Saturday, January 26, 2019

Home

This blog all began with a Bible study on the expression, "the kingdom of God is like" this.  By putting together all of the similes the Lord used to compare to the kingdom of God, we were able to get a relatively good picture of God's kingdom -- a mosaic of sorts.  Later came other articles of a similar nature that helped to show us what the kingdom of God is like.  I hope these prove useful to you as you grow in your understanding of how things operate in God's kingdom.  If you have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light, you need to re-learn how to live, since the way God works is very different from the world.

"But Jesus called them unto him, and said, 'Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.'"  (Luk 18:16-17)

The Kingdom of God is Like This The Secret Kingdom God's Supernatural Hand in Crisis
The Link Between Two Realms God's Supernatural Provision Using People The Kingdom of God as Revealed to James Agboola
A Time for Everything The Sudden Nature of God's Kingdom An Incomparable Inheritance
All of His Works Praise Him Thy Kingdom Come The Day of Small Things
Why is the Body So Divided? A Biblical View of the Poor Paradoxes of the Kingdom of God
God's Way to Greatness Faithful in the Little Things Multiplying Your Talents
Against Entropy Changing the Atmosphere The Power of Two or Three
Dependence in God's Kingdom The Authority of the Believer What Do You Mean By "Luck"?
The Mysteries of the Faith

You may also access my complete blog directory at Writing for the Master.

Image credit: "Suffer the Children to Come Unto me" painting © 2012 Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Donate


Our gift of these articles by Len Lacroix is made possible in part by your gracious support of the ministry.

There are two ways to donate to Doulos Missions International. You may either send a check or money order by mail or you may donate securely online.

Doulos Missions International, Inc. is incorporated in the State of New Hampshire as a publicly-supported non-profit charity.  We are recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax exempt organization under IRC 501(c)(3). Contributions made to this organization are tax deductible.

Online Donations
You may use an electronic check or a major credit card to make a gift today. Click here to donate.

By Mail

You may send your check or money order made payable to Doulos Missions International to the following address:

Doulos Missions International
PO Box 5526
Manchester, NH 03108-5526

By Paypal
You may also securely send money directly to Len Lacroix via Paypal, which is an alternative to donating to DMI, if you prefer this method. Please note that this alternative method of giving through Paypal is not tax-deductible, as it would otherwise certainly be if you use the online button above or mail a check, and will not be given to DMI, but to me personally. If you prefer this method of giving, just message me through the comments section of this post to get my email address for Paypal.


"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38


Thank you!

We invite you to visit our Collection of Blogs.

Doulos Training School


Doulos Missions International now offers discipleship training online through the Doulos Training School (DTS).  Please visit the DTS online at Doulos Training School to find out more about how you or someone you know can participate.
___________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org. Partner with us online by giving to DMI.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

The Mysteries of the Faith

My Bible reading today coincidentally included Dt 29:29 and Mt 13:11-12. These two passages contain very different messages to the people of the Old and New Covenants regarding the mysteries of God. Before we take a look at what they say, let me just tell you that the message for those of us under the New Covenant is much better.

The Secret Things Belong to the Lord
First I read in Deuteronomy where Moses said, "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law." (Deu 29:29). I have always liked that verse, which I've underlined in my Bible, because there are some passages of Scripture that we don't always understand clearly. When that happens, it's helpful to remember that the secret things belong to God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever. There are some things the Lord chooses to keep secret, at least temporarily, rather than reveal them to us. Those may include the meaning of certain difficult passages of Scripture, for example. Or they may include the reasons for certain unexplainable events that can happen in life, especially tragic ones. Of course, we can pray and ask the Lord to give us understanding of these passages of Scripture, or to explain the reasons why some event has happened, and He can answer such prayers. After all, He has promised us, "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." (Jer 33:3, NIV). But sometimes He chooses not to let us know, while we are still on this side of eternity. When He does so, we have to learn to rest in Him and be content with not knowing. We must accept the fact that we are not God, and we cannot fathom all mysteries.

The Knowledge of the Secrets of the Kingdom Given to Us
Then After reading Deuteronomy 29:29, I turned to my New Testament passage for the day, as I've been reading through the Gospel of Matthew. In the thirteenth chapter , I read that "The disciples came to [Jesus] and asked, 'Why do you speak to the people in parables?' He replied, 'Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.'" (Mt 13:11-12, NIV). That was quite a coincidence to read about secrets again, when I had just read about them in Deuteronomy, so I knew the Lord must have something to say to me about secrets. Therefore, I looked more closely at this passage and realized for the first time that it contains a message that is at the same time both different and similar to what it says in Deuteronomy 29:29.

Under the Mosaic covenant the secret things belong to the Lord and only the things revealed belonged to us and to our children. but under the New Covenant, the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven have been given to us and belong to us. It has been granted to us to know mysteries. Praise the Lord!

Uttering Hidden Things 
Then He went on using parables to tell them what the kingdom of God is like. Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; He did not say anything to them without using a parable. So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: "I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world." (Mt 13:34-35, NIV). Jesus has uttered to us things hidden since the creation of the world. Hallelujah!

