He Uses The Useable
John 2:24, “But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men.”
This was the first time Jesus had ministered in Jerusalem. Multitudes believed on Him when they saw the miracles He performed, verse 23. This looked like a perfect opportunity for Jesus to take these people and use them to spread the news far and wide that He was the Christ. Instead Jesus did just the opposite. He didn’t want people proclaiming His gospel in their own ability.
This reveals an attitude of Jesus which is lacking among many Christians today. Jesus is more concerned with the quality of ministry than the quantity of ministry. In contrast, today’s Christians often feel that “the end justifies the means.”
We take new converts and place them in leadership–which is directly opposed to the Bible’s instructions, 1 Timothy 3:6. Many times movie stars or other famous people who have come to the Lord are made spokesmen for the Christian faith. This works to the harm of these people and the Body of Christ as a whole.
Some of you can’t understand why the Lord hasn’t used you, but rest assured the Lord is using everyone who is usable. Instead of looking at the need and begging God to use you, take a hard look at yourself and ask the Lord to make you usable.
John 1:23 “He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.”
John knew who he was and what he was called to do. This was one of the keys to his success.
Unlike most of us, John did not have an identity crisis growing up. He knew God’s plan and purpose for his life from the beginning and he spent his entire life preparing for it.
God has a plan for your life just as surely as he did for John the Baptist. To succeed in life, you must find God’s plan for your life and then devote yourself to fulfilling that plan.
It is not enough to simply “do your own thing” and then ask God’s blessing upon it. Once you know you are doing God’s will, you never have to ask for God’s blessing. God’s will is already blessed.
The Lord created you with a purpose in mind. Your talents and abilities were given you to fulfill His purpose. Although you may find limited success using these talents for your own uses, you will never find your true potential until they are directed by and for the Lord.
The good news is that God wants to reveal His perfect plan for your life to you more than you want to know it. You can rest assured that if you ask for knowledge of His plan for your life, you will receive, Matthew 7:7. He will show you His good, acceptable and perfect will, Romans 12:1-2.
The Weapon Of The Word
Luke 4:4 “And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”
Jesus answered every temptation with, “It is written.” The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit, Ephesians 6:17. It is the only offensive spiritual weapon that we have.
Since Jesus was the Word of God, John 1:1, anything he would have spoken would have been the Word. He could have said “scat” and the devil would have had to go, yet He quoted the written Word of God three times.
This gives us great assurance that the written Word of God is sufficient for us. Jesus, in the face of the greatest temptations that Satan had to offer, did not need to say anything that was not already recorded in scripture.
It is likely that when Jesus returns to this earth and destroys His enemies, He will just speak the Word that has already been given in scripture. No wonder Satan tries to keep us from studying and knowing God’s Word. Even our good works will hurt us if they keep us from really knowing the scriptures.
God has given us this mighty weapon of His Word! When we speak the Word in faith, hell shakes. Satan and his minions have already experienced what the Word can do. They know its power. We need to know it, too.
Knowing Who We Are
Matthew 4:3, “And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.”
Two of Satan’s three temptations began with the words, “If you be the Son of God.”
Jesus was God, but he did have a human body that had to grow in the knowledge and wisdom of God, John 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:16; Luke 2:52. It took faith for the physical mind of Jesus to believe the witness of the Spirit within Him that he was the Messiah. Satan was attacking the most basic of His beliefs. This must have been a temptation to Jesus or Satan would not have used it.
Satan is very subtle in his temptations. It may have looked like he was trying to get Jesus to perform a miracle, but he was actually trying to make Jesus waiver in His faith of who He was. He tried to get Jesus to draw on the supernatural power of God to confirm it to the devil and Himself.
Unlike Jesus, we sometimes fall for this trick of the devil. We may say that we are arguing for some truth of the gospel, but many times we are hoping to convince ourselves. Someone who really knows who they are and what they believe, doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone.
Isaiah 30:15 says, “For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength:…” Let the Lord build your confidence in who you are in Christ.
The Ministry of John The Baptist
Matthew 3:1 “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,”
These scriptures record the ministry of John the Baptist. He spent thirty years in the deserts of Judaea preparing for this ministry. Then it only lasted about six months before He baptized Jesus and men started following the Messiah. Yet in those brief six months He turned an entire nation to God.
He did not take the normal approach and go where the people were. He was out in the wilderness and the people came to him. He had no advertisements other than the testimonies of those who had heard him. He wasn’t a flashy evangelist wearing the latest styles of the day. He didn’t do anything the way the religious leaders taught it was supposed to be done in their seminaries, yet it worked.
In six short months, an entire nation was stirred in anticipation of their Messiah through a man who was not “normal.”
One thing that keeps many of us from being used by God is our “herd instinct.” We are so afraid of what someone else will think. We try to be like everyone else and then we wonder why we are getting the same results as everyone else. That’s not smart.
John was completely yielded to the Holy Spirit and he succeeded against all the odds. Dare to follow the Holy Spirit, even against the crowd, and you will get supernatural results, too!
