Back to the Reading Room index or the JesusIsLife.net Home Page
This world is full of problems of which people are desperate to find solutions. What few realize, however, is that the answer is right under our noses! The God who created the universe has a Name by which anything is possible! Look at how Paul describes Christ's position:
Yes, He is above all. Above all of your needs and above all of your problems. Let's take a look at some specific ways in which He can lead us to victory!
This is a promise from Jesus that if we seek God's kingdom, of which Jesus Christ is the head, He will supply our physical needs. Seeking first His kingdom, however, does not merely mean "asking God for a cookie." It means that following His commandments will be the single top priority in your life. As Paul said, it involves making Him preeminent in all things.
Empirical evidence (that is, anecdotal stories) confirms this. First, let's look at what David observed in his day:
I've seen the same thing today. I can't even count the number of times I've heard about families struggling with impossible financial situations, but when they decided to put God first and give to Him anyway, things somehow worked out.
If you read about missionaries and their adventures with finances and basic needs such as food, you'll likely see a trend. God tests their faith, but as they continue to seek His kingdom first, He always comes through with what they need. Accounts like this can be seen from the great missionaries such as George Mueller to the first time young adult missionary with an organization such as Youth With a Mission.
As a missions worker myself, I can confirm this. My story isn't as dramatic as some, but I am amazed at how my financial needs have been met. During my support raising, it didn't seem like I had many opportunities to share what I was doing. Everyone I talked to said that their church was either only interested in supporting those from their congregation or not terribly enthusiastic about missions in general. However, somehow, the finances that I needed came through, and now I am reasonably well supplied.
Jesus healed people when He was physically on the earth because He had compassion on them and because He wanted to prove Himself. Nothing has changed; the same is true today. He still has compassion on the suffering and He still wants to confirm that He is God.
The first indication of Jesus' healing ability comes to us through one of the great Messianic chapters in the Old Testament:
As surely as His separation from God through death made it possible for us to be made right with God, the wounds He received made it possible for us to receive physical healing. This will be universally true in heaven, the New Creation. Every single sickness and physical deformity a follower of Christ has on earth will be completely gone after he or she passes into His presence.
However, it goes beyond that. Christ's death makes it possible for us to be right with God by faith today, His suffering allows us to receive physical healing by faith today.
Before I continue, I should say that we cannot expect every single request for physical healing to be granted. God is completely sovereign, and His plan is different than ours. It should also be realized that death is a part of His normal plan for humans, as a way of taking us to be with Him. For that reason, we would not want Him to heal us every time!
However, healing certainly does happen today. Let's take a look at a few relevant Scriptures:
Here is a pretty broad recipe for healing. We are to confess our sins and pray for each other. Calling for the leaders of the church and annointing with oil may help, but that is not a consistent requirement for healing in other relevant Scripture.
It should be noted that Ananias was likely not a leader in the church. At least there is no Biblical evidence that he was. He was a man like us, but who was obedient to God's call. The healing of Saul's eyes was accomplished through the laying on of hands.
Here are two pretty clear statements of Jesus saying that anyone who believes should be able to see divine healing miracles. Here is a somewhat startling observation by Jack Deere, in his excellent book Surprised by the Power of the Spirit:
Are you laying hands on the sick in believing prayer? It was pretty important to the early church:
Here we find evidence that the laying on of hands, presumably for healing, was a basic, fundamental teaching of the early church -- right along with baptism and eternal life! Does anyone else get the impression that most of our modern churches have drifted from this somewhat?
Here's one interesting example that I have personally seen. I had a college friend who suffered from Attention Deficit Disorder. We were in the same accounting class, and he was failing miserably, despite hiring tutors and trying very hard. We were also in the same cell group and worked in the same office. In the cell group we layed hands on him and prayed for healing from ADD several times. Nothing appeared to happen. Then one night we were both in the office. He was working on accounting and I was in the next cubicle working on a computer project for the school. All of a sudden I hear "Yeeehaaaaaa Micah, I'm healed!" I don't know exactly what happened, but apparently there was a near-instantaneous change. I do know that he did a lot better in accounting from then on, and even went on to the next semester!
So don't give up. The Bible is clear that God honors persistence.
Overcoming evil was the primary reason why Jesus came to earth:
Here we see that even those under the earth, meaning evil forces, must submit to Jesus Christ:
Certainly, this will be a universal event in the future, when literally all creation will acknowledge Jesus as Lord. But it has already started! Demons were already submitting to Jesus when He was on the earth:
As far as we are concerned, our part of the job of overcoming evil is to love our (human) "enemies" and let God do the rest.
I've heard lots of stories about people doing the illogical thing to those who have caused them grief -- showing extreme kindness to the person. Such as the WW2 soldier who was held captive in Germany. His wife sent him meals, which his prison officer always ate, while mocking the soldier. Once released, the soldier and his wife took a holiday meal to the officer, to show him Christ's love. The officer was shocked that anyone could treat him like that, and came to know Christ as his Savior.
Sometimes vengeance and "overcoming evil" doesn't quite work like we expect. Actually, that is a good thing. Having an "evil" person come to Christ is the best possible way to overcome that evil! However, at least some evil will remain until the very last days of the world's existence. That evil will be brutally and supernaturally crushed, and evil will exist no more. This is the ultimate fate of all evil which does not submit to Jesus Christ.
Other Scripture to ponder:
In Psalm 110:1, Jesus is promised that all His enemies will be made His footstool. But here we are told that Satan himself will be crushed through us at our obedience to Christ.
