Category Archives: Jesus

The Other 9-11s

9-11This week we commemorated 9-11-01, the infamous day when Muslim jihadists attacked our nation. It is a day not to be forgotten. Life in the United States will never be the same because of it.

On 9-11 this year, the Lord happened to remind me of one of my favorite names of God, found in Hebrews 9:11, which speaks of our Lord Jesus: “a high priest of good things to come.” After posting it on Facebook, I noticed the 9:11 / 9-11 correlation, and I began to think about other 9:11 references in the Bible.

While 9-11-01 was a time of great devastation, God has His own set of 9:11 words, and they are full of hope for us. Here are some of them, starting with my two favorites:

Hebrews 9:11“But Christ being come a high priest of good things to come….”

Psalm 91:1“He who dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Are you afraid? There is a haven of safety and rest for you in the secret place of the Lord’s presence. He is inviting you to enter into intimate fellowship with Him, for it is there that the other wonderful promises of Psalm 91 will become real to you. I spend a lot of time in Psalm 91, especially when fear knocks at my door.

Genesis 9:11“And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off anymore by the waters of a flood; neither shall there anymore be a flood to destroy the earth.” God has established a forever covenant with you through the blood of Jesus Christ. He never reneges on His promises, so you can absolutely count on Him to do for you what He has said in His Word. The hard part is waiting for the fulfillment, but if we cling in faith to Him, we will see Him perform the good things He has promised.

Nehemiah 9:11“And You divided the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on the dry land; and You threw their persecutors into the deeps, as a stone into the mighty waters.” Are you hemmed in, with nowhere to turn? God will make a way for you, as you release the insurmountable difficulty to Him. He will fight for you and personally go against those who are trying to destroy you.

Psalm 9:11“Sing praises to the LORD, Who dwells in Zion; declare among the people His doings.” Praise your way through to your victory! Praise is a powerful weapon of our spiritual warfare. It brings breakthroughs when nothing else seems to budge the circumstances.

Proverbs 9:11“For by Me your days shall be multiplied, and the years of your life shall be increased.” Do you want to live a long, healthy life, so that you can be as fruitful for Jesus as possible? God wants that for you too! Declare this 9:11 verse as your own.

Amos 9:11“In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old.” This verse is about the restoration of David’s kingly line through Jesus, the Son of David. It prophesies His physical return to earth to rule in righteousness. It’s an exciting word for all who love Him: Jesus is coming, and it is going to be good!

Zechariah 9:11“As for you also, by the blood of your covenant I have sent forth your prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.” Do you feel like you are in the pits? Do you feel dry and thirsty? You have a covenant with the Father by the blood of Jesus your Savior. He has promised to set the prisoners free and to give His living water to all who thirst. Check out Isaiah 55:1; 58:11; 61:1 and John 4:13-15; 7:37, 38, just for starters.

Matthew 9:11“And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, ‘Why does your Master eat with publicans and sinners?'” Aren’t you glad that Jesus wants to spend time with people who sin and have issues? I am — because I know I don’t have it all together. He takes us where we’re at, and cleans us up as we fellowship with Him. Now, that is good news!

Luke 9:11“And the people … followed Him: and He received them, and spoke to them of the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing.” He received them, He spoke to them, and He healed them. Jesus receives you, no matter what a mess your life is right now. He wants to speak to you. And, He wants to heal you physically and emotionally.

John 9:11“… A man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ I went and washed, and I received sight.” I’m going to take the liberty of applying this in a spiritual sense. Jesus provides for us a “pool of Siloam” in His Word. It washes us (see Ephesians 5:26). The Holy Spirit uses it to guide us into all truth (see John 8:31, 32; 14:26; and 16:13). He gives us spiritual eyes to see what the world around us cannot see.

Romans 9:11“For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not because of works, but because of Him Who calls.” God always planned for you to be His very own. He doesn’t love you and give you good purposes to fulfill because you have somehow been a super-Christian who earned His favor. No, He has favored you from before you were ever born, and now He’s helping you all along life’s way. That’s more good news!

