The Same God

The Same God

We often find it difficult to see the hand of God in a culture and a world where humanistic thinking and mankind’s self-focus seem to be the majority worldview. We think we live for and follow Jesus in a terrible time and in the midst of insurmountable obstacles. Believers are ridiculed, mocked, scorned, called haters, labeled as bigots, and generally considered to be intolerant and non-compassionate. Critics constantly try to silence us and render us impotent and, at times, out-of-our-ever-loving-mind freaks. We feel isolated and alone most of the time. Often, I hear believers speak as if no other era in Christian history has been as hopeless as the one we now live in.

Add to the mix the fact that the church has grown eerily silent concerning sin and seems more concerned with what the world thinks of them than what God’s Word says about our role as being ambassadors for Christ and we wind up with a church culture that appears very similar to that of the world. Again, we think there has been no other such era in our history when such things were going on…but we would be wrong to think like that.

The world has always been at war with the enemy. The liar uses the wisdom of man to divide the church and to make us feel ‘less than’ if we disagree with a man-centric worldview. I can think of many other times when all of these things could be said…and I can think of others who stood alone during intense persecution…and I can tell you this: the same God that got them through their trying times and persecutions is the very same God that is with us in the present era of church history! Here are just a few examples off the top of my head:

Daniel

Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, besieged Jerusalem and took many of its people captive and forced them into slavery. Daniel was one such person…a young man, just stepping into the prime of his life. Because of Daniel’s god-centered wisdom, he quickly rose in ranks to a high position in the kingdom. Because of Daniel’s gifts and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, he was given a place of honor and asked to interpret dreams and visions. After one such interpretation, Daniel informed king Nebuchadnezzar that he would be defeated and replaced by the Medes and Persians…and was slain that same night.

Darius then ruled over the land and again appointed Daniel to a high position in the land. Due to leaders jealous of Daniel, these leaders persuaded Darius to decree that he was a god and that no one should bow before any other god than Darius. Of course, Daniel was willing to stand alone and was brought before Darius accused of worshiping someone besides Darius. Darius loved Daniel and did not want to punish him…but the leaders who had devised the plan held Darius to his word…and Darius had Daniel cast into a pit full of hungry lions. The king left sorrowfully and had a fitful night of sleep…yet somehow hoped Daniel’s God would deliver him. Daniel 6:19-23 tells us what happened next:

19 Then the king arose at dawn, at the break of day, and went in haste to the lions' den. 20 When he had come near the den to Daniel, he cried out with a troubled voice. The king spoke and said to Daniel, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?" 21 Then Daniel spoke to the king, "O king, live forever! 22 "My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you, O king, I have committed no crime." 23 Then the king was very pleased and gave orders for Daniel to be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den and no injury whatever was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

The same God that was with Daniel is the same God we serve in the here and now!

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego

You may recall that these three young men were captured by the Babylonians along with Daniel. King Nebuchadnezzar built a huge golden image and commanded all in the land to bow before it in worship. Daniel’s co-captives - Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego refused to bow down to the king’s idol and responded to his command in Daniel 3:16-18:

16 "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. 17 "If it be [so,] our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 "But [even] if [He does] not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up."

Needless to say, they were summarily cast into a furnace of fire…only to be met in the midst of that fire by the Son of God…all walking out unscathed! When the king saw this, he said this in Daniel 3:28, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who put their trust in Him, violating the king's command, and yielded up their bodies so as not to serve or worship any god except their own God.”

The same God that was with these three young men of God is the same God we serve in the here and now!

Joseph

Jospeh, a young man of visions and dreams, was the son of Jacob. Jospeh had many older brothers who were jealous of him. To make a long story short, Jospeh’s brothers sold him into slavery to the Midianites who then turned around an sold him to an Egyptian named Potiphar who happened to be the captain of the Pharaoh’s body guard. Again, because of his faithfulness to God, Jospeh rose in rank in the land of Egypt…only to be accused of rape by Potiphar’s wife and summarily sent to prison. While in prison, Jospeh became quite known for his ability to interpret dreams…and long story made short (again), interpreted a dream for Pharaoh and was appointed to one of the highest ranks in the land due to the accuracy of his interpretation! In fact, God used what Jospeh’s brothers had meant for evil to rescue those very brothers and his entire family from starvation.

The same God that was with Joseph is the same God we serve in the here and now!

David

The giant, Goliath, held the army of Israel at bay in the valley of Elah. David, a young teenager at the time, came to deliver supplies to his brothers who served in that army and was appalled at the fear the army of God showed against the giant Philistine. In 1 Samuel 17 we find the account of David daring to face the giant alone:

37 And David said, "The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "Go, and may the LORD be with you." ... 48 Then it happened when the Philistine rose and came and drew near to meet David, that David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 And David put his hand into his bag and took from it a stone and slung [it,] and struck the Philistine on his forehead. And the stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground. 50 Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David's hand. 51 Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.

The same God that was with David is the same God we serve in the here and now!

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have no need to fear the world or fear standing alone in the midst of persecution. The same God that was with so many throughout history - much of it as bleak or bleaker than what we face right now - is the same God that is with us! Think about that today…and let your heart be encouraged! We are not alone!

Dennis Jernigan

Photo courtesy of https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2017/08/16/11/29/lion-2647437__480.jpg

I Belong to Jesus

I Belong to Jesus

I used to be so bound up in fear that I was basically immobilized in every way. Immobilized in my emotions. Immobilized in my thoughts. Immobilized from walking in the fullness of my true identity in Christ as a new creation…and that is no way to live…especially as one who has been promised an abundant life in Christ.

This all began to change for me as I learned more about the process of renewing my mind in Christ. Part of the process for me is to declare the truth of God’s Word through songs of worship. One of my favorite songs of this type of worship is a song called I Belong to Jesus. This particular song came during a time of spiritual warfare in my own life on April 14, 1992. My Friend, the Holy Spirit, prompted me one day to remind myself of who I belong to, and to actively take back the ground the enemy had stolen in my life.

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have [it] abundantly.” John 10:10 NASB

The enemy is a liar. Deception is his only power. We take back the stolen ground whenever we recognize one of his lies and replace it with the truth of God’s Word.

This song came forth as both a prayer to the Father and a declaration to anyone or thing that might care to listen (or not!) – like my soul, the world, or the enemy! Lift Him up in your minds and in your flesh and in your spirit and with your emotions. All that we are now belongs to Jesus, whether we encounter good times or bad; whether we walk in darkness or light; whether we live or whether we die…we belong to the Lord because He has paid the price and covered the debt of our sin….with, by, and through the blood of Jesus!

18 Flee immorality. Every [other] sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 NASB

In spite of our circumstances. In spite of our trials and tribulations. In spite of the things that tempt us. In spite of even suffering and pain, we have every reason to rejoice because of the fact that we belong to Jesus!

Let’s remind ourselves what that means for us today. All that He is dwells in us and we have been given the mind of Christ. That means we are already being transformed by the truth of who Father God says we are! Let’s simply think and act like we believe it today. We belong to Jesus! Hallelujah!

Dennis Jernigan

To listen to the podcast version of this teaching and to hear the song, I Belong to Jesus, go to http://podcast.dennisjernigan.com/e/i-belong-to-jesus/

Photo courtesy of https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo 2019/03/29/05/12/worship-4088561__480.jpg

I Belong to Jesus

WORDS & MUSIC•Dennis Jernigan•April 14, 1992

Verse

Satan goes around like a roaring lion

Seeking whom he may devour

But he has been defeated so I’m testifyin’

By the blood of Jesus he lost his power

Christ was lifted up with my sin upon Him

His life and blood came flowing down

So hear me I’m declaring Jesus Christ is Lord

I’m taking back his stolen ground

Chorus

I belong to Jesus!

I belong to Him!

I belong to Jesus!

Free from sin!

I belong to Jesus!

I belong to Him!

I belong to Jesus!

Free from sin!

Verse

All sin nailed to the cross and the Lamb’s blood flowing

Meant victory was sealed that day

But when Satan saw the blood he knew that Christ had won it

And he knew that Sunday was on its way

The ground began to quake and all of heaven’s power

Came bursting from the tomb within

The stone was rolled away and Hell was overpowered

By the King Who rose again!

Chorus

Bridge

He was lifted up!

He was lifted up!

He paid a costly price!

He paid a costly price!

He bought me with the blood

He bought me with the blood

Of His own life!

Of His own life!

Christ the King now reigning

Christ the King now reigning

Wears the Victor’s crown!

Wears the Victor’s crown!

Satan was defeated

Satan was defeated

When the blood flowed down!

When the blood flowed down!

Chorus

Who Am I?

Who Am I?

