Tuesday, 4 October 2016
We All Need A Savior

Let the weak say, "I am strong"

Let the poor say, "I am rich"

Let the blind say, "I can see"

It's what the Lord has done in me.

--Recorded by Hillsong, written by Reuben Morgan

It is often said that the first step in solving a problem is to admit you have one. No one likes to admit they have a problem or an issue in their life. Instead, we put up a brave, through false, front, and forge ahead as if nothing is wrong. And, if we are confronted and have to admit to having some problem or issue, we are quick to look for someone or something to blame, rather than take responsibility for ourselves. Nothing much about human nature has changed in 2000-plus years. This was the same mentality that Jesus encountered when He began His ministry.

Luke 4:18

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;

When Jesus read this passage from Isaiah 6 and proceeded to tell the congregation in Nazareth that this scripture was fulfilled that very day in their hearing, it caused quite a stir.  He more or less said He knew they wouldn't believe it because no prophet is accepted in his hometown. As an example, He commented about how in the days of Elijah when there was drought and famine in the land, there were many widows in need but the prophet was sent to the home of a widow in Sidon, which was in Phoenicia. Also, there were many in Israel with leprosy yet only Namaan, a Syrian, was healed. That caused more than a stir; the people lost their minds. They tried to drive Him out of town and throw Him over a cliff, but He walked away through the crowd.

The people of Israel God's chosen people-- didn't know they needed a savior because they didn't know they needed to be saved… at least not in a spiritual way. They had become entrenched in their religious practices. A better word than entrenched might be enslaved. The hypocritical Pharisees ran the show, placing burdens upon the people that had nothing to do with being a servant of God. However, if you were to stop the average Jew on the streets of Jerusalem at that time and ask him what their biggest problem was, he would have said it was their Roman rulers. What they were looking for in a savior was someone who would come and defeat the Romans and return rule of Israel to the people, and Jesus didn't seem to fit that bill. He didn't have an army or weapons or even a plan to run the Romans out of town. Instead, He came with a dozen misfits, preaching about the kingdom of God-and about repenting.  In order to repent, you had to admit you had a problem with sin. Ah, there's the rub.

Matthew 15:30 Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus' feet, and He healed them.

Yet there were those who heard His message and responded. They were the people who knew they had a problem. Not only were they willing to admit it, but they were also willing to put their trust and hope in a Savior. They were those who were physically weak or ill, too poor to see a physician. They were those who were physically blind or deaf or mute. They knew that nothing short of miracle would change their situation, and that is exactly what they got. Their physical healings were witnessed by their loved ones who had brought them to Jesus and when the people saw that Jesus had  healed them, the Bible says they went away praising God. They were changed forever, and not just physically.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Let the weak say, "I am strong." How many of us quote Philippians 4:13 when we need strength? "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  We don't really understand how He does it, but He does. It's in our weakness that His strength is at its peak effectiveness. It's when we can admit that we can't do it ourselves and that we need Him. I was trying to understand how that works, searching and asking for some clarity when I heard "nail strengthener." Now nail strengthener is not a product I have ever had to use, but I know some ladies who have. Their nails were brittle or didn't grow very strong. They would apply the nail strengthener in the same way you apply nail polish and it would help their weak nails become strong. Again, I wanted to know how it actually worked, so I looked it up and found a website for "Nails Magazine" and an article on the subject. When asked how a nail strengthener worked, this was the response from Faina Ritz, a chemist and "nail doctor".

 "A good nail strengthener greatly enhances the condition of the natural nail plate by contributing two important benefits: physical protection and the delivery of nutrients to help nails grow. A strengthener acts like a protective coating, providing a flexible web-like film that reinforces the structure and body of the nail. Nail strengtheners with micro elemental formulations also impart healthy nutrition to the nail plate with a dose of vitamins and nutrients that promote growth."

Just like nail strengthener, Jesus enhances our condition by providing physical protection and giving us what we need to grow. The blood of Jesus flows over our lives, filling in the weak points with His love, mercy, compassion and wisdom, and that gives us strength. Each trial that we face with God produces another layer of strength in us that we can build on and that causes us to grow spiritually.  In Romans 5:2-4, Pauls tells us: "And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope."

James 2:5  Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

Let the poor say, "I am rich." The Pharisees loved their position and power over the people. Jesus said they devoured widows' houses, meaning they took advantage of the poor and the weak to enrich themselves. He said that it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of needle than it would be for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. He also said that the poor would always be with us.  In Revelation 3:17-18 is says: "Because you say, I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'-and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked-  I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see."

