The Power Of Jesus’ Prophetic Words: Part 2

1st September

Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” When they came out to see Him, they begged Him to stay in their village. So He did for two more days. . . . . They they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard Him ourselves.”

John 4:39-42

Yesterday we learnt of Jesus’ encounter with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. We learnt how Jesus met her where she was at in her life and ministered His love and grace to her. We learned how He spoke a prophetic word to the woman revealing her sinful lifestyle, yet He did so in a loving and kind way, not in a condemning and judgemental way. So great was this word from Jesus, that the woman ran back to the village with great joy, telling her fellow villagers about Jesus.

We then pick up the story again in verse 39. Amazingly, because of the prophetic words of Jesus to the woman, many believed. Even more amazing, was that Samaritan people where begging Jesus to stay in Samaria to continue to teach and share His message with them. So great were Jesus’ words to the Samaritan woman, that not only did it radically change her life but the lives of so many others.

Yet the key passage in this whole story is found in verse 42. “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard Him ourselves. Now we know He is indeed the Saviour of the world.” How incredible that Jesus’ few words to the Samaritan woman had such a big impact. Furthermore, Jesus’ own words to them, revealed His true identity as the Saviour of the world.

However, the power of a testimony and the power of a prophetic word can only lead people to Jesus. It is when they meet Him and hear Him for themselves that their lives are completely changed. The Samaritan’s woman’s words only led the people to Jesus, moreover, it was Jesus’ own words, that radically changed their lives, ‘because we have heard Him ourselves‘.

When we encounter Jesus’ love for ourselves, we become a beacon of His grace and His love. It is then our privilege is to lead other people to Christ and let the Holy Spirit fully reveal the character and person of Jesus to them personally.

The Power Of Jesus’ Prophetic Words

31st August

Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her. “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied. Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband – for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now…””

John 4:16-18b

Today’s wonderful story is taken from the book of John where he wonderfully describes the encounter with Jesus and a Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob in Samaria. In Jewish customs, it was forbidden for a man and woman to talk openly in public. Furthermore, a Jew and Samaritan where prohibited to even speak to each other. Yet here Jesus goes against all traditions for the sake of love.

However, the highlight of this passage is when Jesus speaks a profound and prophetic word to the Samaritan woman, as the consequences change not only her life but the lives of many in Samaria.

Jesus, lovingly addresses the woman’s sinful condition by highlighting she was living together with a man without being married. It is clear Jesus had hit a nerve. She immediately perceived that Jesus was someone greater than just an ordinary man. Yet Jesus wasn’t finished. He continued to reveal more of Himself to the woman, highlighting that not only can He fill her empty heart with His everlasting water but that through Him, people can worship God freely.

Stunned at Jesus’ words she ran back to the village and shared her news with them….. “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could He possibly be the Messiah? So the people came streaming from the village to see Him.” The power of the revelation of who Jesus is changes lives. Remember this was a Samaritan woman who traditionally should have had nothing to do with Jesus. Yet here she is running back to Jesus with hoards of her people from the village she was living in.

Let us freely and boldly share Jesus with people. Let us not be afraid of embarrassment, cultural barriers or even deep rooted traditions. For we know that when people encounter the revelation of who Jesus was and is, lives are radically changed.

The Stand Of Faith

29th – 30th August

Weekend Edition

Listen to me all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in His prophets, and you will succeed. . . . the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising Him for His holy splendour.”

2 Chronicles 20:20-21

Amazingly, after they had received their promise of victory from the Lord, the people obeyed and marched out to the battlefield to stand and not fight, in God’s victory, not theirs.

The people of Judah could have easily thought that if God is going to win this battle for us, why do we even need to go to the battlefield? Or on the contrary they could have been so fearful thinking that maybe God would not do what He said He would do! Yet none of these, was the response from King Jehoshaphat and his people. They humbly obeyed God, in full confidence of His words and marched to the battle ground. Even at this time, they could do nothing but trust God.

If there were any doubts that God would fulfill His word, they would have been quickly stripped away at the sound of heartfelt worshippers on the front line, singing and praising God.

There are so many lessons we can learn from this passage and put into practice in our daily lives. Firstly, that when God promises us something, or answers our prayers, we should have full confidence in His answer, even if we can’t see it straight away. Sometimes that involves us standing firm even when the enemy or troublesome times approach. Secondly, the best way to render doubt powerless is to worship. Worship in victory, worship in defeat and worship when you are waiting. King Jehoshaphat’s wise move encouraged his troops to remember the faithfulness of God, remember God’s promise and to keep their minds fixed on Him, even in the midst of a battle ground.

Let us remember King Jehoshaphat’s wise words .. . . . Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm!!”

A Family Victory

28th August

As all the men of Judah stood before the Lord with their little ones, wives and children…”

2 Chronicles 20:13

There is no doubting that sometimes outcomes of certain situations can not only affect one person in the family but the whole family. However, sometimes, in Christian homes, the decisions can often feel like they are being made by a “one man band”. Yet it would be so wonderful to start seeing families involved in decision making together in the presence of the Lord. After all, as the saying goes, ‘a family that prays together – stays together‘.