I trust you can see how that is quite different from the way it was under the Old Covenant. The New Testament Scriptures are filled with things long hidden but now revealed to us. What a privilege it is to know these things. That which was enfolded in the Old Testament is now unfolded in the New. Now that the veil has been removed from our eyes, we understand the mysteries that were hidden for ages past in the Hebrew Scriptures. It's all made possible because of Jesus and the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Yet we know that unless He reveals something to us, it remains a secret to us until He does. That's why you can read the same passage for decades and still get something new out of it, because you are hungry and you dig for it with a childlike heart, and the Lord speaks to you a fresh word. You humble yourself as you open the Word and ask the Lord before you read to speak to you, because you know that unless He reveals it to you, you cannot understand it on your own.

Revealing Hidden Things to Little Children
God is pleased to reveal hidden things to little children and hide them from the wise and learned. In Luke's gospel it says, "At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, 'I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.'" (Lk 10:21, NIV; cf. Mt 11:25). The wise and learned ones study and accumulate lots of head knowledge, which is primarily a cerebral exercise. As they do so, they tend to become wise in their own eyes, and they think they are something when they are nothing. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. As they become more and more conceited, God opposes them, because He opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Meanwhile, the little children are able to understand mysteries that the wise and learned don't even know, because God reveals it to them. The little children don't have all that baggage in the way. They haven't become complicated yet or been taught how to be skeptical of the Word. They haven't learned how to doubt and question God.

I spoke with a repair man from England who did some work on our home here in the States recently. He was a very nice man. But when I talked to Him about the Lord, he said that when he received religious training, he came to the opinion that we can not prove that God exists and we cannot prove He doesn't exist. Therefore, he became an agnostic and no longer believes in God or heaven or hell. That's what some religious training does for people, it helps them lose their faith. Some seminaries are more like cemeteries. Young students go into them with an eagerness to learn the Bible and be trained for ministry, but after sitting under the so-called wise and learned professors who are skeptics that deny the power of God, they learn how to rationalize and become critics of the Bible. They become unbelieving believers. And by the time they graduate, their faith is shipwrecked and they are useless for any kind of ministry.

Before you go heading off to seminary, you'd better make sure the Lord told you to go there. I don't have a problem with higher education, especially of the biblical kind, but it can be very dangerous to your soul if you go someplace the Lord has not sent you. What you really need is not more head knowledge, but discipleship. That's what we offer in our Doulos Training School, which is a free, three-year discipleship training program that provides both the theological, biblical training you need, and the necessary practical development where you learn to put what you've learned into practice. It's not for everyone, but we have people from various walks of life, including pastors and university students growing in God through this training. If you are interested in knowing more about it, let me invite you to see our DTS Overview and prayerfully consider whether this is something the Lord would have you do.

Bringing Old and New Treasures Out of the Storeroom
I'm reminded of what the Lord said to His disciples, after He taught them the meaning of the parables about the kingdom and uttered things hidden since the creation of the world. “'Have you understood all these things?' Jesus asked. 'Yes,' they replied. He said to them, 'Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.'” (Mt 13:51-52, NIV). Since it has been granted to us to know mysteries, then as we teach the Word to others, we can bring out of our storeroom new treasures as well as old, both the things that people are familiar with, as well as new revelations given by the Holy Spirit. It's not merely one or the other, but both the Old and the New.

The apostle Paul said, "Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God." (1Co 4:1). He wanted to be regarded as a steward of God's mysteries, and that is what every disciple should strive to be. To one extent or another, we as disciples have all been entrusted with the mysteries of God, and He expects us to be good stewards of what He's entrusted to us. Let's be faithful with what we've been given and not take these precious things for granted.

In describing the qualifications for deacons, Paul wrote, "But holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience." (1Ti 3:9). There are those believers who have not maintained a clear conscience after receiving the secret of the faith, and the Lord is not pleased with them. But we're not of those who do so. Instead with the Lord's help we will have the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.

Closing Words
I trust this little study has helped you to realize that we as disciples have been given a great privilege that they didn't have in the Old Covenant. The Lord has given to those of us under the New Covenant the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom and the things revealed to us belong to us and to our children forever. Even so, we must hold these mysteries with a clear conscience. And let's never forget that even if we could fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, if we have not love, we are nothing (1 Cor 13:2).

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from NASB, copyright the Lockman Foundation. Other Scriptures from the Holy Bible NIV, copyright Zondervan, where noted. Image from Sid Roth, It's Supernatural, is used according to Fair Use Act for commentary and educational purposes only. It may be subject to copyright.

Author's Note:  If you enjoyed this message,  you may also like other articles on the Home page of this blog. I recommend reading The Secret Kingdom, Paradoxes of the Kingdom of GodThe Kingdom of God is Like ThisThe Link Between Two Realms, The Power of Two or Three, Changing the Atmosphere, The Kingdom of God as Revealed to James AgboolaKeeping a Good Conscience, God's Way to Greatness, and The Sudden Nature of God's Kingdom. I also invite you to visit my collection of blogs at "Writing for the Master."  Now let me ask you a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

What Do You Mean By "Luck"?

I often hear people -- even Christians -- say to me, "Good luck with that!" Or else they simply say, "Good luck!" What do they mean by wishing me luck? Luck is for bunnies! I don't need it. It's a worldly myth or superstitious belief that the chances of good fortune or misfortune are increased by certain objects, words, actions, and events apart from God. People who don't know God attach superstitious significance to certain things like four-leaf clovers, rabbits' feet, horse shoes, and crossing their fingers. They wish each other good luck, and even ask others to wish them good luck. However, as the children of God, we rely on the grace, favor and blessing of Yehova, the one, true, and living God, who is sovereign over all the events that take place in the universe. For more on this, please see my article God's Sovereign Plans and Purposes.

