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This post will take just 5-10 minutes of your time...so please enjoy as you read! I ask you to just think about the discussion questions I wrote at the bottom of this message...and for some of you who are willing, please post your answers! I will be! I ask that you at least think over them...

And now to Week 5 of Lessons from Kenya:

FIRM

Travelling across the globe to a different country, and then travelling 9 hours across that country to another location within it, you’d expect to find some stark differences in life. And that is exactly what I found!

For example, fish, in Kenya, are considered fresh sitting outside on a table, in the marketplace, for 21 days! That is 21 days of flies gathering on the fish, of the sun warming it past the “danger zone” (I remember watching an instructional video in health class on the danger zone – it even had a song with the message of “More than 2 hours out of the cold – Danger ZonE!” That main character would gasp at these fish!!), and of those fish being dead. Let me tell you – that is not fresh fish!

But like I said it can be assumed that there will be drastic differences due to drastic distances, between us and them.

However, when travelling to the far “bush”, or countryside, in Kenya – I found an awesome similarity –

God’s Word still stands firm.

He loves these people – just like He said He loves the whole world – and you can see the love of God within them.

His Word still says the same things. And those things are still true.

For example, do you remember what we talked about last week? The boy with the demon?
In Matthew 17 there is a demon-possessed boy whom Jesus comes in contact with. The boy had been under the control of the demon for a very long time; In fact, just like the boy that we talked about last week, the demon often tried to throw him into fire or water to kill him (water = drowning). In the verses within the story, we see that Jesus had authority over it. The Scripture says, in verse 18 – “Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.” And Jesus himself even said in Matthew 28, some of his very last words before ascending to heaven:


“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

And also – “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father…” (John 14:12)

Let me tell you – the Kenyan pastor we were with rebuked the demon in the name of Jesus Christ – and it left immediately. He did what Jesus did. And what Jesus did happened. God’s Word stood firm.

And it still does.

My dad is a Bible collector. He buys and collects old Hebrew, Greek, Latin and English Bibles. It’s amazing how I hold in my left hand (a 1483AD, Latin Bible) the same Bible, Word of God, that I hold in my right hand (a 2004AD, English Bible). They are both the same Bible, the Word of the living God!

Let me tell you – God’s Word stands firm. God’s Word stands firm through all nations and times – and it proclaims The Truth.

God’s Word & promises, declarations and proclamations are consistent, persistent, relevant, and insistent even TODAY! He is God – and HIS WORD stands True! Above all!

Isn’t that amazing?

So trust in His Word! Believe it – ask questions – it’s okay! I do! Ask God to open your eyes to the Truth of His Word…and keep asking until He does.

I think one of the most awesome proclamations in Scripture is found in the book of Romans, chapter 8, and it reads like this (and remember – it still stands) –

…the righteousness that is by faith…what does it say? ‘The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,’ that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming:
That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved…As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’” Romans 10:6, 8-9, 11

Call on his name.

His Word stands firm…even today…even in this nation…even in these times.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 24:35

Realize the power of God and the power, endurance and firmness of His Word and promises! It is truly beautiful :)!

Go ahead and pray that God opens your eyes to the breadth of just how awesome His Word is…ask Him to let you see it…and again – keep asking until He opens your eyes :).

So, to sum everything up: God’s Power within His Word is still living and breathing. It is still relevant! He is still alive and so is His Word. They have stood through all times…and will continue to be just as powerful til the very end of days.
I praise God, the Holy Spirit & Jesus Christ for this wonderful gift they have given us!

May we never neglect to utilize it or meditate on it…Any page you open up to is His Word – so pray, “God, please speak to me,” with a believing heart and then open the Bible up and take it to heart and be amazed at what you read.

Discussion Questions:
Do you treat God’s Word as if Mt 24:35 (above) is true?
What of God’s Word have you seen come true?
If God’s Word is firm…then should we worry? What should we trust in?
If God’s Word was truly divinely-inspired when written, then don’t you think God would protect it? Make sure it lasts? Keep it accurate? It sure seems like He would!

Go ahead and answer those questions below! And don’t be afraid to bring up questions about the Bible’s authenticity – questions are great!

