Day 31: Undignified Worship

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Saturday, January 31st, 2015
CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
Exodus 12:14-13:16
Matthew 20:29-21:22
Psalm 25:16-22
Proverbs 6:12-15
For full text click here: http://bit.ly/1eAYN6v

Commentary from Pastor Mike White:

“Then the multitude warned them that they should be quiet; but they cried out all the more…” (Matt 20:31).

Two blind men sat by the road as Jesus passed by. Everyone around them told them to be quiet, but they cried out all the more! The result? Jesus heard them, and granted their request. He turned and asked them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” (v 32).

There is a time for quiet prayer, and a time for loud prayer. To “cry out” means to shout (Strong’s #2896)! These men would not be restrained by what the people around them thought was appropriate. They were willing to be undignified before God, just as David was when he danced in his linens!

Cry out to God. Get loud! Make your requests known to Him. When your requests line up with His will, He will deliver them into your hand.

Prayer:

Father, I’m done caring what the people around me think. I’m not afraid to worship You with reckless abandon! I’m going to cry out to You. I’m going to get loud, and show the world how much I love You!

Day 30: Your Eternal Reward

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Friday, January 30th, 2015
CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
Exodus 10:1-12:13
Matthew 20:1-28
Psalm 25:1-15
Proverbs 6:6-11
For full text click here: http://bit.ly/1gs0jPd

Commentary from Pastor Mike White:

But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner… – Matt 20:10-11

I remember studying to take one test in particular when I was in college. I studied all weekend, and came in ready (and exhausted) for the test. When I got to the classroom, the professor announced that he had forgotten the exam. All of us, he explained, would receive 100%. Those students who had spent their weekend having fun were ecstatic; those who had studied were furious. All of us would receive the same reward, whether we had worked hard for it or not.

God’s message through the parable of the workers in the vineyard is this: All who receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will inherit an eternal reward. It doesn’t matter if you give your life to Christ as a child and live your whole life for Him, or if you spend your days living in sin and give your life to Christ on your deathbed.

When Jesus is hanging on the Cross in Luke 23, He meets a criminal. As the criminal hanging next to Him dies, He accepts Jesus into his life. Even though he was a criminal right up until his last breath, Jesus promised that he would be with Him in paradise (Lk 43:43).

Your reward in Jesus is eternal. None of us deserve it, but all of us will inherit it: not because of anything we’ve done, but because Jesus Christ purchased our salvation on the Cross.

Prayer:

Father, I know I will spend eternity with You in heaven! Thank You for giving me the reward that only Jesus deserves. I am not worthy, but You have shown me Your mercy!

Hem of His Garment

The following is an adaptation of the sermon ‘Hem of His Garment’ preached by Pastor Mike White on Sunday, 1/25/2015, at CityLight Church. To listen to the full podcast please click here: http://bit.ly/1KbWCq9

The Hem of His Garment

I love divine healing. Jesus gave us all the authority we would ever need to go out and heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead and cast out demons in His name (Matt 11:5). I started believing God for healing when I needed it in my own body. I kept believing God for healing when I saw the results. And now I believe God for healing everywhere I go.

One of the most famous accounts of healing in the Bible occurs in Luke 8 (also see Matt 9). Jesus had already been teaching and healing the multitudes. He became very famous, very quickly, as a result of Who He Is. Crowds of people sought Him out for healing. But there was one woman in particular who caught His attention; today she catches our attention as well. This is the story of the woman with the issue of blood.

So it was, when Jesus returned, that the multitude welcomed Him, for they were all waiting for Him. And behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue. And he fell down at Jesus’ feet and begged Him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter about twelve years of age, and she was dying. – Lk 8:40-42a

Right off the bat, Luke paints a phenomenal picture for us. This is a picture of what Sunday morning church service should look like every single week. The multitudes were waiting in eager anticipation for what Jesus was about to do. Now I’m not saying that we need to physically be in church for supernatural things to happen. However, there is a corporate anointing that tends to amplify, and sometimes accelerate, what God is doing in a particular place.