2 Corinthians 9:11“Being enriched in everything to all bountifulness, which causes through us thanksgiving to God.” God “daily loads [you] with benefits” (Psalm 68:19) so that you can “pay it forward” to others. Did you know that when you are kind in various ways — even small ways — it causes other people to thank God for His goodness to them? We’ll only find out how much this has gone on when we get to heaven. You were meant to be a blessing and to give glory to God in all that you do.

I hope these 9:11 verses bless and encourage you as much as they have me!

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topical KJV Bible

 

 

Encouragement from God’s Word,
by Lee Ann Rubsam
(Topical verses from the KJV to encourage and strengthen you)

 

 

Bible verses for intercessors

 

The Intercessor’s Companion,
by Lee Ann Rubsam
(Topical verses to encourage you and help you intercede on specific subjects, in a modernized KJV format)

 

What Should the Church Look Like? (Part 2) — We Are Family

familyIn our first post, we said the Church’s core job description is to be the expression of Jesus Christ upon the earth. We also talked about the meaning of ekklesia, the Greek word which is translated “church.” It is an assembly of called-out ones.

The Church is referred to in the Bible using several different metaphors, but I believe the Scriptures reveal that the Church’s primary way to function is as a family. This is true of the universal church, but its best practical application is within the local congregation.

God’s people as family shows up already in Genesis, beginning with Adam and Eve. We see the idea woven throughout Noah’s, Abraham’s, and Israel’s story. It is a continuous, consistent thread flowing through centuries of Old Testament history.

Mankind was originally created in the image of God. “And God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness'” (Genesis 1:26). Family is God’s very nature, with two of the Persons of the Godhead being Father and Son. Since we have been made in His likeness, it should not surprise us that functioning as family is part of the Lord’s plan for His people.

In the New Testament, it becomes still clearer that God’s people are to follow the pattern of family. Believers in Jesus are referred to as the “sons of God” six times, including 1 John 3:1: “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God….”

Romans 8:15-17 explains that we have been adopted by God the Father. As His adopted sons and daughters, we enjoy the same privileges and inheritance that Jesus does:

For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. And if children, then heirs: heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, if we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.

Throughout the New Testament epistles, members of the Church are referred to as “brethren,” “brothers,” and “sisters.” Those terms are used approximately 190 times in the apostles’ letters to the churches. Paul reminded the Corinthian church, which he had founded, that he was a father to them (1 Corinthians 4:15). He called Timothy and Titus his sons, although they were not biologically related (1 Timothy 1:2, 18; 2 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4). John repeatedly referred to the Church as “little children” in 1 John. Paul also instructed Timothy in how to treat fellow believers: “Do not rebuke an elder, but entreat him as a father and the younger men as brothers; the elder women as mothers, the younger as sisters, with all purity” (1 Timothy 5:1, 2). The portrayal of church as family is clearly primary.

You may already be thinking, “My church experience is not very much like family. I wish it were.” Sadly, that is often the case. It is one of the things which needs to shift, in order for our congregations to be healthy.

Or, perhaps you are thinking, “My family life growing up was a total mess! Why would I want my church experience to be like that?” You wouldn’t. None of us would. But, because we are made in God’s image, each of us has some understanding of what family should be, even if we have not had the opportunity to enjoy it growing up. There is a knowing in your heart what family done right should look like, and you long for that. And that is what God wants His church family to demonstrate to each other and the world.

In a properly functioning family, children are not valued for what they do, but for who they are. All the sons and daughters have equal value in their parents’ eyes. Younger children do not have the same responsibilities and options as the older ones, not because they are less important than older siblings, but because they do not yet have the maturity to handle those responsibilities or choices well. In larger families, older children often help care for the little ones, even teaching them some of the basic skills they will need to possess.