How does one put on the truth when the reality of their life says one thing about their identity yet God calls them something new? What does one do if their feelings never change? What is ultimate Truth? We can argue over these questions all day long, but until we come to a firm grasp of where our foundation truly lies, we will always lack peace. As long as the wisdom of man is the foundation from which you base reality, your foundation lasts until the first failure of that wisdom - and have no doubt, man’s strength always fades. Always. If feelings are what you rely on to confirm your identity, you are still operating from a man-centered worldview. If I identified myself by the way I feel from time to time, I would be an angry, vengeful, wounded, greedy, over-indulgent man, to say the least! Thank God He gave me a brand new identity and reminds me I have no right to call myself something my Father does not call me!

And just what is ultimate Truth? From God’s point of view it is His written Word. The Holy Scripture. The Bible. As new creations, we are no longer made righteous by the Law of the Old Testament (Covenant). That Law was fulfilled by the work of the cross and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We operate out of a New Covenant. Jesus fulfilled the Law and we are free to approach God through our faith in Jesus Christ. In fact, we are granted all the benefits of that Covenant because we have been made joint-heirs of the Kingdom again through faith in Jesus Christ. Here’s what the Word says in this regard:

The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. Romans 8:16-17 NASB

If we are joint heirs of God with Jesus Christ, then all that is made available to Jesus Christ is available to us, as well! Do you get that? All that Jesus has, WE have! All the power He has been granted, WE have been granted! All the blessings He has received, WE are able to receive! All the power that raised Him from the dead is the same power God has given us! We have power over sin! We have power over temptation! We have power over our past failures! We have power over our present circumstances! We have power over our own thoughts! We have power over death! We have power over every choice we are faced with! We have the power to love to the degree that we believe we are loved! That is what ultimate Truth grants us! That is utter reality through faith in Jesus Christ! This is who you are, believer!

Just because we choose to disregard the Truth has no effect on its validity or staying power. My lack of understanding or ability to see what God sees never negates the truth! That brings me great joy and peace as I pursue Him. If I believed everything that was said about me that is contrary to His Word, I would be relegated to deep, dark depression and stagnation! I simply respond to the truth in faith regardless of whether I feel like a new creation or not. That is what faith does. That is how a man or woman of faith responds. We respond out of the Truth in spite of how we feel. And speaking from my own experience, feelings always follow suit when I walk in the Truth of God’s Word. Always. They may not unfold in my being instantaneously, but as I change my thoughts, I give way to new emotions. My attitudes change in the process, and these changes effect the way I behave…and when I have success in my behavior, this produces even more healthy emotions and induces further righteous thinking…and whole new upward spiral floods in to replace the formerly downward cycle of my thoughts!

The truth has the awesome ability to transcend any feeling or circumstance I face.

The truth sets me free from the snares of fleshly feelings and actually taps me into the emotions of my Creator.

The truth sets me free from the snares of hopelessness by taking my eyes off of me and my circumstances and placing my gaze upon the goal of my calling, Jesus Christ.

As a new creation learning to see myself as God sees me, I must also learn to see others the way he sees them. I can no longer judge people according to all I see, but I choose to judge them according to their destiny and true calling. In other words, when we see someone who is acting in a certain way we deem selfish or sinful, we need to see what Father God sees. He sees a lost sheep in need of guidance and love. He sees a fallen child in need of rescue. We need to view others the same way and as we do, we will come to appreciate all the more who Father says we are. Remember, except for the grace of God, there go I…

For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. 2 Corinthians 5:14-16 NASB

With other believers I can make appeals for them to put an end to sinful behavior based upon their identity in Christ. When my own children were still at home, if I saw them sin - caught lying, for instance - I would say, “Son or daughter, you lied to me, but that is not who you are. You are not a liar. A new creation’s true desire is to tell the truth. You are a truthful person. A portrait of God’s grace to the world, like a trophy that declares the power of God to all who see you!” Just as I did with my children, I now do the same thing for those I am in relationship with, regardless of whether they are my children - or grandchildren - or not! That is what Truth and love born out of my identity demand!

In the last chapter, we focused on Who Father God says He is - what He calls Himself - revealing His character and nature. Let us go to the Foundation of His Word once again and discover some specific things He calls us. Who does Father say you are?

Who does Father say I am?

He calls me a trophy grace. This is my personal interpretation of what my life is to demonstrate about me. While this is not a Scriptural term, it does express Scriptural truth. What is a trophy? A trophy is a tangible reminder of some great accomplishment or achievement. The redeemed life is a trophy or reminder to all who see of one of God’s greatest achievements - you! Paul the apostle suffered much, yet he believed his sufferings and the display of God’s grace to carry him through them had a profound purpose. ‘...That the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God (2 Cor. 4:15).’ We must learn to put off the old and put on the new of who we really are. In that way, we confront and deal with sin, yet we tear down only the sin and not the person. This is how we build one another up. This is how God builds us up! In this way, we each become testimonies of grace.

Who does Father say I am?

He calls me a letter, written to all mankind

You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 NASB

As others see the changes God brings about in our lives, it is as if He has written a love letter for everyone who comes in contact with us to read! My life without Jesus spoke volumes. My redeemed life reads like a letter that was written with the greatest of care. My desire is that God be glorified for all He has done for me - so I open up that letter (my heart) for others to see and read. My desire is that, as they read, their lives are brought to a saving faith in Jesus Christ as well!

What do others see when they read our lives?

Will we allow others to see and read or will we hide what we have experienced of God? We have nothing to be ashamed of by being honest. Honesty is a byproduct of truth. Truth sets us - and others - free! Let us see beyond our own perceptions and see what we cannot always see. Let us see ourselves as Father sees us. Let us see others as Father does.

Who does Father say I am?

He says I am a winner!

He gives me the strength to fight the good fight of faith and to run the race toward the goal for the prize of my highest calling! Though I fall, I get up and keep running! To win a race I must run that race.

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you win (1 Corinthians 9:24 NASB).”

The Word also says, “Let us lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart (Hebrews 12:1-3 NASB).”

What is a failure?

A failure is the one who falls and does not get back up. Either freedom is worth fighting for or it’s not! Falling does not determine one’s identity. The Creator does that! I am not defined by past failure; present temptations; circumstances; or other people! I am who my Father says I am!

Who does Father say I am?

He calls me a fighter! I do not give up - I am tenacious concerning my desire to conquer sin and to glorify my Redeemer. I fight the good fight of faith by taking hold of the eternal life to which I am called, declaring the truth to all who would see or hear - I am redeemed!

Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12 NASB

Father delights in me more than I in Him. His thoughts toward me outnumber the sands of the sea. Mine towards Him come nowhere near that!

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!

How vast is the sum of them!

If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.

When I awake, I am still with You.

Psalm 139:17-18 NASB

I do not have to earn His acceptance or approval. I already have it by virtue of the redeeming work of Christ upon the cross. God’s Word says that He has made us accepted in the Beloved - accepted in Christ!

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight Ephesians 1:7-8 NASB

He calls me His bride and calls Jesus my bridegroom. One day, my truest identity will be fulfilled in the consummation of true oneness with Christ in the eternal glory of heaven. What joy and pleasure to know I do not have to wait until heaven to experience that joy. I am known by my God in a deeply personal and intimate way and He allows me to know Him! This is my destiny: ’…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection...’ (Philippians 3:10)

My ultimate destiny?

To be all God has called me to be! The overcoming testimony of my life? A fragrant aroma. ‘Thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place (2 Corinthians 2:14 NASB).’

In am a treasure born of God’s spirit to be given back to Him as a sacrifice of praise.

‘But t we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not ourselves (2 Corinthians 4:7-12 NASB).’

We will be afflicted in this life - but we will not be crushed. We may be perplexed by the twists and turns of our life - but we will not despair because we have hope. We will be persecuted for the sake of righteousness - but we will never be forsaken. We may even be struck down because of our faith - but we cannot be destroyed! Why? Because this is part of our identity and destiny in Christ. This is who we are!

“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NASB).”

Believer. This is your destiny. This is who you are called to be. I am so proud of you! Keep your eyes fixed upon Jesus. Enjoy the journey. Enjoy getting to know your God. I cannot wait until we have the time of eternity to share one another’s stories of God’s redemption. Remember this: Our God wastes nothing! He will not waste one moment of sorrow or suffering or pain or even one moment of personal failure. He is able to take what we give Him, regardless of what it is, and make something beautiful of it.

But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Genesis 50:20 NASB

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 NASB

Let us be constantly on the quest of renewing our mind in Christ. Let us remember the enemy wants our destruction and that destruction begins in the thoughts is is able to plant in our minds. Let us not allow them to take root any longer. Let us make our mind good soil and be good receivers of God’s Word. Let us be transformed!

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 NASB

Dennis Jernigan

Photo courtesy of https://pixabay.com/illustrations/woman-face-head-identity-search-565127/

Listen to The Dennis Jernigan Podcast called “Who Am I?” at http://podcast.dennisjernigan.com/e/who-am-i-1560263105/

Almighty, I Surrender

Almighty, I Surrender

In Christian circles, we often hear people call us to surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. One of the most cherished hymns of all time is “I Surrender All’, but what does the word surrender actually mean?