God Looks For Availability
Luke 2:24 “And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”
The Old Testament passage being quoted is from Leviticus 12:6-8. There the Lord commanded a lamb and a young pigeon or a turtledove as the prescribed sacrifice. If the woman was unable to offer a lamb, then two young pigeons or two turtledoves were acceptable. Mary would not have offered the lesser offering if it had been in her power to provide the lamb.
This reveals that Joseph and Mary were not well off financially, yet the Lord chose them to be the earthly parents of His only begotten Son.
The Lord doesn’t choose the way man chooses. Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks on the heart, 1 Samuel 16:7.
Mary and Joseph were chosen when they were without: without fame, without position, without money. God entrusted the most precious gift He had to a couple who would surely have been overlooked if men had been conducting the search.
God isn’t looking for ability, but rather availability. D. L. Moody once heard a preacher say, “The world has never seen what God can do with one man who is totally yielded to Him.” In response, D. L. said, “By the grace of God, I’ll be that man.” This uneducated man went on to shake three continents for God.
God will choose you too, if you’ll make yourself available to Him, 1 Corinthians 1:26-28.
Joseph Was A Man Of Faith
Matthew 1:24 “Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:”
Much attention is given to Mary and her piety, but Joseph was quite a man of faith, too.
Verse 18 says that Mary was “found” with child, implying that the pregnancy was observed by Joseph, not explained to him by Mary. And this was after Mary had been awabelieved God. Today, do as the Lord bids you and trust God to take care of the rest.y visiting Elisabeth for three months!, Luke 1:56. Certainly Joseph was tempted with the same thoughts that you or I would have been. How could she expect him to believe that this was a virgin birth?
As specl as Mary was, she had an equally special young man for a fiance.
How many men would have believed such an incredible story even if an angel had told them in aia dream? It took more faith on Joseph’s part than it did on Mary’s.
This is the way it always is. Those who hear of the vision or call of God second hand have to exhibit an even greater faith than the person who received the word from the Lord directly.
The scriptures don’t mention whether or not Mary ever attempted to convince Joseph of the truth. What would have been the use? Only God could make someone believe a story like this. It is to Mary’s credit that she trusted God and to Joseph’s credit that he
Luke 1:46-47, “And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.”
Here, Mary makes a very clear distinction between her soul magnifying the Lord and her spirit rejoicing.
Our soul is the part of us that is considered to be our personality. It is our intellect, emotions and will. Our spirit is the part that gets changed at salvation and it is always operating in “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance”, 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5:22-23. That’s true whether our souls (feelings and emotions) “feel” it or not.
Many believers wait until their emotions feel like praising the Lord before they enter in to worship. They think it’s hypocritical to act like they are rejoicing in the Lord if they don’t “feel” it. But our spirits are always rejoicing in the Lord. It’s actually hypocritical to go by our feelings and not magnify the Lord with our souls when our born again spirits are already rejoicing.
Our born again spirits are always in tune with the Lord and walking in the joy of the Lord. Our flesh is often dominated by what it sees and feels.
Sometimes it doesn’t feel like praising the Lord, but the choice rests with our souls. If we choose to praise the Lord, our emotions will follow.
The decision is yours, Deteronomy 30:19.
Today, choose to walk in the joy of the Lord.
Luke 1:37 “For with God nothing shall be impossible.”
What a statement! If we just believed this, how different our lives would be!
From birth we are trained to know our limitations. You can’t have this. Don’t touch that. Don’t put things in your mouth. You can’t touch the fire. On and on the list goes.
As we grow up, it’s actually a sign of maturity to recognize our limitations and learn to live within them. There are limits to everything. It’s a fact of life.
But God has no limits. When we enter into the realm of the supernatural, we have to take off all the limits. We have to renew our minds with the truth that God is not like us. He can do anything.
We have an awesome God whose power is so great that we can’t even comprehend it. He created the universe and it didn’t even tax His ability. Yet many times we find ourselves wondering if our situation is too hard for the Lord. We can’t see how even God can pull us through.
The Lord said to Jeremiah, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?”, Jeremiah 32:27, The answer is a resounding NO! The only thing that limits God is our unbelief, Deuteronomy 7:17. Today, let’s honor God by believing that nothing is too difficult for Him.
Luke 1:18, “And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.”
Zacharias and Elisabeth were righteous people (v. 6) who prayed for a child for many years. They felt the same disappointments and frustrations that any of us would feel and yet they kept believing God. The Lord finally answered their prayers and sent His angel to announce the good news.
What was Zacharias’ reaction? He couldn’t believe it! The very thing that he had been praying for was granted and he doubted that it was true. In Zacharias’ case he received his miracle anyway. Perhaps his wife’s faith pulled him through.
Likewise, you may be praying for the right things. You may even be sincere and earnest, but would you be surprised if those prayers were suddenly answered today? Have you made preparations for your prayers to be answered?
Before the children of Israel were actually delivered from Egypt, they ate the passover meal by faith. Their bags were packed and ready to go. We need to anticipate our prayers being answered.
Right now, imagine how you would feel or what you would do if the answer to your prayers was manifested this very minute. Then, as much as possible begin to think and act that way. You’ll find out that your whole attitude will change as you focus on your answer instead of the problem.