In the same way, God values all His sons and daughters, not for our deeds, positions, or functions, but simply because each of us is His own dear child. In the Church, we must learn to see each other as God sees us. Yes, there will be mature members who pastor or mentor newer believers. Some will have more visible ministries than others. But their position is not a measure of their importance. Neither maturity nor individual function within the congregation has anything to do with value, so may God help us to stop acting as though they do!

In our coming posts, we will examine other biblical aspects of what the Church should look like. We’ll also see how each of them can, and should, fit with the family model.

What Should the Church Look Like? (Part 1)
Part 3 — We Are One Body

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prophetic teaching

 

 

Growing in the Prophetic,
Audio teaching by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

nature of God, Christian discipleship

 

 

Before Whom We Stand,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

Jesus: Architect of Your Future

God's blueprint for your lifeThe Bible tells us in 103 places not to be afraid. And yet, many of us struggle with fear, especially about what the future holds. It’s something I personally battle, although I have been gaining ground against it through the years.

Because it’s still a struggle, the Lord often speaks to me about fear. Recently, He said to me, “Don’t worry about tomorrow. Jesus is in your future.” This was a joyful reminder to me!

Jesus is with us in the now. He is our Immanuel, God with us. But at the same time, He has also gone before us, preparing the way. And, He is already waiting for us there in our future. We just need to catch up to where He already is.

The primary reason we fall into fear is that we have not yet fully grasped God’s nature — how good and utterly faithful to us He is. But another major reason we fear is because we so easily forget that He has a definite plan for each of us with specific purposes He is committed to helping us fulfill. In 2 Timothy 1:9, He says that He “saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”

Before the world began, He had already called us. Before the world began, He had already designed a life blueprint for each one of us. He is the master architect, Who has meticulously thought out and planned for all of our life events. Not only is He the architect, but He is also the project manager, overseeing the building of our lives from beginning to end. He will see us through to completion. He is both the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Philippians 1:6 expresses it this way: “Being confident of this very thing, that He Who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

Recently, the Lord led me to meditate on Psalm 16:5, 6: “The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and of my cup: You maintain my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yes, I have a goodly heritage.”

The “lot” spoken of is the destiny He has planned for us — our lot in life. The “lines” are boundary lines defining that lot, as with a plot of land. So the Lord is telling us that He has given each of us a certain territory which is uniquely ours. He maintains it and carefully watches over it. He has not given us a desolate plot of land, either, but a “goodly heritage.” He has planned for it to be pleasant, a delight to us.

Now, sometimes we have to see our lot through the eyes of faith. It won’t always look pleasant from a human perspective. Circumstances — sometimes for extended periods of time — can be very hard. It’s difficult then to see through the murk to where it will ever get better. Temporary troubles tend to becloud the long-term picture.

When life looks bleak, if we determine to look at it through the Lord’s eyes, we will gain a higher perspective. Meditating on and declaring verses such as these in Psalm 16 are practical ways to attain to His viewpoint. We begin to see, believe, and speak with conviction, “He truly has given me a good life, a great destiny, with a great future.”

Verses 8 and 9 of Psalm 16 take us a little deeper into seeing the good plan our Architect has for us: “I have set the LORD always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also shall rest in hope.”

The inheritance our Architect has planned for us includes a glad heart, a soul which rests in hope, and a satisfying destiny. If we purposefully keep our focus on Jesus, knowing He is right beside us, we will not be shaken with fear. Truly, “the lines have fallen unto us in pleasant places, and we have a goodly heritage.”

Here’s a classic song from Steve Green to encourage you along the same lines:

 

inner peace

 

All-Surpassing Peace in a Shaking World,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

nature of God

 

Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God, by Lee Ann Rubsam

How to Meditate on God’s Word

Bible meditationMaking a regular practice of meditating on God’s Word was not always a part of my devotional life.  For many years, I consistently read the Bible, and I learned a great deal that way. Sometimes, when I was intrigued by a particular verse, I did a little study — looking it up in other translations, perhaps checking out the meanings of a few words in Strong’s Concordance, and investigating what commentaries had to say about it. But meditate on it? Not so much.

