Jesus was ministering to a great multitude when the people began to get hungry. He took his disciple Philip aside and asked him an important question: “Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, ‘Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?’” (John 6:5-6).
Jesus was saying, “Look, thousands of hungry people are here. How are we going to feed them? What do you think we should do?” How incredibly loving of the Lord. He knew all along what he would do; the verse tells us so. Yet, he was trying to teach Philip something important and the lesson he wanted to impart has great significance to us today.
Our world is teetering on a precipice unprecedented in history. The present upheaval comes at a time when Christians everywhere are facing trials as never before. Multitudes sit up at night trying to figure out answers to their problems: “Maybe this will work. No, wait. Maybe that will solve it. No, that won’t work, either. What am I going to do?”
When Jesus posed his question to Philip, the disciples did not have just a bread problem, they had a bakery problem, a money problem, a distribution problem, a transportation problem, and a time problem. Add it all up and they had problems they could not even imagine. In fact, their situation was absolutely impossible.
Beloved, consider that in the midst of your impossible situation, Jesus would come to you asking, “What are we going to do about this?” He knows exactly what he is going to do; he has a plan. Yet he also wants to know how you, his servant, will face your difficulties.
Philip’s correct answer would have been, “Jesus, you are God! Nothing is impossible with you, so I am giving this problem to you right now. It is no longer mine, but yours.”
That is the response Jesus is looking for from us. I pray that you have the kind of faith that rests in the Father’s care and trusts him to come through for you in his own way and time. He can be trusted absolutely!
When we look at Abraham in the Old Testament, we witness a man whose life was so filled with the presence of God that even the heathen around him recognized the difference between their lives and his: “Abimelech … spoke to Abraham, saying, ‘God is with you in all that you do’” (Genesis 21:22). This heathen king was saying, “There is something different about you, Abraham. Surely God is with you wherever you go.”
In another example of the presence of God, an angel told Gideon, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” (Judges 6:12). And the Lord himself told Gideon, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” (6:14). Gideon considered himself a coward, but God called him a “mighty man of valor.” The Lord wanted to prove what one can do when his presence is with that person — even if the person considers himself to be insignificant.
God makes a special promise to those he loves, as we see in this word to Isaiah: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God. The Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:1-3).
What a wonderful promise. When the Lord’s presence abides on you, you can go through the fires of life and not just survive, but you will be kept and protected through it all.
These accounts from the Old Testament are not just dead-letter stories. They are meant to encourage us to trust God for his presence at all times. Like Abraham, Gideon, Isaiah and many others, we have a powerful testimony of what God’s presence has done for us.
I encourage you today to seek the Lord’s presence and allow him to guide your steps, open doors, move obstacles, and lift your cares and fears.
Jesus came as one blood sacrifice, and the blood of this Lamb has power. Power to cleanse, power to heal, and millions upon millions around the world have experienced the glory and the power of this cleansing blood of Jesus Christ.
We serve the living Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
Ask the Holy Spirit to come and speak to your heart in that still, small voice. If you don't know Christ, that's what Easter is all about. I want you to take a step as the prodigal son did: he walked back to the father.
First of all, I want you to know that there's no sin that anyone has ever committed that’s so horrible or so wicked that it can't be forgiven. God doesn't turn anybody down. Secondly, I ask you—once you've confessed your sins and believed in the cleansing power of Jesus Christ’s blood—don't go back to them. Give them over, and don't let the devil haunt you with them because those sins are under the blood of Christ.
Some of you live in condemnation. You live in fear. Believe that this lamb was slain for you, and your sin was laid on his shoulder. He carried your sin, and he paid the price for that, and there's nothing you can do to work it through. So, right now, just lay it down. Then when these thoughts come back to hound you, say, “Jesus is my righteousness. Christ is my righteousness. Christ is my righteousness.”
When Satan comes and lies to you, when he tells you that you still have some devil in you or whatever he says. Right now, just say back: “Christ is my righteousness.”
Say it right now. “Christ is my righteousness.”
Glory be to God. He is our righteousness. We deserved hell, and he gave us heaven because we trust in him.
I want you to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart if you've drifted from him and want to come back to his love and grace on this Easter. The Bible says believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved. I believe that. I believe that with all my heart.
Whether we believe it or not, it is a fact that Satan is on a mission — a mission as simple as it is single-minded. He is out to steal our passion and he is determined to accomplish it. Imagine how effective he can be if he can carry out this one task — this one pursuit. This one thing he desperately needs to achieve.
If Satan can steal our passion, take away our excitement for Jesus, keep us from getting caught up in thoughts of winning souls and reach the world for Christ, he can effectively keep his dominion on earth intact. He knows that truth, and he works with every fiber of his being to see it happen. In far too many ways he is succeeding.
Too often Christians fret and complain about the future; they cry and moan about Satan’s many victories in the world, how he is winning so many battles and gaining so much momentum in this country, as well as around the world. They talk as if Satan is destined to win. “We’re losing our kids to the culture,” they say. “Our churches are dying in numbers, and our society is growing more evil by the day.” I see it myself but I know that when Satan is winning, it is because the people of God are cowering in retreat instead of standing up and facing the enemy with courage. They are giving up too easily. The Word of God tells us, “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him” (Isaiah 59:19).
I long to see a day when Christians stand shoulder to shoulder, arm in arm, in this war with Satan and finally draw a line in the sand, right in the middle of his path. You can be a part of this army of soldiers rising up against Satan in this day. Let your heart be ignited by the Holy Spirit and become a warrior in this huge battle for God. The war is being waged, so take up your sword and find your place within his ranks!
Nicky Cruz, internationally known evangelist and prolific author, turned to Jesus Christ from a life of violence and crime after meeting David Wilkerson in New York City in 1958. The story of his dramatic conversion was told first in The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson and then later in his own best-selling book Run, Baby, Run.
The fearless prophet Jeremiah, a powerful preacher of holiness and repentance, had the mind of God and walked in the fear of the Lord. Yet, as we read Jeremiah 20, we find this great man suffering a horrible eclipse of faith.
Jeremiah was preaching at the temple gate when a Satan-possessed priest, Pashhur, marched up and slapped his face. Then Pashhur ordered his men to drag Jeremiah off and lock him in a public stock, where he was mocked by passing crowds. When he was released, Jeremiah pronounced God’s judgment on Pashhur and his followers: “You, Pashhur, and all who dwell in your house, shall go into captivity” (Jeremiah 20:6). In other words, “Pashhur, you and this city are going down!”
As soon as this happened, a darkness of soul descended on Jeremiah and he collapsed in discouragement. The once-penetrating holiness preacher now vented dark feelings toward God: “Lord, You deceived me. The word you gave me has become a reproach and every day I am being ridiculed. You have abandoned me, so I’m quitting you. I am not going to speak your Word anymore because all your promises are empty. My life and ministry have ended in shame. You should have killed me in the womb” (see Jeremiah 20:7-9, 17).
Did Jeremiah cross a line here? How could such language come out of anyone who claims to serve God? We find our answer in the very next chapter: “The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord” (Jeremiah 21:1). The prophet’s eclipse of faith passed and God did not miss a beat. He is always aware of the devices and attacks Satan uses against his most effective servants and he knew Jeremiah would endure. God understood that Jeremiah’s cries came out of confusion and pain and Scripture makes it clear that not for a single moment did God lift his anointing from him.
You may have felt that God has let you down. Be aware that the devil is behind these doubts and he is absolutely determined to block your vision of God’s mercy and grace. But reach out to your Father and rest in his love with the assurance that he has never left you.