According to most dictionaries, surrender means ‘to cease resistance to someone or something and submit to their authority. This got me to thinking. Just how do we surrender - cease resisting God - and just how do we submit to His authority?

These questions were brought to mind by an old song of mine I wrote way back in March of 1993. That song is called “Almighty, I Surrender”. If I surrender - cease resisting Him - in all areas of my life and if I submit to His authority in my life, I need to surrender all or nothing or I have not truly surrendered, have I? I decided I would go through the lyrics of my song, line by line, and ask myself what surrender to God might look like from each point of view detailed in the song. Here we go…

“You are clothed in majesty!”

Majesty denotes Kingship - royalty. I bow my knee in submission to the majesty of the King of Kings by submitting myself to Him as a subject of His kingdom…to seek first that kingdom and His righteousness. The benefits are many. In fact, by doing so, all my needs will be met!

“You are crowned with glory!”

The glory of God is the sheer weight of His presence. I surrender to His glory by simply acknowledging His presence is always with me. I choose to believe that truth even when the enemy would’ve me believe otherwise. The benefits? I am never alone.

“You are pure and holy and God!”

The purity of God is found in the fact that He has never sinned. The holiness of God is in the fact that He is something other than mere human. I surrender to His purity and holiness by recognizing that He has washed me by the blood of His own Son and that He has set me apart for use in His kingdom. The benefits? I am a joint-heir with Christ. All He has in mine!

“Yet You gave Your Son to be sacrificed on Calvary! This, Your greatest mystery, that You could love me!”

I surrender to His love for me by reminding myself that He loved me right where I was in my sin, but that He loved me enough to not leave me there! I submit to this love when I am afraid, and fear is defeated.

“Rushing Wind Who calmed the sea”

Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit as a comforter and as a source of divine power. I surrender to the power of God to fill me to overflowing as often as necessary and I submit to the authority of the Holy Spirit…and I walk in the authority this affords me as a new creation! I have authority over the lies of the enemy!

“Master of eternity”

God transcends time. He knew us before time was even a human concept. He forgives our past failures, our present failures, and our future failures! He walks through each phase of our existence with us and calls us to see and live our lives from His point of view. I surrender to the One Who masters eternity!

“Worthy of all majesty and awe”

I stop resisting His majesty and awe-inspiring presence and submit to the grandeur of life with my Creator. I practice this submission every time I worship Him…every time I praise Him…every time I simply acknowledge Him for Who He is in my life!

“With my life I bow before You, the One that I adore!”

To bow before the Lord physically is one thing. To bow before Him with my entire being is quite another. I can bow on the outside all day long and not bow on the inside. Because He has demonstrated His love for me - even when I ahem turned my back on Him - makes it easy to bow my entire being before Him in submission.

“Faithful Friend and so much more, my Savior, my God!”

It seems I have longed for a best friend my entire life…and I had one all along - especially when I felt the loneliest. I submit to the friendship of Jesus by allowing Him to know me intimately, nothing hidden from Him…and by believing He wants me to know Him in the same manner!

“Almighty God Creator!”

I cease striving for approval and affirmation and submit to His approval and affirmation…and I revel in His love for me.

“Redeemer, Liberator!”

Jesus redeemed me when I thought I was un-redeemable. He set me free when I thought I would remain captive to my own thoughts for the rest of my life. I cease resting these truths and submit to them…and I find redeeming love and freedom in the process!

“Salvation’s Celebrator, God!”

For far too long I felt my life was worthless…nothing to celebrate. And then Jesus set me free and saved my soul and all of the entirety of heaven threw a massive celebration in my honor! I submit to this truth and find great validation!

“My Father, my Defender!”

Every human longs to know and to be known. Every human longs to know whether or not they are were fighting for…worth defending. I submit to the work of the cross and the sacrifice of Jesus as proof that I was worth fighting for.

“My dear Broken Heart Mender!”

In several instances in my life, I have felt used and betrayed…and have had my heart broken countless times. Jesus was betrayed and had His heart broken and completely understands what we face in our human existence. I submit my broken heart to His broken heart and find healing and sending for my brokenness.

“Lord Jesus, I surrender all! You are God!”

If surrender is to cease resisting Jesus and walk in submission, that truth applies to every are of my life. Submitting my physical body to Him and for use in His kingdom…submitting my thoughts to Him…surrendering my feelings and emotions to Him…submitting my senses to Him…surrendering all I am to all He is brings me to one place.

True and lasting freedom…

Submit to God and be free!

Dennis Jernigan

6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore [it] says, "GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE." 7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. James 4:6-10 NASB

Picture courtesy of https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2017/02/20/10/57/worship-2082141__480.jpg

To listen to the song, Almighty, I Surrender, go to http://podcast.dennisjernigan.com/e/almighty-i-surrender/

Jesus, I Love You

Jesus, I Love You

39 And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him. 40 When He arrived at the place, He said to them, "Pray that you may not enter into temptation." 41 And He withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and [began] to pray, 42 saying, "Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” [Luke 22:39-42 NASB]

In 1981, God used the ministry of The Second Chapter of Acts to change my life. In 1992, Buck Herring called and asked if I would mind Annie singing my song, “We Will Worship”. Of course I needed time to pray about it – NOT! One day, several months later, a friend called me and said, “Listen!” What I heard was Annie’s version of “We Will Worship” – as she sang it live on the CBN television show, Heart to Heart with Sheila Walsh. I was so overcome with gratitude to the Lord for bringing this to pass that I went straight to the piano and this song, “Jesus, I Love You”, poured out.

“We Will Worship” speaks of lifting our hands in worship to the Lord. Yet, I realized it was He who first lifted His hands in worship (obedience to His Father) for me! It is out of gratitude of all He has done that I gladly lift my hands as a sign of surrender to and identification with the Almighty God!

This song came as I realized I could never come near to the degree of passion Jesus demonstrated for me when He lifted His hands in surrender on the cross to pay for my sins…when I realized that the lifting of my hands in surrender to Jesus was the least I could do and nothing to be ashamed of! I cannot lift my hands that high…but I will try. I cannot sing a love so as sweet as the one He sang in surrender for me…but I will try.

5 For there is one God, [and] one mediator also between God and men, [the] man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony [given] at the proper time. 8 Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension. [1Timothy 2:5,6,8 NASB]

Let us never be ashamed to surrender to Jesus in physical expressions of worship or in the laying down of life for Him and His kingdom. Let us never cease from expressing our love for Him. I challenge you with this: to the degree that you have experienced the love of Jesus, express your love back to Him with that same depth of passion. At least try…it’ll do your soul good!

Dennis Jernigan


To listen to the song and the podcast version of this blog, go to http://podcast.dennisjernigan.com/e/jesus-i-love-you/

Picture courtesy of https://pixabay.com/photos/cross-christ-faith-god-jesus-2713356/

Jesus, I Love You

Words & Music
Dennis Jernigan

June 9, 1993

Verse

Your love reached to the sky

With arms stretched open wide!

You took my sin and died!

O, how could I ever thank You?

The sweetest melody

In perfect harmony!

A love song just for me!

O, how could I ever thank You?

I want to thank You for my life!

Chorus

But I cannot lift my hands that high!

All that I know is I must try!

You lifted up Your hands to die

To tell me You love me!

But I cannot sing one note that sweet!

Words that I say seem incomplete!

But living or dying I’ll repeat.

“Jesus, I love You!

Jesus, I love You!

Jesus, I love You!

Jesus, I love You!”

Verse

Lord, my heart is longing

To tell You how I feel!

You make my life worth living!

So with my life, I will thank You!

And I am ever grateful

For Your cleansing blood!

No praise would be enough,

So with my life I will thank You!

I want to thank You for my life!

Chorus

But I cannot lift my hands that high!

All that I know is I must try!

You lifted up Your hands to die

To tell me You love me!

But I cannot sing one note that sweet!

Words that I say seem incomplete!

But living or dying I’ll repeat.

“Jesus, I love You!

Jesus, I love You!

Jesus, I love You!

Jesus, I love You!”

Rushing Wind

Rushing Wind

1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. Acts 2:1-4 NASB

Don’t you wish you could have been there in that moment when that Rushing Wind of the Spirit came blowing through that upper room? I do! In reality, we can have this same experience in the here and now…in the upper rooms of our own hearts and minds…and we can be filled with God’s Spirit daily!

Over the years, I have been learning to rely more and more on the Holy Spirit. He is the best Teacher I could have, the best Friend I could know, the best Comforter and Companion I could ever possibly hope for. And I believe He is more than willing to pour Himself out upon us and through us…if we will simply ask.

