Still Later

Still Later

Mark 16:14-18 (NLT) Still later he appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together. He rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief because they refused to believe those who had seen him after he had been raised from the dead. And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”

Where are the modern day miracles? Signs? Wonders? Why is the church not experiencing an outpouring of Heaven and revival like Jesus promised? It says clearly, “these miraculous signs will accompany those who believe…” Do you ever find religion boring? I do. The Lord is shaking his church hoping to reach the people today. I feel it. Do you? Mediocrity grows bitter in our midst and it is time for breakthrough. How does one experience breakthrough? What does it feel like, sound like, or look like?

Breakthrough in Jesus Christ is like the mighty wall of Jericho falling flat. I had been praying for breakthrough in a relationship for almost two years. Offense had become opposition building a wall between two people. I continued to press into God’s Presence. Something had to give. In praying one day, the Lord showed me an image of the Great Wall of Jericho and as the people watched it fell flat before them. No one was harmed and everyone crossed over safely into the Promise. The Lord is ready to blow over some walls of oppression surrounding you today. The very ones you have agonized over and been tormented by for a long time. They will fall flat. No one will be harmed. All will cross over. Shortly after that vision came to me – the Lord did just that in the situation I was facing and praying about. The issue literally dissolved at the altar of God and reconciliation was instantaneous. Crazy huh? No – God desires to save us, heal us, deliver us, bless and prosper His People. He is waiting on us.

Still later he appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together. He rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief because they refused to believe those who had seen him after he had been raised from the dead.

Oh my goodness, how many times do the Children of God dwell in “still later”? Like tasting something new and then mulling it over in our mouth until it loses its flavor and is tasteless and lukewarm. Rather than swallowing it and absorbing the nutrients hidden inside, it is quickly discarded as tasteless and no good. The Word of God is the Truth for our life. It is the very essence of God’s Plan laid out like a fine meal to be savored yet packed with powerful nutrients for our soul to prosper. Jesus is the Word who came in flesh. He was dining with the original 11 remaining disciples reprimanding them for stubborn unbelief.

Faith is not possible outside of believing yet it is claimed every single day. How can I believe in Jesus to be saved and not allow it to carry over into my life? The reality of salvation, if truly believed, is life changing and miraculous. It is not anything I do but the fact that I become a conduit to Christ in me. I must exercise my faith to expand the foundation of hope in my life. Jesus goes on to tell them that those who believe WILL experience a miraculous life and ministry. Yes, ministry. The Great Commission has ordained each of us who believe to “go into all the world and preach Good News to everyone.” The problem is our belief is left inside the four walls of the church, or small group, or special conference along with the hype and social group. It is not for the world, but something to rev us up and send us out to live the same mundane and mediocre life from the day before. Still later…

Today is “still later” for the church and Body of Christ limping around powerlessly vulnerable to every lie the enemy lobs over the fence at us. We sit sick and bound in every kind of sin not because the Blood has lost its power but because we don’t believe in the full potential of His Name. The Blood of Jesus has the power to save, heal, deliver and set free. If these are not characteristic in our life, there is more to our salvation yet to be discovered. God is shaking His Church with a wakeup call. Christ is offering a rebuke to those living in the days of old. It is the last great awakening.

Hebrews 12:25-29 (NLT) Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain. Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.

The attack of the enemy is subtle. He quietly builds walls of doubt and disbelief grouted with insecurity to keep God’s People from the promise of fulfillment. The rich and satisfying life promised to us by Jesus are just on the other side. It is not within our personal power to make things happen but completely possible through confidence in Christ. The Christ in us is always enough to live a miraculous life full of signs and wonders if only we would discard stubborn disbelief allowing faith to become the foundation of our life. The Faithfulness of God in His Son, Jesus is demonstrated in “still later”. His Lovingkindness and Patience towards us revealed. It doesn’t matter if you have loved Jesus a day or a decade or even more than that – there is still more for you and me on the other side of disbelief.

I speak to the walls in my life – you must come down in Jesus Name. I speak to the borders and boundaries of faith in your life as well – you also must come down in the Name of Jesus. Lord, we want every miracle, sign and wonder promised to us. Help us Lord to believe. The atmosphere of your life is changing right now along with mine. Do not be afraid of shaking or earth moving – it’s just walls coming down because we believe!

Mark 9:23-24 (NLT)  “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

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Peacemakers

Peacemakers 2

Matthew 5:9 (NLT) God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.

