Happy New Month – August

Don’t fall into the trap of trying to shape your circumstances, Jesus uses them to shape you. God changes caterpillars into butterflies, sand into pearls and coal into diamond using time and pressure. Trust that he is working on you too. Have an Amazing August & don’t forget – Do not give up on God or doubt what he is capable of doing. xx

3:16 – The Gospels

In my last post, I told you about a book named:  3:16 The Joy of the Gospel and how I was going to share more from that book – so here I am with some more juicy gospel truth. Some Quick Disclaimers – I may not actually go through all books of the New Testament (well 6 books don’t actually have a 3:16), but I will try to share as much as I can.  This post will cover the 3 other gospel 3:16 in Matthew, Mark Luke.

Matthew 3:16

And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:

Matthew’s 3:16 discusses The Gospel in the Baptism of Jesus. Did you know that baptism is about the only doctrine that is in the New Testament but not in the Old Testament? It was introduced during the intertestamental period (time between the end of OT and start of NT). The word baptism or baptise comes from the Greek word baptizo – to immerse or dip or plunge. Jesus did not go to have water sprinkled or poured over Him, he was fully immersed under water which correlates with what Paul says in Romans 6:4 –“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism [immersion]  into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life [resurrection].”

You may have wondered was it  necessary for Jesus to be baptised and “thus  fulfil all righteousness”? Jesus was pure, he didn’t  have sins to be repentant of. However, Jesus identities himself with us – His people and leaves an example for us to follow. Although there was  No sin in Him, every sin was on HimJesus had the sins of the world on Him thus needed to symbolically wash them away. Verse 17 of Matthew 3:16, further illustrates the unity of the Godhead during Jesus’ baptism and how each one is a necessary component of the Good News of Salvation.

Mark 3:16
And Simon he surnamed Peter;

A rather small and insignificant looking text. Mark’s 3:16 explores The Gospel where you may not expect itIf you recall, Jesus had an inner circle out of all the disciples who were given special privileges on at least 3 recorded occasions; raising of the daughter of Jairus, Mount of Transfiguration & in the garden of Gethsemane when Jesus went to pray. It is no surprise that Peter whom he names – Cephas which meant a Stone, is part of this circle. In several instances in Peter’s life before the cross he displays a lack of understanding of Jesus’ mission.  Peter, in his usual speak-before-you-think manner, declares his undying loyalty to Jesus and we all know how that ended – denies Jesus  3 times and the last one included swearing & cursing.

So what has the Mark 3:16 verse got to do with the Gospel ? Peter is a person of complex nature, which I’m sure we can all relate to in one way or another. Peter is impetuous, well-meaning, loyal, frail-of-faith, unconverted-though-we-think-we-are, remorseful when our spirituality is revealed for its weakness, talented, able to achieve beyond our ability when we are really converted [not just on paper], self-opinionated Jesus said to Peter “when you are converted, strengthen your brethren” Luke 22:32 This same message applies to us, we need to examine ourselves to see whether we are truly converted. But when you see the latter part of Peter’s story, you see he dedicated his life to spreading the good news. That is the glory of the Gospel when it touches the hearts of men & women, you and I. It transforms the character, it puts a backbone into spineless “Christians”.  When you are indeed converted, when you understand the Gospel, you will certainly strengthen your brethren just as Peter did.

Luke 3:16
John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:

Finally Luke – The Beloved Physician – And the Gospel. From this 3:16 text we can see John the baptist’s greatest quality ; Humility. The well known text “He must increase, but I must decrease” was by John. Additionally, John reveals 2 things: 1. He was a forerunner. 2. Christ would baptise with the Holy Spirit and fire.

To put simply this text tell us that John’s baptism with water symbolised the washing away of sins, which is in line with his message about repentance and reformation. Jesus’ baptism with fire equips a person with power to carry out God’s Will. This began on the day of pentecost when the Holy spirit came upon the disciples and they began speaking in tongues which enabled them to proclaim Jesus’ resurrection in a variety of languages. Having said that speaking in tongues is not the only way in which you can be baptised by the Holy Spirit, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t speak in tongues. The Bible says you can tell if someone has the spirit by their fruits (love, joy, peace …) not gifts. Different people get different gifts and you don’t prove that someone has the Holy Spirit by their gifts. The Holy Spirit comes in different degrees, It can come as waves in our lives. When we need more of the Holy Spirit we get more. Jesus said when you’re brought to bear witness for your faith, the Holy Spirit will be given to you in special portion men, to defend the truth. When the Holy Spirit came on Samson, he was given supernatural strength. The Holy Spirit came on King Saul and he prophesied. The Holy Spirit came on David and he was able to write Psalms.

The Holy Spirit is working in your life to bring about conviction for sin before you’re ever baptised or saved. It’s the Holy Spirit that leads us and teaches us in our understanding as we hear the truth.  Additionally, The Holy Spirit guides us in our day-to-day decisions.

Finally 3 take home points from this undiluted word…

  1. Jesus is our model for baptism, and we should follow suit when we feel like the time is right.
  2. The Gospel can transform our lives just as it transformed Peter’s.
  3. The Holy Spirit comes in different degrees throughout our lives. The fruits we bear show that we are lead by the Spirit.
Stay Blessed
Dara x
P.S – Stay tuned for more upcoming posts

Happy New Month – July

Welcome to my special month! In this month may you experience Joy, love & peace in all areas of your life. Divine perfection shall be your portion in this month. Remember to pray with your eyes focused on God & not on the difficulties you face. The only way God can show he’s in control is by putting us in situations we Can’t control. 

Have a Jubilant July! 

Happy new month – June

In this month remember when you are down to NOTHING, God is up to SOMETHING. God is orchestrating the components of your miracle in the background. Fix your eyes on God & His promises and not the difficulties you are facing. Feel free to send me prayer requests for the month on this link Have a Jolly June!

When fear creeps in…

It has quickly come round to that time of the year again, students preparing or sitting exams, completing assignments and meeting various deadlines. Some people have actually already finished their exams wow! – I don’t even start till July 😔 Anyway, there is no time like the present to share what I wanted to share with you.

There are certain times in our lives when fear begins to creep into our minds,  specifically for students that time is now, not forgetting non-students who have other fears which don’t revolve around sitting exams. Fear feeds on the uncertainty of the unknown in an attempt to consume us. What is your coping mechanism for when fear creeps in? Do you distract yourself, use breathing techniques, face the fears, imagine the worst case scenario, examine & assess the situation, go to your happy place or (a favourite amongst us all) procrastinate ?

Despite the fact that those options can sometimes be effective, research shows that spirituality can boost happiness in times of stress and those with some form of religion cope with their fears better. So, how can you incorporate your faith when times get rough and fear creeps in? By relying on the word of God and holding tightly onto his promises.  I’m going to share some bible texts which you can meditate on and declare over your life so you can live victoriously, especially during fearful moments.

Psalm 121:1-3

I look up to the mountains – does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. 

Did you catch that last line? God does not sleep on the job! The reason why a few of our coping mechanisms aren’t effective is because we are looking inwardly for help, when we should in-fact be looking up to God. When you start to trust in your own strength and abilities you ultimately set yourself up for failure. We have to accept that there are many things in life that we simply cannot handle with our own might. It doesn’t mean we are weak it demonstrates that we understand the difference  made when God is in the equation.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

I love this text soooo much! As humans, we find it difficult to grasp the fact that God is all knowing and there is a reason for everything that happens. That is where the problem is, we attempt to journey through life with our limited knowledge.  We can only see what is right in front of us, so fear, worry and anxiety creeps in because we have a limited understanding.  But God sees what is round the corner, down the corridor and far beyond into the future, so why don’t we submit ourselves to this knowledge. It is only when we seek His will that we will be shown what path to take, God would not impose himself on us.

Philippians 4:6-7

Don’t worry about anything, instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Pray about everything, no matter how small or big the situation. Fear, worry and anxiety creeps in when something goes ‘wrong’ and we try to figure it out on our own. Numerous times in the past, when I can’t figure out something I’ve found myself having a tantrum and crying my eyes out instead of getting down on my knees and seeking the Lord in prayer. I wonder how much heart ache, tissues and time I could have saved by simply praying from the start. Prayer  enables us to exchange our doubts, worries, anxieties and fears with PEACE.  What a beautiful exchange!

 Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yolk upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.

We all have burdens that weigh us down by stressing us, making us anxious and instilling fear in our hearts. But what does God say about that, HE WILL GIVE YOU REST. All you are required to do is simply come to Him. In His presence there is fullness of joy and peace no room for fear and anxiety.

To finish off I want to share a familiar passage from exodus ( just before that big big miracle at the Red Sea)

“And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.””

‭‭Exodus‬ ‭14:13-14‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

I want you to personalise this in your situation;

“[Name] Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the [your fears and troubles ] you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The LORD will fight for me, and I shall hold my peace.”

So 4 key undiluted words to take away from this text:

  1. Be Fearless
    • Even though our human reaction is to be fearful, don’t entertain fear or else it will cripple you.
    • Move forward despite your circumstance, so you can experience the milk and honey on the other side.
  2. Be Still 
    • Don’t lean on your understanding of what your flesh or mind is telling you to do in that scenario.
    • Plant your feet firmly on what God says about your circumstance.
  3. Be Watchful ( for God’s salvation)
    • Open up your eyes to see the details of God’s miracle.
  4. Be Quiet 
    • “guard yourself against complaint”
    • Discipline your mouth “If you cannot be positive then at least be quiet”, Don’t give the enemy something to work with.
    • Speak God’s promises over your Red Sea.