Why? Because I didn’t know how. It was one of those things nobody ever taught me. Then, a couple of books came my way, which helped me to see that I was missing a very important component of how God wants to interact with us through the Bible.

The Art of Praying the Scriptures, by John Paul Jackson
The Healing Journey
, by Thom Gardner

I like to make things as simple as possible, both for myself and others, so what I share today won’t be as detailed as their methods, but if you would like to go deeper, I highly recommend both books.

So, how do I personally meditate on God’s Word?

I ask God to give me a verse or passage. 

  • Once I’ve asked, I may hear from the Lord right away, or I might need to keep asking Him for a day or two.
  • He then brings a verse or phrase from Scripture to mind. If I don’t know where it is in the Bible, I locate it in a concordance or by searching for it in Google.
  • Or, in my regular course of reading, a verse just comes alive to me. Either way, I know that this is the verse or passage God wants me to meditate on.

My process:

  1. I write out the verse in a notebook I keep just for Bible meditation purposes.
  2. I read it aloud several times, and think about it.
  3. As I do that, a phrase from that verse may seem to be particularly meaningful, so I focus on that part.
  4. I ask God if He would like to bring a picture (which is a mini-vision) to mind which goes along with the verse or phrase, and then I wait for His response. If I receive a picture, I either try to draw it or describe it in my notebook.
  5. If God is not already flooding me with thoughts about the verse (usually He is), I ask Him to speak to me about it. I write down whatever He says or whatever insights He gives.
  6. At this point, I frequently start to remember other Bible verses which go along with my meditation verse. I write those down, too, and I explain in my notebook how they fit with the verse I started with.
  7. I ask God to show me how to apply the verse to my life.
  8. I thank Him for what He is revealing to me.
  9. I may pray the verse back to Him, if that seems to fit.
  10. I try to remember the verse throughout the day. As I do that, God may give me additional insight. If He does, I return to my notebook and write it down.
  11. I go back to the verse the next day and think about it again, to see if the Lord has additional revelation for me in it.
  12. I sometimes repackage what I have learned by restating it in a Facebook and/or Twitter post. That solidifies it for me, but it also inspires and blesses other people.

Twelve steps might seem like a lot, but they are only general guidelines. You don’t have to check them off point by point. I do this very informally, and all the  steps may not happen each time. The important thing is to commune with God over short pieces of Scripture so that you are thinking about Him more and growing in knowing Him better.

The amount of time I spend on a particular verse or passage varies. It may be one day, a week, or for longer passages, several months. I sense in my spirit when the mission has been fully accomplished. Sometimes I come back to it again many months later.

I do not meditate on a single verse in place of reading the Bible in larger chunks. Consuming bigger portions of the Word daily is also important. I usually incorporate Scripture meditation into my morning prayer time, while reading at length in the evening works well for me. Everyone is different, so use whatever method is best for you.

Do you have additional suggestions you would like to share? Please comment!

 

All-Surpassing Peace in a Shaking World,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

Encouragement from God’s Word,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

How’s Your Social Media Image?

While at a social media site a few days ago, I noticed a post by a well-known worship songwriter. In it, he used profanity. It disappointed me at the time. I marveled at the disconnect between writing songs which glorify the Lord and using language which was so far from how Jesus would speak.

This is not by any means the first time I have seen such language coming from people in ministry. It seems to go on quite a bit, in fact. Maybe in some circles it is considered “hip.” However, I doubt if it is hip in the Lord’s eyes.

I wonder how many of us realize that we are constantly exposing the true condition of our hearts via social media. The things we personally say, “like,” and repost there clearly reveal to everyone the depth of our intimacy with Jesus.