We acknowledge His over-ruling power and providence, the effects of which may seem to our mortal minds to be casual, and we might call them "chance" or "coincidence," but actually they are according to God's predetermined counsel and foreknowledge. All your days were written in His book before one of them came to pass (Ps 139:16), and He ordained all your days before you were even born. Before a word is on your tongue, He knows it fully. See my article Fearfully and Wonderfully Made.

Men's best efforts are broken, and their hopes are shattered by his sovereign providence. He teaches them that man's course is not merely up to them to decide, but it is subject to His divine will. As the proverb says, "In a man's heart he plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." (Pr 16:9). And another proverb says, "A man's steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?" (Pr 20:24). Jesus taught us, "Apart from Me you can do nothing." (Joh 15:5b). We must employ our efforts and use the means He has placed at our disposal in life, but we must not trust in them; if we succeed, we must give all the praise to God alone (Ps 44:3; Zech 4:6). As the psalmist said, "Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness." (Ps 115:1). All things are from Him, and through Him, and to Him. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (Ro 11:36).

It was not because of luck that the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary (Lk 1:28), or that she conceived Jesus the son of God in her womb while she remained a virgin (Lk 1:35; Mt 1:18,25), or that the star of Bethlehem guided the Magi from the east to the newborn King of the Jews (Mt 2:1-11), or that they were warned in a dream not to return to the evil king Herod (Mt 2:12), or that Herod was unable to kill the baby Jesus when Joseph escaped to Egypt with the child and his mother (Mt 2:13-14). It was not on account of luck that Simeon just happened to be there at the temple to see the baby Jesus when His parents presented Him to the Lord (Lk 2;22-35), or that Jesus' parents found Him in the temple at age twelve after he went missing during their return from Jerusalem (Lk 2:41-50), or that the Spirit of God descended upon Him in the form of a dove when He was baptized in the river Jordan (Lk 3:21-22), or that the Father's voice spoke from heaven to Him saying, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased” (Lk 3:22).

It was not on account of luck that the ten lepers were healed (Lk 17:11-19), or that the man born blind received his sight (Joh 9:6-7), or that Peter's mother-in-law was instantly healed of her fever (Matthew 8:14–15, Mark 1:29–31, Luke 4:38–41), or that the deaf mute in Decapolis could suddenly hear and speak (Mark 7:31-37), or that the paralytic man was healed at the pool of Bethesda (Joh 5:8-9), or that the blind beggar Bartimaeus could see (Mark 10:46-52), or that the centurion's servant was healed (Mt 8:5-13; Lk 7:1-10), or that the woman who had been bent over for eighteen years was suddenly cured (Lk 13:10-17), or that the man's withered hand was restored (Mt 12:9-13), or that the hemorrhaging woman suddenly stopped bleeding when she touched the edge of Jesus' garment (Mt 9:20), or that the Gerasene demoniac was delivered from a legion of demons and restored to his right mind (Mark 5:1-20).

It was not because of good luck that Noah and his family survived the flood that destroyed everyone else on earth (Gen 8:15-18), or that Lot escaped from Sodom and Gomorrah right before it was destroyed by burning sulfur (Gen 19:23-24), or that Rahab the prostitute was spared, with her family and all who belonged to her (Josh 6:25), or that David was anointed king by Samuel (1 Sam 16:12-13), or that he defeated Goliath the giant (1 Sam 17:41-52), or that Daniel was able to tell the king his dream and its interpretation (Dan 2:26-47), or that he was promoted as ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men (Dan 2:48), or that he shut the mouths of the lions (Dan 6:21-22), or that the three Hebrew young men quenched the flames of the furnace (Dan 3:26-27), or that Lazarus was raised from the dead (Joh 11:1–44), or that the widow's only son sat up in his coffin and began to speak (Lk 7:11-17), or that the daughter of Jairus was raised from the dead (Mk 5:35-43), or that the water was turned to wine at the wedding (Joh 2:1-11), or that Peter found a coin in the fish's mouth to pay for his and Jesus' taxes (Mt 17:24-27), or that the Israelites crossed the Red Sea as on dry land (Ex 14), or that the lame man at the Gate Beautiful could suddenly walk (Ac 3:1-25). It was not because of luck that an angel appeared to Cornelius and told him to send for Peter in the home of Simon the tanner at Joppa (Ac 10:1-6), or that Peter just happened to receive a vision and hear the Lord's voice telling him to go downstairs and meet the three men sent from Cornelius just as they were knocking at the gate (Ac 10:9-20).