As we continue with the story in Chronicles of Jehoshaphat’s submission to God in complete helplessness and surrender and His incredible answer, we find a verse that can so easily be overlooked; today’s verse, a great jewel of faith.

It is such a wonderful thing to read, that in the midst of fear, as an army is about to attack the people of Judah, that not only do the men fall to the floor in prayer to God, but together, they bring their families to complete surrender in front of God. They knew the outcome of this situation would affect the whole family. They knew that they needed to stand to together in unity as a family. It is such a great example of faith that the men brought their families before God too. Imagine the example that would have set to the children; the faith it would have built in them. That when tough times comes, just as their families did, to submit to God in surrender and lean on His unfailing grace.

It sets us a precedent for our lives; a perfect example of Godly and God-fearing living. Lets us learn from the people of Judah, that when tough times come, not to battle on our own, but get the family together and pray through the storm, relying on God’s grace and standing firm in unity. Not only will it build your faith as a family, but will set an example for generations to come. Watch and see the Lord fight your battles for you!

Rejoice In The Victory That Is Yours

27th August

Then King Jehoshaphat bowed low with his face to the ground. And all the people of Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshipping the Lord. The the Levites from the clans of Kohath and Korah stood to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud shout.”

2 Chronicles 20:14-15

When God promises something to us, do we wait for it to happen before we rejoice in His goodness or do we rejoice after we can see the fruit of our answered prayers?

Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah could do nothing but trust in God for their salvation from the large imminent enemy attack. God is in goodness answered their prayers by saying that the ‘battle was not theirs but the Lord’s’. Because of His amazing answer, the people of Judah fell to the floor in humble adoration of God’s goodness. The Levites stood up and shouted out praise to God from the bottom of their hearts. It would not be hard to imagine a celebratory party atmosphere when reading these verses.

Yet interestingly all this came before the battle had even started. Their victory celebrations came before the foe had arrived. It took a serious amount of faith to trust that God had spoken and that He would do what He said He would do. Yet the people of Judah and King Jehoshaphat had complete trust that God was on their side and in His faithful promise.

How amazing would it be if we celebrated God’s goodness even if we are faced with tough times. If we know that God is for us, then who can be against us? We must never forget to praise God for answered prayers. Let us join with the Levites and shout out praises to our God. Let us praise God even when we can only rely on the promises of His faithful answers; even before we see the fruit of our answered prayers. God is always good and deserves being praised!

God’s Answer Of Grace

26th August

The Spirit of the Lord came upon one of the men standing there…….He said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says: Don’t be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is NOT yours but GOD’S!!

2 Chronicles 20:14-15

God is faithful. He heard the prayer of the people and answered with such comforting words. In fact they were not just comforting, they were incredible words. Not only did God promise to be with them, not only did God promise His comfort but He included the promise, that the battle would not be theirs but His.

Jehoshaphat was completely in surrender to God. He knew his people did not have the resources to defeat this mighty enemy. “We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what do, but we are looking to YOU for help.” His only option was to trust God. In fact there was no better place to put his trust.

In His grace, God answered their prayers but not in the way you and I would think. He didn’t say, ‘go to war and I will be with you to help you defeat the enemy’. In fact He said the opposite. “March out against them… but you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory.” WOW. You will not need to fight…. Just watch me win for you! How powerful is that. How incredible must those words have been for the listeners. How comforting. How humbling.

Yet those words are not some old forgotten words, hidden somewhere in a dusty old book. They are as true today as they were for Jehoshaphat and his army. Sometimes, yes we are called to fight in God’s strength, but there are sometimes when God’s grace just says, ‘sit back and watch me gain victory in your life’. Is not a passive attitude, but it takes complete trust in God. It takes complete submission to His greater power. It takes time to listen to what God is saying.

If there is something in your life that you can’t see an end to or a way out of, then let Jehoshaphat’s prayer be yours today. ‘God I look to you. You are where my help comes from. I don’t know what to do but I trust You.’ Then let go and completely trust God to fight for you, just as He did for Jehoshaphat!

Remembering God’s Faithfulness

25th August

O God our God, did you not drive out those who lived in this land when Israel arrived? And did you not give this land forever to the descendants of your friend Abraham?……Whenever we are faced with any calamity such as war, plague, or famine, we can come to stand in your presence ….We can cry out to you to save us, and you will hear us.

2 Chronicles 20:7-9

Remembering God’s faithfulness in times of trouble is a key way to knowing that, in His faithfulness and mercy, He will protect and watch over us as He has promised. God is faithful. Period. There is never a time in history nor will there ever be, when God has stopped being faithful. He is faithful in our weakness and even when we don’t deserve it.

