Articles

As Moses Lifted Up the Serpent…

A very interesting and enlightening statement that Jesus said as we was talking to Nicodemus, is found in John 3:14. It is there that Jesus, describing His sacrifice, says that “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up.”

This one phrase is often skimmed over and overlooked in favor of the much more popular verse of John 3:16. However verse 14 is actually extremely significant, and the key to receiving anything from God at all (including eternal life). It’s unfortunate that so many people have missed the incredible meaning of this verse and they key that it holds.

I too, missed this verse for many years – never really grasping the real meaning behind it and what Jesus was really saying. So today in this study we will be exploring this statement made by Jesus, and the real meaning behind it – and by seeing this, we will also discover the key to receiving salvation from Jesus, and everything along with Him.

One Word From God Is Enough

Are you waiting for God to do something? Perhaps you have a promise from God, and now you are just biding your time until He actually fulfills it? I’ve talked with a number of people over the years who have expressed this kind of thought to me. They know that God is dependable, and they may even know that He has promised something to them – now they are just waiting for Him to actually follow-through and do it.

Perhaps that sounds familiar, or even describes what you are experiencing right now… however I want to share with you a different perspective; that as the title of this study suggests one word from God is enough. And as we explore this today, you will be able to move from “waiting for God” to truly “receiving from Him”, what has already been given to you.

Without Jesus, We Can Do Nothing

The name of this ministry ThrivingBranch, comes from the discourse that Jesus makes in John chapter 15, about Him being the Vine and us being the branches. We have done studies in this discourse before. Today however, we are going to focus in on one specific area of what Jesus said – one specific point which often gets overlooked; that without Him we can do nothing.
I emphasize that last part, because it is actually very important to our understanding and perspective of our relationship with Christ, and it’s also a point that is devastating to our own human pride.

You see, we tend to not really believe that Jesus meant what He said… that without Him we truly cannot do anything. Surely, He was exaggerating a little bit, right? Of-course He didn’t mean that we can’t do a single thing without Him, did He?

Indeed He did. And this is what we will be taking a look at today in this study. And by seeing this, we will be able to truly embrace our relationship with Christ, and understand the necessity for Him and everything that He provides to us.

It’s Not Your Prayer, It’s His Favor

I’ve had the great privilege over the years to be a part of many different prayer groups. Admittedly some were more enjoyable than others, and some were much more blessed than others, but each had a value and a purpose and touched my life in some way.

And it was in these groups that I also had the opportunity to listen to many different people as they engaged in the most favorable of all states: prayer – communication and communion with God; and this is where I proceeded to hear many things… many different approaches, attitudes and formalities that people had about God and about prayer.

And through it all, I came to realize one thing in-particular… one thing that I want to share with you today, one thing that the scriptures make very clear: that prayer is not a formal or mysterious thing.

Rather, prayer is specifically, communion and communication with God. And what I want to share with you today, is what the communion and what this communication is really about, and what it looks like, and how you do not have to stand on formality with God – because He is your Father who loves you.

Your Father Knows What You Need

Take a few seconds, and think about what you need, right now. Go ahead I’ll wait…

Got it? You may have at some point shared this need with someone. Perhaps a Christian brother or sister. Someone who claims to be a believer in Jesus, and they may have given you this advice, or something similar to this: Oh, just keep praying, just keep pressing in. Just keep at it. You’ll get your answer! Remember that God already knows!

It sounds like good advice, and I’m sure that such advice is given with the very best of innocent intentions, but what does it actually mean? And also, what picture is this advice really painting of God? Well, in this study today, we’re going to explore that, and what it really means when Jesus said that the Father in Heaven, your Father, already knows what you need.

God is Not Just Your Light, He is Your Salvation

We recently did a study on how God is Light, and the Father of it, and it is absolutely true. The plain and simple analogy here is that without Him you can’t see anything clearly (or at all!). It is certainly true that He is Light – but that is not all that He is!

You may think that this is an obvious statement, but let me tell you that back in the days when I was entrenched in legalism and the religious performance mindset, I never really saw God as anything other than light. Oh sure – I knew of the scriptures which stated that He was more, but for myself personally on a daily-basis, I never factored-in anything other than God merely being a source of spiritual light. And there are a great number of people today who are still in that exact same place.

The implications of this are widespread and quite damaging to our relationship and union with Christ. For example, seeing God as only a light to point you in the right-direction, which you then must strive for through your effort and work, can actually totally negate the finished work of Jesus Christ.

So what I want to share with you today in this study, is the fact that God is so much more than light. He’s not just a pointer to salvation; but rather He is salvation.

Quality Time With Jesus

What does it mean to “Spend time with Jesus”? You may have heard that phrase before, and wondered the same thing. After all, Jesus is up in Heaven, seated at the right hand of God the Father, according to Colossians 3:1, and many other verses.

Of-course we also know that God is a Spirit, and those who worship Him must do so in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). How does this inform us regarding our time with Him?
Many times, I have heard people say that spending time with Jesus is engaging in religious activity, such as attending church services, or Christian conferences; completing reading plans, or any of the other things that we generally consider to be religious behaviors.

In this study today, I would like to share with you a different perspective… one that may be a bit uncomfortable at first, and may require you to take a step back from the common idea of what spending time with Jesus is, and see it in a different light – a light not based on a religious checklist, but instead based on relationship, with a God who gave everything to restore you.

Where Do You Find Your Value?

People define themselves by all kinds of different things. Their job, their hobbies, their likes and dislikes, even their relationships. And usually we associate these things with our overall value.

I have spoken with people (and known some personally) who have gone into depression because they truly believed that they had no value, because one or more of the things which I have listed above, were not present in their life.

And in a way, it’s natural – in this life we tend to gauge ourselves by our accomplishments and what we possess. When we don’t seem to have enough, or we have not met our own perceived goals, we tend to conclude that we have in some way “failed”.

Yet today, what I want to share with you is a different perspective on the entire thing. A different equation by which to reach a solution. One not based on what you have accomplished, but one based on what was accomplished for you… and what you possess right now, that is far greater than anything else in this world.

God Cares For Your Life (If You Let Him)

One of the most damaging deceptions that I have seen in my time, is the false idea that God just doesn’t care about us. I’ve seen it from many different angles, and this idea may take many different forms, but it’s all the same in the end. It leads people into hopelessness and despair, because it cuts off the source of help – almost like chopping a life-line, tipping over a rescue ladder, or sinking an emergency raft.

Think about it… if a person truly believes that the very author of life doesn’t really care about them, what hope do they have for any kind of help or solution to their problems? It takes the hill and turns it into a full-fledged mountain.

Many people feel this way today – as if God just plain doesn’t care about them, and has no interest in helping with their problems, and this very attitude has caused many to sever the one true life-line and source of help that exists, and it’s all based on nothing more than a deception.

Well, in this study today, I would like to squash that deception with the truth, that not only does God care, but He cares for your entire life – every aspect of it – even more than you could possibly imagine. And as you see this truth today, you will gain confidence and know that you are not alone, and you have a source of help, that you never knew you had.

Jesus is Your Eternal Redemption

Redemption. This word has taken on a variety of meanings in our modern culture. However it has a very specific meaning in scripture: “To buy back, and return possession to a previous owner”.

We’ve studied before the famous line in Psalms 107:2, which says to let the redeemed of the LORD say so… and there have even been songs sung about this very thing, yet people often don’t stop to think about what making the statement that “I am redeemed!” actually means.

So in this study today, I would like to share with you, the amazing truth of your redemption in Christ, and what it actually means to be redeemed; and redeemed eternally by Jesus Christ Himself.