If you follow the history of Israel in the Old Testament, you will notice a clear trend. When the people were truly following God, they prospered in all they did. When they fell away and worshipped false gods, they suffered humiliating defeat at the hands of their enemies.
Here is one very popular promise that is the basis for some great prayer movements. It applied to ancient Israel, and there is no reason why it would not apply to us as a nation (any nation) today.
Note that it is referring to God's people. That is all that's required! We needn't expect the enemies of God in our nation to humble themselves and pray. If God's own people commit to doing it, that is enough! The rest will then fall into place.
Now, let's move from a relatively well known verse to a relatively unknown, but fascinating, prophecy in Zechariah:
I believe this prophecy is being fulfilled today, in the Church Age. "Jerusalem" is in the New Testament equated to the true Church of Jesus Christ. "Rain" is a symbol of God's blessings. With that in mind, here are a few scenarios to consider:
Coincidence? You decide.
Do you want your nation to prosper? Then get as many citizens of that nation as possible to confidently proclaim that Jesus Christ is the answer!
It might be noted that if everyone on earth simply obeyed the commands of Jesus, world peace would instantly be achieved! People would pray for their enemies instead of attack them. No one would try to use force to take power for greedy reasons. And no wars would be fought over religion (which is the cause of most wars).
In fact, that is exactly what will happen some day.
This will happen in the latter days of Earth's history, when the kingdom of Christ has spread throughout the world. For more Biblical support on this, please see Daniel's vision in Daniel 2, which includes a statue representing earthly empires which are superceded by a large rock that grows to fill the earth; the ever-expanding River of Life in Ezekiel 47, a beautiful prophecy that forshadows the gushing of living water from within us (cross reference to John 4:14); and Jesus' parables about the Kingdom growing to be a large tree and as yeast spreading throughout the entire meal in Matthew 13:31-33.
It will happen, and the more we obey the commands of Jesus, the sooner it will be fulfilled!
Many people, even well-meaning Christians, have other ideas for accomplishing world peace. Some participate in candlelight "peace vigils." Some will withhold part of their taxes to protest government spending on war. Some hold war protests. Some insist that diplomacy can solve all our problems. Some pray (and that is always a good thing). But I'm sorry to say that none of that will accomplish squat if we do not commit to obeying the commands of Jesus Christ and lifting up His name!
For the time being, unfortunately, world events can justify some wars, even involving the righteous (see Deuteronomy 20). But the heart of God clearly favors peace, and in the New Testament He gives two specific blessings to peacemakers:
Also notice that peace is one of the fruits of the Spirit. When we exalt Jesus Christ, we are filled by the Spirit, producing these fruits within us:
Here we finally get to the meat of what this is all about.
We humans were originally created to be in the presence of God forever. That is what the Garden of Eden was all about. But humanity since then has chosen sin over a rewarding, eternal relationship with God. That choice has separated us from God.
Because of this, and because God is so intensely holy and perfect, He cannot grant us this eternal life in His presence because our sin would "contaminate" it. His character alone would totally destroy any sinful man in His presence. The only option is to send the sinner to the place He created for the spiritual forces that rebelled against Him, the place we call Hell.
We are told that our sinful condition will lead to death, that is, hell, but that Jesus Christ is the answer.
The prophet Isaiah prophesied this long ago. Isaiah 53, which we looked at in the healing section above, is talking about Jesus Christ. After his suffering and death, he was to rise again in glory. This resurrection guarantees our own resurrection.
The Bible could not possibly be more clear that there is exactly one solution to the problem of sin that separates us from God. Many people try to "bridge the gap" with things like going to church, trying various religions, or doing good works.
That's it. The name of Jesus and His shed blood can cover up all your sins and your shame and your guilt. He and He alone can bridge the gap to the throne of God and eternal life in His presense. And what a reward! King David had glimpses of God's glory and here's what he wrote:
Paul (almost certainly speaking humbly of himself here) also had a glimpse of this.
And he (Paul) made some other comments as well:
Notice that the only reason Paul chose to remain living was for the work of God that he still needed to do in the body! The same is true of us. Heaven is so infinitely better than anything imaginable on earth that once we belong to Christ, the only reason to remain on the earth is to do His will! For more thoughts on that topic, please see my article Thoughts on the Great Commission.
If you have not yet made that choice, it is time. You don't know how much longer you have on earth. When you die, the chance to choose is over. Plus, the sooner you choose the sooner you can start storing up treasures in heaven!
If you are skeptical, that is understandable. It would be foolish to accept a religion with no evidence! Fortunately, there is plenty of evidence. For a good case for the truth of historical Christianity, you may want to read the book The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. For scientific evidence that the God of the Bible was behind the formation of the universe and of life, see Creator and the Cosmos by Hugh Ross and Origins of Life by Fazale Rana and Hugh Ross. Most importantly, desire God, and decide to seek Him.
God will not disappoint someone who really wants Him! If you are ready to make that choice, simply pray sincerely to God something like the following, in your own words: "Jesus, I now realize that You are above all things. I realize that You are the answer to my, and the world's, problems. I believe that You are God's unique, begotten Son, that You lived a perfect life on earth, were crucified for my sin, and bruised for my healing. I accept that this was done for me. Now, be my Lord and show me how I can live in victory in You! In Jesus' name, Amen!"
Upon praying that sincerely, you are now guaranteed the wonders of heaven! But don't become complacent and stop there. You need to study the Bible for all it's worth and pray for God's leading. You cannot truly see Jesus prove Himself the answer in any of these areas until you do!