By Jarrad Miller
Slavery has been a part of our society longer than we would like to remember. In the United States, slavery was a cruel, but common practice.
In the Biblical days it was permissible to have slaves, and it had nothing to do with race. The slaves were treated as family, and treated fairly. In the time that Jesus walked the earth, the Jewish people were oppressed by the powerful Roman Empire.
The Jews were expecting their Messiah to free them from their bondage to Rome and to overthrow them. They were awaiting Him to establish an earthly kingdom. Jesus' own disciples were not certain of His objective--to free people of their sins.
He said, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." —Mark 10:45
Ransom is defined as, "a price paid to obtain release from a binding obligation," or "to redeem a captive."
As believers, we all understand that Christ exchanged His life for ours. He paid the penalty for our sins and, that, should not be taken lightly.
I want to bring to light, a particular miracle Jesus performed before His crucifixion.
The book of Mark often highlights the supernatural struggle between Jesus and Satan. The demon's goal was to control the humans they inherited. Jesus' goal was to give people freedom from sin and Satan's control.
In Mark 5, Jesus enters the country of the Gerasenes where He encounters a man with an unclean spirit. This man apparently was feared because he dwelt in the tombs, often bound with chains & shackles. He pulled apart the chains and broke the shackles into pieces, and no one was able to tame him.
The man sees Jesus from afar and worships Him! The demons cry out to Him, begging and pleading with Him.
He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!” For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!” Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled. — Mark 5:7-20
Jesus came so that we may have life and life in abundance. Those who are burdened by their sin, and desire to change—receive Jesus! He says He will give our souls rest (Mt. 11:28).
His offer still stands!
His salvation is sure. He is the fountain of living water, and His well will never run dry. Receive Jesus today and be free.
By Lisa Maki
I surely know how it’s like to be hurt. I have been cheated on, betrayed, neglected, and lied to so many times in my life, by people who I thought loved me. I have been violated by those who were supposed to protect me.
I have all the excuse in this world to doubt people’s intentions, yet, if I choose to do so, I will not be able to build any relationship at all. If I choose to put up my wall so as not to be hurt again or deceived again, then I will also be preventing my heart from experiencing and even receiving love from others.
Doubt is a demon that was assigned by our enemy to torment you. It will rob you of your peace. It will steal your joy. It will cut off any future relationships from being built. It will destroy connections, even those connections that are Divine. Doubt is the opposite of faith. And since the Bible says that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6), then doubt displeases God for sure.
The big problem with doubt is that it is out to prove to you that it is right. When you start entertaining it, and even believing in it, you will be influenced to make that doubt happen. The very thing you doubt about will happen to you because you will make it happen. Let me explain this further. A woman who doubts that every man will cheat on her will set herself up for it. She will be pushing her man away by her doubts and suspicions and eventually he will choose another woman over her.
This cloud of doubt still comes to me every now and then but I choose to fight it and overcome. How do I overcome? I will teach you how.
First, I convince myself that this doubt is a lie. Then, I go back to the Word of God and speak truth over my doubt. One of my favorite Scriptures in overcoming doubt is 1 Corinthians 13:7 ... Love is ever ready to believe the best of every person.
Next, I put my trust in Jesus and not on the person I have doubt about.
I am not saying that you should not be wise in your moves and that you should just trust everyone. In fact, the best way to overcome your doubt is to make sure that the person you are dealing with or the transaction you are getting into is from God. If you know that you are in God’s perfect will, then you can be assured that whatever happens, He has your back. You can check my video on “Being in God’s Perfect Will
” for more teaching on this topic.
Another advice I can give you is do your research. Don’t just connect with someone or build a relationship with someone without checking on the person’s background. This way you will not be carrying your doubt with you all the time. It is not good to build any relationship on doubt.
If you are in doubt right now over a relationship, I strongly suggest that you throw that doubt out of the window. Stop blaming the other person for your doubt. He is not the one suffering but you. Speak words of faith over your situation. Proverbs 18:21 says: Death and life are in the power of the tongue.
Finally, ask God to expose to you deep rooted issues on your doubt. Perhaps it is the abandonment you experienced from your parents. It may be your husband’s cheating, or a family member who molested you, or a friend who stole money from you. The list can go on and on. Your doubt is an indicator that there are unresolved issues within you that God wants to heal and deliver you from.
Again, ask God to expose your issues, and ask Him to heal and deliver you from this demon called doubt. Until you are delivered from it, you will be hindering yourself from experiencing love, joy, and peace to the fullest. You will also get in the way of Divine connections and appointments.
Don’t let the enemy steal from you any longer. Make a serious commitment to deal with that doubt issue by giving it to God, allowing Him to expose the issues within, obeying what He tells you about it, and following the advice I gave you.
It’s time to say good-bye to that doubt, for real!
I recently had the pleasure of listening in on a panel discussion where some amazing men of God answered the age old question "What do men really want in a woman?" One of the most interesting responses of the night was when one panelist shared that what he looks for in a woman, that may someday be his wife, is the fact that when he meets her, she is pursuing her God given purpose. Makes sense right? Women want a strong, godly man and that same strong godly man wants a woman who is not just waiting for a man arrive. He is interested in a woman who is pursuing her God-given purpose in life.