Do we ever stop to consider who might be scrutinizing our witness of Him? Are we perhaps causing other believers to stumble through what they see us promoting? Does it make someone think, “It must be OK, if he’s doing it”? (Or maybe they just struggle with judging us, based on what they see.) How about the nonbelievers’ reaction? Do they say to themselves, “I see that Christians are no different than the rest of us. Why should I even consider becoming one?” Who are we, in our thoughtlessness,  disappointing or grieving?

The apostle Paul spoke on these matters two thousand years ago. He said, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20). Ambassadors act and speak on behalf of the higher authority who sent them. When we don’t do well at accurately representing our Savior, we hurt His cause, even to the point of driving others away from Him.

The Bible gives us guidelines for how believers are to speak:

Do not let any corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth. Instead, speak what is good, for the purpose of building up, so that it may minister grace to those who hear it. — Ephesians 4:29

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. — Ephesians 5:4 (ESV)

If anyone speaks, he should do it as one who speaks the very words of God, … that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ …. — 1 Peter 4:11

My purpose is not to suggest that we all point the finger at those who use vulgar language or do anything else inconsistent with Christ. Rather, it is about each of us taking an honest look at our own heart. May we not fall into the trap of smugly accusing our brothers and sisters. Romans 14:4 warns against that: “Who are you to judge another man’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Yes, he shall be held up, for God is able to make him stand.” With those we know well, perhaps the answer is to talk with them about how their speech affects us. For the rest, we can always pray for them when we see something amiss. Prayer changes people; judging them does not.

When I come before the Lord in the day described in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15, I want to have as little wood, hay, and stubble showing up as possible. I have no desire to provide the materials for the mother of all bonfires! I want to have my actions, words, and thoughts increasingly line up with what Jesus would do, say, and think. The route to doing that is keeping close to Him through prayer and the Word, so that I become more and more like my best Friend.

We have been promised a future “inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, which will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4). Speaking of that day when Jesus appears for His own, 1 John 3:3 sums up how we should conduct ourselves in the meantime: “And every man who has this hope in Him purifies himself, even as He is pure.”

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Lord Jesus, may we endeavor to be the best ambassadors for You that we can be. Help us to guard our words and actions carefully, so that we might elevate all those who observe us into a higher attraction toward You.

River Life: Entering into the Character of Jesus

Going Low

One of my favorite quotes by famous people is from John the Baptist: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). I think on it often.

Our natural human tendency is to grab as much recognition for ourselves as possible. Those of us who have a business or ministry are constantly being told how important it is to “brand” ourselves, so that everyone knows who we are and desires our services or products. While some of that may be necessary in a practical, functional sense, the whole “Look at me! See how special I am!” egotism that often goes with it is something that we who are believers must continually resist. Our focus should always be to point people to Jesus, rather than ourselves. John the Baptist understood this, and I am so glad that his response to the temptation to strive for personal honor is recorded for us in the Bible.

There is a special place in our relationship with Jesus, where we develop such an adoration for Him that we actually desire to “go low” — where we want to empty ourselves of the desire for personal recognition, to become nothing, so that He might be everything. To make Jesus famous in all the earth becomes our passion, our obsession, where He alone matters.

Surely this must be what is going on in Revelation 4:10, 11, where the twenty-four elders “fall down before Him Who sat on the throne, and worship Him Who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, ‘You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for You have created all things, and for Your pleasure they are and were created.'” They are totally fixated on the Lord.

I began to think a lot about “going low” a few years ago, inspired by a dream which Julie Meyer shared of seeing God’s throne room. I hope you will listen to her description and that it will stir your heart, as it did mine:

While we are yet in our mortal existence, I am not sure if we can continually stay in that place of going low, of being emptied of self in adoration of the Lord. I would like to stay there, but at present, it seems as though I can only visit for a time. The fallen nature includes a tendency to drift back into pride and self-exaltation, and I find that I must personally battle against that frequently. The apostle Paul said, “I die daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31), and we must learn to die daily to the old nature’s demands as well.

