Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:24-29)
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:20)
The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.. (Hebrews 7:23-25)
When I saw him (Jesus), I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. (Revelation 1:17-18)
Spotless Lamb, Perfect Man
None else is qualified
To take the scroll, to break its seals
But Jesus Christ Who died
He alone has borne our sins
He has borne God’s wrath
He has overcome each foe
And conquered sin and death
Fix your eyes upon this One
Who once was crucified
For now He sits enthroned with God
—by Vicki Plaster Baird
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:1-6)
Love the Lord your God,
And him only serve.
Honor, worship and adoration,
Nobody else does deserve.
Love God with all your strength,
And for his sake be pure.
He rewards those who for him,
Calamities and troubles endure.
Love God with all your mind,
And make him your goal.
For he’s the forgives your sins,
Making you truly whole.
Love God’s son Jesus,
And his Gospel believe.
His love, peace and joy,
Then you will receive.
Love the Holy Spirit divine,
And be led by him O daughter, O son.
He will remind you of Christ,
For your salvation he has won.
When you are fasting unto the Lord Jesus you might be doing it to spend with him. You might want to get closer to him. Sometimes fasting is just so that you want to be undisturbed by the needs of the flesh so that you can concentrate on the Living God our Father. There’s always a good reason to fast. The Holy Spirit may lead you to fast and pray or sometimes require you to only pray without fasting. Listen to him and discern.
Never fast out of legalism or trying to earn salvation or forgiveness of sins for it won’t actually save you. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can save you from your sins. Fasting therefore must be done without guile and hypocrisy.
In Isaiah chapter 58, the Lord God condemns unworthy fasting but also sets the precedent on what fasting is considered pure. Lets read the following:
58 “Cry aloud; do not hold back;
lift up your voice like a trumpet;
declare to my people their transgression,
to the house of Jacob their sins.
2 Yet they seek me daily
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that did righteousness
and did not forsake the judgment of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments;
they delight to draw near to God.
3 ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?
Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’
Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,
and oppress all your workers.
4 Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to hit with a wicked fist.
Fasting like yours this day
will not make your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is such the fast that I choose,
a day for a person to humble himself?
Is it to bow down his head like a reed,
and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?
Will you call this a fast,
and a day acceptable to the Lord?
6 “Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.
11 And the Lord will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.
12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to dwell in.
Jesus himself did not do away with fasting. In fact he set the standard for all of us who believe in him in Matthew 6:16-18
16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
When you have Jesus Christ you have God our Father with you through Christ. Yes God is with you as promised in the scriptures. It was prophesied about Jesus being born of a virgin and its a sign from God himself.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
Even the New Testament confirms this. Let’s read:
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-23)
Though we normally don’t call Jesus as Immanuel (or Emmanuel, depending on the Bible version you use), our Lord Jesus is indeed the Immanuel of prophecy. I heard a few Christian songs and sermons which refer to Jesus as Immanuel. Now, there are many prophecies that attribute various titles to Jesus. However the titles are not his name, so sometimes title are not mentioned. To this effect, though Jesus is the Prince of Peace he was not actually named the Prince of Peace as that’s his title. In our prayers we generally say ‘Jesus let your Father’s will be done in our lives’ and rarely do we say ‘Prince of Peace let your Father’s will be done in our lives’. Suppose by God’s good graces you are ordained as the ‘Duke of Edinburgh’ your name doesn’t become the Duke of Edinburgh unless you at birth were named so. (The current Duke of Edinburgh is Prince Phillip, I think)
The union of Jesus with God our Father was strong even during the time of Jesus on earth. This is because he came not on his own authority but because our God and Father in heaven had sent him here to do his holy will. No wonder he carried the presence of the Lord God our Father with him. No wonder he said “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father”.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. (John 14:6-11)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it….And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-5,14)
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)
Jesus appeared on earth to take away our sins!
She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)
But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. (1 John 3:5)
The prophet Isaiah prophesied about Jesus coming as the Lamb of God to take away our sin. Let’s read Isaiah 53:6-11 which goes as follows:
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
9 And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
It is Jesus who take away your sins and not your good works. Your good works are simply your duty towards God. You duty does not make atonement for your sins. It’s Jesus who set you free by his death on the cross and by his resurrection. Happy are those to who put their mind to Jesus above anything else in this world!
Jesus came to earth for you and me. His purpose was and is to reconcile us to God and save us from our sins. God himself sent his Son Jesus to save us.
16 “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. (John 3:16-18)
For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost (Matthew 18:11)
Salvation is free for all those who believe in Jesus the Son of God. You never have to pay for it. As Jesus has once and for all paid the price for your sins. Therefore hold on to Jesus the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
No matter how bad you are. No matter how many mistakes your made. If you are willing to repent and believe in the Gospel there is hope for you through Jesus Christ.
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)
35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:35-40)
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)
…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13)
In the world there are people who eat to live and then we have the self-indulgent who live to eat. The same way there are those who are obsessed with money. I mean there is the legitimate use of money to provide for your basic needs, payoff debts and help others. And then is there a wicked way of life where a person’s main purpose of existence is to get more and more money by any means.
Now anyone obsessed with money won’t necessarily say they make pets of their money but they surely act that way. And in the due course of time that little pet who likes to be fed and patted often. But later it turns out to be a hideous ugly monster. And mind you, this monster isn’t bothered if you progress physically, all it will seek is that spiritually you are blinded and on the road to damnation.
1 Timothy 6:9-10 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Let me make it real to you. A person who betrays his nation for the sake of money is on his way to hell. He may be safe on some island resort for the rest of his natural life but when he dies, he won’t make to heaven.
Remember Judas Iscariot. He betrayed Jesus in the most vile way by using an act of greeting as a sign to single out the Lord for his crucifixion. After this Judas did have remorse but never repentance, due to which he committed suicide. Right now Judas is highly tormented in hell without any mercy.
It’s not that everyone who is obsessed with money is a traitor. It could be that the person doesn’t pay attention to the things of God. He may attend church regularly, help out with the orphanages and be nice to family. But deep within his heart his loyalty is not with God but only to money. The Lord is aware of the thoughts of every persons heart and doesn’t like such obsessions that are evil.
People tend to think that they can cheat the Lord God and his church and still be blessed. This assumption is extremely dangerous. Ananias and Sapphira (click here for a related article on them) tried to get fame and honor by lying to the church they sold of their property and gave all of it to the church. While in fact they retained a part of the money they got.
Nobody in the church would have known, except that the Holy Spirit revealed it to the Apostle Peter. So then Peter spoke words of judgement to them as they lied to the Holy Spirit. They cheated God. As a result both Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead immediately by the Lord God. This caused great fear in the church at those times.
No wonder, I say that never make money your pet, it may become a monster which turns out to be your nemesis!
Scriptures for reflection:
Proverbs 15:26 The LORD detests the thoughts of the wicked, but gracious words are pure in his sight.
Exodus 23:8 “Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the innocent.
Proverbs 1:19 Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the life of those who get it.
Proverbs 11:29 Whoever brings ruin on their family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise.