All posts by Douglas Thomas

Mirrored in Jesus’ Light

As the crowd was pressing in on Jesus to hear God’s word, He was standing by Lake Gennesaret. He saw two boats at the edge of the lake; the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, which belonged to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from the land. Then He sat down and was teaching the crowds from the boat.

When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”

“Master,” Simon replied, “we’ve worked hard all night long and caught nothing! But at Your word, I’ll let down the nets.”

When they did this, they caught a great number of fish, and their nets began to tear. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them; they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, because I’m a sinful man, Lord!” For he and all those with him were amazed at the catch of fish they took, and so were James and John, Zebedee’s sons, who were Simon’s partners.

“Don’t be afraid,” Jesus told Simon. “From now on you will be catching people!” Then they brought the boats to land, left everything, and followed Him.
(Luke 5:1-11 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

Peter heard Jesus the Teacher instructing a crowd while he hosted Him in his boat. When he then obeyed Jesus and went fishing, He saw Jesus the Fisherman. Seeing this version of Jesus caused him to be able to see himself more clearly.

When John was baptizing Israelis in the Jordan, he could see their individual needs for baptism. He told them what they needed to repent from. When Jesus appeared in front of him, he saw Jesus the Baptizer, and saw his own need to be baptized (Matthew 3:14).

As you see Jesus doing the things that He has called you to participate with Him in, focus on His ability to work in you, not just your need and inability. Focus His call. Focus on Him succeeding, and join Him in the success. He chose you for it.

 

Being With Jesus

Then Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders: If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a disabled man—by what means he was healed— let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—whom you crucified and whom God raised from the dead—by Him this man is standing here before you healthy. This Jesus is

The stone despised by you builders,
who has become the cornerstone.

There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.”

When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and knew that they had been with Jesus.
(Acts 4:8-13 Holman Christian Standard Bible ® ©)

Peter followed Jesus when the mob had drug him to the home of Caiaphas the night before He was sacrificed. When a slave girl recognized that he had been with Jesus, he was so full of fear that he cursed and lied – swearing that he didn’t know Jesus. The girl knew Peter’s face, and knew that he had been with Jesus.

After Peter was filled with the Spirit, though, it was his boldness and the knowledge that Jesus had imparted to him that caused the rulers to know that he had been with Jesus. He could neither read nor write, but he was arguing theology with the leaders of the nation.

Lord, fill us with Your Holy Spirit and make it easy for anyone we come in contact with to know that we have been with You! Fill us with courage and with understanding and with wisdom.

Recognizing the Holy Spirit

Jesus warned some religious leaders once that blaspheming the Holy Spirit would not be forgiven (Matthew 12:22-31). That is pretty serious. We could look at what was happening in that situation and think that we would not have made the mistake the Pharisees did, because we would know that Jesus did the miracles because He is God.

Suppose we went to a meeting of our favorite congregation, though, and we encountered what some believers did as Luke described it in Acts 5:1-11? Someone we have seen in our meetings for weeks or years drops dead for lying to some leaders of the congregation. How easy would that be to sort out? What about explaining it to coworkers asking questions on Monday morning?

Lots of weird stuff has happened in gatherings of the church in the last few decades. Laughing, shaking, freezing, healings, and more. The clue for discerning the work of the Spirit is learning to listen to the Spirit. When He has something to say, be wanting to hear it. When He wants to explain something, be wanting to understand it.

The seriousness, again, is beyond just getting the answer right. It is related to discerning Who He is and what He is doing. If you don’t feel prepared for the test (which is appropriate), ask for help. He is the Helper (John 14:15-18, John 14:25-26).

“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.
John 15:26 NKJV

Wist, Wit, Wot

But the things that used to be advantages for me, I have, because of the Messiah, come to consider a disadvantage. Not only that, but I consider everything a disadvantage in comparison with the supreme value of knowing the Messiah Yeshua as my Lord. It was because of him that I gave up everything and regard it all as garbage, in order to gain the Messiah and be found in union with him, not having any righteousness of my own based on legalism, but having that righteousness which comes through the Messiah’s faithfulness, the righteousness from God based on trust. Yes, I gave it all up in order to know him, that is, to know the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings as I am being conformed to his death, so that somehow I might arrive at being resurrected from the dead.
Philippians 3:7-12 Complete Jewish Bible

Wist, wit, wot – these are words Shakespeare or King James used to speak or write of knowledge or knowing. “Witty” is related. In Genesis, when Moses wrote about Adam and Eve having children, he wrote that Adam knew Eve and she conceived Cain (Genesis 4:1). The word from which “knew” was translated was “yada” in Hebrew. Strong’s OT3045.

“Yada, yada, yada,” is Yiddish for “information, information, information…” “Knowing” in what Paul wrote to the congregations in Philippi was more than information. It was more like what happened when Adam knew Eve. It is a relationship that is transformational, not just informational. It is being with Him and therefore becoming like Him. Becoming one with Him, just like He is one with our Father.

Want that.

Arrival of the Dawn

Because of our God’s merciful compassion,
the Dawn from on high will visit us
to shine on those who live in darkness
and the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.
(Luke 1:78-79 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

That’s what Zechariah prophesied. When he took John to be circumcised, he spoke over his son’s ministry and said this about the ministry of Jesus.