It was not because of bad luck that the homosexuals wanting to rape the angels that came to rescue Lot were struck with blindness (Gen 19:1-11), or that Lot's wife became a pillar of salt (Gen 19:26), or that Esau lost his birthright (Gen 25:29-34), or that pharaoh and the Egyptian army drowned in the Red Sea (Ex 14), or that Joseph was thrown into an empty cistern by his brothers (Gen 37:23-24), or that he was sold by them into Egypt (Gen 37:12-36), or that he was unjustly thrown into prison (Gen 39:20), or that Jeremiah the prophet was lowered into a muddy cistern (Jer 38), or that the three Hebrew youth were thrown into the blazing furnace (Dan 3:19-23), or that Daniel was thrown into the lions' den (Dan 6:16), or that John the Baptist was imprisoned and beheaded (Mk 6:14-19), or that James was put to the sword (Ac 12:1-2), or that Stephen was stoned to death (Ac 7:54-60), or that Ananias and Saphira dropped dead in front of the apostle Peter (Ac 5:1-10), or that fire devoured the 250 men who rebelled against Moses (Nu 16), or that the ground opened up and swallowed Korah, Dathan, and Abiram alive (Num 16), or that Elymas the sorcerer was suddenly struck blind (Ac 13:1-12), or that Paul and Silas were thrown into prison (Ac 16), or that Peter was imprisoned (Ac 12:3-11), or that King Herod was struck down by an angel of the Lord, eaten by worms, and died while giving an important public address (Ac 12:21-23), or that the ship Paul was sailing on was wrecked on the island Malta (Ac 27:41), or that John was banished to the Isle of Patmos (Rev 1:9). It was not because of bad luck that one of Jesus' twelve disciples was a devil who betrayed Him, or that Jesus was arrested, flogged, beaten, and crucified on the cross (Joh 18-19).

It was not due to good luck that Jesus rose from the dead after three days (Mt 28; Mk 16; Lk 24; Joh 20), or that Paul and all the others sailing with him survived the shipwreck (Ac 27:44), or that the Philippian jail was shaken by an earthquake and the doors swung open while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God at midnight (Ac 16:25-28), or that Peter's shackles fell off and the prison doors opened for him while the guards all remained asleep (Ac 12:3-11). It was not on account of luck that people were suddenly healed as Peter's shadow fell on them when he walked by (Ac 5:15), or that people were healed when they touched an apron or handkerchief that had touched Paul's body (Ac 19:12).

You won't find luck in the Bible. It's not in the Law or the Prophets, nor is it in the Psalms or Proverbs. It's not in the Gospels, Acts, Epistles, or the Apocalypse. Neither Jesus nor His apostles ever wished anyone good luck or taught that we need it at all. Nobody will ever enter the kingdom of heaven by their good luck (Joh 3:3; Eph 2:8; Rev 7:9-17; 21:26), nor will anyone ever be thrown into hell because of bad luck (Mt 10:28; Lk 12:5; Ro 6:23; Heb 12:14; Rev 20:11-15).

From a Christian perspective according to Scripture, there is no such thing as luck, since God is in control of everything. If something good happens, it is God's gift and blessing, according to His grace. For every good and perfect gift comes from above, flowing down from the Father of the lights, who changes not like shifting shadows (Jas 1:17). There is a time for everything. In fact, there is a proper time and procedure for every matter (Ecc 8:6). God answers believing prayer, and no matter what happens, He is in control, not Satan. Jesus Christ disarmed the devil and his minions at the cross, triumphed over them, and made a spectacle of them (Col. 2:15). He has given us authority over them. If we put on the full armor of God, use our faith in God, call upon the name of Jesus, stand upon His promises, and proclaim the truth, then we can overcome the enemy in the battle against darkness every time. This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith (1 Joh 5:4).

Even if Christians mean well when they say, "Good luck," they are using a worldly cliché that has no Scriptural basis and is not based on truth. The Bible says we should not conform to the world (Rom 12:2), and Jesus said that we would have to give an account on judgment day for every idle word we speak (Mt 12:36). So let's get the word "luck" out of our vocabulary, and replace it with truth. If you want to wish someone well, then why not say, "God bless you!", or "The Lord be with you!", or "I'll be praying for you that it goes well." Better yet, since Jesus promised that our Father in heaven would do for us whatever two of us on earth agree to ask for in prayer (Mt 18:19), then why not stop and pray for the person right at that moment before you part? For we trust in the name of the Lord our God!

Grace, mercy and peace abundantly to you all who are in Christ..

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. Other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, where noted. Images may be subject to copyright, and are used here for commentary and educational purposes only, according to the Fair Use Act.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, please also read Grace, Mercy, and PeaceFearfully and Wonderfully Made, God's Sovereign Plans and Purposes, The Authority of the BelieverA Time for Everything, The Sudden Nature of God's Kingdom, God's Amazing Plan for Your Life, The Lord Will Rescue You, Speak to the Storm, God's Supernatural Provision Using People, Is the the Self-Help and Actualization Movement a Sham?From Self-confidence to Confidence in the Lord, The Kingdom of God as Revealed to James Agboola, Overcoming the World, Personal Proclamations of Faith, The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness, Remember Lot's Wife, and Angelic Escape from Terrorist Assassins, You may access the Main Directory for The Kingdom of God is Like This, and you may also my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

Friday, August 24, 2018

The Authority of the Believer

If we as believers realized the authority that we have in Christ, we would not allow the devil and his demons to do the things they do to us and to others, but would exercise that authority to the fullest extent. So what authority do we have according to God's Word?

Made in God's Image
In the beginning man was made in God's image. "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." (Gen 1:26-27). This is our fundamental starting point, because God's original design was for man to be in His own image.

Being made in God's image has many aspects to it, including things like the ability to love, to know God, to worship, to reason, to think independently, and to understand. It also includes the aspects of our physical features, as well as our spirit man. It also means that once we are born, we exist forever, since the human soul cannot be destroyed and even after the death of the body the soul continues on its existence in either heaven or hell. But the aspect of being made in God's image that I want to discuss today is that man was given authority on earth. What does that entail?