When you are faced with a Red Sea circumstance, you need to realise that you are not fighting FOR victory you are fighting FROM victory. It changes the way you face the Red Sea circumstances of life. If God’s word says that we are more than conquerors through Christ, then we are period We are not going to become conquerors, we already are. We may be experiencing some failures or setbacks but only good will come out of these circumstances because God says – In all these things we are more than conquerors. We have victory.

Praying for my fellow students & wishing you all the best for your upcoming exams and if you have already sat them, remember you are fighting FROM victory.

Stay Blessed & Share to be a blessing to another ,

Dara x

P.S – check out my previous exam posts which have many prayers – one especially for procrastinators ( Do your BEST and He’ll do the REST ) and a revision tool that works for ANY and EVERY subject (Commit it to the Lord ).

 

 

Happy New Month – May

As hard as it can be to imagine there is PURPOSE behind your pain. You are exactly where God wants you to be at this given moment. Every experience (good and bad) is part of his divine plan. Keep your eyes fixed on Christ even when the storms of life are raging and you’ll see that you’re ABOVE your troubles & circumstances. One thing I do is declare over and over ” I shall HAVE a testimony from this” – the more you believe this the more evident God’s faithfulness becomes to you. MAY you have a Marvellous May!  
Stay blessed x

3:16 : John

It’s that time of the year when everyone around the world remembers/ celebrates the death & resurrection of our saviour either by easter egg hunts, going to services or just relaxing during the break. Oh yeah I only just found out that eating hot cross buns was an easter tradition and Jamaicans celebrate Good Friday with fried fish. Haha.. guess you are always learning new things.  But what does this season mean to you specifically?

About 4 years ago I read a book about all the 3:16s in the new testament, it was a great read so I thought it was only right to share what I learnt. In this post I will speak specifically about the verse that encapsulates the gospel : John 3:16 then in subsequent posts I hope to share the other 3:16s with you.

Let me start with a question, Who was the initial recipient of this sentence? It was, Nicodemus, a troubled Pharisee who had come to Jesus in the middle of the night probably because he was afraid or ashamed to be with seen with Jesus. Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be born again, however he did not understand how this could happen. Then Jesus gave him a fundamental element of the goodness of God and the ultimate gateway to Heaven; 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. 

Here are the basics of John 3:16 (J.H):

God The Author
So loved The Measure
The World The Object
Whoever believes should not perish The Purpose
Have eternal life The Ultimate Result

This analysis also shows why John 3:16 is classed as the greatest  (Anon):

God The greatest lover/giver
So loved The greatest motive
The World The greatest number
That he gave The greatest act
His only begotten son The greatest gift
That whoever The greatest invitation
Believes The greatest DECISION
In him The greatest attraction
Should not perish The greatest promise
But The greatest difference
Have The greatest certainty
Eternal life The greatest possession

and my favourite The Triune (Trinity) God in John 3:16 (Anon).

God Ruler Micah 5:2
So benefactor Psalm 68:19
Loved Lover 1 John 4:8-10
The Creator Genesis 1:1
World Maker Psalm 95:6
That Purpose Ephesians 3:11
He Governor Matthew 2:6
Gave Giver 1 Timothy 6:17
His Father Isaiah 9:6
Only Saviour Luke 2:11
Begotten Mediator 1 Timothy 2:5
Son Redeemer Job 19:25
That Intercessor Isaiah 53:12
Whoever Provider Genesis 22:8
Believes Counsellor Isaiah 9:6
In Revealer Daniel 2:22
Him Messenger Malachi 3:1
Should Commander Isaiah 55:4
Not Comforter John 14:26
Perish Deliverer Romans 11:26
But Restorer Ruth 4:15
Have Bestower Isaiah 63:7
Eternal Keeper Psalm 121:5
Life Preserver Psalm 28:8

Beautiful, right? So once again what does this easter season mean to you? Do you recognise that you’ve been given the greatest promise (shall not perish) to have the greatest possession (eternal life), by the greatest giver (God) who gave the greatest gift (life of his son)? What does this mean for you and me, saved or not, believer or not? – we are told to BELIEVE in Him.

To believe means much more than agreeing with the facts; it means personal commitment. You can believe that Barack Obama is a real person, but knowing that might not affect you personally. Similarly you can believe that Jesus lived over 2,000 years ago and died on the cross, and this may not affect your lifestlye. Believing that Jesus existed is not enough because even the devil believes {Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. James 2:19}. We know that the devil will not be saved, but what makes our belief different from his? To truly believe In Him as specified in John 3:16, we don’t stop at believing Jesus Christ existed but we commit our lives to Him and trust that He is our LORD & SAVIOUR. The devil doesn’t believe that God can save him and that is a decision you and I can make that differs us from him. The greatest decision a person can make is to trust that only Christ can truly save him/her.

I will leave you with this verse from Hebrews 11:6 : And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Believing that God exists is only the beginning, He will not settle for your mere acknowledgement of his existence. He wants to have a personal, dynamic, life-transforming relationship with you. The reward of those who earnestly seek Him is the greatest possession we could ever be certain of having : Eternal life.

Stay Blessed,

Dara x