Only Believe

Teresa Poucher

If you didn’t love God, you wouldn’t be reading this.  I am ashamed to say; sometimes I have a hard time believing.  In another six months, I’ll be like the lame man waiting 38 years for his healing.  No, I’m not lame, but like many of you, I’m weary, waiting on a promise from God.  I know God can; I know He is able.  So why do I have a hard time believing?

We say we believe God, so why do we fret, worry, have anxiety, and stress.  Do we really know what it is to believe?  

  According to Noah Webster, “Believe” means: “To have a firm persuasion of anything. In some cases, to have full persuasion, approaching to certainty; It is often followed by “in” or “on,”especially in the scriptures.  To believe on is to trust, to place full confidence in, to rest upon with faith.”

  “To them gave he the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:12)

In theology, “to believe” sometimes expresses a mere assent to the gospel, as in the case of Simon in Acts, chapter 8. For others, the word also implies a yielding of the will and affections, accompanied by a humble reliance on Christ for salvation. See John 1:12 and 3:15.

  I have done some soul searching, questioning my walk with God.  I want to know Him.  If I truly know Him, I will believe Him.

  John’s writing of the gospel is different from the others.  I don’tsee any parables, and I only found seven or eight miracles.  The feeding of the five thousand is listed by all four writers.  The other six miracles are only in the book of John.  I don’t see the word “faith” used in his book except in “faithless.”  When he does say “faithless,” it is followed by “but believing” in John 20:27.  Yet, the word “believe” is used 85 times.  

  According to childresearch.net, a fetus hears and can recognize its mother’s heartbeat.  Mothers hold their children on the left side of their chest.  The infant is calmed and sleeps better, all because they know their mother’s heartbeat. John knew his master’s heartbeat.  He didn’t have to see the miracles to believe.  

“Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake.” (John 13:23-25)

  John knew who Jesus was.  The other writers told of His life and history, but John spoke of His divinity, His origin.

  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1,14)

I want to draw close enough to hear his heartbeat.

This Little Light of Mine

Teresa Poucher

  I realize we haven’t been going out to eat much these days. Have you noticed that most restaurants are not well lit? Hmmm, you think it’s for the ambiance, or so you don’t see the crumbs and spills? Perhaps a little of both. Light has a way of exposing things we don’t want others to see.

  In ancient times, the sun was extremely important. Not just because they didn’t have electricity or LED flashlights, it keeps the earth from freezing, it warms our waters, and it has a way of energizing plants and ourselves, givingus more oxygen and food. Ancients valued the sun so much that many cultures worshipped a sun god. If anyone deserves worship, it’s the Lord Jesus, who is the Creator and “Light of the World.”

When Moses constructed the tabernacle, he made candlesticks which were actual lamps with pure olive oil. These lamps provided the only light in the Holy Place as there were no windows or doors. This lamp was to burn forever; it had to be maintained throughout the night and day.

Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually.”(Leviticus 24:2)

  They didn’t use a match to light the lamp.  The fire came from the brazen altar, a place of repentance and atonement for sins. This fire also was never to go out.

The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.”(Leviticus 6:3)

According to Leviticus 9:24, the fire came down from heaven to consume the sacrifice.

“…Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim… And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was…” (1Samuel 3:2-3)

The parable of the ten virgins is found in Matthew, chapter 25. They all had burning lamps, yet they failed to bring oil with them. “… for our lamps are gone out.” (Matthew 25:8) They were not allowed to go to the marriage. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb is one wedding I don’t want to miss. This light isn’t just to lighten us, but others along their way.

“A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”(Luke 2:32)

I don’t want to grope in darkness, and I know you don’t want to either. As the little children’s song says, “This little lite of mine, I’m gonna’let it shine.”

The First Shall be Last

Teresa Poucher

So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” “Take that thine is, and go they way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee…

(Matthew 20:14,16)

  Isaac was Abraham’s child of promise. According to Galatians 3:29, those who are of the faith are counted as Abrahams’s seed. However, Ishmael was firstborn by a bondwoman. Even though he was first born and was circumcised, he did not get the birthright blessing.

Esau, like Ishmael, was born first and did not possess the birthright, Jacob did, and we know him as Israel.

  Both brothers had spats, just like most brothers do. Not getting the birthright is a doozy, though. They both went many years without seeing their rival sibling. Again, both Esau and Jacob, as well as Ishmael and Isaac, lost their father. Each of them met again with their sibling, and it seems like they reconciled. Did Isaac know Ishmael almost died when he was sent away when he was weaned? (Genesis 21) Did Ishmael know that Abraham nearly slew his brother as a sacrifice? (Genesis 22) Did they share these stories?

  “And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him (Abraham) in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre…” (Genesis 25:9) Did they perhaps reconcile?

Jacob feared for his life after taking his brother’s birthright and doesn’t see him for years (Genesis 27). Then they meet in Genesis 33:4, and Esau and Jacob embrace. In Genesis 35:29, we find Esau and Jacob burying Issac, their father.

  “And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the Lord because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a savior, and a great one, and he shall deliver them. In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians.  In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land…”  (Isaiah 29:20-24)

We see the first will be last. Could it be like Esau and Ishmael? The end-time revival being poured out on the unexpected, the unworthy? As I read in Deuteronomy 9, God repeats three verses in a row; they (Israel) would possess Canaan’s land, not because of their righteousness, but because of the inhabitants’ wickedness. God will pour out of his spirit on all flesh, not because of our righteousness, but because the land needs a savior. His last action on the cross was to forgive a man that lived a life of sin and could do nothing for God other than to display his mercy.

  “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound…” (Romans 5:20)

Http://bib.ly/ Genesis 21-22

Http://bib.ly/ Genesis 27

Http://bib.ly/ Deuteronomy 9:4-6

The Joy of the Lord

Teresa Poucher

How many times have we heard that expression?  It is only spoken once in the Bible.  We have heard it in preaching; we have even sung about it.  I’ve always thought, if I am happy in God, then I am strong.  

Maybe that’s true, but what if my strength is determined by my bringing God joy? So, how do I bring God joy? Well, let’s go to the book of Nehemiah, chapter 8:1-13. I know that’s a long reading, so let me paraphrase it for you. They just finished building the walls of Jerusalem, which had been burnt and in ruins for several decades. The people gathered together, and Ezra read the laws of Moses. They bowed their heads, and they worshiped. What sticks out to me is in the 13 verses, we see a form of the word “understand” six times. Ezra wanted to make sure they understood what he was reading. And in verse 10, “…the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

  “And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.”  (Nehemiah 8:12)

We know God is pleased with worship and reverence, but I believe He is joyful when we understand and obey His Word. If we truly understood His Word, we wouldn’t be murmuring, complaining, and worrying. Surely that is strength, and I want that, don’t you?

http://bib.ly/Nehemiah8:1-13

Censorship

Teresa Poucher


“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” (The First Amendment to the US Constitution)

  I live in America. I haven’t been saying “United States” lately.  Seem like we are anything but united.  This is so sad because there is power in unity.  I find it hard to believe how big technology companies and media are censoring our voices.  

I recall a hero of the faith in the Bible, Daniel by name. He was held captive in Babylon. He, much like Joseph, found favor and position in his captivity. He held steadfast to his belief in his God. When a decree was made to not petition anyone other than the king, Daniel was found praying to God with his window open three times a day. He didn’t let the government censor him — even if it would cost his life.

“…let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. And they called them and commanded them not to speak at ALL nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:17-20)

Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.” (Psalms 55:17)

  Per Strong’s Concordance, “Cry Loud” [H1993]: “to make a loud sound (like English’ hum’); by implication, to be in great commotion or tumult, to rage, war, moan, clamor: — clamorous, concourse, cry aloud, be disquieted, loud, mourn, be moved, make a noise, rage, roar, sound, be troubled, make in tumult, tumultuous, be in an uproar.”

“Cry aloud, spare not, lift thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” (Isaiah 58:1)

Don’t let Satan silence your voice, especially while praying the prayer of warfare as well as in your praise.