Authority to Subdue the Earth
First it involves authority to subdue the earth. "God blessed them; and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'" (Gen 1:28). The word "subdue" here comes from the Hebrew word "kabash", which means to tread down, conquer, subjugate, bring into subjection, or subdue. God gave man authority to subdue the earth, which includes everything in it such as the ground, the trees, the plants, and the wildlife. But let's not forget that the wildlife includes the serpent, which represents the devil. This means that God originally gave man authority to subdue the devil and all of his demons.

Authority to Rule Over the Earth
The second aspect that is involved in man receiving from God authority on earth is the express authority to rule over it. God said to them, "...and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'" (Gen 1:28). God gave man authority to rule over every living thing on earth. The Hebrew word for "rule" here and in verse 26 means to have dominion, prevail against, reign, or rule. Once again, this not only applies to every living thing that is seen but every living thing that is unseen as well, including the devil and his demons.

Perhaps you may question whether God originally gave man authority over the devil and his fallen angels before the fall, so that he might subdue them and rule over them. But there are some very good, biblical reasons why I believe Adam and Eve's authority extended even to the unseen spiritual realm of satan and his demons. Let me enumerate them.

1. To be made in the image of God, as the first Adam was, means he was a type of Christ, who is the second Adam (1 Cor 15:45). Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that he had the same level of authority on earth, before his fall, that Christ the second Adam had on earth, which included authority over all demons.

2. The term "image" of God comes from the Hebrew word "tselem" meaning "resemblance or representative figure." It can also mean "idol or physical image," similar to what we would call a statue, except that a statue is an inanimate object and Adam was a living human being. The Greek word used for "image" in the Septuagint is "eikon," meaning "likeness, representation, statue, or image." From this Greek word we get the modern English word "icon." This is the same Greek word the apostle Paul used in reference to Christ in his epistle to the Colossians, in which he wrote, "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation." (Col 1:15).

The apostle says in Hebrews that Christ is the "exact representation" of God's nature (Heb 1:3), which is what you would expect an icon to be. If you hold a mirror in front of you, you expect to see an exact representation of yourself reflected in it, and so it is with Christ's representation of God. Likewise, since Adam was also made in the image (eikon) of God, we should expect that he accurately represented God in all respects, except for His actual divinity. The Lord is God and God alone, but as one made in his image on earth, Adam possessed that same God-given authority that the Lord walked in. We would not expect anyone who is a representation of God on earth to lack authority over the devil and his demons, because we know God most definitely does have authority over all of them.

3. Adam was "the son of God," according to the genealogy of Christ in Luke 3:38. This doesn't mean he was the son of God in the same sense that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, because Adam was not divine, as I have already stated. Although Jesus was fully God and fully man, Adam was fully man and not God at all. But the term "son of God" with reference to Adam does mean that he was a direct creation of God, and not an offspring of someone else that God created. The term also implies by parallelism or analogy that he walked in the same authority over the devil and his angels.

4. The Lord would not have put man on the earth to subdue it and rule over it, knowing that the serpent was here to tempt man, subdue him, and rule over him as the god of this world. That would have been setting Adam and Eve up to fail, if the authority God had given them to subdue the earth and rule over it had not included authority over the serpent. In fact, the Scripture explicitly names the serpent as one of the wild beasts (Gen 3:1), so there can be no doubt that the serpent was included among "every living thing that moves on the earth," over which God had given man authority.

Therefore, according to Scripture, God gave man authority to rule and reign and to have dominion over the devil and his demons, and every other living thing on earth. His plan was for man to rule over the earth (Gen 1:26), which was the original state of man made in the image of God before the fall.

Image of God Marred
However, the image of God was marred by the fall of man into sin. Up until that time everything that God made was good. He created it and He saw that it was good. That pattern is repeated all throughout the six days of creation (1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25). In fact, when He finished, "God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day." (Gen 1:31).

After that the only thing that was not good was for man to be alone. Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him." (Gen 2:18). So God put Adam into a deep sleep, took one of his ribs out and closed up his side, then made a woman out of it and Adam called her Eve. They became one flesh together as husband and wife. "And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed." (Gen 2:25). So obviously that was good, too! It was all good.

They also had something holy, which was the seventh day that God rested on, which God blessed and sanctified (Gen 2:2-3). And they had a command from God, too. The command was not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Aside from the positive commands to be fruitful and multiple, to subdue the earth and rule over it, this was the only negative command God gave them for something they were not allowed to do. They were allowed to eat from any other tree in the garden except for that one.

Then entered satan into the scene. "Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, 'Indeed, has God said, "You shall not eat from any tree of the garden"?'" (Gen 3:1). The serpent subtly tricked the woman through deception to eat of that one tree that God had commanded her and Adam not to eat from. Once she ate from it and tasted its fruit, she also gave some to her husband and he ate it. This implies that Adam was right there with her when the devil deceived her and she ate it, and it explicitly states that he also ate of the fruit after that when she gave it to him. This is how man fell into sin and the image of God he was made in became marred.

In order to understand the magnitude of what happened at that moment, we have to remember that Adam and Eve were made in God's image and given authority to subdue and rule over the earth. Eve was supposed to have dominion over the serpent, subdue it, and rule over it, but instead she allowed it to subdue her, deceive her, and get the upper hand over her. By allowing him to do that, she sinned against God, and she relinquished her authority to the serpent. Once she did that, then he was able to rule over her as one of his agents to get Adam to do his bidding also. Once Adam ate of the fruit, and committed his first sin, he too allowed satan to subdue him and rule over him. Now the tables were turned and God's original design was twisted. The image of God in man was now marred.

