Expounding the More Perfect Way….Jesus Christ and Him Crucified Acts 18:24-28

UGW-Devotionals

What is Truth?

John 18

37 Pilate therefore said unto Him, Are You a King then? (This question is not exactly asked in sarcasm or sincerity; quite probably, there is a little of both!) Jesus answered, You say that I am a King (is the same as saying “yes, it is so!”). To this end was I born (addresses the Incarnation, God becoming Man [Isa. 7:14]), and for this cause came I into the world (He is to be King in the hearts of all who believe Him), that I should bear witness unto the Truth (carries in its statement the entirety of the embodiment of the Ways of God). Every one who is of the Truth hears My Voice (only those who sincerely desire Truth will know Christ, i.e., “hear His Voice”).

38 Pilate said unto Him, What is Truth? (Pilate shows himself by his question to be a cynic.) And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and said unto them (is done so in the midst of tumult), I find in Him no fault at all (Pilate knew that Jesus was not guilty of treason against Rome, or any other type of infraction).
~JSM Expositor’s

In this world of information overload and misinformation, it is very hard to find out the Truth! We often associate “Truth” with what we believe to be true as according to our personal views, perceptions and biases. In reality there is but One Truth in which all other truths are based. That “Truth” is a Person, the Man Jesus Christ and His atonement made at Calvary. How you perceive and view Christ will determine have you evaluate and handle facts, evidence, and information presented to you on a daily basis. As a Christian there is only one way to deal with and perceive information and that is through the Power of the Holy Spirit who indwells the saint upon Salvation. Without the Holy Spirit in you and you daily placing your faith in “Truth” as found in Christ and His atonement, you can only evaluate things based upon your mere human perspective/opinions/biases and lust/desires. You see, in every human being is a sin nature, which is a bent towards wrong doing, and unless this nature is crucified and made dormant by evidencing faith in Calvary (Truth), you can only make assumptions and evaluations based upon the sin nature’s bent towards wrong doing or fleshly desires. Only those living for Christ by evidencing the fruit of Christ are able to properly evaluate/discern what is of “Truth” as centered around the Bible which is the story of Jesus Christ and Him Crucified.

The reason why many of us as professed saints or Christians aren’t saying the same things and can’t see things from a biblical perspective as centered around the doctrine of Calvary is because we lost focus of Christ and His atonement. We went from trusting in the Cross of Christ exclusively to being divided in our beliefs by adding to the Message of the Cross. We have not allowed the work of Calvary to nail our desires, our opinions, our biases to His Cross and we have set out to establish our own righteousness.

In the above Scripture, Pilate who was a Roman governor during the trial of Jesus, had Truth right before his eyes but was unable to recognize Him for who He was and what He would accomplish due to his selfish desires ruling his heart. You see Pilate had the power to condemn Christ or set him free but due to the pressure from the Jews and his desire not to offend his superiors, he condemned an innocent Man. How many of us are walking around condemning and speaking against that which God has ordained simply because we can’t recognize Truth?? Once you and I come to know Truth as in the Person of Jesus Christ and His atonement, we will be able to discern the mind of God and that which is according to the Will of God otherwise you will make wrong evaluations of things due to looking from a corrupt point of view.

~Shonette

The Power of Satan- Man Cannot Overcome In His Own Strength

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith. 1 John 5:4

When Lucifer(Satan) was kicked out of heaven he retained his powers. Although he was not created as an evil being, sin within his heart corrupted his true nature(Ezekiel 28:13-18, Isaiah 14:12-15). The bible states that he is the god of this world system (2 Cor. 4:4), but he still has to submit to Jehovah God and get permission to do anything, therefore God is in control. We as humans are no match for Satan he continues to have wisdom and power that is beyond human ability but on a corrupt level. Therefore, as Christians we must submit to Faith in Christ and Cross, this is the only way to defeat satan, remain hidden under the blood of Christ, and when God is ready for the hedges to be lowered you will be prepared for any circumstance(Job 1,2)

Satan may have powers beyond our understanding but he is no match for the Lord. If you read the book of Job you will see that God can take the weak things of the world to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27). This is why Paul states that “When I am weak then am I strong”(2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Strength comes because we, through circumstances become weak and have need of dependence upon the Lord. The flesh (human strength or ability) is really strong, and it takes events in our lives to weaken us, to get us to lean upon the arm of God. Often times, the believer has faith in the wrong object which may include one’s own strength, intellect, ability, or dependence upon other people or things.