Increased Knowledge

Teresa Poucher

  Automobiles weren’t common for average citizens until the 1920s, and it wasn’t until 1969 that half the cars being made had air conditioning.

  The first transistor radio didn’t come out until October 1954.

  Most new homes didn’t have central air conditioning until the late 1960s.

  Cordless phones didn’t become popular until the 1970s.

  The first iPhone came out in the US in 2007 with only 4 GB. 

  Pink Floyd had a song called “Welcome to the Machine.” I looked up the lyrics, here are some of them:

Welcome my son

Welcome to the machine

Where have you been?

It’s alright; we know where you’ve been

  As I read these lyrics, I thought, how true they are today.  We send our kids to school to learn, but are we concerned about what is being taught?  What is seen in movies and commercials is disturbing.  Just what are we teaching this younger generation?  

“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” (Daniel 12:4)

  Surely, we can agree, knowledge has increased astronomically.  Yet, with all this technology, how much do we know about God now?  It’s so much easier to study the Word of God with an iPad or smartphone, but we would rather scroll through Facebook or watch YouTube instead. 

  “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”  (Hosea 4:6)

  If you want to learn about God and His Word, it would be best to rely on the Bible and time-honored resources such as Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance1, Matthew Henry‘s Commentary2, and the Jewish Encyclopedia3, rather than some modern Christian books.  It’s a sad truth, that as we have increased in knowledge,we have decreased in our relationship with the One who gave us this knowledge.

May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Ephesians3:18-19)

Now that is knowledge!

1) Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (1890) took James Strong thirty-five years to compile. He assigned every root word (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) a number, which one may use to follow the word throughout the Bible.2) Matthew Henry Bible Commentary (1706) provides Matthew Henry’s commentary of every verse in the Bible.3) The Jewish Encyclopedia (1901) contains about 15,000 articles written by more than 400 scholars describing the history, culture, religion, and literature of the Jewish people up to around 1900.

It is Finished

Years ago, we would say you hit the nail on the head, meaning you were right on target. Now, you might hear you nailed it, which could mean you not only hit it right on the head, but you drove it in. Hmm, I’ve hit some nails on the head before but just bent them and couldn’t drive them in, so I wasn’t able to secure my project.

When the Romans nailed Jesus to the cross, they wrote his charge and set his accusation over his head: “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” (Matthew 27:37)

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross” (Colossians 2:14)

The word “handwriting” in Greek is cheirographon, something hand-written, a manuscript (especially, a legal document.)

  It was a legal document of the Roman Empire of a debt that must be paid.  If onecommitted crimes, they were listed on this document.  It was nailed to their cell for all to see until the debt was paid.1

Jesus last words on the cross were “it is finished” – τελέω (tel-eh’-o)[G5055]. Strong’s defines “teleō” as finished, accomplished, fulfilled, paid, performed.2

  To think, He took my sins and the sins of the world and nailed them to the cross.  He paid our debt so we could be righteous through Him.  

‘Talk about, when Jesus said, “It is finished,” He nailed it!

1Woetzel, D. (7/8/2003).  It is Finished.  Retrieved 2/6/2021 from www.icr.org/article/18923/

2Strong, J. (1890). Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Abingdon Press.

Saved by Fire

Teresa Poucher

Fire is both wonderful and terrible. We enjoy a fireplace or a fire pit in the winter. It brings warmth to our body and comfort and connection to those who are near us.

  However, if it gets out of control, it will consume everything in its path. Ten thousand fires destroyed over 42 million acres in California in 2020, not counting the loss of human lives. (fire.ca.gov)

Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.” (II Peter 3:12)

  God used a flood to cleanse the earth in Noah’s day; next time, it will be fire.  

  How do I escape the fire?  Fight fire with fire!  Sometimes in a forest fire, firefighterswill start an additional fire to make a barrier.  The new controlled fire will consume all the fuel of the approaching wildfire.

  God appeared to Moses in a burning bush that wasn’t consumed in Exodus, chapter3.  For 40 years, Israel had a pillar of fire as they wandered in the wilderness.