The people wanted to encounter Jesus Christ, because they knew He would heal them. Is that a constant reality at your church? Is that a constant reality in your life? Do you encourage people to seek God for healing because you’ve seen Him do it, over and over again?

Jairus was one of the most prominent Jewish men in the town. He was a ruler of the synagogue, and an expert in religion. Yet here we see him begging Jesus to heal his daughter. He was desperate, and he knew Jesus was her only chance. The message to us is that no amount of religion can get you healed. No amount of knowledge can get you healed. There is no earthly achievement that can get you healed. Jesus heals, and what we all need is a direct encounter with Him!

But as He went, the multitudes thronged Him. Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any, came from behind and touched the border of His garment. And immediately her flow of blood stopped. And Jesus said, “Who touched Me?” When all denied it, Peter and those with him said, “Master, the multitudes throng and press You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’” But Jesus said, “Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me.” Now when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before Him, she declared to Him in the presence of all the people the reason she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately. And He said to her, “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” – Lk 8:42b-48

Context is key to understand the significance of this story. This woman with the issue of blood would have been considered “unclean” according to Levitical Law. Legally speaking, she should have been marching through the streets, and shouting, “Unclean! Unclean!” everywhere she went. Failing to follow that protocol was an offense punishable by death.

This woman had already spent every penny she owned on medical care. Financially speaking, she had already risked everything to find a cure, but those efforts had come up short. Now, she was willing to risk it all on Jesus.

Healing With Ease

Jesus heals easily. First, it is worth noting that Jesus was not on His way to find and heal that woman. He was on His way to Jairus’ house. In other words, healing this woman was an afterthought to Jesus. It was easy. He didn’t have to mentally prepare to face this woman, or conjure up enough faith to pray for her. He didn’t review a pre-contrived routine, our produce a scripted prayer. She simply touched Him, and she was healed.

And she barely touched Him. The woman didn’t run out from the crowd and tackle Jesus. She grabbed the hem of His garment: the outermost part of His garment, which was most separated from His body. Just one touch is enough. Jesus can heal you anytime, anywhere.

Jesus’ response is worth examining. I used to read the words, “Who touched me?” and assume that Jesus was angry. We tell the story as if Jesus turned around, with fire in His eyes, and demanded that whoever had dared to touch Him should step forward. Then the woman, timid and afraid because of the death sentence she legally deserved, stepped forward.

But I don’t think Jesus was angry with her. He simply wanted her to share her testimony. Here was a woman who had tried everything to be healed, and nothing had worked! Jesus knew that unless He pointed out that something miraculous had just taken place, His disciples would miss it. When the woman shared, His response was one of love and compassion. He declared her healed, by faith and not by works. She deserved a death sentence, but He found it in His heart to show her compassion instead. And that is the treatment God affords each and every single one of us when we lean on Him for healing and salvation!

Jesus heals easily. I always get a kick out of Mark’s account of Jesus returning to His hometown:

Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them… – Mk 6:1-5

Jesus was surrounded by haters. Because they were too familiar with Him, they lacked faith; and because they lacked faith, Jesus could perform no mighty works.

But notice that He still healed, “…a few sick people!” To Jesus, healing is fun. It’s not a mighty work; it’s an afterthought! Healing is easy for Him, even in environments where the people present lack faith. What causes us – His disciples – to drop our jaws and marvel at the power of God should be commonplace! We shouldn’t read about healing and dream about God doing something analogous in our lives; we should read about healing and stake our claim to everything His word promises us!

God calls Himself Jehovah Rapha: The God Who Heals (Ex 15:26). Healing is not just something He does; it’s Who He Is. I can wake up every day and be confident that I am me. I am Mike every single day; it doesn’t matter if I’m in a good mood, or a terrible one. I am still me. And God Is always God. He always heals.

Stepping Out in Faith

Jesus chided the people of Nazareth for their lack of faith. The writer of Hebrews does exactly the same thing:

For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. – Heb 4:2

Jesus is looking for us to mix faith with His word. Without faith, the word will not be profitable; but when we have faith, God is free to exercise His word as He pleases!