Jehoshaphat, although a God fearing man, previously had partnered with King Ahab (a not so Godly man) of Israel. Because of this bad allegiance, when King Ahab and King Jehoshaphat went to war together (against the will of God), not only did they loose the war but King Ahab also lost his life. God was greatly grieved that Jehoshaphat has not listened to Him and many people needlessly died on the battle field. Yet even still, God showed mercy once again to Jehoshaphat, rescued him and forgave Him.

However, unlike King Ahab, Jehoshaphat completely had full trust in His merciful God. He completely trusted Him to save their nation because of God’s faithfulness throughout their history and because God has promised them the land they were living in. He knew that if they cried out, God would hear.

When we are faced with situations where the outcome is out of our hands, we should not try to fix it on our own, but completely surrender it to God, knowing that just as He has helped us in the past, so He will continue to do in the future. Leaning on God’s promises and faithfulness in the past gives us a solid foundation to trust Him with our future. If the road ahead is unclear, trust God even more and let His light direct your steps.

King Jehoshaphat’s Response To Trouble

24th August

Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the Lord for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting. So people came from all the towns of Judah came to Jerusalem to seek the Lord’s help.”

2 Chronicles 20:3-4

Throughout the Old Testament we read of good kings that followed God’s laws and honoured Him, and bad kings that set their hearts to worship false idols and form alliances with pagan kingdoms. Today’s story features King Jehoshaphat, a good king. He did make some foolish errors in his time, but was remembered for his good works and his deep fear and love for God. In fact so great was the favour of the Lord on Jehoshaphat’s life, that enemy kingdoms started to fear Judah.

However, there were some enemies that didn’t fear his kingdom, the Moabites, Ammonites and the Meunites. These enemies declared war on Judah and when news reached Jehoshaphat’s ears, fear filled him to the very core. This was no small enemy but an army of hundreds and thousands, hence Jehoshaphat’s reaction.

Yet what was his response? You would expect a God-fearing King to say ‘prepare yourself troops, eat well, get ready for war and do not fear because God is with us‘. Yet he doesn’t do that at all. In fact, he does the opposite. He calls a fast and gets everyone to pray. Why? Because he knew that they could not defeat this enemy without God. He fell to his knees, along with his kingdom, crying out to God to lead and guide them. He re-called all the good things that God had done for them and remembered God’s faithfulness to their nation. Furthermore he humbled himself in complete helplessness knowing that there was nothing he could do in his own strength to win this war…We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.”

What is our reaction when faced with troubles or situations out of our hands? Do we continue to prepare and try to ‘sort it out’ by ourselves, or do we completely surrender in helpless submission to God, crying out for His help?

The Exalted Leader

22nd 23rd August

Weekend Edition

Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honour and gave Him the Name above all other names, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father..”

Philippians 2:9-11

Jesus had to completely sacrifice Himself for us; both emotionally and physically. He emptied Himself of all His rights and privileges (remember He said He could have called legions of angels to rescue Him if He needed), He humbly came to earth as a servant, obediently endured the hardship of the cross, and sacrificially gave Himself up for our sake. Our sins were pinned on Him. The world’s pain, sadness, and grief were all on His shoulders.

Yet, because He was obedient, the Father exalted Him and gave Him the Name above every name. It is at the Name of Jesus that enemies flee, sickness is healed, salvation is found and lives transformed. It because Jesus had to endure the cross and overcome it, that we too can access His great power, His great grace and His great love. Because He lives, we live. He lives in us and we live in His glorious blessings.

Furthermore, one day, even the doubters, will fall before His throne, and declare He is Lord. This means everyone!! Yet we have been given the privilege to declare His Majesty here on earth, right now. Let us declare that we serve the exalted King. That He is our God. Jesus Christ, the Lord of Lords and Name above all Names! Hallelujah.

The Obedient Leader

21st August

…He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”

Philippians 2:8

The cross in Bible times was a mark of shame. It was one of the worse ways to die and was reserved for the most wicked of criminal’s. The bible even calls it a curse to be hanged on a tree in the book of Deuteronomy. Some even say that because sin entered the world through a tree (the tree of knowledge where Adam took the apple from) that is why it was cursed. Make of that what you will, but what we do know for sure, is that on the tree that Christ was crucified on, all sin and curses were broken as Jesus became sin for us and broke the curse of the law by becoming the curse for us. He took our place.

Yet all this was in submission and obedience to the Father. When Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, “Lord, take this cup from me”, the anguish He was feeling was real. It was far from easy for Him to give His life, to take our sins and to be beaten to death. Yet He cried out the most powerful words, “Nevertheless, not My will but Yours!!”.

True obedience calls us to submit our own desires and align ourselves with the will of God; even if the cost is great and involves big sacrifices. Jesus our perfect example, showed us how to live an obedient and self-less life. The cross now stands a blessing for humanity. Moreover, it is not so much the cross itself, but what happened on the cross that causes us to rejoice. Let us draw on the power of Jesus’ death and resurrection to enable us to live lives submitted in obedience to God our Heavenly Father.