At that point we see Adam and Eve ashamed, covering themselves and hiding from God. This is the point at which they become separated from God, which is one of the terrible consequences of sin. God comes looking for them, questions them, and then pronounces a curse on the serpent and consigns him to crawling on his belly, licking the dust beneath Adam's feet all the days of his life. He says the serpent will still be able to do damage by striking and bruising man's heel, but that man will bruise him on his head. This is also a prophetic allusion to the work of Christ on the cross, bruising the serpent's head. And God said there would be enmity between the serpent's seed and the woman's seed. This, too, was another prophetic word about Christ the woman's seed being at enmity with the devil's seed. There was destined to be warfare between Christ and the devil, as well as between all who are Christ's and all who are the devil's.

God then pronounces a judgment over the woman for listening to the serpent, being deceived by it, and eating the forbidden fruit. He also sentences the man to punishment for listening to his wife. God then makes coverings for them out of animal skins, so they can cover their shameful nakedness, which is a type of Christ. It typifies Christ giving His life just like those animals did whose skin Adam and Eve were covered with, so that He could take away our sin and enable us to cover our shame before God.

But at that point the image of God they were made in was marred. They had to be removed from the Garden of Eden, so that they would not eat of the tree of life any more and live forever in that condition. That was how mankind fell into sin and his authority was first abdicated to the devil.

Now since all men have sinned, the image of God that man was originally made in at the beginning has become disfigured by sin. It's like when you look at yourself in one of those concave or convex mirrors at the amusement park, and you see yourself looking either too fat or too skinny. You no longer look the way you are supposed to look, but you appear very strangely. That's what sin has done to the image of God in fallen man. Now man has a caricature of God's image that is distorted and no longer accurately represents God on the earth. This is satan's plan, since it brings pain to God's heart and goes against His will.

Image of God Restored
When a person repents of his sin and puts his faith in Jesus Christ, because of His finished work at the cross paying the price of sin for us, and rising from the dead, then his sins are forgiven. Then God begins to restore His image in that person. The apostle Paul said, "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit." (2Co 3:18). It's a kind of metamorphosis like a caterpillar goes through when it becomes a butterfly. We go from being lowly worms, crawling on our bellies like the caterpillar and the serpent, into beautiful butterflies that float and fly effortlessly through the air far above the serpent and the ground. We who know Christ are being transformed from glory to glory into the same image as Christ.

That means the image of God in us is being restored to it's original condition. That means we also begin to exercise the authority originally given by God to man to subdue the earth and rule over it and every living thing in it, including satan and his minions.

Authority can only be given, it must never be usurped. All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to the Lord Jesus Christ. "And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.'" (Mat 28:18)

He has given authority to His disciples over the devil and all disease. "These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." (Mar 16:17-18).

As you read through the book of Acts, you can see the acts of the Holy Spirit performed at the hands of the apostles. "The Lord...confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders." (Ac 14:3, NIV). And the Lord continues to do the same thing today through his disciples around the world.

Jesus gave us power and authority over all the demons, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. And He sent us out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing. (Mat 10:1; Luk 9:1-2). We  have received of the fullness of Christ (Jn 1:19).  We have the authority to do the same works that Jesus did, by doing them in His name (Jn 14:12)

Now we can say with the apostle Paul, "The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen." (2Ti 4:18) Now we can say as T.L. Osborne did, "The Man at God’s right hand, Jesus Christ, who loved me and died for me now lives in me." (Gal 2:2). The devil and his demons are eternally defeated, since Christ has triumphed over them through the cross (Col 2:15).  We as believers have overcome them, because greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world (1 Jn 4:4). Jesus has given us authority over all the power of the enemy and nothing will injure us, when we exercise it (Lk 10:19). In all our difficulties, we have complete victory through Him who loved us (Rom 8:37).

Through faith in Christ, all things are possible to us (Mk 9:23). Because we have faith in God, we say to this mountain, "Be taken up and cast into the sea." We do not doubt in our heart, but believe that what we say is going to happen. It will be granted us. All things for which we pray and ask, believing that we have received them, they will be granted us. (Mar 11:22-24). Once you begin to get a hold of this, understand the authority you have in Christ, and begin to obediently exercise it, then I can truly say with the apostle Paul that the God of peace will soon crush satan underneath your feet (Rom 16:20).

Illustrations
There are many examples that I could give to illustrate what it means to have dominion, and I will not attempt to give them all. But a couple will suffice.

One evening when I was in Bible school, I had gone out for a prayer walk in the neighborhood adjacent to our campus all by myself. When I returned and was coming up the walkway to my dormitory, a vicious dog charged at me unexpectedly from in front of me off to my right. I cannot recall what kind of dog, but seem to remember that it was a German shepherd. I had never seen this dog before and it was unknown to me. In an instant he was standing right in front of me barking ferociously, looking up at me with his jaws located right between my legs. I steeled myself from showing any fear that my natural man was inclined to feel at that frightening moment. I said to him in a loud, commanding voice, "I bind you in Jesus' name!" I may have also said, "Go!" but I am not certain about that. At that point, he immediately stopped barking and ran away. That is an example of taking dominion over the wild beasts, and I've done the same thing with other threatening creatures like wasps, whereby I command them in Jesus' name to go.

