Habakkuk – Revealing Our Joy in God

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

In the Book of Habakkuk, Jesus Christ is the marvelous wonder whom God would send to redeem, and he is our joy in God. The marvelous wonder of Jesus Christ’s life is so thrilling to our lives as we come to know him more and more, the greatest and most marvelous wonder of all is his Resurrection and our subsequent new and eternal life that we receive through him.

Habakkuk 1:4-5:
-4: Therefore {because of strife and contention} the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for wickedness doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.
-5: Behold ye {Israel} among the heathen, and regard {look and behold}, and wonder marvellously {in astonishment}: for I will work a work {miraculous miracles} in your days {in the days that the Messiah would be present}, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.

Israel was living among the heathen, i.e., the unbelievers, and they refused God’s Law that was written and spoken to them, and they refused the righteous judgment that only God’s Word could reveal.

Verse 5 is a prophecy regarding the coming of Jesus Christ, whom Israel would behold with their very eyes. They would see him and be completely astonished with utter amazement at the miraculous ways he presents himself and his Father to them, and still not believe that he was the Messiah.

This prophecy is also written in Acts 13:41 in the past tense, because Christ came, and today we can be astonished in his completed work on our behalf and rejoice in him.

Following are only a few examples of Israel’s astonishment in the miraculous work that Jesus would do.

Matthew 7:28-29:
-28: And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, {the Sermon on the Mount}, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
-29: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Mark 5:42 – And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment.

The damsel in Mark 5 was dead and Jesus raised her, which was nothing short of a miracle. When the people saw this miracle they were greatly astonished.

Everywhere Jesus walked he gave infallible proofs that he was the true Messiah, yet in the end of his ministry they refused to believe on him, and so Israel as a nation rejected and crucified him. There were some who always believed in hope, but they were few, and the few had great joy because of their steadfastness in their believing God’s healing Word.

Habakkuk was a prophet of the Most High God, and Habakkuk in the midst of Israel’s unbelief received joy from his God because he believed.

Habakkuk 3:18-19:
-18: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
-19: The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.

A hind is a deer that places his two back feet in the exact place his front feet were, and his front feet went first to check and make sure that the ground was safe.  What Habakkuk was saying is that when we believe and look to God through our Savior, then we will also be walking in the steps of Jesus Christ, who always walked perfectly with his heavenly Father.

Walking with God will always bring to us joy and rejoicing in the God of our salvation, and in our Lord who made our salvation a reality, and today our “high places” are at the right hand of God.

Nehemiah – Revealing Our Heavenly Pardon

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

The Book of Nehemiah parallels the Book of Ezra. Ezra focuses great attention to the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem, while Nehemiah focuses mainly on the rebuilding of the city walls and gates in Jerusalem. Nehemiah reveals Jesus Christ as the Savior of God’s people, and that he would become the believer’s heavenly pardon from all their sins, faults, and shortcomings.

Nehemiah tells us of the bread from heaven that sustained the lives of the children of Israel and the water that came out of a rock when they were en route to the promised land. As the bread and water preserved their physical life, there is a correlation between Christ who is the true bread and water from heaven who preserves our spiritual life and who is the salvation of our souls (compare Nehemiah 9:15-21; with the Gospel of John 4:14 and 6:58; I Corinthians 10:4).

Nehemiah 9:17b –. . . but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not.

When is God “ready to pardon?” When we have the petition of pardon! Jesus Christ is our petition and our pardon, who continually reveals to our conscious minds complete forgiveness!

I John 5:13-15:
-13: These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
-14: And this is the {God-given} confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us;
-15: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

Since we believe on Jesus Christ, we receive confidence from God that He indeed has pardoned us with complete forgiveness. When we begin believing, this is when we absolutely know “that we have the petitions that we desire of him.”

Our petitions that we desire of God are to know with understanding that He has completely forgiven us, for God will always give us the desires of our hearts (Psalms 37:4), and we can know that our petition to the Father was presented to Him by the Son of God.

Ephesians 4:32 – And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

The word “forgiven” in both instances means to receive complete pardon. We have been pardoned for the sake of Jesus Christ, and in the same manner we are to be as gracious to one another.

Colossians 3:13 – Forbearing one another, and forgiving {pardoning} one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave {pardoned} you, so also do ye.

As we are able to forgive one another, we will become ever abler to believe in our hearts that our God has spiritually forgiven us and pardoned us with His gracious mercy and great kindness, for He has not forsaken us (Hebrews 13:5-6).

In Nehemiah the believers had great expectation in receiving their pardons as they continued to believe that their Messiah was indeed coming for them, and the work of rebuilding the gates and walls gave them assurance of God’s protection as they looked forward to the hope of Christ’s coming.