Once our faith is cultivated, God often asks us to step out in obedience to receive our healing. John describes an encounter between Jesus and a man at the Pool at Bethesda that illustrates this principle:

After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. – Jn 5:1-9

This man had been lying by the waters at Bethesda for thirty-eight years! We must pay attention to Jesus’ first question for this man: “Do you want to be made well?” Why would Jesus ask him that? This poor guy had been stuck there for 38 years! How could he not want to be made well?

But the man never answers Jesus’ question. I make this statement from a place of love: Some of us don’t want to be healed. Some of us are so bound up in our condition of infirmity that it has become part of who we are. For some of us, sickness has become part of our identity, and we don’t want to let it go! Some of us are hiding behind sickness as an explanation for why we haven’t followed God with all our heart. Do you want to be made well?

The man at the Pool at Bethesda responded in a way that passed off responsibility to someone else. He didn’t respond with an ecstatic, “Yes! I want to be made well!” He responded with deference. “If only someone else had picked me up and put me into the pool.” I believe Jesus was making abundantly clear that it is no one else’s responsibility to cultivate faith for our healing in us: it is our own responsibility to create a desire to get well!

Do you want to be healed? Are you going to let the world define you as sick? Or are you going to let God define you as made whole? All it took for this man to be completely healed was one encounter with Jesus Christ. And that is all it’s going to take in your own life.

Healing and salvation happened on the same day. But the choice to accept either one of those rewards is not one that we can make on behalf of someone else. We have to make that choice ourselves.

I can show you every Scripture that points to the Cross as the one and only way to salvation. I can show you every passage that demonstrates righteousness by faith, and not by works. I can state with full confidence that God’s will is to heal all His children, all the time (see Matt 8:16, Matt 12:15, Lk 6:19, Acts 10:38). But I can’t receive your healing for you. The choice is yours: will you accept the healing God wants you to have? Do you want to be healed?

One Touch

The woman with the issue of blood didn’t have to rip Jesus’ shirt off His back. She didn’t even have to grab a whole fist-full of His robe. All she had to do was reach out and touch the hem – the outermost edge – of His garment, and she was completely healed.

We see the same pattern repeated in Matthew’s account of the Gospel:

When they had crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well. – Matt 14:34-36

One touch is more than enough. As many as touched the outermost edge of Jesus’ clothing were completely made well.

God does not require perfection; He only requires faith. I would be willing to bet that the men and women who ended up touching the hem of His garment set out to do much more than that. They probably wanted to hug Him, or grab Him to get His attention as they begged for healing. But they came up short. They grasped for Him, but were only able to hold on to a shadow of His form – the very outermost part of Who He Is. And that was enough.

Abraham was righteous by faith, and not by works. That is the model that each and every one of us should follow when it comes to salvation. The woman with the issue of blood was healed by faith, and not by works; and that is the model that each and every one of us should follow when it comes to healing.

One touch of His garment is enough. One glimpse of His glory is enough. The men and women whom Jesus healed didn’t have to pass a theology quiz. They didn’t have to prove to Jesus that they deserved to be healed. They simply had to make a decision to reach out, with whatever little energy they had left, and touch Jesus Christ.

- by Pastor Mike White

© Michael D. White, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michael D. White with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Day 29: Can You Be Perfect?

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Thursday, January 29th, 2015
CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
Exodus 8:1-9:35
Matthew 19:13-30
Psalm 24:1-10
Proverbs 6:1-5
For full text click here: http://bit.ly/1a0jSew

Commentary from Pastor Mike White:

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. – Ps 24:3-4

David very thoroughly outlines the requirements for blessing and righteousness. Any man or woman who wishes to enjoy God’s presence must have clean hands and a pure heart. He or she must live a life that is idol-free, and never lie. We must be perfect to enter into God’s presence!

But guess what? It’s impossible to be perfect. Every single one of us has sinned (Rom 3:23), and every single one of us has idols. Try as we might, sometimes our hands get dirty, and our hearts get impure.

