Jesus the Christ, who sacrificed his life for your life?

Reflection

Jesus, who are you, who loves me so much, even me a sinner? Who are you to love me in my filth and die for me? Who am I to merit your death? What is my life compared to yours? Lord, you are more than any friend on earth. You died for me and my sins so I could live with you. Thank you Lord. You did nothing wrong, yet died for my wrongs. You knew people were out to kill you. You knew the outcome of your love for God and me was death. But you thought it was worth your life. Thank you, Jesus, for loving me. Thank you for not fearing death, “the den of lions.” Thank you Heavenly Father for raising Jesus out of the den of lions, from the dead.