Currently we also have and enjoy our great expectation in the coming of Jesus (the Savior) Christ (the Messiah) for he gave his life for our acquittal of any wrongdoing.

Today we can build up the walls (of our minds) to believe in him, and continue preparing the gate (the door to our hearts, Revelation 3:20) that spiritually allows Jesus Christ to enter into our lives.

I AM THAT I AM

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

For so many, God is simply an intangible Being with various titles, concepts, and ideas that hold vague meanings and implications. People sometimes refer to God as the man upstairs or the great I AM or the spirit in the sky, while others speculate, I know that there is something (or someone) out there (or up there) because I can see the order and perfection of life all around, but whatever power it is or wherever that power may originate, I just cannot grasp its real source. Some of us may have thought of God in suchlike terms before knowing Jesus Christ, “the Prince of life” (Acts 3:15), who introduced our searching hearts to His Majesty’s loving embrace and eternal purpose.

One could see all the works of man and easily believe that there is no God, but how can he look up into the starry heavens or view the perfection of life all around and still believe there is no God? The more we understand God via knowing Jesus Christ, the greater our spiritual lives grow as our union with the heavenly Father and with nature itself begins harmonizing with tranquility. All of the Prophets in the Old Testament preached about Christ and through knowing him, God becomes more magnified and detailed.

Exodus 3:14:
And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

The most basic understanding of these words I AM THAT I AM means that God cannot deny His own existence. Simply put ― God is Who He is. The Apostle Paul said of himself in I Corinthians 15:10 “by the grace of God I am what I am.” Paul could not deny who he was, and that he was who he was only by the grace of God; it is the same with us, we are who we are only by the grace of God, for He is our Maker. Even Popeye understood who he was, “I yam what I yam and that’s all what I yam, I’m Popeye the sailor man,” (“toot, toot!”). It is no mystery understanding who God is; it is a mystery why so many people do not know who God is when Jesus Christ our Savior reveals Him to our inner hearts.

Man is truly something to behold from God’s perspective; Hebrews 2:6-9 records that the Son of God as well as Man were made just “a little lower than the angels.” The Hebrew word for angels in Hebrews 2 is Elohim and is the word for God, corresponding to the Greek word Theos, not angels. This is a huge mistranslation, which has greatly lowered expectations. Angels is the Hebrew word malak corresponding to the Greek word aggelos.

Man was made a little lower than the Creator of the universe, which is actually quite high up on the pedestal of God’s creation, higher than the angels who were created to be servants and ministers of God (Psalms 104:4, Hebrews 1:14). In contrast we, the children of God, are His sons and daughters (I John 2:1-2), and masterpieces of His creative “workmanship” (Ephesians 2:10), and the saved man becomes the crowning achievement of God. He “crowned us with glory and honour” (Psalms 8:4-5), creating nothing less than Christ in us, thus, we truly are what we are by the grace of God, and it is something to behold.

In Exodus chapter 3, God, by referring to Himself as I AM THAT I AM was showing Moses the true essence of Himself, and as Moses saw for himself the immensity of God, Moses began believing that he could rise up to his God‑given calling to deliver Israel.

God was preparing Moses to do some extraordinary exploits by way of delivering the children of Israel from the bondage of cruel slavery where they were imprisoned in the land of idol worship and servitude. Moses was also going to teach Israel about the spiritual realities of the Golden Thread, of him who was prophesied; the Christ, the awaited Messiah and Savior, and their rock of strength and hope (Deuteronomy 32:30-31).

I AM hath sent me unto you is not all that God exclusively told Moses to say to the children of Israel to inspire them to follow him off into the desert without food and water. Simply saying I AM hath sent me unto you was not (is not, and never will be) a magical phrase that mysteriously empowered Israel (or anyone else for that matter) to get up and get going into the barren desert (that only happens in the movies).

I Corinthians 10:4:
And {the children of Israel} did all drink the same spiritual drink {given by Moses}: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them {or rather who came after them}: and that Rock was {is, and will always be} Christ.

Moses began revealing the Messiah to the children of Israel (Deuteronomy 18:15, Acts 3:22-23). Then, as the Israelites began to figuratively drink and savor the comforting words that flowed from the mouth of Moses, they began perceiving the subject of all true prophecy, the rock Christ who came after them, as is recorded for posterity in the Gospels.

The hope of the coming of Christ was what inspired them to get moving over to the Promised Land where their Redeemer would come to redeem them. Jesus Christ became known through the spoken Word of God by Moses. This is how Moses strengthened Israel to the point that they also began believing in He Who could not deny Himself, in He Who said to Moses: I AM.