The issue isn't really how much money a person has, but rather it is the condition of his heart. Those who come to Jesus and accept Him don't become instant millionaires, but they become rich in the gift of eternal life. They are enriched by knowing their Savior and taking in His goodness, mercy, love and strength. One of the first times I ever heard God's voice speaking in my spirit, I was contemplating a stinging remark someone made about me being some rich girl. I was talking to God in the shower (my daughter was little and clingy at that time and that was my only quiet place) and I asked why people thought we were rich when we barely made it paycheck to paycheck. As clear as day, though not audible, I heard the Lord say, "Because you don't act poor." That was a revelation to me. Today we still barely make it paycheck to paycheck, but I am grateful that we have what we do. I may be in the same place financially that I was 10 years ago, but I am certainly richer in the things of God and hopefully it shows in how I speak and act.

Pslam 146:8 The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; The Lord raises those who are bowed down; The Lord loves the righteous.

Let the blind say, "I can see."  In the movie, "The Matrix", mankind has been enslaved by machines that live off the energy of humans. The minds of the people are locked into a false reality called the Matrix. It must have been a reality that kept them happy and unquestioning. Except the hero of the story, Neo, had long questioned his life and reality and with the help of rebels people who had been broken free from the Matrix he has the opportunity to know the truth. A man named Morpheus offers him the choice of a blue or a red pill. If he chooses the blue, he will wake up and remember nothing of their meeting and go back to believing whatever he wants to believe. But if he chooses the red pill, he will be set free from the Matrix and learn the truth about human life on Earth. Neo chooses the red pill and is then able to see that people are enslaved and blind to the reality of their lives. He joins the rebels in a fight against the machines to save mankind.  The movie was very popular and there were 2 sequels. It's been a long time since I watched them, but I remember them being very powerful and symbolic in Christian references and themes. (Neo's love interest is named Trinity. The rebel's ship is called the Nebuchadnezzar, they call Neo the One, as in the one who would save the world.)  In Neo's fake reality, the people were blinded to the fact that they were enslaved. They didn't know they needed a savior.

The same was true for the Jews who met Jesus, who saw Him but didn't see Him for who He truly is. They were blind and stubborn, unwilling to see themselves as needing a Savior. Jesus opened the eye of many who were physically blind. In doing so, He not only gave them the physical ability to see, but also the spiritual ability to see that He is the Christ, the Son of God. Because of the miracles He performed, many could see and understand. But there were still those who were not moved, even by these miracles. He spoke to the people in parables and this puzzled the disciples. They wanted to know why He didn't speak more clearly instead of in these stories about soils and seeds. In Matthew 13:13-15, He explained: This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

"You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
    you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
 For this people's heart has become calloused;
    they hardly hear with their ears,
    and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.'"

Just like the people plugged into the Matrix, people today are plugged into a world view that has cut out God from the picture. They have a fake reality that feels good right now and seems right, but it leads only to death.  Unbelievers scoff and laugh at the notion that they are the blind ones. They have eyes but they don't see; they have ears but they don't hear. Just like the Pharisees, they want a sign, but Jesus said that "a wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign." His resurrection would be the only sign they would have and it would be up to them to believe. Furthermore, God has always made Himself known to mankind; we have chosen not to see Him. Romans 1:20 says: "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse." I love what Jesus told Thomas, who doubted Jesus' resurrection. "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." That's us those of us who have accepted Christ on faith --that He is talking about.

Hebrews 11:32-34 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

Faith is what it all comes down to. We can replace weakness with strength. We can be rich in spirit and be completely healed both physically and spiritually. First, we must know that we are sinners who need a Savior. Then all we need is to place our faith in Him. I once was lost, but now I am found. I was blind, but now I see. He is my strength and my salvation and He makes my way perfect.

Let the weak say, "I am strong"

Let the poor say, "I am rich"

Let the blind say, "I can see"

It's what the Lord has done in me.

Into the river, into the river, I will wade

There my sins are washed away

From the heavens mercy streams

Of the Savior's love for me, yeah, I will rise

I will rise from waters deep

Into the saving arms of God

I will sing salvation songs

Jesus Christ has set me free

Hosanna, hosanna

To the Lamb that was slain

Hosanna, hosanna

Jesus died and rose again.

Posted on 10/04/2016 6:03 AM by Susan Nelson
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