Are you a peace maker? Do you strive to maintain peace and harmony with others? Are you a relationship builder or breaker? Is the Lord really that concerned with our connections to others as long as we remain in unity with Him? How important is it? Well, God blesses those who work for peace. In some translations, it says, “Blessed are the peacemakers…” Why? They will be called the children of God. How does one find and maintain peace in the end times when love has grown cold and sin rampant as Jesus foretold? We must become peacemakers to be identified as God’s Children, so we must find a way…the Way.

John 14:27 (NLT) “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

We have been provided the Way to peace with God the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. The Way tells us that He has already given us peace of mind and heart. It is settled within our soul to be sons and daughters of God. We must only abide in His Love to remain connected to righteousness as receivers of His Grace completely empowered to do all things through Jesus Christ. He gives us the kind of inner peace that completes us so that all expectations are met in Him. His Spirit inside of us is constantly cultivation love, joy and peace all with other beneficial and satisfying fruit to feed new relationships from a source that will never run out. We have perfect peace. It is complete. It is whole. God doesn’t give pieces of peace but in Christ we are completely reunited with Him.

I Peter 3:10-12 (NLT)  For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.”

In an effort to turn from evil and do good, the instructions say to search for peace and work to maintain it. The Lord is watching us. His Ears are open when we struggle in this endeavor. But if God has already accepted the sacrifice of Jesus and given us His Peace to reconnect with the Father, what kind of peace must we search for and strive to know? Peace with all mankind. The Kingdom has to be united. Without peace, it is not possible for a country to be at rest. We must be at peace with each other. Not complacent peace that only is with those who agree with us, but even with those who constantly oppose or offend us. The commitment to peace is part of our covenant with Christ.

I Peter 3:8-9 (NLT) Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing.

Peter is referencing Psalm 34 is in his letter to those he refers to as “God’s chosen people”. In chapter 3, Peter is addressing relationships. In this particular passage, he is speaking to all Christians. All of you should be of one mind (at peace). We must be sympathetic. Love one another as brothers and sisters. Not with fake superficial wordy love, but blood, sweat and tears kind of love – hands on and heart in – like Jesus loves us. We must be tenderhearted. This requires a humble attitude. We must keep our pride on the Cross daily crucifying our feelings, emotions and rightness for a constant and complete relationship with Jesus Christ AND everyone else.

Those who make peace and keep peace are Children of the living God not just in word but character as well. To love fully and completely will always produce a relationship at the price of our individuality. God has called us to live such a life and it comes with His Blessing. Paul talks about a thorn in his flesh. So many times the thorn in our flesh has a face and personality, it is one person or a group of people that create hostility. Maybe they have talked about, betrayed, offended, or hurt us in a far greater unimaginable way – how is possible to forgive them and make peace with such people knowing they will more than likely not change, not apologize and never realize just how deep our wound is? It is only possible through the peace of God that passes all understanding. The kind of relationship with the Lord that allows Him to heal our wounds, restore our joy, and revive our heart so that we are not held captives by our feelings that are contrary to His Way, His Truth and His Life that He has planned for me.

The Grace of God given to us through His Son – Jesus Christ is always enough. The unearned and undeserved favor of the Living God dispensed through the Blood of His Precious Son is sufficient for God to accept our apology and restore us for righteousness sake. Who am I to withhold such grace that is the wonder working power that restores peace among God’s People? To withhold it means there is doubt as to its potency and that is simply not true. We must become God’s Gracious Peace Makers once again to build His Church and restore His Body to become His Bride.

Philippians 4:6-8 (NLT) Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Jesus is the Author and Finisher of faith. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He knows exactly how you feel and the struggles in our life – yet loves us and stays right there with us anyway. We must become peace makers again. This means capturing our worries, stress, and concerns about others and sending them to Jesus. If only we could put each one in a helium-filled balloon, so it could be carried far beyond our reach. We must become intent on gracious and thankful hearts set on pursuing peace with God which means establishing it on earth within our realm of influence. It is not about how the other person reacts to us but in our obedience in responding to God’s Love appropriately and reciprocating it as He has asked us to – loving one another. We must fix our thoughts. We must focus our heart and mind on Jesus who is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable and oh so faithful. He will produce love, joy and peace within us along with the other fruits needed to satisfy those around us while we are completely satisfied with His Love and Grace.

I must be honest before you today. This message is for me. I will be transparent. I am challenged by this in my own life. I must learn to make peace with all people to become a Child of God who lives in His Blessing and Favor. It must be my daily and ongoing effort to search for peace and seek to maintain it. Lord, help my wounded heart to receive peace and reciprocate it as You have instructed – In Jesus Name! Amen!

Psalm 29:11 (NLT) The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.