What are you asking Jesus for?

Written by: Tim Wood

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:12-14)

 These are amazing words from Jesus. He is saying that anyone (whoever) has faith in him will do what he’s been doing. A person who has faith in him will do even greater things. What, then, are the greater works?  D. A. Carson in his commentary on John’s gospel points out, “the greater works are those done on the basis of Jesus’ death, resurrection and exaltation. The greater works point to the power of the gospel to transform lives as it spreads through the apostolic witness. Through Peter’s preaching on the day of Pentecost, 3,000 were born again, probably more than Jesus saw converted during His entire ministry. The Book of Acts tells how the message kept spreading, first around Jerusalem, and eventually to the Gentiles around the Roman Empire.”

There is no “greater work” than the conversion of one’s soul. That is what Jesus came to do, “seek and save the lost.”

Jesus makes it abundantly clear that prayer is the key to doing greater things. “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” The possibilities are endless. I can’t even begin to tell you what that means. All I know is it’s exciting. Jesus is telling us that He is going to the Father so we can pray in His name. And when we ask for the things that he came to earth to do, He will do it. We can ask for power against sin and evil because Jesus came to destroy it. We can storm the status quo because Jesus did. We can change the oppression. We can shine a light in the darkness, we can proclaim the good news of God, we can set the captive free…if we believe in Him and ask Him!

What are you asking Jesus for? Are you asking for the things He came to earth to do? When we pray believing in Jesus name, our prayers become powerful and effective.

I want to challenge you to meditate on John 14:12-14. And as you do, ask Jesus to take your life and do great things through it so that the Father may be glorified. In Jesus Name! Amen!

 

The Word of God Cycle

Written by: Tim Wood

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.  (Isaiah 55:10-11 ESV)

 The water cycle that God created is a beautiful picture of God’s Word cycle. Notice, five things that the rain does after it comes down from heaven. It waters the earth. It makes it bring “forth” (makes it bud). It sprouts. It gives seed to the sower. It gives bread to the eater.

God’s word cycle produces the same result – “so shall my word be”.  The word of God comes down from heaven. It produces life in us. The word of God produces fruit in us. The fruit that God’s word produces in my life blesses others and in return glorifies God. The word of God cycle.

The brown hills of San Jose desperately need water to bring them back to life. Similarly, we need the Word of God to bring life to us. Do you view the Word of God as life for you? Unless we view the word of God as life, we won’t receive it as life. We won’t be obedient to the life- giving Word of God.

A.W. Pink wrote, "God never forgets, never fails, never falters, never forfeits His word. To every declaration of promise or prophecy the Lord has exactly adhered, every engagement of covenant or threatening He will make good, for 'God is not man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not fulfill it?”

God word will accomplish its purpose in our life. And as it does, our fruit filled lives return to God the glory due Him.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16).

 

Daily Renew Your Mind

Written by: Tim Wood

But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.   (2 Corinthians 11:3 ESV)

Satan attempts to target our minds. His scheme is to lure us away from the truth of the Gospel in Jesus Christ. Satan wants to distract us from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. He employs mind games to draw us away.

Eve lost her focus on God. Her thoughts were led astray. Paul is warning that this can happen to us like it happened to Eve. So, what do we do? We must be aware to these attacks. We must renew our minds daily with the Word of God. We must receive and believe God’s Word over our own thoughts or feelings. We must be diligent to “bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Don’t ever open yourself up to ideas that will corrupt the Gospel and harm you. We can and should determine, by the grace of God, to rework our mental diet to the Scriptures. Our meditations (what our thoughts dwell on), should be verses from the Bible. Try to add in to your day godly conversations. Prayer is a godly conversation. Christian friends can provide for us godly conversations. Our thoughts can be led astray, but we can renew our mind!

Sincere and pure devotion to Christ is what Paul wanted for the Corinthians. Sincerity is literally being unfolded. It’s being completely open to God. It is simply and passionately declaring what the Lord wants in my life is what I want in my life. Being devoted to Christ means that I don’t let other voices distract me from that sincerity. Let’s daily renew our mind to the purposes of God.

 

Three Things You Should Know about Trials

Written by: Tim Wood

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.  (1 Peter 4:12-13 ESV)

 People who follow Christ go through trials. Fiery ones. Trials that test us. Peter was writing to people who were experiencing tremendous suffering and gives solid instruction on how to react to suffering.

1) Don’t be surprised by a trial in your life.  Normally, our first response to a fiery trial is, “Why is this happening to me? I don’t understand this. I went to church last weekend!” Peter is telling us that we shouldn’t be surprised by trials that come our way. Actually, we should be surprised by the absence of trials.  The word “beloved” means that God still dearly loves us.  Nothing can every separate us from the love of God, not even trials.  God loves His Son Jesus deeply. Jesus faced trials.

2) Trials are tests.  A trial in my life will test my faith. Chuck Swindoll says, “If…we view life as a schoolroom and God as the instructor, it should come as no surprise when we encounter pop quizzes and periodic examinations.” A trial is a test that will keep me strong and sharp.

3) Trials are an opportunity to rejoice. We can rejoice in our trials because it brings us closer to Christ. We don’t rejoice in the suffering, we rejoice in Christ who helps us through the suffering.  Suffering is an opportunity to run to Christ, not away from Him. A trial can bring greater glory to God. 

John Stott wrote, “I could never myself believe in God if it were not for the cross. In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it? I turn to that lonely, twisted, tortured figure on the cross, nails through hands and feet, back lacerated, limbs wrenched, brow bleeding from thorn-pricks, mouth dry and intolerably thirsty, plunged in God-forsaken darkness. That is the God for me. He set aside his immunity to pain. He entered our world of flesh and blood, tears and death.” We serve a God who is familiar with pain. Our God knows all about fiery trials.

We don’t have to pretend we are tough when the going gets tough. We don’t even have to get going. We can stay near the cross. We can experience his unconditional and eternal love. We can rejoice that through all our suffering God will be glorified and I will be made stronger.

 

 

A Peaceful Easy Feeling?

Written by: Tim Wood

May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace! (Psalm 29:11 ESV)

 The Eagles sang a song about a “peaceful, easy feeling.”  Isn’t that what everyone desires? The absence of problems and conflicts that result in a peaceful life? Yes! But we’re not going to experience that on this planet. Life is full of unexpected difficulties. Life is full of unplanned storms.  Life is full of annoying interruptions. All of these things can steal our peaceful easy feelings.

We must understand the difference between a peaceful feeling and peace. A peaceful feeling is based on circumstances. A peaceful feeling is experienced on the outside and works its way into our lives. A peaceful feeling is a state of serenity without stress or conflict.

On the other hand, biblical peace is a gift. It’s starts on the inside and works its way out. It’s a sense of well-being based on a relationship with God.  Romans 5:1 makes this clear, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God.”  This peace is real peace. This peace can be experienced in the calmness of life and in the storms of life. This peace lasts. This peace is found in Jesus Christ, “For he himself is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14). It wasn’t easy for Jesus to give us peace. He gave his life for our peace. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).  Jesus gives us a different peace than the world offers. Will you take his peace? Will you live according to his peace? Peace is not the absence of problems in our life, it’s the presence of Jesus! May the Lord bless you with his peace.