Hebrews 11:6:
But without faith {believing faith} it is impossible to please him {God}: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

The reward itself inspired Israel, as well as Moses, to boldly go through the sweltering desert to the other side, to where the promise awaited, to the place of hope, to home, and to their destiny. Within the heart of their hearts they had the knowledge of Christ (who is the Word, John 1:14) who not only followed after them in the fullness of time, but to the very place where he would redeem, in their Promised Land of milk and honey.

Hebrews 11:24-27 (The Amplified Bible):**
-24: [Aroused] by {believing} faith Moses, when he had grown to maturity and become great, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;
-25: Because he preferred to share the oppression [suffer the hardships] and bear the shame of the people of God rather than to have the fleeting enjoyment of a sinful life.
-26: He considered the contempt and abuse and shame [borne for] the Christ (the Messiah Who was to come) to be greater wealth than all {ALL} the treasures of Egypt, for he looked forward and away to the reward {the eternal reward that God gives}.
-27: [Motivated] by {believing} faith he left Egypt behind him, being unawed and undismayed by the wrath of the king {Pharaoh}: for he never flinched but held staunchly to his purpose and endured steadfastly as one who gazed on Him Who is invisible.

The Greek word for faith is pistis, and means believing faith, of which Christ is man’s author and finisher, (Hebrews 12:2), and if one is in need of more faith, then faith will be found through knowing Jesus Christ in the Word of God, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). By Moses choosing to believe in Christ, he chose an apparent life of hardship with the bound slaves of Egypt. He walked away from Pharaoh’s household and the life of luxury and looked to the invisible God of his conscious mind Who comforts and rescues from fear and rewards believing-faith in Christ.

Moses’ standing as a leader in Egypt was perhaps similar to that of the Apostle Paul who regarded his social standing as a blameless Pharisee in the Law and being in the top echelon of his class (Philippians 3:4-10). Yet in comparison Paul counted it all as nothing but “dung, that I may win {or gain} Christ” (Philippians 3:8). Why? Paul and Moses, as well as you and I, have access to the “the riches of Christ” (Colossians 1:27), and the “treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3), leaving no comparison between being in Christ and life without him. Moses chose to place the rest of his life and future in Christ who was to him the prophesied spiritual rock who would follow, and with whose knowledge would strengthen him as well as Israel, as they were assured of a much better life. By believing-faith, Moses chose temporal hardships rather than to have the fleeting enjoyment of a sinful life in order to receive “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (II Corinthians 4:17), more than Egypt could ever offer.

Exodus 3:15a:
And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you. . .

Moses had much more to go on than simply to say I AM sent me unto you, but also to inform Israel that the same God their ancestors believed in and hoped on has sent me unto you. One blissful benefit that Moses received for choosing to believe was that he spent personal time with God the Creator. As Moses enjoyed his time with the God of his life and hope, he learned from His actual voice the realties of the coming Redeemer and Moses grew to know the love of his life would indeed be his Messiah.

Today we may also experience this kind of personal relationship with the Father and with Christ Jesus in the household of God; “Beloved, now are we the sons of God” (I John 3:2). “I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (II Corinthians 6:17-18).

**Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE.
The Amplified New Testament copyright (c) 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission.

The Knowledge of Christ (The Longer Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Once there was a man who hated Christians. He persecuted them at every opportunity; he put them into prison, and gave his vote to have them executed by stoning them to death. He carried written permission from the leaders of his day to go anywhere, into any home, and forcefully drag out men and women and take them to jail. From the depths of his heart he loved God, and walked faithfully and blameless before others who believed in his religion and he somehow did this with a clear conscience. Yet he was a very religious man who prayed and worshiped the same God we pray and worship. He believed in his heart that the Christian movement came from the pits of hell.

I have no doubt that I would not allow him into my home or around my friends because his very presence could mean death. He thought in his heart that he was a great believer and that he was doing the right things before his God as he personally anticipated the coming of the Redeemer.

This man lived in the first century as a Pharisee, he had the best schooling that money could buy. He also had the right credentials as he sat under the greatest, first century teacher of the Old Testament Scriptures, named Gamaliel (Acts 5:34, Acts 22:3), and he was one of Gamaliel’s favorite pupils. This man was Saul, also known in the Scriptures as Paul (the difference in the two names is that Saul comes from the Hebrew spelling, while Paul is from the Greek).

Acts 22:4 – And I {Paul} persecuted this way {this way represented the followers of Jesus Christ who was, is, and shall always be “the way, the truth, and the life” John 14:6} unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.

