Have you reached the end of your rope?
The world has a way of making us feel totally defeated and without hope when we are going through bad times. We are made to feel ashamed, guilty, and we even feel that we deserve what we are going through. Some experience broken dreams, financial and marital failures, sickness, disease, fear of the future, loss of family members, and the list goes on. You might say, "If I had just done things differently, I would not be in this mess right now." We get into a grieving and even a self-pity process that puts us into deeper despair, and depression. We try all kinds of remedies, but they all are short lived. We pray but it seems like God does not hear. Or worse, perhaps He did hear but won't fix our lives right away because of some fault of our own. We feel like God wants to keep us poor forever, or that He had designed us for mediocrity.
Maybe you believe that God is not accessible to you, or perhaps you just do not believe in Him. Perhaps you may have wondered how God could allow so much evil to prevail. You have questioned His character. Maybe you could not believe in a God that you feel is not in control.
However God has a totally different view! He is accessible. He will show you that He wants to be active in your life if you will allow Him. He will show you how He will turn every evil into a blessing to your life. He says that being "poor" is the door through which we enter His Kingdom, His blessings, and His remedies. His goal for us is abundant life.
There are different "shades" of being poor.
A person wealthy in finances can be poor if he has incurable cancer. A healthy person can be poor in finances. Others can be poor in marriage and child relationships. Many are poor because the have addictions, or cannot overcome their depression. You are poor if you have no peace in your mind, and you are certainly poor if you do not know for sure where you will go after you die. When we are at the end or our "ropes" that is usually when God can break through to us.
God specializes in helping hurting people. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3). Poor in spirit is not having resources adequate to meet the demands made upon you.
Jesus' self imposed weakness and poverty is what defeated Satan and set us free. 2 Corinthians 8:9 says, "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich."
Jesus gives great value to bruised people.
One of the prophecies about Jesus as written in Isaiah chapter 42 was, "A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth" (Isaiah 42:3). In those days a bruised reed referred to an object that had no value and should just be discarded. People would take reeds that grew near the water's edge, cut a piece of it, cut some holes in it, and thus they would have made a flute or a recorder on which they would play music. These instruments were very fragile and would bruise easily. Once they were damaged the owner would break it and discard it. It would be much easier to make a new one than to attempt to repair the bruised one.
The smoking flax was a wick from a lamp that was so worn out that it would no longer burn it would simply smoke. Therefore the owner would discard it and purchase or make a new one.
The prophecy says that Jesus would not do that. He would see a bruised person and see their value. He would see the prostitute, the tax collector, and see their potential. He would see the victims of divorce and failure, the financial failures, the moral failures, and instead of discarding them, He would heal them and fix them. He would see people who were burned out with trying to make their lives work and consider them the finest potential for His Kingdom. As a matter of fact, He felt that they had more potential for His Kingdom than the strong, proud and successful.
Reader, take hold of this concept! This is our God! He loves you as you are. If you have failed, if you have not been able to make life work, you have just the potential God wants. When you allow this to soak in, you will realize the love He has for you, and how valuable you are to Him. Knowing that God loves you just the way you are is the most powerful step in healing. A person will never really be spiritually and emotionally healed until the love of God towards them becomes their identity. If you are continually attempting to establish your identity by your work, your success, your appearance, your friends, or even by your spouse, you will most miserable. You need to know that Jesus the creator loves you in your poverty and sees great potential in you.
Jesus treats poor people different than the rule keepers do. In Matthew chapter 12 Jesus states in verse 20 that the prophecy of the bruised reed and smoking flax is fulfilled in the stories told in that chapter. The stories therein include breaking the traditional law of the Sabbath so that people could be helped. One story had to do with the disciples plucking heads of grain from a field because they were hungry. Another story was about healing a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. The religious people called the Pharisees criticized Jesus for helping people. They thought that the rules should come first.
If you are a broken reed or a smoking flax, don't allow the rule keepers to condemn you, rather allow Jesus to heal you. Then go and find another bruised reed and another smoking flax and do the same for them. Jesus says that there are many beautiful tunes to be played on the reed and that the flax will burn again.
How can Jesus help me? What do I do?
In John chapter 6 of the Bible Jesus had encountered some poor people who were hungry. In the first encounter He fed them with the miracle of feeding 5,000 people with just a few loaves and a few fish. The next day they looked for the same miracle, but He told them no. He was not being unkind, actually He was trying to give them a permanent solution so they could stop begging. He told them to stop laboring for the food that perishes but to labor to believe God.
He went on in that chapter and pointed them to a blood covenant with God. Many were offended others received the offer. This is not religion this is life! When Jesus was crucified on the Cross he paid the price, not only for your sins and sin nature, but also for your sickness and poverty. He became poor so you could be supplied with abundant life. There was the divine exchange. All of your addictions, poverty, lack of peace and inability to make things work in life were put on Jesus at the Cross. He paid the divine price to give you life.
God is not mad at you. He loves you and wishes to have a personal relationship with you.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 tells the story.
"17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. [That means that Jesus swapped His perfect life for your imperfect life].
18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,
19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. [That means that God is not mad at you, nor is He holding your failures against you].
20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. [The person who gave you this pamphlet is an ambassador for God coming to tell you that you can be reconciled to God, be close to Him and have peace with Him, through Jesus Christ and the blood covenant].
21 For He [God] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
[Here is the bottom line. Jesus was born of a virgin so that He could have God's blood. He offered Himself to be crucified by wicked people so that He could shed innocent blood for you. However He did not stay dead, three days later He was resurrected, supernaturally. He ascended back to Heaven, and promised to return to earth. Most believers feel that He is coming back soon. In the meantime He wants to have real time contact with you and develop intimacy with you.]
If you accept the blood covenant you are righteous with God just because of what Jesus did, in spite of what you have done. This right standing with God entitles you to eternal life in Heaven, and while you are here it entitles you to have all your needs supplied by God Himself. His Holy Spirit will come and take up residence in your body. You will experience God! All you have to do is believe and turn your life over to Jesus, make Him Lord. When you do, the Holy Spirit will be real to you and will invite you to intimacy with the Almighty Creator of the Universe.
Romans 10:9 says, "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."
The poor can appreciate the Cross of Jesus Christ.
The Cross of Jesus Christ and the resulting blood covenant is the way God answers the desperation of people. The knowledge of the Cross is hidden for those who are desperate enough, poor enough, to seek for it, receive it, and walk in the truth of it.
The Cross and what happened there is the pivot point of all human history. What happened at the Cross is designed by God, the Creator, to answer every human need, of every culture, tribe, nation, race and people group.
The Cross and the blood covenant are the answer to every human cry of desperation. Nothing has been left out. It does not matter how bad your situation is. It does not matter if you are a victim, if you are the perpetrator, or if you made a mess of your own life. The Cross left nothing out. Its remedy is absolute!
These words from the Bible are not a religion, they are words from the living God and Jesus His only son who died and rose again to give you new life, eternal life. Religions of all types and kinds always puts some performance burden on you. Jesus simply says, "Receive the mercy, grace and free gift I have provided for you. Rest in my love, I have purchased you, I have redeemed you from the merciless world around you, I want to care for you and love you intimately."
If you want this life, just simply give your life to Jesus now, with your own simple prayer. His Holy Spirit will come into your spirit and He will never leave you.
If you are not sure about these things, just pray, "God, please reveal yourself to me. I am not sure about the Bible or about Jesus. If you can hear me, please, reveal yourself." Now just be real with God, tell Him everything, and He will be real to you!
For a free Bible Study Course or more information, contact - International School of the Bible email@example.com - www.isob-bible.org