The Lord, in order to get our focus or faith in the right object sometimes causes or allows situations to get the believer to turn to Faith in Christ and the Cross. This is where satan was and is defeated!!! Most would think it cruel but this is the Love of God at work, He states that He chasten those whom He loves, and if there is no chastisement then you are not a child of God (Hebrews 12:6-11). Allow the Lord to correct you in the error of your ways and Victory will surely come!!

~ Shonette

Spiritual Reality–John 3:18-21-

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Many are afraid as Christians and sinners, to face what they really are. So they run from the light. Light reveals darkness and deeply hidden things. Only God knows the heart and my true intentions. Whether that light comes from God Himself in the face of Christ and His Word or from those who reflect the light of Christ, either way if we run from who we really are, there can be no true revelation of the Cross.

The Cross is an end of self, it is the place of the humiliation of self and selfish ways. It is the only way of obtaining true humility. Faith means that I trust God in totality by bringing myself face to face in the presence of Almighty God and whatever is lacking in character, I through faith in the atonement of Christ, trust that He is well able to bring my condition up to my position of Righteousness, but I have to see myself as I really am, in need of the Savior!

When placing one’s faith in the Cross of Christ, it will take daily denial of self, daily picking up of Cross and daily following Him. Whenever this isn’t done on a daily basis, it shows that we are running away from the light (Christ) so that our deeds aren’t exposed and we love the evil within our hearts which shows up as “good” but has an evil motive, more than coming to the light.

There is so much work that needs to take place in our hearts that we don’t have time to look at the what others aren’t doing.

James 1:23-25-For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth [therein], he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

There is a way that seems right unto man but the end are the ways of death (spiritual) (Proverbs 16:25). This is why it is so important to only be wrapped up in the Man Christ. If you are a hearer and doer of the Word then the fruit of the Spirit should be exhibited in your heart and life and this fruit (love, joy, peace, faith…etc) is unconditional and not based on what others have done to you, but based on what Christ has done. Allow the Holy Spirit to make your Christian life a Reality and not a Form of Godliness. His job is to make what Christ did at the Cross a Reality in your heart and life.

~Shonette

Our Weapons of Warfare

With all of the confusion and division going on amongst us as believers, many of us forget that our warfare isn’t carnal nor is it against flesh and blood. There is a spirit (good or evil) behind all that manifest itself here on earth. There is a spirit behind the rise and fall of nations, kings and rulers, all dependent upon the type of warfare the believer chooses to fight. We have been called into this Christian army to engage in this life according to the Will of our Heavenly Commander in Chief, God Almighty. As we look at Christ and all the Apostles as examples, they didn’t live this life to defend themselves, nor a particular race, nor special group of people. They lived to carry out the will of God and stood on His Word.

Many have refused to stand on the side of Truth according to God’s Word and due to this particular stance, evil prevails. The warfare in which we have been called to fight is the fight of faith. To maintain faith in the Cross of Christ at all time no matter what, so that His Power can prevail in the earth. Are you fighting the fight of faith in the Cross of Christ?

~Shonette

2 Corinthians 10

2 But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some (refers to the fact that Paul would only use boldness if it was absolutely necessary), which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. (Paul’s enemies thought this way because they functioned in the flesh themselves, which means that they didn’t have the Power of God.)

3 For though we walk in the flesh (refers to the fact that we do not yet have Glorified Bodies), we do not war after the flesh (after our own ability, but rather by the Power of the Spirit):

4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (carnal weapons consist of those which are man-devised), but mighty through God (the Cross of Christ [1 Cor. 1:18]) to the pulling down of strong holds;)

5 Casting down imaginations (philosophic strongholds; every effort man makes outside of the Cross of Christ), and every high thing that exalteth itself against the Knowledge of God (all the pride of the human heart), and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (can be done only by the Believer looking exclusively to the Cross, where all Victory is found; the Holy Spirit will then perform the task);

6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience (refers to that which is opposed to the Cross, where alone all Victory is found), when your obedience is fulfilled (is fulfilled when looking exclusively, as stated, to Christ and the Cross).

7 Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? (It is Faith alone that counts.) If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again (refers to the false teachers who laid claims to being followers of Christ by way of eminence), that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s. (Paul is simply saying that he is of Christ as well!)

Swaggart, J. (2005).

Many have been offended/hurt in the body of Christ by fellow Christians and many believe that one has to put up with and continue in fellowship with the offender and keep moving as if nothing has happened. This isn’t the bible’s stance. The bible does expect the offended to forgive but fellowship may not be restored. The bible desires for us as Christians to admit our faults with the intent of not doing it again, and get it right with fellow believers. God doesn’t expect the offended to continue to be a door mat, but the goal is that we walk in fellowship with one another if at all possible. We can forgive the offender but sometimes the offender may not be willing to admit his/her faults and continue to walk in offending others.