He sings to my heart the songs of my Father. He convicts me of sin in such a precious and un-condemning way, how could I resist Him? Yet, at times I know I do. This only reveals just how much more desperately I really do need Him.

When I am empty emotionally, I ask the Holy Spirit to fill me. When I am empty physically, I ask the Lord to fill me. When I am empty mentally, I ask the Lord to fill me. When I am confused, I ask the Lord to fill me with His Spirit.

For me personally, that looks like taking in a long refreshing drink of cool, clear water on a hot day…or like sitting by a warm, soothing fire on a cold wintry night…or like a shoulder to cry on when I am wounded or sad…or like being in the presence of Someone Who loves me simply for who I am.

Mostly, being filled with the Holy Spirit is like letting go of fear and worry and doubt and cares and burdens and choosing to let go of my desire to be in control and release God to be in control of my thoughts. As I release these burdens, God’s presence moves in to take their place. How do I know when I am filled with God’s Spirit? You know a tree by its fruit…and here is the evidence of what being filled with the Spirit is in my own experience:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 NASB

I know I am full of the Spirit of God when those fruits are evident in my life…in spite of my circumstances!

For me, when I feel the infilling of the Holy Spirit, I tend to speak with the tongue or language of music. That seems to be the best way to describe what being filled with the Spirit of God does in me. I surrender to Him, He fills me with song. I surrender my weary burdened heart and mind to Him, He fills me with rest and peace and absolute love and acceptance.


15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. Ephesians 5:15-21 NASB

Simply put, let’s be filled with the Holy Spirit today…as often as necessary!

Dennis Jernigan

Picture courtesy of https://pixabay.com/photos/tea-lights-church-light-prayer-1901005/

To listen to the song Rushing Wind, go to http://podcast.dennisjernigan.com/e/rushing-wind-1558988343/

What Will People Think?

What Will People Think?

I have no problem publicly expressing my joy when my favorite sports team scores. I literally scream and shout and jump up and down for joy, high-fiving anyone and everyone in the vicinity….and that’s not even eternal! Nothing wrong with that, but I recall a day in my past when I was fearful to publicly express my joy and gratitude to the Lord for saving me and setting me free. The fear of man is a lie of the enemy and a chain that too easily binds even the most devoted believer/follower of Jesus Christ. Remember Peter’s denial of Jesus?

It took me seven years from the time of my redemption to publicly declare what Jesus had done for me. It was the lie of the enemy whispered in my mind, “What will people think?” that kept me from complete honest confession and complete love and acceptance…from complete freedom. What people think of me is not an indicator of my position in Christ. What Christ thinks of me is the true indicator of my identity…and He sees me as a new creation!

When I publicly worship Jesus, whether in song, or the lifting of hands in gratitude and surrender, or in service to a world-weary person God may bring across my path, I no longer wonder what people think of me. I know. Some think I’m weird. Some think me foolish. Some think of me as fanatical. Some think me odd or old-fashioned. And I am OK with that…because not even one of those thoughts define me! In fact, if I do not express thanks to God for what He has done for me, how in the world are those caught in similar bondage ever going to know there is hope for change in knowing Jesus intimately?

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Let the redeemed of the LORD say [so,] Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary… Psalm 107:1-2 NASB

He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the LORD. Psalm 40:3 NASB

It is in true intimacy with Christ that I find my identity. No longer am I defined by my past. No longer am I defined by what tempts me. No longer am I defined by circumstances. No longer am I defined by what people think of me. I am defined by my Maker…so what He thinks of me is all that truly matters. Below are the lyrics of a song that express what I am trying to convey to you. Read them and think about what this means to your own life.

Dennis Jernigan

For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and [the glory] of the Father and of the holy angels.” Luke 9:24-26 NASB

To listen to the song, go to http://podcast.dennisjernigan.com/e/what-will-people-think-1556643580/

Photo courtesy of https://pixabay.com/photos/question-question-mark-survey-2736480/

What Will People Think?

WORDS & MUSIC - Dennis Jernigan - October 1 & 2, 1991

Verse

What will people think

If they see me gaze into Your eyes?

Does it matter they don’t realize

That someone could really love me like You do?

What will people think

If they see me let You take my hand?

Does it matter they don’t understand

All the reasons that I love You like I do?

And what will people think

When they see that love has made me weak?

Will they see that it’s just You I seek?

Will they see a love found faithful and true?

What will people think

If they see us in a holy dance?

Will they say this is a fool’s romance?

Will they see that in my weakness I need You?

Chorus

Take my hand!

Take my heart in total surrender, Lord, to all that You are!

I give You all of me in total surrender!

Total surrender!

Total surrender of all I am to You!

Verse

What will people think?

Will they see the bride of Christ in me?

Will they understand that You can be

All they ever have desired and much more?

Well, I no longer care

Let the whole world see that I love You

Let them see in me what love can do

Take my life and show them love worth dying for

Chorus

Come As A Bridegroom

Come As A Bridegroom

You never know what God is going to use to teach you something new about His kingdom. It is good and freeing to allow the Holy Spirit to use whatever He will to bring us to a deeper understanding of God’s truth. In this particular instance, God used the wedding of a friend to bring me to a deeper truth about what it means to be the bride of Christ.

A dear friend, Kristi, had endeared herself to Melinda and me simply by coming to our home and helping Melinda with the children on many occasions. Kristi was both a friend and a servant which made it easy for me to go to the Father for her when she asked if I could write a song for her upcoming wedding from the viewpoint of the Bride welcoming the Groom to receive her. Kristi’s desire was for her wedding to Van to be a picture of Jesus, the Bridegroom, and His love and desire for His Bride, the Church. As I went before the Lord, this song came forth. And on that day, as Kristi came down the aisle, Van went to meet her – to get her – half way up the aisle. And I believe many saw the glory of the Lord that day…as well as His intense desire and love for us – His Bride.

When we were lost in sin, Jesus came as a bridegroom, washing His bride clean and presenting her spotless - sinless - before the Father. God ordained marriage between a man and a woman to be a representation…a picture…of this reality. Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, said this:

[Eph 5:25-27 NASB] 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.

That was the work of the cross and the deep love of God that sent Christ to the cross for us in the first place. We were the joy set before Him that drew Him to sacrifice Himself for us and cleanse us from our sin and give us a new identity! Hallelujah!

It may be difficult for a man to see himself as a part of the bride of Christ…but if we, as men, can see ourselves as part of the church, then we have an easier time comprehending the power of what this means for us. He is coming for us. As we live our lives out here in this earth, we should be in a constant state of preparing ourselves for his arrival as our bridegroom just as Kristi prepared for Van to come and get her!

[Mat 25:1-13 NASB] 1 "Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 "Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. 3 "For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. 5 "Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and [began] to sleep. 6 "But at midnight there was a shout, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet [him.]' 7 "Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 "The foolish said to the prudent, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' 9 "But the prudent answered, 'No, there will not be enough for us and you [too;] go instead to the dealers and buy [some] for yourselves.' 10 "And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. 11 "Later the other virgins also came, saying, 'Lord, lord, open up for us.' 12 "But he answered, 'Truly I say to you, I do not know you.' 13 "Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.”

As you read the lyrics to this song, allow the cleansing power of this glorious truth permeate your entire being as you prepare to meet your Bridegroom - THE Bridegroom - Jesus Christ!

Come As A Bridegroom

WORDS & MUSIC

Dennis Jernigan

September 18, 1990

Verse

Here in the glory of Your light

I will bow while You purify me purest holy white

Cleansed by the blood that freely flowed from Your side

I will wait in Your presence

‘Til You take me as Your bride

Chorus

Come as a bridegroom for Your bride

Come and take me to Your side

I surrender, Lord, to Your arms open wide

Won’t You come in the glory of a King

While I worship You and sing

You alone are worthy

Take Your bride Lord Jesus Christ my King

Verse

Humbly I bow before Your throne

Here in the presence of the greatest love that’s known

So undeserving of such love full and free

Love so amazing that could make a bride of me

Let this serve as a practical reminder to all the men out there reading this blog to love your wives by laying down your lives for them, just as Christ did for us. Even if you are single, the principle is still the same…lay down your life for those you minister to just as Christ loved the world and gave Himself up to save us from our sin.

[Eph 5:28-33 NASB] 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also [does] the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must [see to it] that she respects her husband.

There is a lot of wisdom in the words of Paul to the body of Christ. Let us lay down our lives. Let us respect others. Let us be Jesus to those around us. Let our marriages reflect the glory of God’s love for His bride as we live our lives out loud for others to see.

