|February 18 - February 24 2024
The Power Of Love
| "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God ESV
There are many songs and motion pictures proclaiming ‘the power of love’. The man who went back to save his wife or family from the attack of some enemy, the love between a man and woman that kept on believing even when they thought all was lost, or the lost love of two that died without getting the chance to marry as they were separated by some event or action of others. It all sounds great theatrically, but there is a love that is so much greater. It is not just something between a husband and wife, family, or even best of friends. There is more to love.
Love is what God did when He created you and gave you a free will to choose to follow him or not. Love gave us a chance, even though the world became so corrupt and had to be flooded, love gave us a choice to build an ark by faith and start again. Even after the flood, people spread across the earth and eventually turned their backs on the Creator again. Love spoke to many but one man responded to receive that love; the father of our faith who acted by faith and left the relatives that held him back to head for his promised land. The greatest part of love is the plan God made, knowing we would be separated from Him, to bring us back into His Righteousness by the death and resurrection of His Son.
John 3:16 is the only verse I ever memorized. All the other scripture I know is from meditating on and hearing the Word of God. I was a young boy at a Baptist church in Aloha Oregon. I wasn’t saved yet, but I knew there was something special to that verse. I remember it being so difficult to memorize. It was a real labor to get it down. If you are going to memorize any verse John 3:16 is a great place to start. But you can’t stop there. You have to remember that verses 17 and 18 complete the thought. God does not condemn anyone. We condemn ourselves by our poor decisions.
I listen to a lot of messages. I am amazed that even through listening to my own messages the Holy Spirit speaks to me. It is awesome when God’s anointing is on a man or woman of God. I listened to one man of God talking about the love of God. He suggested that you take John chapter one and replace ‘Word’ that is talking about Jesus with ‘Love’. Check it out, John 1:1-5
| In the beginning was LOVE, and the LOVE was with God, and the LOVE was God. 2 LOVE was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through LOVE, and without LOVE was not any thing made that was made. 4 In LOVE was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Do you know the power of His love? Every time you see a song or movie proclaiming the power of love, remember THE POWER OF HIS LOVE.
Getting God’s Protection
|Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
|No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
| For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. NKJV
There are so many people who have accepted Jesus, repented of their old ways but have not gone any deeper with God. I used to be one of those people. However, I got to the point in 1988 when I realized I was tired of running on my own. I loved God, but I had never heard His voice and I was really not sure of what was the Word and what was Cultural Christian tradition.
I had thought, that if I accepted Jesus, that I was automatically put under God’s protection. Praise God, by His grace, He does sometimes do that. However, I would say the majority of the time, you have to get yourself under God’s wings of protection as it describes in Psalms 91. Psalms 91 is a great chapter to confess over your husband or wife and family for God’s protection.
The Psalms were actually songs, put to music sung in their original language of Hebrew. Psalm 91:11 says Yahweh will give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. But if you look, the English Bible indicates the verse of this song actually starts at verse 9. Because I have made Yahweh, who is my refuge, my dwelling place… no evil will befall me.
I learned that God’s protection is something you get as you seek Him and get into His presence. I also noticed a connection between doing His work through missions and outreach and how he protects you.
One early outreach we did in central Tokyo at a private club was a weekly Bible study with a large outreach meeting once a month. We saw many people healed and saved through that ministry. Our children were quite small, but we felt God’s leadership and blessing on our work and took them along as well. We would start the meeting at 7PM and usually get back to our house outside Tokyo around 1AM. It was tough, but God’s hand was on that work.
One night we drove onto the snaking Tokyo express called the Shuto. Just as we got on, we saw a car race past us. Then a second car came up… then a third. We later learned that some kids were racing late at night. As we approached a Y in the expressway, in my rear-view mirror I could see another racing car hurling at our car out-of-control. My wife was at my side and my three children were sleeping in the backseat. In my left mirror I saw it coming in to directly impact our car. But then something amazing happened.
God’s angels bounced that car right off ours. I saw in my mirror it came in within 2.5cm (about 1 inch) of our car and bounced off. The out-of-control car bounced off us and hit another car causing an accident. The racing car didn’t even hit touch our car.
Due to the nature of the expressway, it is very dangerous to stop. I continued driving on. With my two hands on the steering wheel I was praising and glorifying God (In Greek, aineo is praise and glory directed to God alone) for His protection of my family and myself. At that point, the Holy Spirit reminded me of Psalm 91 telling me that He had given His angels charge over me. Hallelujah!
God wants to and will protect you. It is not automatic, you have to do your part. Get under His wings of protection today. Make Yahweh your refuge.
A Name Changing Experience
| Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: 4 "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. NKJV
A man or woman of God walking in faith is one of the most powerful things on earth. If you read Hebrews 11, which I call The Hall Of Faith, you’ll see what people can do when they act in faith. You see some examples of men and women who didn’t set their expectations on the world around them. They set their expectations on the promise that God had given.
Our father of faith is really Abraham. God spoke to him and Abraham acted. Before he acted, Abraham’s name was not actually Abraham but Abram. See you have to realize, Yahweh told Abram to leave his hometown, his family, and get completely away from where he grew up. Can you imagine that? Most people are born, grow up, get old, and die in their same areas. But God had a different plan for Abram.
Abram left his hometown, his country, and went. Yahweh honored that faith and told Abram to change his name to a name that matched Abram’s faith, and Abram’s calling. Yahweh changed his name to ‘Father of Many Nations’, Abraham. I think that as he was preparing to leave, every time someone called him Abram, he probably started saying “No, my name is Abraham”. I am sure it took him a bit of time to get used to, but every time he said Abraham it was a confession and a confirmation of his faith.
Why did Yahweh tell him to leave his area and family? Most likely because Yahweh knew that if Abraham stayed were he was, his family would have held him back. If he had brothers, they probably would have questioned, “Are you better than Dad, that you are going to be ‘The Father Of Many Nations’?” I am sure the neighbors would have said, “What has gotten into that Abram, he really seems to think he is better than the rest of us here in Ur”. For Abraham what Jesus said in Luke 4:24 is very appropriate.
Then He said, "Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. NKJV
When you act in faith God wants to super-charge your action and give you an impact on those around you. You cannot let people old you in your old life. You must move into the life by faith.
On a Saturday (February 17, 2007) I was praying in my church as I was preparing to minister on Sunday. God spoke to me, saying that He was going to answer my prayer to make a bigger mark on this world for Him. To be a history-maker, a dispenser of the love and the joy inexpressible that He has for everyone who will accept and also learn to walk in His power and authority that He has for them. He spoke that as I was to be called Spencer as a reminder of how He wanted me to be a blessing to those around me and help them to stand up and receive what He has for them.
God may not speak to you about changing your name, but you can still have ‘A Name Changing Experience’. As you hear this message, I sense the Holy Spirit speaking to you about surrounding yourself with people in the faith. You may have to pull back or even cut off some relationships with people who hold you back. Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom on that.
A Name Changing Experience is when you step out in faith to follow God’s will for you in line with God’s Word. When you step out in faith, you are like an airplane sitting outside the hanger with engine running, the propeller spinning, all ready to go places. God wants you to go places and be a positive, healthy contributor to bringing His Kingdom to this world. There is nothing more exciting!
Going Up The Ladder
| At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. ESV
One of the first things you learn about in a company is politics. What, you say, you thought that was just government politicians? Well, wherever there are more than 2 employees it seems there is a high chance of people jockeying for position. It is commonly known as ‘Going Up The Corporate Ladder’. ‘Going Up The Ladder’ is trying to please the owners of the business so that they will promote you and give you a higher position. It is good to work hard and especially to work smart, but many times people go for positions at the risks of their co-workers. Even to the point of saying things that are untrue.
When I worked for the large American telephone company, one of our customers was a New York-based bank. These guys would say or do anything to get a better position. They would say things about each other and even try to pull in outside companies to make their coworkers look bad. I think this same type of thing happened among Jesus’s close friends (His disciples). They knew He was the Messiah, and wanted to make sure they were well ‘positioned’ with Him. Jesus’s response was amazing.
He made it very clear if you wanted to be well-known in God’s Kingdom, you have to be a contributor. But why did Jesus say we need to be like a child? Not only did He say you need to be like a child, but you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven unless you turn and become like children. What is this all about?
There are several things about children. 1) They are dependent on their Father. 2) They completely trust that their Father will care for them. 3) When they put their faith out, they have no trouble with unbelief.
When I need healing, I will have my kids lay their hands on me and pray for me. I injured my back muscles. What was supposed to take one month to heal, healed in less than one week. God is awesome!