But my goal is to rest in that “going low” place increasingly, until it becomes more my dwelling place than a visiting place.

If you find yourself falling into the trap of looking for recognition, titles, and honor from people, how about meditating on what John the Baptist said? “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John found peace and rest there. I think we can, too.

Safe Passage — A Parable

girl-hiding-pixabayHave you struggled with feeling embattled, constantly harassed by the enemy of your soul? Perhaps you have even felt on the verge of losing your personal spiritual war. Many months ago, I had a dream and a vision, which I hope will encourage you.

In the dream, a very powerful bad man was trying to get me, to enslave me. His many loyal henchmen were constantly after me, and I could never outsmart them. I ran from one house or building to the next to hide. Whenever I tried to escape out in the open, sometimes in one direction, sometimes in another, my pursuers spotted me. They always seemed to know where I was and what my next move would be, so I couldn’t get away, and I always had to hide again.

The dream ended with me entering still another house to hide, and the people who lived there were willing to help me. They planned on disguising me, so that the bad guys would not recognize me. But by this time, I was pretty skeptical that even disguising myself would be successful, as nothing had worked thus far.

That’s where it ended — not a happy conclusion. What was also disturbing was that I had experienced similar dreams in the past. So, I prayed that God would reveal to me what was going on, hoping that I could then apply His truth and avoid having such a dream again.

Instead of the Lord explaining the issue to me, I entered into a vision, which was a continuation of the story. Jesus, Who bore the title, The Ultimate King, showed up at the front door of a house where I was hiding. He took me out by the front door, right into the street, in broad daylight. He wrapped the full-length cloak He was wearing around my shoulders and held me close by His side, so that we were both covered by His cloak.

All the bad guys who wanted to capture me were standing around in the street, staring at us, but they did not dare touch me, because I was with Jesus. They had to let Jesus pass right through the midst of them and down the street, because they knew He was The Ultimate King, Whom no one dared to touch.

Together, Jesus and I walked slowly and steadily through the enemy’s streets. I was safe, a “hidden one” (hidden in His cloak). I was not invisible, but I was hidden, in the sense of the bad guys not being able to harm me. Jesus and I had safe passage together. I knew that He was unafraid, and I didn’t have to be afraid either. They could not touch me, because they dared not touch The Ultimate King. They knew Jesus held the position of supreme authority through His victory on the cross, His subsequent resurrection, and because He had taken back the keys by which the devil once imprisoned mankind.

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This dream addressed a particular issue I have often struggled with — shame over past events where I had not acted with the maturity I have since grown into. I tend to be quite the perfectionist when it comes to the standards I hold for myself. Sometimes the enemy reminds me of long ago failures, and if I’m not immediately vigilant to reject those thoughts, I end up kicking myself all over again, instead of remembering that Jesus bore all my shame and imperfections on the cross, and that they are mine no more.

I think that is why, in the vision, Jesus came to the front door. My inclination would have been to slink out a back door, but He boldly took me through the front door, into the sunshine, and down the street in full view, acknowledging me as His own.

Perhaps you also struggle with shame — or perhaps your issue is something quite different. Whatever it is, God wants you to know that you are not at the mercy of the enemy. It’s time for the endless game of staying one step ahead of spiritual defeat to stop. Jesus wants not only to help you escape, but to take you out unashamed, safe and secure under His protection, in full view of the enemy. He wants you to know that He is committed to you, and that you are valuable to Him. He wants to walk you through enemy lines fearless and unscathed.

The Word says, “He Who is begotten of God keeps him, and that wicked one cannot touch him” (1 John 5:18). It also says that Jesus “is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24).

So, stop hiding in the shadows. Let Jesus cover you with His own cloak. And let Him walk you through the enemy lines unharmed, because you are hidden in Him (Colossians 3:3). He is your safe passage.