Dennis Jernigan

To listen to the song and a podcast version of this teaching, go to http://podcast.dennisjernigan.com/e/come-as-a-bridegroom/

Photo courtesy of https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2015/03/30/12/35/sunset-698501__480.jpg

The Fruit of My Lips

The Fruit of My Lips

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21 NASB

Hebrews 13:15 says, “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”

When we think of fruit or something bearing fruit, we tend to think of apples and pears and oranges and bananas and the like…and that would be truth. Fruit comes as a process of growth and maturity, just as when a grain of wheat is planted and watered and grows into a mature plant and one day brings forth a harvest of grain, so our spiritual lives bear fruit in much the same way.

As we grow in maturity in Christ, we come to learn that growth means change…and change is not always easy. Just because we have the seed of faith planted in our hearts concerning Christ does not mean we will not have searing summers of fiery trials…it does not mean we will not be inundated with storms of life…it does not mean that we will not be tempted to sin. When we come to faith in Christ, that seed of faith takes root in our heart and mind…and growth begins…change becomes inevitable!

I remember thinking to myself, “How can I ever love a woman having come out of my old way of thinking?” Yet, as I placed my faith in Christ and in His Word, my old stinking thinking began to be replaced with right thinking…and I was able to be married to Melinda.

I remember being so overwhelmed with the love of God and that love breaking through all the walls of my former sin-prison and those walls being torn down - the chains of my sin being ripped to shreds - that all I could do was thank God for all He had done. In fact, each day I began - and still do to this day - with thanking God for another day of life…and proclaiming to my own soul that today is going to be a great day simply because God is with me and loves me beyond my human capacity to fully understand it!

A life that has been changed and touched by the love of God WILL bear fruit…and one of the main evidences of that change? The fruit of a life forever changed by the love of God. Praise and thanksgiving to the One Who loves me like that!

Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…”

Psalm 34:1 NASB says, “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

Psalm 103:1-2 NASB says, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, [bless] His holy name. 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits…”

Psalm 103:22 says, “Bless the LORD, all you works of His, In all places of His dominion; Bless the LORD, O my soul!”

Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

I encourage you to speak forth life into your own life regardless of your circumstances and in spite of how you feel because speaking our thoughts concerning the truth of God’s Word over our own lives will yield the fruit of an overcoming heart and attitude. Make the choice to exalt God and make the choice to rejoice today. It’ll do your soul good…and you will love the fruit this choice will come to bear in your life!

Dennis Jernigan

For a podcast concerning the Fruit of My Lips, go to http://podcast.dennisjernigan.com/e/the-fruit-of-my-lips-1555339604/

Image courtesy of https://pixabay.com/photos/grapes-wine-fruit-vines-276070/

Give Reverence and Honor and Praise

Give Reverence and Honor and Praise

It has been my personal practice for many years to meditate on God’s Word as a way to renew my mind…as a way to overcome the lies of the enemy…as a way to encourage my own soul…as a way to exalt and magnify the Lord in my own life.

One day, while meditating on the majesty of Jesus…I was reminded that reality is much more than I can see with my physical eyes. What a sobering thought – to know that because of the blood of Jesus I have immediate and constant access to the reality of and the presence of Almighty God.

Reality is that, regardless of how mature I become in my faith, I am at constantly at war with the enemy and with my flesh. And it really is a constant battle to be able to keep my gaze fixed on the reality of spiritual truth.

One of those anchor truths I cling to and stand upon is this: God is pure and holy and worthy of praise. I do not wait until I am all “confessed up” concerning my sin, but enter into His presence boldly, much as a child who runs into his Father’s arms without one moment of hesitation.

It is in His presence that the light of His holiness shines on my sin. It is knowing that He loves me – His lovingkindness - that draws me to confess and repent. At that point, my worship takes on a whole new level of gratitude.

To give reverence to God is to approach Father God with the deepest respect and admiration. In other words, I give Him the highest place of esteem in my life.

To honor God means to exalt Him for all He has done for me. He is the One Who found me and saved me. He is the One who set me free and gave me a brand new identity. My identity has nothing to do with me. My salvation has nothing to do with my ability or talent. He is the one and only One who is worthy of that honor…so I honor Him for Who He is in the highest place in my life.

To praise God is to give Him thanks for Who He is. The attitude of gratitude is one of the greatest weapons in my arsenal against the lies of the enemy…and I use it daily in my life…in spite of how I feel…in spite of my circumstances…in spite of what others think of me…in spite of the lies of the enemy. When we praise and honor and show God reverence, we actually join with the realm of heaven in worship.

And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, "HOLY, HOLY, HOLY [is] THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.” Revelations 4:8 NASB

Let us give reverence and honor and praise to our God this day and join the realms and ranks of heaven as we exalt Father God for Who He is in our lives!

"Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.” Revelations 4:11 NASB

Let us never forget that we were the lost ones. We did not find Jesus. He found us! Let that simple truth cause you to give reverence and honor and praise to Father God throughout the course of your day today…or better yet, each and every day! Put on the attitude of gratitude and watch how it affects the way you think…and watch victory flood into your mind as a result of this simple yet powerful attitude!

Dennis Jernigan

To listen to a podcast version of this teaching, go to http://podcast.dennisjernigan.com/e/give-reverence-and-honor-and-praise/

Picture courtesy of https://pixabay.com/photos/bible-worship-christian-religious-1948778/

By the Blood

By the Blood

One of my favorite old hymns is the song There Is Power In The Blood by Lewis Edgar Jones. From the first line of the first verse, I am at once grateful for and overwhelmed with God’s great love and forgiveness for me. “Would you be free from the burden of sin? There’s power in the blood! Power in the blood.” From my earliest memories that song has been a part of my life. Now that I am older and have lived through many fiery trials of life, the power of the blood of Christ has become more meaningful and even more precious to me than when I was a boy.

When I was born again and became a new creation, that blood began a holy transfusion in my spiritual veins that continues to this day. One of the first things I began to notice about believing in the power of the blood of Christ was in the victory over sin it afforded me. That transfusion took me from victim to victor…from weakling to overcomer!

"And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” Revelation 12:11 NASB

When I was bound in sin in my former life, I felt a distance between God and me that I could never come close to crossing. No matter how much I tried to earn or perform for His love and acceptance, I never quite measured up in my now strength, but then the appropriation of the blood of Christ into my life bridged the gap and distance between my God and me. The slate of my heart and mind were wiped clean in that moment and I became a new creation and child of God the moment I believed in the power of the blood of Jesus!

But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:13 NASB

The blood of Jesus Christ has accomplished so much more than I ever imagined as a child…but, again, now that I am older, I keep discovering more and more ways in which my life has benefited from the power of that blood! Here are just a few of the benefits of the blood of Jesus off the top of my head. See if they bear witness with your spirit!

The blood of Christ brings me near to God.

The blood washes me clean of all sin.

The blood makes me the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

The blood seals my redemption from my old life.

The blood seals the covenant between me and my God.

The blood has the power to cleanse my thoughts and helps me renew my mind.

The blood paid the debt I owed for sin.

The blood gave me a transfusion of a brand new identity.

The blood of Christ gives me life.

The blood of Christ gives me instant access to the Father allowing me to come boldly before the throne of grace.

The blood of Christ makes me an overcomer!

16 "THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART, AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM," [He then says,] 17 "AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE." 18 Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer [any] offering for sin. 19 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since [we have] a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled [clean] from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:16-22 NASB

When I was lost in sin, I felt anything but righteous and holy and clean and worth anyone’s time or thought…but the blood of Jesus Christ made me righteous - in spite of my past…in spite of my present…in spite of my future. It made me the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. There is the true power in the blood!

21 But now apart from the Law [the] righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even [the] righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation [merciful relief from and forgiveness for our sin] in His blood through faith. [This was] to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, [I say,] of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Romans 3:21-26 NASB

The blood of Christ has sealed the deal for you as a new creation in Christ. Use the truth of the power of the blood to help you renew your mind today. There truly is power in the blood!

Dennis Jernigan

To listen to a teaching on the blood of Christ by Dennis Jernigan, listen to The Dennis Jernigan Podcast at http://podcast.dennisjernigan.com/e/by-the-blood-1552335454/

Picture courtesy of https://pixabay.com/photos/christ-nails-stigmata-religion-2363694/

Some Thoughts on Grace

Some Thoughts on Grace

And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 2 Corinthians 12:19 NASB

I have heard that grace is the power and desire to do God’s will. It has also been described as the free and unmerited favor of God. My definition of grace? The merciful kindness of God that strengthens me by virtue of HIs presence in my life coupled with the belief that, not only does God love me, He LIKES me and likes being with me. If I love being with my children as much as I do, how much more does our heavenly Father love just BEING with me?!

That kind of grace - being favored of God - gets me through storms. It gets me through self-pity. It gets me through despair. It gets me through pain. It gets me through persecution. It gets me through suffering. It gets me through sorrow. It gets me through…and that is called BREAKthrough!

When self-pity tries to rule my thoughts, God’s grace calls to me with the kind words, “Look to Me, son. Look to the needs of others. You are not God. I Am.” The simple act of focusing on God and others produces an influx of grace that empowers me to get over myself.

When my illness causes my right hand to grow too weak to use my three right-most fingers, I call upon God’s grace to get me through the song I am playing on the piano with simplicity of using the two remaining fingers. No one seems to ever notice…so why should I fret over it?

When my illness causes my voice to grow too weak to utter sound as fully and freely as I want to, His grace replaces that weakness with passion that permeates my physical frailty and communicates at greater depths than mere volume ever could.

When my medication wears off and my mind grows foggy…when I feel as if my life is suddenly in slow motion…God’s grace meets me there and gives me strength to see what He sees. What I perceive as slow motion He sees as the ability to slow time down to the point of me being able to focus on His sweet, abiding presence.

When I am mocked or scorned for the sharing of my story of redemption…when the world tries to silence me, His grace somehow becomes a shield between me and those who persecute me and I am graced with the ability to see those who would harm or silence me as He does…in need of love.

When I feel alone due to my ever-increasingly politically incorrect message of hope…when I feel abandoned by the body of Christ…when my mind becomes overwhelmed with fear, His grace and boundless love becomes an anchor for my thoughts that helps me keep my head above water.

God is kind and merciful and faithful and true and loves me…and likes being with me. That is sufficient for me. That’s grace…

Dennis Jernigan

Photo courtesy of https://pixabay.com/photos/trauma-injured-tear-violent-3491518/

A Shoulder to Cry On

A Shoulder to Cry On

A Shoulder to Cry On

Sometimes we can give and give and give – until we are burned out and used up. Since we are all called to minister the life of Christ, this burnout is not limited just to church personnel or leadership. We must always take the time to be filled up, or we’ll find ourselves dried up and useless. During such times - once I realize I am used up and poured out - I surrender to God! I give up to Him! I stop for a rest by pressing into His shoulder…

Philippians 3:7-14 NASB says, 7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from [the] Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which [comes] from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained [it] or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of [it] yet; but one thing [I do:] forgetting what [lies] behind and reaching forward to what [lies] ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

God’s Word is very clear as to how to stay refreshed and filled with strength to keep on keeping on. Take this passage from Isaiah for instance:

Isaiah 40:28-31 NASB: 28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. 29 He gives strength to the weary, And to [him who] lacks might He increases power. 30 Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, 31 Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up [with] wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

Let us take a few minutes right now and cast our burdens and cares upon His strong and mighty and able shoulders. If you need to cry, cry. If you need to groan, then groan. If you need to simply sit still and soak in His presence, then do that. His shoulders are broad enough for all of us. Let’s lean into Him right now.

Matthew 11:28-30 NASB says, 28 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30 "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

And…

1 Peter 5:6-10 NASB says, 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 8 Be of sober [spirit,] be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 But resist him, firm in [your] faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. 10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen [and] establish you.

And finally, remember the words of the Psalmist David who said in Psalm 30:4-5 NASB, 4 Sing praise to the LORD, you His godly ones, And give thanks to His holy name. 5 For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy [comes] in the morning.

Let us find rest in the Lord today and be filled to overflowing with His love and power and goodness…while being ready at all times to be poured out to those in need around us…and, once emptied, fill your tank again and again with His presence. Just lean into His strong and able shoulder and find rest for your soul. His shoulders are broad enough for us all!

Dennis Jernigan

To listen to a podcast on this subject and to hear the song, A Shoulder to Cry On, go to http://podcast.dennisjernigan.com/e/a-shoulder-to-cry-on/

Picture courtesy of https://pixabay.com/photos/man-person-sitting-bench-solitary-3372762/

I Will Celebrate the Goodness of the Lord

I Will Celebrate the Goodness of the Lord

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to [His] purpose. Romans 8:28 NASB

Isn’t that one of the most amazing statements ever made in God’s Word…that God causes ALL things to work together for good?! When I meditate on such a deep truth, my mind comes near the point of exploding with joy! What does ALL things mean? I think it means ALL things!

In the book of Genesis, we find the story of Joseph. Joseph was a favorite if his father, Jacob, and this caused his brothers to despise him. They plotted his death but wound up selling him into slavery to some traveling Ishmaelites. He eventually winds up in the court of Potiphar in Egypt where he was exalted, by God, to a place of honor in that realm.

Years later, his own brothers and father were forced by famine to seek assistance from Egypt. Upon finding out who controlled the food supply - their brother, Joseph - the brothers feared for their lives. Jacob, just before his death, asked his other sons to seek forgiveness from their brother, Joseph. Joseph’s response?

"As for you, you meant evil against me, [but] God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” Genesis 50:20 NASB

God used something field by hate for good to the very ones who acted with hatred in the first place. If that isn’t God causing all things to work together for good, I don’t know what is!

7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 8 [we are] afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death works in us, but life in you. 2 Corinthians 4: years 7-12

I am often reminded that the enemy does not care for the story of redemption. He hates it when one of God’s redeemed tells others that they, too, can be redeemed.

Once we have been set free from sin – and we realize it - no bondage can hold us! No prison can hold my heart.

Wherever my heart is, Jesus is. Wherever He is, His Holy Spirit is! Wherever His Holy Spirit is, there is liberty! I am free! I am redeemed! I celebrate this goodness of the Lord!

Life may bring affliction, but it will not crush me because God is good!

Life may bring perplexing confusion, but I have no reason to walk in despair or hopelessness because God is so good!

Life may bring persecution due to the very faith I have in Christ, but I will never be forsaken because God is so good!

Life may try and strike me down but I can never ever be destroyed because my God is that good!

God is good. Period.

2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have [its] perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 NASB

Let us walk in the assurance of knowing that our God causes all things to work together for our good because He wants only what is best for us…even in the midst of sorrow, suffering, or pain! Our God is good! Our God is good!

Dennis Jernigan

To help you celebrate the goodness of the Lord, listen to The Dennis Jernigan Podcast:

http://podcast.dennisjernigan.com/e/i-will-celebrate-the-goodness-of-the-lord/

Picture courtesy of https://pixabay.com/photos/cross-good-friday-resurrection-3983483/

I Delight In You

I Delight In You

Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 NASB

What does the word delight mean? The word found in Psalm 37:4 - anag in the Hebrew - literally means ‘to take exquisite care of, or to treat delicately, or to be extremely happy about, or to make merry about, or express joy over’. When I think about delighting myself in the Lord, I think about finding the deepest joy and satisfaction in knowing how deeply and massively I am loved by Him…but then, I begin to think about the reverse of that delight and wonder about whether or not He delights in me! This thought changes everything!

It was the lovingkindess of God that led me to repentance in the first place. He loved me right where I was in the midst of my sin - loved me even when I turned my back on Him. He loved me right where I was but loved me enough to not leave me there. Why? Because I was the joy set before Him that sent Him to the cross! If that’s not delight, I don’t know what is!

Another expression of God’s delight in me was the way He treated me while I was still sinner. I felt condemned to hell by the lies of the enemy - and by many in the church - but God’s delight in me as expressed through His kindness toward me led me right to His waiting open arms of love!

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? Romans 2:4 NASB

And speaking of God’s lovingkindness…

The LORD favors those who fear Him, Those who wait for His lovingkindness. Psalm 147:11 NASB

The Word ‘favors’ in Psalm 147:11 literally means ‘to be pleased with’ or ‘to be debt-free’. When we fear God - or give highest reverence and deference to Him - we find His favor. We find His pleasure in us! Our sin-debt has been forgiven! We find our hearts wanting to take delight in Him for all He has done for us!

1 Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant [and] praise is becoming. 2 The LORD builds up Jerusalem; He gathers the outcasts of Israel. 3 He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds. 4 He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them. 5 Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite. 6 The LORD supports the afflicted…Psalm 147:1-6 NASB

One day as I meditated on Psalm 147 and realized how much delight God takes in me, I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude. You see, when I think about my life – the time before I realized that God loved me – it becomes very easy to be grateful. I cannot think about my deliverance from the bondage of sin without thanking God and delighting in His love for me! Reality is this: God takes more delight in our presence than we could possibly take in His! Just read Psalm 147 and Romans 8 which says:

35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ... 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35, 37-39 NASB

I will end with a personal translation of Zephaniah 3:17 that I came up with many years ago. The King James Version says, “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee [is] mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” The Dennis Jernigan translation after a deep study of the Hebrew text says this:

The eternal self-existent God, the God Who is three in one; He Who dwells in the center of your being is a powerful and valiant warrior. He has come to set you free, to keep you safe, and to bring you victory. He is cheered and He beams with exceeding joy and takes pleasure in your presence. He has engraved a place for Himself in you and there He quietly rests in His love and affection for you. He cannot contain Himself at the thought of you and with the greatest of joy spins around wildly in anticipation over you…and has placed you above all other creations and in the highest place in His priorities. In fact, He shouts and sings in triumph, joyfully proclaiming the gladness of His heart in a song of rejoicing! All because of you! (Translation by Dennis Jernigan)

Let us become as children today, simply trusting our Father by delighting in His presence and allowing Him to lavish His great redeeming love upon us. Sing to Him and listen for His song being sung over you…and allow Him to delight in you!