I Timothy 1:12-13:
-12: And I {Paul} thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
-13: Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious {an insulter}: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

Ignorantly in unbelief means that Paul did not have the right information to believe correctly, even with all his religious training in the Scriptures which foretell and announce the coming of Christ, the promised Messiah. Paul completely missed the truths in the Scriptures that reveal Jesus Christ to be the promised Redeemer and the Savior of humanity.

One day when Paul was on the road to Damascus he, for the first time in his life met Jesus Christ, and as we know from the Scriptures, Paul had an immediate change of mind and heart, because he for the first time in his life saw the true spiritual realities of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said to Paul in Acts 9:5 “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest!” Can you imagine?

Personally — if I were Paul — this meeting would have given me a heart attack! Yet, Paul recognized the error of his ways, changed his mind, and he became one of the greatest believers this world has ever known, he received perhaps more revelation and inspiration than any man or woman has received in all of history.

The great Apostle Paul from that day forward dedicated his life to teaching and showing others the depths of God’s grace, love, and forgiveness. Paul helped believers receive an understanding of the healing Word by preaching Jesus Christ, who in turn reveals the righteousness of God to our inner hearts, as His Word continues blessing our lives with spiritual truth.

Philippians 3:8-9:
-8: Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered {or allowed} the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ {there is nothing as precious as learning about Christ},
-9: And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

Discovering our Lord and Savior in the Word of God is a rewarding adventure in this life as Jesus said, the Scriptures testify of me (John 5:39). It is Jesus who opens up our understanding to the Word of God, so with him the words in the Word begin making perfect sense. Luke wrote: ”Then opened he {Jesus} their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures” (Luke 24:45).

II Peter 1:2:
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.

Grace and peace is something we may expect to receive simply by going to our Bibles and looking for the knowledge of Christ, who is according to I Corinthians 1:24, ”the power, and wisdom of God.”

Grace and peace being multiplied in the Apostle Paul’s heart is what changed his life around and presented to him great deliverance, and this will also bless us with the inner comfort of having grace and peace in our hearts through discovering the wondrous knowledge of Christ.

Our Heavenly Calling

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

The first three chapters of Ephesians shed much light on what God has given to His Church, and to the individual believer. The last three chapters’ guide God’s Church on how to apply in practical living what God has so freely given to us. In Ephesians 3:19, God’s Word says that we have the love of Christ, and with the love of Christ we can know that we have been “filled with all the fullness of God.” How can believers truly fathom what it means to be filled with all of the fullness of God?  How can we grasp that (collectively) we are the actual habitation of God Himself?  How can we believe that we are quickened together with Christ and can we really understand that we were raised up together with Christ and how can we know that we are seated together with Christ?  How is the Church of God fitly framed together and how are believers built together into the household of God? The last three chapters of Ephesians reveal to us the “how” to know, apply, and enjoy all the spiritual knowledge in what God’s Word says we have.

Ephesians 4:1 – I THEREFORE, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation {calling} wherewith ye are called,

Paul referred to himself as “the prisoner of the Lord” because the love of Christ had captured his heart and Paul with his entire being belonged to Christ. The very first instruction on the practical side of Ephesians is to hear with our hearts God’s calling, to recognize His beseeching, and to desire His imploring of us to walk within the heavenly calling that God called us to walk worthy in:

Ephesians 4:2-3:
-2:  With all lowliness {humbleness} and meekness {to God’s Word} with longsuffering {patience toward others}, forbearing {uplifting} one another in love
-3:  Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

“Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit” is a continuous effort to live with the love of God, especially towards our fellow believers who have also been called into God’s Church.  To walk worthy of our heavenly calling, the Church must endeavor to have a spiritual unity in the bond of peace with one another. “The bond of peace” that believers can experience is literally coming to an understanding of who Jesus Christ is, for he is our peace (Ephesians 2:14), and he is what we all have in common with each other. When we begin walking worthy of God’s calling, then we will begin enjoying and also applying His divinely given spiritual love. God’s love builds up the believer as well as promotes the true spiritual unity that we all have together in and with Christ.

Ephesians 4:15-16 (Amplified*):
-15:  Rather, let our lives lovingly express truth [in all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, loving truly]. Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him Who is the Head, [even] Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one).
-16:  For because of Him the whole body (the church, in all its various parts {you and I}), closely joined and firmly knit together by the joints and ligaments with which it is supplied {by God}, when each part [with power adapted to its need] is working properly [in all its functions], grows to full maturity, building itself up in love.

* Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE.
The Amplified New Testament copyright (c) 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission.