Why Submit To God? Part-2

May 7, 2020  hephzibahgarden

In Why Submit to God Part -1 I could just share only the first reason of the same with you. Did it on purpose because stating the others was making the post really really long 😀 So I thought of presenting it part by part!

You know, those who have submitted to God and just surrendered themselves to His Will, have always found it to be a blessing for them!! 💖✝️ The wise man Solomon once said – Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding! In all of your ways acknowledge him and he’ll make your paths straight!! Proverbs 3:5,6. As a matter of fact, this verse pretty much sums up the content of this post!

Well ….!! here we are onto the second part of the question — WHY WE MUST SUBMIT TO GOD?

2. So that we become instruments unto righteousness – By obeying God in water baptism, we became instruments of His righteousness. How? Our old man natures were crucified with Him so that we don’t serve sin or be in bondage to sin anymore. Romans 6:6. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Romans‬ ‭6:8‬.

So then, being made free from sin let not sin reign in our mortal bodies to obey it in the lusts thereof. Romans 6:12.

3. For the Grace of God – Jesus overcame sin and death through His death on the Cross; so now we are no more under the law, but under grace – since we yielded our members as instruments of righteousness. Romans 6:13,14.

Hence, for the work of God which needs to be completed through us, we need to submit ourselves to the grace of God. And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled. Acts 14:26.

4. We must submit ourselves to the Father of spirits — Why? In order to be partakers of his holiness. Our earthly fathers disciplined us only for a short period of time. They chastised us as seemed proper and good to them. But when God our Heavenly Father disciplines and corrects us, He does it for our own good, so that we may share His holiness. Hebrews 12:9,10.

5. For the Word of His Grace – By submitting ourselves to God and the Word of His Grace, He builds us up for the inheritance He is preparing for you and me. The Word of God is able to build us up – And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. Acts‬ ‭20:32‬.

May the Lord help us! ❤️

Original here

YouTube restores John Piper’s ‘Coronavirus and Christ’ audiobook after ‘violation’ ban

By Melissa Barnhart, CP Reporter

YouTube restored access to Reformed theologian John Piper’s audiobook Coronavirus and Christ on his Desiring God channel Monday after taking it down last week for “violating” the platform’s community standards.

The audiobook was uploaded to YouTube and DesiringGod.org on April 8 but was subsequently taken down from the video-sharing website on May 15 without any explanation except a notification saying the video was “removed for violating community guidelines.”

Even though it had been removed on Piper’s channel, the video was still available on the Crossway Podcast YouTube channel here and archived online.

YouTube released a statement on April 28 announcing that in response to COVID-19, it had expanded its “fact check information panels” to the United States by up-ranking, down-ranking and demonetizing certain videos that mention the topic.

On April 7, YouTube Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan told Axios that the Google-owned platform had already “removed thousands of COVID-19 videos … for violating policies …”

“YouTube’s policies [about the new coronavirus] are entirely focused on the content of a video and not who is doing the speaking,” Axios reported.

After being reinstated, Piper’s audiobook on the Desiring God YouTube channel jumped from over 187,000 views to more than 200,700 views as of Tuesday afternoon.

In the book, Piper, the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the founder of Desiring God, offers six biblical answers to the question: What is God doing through the coronavirus?

YouTube’s censorship of the audiobook followed a call by 22 military chaplains to “discipline” a senior army chaplain for sending nearly three-dozen other chaplains an email containing a copy of the e-book.

The 22 military chaplains, some of whom are from the LGBT community, had a problem with the book because it states that “some people will be infected with the coronavirus as a specific judgment from God because of their sinful attitudes and actions.”

Representing the 22, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which advocates for a strict separation of church and state within the U.S. military, urged Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to punish Senior Chaplain Col. Moon H. Kim. Kim is the command chaplain of U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys in South Korea, the largest U.S. military installation outside of the United States.

The complainants, MRFF said, “do not subscribe to the ultra-conservative/Reformed/evangelical Christian theology of John Piper.”