Dennis Jernigan

To listen to a podcast containing the song ‘I Delight in You’ along with teaching on God’s delight in us, go to http://podcast.dennisjernigan.com/e/i-delight-in-you/

Picture courtesy of https://pixabay.com/photos/the-sea-ho%E1%BA%B1ng-than-sunset-jumps-1871781/

A Gift Horse and Other Expressions of God’s Love

A Gift Horse and Other Expressions of God’s Love

But He [Jesus] said, "The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” Luke 18:27 NASB

October of 1994 was a very special time in the life of my family. God was sending the music all over the world and Melinda and I and our children were traveling all over the US to share the music and the story of my deliverance. It seemed that with each new step we took, God was there in our midst calling us to ever deeper expressions of faith…leading us to deeper places of trust in Him and in His ability to provide for us…in very meaningful and unexpected ways.

One afternoon before a ministry time at Evangel Fellowship in Spindale, North Carolina, we were met with one of those meaningful and unexpected encounters with the deep love of God. It was during this ministry trip that the Lord began to teach me and my children a deeper lesson in trust than we had ever dreamed of.

After spending the afternoon riding a horse belonging to our - at that time - new friends, the Inmans (Sandy, Janet and Cody), our children decided they would like a horse also - especially my daughter, Annē! Janet told me she would agree with us in prayer that the Lord would provide us a horse. So, we prayed asking the Lord to bring us a horse….and I forgot all about it over the next few days, but not Annē. She kept asking when the Lord would bring a horse to us. I kept saying, “When it’s time, He will bring us a horse.” Not in my wildest dreams did I ever expect what happened next!

Eight days later, while ministering in West Monroe, Louisiana, a couple walked up to me after a worship service and informed me the Lord had directed them to give us something that would not fit in the offering plates that day. Curious now, I asked what in the world they wanted to give us that would not fit in an offering plate and they said, “We know this may sound crazy - but we believe the Lord would have us give you…a horse!” Our faith shot up about a thousand percent! We were now the owners of Monroe (which means ‘trusting’!) the Magnificent, a beautiful Paso Fino two year old.

But God did not stop there. Since Monroe was an unbroken stallion, we sold him and bought three horses for the children. Since that time, we have been given 2 other horses. This so bolstered the faith of my daughter, Galen, that she asked the Lord for a pet pig. While driving home from church one day soon after that prayer request, we passed a local farmer who seemed to be chasing something through the tall grass of his pasture. We stopped and asked what was going on. He told us he was chasing his potbellied pigs that kept escaping their pen and was going to get rid of them. Of course, we told him we would take them if he didn’t want them. He simply said, “If you can catch them, they’re yours!” And Galen had her pigs. Baby Bop and Rex lived with us on the farm for many years.

Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 NASB

My point? Our God is a big God who delights in HIs children, Who delights in giving us the desires of our hearts. We need to trust Him with child-like faith just as my children did when they were younger. I will never forget the joy on the faces of my children when those horses and pigs came into our lives. Never…and I can only imagine that if the joy I experienced as an earthly father is any indication of God’s joy and delight in expressing His love for us, we have only touched the tip of the iceberg in realizing just how much our God loves us and delights in giving us the desires of our hearts…regardless of our circumstances!

But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD, I say, "You are my God.” Psalm 31:14 NASB

O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1 NASB

Then he [Jesus] said, "I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18:3 NLT

Let us become as children today, simply trusting our Father by delighting in His presence and allowing Him to lavish His great redeeming love upon us.

Dennis Jernigan

To listen to a podcast version of this teaching along with a song inspired by the events in the story, go to http://podcast.dennisjernigan.com/e/you-are-my-god-1549385479/

The cover picture is courtesy of https://pixabay.com/photos/horse-field-girl-horse-girl-field-2536537/

A Few Thoughts on the Holy Spirit

A Few Thoughts on the Holy Spirit

We often speak about the person of God the Father and the person of God the Son, but we often shy away from speaking openly about the person of God the Holy Spirit. Why is that?

As I honestly pose that question to myself, the honest answer is that there are so many different views on the Holy Spirit. Some say we are granted the Holy Spirit at the point of conversion. Some say we must also have a filling of the Holy Spirit as evidenced by the speaking in tongues. Some say we must have a specific moment of that filling as a one-time event, while others say we need to be filled as often as possible.

Some say we do not need a second filling beyond the impartation of the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation while the other side of that coin says you must be filled and speak in tongues to be truly filled with the Holy Spirit. I say the enemy will use anything - even our views on the Holy Spirit - to bring division to the body of Christ.

I have been asked by non-charismatics if I speak in tongues. I have been asked by charismatics if I speak in tongues. Both want to draw a line in the sand that says basically, “If you do speak in tongues, we have no basis for true fellowship” while the other side says, “If you do not speak in tongues, we have no basis of fellowship.” I love responding to both views with “It’s none of your business whether I do or whether I don’t if it is going to lead to division.”

My personal belief is that we are granted the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation…and that I need to be filled with the Spirit as often as I need to be filled with the Holy Spirit! Is salvation a one-time moment or are we being saved each and every day? Do we have need of the Bread of Life one time, or do we need to partake of the Bread of Life every day? Do we need Living Water one time, or do we need to be drinking in the Living Water of Jesus Christ every day? I needed the power of the Holy Spirit at the very instance of my salvation…and I have discovered that I pour out that Spirit to others every day - and that, as a result, I need to be filled again and again and again!

Whether I speak in tongues is not the issue. The true evidence of the filling of the Holy Spirit is the fruit that filling bears and produces in and through my life:

[Galatians 5:19-26 NASB] 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another. [Galatians 5:19-26 NASB]

How can we tell if someone is filled with the Holy Spirit? We simply observe whether or not we see the fruit of the Spirit in their lives…but whether we see that fruit or not, we are not released from the greatest commandment of all: to love our neighbor. We are commanded to love. We are not commanded to agree!

Personally, I know many people who do not speak in tongues but whom I consider full of the Holy Spirit. Conversely, I know many people who speak in tongues who are full of the Holy Spirit. Personally, I have met people who say they are filled with the Holy Spirit who show no such fruit…in both camps!

In all honesty, I do not understand how I ever lived without the belief in the power of the Holy Spirit before I was born again! His Spirit is life to me…Bread of Life and Living Water to me…filling me as often as necessary with strength for that next hard step. He is with me through storm and through fiery trial…through pain and suffering…always pouring out grace to my heart and mind. He is as real as Father God and as real as Jesus Christ…and is as near as I will allow Him to be. All I know is He is both mystery and wonder and that I need Him desperately.

The more we know of the Holy Spirit and the more we communicate with Him, the more we will realize that we need Him very desperately. I also believe that Holy Spirit is always with us – which means that I welcome Him to come to me…whether I know I need Him in a given moment or not. He is God. I am not.

Try to imagine what the first day of that Pentecost in the upper room must have sounded like…felt like…looked like…smelled like…when the power of the Holy Spirit burst upon those gathered there! I WANT that power! I NEED that power! I need my heart to be full of that mighty rushing Wind to blow out the chaff of this world!

[Act 2:1-4 NASB] 1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. [Act 2:1-4 NASB]

I do not fully understand the full power of the Holy Spirit…and I do not fully understand all His manifestations - but I know as I empty myself out, He is the only One Who can truly fill me again and again as often as necessary. Let us cry out to Him and allow Him to fill any empty places in our hearts and minds each and every day of our lives!

[Zechariah 4:6 NASB] 6 Then he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts. [Zechariah 4:6 NASB]

It is futility for us to think we can live abundant, overcoming lives apart from the power of the Holy Spirit. Let us not be afraid to seek Him and to be filled with His refreshing presence. After all, He is always with us. We might as well enjoy and take advantage of that reality. It’s called relationship! Welcome the Holy Spirit of God into your life today and be refreshed…as often as needed!

Be filled with love.

Be filled with joy.

Be filled with peace.

Be filled with patience.

Be filled with kindness.

Be filled with goodness.

Be filled with faithfulness.

Be filled with gentleness.

Be filled with self-control.

Just be filled with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit…I don’t care whether you speak in tongues or not!