In Christ!

 

Lessons from Kenya: Supernatural

After this week’s post, there will be two more for the series, “Lessons from Kenya.” Immediately following, we will be starting a shorter series called, “SEx For This Generation.” Sound cheesy or corny? Yea. But it’s a killer series God has really been working in me for a while – so I hope you’ll read and join in discussion!

This week I want to continue with week 4 of Lessons from Kenya:

Remember: God’s Power

I experienced in Kenya something else that really, really blew me away –

God is real – and so is evil.

And they are both spiritually present in your lives and in mine…

Before I went to Kenya (and I hope you won’t think I’m crazy right here), I had honestly experienced some of Satan’s presence here on earth…and it was honestly scary at first.

In Kenya, however, I experienced way more than I had bargained for – I literally saw a teenager possessed by a demon. I know some people won’t believe me (and I acknowledged that right after it happened), but just let me tell you these two things:

1)      The Kenyan pastor who was there with us told us that demonic possessions are common occurrences.

2)      Whenever the demon took over the teenager, the pastor (after about 5 seconds) rebuked the demon in the name of Jesus Christ – and it immediately left.

This is the order of events:

            The boy is kneeling waist-deep in water, getting ready to be baptized.

            He starts to faint (at least that is what I thought he was doing at first), but when the pastors try to lift him out of the water it seems as if he is forcibly pushing head first into the water.

            He begins to do something I don’t know how to explain (but I’ll try anyway – it was kind of like his body was convulsing out of the water) and makes a noise I can only describe as “tisking” (the noise of disapproval).

            He then screams the Name of Jesus.

(You could see the disconnect he had of control over his body.)

That is when the pastor commanded the demon to leave by the very Name it had just yelled……and it was gone. The room was quiet. The boy was baptized and walked away with teary eyes.

2 things I want you to get out of this:

1)      The Devil’s presence and footprint are very real in this world.

and       2) The Name of Jesus Christ still reigns supreme over everything and everyone.

Don’t take these lightly. Read over them again before you continue on…and understand how real the words are…

 

Jesus Christ is the Lord. He is the King; the Son of God. God is not only my God, but He is also my Lord (Master). I choose to serve Him.

Just knowing God…..I never want to leave His presence. He’s so loving, caring, faithful and amazing.

But sometimes I find myself “waking up” and realizing I haven’t been seeking Him as much as I should have. Maybe you’re in that place right now – and I’d say to you, “Seek Him!!” RUN after Him! Don’t be lukewarm about it, but SPRINT! GO! He IS Life!

The ways of being stagnant and lukewarm come from the Devil – they are tools of Satan. Don’t let him win you over – but RUN to Jesus Christ, to God. Call on His Name again, or for the very first time. Fall at His feet and worship the True King…

God is real…and so is evil. I sure as heck am glad I am with God on this one. I’m praying that you are and/or that you may be today.

 

I encourage you to read Matthew 17:14-18 and recognize the similarities between the above situation and the one Jesus Christ faced in those verses above. I then encourage you to read verses 19-21 for encouragement J!

Our God reigns! Thank You Lord for our Savior, Sustainer, Redeemer and Freer Jesus Christ!

 

 

 

 

This is another life lesson I really learned from the people living in the dump, who had smiles on their faces as they praised God...

        God should not be followed based on our circumstances. If we follow God based on our current life seasons, we’re not really following God. He is God. If we love Him, we will follow Him no matter the situation we are in – scary or stressful family situation, school situation, or life situation; Living in a mansion, a small house or without a house in a trash dump. Emotionally scared, stressed or scarred…Our worship of God shouldn’t change with our life seasons.

King David knew this. I love what K.D., in the Bible called a man after (or down from) God’s own heart, said. He, writing down words from his heart in the Psalms, wrote,

                                         “But I trust in your unfailing love;
                                          my heart rejoices in your salvation.
                                          I will sing to the LORD,
                                          for he has been good to me.” (Psalm 13:5-6)

What is good? “Jared…from what I see, I mean, I honestly would have to say that I don’t think God is being good to me (or my family) (or my relative) (or my friend) (or my _______ )”

Well, I think it’s interesting to look at what the “man after God’s own heart” saw as good. In the Psalm portion above from chapter 13, King David wrote, “I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.” That word “good” in the Hebrew (which is the language in which this book was originally written) is the word Gāmal. I love this so much – the word Gāmal also means to make ripe.

King David was praising God because God had been good to him…..because God had been ripening him, maturing him. This “good” isn’t based on circumstances, but on the overall picture of what God is doing in our lives! King David was praising God because no matter what his current situations looked like, God was ripening him! There is hope in this! No matter what your situation looks like – realize – God can use it to mature you; and praise Him for that.

When our current life seasons makes us feel uncertain, we can be clear of one thing: Our Heavenly Father, God, is not uncertain.

Our lives’ circumstances should not determine our relationship we have with God.

The life situations we go through shouldn’t halter our praise for or relationship with our heavenly Father.

He loves you – never forget that; He may be wanting to ripen you.

God is good, all the time.............and all the time, God is good (if you’re one of those people that say “Amen” aloud in church, now would be a great time to do just that :)   )

I pray God’s peace, love and faith-builders for you all! I pray He may open all of your eyes to the truth of His Son, Jesus Christ, and the freedom and redemption and salvation that can only be attained through Him. God's best to you!

 
Zebra face
The Zebra (zeh-bruh)
a much softer topic

The lion slowly got up and pinpointed its target.  Slowly brushing past the tall brush, it gazed at its next meal. One paw at a time, until it stopped. Then sat down.

That’s what happened for about 30 minutes as we watched a lion hunting an injured zebra. It was interesting how the lion, at first, sat, looking at all the animals, until it intelligently zoned in on the one that he knew he could take – the injured zebra. Now, I could get into a cool lesson over the lion, but I want to focus more-so on his prey: the zebra.

The zebra is best known for its stripes. The black and white, vertical and horizontal stripes have always seemed to interest humans. When I started thinking about the zebra and its stripes, I came to an amazing thought:

The stripes of a zebra seriously attest to a Designer.

Just as an artist would paint beautiful stripes on a canvas, it seems that God just beautifully showed his artistry by painting the zebra. Just looking at the zebra makes me realize, even more, that this universe is not random…it didn’t come by just chance or by a “big bang” that led to the creation of everything from nothing. The stripes of a zebra really attest to a Creator, a Designer, who intricately and beautifully designed everything.

In fact, as far as I’ve been able to research, scientists have yet to come up with valid reasoning as to how the zebra got its stripes. I just typed out the different info I’ve gathered from a college textbook on Developmental Biology and from a U.K. newspaper, but decided not to post it. Because it just keeps pointing to the same point: Scientists can explain facts about the current presence of stripes and the possible uses the zebra has for them…but they cannot explain how they got there.

A Designer drew them.

Romans 1:20 – “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 men are without excuse.” Thinking about what I just wrote about the zebra, doesn’t that make you smile? :) It makes me!

The stripes of a zebra beautifully, brilliantly, and boldly proclaim the presence of the Creator and Designer: God – who also created you. And a beautiful life story he has planned for you :).

Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you…

Listen to God as He leads you through life. His plans are amazing! Better than ours could ever be…There’s a problem though – sin separates us from God (so it’ll be hard to understand or even see His plan for your life if you don’t even have a relationship with Him). There’s a beautiful solution – Jesus Christ. His Son, who He sent to take your sins and die with them. God then raised him from the dead – this all points to what Christ wants us to know – if you trust in him you will be saved. Christ is the only way to God…the only way. It’s another one of God’s beautifully designed plans. And here’s another awesome part – you’re part of that plan. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Here’s another awesome part: “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

The truth is that the end of the world is near. We all know this…we can feel it. And the truth is that at any second you or I could die. The only question is this: Are you ready?

Begin a relationship with God today. Open yourself to Him. Pray He comes into you. Believe and ask for forgiveness….seek Him. And when you seek Him with all your heart, you will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13).

There is a Designer and a Planner. It’s God – and we are invited into His story :).