In a section titled, “Examples of Specific Judgements on Specific Sins,” Piper wrote that one example “is the sin of homosexual intercourse,” citing Romans 1:27 in which the Apostle Paul states that “men committing shameless acts with men” received in themselves “the due penalty for their error.”

“That ‘due penalty’ is the painful effect ‘in themselves’ of their sin,” Piper wrote. “This ‘due penalty’ is just one example of the judgment of God that we see in Romans 1:18, where it says, ‘The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.’ Therefore, while not all suffering is a specific judgment for specific sins, some is.”

A copy of Kim’s email that contained the PDF sent to the chaplains was reviewed by The Christian Post. In the body of the email, Kim wrote to fellow chaplains that he wanted to share the short booklet with them.

“This book has helped me refocus my sacred calling to my savior Jesus Christ to finish strong,” Kim wrote. “Hopefully this small booklet would help you and your Soldiers, their Families and others who you serve.”

MRFF contends that the book was “clearly meant as a full-fledged [government] endorsement and validation of what the book espouses and proclaims.”

Reps. Doug Collins, R-Ga., Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., and 18 other Republican House members signed a joint letter asking the Pentagon to protect the religious liberty of service members from the demands of an “anti-religion” group.

Piper also responded to the issue in a 17-minute audio interview posted online.

“I think it would be fair to say that some of my views about what the Bible teaches, even rightly understood, the author of that letter hates. He hates what I think,” Piper said, referring to MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein. “‘They are,’ he says, ‘incendiary,’ ‘bigoted,’ ‘vulgar’ — not just because he misunderstands, but, in part, because he does understand, and that’s how he thinks and feels about some of what the Bible teaches.

“I consider all of those views to be true because they are what the Bible teaches, and therefore, they’re very valuable to know,” Piper stressed. “So I think it’s not just that he misunderstands, but that he gets some things right in those quotes, and he just doesn’t like them.”

Piper said there are three areas where Weinstein seems to misrepresent his stance in either the letter to Esper or an earlier interview with CP. “For example, when I say that ‘some people will be infected with the coronavirus as a specific judgment from God because of their sinful attitudes and actions,’ he assumes that I know who those people are, or at least what kind of people they are,” Piper said.

“But here’s what I write on page 72. … The coronavirus is … never a clear and simple punishment on any person. The most loving, spirit-filled Christian, whose sins are forgiven through Christ, may die of the coronavirus disease. But it is fitting that every one of us search our own heart to discern if our suffering is God’s judgment on the way we live.”





What Are Some Of The Effects Of Pride?

March 3, 2020 hepsibahgarden

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1 Timothy‬ ‭6:10‬

We know a seed does not grow up into a plant 🌱 almost immediately. Before the plant comes up, the first to come out of the seed is the root which slowly penetrates and spreads into the soil. Likewise if the love of money is the root of all evil, we can infer then that this evil comes from the seed — PRIDE.

  • The two most basic reasons why Israelites left God and pursued strange gods were — doing their own will and stubbornness. Judges 2:19. Both of them come from pride, which makes a person evil in God’s sight. In the mind and plan of God, there was no hell. However later on, hell/everlasting fire was prepared for the devil and his fallen angels. Mathew 25:41. Pride made them to fall.
  • God in His wisdom made man out of the dust of the ground; not of the dust of the Garden of Eden. If it would have been so, man would have boasted of being created out of a special dust. Also, had God created man on the first day of Creation, he would have again boasted about helping God with the other days of Creation. Just like blood flows through the veins from our head to toe, pride and it’s evil natures flows in through man. Pride brought disobedience in the first man.
  • Pride will make us to blame others. When God asked Adam if he ate of the forbidden fruit, he quickly put the blame on Eve and even accused God for giving him her. That’s what pride does to a person; that person will not own up to the fault they did, but would rather blame everyone else for it.

May the Lord help us to remain humble and be found at His throne of Grace.

Be blessed 💕


Original here

VIDEO ‘God Is Not Sometimes Sovereign – He’s Always Sovereign’

See Max Lucado’s Powerful Social Media Message

03-19-2020 Steve Warren

In the midst of a viral pandemic, who do you turn for help? Max Lucado, the author of the book titled Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World and the pastor of the Oak Hills Church located in San Antonio, Texas reminds everyone they need to turn to God.