~Shonette

ON RESTITUTION AND PRAYER
Matthew 5:23-26
23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the Altar (referring to the Brazen Altar as used in the offering of Sacrifices in the Law of Moses), and there remember that your brother has ought against you (is meant to describe our relationship with our fellowman);

24 Leave there your gift before the Altar (the intimation is that the Lord will not accept our “gift” unless we do all within our power to make things right with the offended party), and go your way (make every effort to bring about reconciliation, if at all possible); first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift (worship will not be accepted by the Lord, if we have wronged our brother, and have not done all within our power to make amends).

CHRISTIAN RELATIONSHIPS

25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are in the way with him (if we offend our brother and do not make amends, the Lord becomes our adversary, or opponent, which places one in a serious situation indeed); lest at any time the adversary deliver you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and you be cast into prison (regarding a Believer who offends a fellow Christian, and will not make amends, God becomes that person’s Adversary, and thereby is Judge instead of his Saviour, and spiritually speaking, puts such a person in a spiritual prison).

26 Verily I say unto you (the absolute solemnity of this statement), You shall by no means come out thence (come out of this spiritual prison), till you have paid the uttermost farthing (the Lord’s method of teaching was symbolic and figurative; if the Believer doesn’t make amends with his fellowman who he has wronged, he will suffer one reverse after the other; God will see to it).

1 Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

John 4:23-24 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

In today’s church we find that the emphasis is often placed on serving, working, submitting but it’s all to an organization or a man or woman behind the pulpit.  Oftentimes, it’s not stated verbally but it is insinuated and often expected of it’s members.  We often tie belonging to a church with our Salvation, but if we were to read our bibles in the full meaning and context of scriptures, we will find that our loyalty and commitment is to the Lord.  There is nothing wrong with going to a church or belonging to an organization, the bible encourages that, but our loyalty and commitment is to the Lord and His redemption plan, Calvary. Commitment ends when the word of God has been violated, misinterpreted, manipulated, and abused.  In 1 Samuel 15:22, you can see where King Saul thought that his participation in a religious event and the offering of sacrifices to the Lord, but having to neglect to obey the Lord’s command, would bring about a favorable response from God.

In the Hebrew text, the words, “to obey is better than sacrifice” asserts in the clearest terms the superiority of moral to ritual worship, and that God can only be really served with the heart.  This is what we are missing in most of our churches.  We are more focused on externally building our kingdoms instead of allowing the Spirit of God to build us in character morally and internally.  We have forgotten that Christ is the Head of the Church, that is the Body of Christ.  Many as stated in Mark 7:7-13, have allowed the traditions of the church and man to hinder us in our relationship with the Lord by laying aside the commandment of God for the rules and traditions of men. 

Notice that Samuel states that the Lord has a great delight in obeying the voice of the Lord.  I have come to the conclusion that the reason we are so loyal to men is due to not knowing the voice of the Lord.  The bible states that His sheep follow Him because they know His voice and a stranger they will not follow (John 10:4-5).  I have seen many leaders upset with individuals because they will not follow them, their ministry, their planning and efforts outside of faith in Calvary.  Those who are of Christ, follow His message, His voice and those of like faith…etc., and His alone.  Why?  Because Christ states that “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men”(John 12:32).  The way in which He was lifted up was at Calvary where He paid the price for our redemption.  It is not enough to lift up churches, ministries, works, activities, leaders ….etc., but this message of the atonement made at Calvary is where the power resides to save and deliver all men who will believe.

True worshipers, obey God by the power of the Holy Spirit when one’s faith is properly placed in Calvary, according to the Truth (as only found in the message of the Cross) of the Gospel which brings about true freedom and rest from all bondage.  Follow Him!

~Shonette

 

 

1 Kings 18″21–21 And Elijah came unto all the people (when they all had gathered at Mount Carmel), and said, How long halt you between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word (the objective of Elijah was to prove that Jehovah, and not Baal, was God).

As we can see in the above scripture, the prophet Elijah poses a question to the prophets of Baal as well as to the us presently.  How long will you halt between two opinions?  If the Lord be God then follow Him but if Baal, then follow him.  The word halt in the Hebrew means to hesitate or fluctuate from one to another.  What were they fluctuating between?  Two opinions which are whether to serve Jehovah God or the idol Baal. The word opinions means thoughts which distract the mind.  Baal claimed to be the Sun-god and lord of the elements and forces of nature; while Jehovah, as well, identified Himself with this token [Lev. 9:24; 1 Chron. 21:26; 2 Chron. 7:1]).