The Dawn has arrived. Darkness and death were prevailing over the earth, and still seem to be at times. But the Dawn has changed the times and the possibilities. It is now possible to walk in the Light, as Jesus is in the Light, and to have supernatural fellowship with Him and with each other. It is now possible to push back some of the darkness and the death and the fear and access and share the Light and the Life and the Peace.

Today, look for ways to prove that the earth has options that the Dawn has made available through your reflection of His Light here.

There We Rejoiced

Come and see the works of God;
His acts toward mankind are awe-inspiring.
He turned the sea into dry land,
and they crossed the river on foot.
There we rejoiced in Him.
He rules forever by His might;
He keeps His eye on the nations.
The rebellious should not exalt themselves. Selah
Praise our God, you peoples;
let the sound of His praise be heard.
He keeps us alive
and does not allow our feet to slip.
(Psalm 66:5-9 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

David wrote Psalm 66. He wasn’t present when Moses led Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground, but he wrote, “There we rejoiced in Him.”

Generations before David preserved their experiences with Yahweh so that the knowledge of Who He is could be passed on as a spiritual inheritance. To whom are you telling your stories? Will your grandchildren know Who Yahweh has been in your life?

If you don’t have natural children, are you taking on younger believers to influence their faith and encourage them to greatness in the Kingdom? Do they know what the Lord has done for you?

You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you.
(John 5:16 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

Trusting Yahweh

If I tell you that I trust you, it could mean more than one thing. I could be saying that I trust you morally – I expect you to tell me the truth and to treat me properly or to pay me back what I lend you.

I could be trusting your skills – I believe that you can repair my car or my computer or give me a haircut that won’t embarrass me. I might be trusting your knowledge – that when you say something is true, you have researched it and it really is true. This might not be a trust you are worthy of in every question, but a only certain area of thought. You may have perfect information regarding traffic laws, but severe misinformation regarding who Jesus is.

What level of trust do you have for Yahweh? How does the score shift from category to category? Do you trust His knowledge, but not His protection? How about His intentions regarding our health, or our provision? Will He tell me about something in time to be prepared for it?

If we are praying for someone to be healed, our faith will be based on more than one area of trust. Do we believe that Jesus has the power to heal the problem? How about His desire to heal? What specifically will He do when we ask for healing?

There is a place where you can park your trust of Him that will affect all the other places. If you decide to fasten your trust in His love, it will build the rest of your trusting and lead you to a place where His love leads you into revelation about what He will do and how to agree with Him for it; He will work in your heart to want what He wants. And then your trust will not be disappointed.

This is what the Lord says:

The wise must not boast in his wisdom;
the mighty must not boast in his might;
the rich must not boast in his riches.
But the one who boasts should boast in this,
that he understands and knows Me—
that I am the Lord, showing faithful love,
justice, and righteousness on the earth,
for I delight in these things.
This is the Lord’s declaration.
(Jeremiah 9:23-24 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

Walking With Jesus

On the day that the believers discovered that Jesus was no longer dead or in the tomb where His body had been placed, two disciples were leaving the Passover festivities in Jerusalem and heading home 7 miles by foot to Emmaus. As they discussed what they had seen and heard in the previous few days, they were joined by Jesus. They had been told that He was alive, but didn’t realize the man with them was with him. Luke wrote that they were prevented from recognizing Him (Luke 24:13-49).

They were so excited when they invited Him in when they got home and He opened their eyes to know Him! When He disappeared, they immediately returned to Jerusalem to tell their friends. While they were telling them what they had experienced, He appeared in their midst and scared all of them.

Why did He make the long trip with them, not letting them know Who He was until after He had talked to them for probably 2 hours or more? Why did He appear to them again when they returned to Jerusalem? Why didn’t He walk back with them?

What is there from their experiences with Jesus that we need to learn so that we take better advantage of times He may do the same thing with us?

  • They didn’t recognize Him
  • They didn’t understand His life or mission
  • They were surprised when they found out that He had been with them
  • They were on an inconvenient mission – walking a long way
  • He didn’t give everyone the same experience

Super Powers

Jesus left the earth so that He could send His Spirit to the church – to give us power from Heaven (John 16:7, Luke 24:49). Just having super powers doesn’t make us super heroes, though. Most of our heroes and heroines are messed up people who have learned to maximize some strength.

Even many people who are believers, who have much revelation or faith or miracles have so much pride or anger or meanness or fear or jealousy that they are just carnal expressions of the power of the Spirit. Contrary to this, any manifestation of the power of the Spirit that is sanctified by the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) is a truer representation of Who the Spirit wants to be in the earth through us.

Even being moved to ministry by a love of the lost or of other believers will not make us able to walk in the level of heroism that doing all things out of love for Jesus will.

“This is the most important,” Jesus answered:

‘Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’

The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
(Mark 12:29-31 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

 

The Last 10 Years and Forever

Consider your life since 2008. Many things have happened!

What were the most valuable activities you have engaged in? What were the most costly, or wasteful?

As Paul wrote to the congregations in Corinth, what we can see is temporary, and what our physical eyes can’t see is the eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18). There may be another 10 years ahead of us right now. What would be valuable ways to prepare for them?

Reading the Bible at least 5 times in 10 years would probably be a good investment. Ask the Spirit what you need to be ready for. Staying more focused on the invisible will make us more likely to get the answers. The more we are in touch with the eternal, with the Kingdom, the more likely we will be to invest our years wisely, and the more likely “the end” will just be a click on the railroad track as we move from the temporary to the full revelation of the eternal.