Lucado says at a time like this, we need to make an intentional decision to speak God’s truth. He posted a video to YouTube on Tuesday, sharing his wisdom, and praying Psalm 91 over the world.

“You know if you feed your faith, your fears will starve,” he noted. “But if you feed your fears, your faith will. We need to make an intentional decision during this season of high anxiety and turbulence to encourage one another and to feed one another’s faith. And also we need to take the initiative to feed our own faith. So I encourage you, my friend, I encourage you. Don’t give in to despair. Don’t give in to anxiety. We’re going to get through this. We really are.”

The Oak Hills pastor then reminds everyone that God is still in control.

“I know we’re getting new news day by day. I know that developments are changing, it seems by the hour. But let me tell you the thing that has not changed. Our Heavenly Father is still on the throne,” he continued. “I love what Chuck Swindoll always says…’ that God is not sometimes sovereign. He’s always sovereign.’ He really is folks. He really is. We’re going to get through this. It may not be quick. It may not be easy. But God is going to use this for good. The challenge that awaits us is to not give in to despair, not do foolish things. But to trust, to trust, to be that voice of trust.”

Lucado, 65, said he believes this is a sign that God is calling the world to come back to him.

“I continue to say, the key question we all need to be asking right now, is ‘What is God saying to us?’ I think he’s talking to the whole world. I think he’s telling us that our priorities have been misplaced. That we have made idols out of entertainment and savings accounts, and I’m one of those. That our priorities have gotten dislodged, I mean misplaced. We need to dislodge those priorities and return to our Heavenly Father. I think he’s calling us back to himself. I do. I do,” he said. “Is this a signal of the End Times as some people are saying? I do not know. I do not know. But I do know that God is doing something in the world and he’s calling upon us. He’s talking to the whole world.”

Lucado also said he thinks God is testing the church – to be the people who call out to God and ask him for help.

“And then number 2, I think he’s testing the church. By that I mean he’s strengthening us,” he added. “He’s calling upon us to be the people he desires for his church to be. If you remember, when Jesus fed that crowd of 5,000 men, plus women and children, the Bible tells us that Jesus tested his followers by telling them to feed those people. He tested them. He tested them. And what they did not do was pass that test. If they would have passed that test they would have said: ‘Lord, you need to do this. We cannot.’ But what they did, they looked into their own resources. They counted their money and they looked into the basket and all they had was a few bread and a few fish. And they said, ‘Lord, we cannot do this.’ They did not pass the test, because they did not come to him. They could have and they should have looked to him and said, ‘Lord, you can do this’.”

“And so that’s the call of the church right now – is to be the people who come to God and say, ‘God, we cannot solve this, but you can. Bless our leaders. Bless those in research. Bless those who are vulnerable. We ask you, Lord.’ Let’s be that people, folks. Let’s be that people. Let’s be people, who call out to God and ask him for help,” Lucado continued.

In closing the almost nine-minute video, Lucado tells his viewers he would like to pray Psalm 91 over them. So he gets out his Bible and begins to read.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 

I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,

nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.

You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you make the Most High your dwelling– even the LORD, who is my refuge–

then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;

they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

“Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.

With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

“My friend, let’s just be strong. Let’s take this one day at a time. Again, let’s feed our faith so that our fears will starve. Because if we feed our fears, our faith will. This is a time for faith. This is a time for trust. This is a time for hope,” Lucado concluded.

Watch Max Lucado’s entire video message below:



Why Submit To God? Part-1

May 5, 2020 hephzibahgarden

Perhaps this👆might look like a logical question for someone beginning to know the Heavenly Father for the first time!!

“Well…!! If God is a loving God and cares for me, why can’t He handle everything smoothly in my life? Why do I have to face and go through so much trouble? After all He is an Almighty God, then why is there so much suffering in this world?”


Dear child of God! Yes…!! He definitely IS a loving God and a loving Saviour! He is our Heavenly Father who loves each one of us dearly. And yes He cares deeply for you and me!!

Howbeit, just like any loving earthly father would want his children to know that whatever he does for them will always be in their best interests because HE LOVES THEM DEEPLY AND THEY ARE HIS; similarly, our Heavenly Father wants each of us to know the same about Him as well! Therefore, without questioning and doubting, He wants us to simply surrender to His leading in our lives.

Here are a few pointers for all of us to know and understand the above mentioned question:

1. We must submit to God to:

  • Resist the devil – Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James‬ ‭4:7‬. Peter in his letter reminds us that our adversary the devil is roaming about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
  • So that He would exalt us in due time – Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 1 Peter‬ ‭5:6‬.
  • He cares for us – casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]. 1 Peter‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭AMP‬‬.
  • To be steadfast in faith – We need to be strong rooted and established in faith to know that we aren’t alone in our sufferings — the same experiences of suffering are being experienced by our brothers and sisters throughout the world. 1 Peter 5:9.

(… to be continued)


Original here

Vindication for Freedom of Religion – Judge: Oregon’s Coronavirus Restrictions ‘Null and Void’

18 May 2020

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A county judge has declared Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s coronavirus restrictions “null and void” because she didn’t have her emergency orders approved by the Legislature.

Baker County Circuit Judge Matthew Shirtcliff made the ruling Monday in a lawsuit brought by churches that had sued saying the social-distancing directives were unconstitutional.

The suit had also argued that emergency powers only last for a month and after that Brown would have needed legislative approval. The judge agreed.

Brown said she would immediately appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court to try to keep the emergency orders in effect.
“This will ensure we can continue to safeguard the health of all Oregonians — including frontline health care workers, those living in nursing homes, workers in agriculture and food processing plants, and Oregonians with underlying health conditions –– while the legal process moves forward,” Brown said.

Ray Hacke, the attorney who represented the plaintiffs in the case, said in a phone interview Monday the ruling invalidates Brown’s ban on churches gathering for worship but also the entire stay-at-home order, Hacke said.

Common Sense intervened after the Sacramento-based Pacific Justice Institute filed the case earlier this month on behalf of Oregon businesses, expanding the scope, he said.

“The stay-at-home order is no longer in effect. It is invalidated. If people want to get their haircut, they can. They can leave their home for any reason whether it’s deemed essential in the eye of the state or not,” he said.

He added that the ruling was a vindication not just for freedom of religion, but for all Oregonians’ freedoms.

“Praise God. I’m excited, and I’m glad that the judge saw that there are limitations on the governor’s power, even in the midst of emergencies,” he said.

Shirtcliff, the judge, was the district attorney of Baker County from 2001 until Brown appointed him judge last September, with the appointment having taken effect on Nov. 1.


VIDEO Defeating The Opposition

by Jose R. Hernandez on Jul 11, 2007


One thing that oftentimes stops the spiritual growth, and stops the walk of many believers is the opposition that we encounter in this world. This is especially true when we receive a calling from the Lord. But, what is an opposition? An opposition is everything that looks to distance us from God’s presence. An opposition is all that seeks to stop God’s purpose in the life of a believer, and seeks to make us loose sight of the one that we can not loose sight of and His name is Jesus. But unfortunately there are many that are separated from God by the oppositions that arise in our daily life. This is why it is not uncommon to see how there are people within the church that have received spiritual gifts, but they chose not to use them. This is why it is not uncommon to see how there are many, that having felt God’s presence in their life and having experimented His love, grace, and mercy, allow the oppositions of this world to stop them from reaching a deeper relationship with God. This is why it is not uncommon to see how many have distanced themselves, that is to say, they no longer attend church, and others that although they attend service after service, their heart is very far from God. This is why today I want us to study about a small character in the bible, that although confronted with great oppositions, he did not allow anything to stop him from reaching the Lord. Let’s now turn to the word of God.

Luke 19:1-10 – Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. 4So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. 5And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. 7But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” 8Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” 9And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

As I always say, to obtain a better understanding of the message that the Lord has for us today, it will be necessary to conduct a brief review in history. What transpired here in these verses took place during the time that the Roman Empire ruled this region, and this city was simply one of the many that it controlled. Needless to say, the Jewish people saw the empire as a military occupying force, and they all though that paying taxes or tributes to the empire constituted an act of treason to God. Another thing that we must also know is the method that the empire employed to collect the taxes. What the roman governors use to do was to hire the local people, that is to say, people that lived in that town or area, so that they would be the ones to perform this job. The interesting thing about all of this is that law that governed this activity. According to the Roman law, the “tax collector” would pay the empire the demanded figure before it was collected, and in appreciation, the empire would authorize that person to collect the taxes in the different areas. Not only this, the tax collector was completely authorized to make a profit from this action. In other words, if it was determined that someone owed the empire ten dollars, the tax collector could demand fifteen from that person, and the person would have to pay it, or face the heavy arm of the roman empire for violating one of its law. It is needles to say that this law was very conducive to corruption, and that the majority of all tax collectors if not all were corrupt men that abused the people. And due to the abuse and great corruption that existed, these men were very hated by all. This feeling is something that is very well insinuated in Mark 2:16 when we read “And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?” Keeping these brief details in mind, let’s now continue with our study today.

Continuing with our study we read “Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. 4So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way.” These verses contain two very important details. Number one is the title that this man had; the Word tells us that he was “the chief tax collector.” Number two is the physical description of this man; the Word tells us that “he was of short stature.” Let’s examine these two details to determine if they are as important as I say.

The title; “chief tax collector.” If we examine this title from a modern perspective, I think that we will all reach the conclusion that it does not have much meaning. We would reach this conclusion because the truth of it all is that there is a very big difference between the tax collectors of that era, and the tax collectors of today. Today we have a very professional organization, full of very educated men and women in the field of accounting and law. We are talking about very honest people that guide their behavior and performance based strictly in the established laws. But as we have seen, in Zacchaeus’ time things were very different. Although it is true that the tax collectors of our times are not very popular, in that era the tax collectors were not only unpopular, they were absolutely hated. Thus, his title reveals to us that he was a person very much hated by the people, but there is something another detail here that we must also note. This man’s title was “chief tax collector,” something that indicates that he exerted authority over a group of tax collectors. This title lets us know that he was a man of influence and power. Therefore from the title we can establish two things; first, we can establish that Zacchaeus was hated by all of those that surrounded him; second, we can establish that he exerted some type of influence with the government, something that without a doubt would cause him to have great pride. I say that it caused him to have great pride because he had obtained a position that no other person had ever reached; I say this because the title “chief tax collector” only appears once in the bible, and it is only in connection to Zacchaeus.

His physical description; “he was of short stature.” Why do we need to note this? This is important to note because knowing how things worked back then, and knowing that this man was someone that was despised and hated by the people, we can safely assume that no one in that crowd that gathered to see the Lord would allow Zacchaeus to move to the front so that he would be able to see Him. There was no one present that would step to the side to allow him to go forward. Furthermore, this man was taking a big chance. I say that he was taking a big chance because he was despised and heated by the people, and as we all know, very bad things can occur within a large crowd. Since everyone is so distracted in seeing what is going on, or so involved in making their way to the spectacle, no one is really paying too much attention to what is going on around them. This provides the opportunity for some one with bad intention to act, and not be caught or seen. In other words, so one in the crowd could have stabbed this man and kept on walking, and no one would have been able to identify the culprit. Therefore, from his physical description we can determine two things; one, we can determine that there was a great impediment that would stop him from seeing Jesus, his size; and two, getting to see Jesus was actually something very dangerous for him.

So, here we see that Jesus was walking by this place, and when the people heard that He was coming, they all came out to see Him. The reason for this was that His reputation preceded Him, and everyone wanted to see this man that they had heard performed miracles and signs. Zacchaeus was no different to any one there. He was also curious to see this man who some were calling the Messiah, but since he was small in stature, he know that he would never be able to see Him because the crowd would not allow him to move up to the front. And this is why we read “So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way.” Brethren and here is where our lesson begins. I say this because the oppositions that surrounded this man were huge; I am talking about all of the bad sentiments that existed against him by these people; I am talking about the pride of his position or prestige; and I am talking about his physical size and the danger that it implied. But regardless of all of these things, he would not allow anything to get in the way of seeing Jesus.

Unfortunately, these same oppositions stop many from seeking a closer relationship with God. This is why it is not uncommon to see how there are many with great spiritual gifts, but that they do not use them. Because they are not looking to develop a closer relationship with God, we see how many allow their relationship with Him to grow cold, and coming to church or doing something else all in the same. In other words, the oppositions like the pride and vanity of this life; what people can think or say about us; what we may loose due to a complete change in lifestyle; have accomplished their purpose and have caused a division between many and God. But if when you examine your life you find that this has happened, is happening, or is about to happen, I say to you run to seek Him out. Seek Him with all of your heart and you will find Him without fail. It is as the word tells us in Deuteronomy 4:29 when we read “But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” And what the Lord tells us in Matthew 7:7-8 when we read “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” God wants to open His door to us today, but it is our responsibility to seek a closer relationship with Him. I say to you today, seek more of God because the reality of it all is that the world can not offer you anything of value. The things that this world have to offer will never satisfy that emptiness that you now feel, the things that this world have to offer will never satisfy that thirst. There is only one that is capable of accomplishing all of this, and Jesus is his name.

The fact that we are here indicates that we are seeking God’s face, but to find Him we must seek Him with all of our heart, and once we find Him, then it will be as when we read here “And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully.” Let’s imagine this, there was large crowd gathered to see Him, but of all of the people that were there, Jesus recognized this man by name. From the scriptures we learn that Zacchaeus had never seen Jesus, therefore we can safely assume that Jesus had never seen Zacchaeus as well. But Jesus knew him by name. Tell the person next to you, Jesus knew Zacchaeus. Equally Jesus knows all of us individually. Look carefully at how the Lord tells us in John 10:14 when we read “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.” Tell the person next to you, Jesus knows you. From within all of the millions of inhabitants of this earth, Jesus has recognized us individually and just like in Zacchaeus case, He wishes to dwell in our heart. Just like in Zacchaeus case, Christ has called us all by name. He has chosen us, has taken us out of the filth where we once roamed, has cleansed us of all sins and has given us eternal life. We are His sheep, we have heard His voice, and we follow Him. But if we are not trying to know Him better, if we are not conquering the oppositions, then it will not be difficult for the enemy to confuse us. I say this because if we do not take the time to listen to His voice, if we do not take the time to develop a closer relationship with Him and get to know the Father’s will with our life, then we will not be able to discern that which is from God, from that which is from the enemy. If we don’t pay close attention, if we do not develop a personal relationship with Christ, it will be very easy for the enemy to interrupt or destroy all together God’s plans for our life. Look at how this is very well reflected in 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 when we read “And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” These verses here clearly tell us that if we are not careful, that if we do not take the time to know Him, then we will be deceived.

In conclusion. A large percentage of believers allow the oppositions and the attacks from the enemy to influence their relationship with God. They allow the things of this world, things that are not lasting, to separate them from God’s blessings. We can’t allow anything to separate us from God’s presence and His blessings. We can’t allow the oppositions to detour us developing a closer relationship with Him. In Zacchaeus case we see that Jesus recognized him, we see that Christ scrutinized his heart and saw the genuine wish that he had to meet Him. Jesus’ love caused a great change in the life of this man, and it is more than capable to cause a great change in your life today.

Look carefully at these last details in our study today when we read: “Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” 9And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham.” Christ’s love gave him conviction of his errors, faults and sins, and led him to a genuine repentance. In an instant, this much despised and hated man, in an instant, this corrupt and abusive man was transformed by God’s love. This same love is present right here, right now. This same love is within the reach of all that would seek it at this moment. Listen well for the Lord tells us “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Don’t allow the oppositions of this world to interrupt your relationship with God.


The Reason for Defeat, Joshua 7 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study