Many today are fluctuating between serving the true and living God Jehovah, by exhibiting faith in Jesus Christ and His atoning work at Calvary, or serving through religious works and self efforts to bring about spiritual change.  King Ahab and his wife Jezebel, leaders of Israel, were enforcing false worship but Elijah a true prophet of God, endorsed God Jehovah.  The things which we allow to distract our minds from serving the Lord fully based upon faith in Calvary must be cast down.  This can only happen when we choose to place our focus and minds on the Cross of Christ exclusively.  Once a person comes to Christ, there can be no adding to nor taking away from God’s plan of redemption, which is Calvary.  We must serve Him according to His precepts and Plans alone.  Israel in Romans 10:1-4 went about to establish their own righteousness but not according to God’s Way.  The question asked then is the same questioned asked today, How long will you halt between two opinions?  If God be God, then follow Him!

~Shonette 

Walking According to the Truth of the Gospel

Galatians 2:14
But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

When we are crucified with Christ, and dead to self, sin, Satan and the world system, nothing matters but the upholding of the Truth of God’s Word. Oftentimes we are committed to the Word as long as it doesn’t offend our belief systems, routines, perspectives and the relationships we have with others. In the above scripture we see the Apostle Paul confronting hypocrisy within the Jewish church as well as with one of the leaders in the church, the Apostle Peter. Peter was acting one way toward the Gentiles when the Jews were around and another way after they departed. In other words, he wasn’t upholding the Truth of the gospel irrespective to the circumstances and individuals involved. If the Message of the Cross has been appropriated in your heart and life then you will stand for Truth regardless of race, creed, relationship with family and friends…etc. What’s right according to God’s Word should be the standard across the board whether it is in our homes, jobs, our marriage, children, church…etc. We should stand for Truth at all times no matter who or what it is.

Paul had to confront error in this church as well as with the Apostle Peter who walked with Christ, was called an apostle first and had been saved much longer. Walking according to Truth is the sole point and purpose for living a Christian life. The problem lies within us not allowing our perspectives to align itself with the view of Calvary. This is why we must allow our thought process, and every reasoning contrary to Calvary to be cast down. Many of us love the Lord and have a desire to please Him but many of us will not let the Holy Spirit work in us due to not understanding how God works, which is by faith in Calvary. Are you able to uphold the Truth of the Gospel no matter the cost?

~Shonette

What is Truth?

~Understanding God’s Ministry
John 14:6 — Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

The above scripture and many more, shows us that “Truth” is simply Jesus Christ and His atoning work at the Cross. The story of the Bible is the story of Christ, who was the Word before coming down in flesh wrapped in Glory. Christ is fully God and fully Man. He came not to express Himself as God but as a Man, never losing possession of His Deity. Why? Because the first representative man, Adam, lost this right in the Garden of Eden when he handed the dominion of this world system to Satan. A man lost it and a Man had to regain it, Christ, the Last Adam. This is where we are redeemed and brought back to God. When Adam and Eve sinned, it cause everyone born of the woman to possess a nature or bent towards wrong doing, called the sinful nature. Upon acceptance of Jesus Christ as one’s personal Savior, this nature is rendered inactive or helpless. It remains within the believer but not working, in essence, to produce the fruit of unrighteousness. As long as the believer continues to put their trust in the Cross of Christ on a daily basis, the Holy Spirit within the believer promises to produce the fruit of righteousness.

The job of the third Person of the God-Head, the Holy Spirit, works in our lives based upon this simple Truth, the way to God the Father is through faith and reliance and confidence in God’s Redemption plan for humanity, the Cross of Christ. His job, the Holy Spirit, is to lead us into Truth, why? Because there is no other way for the Power of the Spirit to be expressed in the life of the Believer. Romans 8:1-4, John 16:13

“Truth” can be found in a ministry which preaches the message of the Cross for justification and sanctification but is not a ministry nor is it a denomination. It is a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. Today many of us are after the furtherance of a ministry or church organization and not after Christ who is “Truth.” Outside of faith in Christ and Him Crucified or “Truth”, there can be no true victory only a form or semblance of God.

~Shonette

John 1:14

14 And the Word was made flesh (refers to the Incarnation, “God becoming man”), and dwelt among us (refers to Jesus, although Perfect, not holding Himself aloft from all others, but rather lived as all men, even a peasant), (and we beheld His Glory, the Glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father,) (speaks of His Deity, although hidden from the eyes of the merely curious; while Christ laid aside the expression of His Deity, He never lost the possession of His Deity) full of Grace and Truth (as “flesh,” proclaimed His Humanity, “Grace and Truth” His Deity).