All of us come up short; and that is why we need Jesus Christ. He is our only answer for imperfection. When we put our faith in the finished work of the Cross, we are clothed with the righteousness only Jesus deserves! God looks at us and sees His Only Son Jesus Christ; and just as Jesus will be welcomed into His presence for all eternity, so too shall we be.

Invite Jesus Christ into your life, and accept the glory and honor only He deserves.

Prayer:

Father, I give my life to You! I trust in the finished work of the Cross. I know I can never be perfect, and I need Jesus Christ as a Substitute. I repent of all my sins, and I accept Your Son Jesus Christ as Lord over my life. In Jesus’ name! Amen.

Day 28: Valley of Miracles

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Wednesday, January 28th, 2015
CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
Exodus 5:22-7:25
Matthew 18:21-19:12
Psalm 23:1-6
Proverbs 5:22-23
For full text click here: http://bit.ly/1jZmQAO

Commentary from Pastor Mike White:

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me… – Ps 23:4

As we walk through trying times and difficult situations in life, it can seem like we are up against insurmountable obstacles. Yet even David recognized that he was not walking through the valley of death; but only the valley of the shadow of death. The enemy will attempt to convince you that every problem you face is more serious than it actually is. Let God comfort you as the enemy tries to deceive you.

God is with us, and His rod and His staff will comfort us. This is the same staff we see Aaron use to turn rivers of water into blood (Ex 7:19). This is the same rod we see Moses use to part the waters of the Red Sea so that the people of Israel could walk right through it (Ex 14:16).

By promising comfort from His rod and His staff, God is promising us supernatural signs and wonders. When we are at our darkest moments of despair, and our deepest moments of doubt, God will reassure us that He is with us by performing miracles in our lives! God will turn the valley of the shadow of death into a valley of miracles!

Prayer:

Father, thank You for Your supernatural power! You are the God of signs and wonders. You will come through for me, in a supernatural way, when I need it most. Until then, I will trust in You!

Day 27: What Is In Your Hand?

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Tuesday, January 27th, 2015
CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
Exodus 4:1-5:21
Matthew 18:1-20
Psalm 22:19-31
Proverbs 5:15-21
For full text click here: http://bit.ly/M2dacN

Commentary from Pastor Mike White:

“So the Lord said to him, ‘What is that in your hand?’” – Ex 4:2

God will use whatever is in your hand for His glory. The specific object does not matter; He is willing and able to take whatever is in your possession, and use it so that His purposes are fulfilled.

Moses could have been holding a staff, or a spear; God would have used whatever he had available. So, if you’re a writer, write. If you’re a performer, perform. If you’re a communicator, fellowship with the people around you to cast God’s vision. God has given you the specific tools and capabilities you possess. He has uniquely designed you to reach a specific set of people, whom nobody else can reach, with a specific set of tools!

God made you on purpose. Do not let the enemy convince you that you don’t have the tools you need to be used by God. He will use whatever is in your hand to make His presence known to everyone around you!

Prayer:

Father, thank You that I am uniquely designed according to Your purpose! The same way Moses was designed to make a demand to Pharaoh that nobody else could; You have designed me for Your specific purpose on my life. I accept and say YES to Your will!

Day 26: The Power of Praise

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Monday, January 26th, 2015
CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
Exodus 2:11-3:22
Matthew 17:10-27
Psalm 22:1-18
Proverbs 5:7-14
For full text click here: http://bit.ly/1mZ2I4n

Commentary from Pastor Mike White:

“But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel” (Ps 22:3).

God inhabits the praises of His people. When we praise, He is present; and when He is present, “…mountains melt like wax” (Ps 97:5). Whatever you’re going through, God’s praise is enough to overcome. The mountains in your life cannot stand in His presence. When we praise God at the foot of those mountains, they simply melt away.

God makes abundantly clear throughout Scripture that the “sacrifice” He wants most from us is our praise (Heb 13:15). I encourage you to take just a few minutes today to lift your hands and praise God. Praise Him with your voice, and praise Him with your whole heart! Then watch as the obstacles in your life dissolve.