Dennis Jernigan

To listen to a podcast on the Holy Spirit, go to http://podcast.dennisjernigan.com/e/holy-spirit-come-1548861430/

Photo courtesy of https://pixabay.com/illustrations/fire-heart-heart-fire-love-symbol-961194/

I Throw My Heart To The Wind

I Throw My Heart To The Wind

1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He will be like a tree [firmly] planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers. 4 The wicked are not so, But they are like chaff which the wind drives away. Psalm 1:1-4

When I think of repentance, I think of it as something good rather than something to be dreaded. Jesus said in Luke 5:32 in the NASB, ”I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” The word ‘repentance’ literally means ‘to change one’s mind’. I prefer to think of repentance as agreeing with God!

When meditating on the word repentance, I was amazed at how much it reminded me of the old ways of separating the grain from the chaff. Chaff is the unnecessary debris left from the stalks and seed casings and winnowing was the method used to separate the grain from the chaff when grain was harvested in the days before modern harvesting machines and equipment.

Once the grain - like wheat, for instance - was harvested, the farmer would take a winnowing fork or shovel-like implement and cast a scoop of the grain into the air. Once airborne, the wind would blow through the grain and anything not a part of the seed would be blown away leaving just the desired grain to fall to the ground.

The picture I saw in my mind was one of my heart being cast before the wind of the Holy Spirit.  No man can do that for me.  This is another aspect of trust - to be willing to bare my heart to the Father and cast myself before Him.  This allows impurities to be brought into the light and blown away by the wind of the Spirit.  This is a position of and an act of humility and complete trust.  I cannot even trust myself - but I must trust myself to the Holy Spirit.

[Psa 1:1-4 NASB] 1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He will be like a tree [firmly] planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers. 4 The wicked are not so, But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.

Let’s throw our hearts to the wind of the Spirit today and allow him to blow away any lies of the enemy…blow away any cares we are not casting upon Him…to blow away anything we do not need that does not glorify Him in some way. Repentance is a good thing.

John the Baptist said of Jesus in [Mat 3:11-12 NASB] 11 "As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 "His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

May we throw our hearts to the wind of the Holy Spirit today and allow Him to blow away the chaff - the debris - of our lives and our thoughts and bring us into a deeper place of healing and strength and understanding of our identity in Him than every before.

Dennis Jernigan

To listen to a podcast regarding this teaching, go to http://podcast.dennisjernigan.com/e/i-throw-my-heart-to-the-wind/

Image courtesy of https://pixabay.com/photos/heart-hands-food-grains-cereals-1394204/

Take Me There

Take Me There

In March of 1993, I took a giant step of faith I believed the Lord had directed me to take. I felt led to begin what I thought would be a year long sabbatical from my position as worship leader to the church body I had been a part of for almost 8 years. By May 24, 1993, I knew God was leading me away from my position of worship leader and into a broader ministry platform…which scared me greatly!

Little did I know but God was preparing to grow me up just a bit - OK - a whole lot! Like the moment a fledgling eagle steps to the edge of the nest and the parent gives it a little nudge right out into thin air and in that moment must spread his wings and fly - or die!

Part of the revelation the Lord brought to me came as I realized I still had much of the old grave clothes on concerning what I thought people thought of me. I still had many man-pleasing attitudes and often allowed them to dictate my decision making rather than what was pleasing to God.

Along with the truth of God came the usual lies and attacks of the enemy. More often than not, these lies were vain imaginations on my part. Often, the lies came from well-intentioned friends and their advice - leaving me with a choice: Would I obey God or would I do what was pleasing to men?

This song came as I sought to encourage myself in the Lord, realizing I had believed so many lies that I had come to the point of wanting to give up on the body of Christ itself - and on my own life - altogether! My ultimate conclusion and the words of this song say it all: Christ alone is my hope…and this song is my declaration of that fact!

Let’s look at the lyrics of the song, Take Me There, and find the truth of God’s Word as an encouragement to our souls today:

Verse One

When I took up the cross of Christ,

I knew I would suffer.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24 NASB

8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from [the] Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which [comes] from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:8-11 NASB

When He took me from death to life,

He gave me love like no other.

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have [it] abundantly.” John 10:10 NASB

Lord, all I know is that I love just being with You.

I will follow You, Lord, it doesn’t matter where.

All I know is that I love and want to lift You higher, Lord.

Won’t You take me there?

You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. Psalm 16:11 NASB

Verse Two

To live is Christ, to die is gain,

Life is found in dying.

The driest times make for sweeter rain,

Simple love satisfying.

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21 NASB

Lord, all I know is that I love just being with You.

Rain or shine or confusion in the air,

All I know is that I love and want to lift You higher, Lord.

Won’t You take me there?

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 1 John 4:18 NASB

Chorus

There, where the Lamb will lay down with the lion

And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. Isaiah 11:6 NASB

There, where there is no pain or strife,

There, where there is no night, no dying

“…and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be [any] death; there will no longer be [any] mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Revelations 21:4 NASB

There, where Living Water flows and the Lamb alone is Light.

And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter. Zecheraiah 16:8 NASB

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” John 8:12 NASB

There, where the Lord, Jesus Christ will reign forever,

There, where we will worship around His throne

And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, [be] blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” Revelations 5:13 NASB

There, where the blood bought Church will come together,

There, where all the redeemed of the Lord will rejoice before Him ever

And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood [men] from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. Revelations 5:9 NASB

There, where the Father says, “Well done! Welcome into your forever home”

"His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful [servant]. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’” Matthew 25:21 NASB

When faced with the cares of the world, remember the words of this song and use it as a catalyst to remind you of the truth of God’s Word and its power and authority in your life today.

Dennis Jernigan

7 I will bless the LORD who has counseled me; Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night. 8 I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will dwell securely. 10 For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. 11 You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. Psalm 16:7-11 NASB

To listen to the song, Take Me There, go to http://podcast.dennisjernigan.com/e/take-me-there-1546981686/

Picture courtesy of https://pixabay.com/photos/the-road-beams-path-forest-nature-815297/

Blessed Be The Name Of The Lord

Blessed Be The Name Of The Lord

A few thoughts on why we should bless the Lord - at all times…

What does it mean to bless someone? In normal, everyday terms, we use it to mean we want someone else to know what they mean to us…to show honor or extend favor upon that someone. When we bless another person, we essentially tell them how valuable they are to us…we tell them what they mean to us…we express gratitude to them for being who they are to us!

We essentially do the same thing when we bless God. In the Psalms, the word most often translated as ‘bless’ is the Hebrew word ‘barak’ which literally means ‘to kneel’ or ‘to bless’. Psalm 34:1, a Psalm of David, says…

I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:1 NASB

Blessing God is an act of praise. To kneel is to express adoration, or reverence, or praise. We can, of course, bless God with our thoughts…but those thoughts - to be true blessing of God - must be acted upon by spoken word, songs of praise, or physical action. Blessing God - praising Him just for Who He is - has benefits for the believer.

Sing for joy in the LORD, O you righteous ones; Praise is becoming to the upright. Psalm 33:1 NASB

The word ‘becoming’ means ‘to make one look beautiful’…or in the Jernigan translation, ‘praise suits you and looks good on you as a believer.’

Blessing the Lord leads us to wise counsel and can be experienced even as we sleep…because we never stop our inner conversation; our thought life.

I will bless the LORD who has counseled me; Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night. Psalm 16:7 NASB

Blessing God has direct benefits for our soul…cleansing our thoughts, bringing our emotions into the kingdom realm, and helping us see the will of god for our lives.

1 [A Psalm] of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, [bless] His holy name. 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; ... 22 Bless the LORD, all you works of His, In all places of His dominion; Bless the LORD, O my soul! Psalm 103:1-2; 22 NASB

Blessing God helps us with our point of view by giving us a grand and majestic kingdom perspective.

Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendor and majesty…Psalm 104:1 NASB

When should we bless the Lord?

But as for us, we will bless the LORD From this time forth and forever. Praise the LORD! Psalm 115:18 NASB

Blessing God is an act of surrender to His Lordship.

Lift up your hands to the sanctuary And bless the LORD. Psalm 134:2 NASB

Blessing the Lord is an act of faith in and an expression of our belief in His holy goodness…in spite of our circumstances.

He said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job 1:21 NASB

When should we bless the Lord? Just the we feel like it? Just when things are going well?

1 [A Psalm] of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, [bless] His holy name. 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; 3 Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; 4 Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; 5 Who satisfies your years with good things, [So that] your youth is renewed like the eagle. Psalm 103:1-5 NASB

If those are just a sampling of the benefits of blessing the Lord, why would we ever allow circumstances or feelings to dictate to us whether or not we should bless the Lord? If anything, we should bless Him all the more - right in the midst of our fiery trials and dire circumstances, right in the middle of pain and sorrow…right in the middle of life itself!

Let us make the conscious choice to bless the Lord today - and every day. Life will be more abundant as a direct result!

Dennis Jernigan

To listen to more teaching on blessing God, listen to The Dennis Jernigan Podcast at http://podcast.dennisjernigan.com/e/blessed-be-the-name-of-the-lord-1546981543/