The other examples would be related to healing, miracles, and casting out demons, which I have experienced firsthand over the past 30 years. One time when I traveled to Bulgaria, I preached at a gypsy church in Kalekovits, Bulgaria.  Fourteen people wanted healing, and the Lord healed many of them. One young lady manifested a demon that made her mute, and received deliverance after about 45 minutes. She was able to speak again! As the demon was coming out, she began coughing and spitting up blood. She later told us that as we were casting it out, she could feel something like a heavy, metal ball in her stomach that began coming up through her throat.

At another church here in the States in New Hampshire, my wife and I ministered to the sick one evening. One lady had suffered from scoliosis since age fourteen. After having her sit down with her legs out in front of her, I checked them and found that her left was longer by one-quarter to one-half inch. I spoke to her right leg and commanded it to grow out, which it did right before our eyes, until the two legs were perfectly even. She was then able to walk around without pain. She later said she felt a gentleness and had a vision of grapes when I prayed for her healing. My wife was led to minister inner healing while laying hands on her chest. She later said she felt a lump come up in her chest as my wife prayed.

All the glory goes to God for what He did for these people. They were healed and delivered by faith in Jesus' name according to Scripture. Without Him we can do nothing. My purpose in sharing these examples is to illustrate what I am teaching, and to emphasize the fact that this is not something that man taught me, but it is something I have experienced firsthand in my life.

Putting it All Together
To summarize, man was originally made in God's image with authority to subdue the earth and rule over it. However, that image became marred by man's fall into sin. That problem remained until Christ came and died for us on the cross, paying the price for sin, and rising from the dead, so that we could have peace with God and be restored to our original state before the fall. That restoration includes all respects of the image of God that Adam was made in.

By putting your faith in Christ, you receive a full restoration to the original condition that God intended for man when he was created in the beginning. That means you are put back into right standing with God and fellowship with Him like they had in the Garden of Eden, when God walked with Adam in the cool of the day. It also means you are transformed from glory to glory into the same image as Christ. Therefore, the same authority that Christ walked in on earth, we also have in His powerful name.

The reason that some disciples are not experiencing that dominion on earth is that they deny the power of God in their lives through doubt and unbelief. But we are not among those who do so. Rather we are those who believe the full gospel and have experienced His power first-hand in our lives personally. We have seen the wonderful results of taking the dominion God has given to us in Christ and exercising it, and it is glorious. That same dominion is available for every true disciple of Christ, and it begins with receiving the baptism with the Holy Spirit.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from NASB, copyright the Lockman Foundation. Other Scriptures from the Holy Bible NIV, copyright Zondervan, where noted.  Kingdom Authority image may be subject to copyright, courtesy First Baptist Church Loveland, used per Fair Use Act for commentary and educational purposes only.

Author's Note:  If you enjoyed this message,  you may also like other articles on the Home page of this blog. I recommend reading Supernatural Power for All Disciples, Baptized with the Spirit, The Laying on of Hands, The Power of God to Heal, Healing is in the Atonement, Against EntropyDelivered from Voices and Dizziness, Pastor Raised from the Dead, Healed from a Breathing Obstruction, The Origin of Sin, Satan, and Secular Music, Sin, Satan, and the Submerged Sphere, The Kingdom of Darkness, Holy Fire Baptism, Changing the Atmosphere, The Link Between Two Realms, Personal Proclamations of Faith, Walking by Faith, Against Entropy, Demonology 101, and The Role of Demons. I also invite you to visit my collection of blogs at "Writing for the Master."  Now let me ask you a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Dependence in God's Kingdom

Every year, Americans around the world celebrate Independence Day on July Fourth, marking the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. While I am very grateful for America's independence from England and it's crown, I would like to talk about the need for dependence in the kingdom of God and why that is so important.

Someone I love and care about recently said to me that dependence is a problem. This person happens to be a former follower of Christ, who is no longer following or serving the Lord. He no longer wants anything to do with the Church or the Lord. But I think that this false notion that dependence is a problem is a worldly and a demonic one that has crept into the Church, and it threatens to choke the life out of those who believe it.

All throughout the Word of God we see dependence, as well as interdependence, in God's Kingdom. Here are some of the verses that teach us about it:

Dependence on God
Obviously the primary dependence that we all have is on God. He is the One who gives us all life and breath. As the apostle Paul said, "He is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else." (Ac 17:25, NIV). Every breath you take, every beat of your heart is a gift from God. Job said, "If it were his intention and he withdrew his spirit and breath, all humanity would perish together and mankind would return to the dust." (Job 34:14-15, NIV). Isaiah said the Lord gives breath to the people on earth, and life to those who walk on it (Is 42:5). Just think about that! The very breath of God is in your nostrils. So at the most basic level of life, which are your vital signs, you and I depend on God.

No matter what you undertake to do, you depend on God. If He is not doing it, then you are wasting your time. Whatever you seek to do, if the Lord does not undertake on your behalf, then your efforts are all in vain. As the psalmist wrote:

"Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain." (Ps 127:1)

The Lord Jesus Himself told His disciples, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (Jn 15:5, NIV). Apart from Him we can do nothing. That is total and complete dependence on the Lord.

We depend on God for everything, including forgiveness, daily bread, and deliverance from evil, not to mention the salvation of our souls. That's why the Lord told us to ask the Father for these, as He taught us to pray:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one."
(Mt 6:9b-13, NIV)

Interdependence of the Members of the Body
Not only are we dependent on God and His Christ for everything, but the members of the Body of Christ are all interdependent upon each other.