Prayer:

Father, You are so mighty! Not even mountains can stand in Your presence. I give You full control over all the difficulties I’m facing in my life. You ask for my burdens, and promise Your easy yoke in return. I accept that promise, in Jesus’ mighty name!

Day 25: Supernatural Growth

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Sunday, January 25th, 2015
CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
Genesis 50:1-Exodus 2:10
Matthew 16:13-17:9
Psalm 21:1-13
Proverbs 5:1-6
For full text click here: http://bit.ly/KWDmp2

Commentary from Pastor Mike White:

“But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew” (Ex 1:12).

The new king of the Egyptians did not know Joseph. He feared God’s people because of their strength, so he oppressed them. Yet the more he increased their burdens, the stronger they became.

This story is a prophetic picture of how Satan treats God’s people. Satan knows the resilience and power we exhibit. He seeks to oppress us because he is afraid of us; and he will do everything he can to afflict us in every area of our lives. Yet what Satan does not understand is that the more he afflicts us, the more we multiply and grow. The more our burden is increased, the stronger we become!

God turns persecution into promotion. This is why James counted it a joy (James 1:2) to fall into trials when they are suffered for Christ’s sake. We can have full confidence that what the enemy intends for evil, God will use for good.

Prayer:

Father, thank You that You are the God Who Restores. Whenever the enemy tries to deter me, You will cause me to prosper! What Satan intends for evil, You will use for good. Lord, straighten my path as I serve You with all my heart.

Day 24: Don’t Forget to Ask!

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Saturday, January 24th, 2015
CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
Genesis 48:1-49:33
Matthew 15:29-16:12
Psalm 20:1-9
Proverbs 4:20-27
For full text click here: http://bit.ly/1isnUiD

 

Commentary from Pastor Mike White:

“May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose…May the Lord fulfill all your petitions” (Ps 20:4-5).

David asked that God would fulfill all the petitions of the people of Israel. God made David the earthly steward over His people so that their spiritual leader would have the boldness and confidence to pray very specifically. I do not believe it was an accident that David prayed for all petitions to be filled, and not just some. But before he received, David had to ask.

All means all. When the Bible says that Jesus healed all the sick (Matt 8:16, Matt 12:15, Lk 6:19, Acts 10:38), God intends to convey that He healed them all: not just some. Let’s avoid watering down God’s word and pretending He said anything less than He actually did.

If you need to receive, ASK! Our petitions must line up with His word. When they do, God’s heart is that all your petitions would be fulfilled when you ask for them!

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matt 7:7-8).

Prayer:

Father, give me the confidence to pray with complete boldness. I know Your heart is to see all my petitions fulfilled. Help me to know Your word and Your will, so that I can ask wisely in Jesus’ name!

Day 23: Just Passing Through

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Friday, January 23rd, 2015
CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
Genesis 46:1-47:31
Matthew 15:1-28
Psalm 19:1-14
Proverbs 4:14-19
For full text click here: http://bit.ly/1hMCvTn

Commentary from Pastor Mike White:

“And Jacob said to Pharaoh, ‘The days of the years of my pilgrimage are one hundred and thirty years…’” (Gen 47:9).

Jacob defined his life as a pilgrimage: a journey to a specific place. That statement is very significant because it reveals that this life is not our final destination. Our life on earth is only a temporary journey that ends at a specific location. It is a journey back to God, and not an end goal in and of itself. Jacob had complete confidence that, at the end of his life, he would enter into permanent rest with God Himself.

You should have that same confidence! God promises that when we give our lives to Jesus Christ, we will be saved (Rom 10:9). Salvation encompasses every aspect of who we are now – spirit, soul and body; it also encompasses every aspect of who we are to become when we enter into eternity.

This life is preparation for heaven. When we see God face to face, worship will be involuntary; we will all fall down on our faces in awe of His glory. But eternal bliss is reserved for those who worship Him voluntarily: in this life, here and now.

Prayer:

Father, I want to live my life to worship You. I don’t want to ever discount Your presence. You are all I need, and all I want. You are everything to me!

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