  In chapter 6 of Leviticus, we read about the brazen altar and the fire that was never to go out.

Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house.” (II Chronicles 7:1)

  They knew God accepted their sacrifice because the fire fell from heaven.  

  I’m not as concerned about my accepting Jesus as I am about Jesus accepting me.  

John the Baptist said: “… 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:” (Luke 3:16)

Then on the day of Pentecost: “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:2-4)

If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (I Corinthians 3:15)

  If you don’t have the Holy Ghost, seek God.  This promise is for you! 

For promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2:39)

Now that’s being saved by fire!

Saved by Water

If you live in South Louisiana, you will remember what was called “The Great Flood.”

I guess you could say it was a lot like Hurricane Katrina. You would have to have experienced it to understand fully. Yet, it was nothing compared to the great deluge in which Noah, his wife, three sons, and their wives went through. I was caught by surprise when I read:

Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” (I Peter 3:20)

By water? My word, everything was destroyed. Many Bible versions say through water. How in the world were they saved by water? Well, it took a whole lot of water to get that giant boat to float. So, the water did save them!

Hmm, the water still saves us today: “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ…” (I Peter 3:21)

Jesus gave Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven. On the day of Pentecost, he preached: “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:37-38)

  The water that destroyed so many would have saved them.  Why wouldn’t you want to get baptized in Jesus’ name?   

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

Mrs. Job

Teresa Poucher

When I think things are rough, all I need to do is read the book of Job. This man was the greatest of all the men of the east, and he had it all together with seven sons, three daughters, and 11,000 sheep, camels, and oxen. (Job 1:3)

‘Sounds like his children were well off too: “And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day.” (Job 1:4)

We all know the story: Job lost his children and all his livestock.

It was essential to have children — the more, the better, especially sons.

  Job’s wife has been looked down on by many for several thousand years, but I believe she got a bad rap.  

  Have you ever wondered how she felt?  She gave birth to all these children and her “social security” was taken away.  Who will take care of them as they age?  As well as their father’s seed dying, leaving no one to carry on the family name.  If that isn’t bad enough, she watched her husband suffer, wishing he’d never been born.  She said,“Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die.”  (Job 2:9)    

Before we jump on the bandwagon and attack Job’s wife, let’s look at the Hebrew word for “curse:” Barak [H1288] in Strong’s Concordance — “A primitive root; to kneel; by implication to bless God (as an act of adoration), and (vice-versa) man (as a benefit); also (by euphemism) to curse (God or the king, as treason)….”

She knows and agrees, Job has integrity with God. Let’s not forget, Job wished he had never been born. We don’t seem to hold that against him. Mrs. Job is struggling too. Maybe you have had a glimpse of what she is going through. You have seen someone you love struggle with health so badly, death would be welcomed. If she said, “Barak (Hebrew word for “bless God”) and die,” I can see where she is coming from. If you bless and worship God and die, it would be better than what you are facing right now. I don’t see that Job’s wife doubts his innocence; I feel she agrees with him and acknowledges it.

Yet his friends are saying he sinned because of what has happened to him.

If he would “barak” (bless) God and die,he would still be in good standing with God. However, if he would curse God and die, he would be guilty, and she would struggle, being a Hebrew whose husband had sinned. Leaving her a widow meant not getting the same benefits according to the laws. So, Job told her she spoke as a foolish woman. He knows God is just. Both are at the lowest points in their lives.

In the last chapter of Job, we read how God rebukes Job’s friends, but not his wife. I would think (dangerous!), he also did not divorce her, or he would not have received all his blessings and more children in the end. I don’t see where God blamed or accused Job’s wife of any wrongdoing. Strange how we don’t even know her name. God gave him seven more sons and three more daughters. He didn’t list his sons’ names, but this time, he named his daughters. He was also blessed with more than double what he had before.

“Thou shalt know also that thy seed shall be great, and thine offspring as the grass of the earth. Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in in his season. Lo this, we have searched it, so it is; hear it, and know thou it for thy good.” (Job 5:25-27)

God will never leave you; he will see you through. Even if no one else knows your name, God does.