A couple of nights ago, I felt lead to pull out a book by one of my heroes of the faith, Christine Caine. She wrote a book called "Can I Have And Do It All, Please?," a book that I purchased last year after hearing her speak for the first time. For whatever reason, I never finished the book but God told me to go back through it. I love her writing style so before I knew it, it was 2 AM and I was more than half way done with the book. I did however spend a good bit of time in the section where she talked about women finding their purpose.
God has been speaking to me a lot about having a vision for my life and being faithful in pursuing my purpose which is writing and encouraging broken women. We all have the same charge: go into the world spreading the Good News and making disciples. Yet, everyone has different gifts and talents that will help them bring this to pass. From NBA players to stay at home moms, we all have a purpose (Jeremiah 29:11 says so). Yet, many of us spend so much time fumbling through life doing one fleeting thing to the next, trying to figure out what it is instead of listening to the direction of the Holy Spirit. Finding this book among the hundreds on my shelf and honing in on the section of purpose was not by accident. Christine listed 15 questions to ask yourself when you finally sit down long enough to put some thought behind what it is that God has you here to do. I found myself answering a lot of these questions, just to confirm that me and God were on the same page when it came to what I'm to do with my time here on Earth.
Ask yourself these questions and see what you come up with. Bring it God and allow Him to shed some light on the plan He has for you.
What is it that I've been good at since an early age?
What do others look at me doing that would be hard for them, but seems effortless to me?
What is it that I consistently find myself sharing about or helping others with?
Why do I think God created me?
What am I most passionate about?
What things enrage me and what problems in the world do I have a passion, over and above all others, to solve?
What subjects could I talk about for hours and days without a loss of momentum?
What Scriptural truths and subjects have been those that most bear witness to me and speak life to me
What have been the biggest struggles I have encountered in life?
What have been my biggest victories and breakthroughs? Why?
What subjects or topics do I enjoy learning about?
What would I be doing if money wasn't an issue?
What type of people do I connect with easily or have compassion for?
What were my favorite subjects in high school or college?
What part of the global or culture do I have a passion for?
This is by no means the "right" way to figure out what to do with your life. The Bible should be your road map and the Holy Spirit should be your guide. This is a simple way to get the gears turning in your head and start turning your heart towards Jesus. Our time here on Earth is but a vapor. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice so that we could live blameless and free. The least we could do is not waste this life and bring as many people as we can to know Him.
I recently purchased myself a purity ring that reads “Love is Patient, Love is Kind, Love Never Fails…1 Cor. 13:4-8”.” To say I LOVE this ring would be an understatement! It is a constant reminder of what love truly is. For so long, I walked by the world’s definition of love completely ignorant of how wrong that definition was. Since wearing my ring on a daily basis, I thought it only appropriate to really dive into 1 Corinthians 13 and gain my own personal understanding of “The Love Chapter.”
Although I use several different translations for my Bible studies, my primary source is the KJV accompanied by my handy dandy dictionary. In reading 1 Corinthians 13:3-13, several things jumped out at me immediately. The first thing I noticed is that the KJV used ‘charity’ instead of the word ‘love’, so I turned to my dictionary for a little clarification as to why these two words were seemingly interchangeable.
Charity: the quality of sympathetic understanding.
Understanding: mental apprehension or appreciation; sympathy.
Sympathy: fellow feeling or compassion.
1 Corinthians 13 has one goal; to emphasize the importance of charity, the greatest gift of all. Paul begins the chapter by saying that even if you’re speaking in tongues and prophesying, you are nothing. Many people associated charity with doing good deeds namely to those who are less fortunate. Paul is quick to dispel this by stating outright in verse 3 “and though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. (KJV)”
Within the chapter we learn much more about the definition of charity than is included in any of the above definitions. Yet, each verse lends itself to the ideas of understanding, sympathy and compassion.
- Charity sufferth long and is kind.
- Charity envieth not.
- Charity is not puffed up or vain.
- Charity is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.
- Charity rejoices in truth.
- Charity never fails although prophesies fail, tongues cease and knowledge fades away.
Verse 11 is (in my opinion) the highlight of this chapter. “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. (KJV)” To follow up the very definition of charity with this verse only leads me to one conclusion. Love, charity, sympathy, understanding, compassion…these are not childish emotions. To truly walk in love, to truly live these verses we have to grow up! We have to speak out of charity and sympathy, every action has to be dripping with pure, unabashed love for others. This is no light task either, this is work!
When reading these verses from the standpoint of charity, it only further emphasizes the way we should treat others. I feel like so many of us reading 1 Corinthians 13 through the eyes of romance; this is how I should love my spouse. What if we really took these verses and applied them to every and anyone in our lives?
As I really read and prayed over these verses, I realized that charity…these verses, exemplify God’s love for us. God was compassionate towards us so much that He sent His only Son to die for us. He is a kind and loving God who rejoices in His children. Above all, though everything else will fade away, God’s love is forever. He is forever!
I challenge us all (myself included) to really love others, to live these verses out daily. These verses aren’t just for the people in our lives who we care about and are close to. These verses apply to the homeless man on the corner begging for change. They apply to the mother of 3 in the parking lot struggling to load her groceries in the car and tend to her children. These verses apply to our bosses who give us seemingly impossible tasks with an even more impossible deadline.
Commit to love.
Commit to charity.
Commit to understanding.