Be more like a child, take your requests to God, roll your cares over on Him because He cares for you! If you are dependent on Him as you step out in faith in your life, God will bless whatever you do. God will promote you and lift you up in life if you put Him first not just every Sunday, but every day when you show Him that you love Him and make time to spend with Him.
Get Out And Preach
| Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. 15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." NKJV
When you get born again or as John 3 says literally, ‘born from above’, that is not the end of things. That is just the beginning. You have so many great things about our awesome God to learn. God is so deep, once I think I know all there is to know about God and His Kingdom, He surprises me with something new and cool that I can think about almost like ‘chewing on’ mentally for some time to come.
One thing I cannot forget is the challenge Jesus gave to His friends (that means us) before he ascended into heaven. It wasn’t, you are blessed now, have a good life and prosper… although that was part of it. It was go all over the world and tell people about the Kingdom of God. Tell people about His goodness, tell people about His hope…and watch what happens.
Before I went into ministry, when I first came to Japan, I was extremely lonely for my home country. In my case, I had a lovely wife, a good place to live and everything however I was just lonely. I missed my food, listening to the news, and working with people that I could fluently communicate with. At my church in Tokyo, I got to be good friends with a guy named Tom. He was the worship leader and really had a heart for God.
As we were both raised in Washington state and loved God, we had some common interests. One great thing that came out of my friendship with Tom is we were always reporting back to each other how many people we got to share Jesus with, how God had answered prayers for people we had laid hands, and the various other awesome works God had done throughout our days. We would spend hours on the phone chatting and sharing about the good things of God. I noticed that my loneliness would dissipate as I knew God had sent me out from America for a time and a season to share Jesus and bring people into His Kingdom.
The more we talked, the more we were encouraged to share Jesus. Outside, the more we shared Jesus, the more salvations, healings, financial breakthroughs and other miracles we saw happen. I really began to see why God didn’t send us out as loners. Jesus sent us out in pairs for a reason (Mark 6:7).
And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits. NKJV
The thing I have noticed was that the more we tell people about Jesus, the more miracles happen in our lives. I encourage you to get a good friend and start regularly sharing what God is doing in your life. It is amazing the power of two believers standing together. Jesus commands us to go out into the world and preach the Gospel (good news). Have you told someone about Jesus this week? Start talking about Jesus and watch what happens!
As He Is
| Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. NKJV
The cool thing about God is that He doesn’t expect us to do things that we are not equipped to do. He does not send His people out into to desert without water, a weapon, a camel, or a map. He does send you into the world without the tools to overcome. He always provides a way. Moreover, if you want to see love in its purest form, then look at God. Why? God is the origin of love. If you don’t understand love, you won’t understand God, but if you don’t understand God, you will never understand real love. God is the origin of love.
What about Jesus? We know that Jesus redeemed us from the curse of sin, sickness, and death (1 Peter 2:24), and that He made us into righteousness before God. Isn’t that amazing? Even though we are far from perfect, the blood of Jesus has cleansed us and made us perfect before Him.
| John talks a lot about love, but recently I have been chewing (meditating, thinking about) on the statement of because as He is, so are we... That is powerful. As He is, so we are too! Ask yourself, how is Jesus. Is he buried in a slum somewhere? No, He rose above his humble beginnings in a carpenter’s house. Is He dead and buried? No, He is alive and well, speaking and working in the lives of His people.
“As He is, so are we…” that is awesome. You don’t have to be discouraged because He is not discouraged. You don’t have to be poor, because He is not poor. You don’t need to suffer, because He took all our suffering (Isaiah 53:3-5) and is not suffering. You don’t have to be depressed because in God’s presence is fullness of joy! As He is, so we are.
Negativity is contagious. When you are around people that are always talking about bad things, always seeing the downside and never the upside, you can catch it just like a cold. Some people will tell you Jesus suffered so you have to suffer as well. Hogwash. Don’t buy that! If Jesus suffered for no reason, if you are supposed to accept what ever comes, why does Jesus teach us to pray, Father ‘Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…’?
You and I are to be light in the darkness, salt to the earth, above and not beneath, the head and not the tail, the lender and not the borrower, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and God’s own special people.
If you feel you are in the spiritual valley today, don’t stay there. Pick yourself up and be like Jesus, because as He is, so are we in this world. We have the victory!