One of the things my friend proudly stated to me recently regarding dependence was, "I do not rely on churches or...assigning myself to some groups." However, the Church is the household of God (1 Tim 3:15; Eph 2:19), also known as the Body of Christ, which is a worldwide group meeting in local gatherings. Hebrews 10:25 says, "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching."

There is one body and each member of Christ's body belongs to all the others. "For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." (Rom 12:4-5). If you cut your finger, arm, leg, or foot off your body, how long do you think that member of your body will survive on its own? All the parts must remain together and connected to the Head, which is Christ. When you cut off a body part, it rots and stinks and perishes, and that is what happens to anyone who becomes disconnected from Christ.

The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

"Now if the foot should say, 'Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,' it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, 'Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,' it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

"The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I don’t need you!' And the head cannot say to the feet, 'I don’t need you!' On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." (1 Cor 12:15-27, NIV).

Any time a member of Christ's Body says they don't need the Body, they are declaring their independence, thereby separating themselves and creating a division that ought not to be there. We depend on each other in many ways, even for things we may take for granted like prayer and encouragement. Pastors depend on God to provide through the generous tithes and offerings of the members of the Church. Missionaries, evangelists, and others in ministry rely on the generous financial and prayer support of others in the Body of Christ. You cannot get around this dependence, because it is built into the fabric of our lives. That's why our relationships to one another are so important.

Dependence in Nature
We see dependence all throughout the earth in nature. God has created the world in such a way that everything is dependent upon Him for life. Job said, "In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind." (Job 12:10, NIV). The Holy Spirit spoke through the prophet Isaiah about His provision of water for the wild animals:

"The wild animals honor me,
    the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen."
(Is 43:20, NIV)

The psalmist also wrote about the earth's dependence on God:

"You care for the land and water it;
    you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
    to provide the people with grain,
    for so you have ordained it.
You drench its furrows and level its ridges;
    you soften it with showers and bless its crops.
You crown the year with your bounty,
    and your carts overflow with abundance.
The grasslands of the wilderness overflow;
    the hills are clothed with gladness.
The meadows are covered with flocks
    and the valleys are mantled with grain;
    they shout for joy and sing."
(Ps 65:9-13, NIV)

It's easy to see. The grass depends on God for the rain and sun, as well as on the nutrients in the soil. The sheep and deer and other animals depend on God for the streams of water, as well as the grass and other plant life to eat. The fish in the sea depend on God for the water they live in to be clean and for the food He provides for them, whether it is plankton or other fish. For there are countless inter-dependencies within the food chain, including marine life. In fact, the entire food chain is a series of inter-dependencies. If any part of the ecosystem becomes out of balance, lacking in some way, then it affects all the other members of the system.

In fact, you can even see the dependencies in our earth's atmosphere. We depend on God for clean air to breath, although man does things that pollute that air. We depend on God for protection from harmful cosmic rays, particles, and objects like meteors, asteroids, coronal mass ejections, ultraviolet rays, magnetic storms, and many other threats to life on this planet. Even the very distance of the earth to the sun is perfect. Otherwise, if we were a little farther from it, the temperature would be too cold, and if we were a little closer to it, the earth would be too hot. Likewise, even the angle of earth's tilt is lovingly provided by God to sustain our life here on this planet. He is gracious and compassionate.

Jesus said: "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?" (Mt 6:26-30, NIV).

Dependence Magnified in Time of Need
One thing that really helps to show a person their dependence on God is to be in need. If a person finds himself suddenly unable to breathe, and he feels he is suffocating, that will do wonders to help him realize his dependence. Initially he may receive help from another person, so that he can breathe, but ultimately that help would be useless without God. And it is God who provides the other person to help, since all things are from Him.

Likewise, if a person becomes ill to the point of being unable to take care of himself, he will quickly come to realize that he is completely dependent on others to care for him, and ultimately that means he is dependent on God to provide those people. That applies whether it is the money to pay for professional care in a hospital, nursing home, hospice, or from a home care provider, or whether it is from members of church or family or neighborhood. If he is without any of these in such a situation where he has become an invalid, then he would surely die unless God miraculously sustained him. Therefore, nobody should proudly boast that they don't depend on anyone.

Nevertheless, that is not a reason for us to neglect our own responsibilities to work for a living and to take care of ourselves and our families. It is not a license to intentionally depend on others for a free ride through life, because idleness is not a virtue. For Paul the apostle clearly taught that  "You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody." (1 Thes 4:11b-12, NIV). Therefore, do your part to the extent that you are able, so that you will not be dependent on anybody, while understanding that we are all interdependent upon each other in the Body of Christ, and there are certain times when we may have to depend on others to help us.

Putting it All Together
As we have seen, dependence is not a problem as some may think. Rather it is embedded into all life, so that we may ultimately realize our dependence on God. He is our Helper, our Provider, our Healer, our Deliverer, and our Savior through His Son Jesus Christ. Our hope and our strength are in Him. Therefore, while man may celebrate his independence, we celebrate our total dependence on God.

Attribution notice: Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible NIV, copyright Zonervan, used by permission. 

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also like The Power of Two or Three, God's Supernatural Provision Using People, God's Supernatural Hand During CrisisWhy is the Body So Divided?, A Biblical View of the Poor, The Bad News About the Good NewsIs Tithing Required for Christians?Where Should You Give Your Tithe?The Kingdom of God is Like This, Multiplication, as well as other articles found on the Home page of this blog. You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.