John 3:30-35 (NLT) “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less. He has come from above and is greater than anyone else. We are of the earth, and we speak of earthly things, but he has come from heaven and is greater than anyone else. He testifies about what he has seen and heard, but how few believe what he tells them! Anyone who accepts his testimony can affirm that God is true. For he is sent by God. He speaks God’s words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit. The Father loves his Son and has put everything into his hands.” It’s funny how bits and pieces of our childhood stick with us over time. When I came across this passage today, I remembered elementary school. In math class when learning the concept of less than, equal to and greater than. I really had a hard time deciding what to do with the little symbol in between the two numbers. I understood equal to but needed some assistance learning the difference between < and >. My teacher introduced me to the “alligator” who only opened his mouth to the larger number. He was a greedy gator who always wanted more. The idea became ingrained in my head so rather than concentration so much in what was in the middle I focused on what was on each side. I just had to choose the bigger number rather than which symbol to use. Voila! I am quite convinced without such an education I never would have finished elementary arithmetic. This principle can be applied to more of life than just math. Life is full of choices. We must constantly evaluate the differences in life to make a decision on which we will pick. This is easy when it is between a cookie or cupcake, but not so much when it is between following the world or doing the Will of God. When we read John 3:30, we always come up on the less than side of the equation which is an uncomfortable position for most people who much prefer the greater than position. We will never find our place in God’s Plan and Purpose for our life living according to our own terms because it is His Plan and Purpose that will prosper our life. We read John 3:30 and then try to live according to God’s Word and Will for our life but never bother to find the Way. Jesus is the Way, Truth and Life by which we have access to Father once more. There is no other way, it doesn’t matter how many people try to convince us that there is. It’s Jesus. That’s it. When we put Jesus Christ on the “greater than” side, it leaves only one position for us. I must become less and less. But before you crawl off feeling insignificant and powerless, read a little more of John 3. “He has come from above and is greater than anyone else. We are of the earth, and we speak of earthly things, but he has come from heaven and is greater than anyone else. He testifies about what he has seen and heard, but how few believe what he tells them! Anyone who accepts his testimony can affirm that God is true. For he is sent by God. He speaks God’s words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit. The Father loves his Son and has put everything into his hands.” The equation that is created when the Lord becomes greater and we become less is to our benefit. It is not God exercising His Great Power and Complete Authority over our life to dominate us. It is the opportunity to connect with the Life Source and Power that is unequal to any other force in this world. The Father loves the Son and puts everything in His Hands. By making Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord, we have access to everything that has been put into His Hands. To make God greater in our life is to make Him greater than any other drive, force or power in our life and access the Glorious Standard of Living taken from us by sin. As we allow our life to become this little math equation, things fall into perspective and we make better choices to accept God’s Plan and Purpose for our life so we will begin to prosper. Deuteronomy 9:1-3 (NLT) “Listen, O Israel! Today you are about to cross the Jordan River to take over the land belonging to nations much greater and more powerful than you. They live in cities with walls that reach to the sky! The people are strong and tall—descendants of the famous Anakite giants. You’ve heard the saying, ‘Who can stand up to the Anakites?’ But recognize today that the LORD your God is the one who will cross over ahead of you like a devouring fire to destroy them. He will subdue them so that you will quickly conquer them and drive them out, just as the LORD has promised.” Many believers struggle with making Jesus Christ their Lord. Everyone wants and needs a Savior, but from an early age we are quick to tell others that “they are not the boss of me.” We have five children. Our youngest daughter is quick to point out to her older siblings that they are not her mom or dad whichever is the case. I suppose her complaint is valid since she has so many people telling her what to do. But what I think is important to note is that she has decided who will be her authority. This is not to say that she is the perfect child who is always obedient to her parent, but she knows who she should be listening to. In the greater than, less than equation of life, we choose the greater power, drive and force that we put in authority over us. We determine what will be greater than and less than according to the choices that we make. God did not call us to conquer the world. Jesus overcame the world and everything in it. We are called to inhabit or occupy the land on our way through. The problem is that when we are faced with something that challenges our faith we choose to make other things greater than God. Oh no? If you are facing sickness or disease in your body, who is the ultimate authority of your health? Is it the hospital, doctor, insurance company, alternative methods, or is it Jesus Christ the Great Physician who offers healing through the Cross? Now before you say, “Jesus” think about your answer. Are you agonizing over the condition? Do you spend your days worrying and complaining? What is your outlook is it disparaging or full of faith that allows you to smile and praise God through the hardship, pain and even sorrow sometimes? It’s not your job to find the cure, Jesus Christ completed this work on the Cross. It is our job to accept healing through faith in Jesus Christ in our bodies. But Jesus must become greater than our sickness and disease. How? When you choose Jesus Christ as the Authority over your health and wellness, then you will stay true to Him while He works out every detail for your own good. (Romans 8:28) Even if it takes some time, you will rejoice knowing you are healed and made whole. It is not about being powerful but allowing the Holy Spirit to be powerful in our life. 2 Chronicles 32:6-8 (NLT) “He appointed military officers over the people and assembled them before him in the square at the city gate. Then Hezekiah encouraged them by saying: “Be strong and courageous! Don’t be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria or his mighty army, for there is a power far greater on our side! He may have a great army, but they are merely men. We have the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!” Hezekiah’s words greatly encouraged the people.” How great is your God? Is Jesus Christ your Lord? How powerful is the Spirit within you? You have been given a free will and the right to choose who you will serve. The military officers in Hezekiah’s army were afraid and discouraged. Things were not looking good. But Hezekiah reminded them who they were fighting for and who they were fighting with. The battled belonged to the Lord, they just had to be strong enough and courageous enough to believe it and step out by faith. God would win the battle. The struggle we have with faith is the unseen reality of the Power of God. We read about it. We hear about it. We try to believe it. However, daily we are required to choose who we will serve in the battles of life. They matter. You choose each day if the Power of the Living God is greater than your fear and doubt by putting your faith in Jesus Christ as Lord of your life. Ask Abram about such a choice. Making God greater than your fear will be found in the faith that takes you from your comfort zone – human comfort usually is the result of man’s compromise. To be a great nation, Abram had to move out of his comfort zone. To have all that God has planned for your life, you will too! (Genesis 12:1-3) Read about Nehemiah. God placed it in his heart to rebuild the walls and gates surrounding Jerusalem. He was nothing more than a cup bearer at the time with no right to do so. He prayed and found favor with the king who released him to do so. The opposition began the moment Nehemiah stepped out in faith. (Nehemiah 6:4-9) Rest assured it will for you too when you choose to make God greater than any other calling in your life. When you choose to face Jesus Christ and make Him Lord, all hell will break loose. That’s for sure. But God promises never to give us more than we can bear and that we will succeed in everything we do under the Power and Authority of Jesus Christ. Success belongs to us when God is Greater and we rely on the Power of Jesus to succeed. Just a little side note: The first gate that was to be rebuilt was in Judah. Judah is praise. When we choose the Power of God as greater in our life, we must align our thoughts so they become words of love, affirmation, acceptance and agreement with Jesus Christ which demonstrates allegiance to the Kingdom of God empowering every dream, vision and aspiration that we have to prosper in the Power of His Love. You will not understand everything that God is doing in your life. Just ask Job. But He promises that He will never let you down, abandon you or allow the enemy to take you out. The Lord will bless those who make it through the fiery trials of life found to be faithful. (Job 36:26) Our mission in life is this – “I know the greatness of the LORD—that our Lord is greater than any other god.” (Psalm 135:5) John 1:49-51 (NLT) Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!” Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.” You will see greater things than this. God is not a one-trick pony show. His Thoughts and Ways are so much greater than our own. It all begins with the revelation of who Jesus Christ is. Not the kind that sends you to the altar at church for the fiftieth time, but the kind that makes you fall to your knees in awe that He really is the Son of God. The moment you realize that He did everything that He said He would do because suddenly the Lord is manifested in your life. It is the moment that God becomes greater than any other power, force or drive that you have. He becomes your everything because He has proven worthy of every ounce of faith you have and makes you confident in hope for forever. It all begins with one small choice to choose Jesus over this or that. It is as simple as the day in second grade when I had to choose the number that the “alligator” would chomp down on. Once I discovered the secret, I could make the right choice every single time. Human beings have the innate power to prosper. (Genesis 11:1-9) We can do the impossible. God limited this ability in the Old Testament so that we would never become self-sufficient until Jesus could take care of the death penalty hanging over our head. Now we are free to prosper in this life and the one that is to come by the Power and Authority given to us by Jesus Christ when we accept His Love, Grace and Mercy when He becomes not only our Savior but Lord of our life. The Great Glory of God is filling His Temple preparing for the return of Christ just as was told to Haggai. The Body of Christ is trembling and shaking at the close proximity of Jesus. (Haggai 2:6-9) The Kingdom of God must be taken by violence because the enemy is coming after it with force. You are His Temple. You are the Body of Christ. You must become less to accept the full power of Jesus Christ so you will prosper in this life and step into Eternity. (Matthew 11:10-12) How? He must be greater and greater – I must become less and less. The Tower of Babel grew taller and taller as the people worked in one accord. God indicated that they could do the impossible together as one. But the timing was off so God scattered them. Jesus Christ came and died to set us free to experience the Glorious Standard of Living found in the Power of God for our life. Now if we can just come back together as the people did in Genesis 11, imagine what would happen? We would be limitless. The Kingdom of God would advance. There would be revival in the House of God again! “And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31) Luke 16:9-10 (NLT) “Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home. If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.” “At that same time Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and he said, “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way. My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” (Luke 10:21-22) The Lord has a purpose and plan for your life to prosper you. He is not on some power kick that requires submission by oppression and force. The driving force and motivation that He requires is love. He wants you to love Him so much that you choose His Way every single time. So it comes down to something as childlike as “greater than, equal to or less than” a simple as learning elementary math to make choices. Is this challenge that I am facing greater than my God’s Power, equal to His Power, or less than His Power? You will find that when you look at every choice made in life compared to God’s Power that you continually choose the Lord until He becomes greater and greater. Faith grows in this effort to become confident hope that allows us to instinctually make batter choices and begin to prosper in His Love. Is the Lord greater than anything else in your life? He can be! Remember the greedy alligator who always choose more! Matthew 16:15-18 (NLT) Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.
June 9, 2014