Bible Studies & Devotionals
From Olive Branch Ministries
By Mark and Tinsley Baker
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Are You Persuaded?
Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39. nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Persuasion - Strong's Ref. # 3982 a primary verb; to convince (by argument, true or false); by analogy, to pacify or conciliate (by other fair means); reflexively or passively, to assent (to evidence or authority), to rely (by inward certainty):
One of the definitions is to be convinced. This is a question that is being asked now. How can I become convinced?
He said in His Word that He will keep us in the palm of his hand. The question we have to ask ourselves is, do I believe this? Has fear and worry caused me to lose my confidence? In these very troubled times everything that can be shaken will be shaken. This is not a cause for fear but an opportunity grow in grace and truth, as well as an opportunity to increase in confidence as we see Godís absolute faithfulness revealed toward us.
When I was a young Christian I heard a minister talking about faith in God and the unshakable truth of Godís Word. After hearing several messages from this traveling Evangelist, I realized I didnít truly believe like that. The truth is I had so little teaching, I hadnít had a chance to really learn anything. I was being honest with myself and with God. I went before the Lord about it and told Him that I wasnít there. I wanted to be with all my heart, but in all honesty I wasnít. I wanted to learn. This was the beginning of a lifelong journey for me. Sometimes in order to grow further with God we have to just be honest and do a true assessment of where we are spiritually. So many Christians want to say no to the things of God that are beyond their experience, I would encourage you with all my heart to be open to the Holy Spirit and have a willing and teachable attitude. I can say with all honesty that I haven't arrived and that Iíve got a long way to go, but glory to God what a journey Iíve been on. If you haven't already done so, I would like to invite you to step out of your religious box and begin the journey of faith. You see without faith it is impossible to please Him. It can not nor will it ever happen.
With out understanding we have no basis for our faith at all. Iím talking about spiritual understanding. Although we must study to show ourselves approved, true revelation only comes by the Holy Spirit. This is our decision to make, whether we will accept it and act on it, or just ignore it. This may sound like an obvious statement but we can never become persuaded in the things of God if we will not first accept it as truth. You might say what believer would do that. The answer is many believers are in this very place, either because of bad teaching or no teaching at all, or because they simply refuse to believe the truth of Godís Word and instead believe a lie. I realize this sounds hard, and it is not my intention to offend, but it is true. Jesus talked about this in the parable of the sower. I would encourage you to get your Bible out and read these in Mt.13, Mk.4, and Lu. 8.
Sin will cause a callused condition of the heart that will keep us from hearing. Jesus said ...
Mark 4:19 "and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20. "But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.''
This is talking about the condition of our heart and how it effects not only us receiving the Word, but also allowing it to grow and bear fruit. He admonished us by sayingÖ 4:9 And He said to them, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!'' This is our responsibility not His.
In Matthews account He said thisÖ
Matthew 13:14 "And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: `Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; 15. for the heart of this people has grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their heart and turn, so that I should heal them.'
If you have found yourself in this condition, there is good news, you donít have to stay this way. God has given us the answers. This is not only an admonishment but direction to walking in the divine truth of Godís Word. In Lukeís account of this parable Jesus said a very interesting thing. He saidÖ
Luke 8:18 "Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.''
Many Christians do not place a high value on the Word of God and therefore will never be
gven more and some will have taken from them what they seem to already have. Have you ever wondered why some Christians seem to have understanding of the deeper things of God while others are always stumbling in the dark. Right here is the answer. Begin to realize the great value Godís has placed on His most holy Word even if you donít understand it, then more will be given to you. God will not give more to those who will not embrace what He has already given them. This is a hard fact.
There is something here I want to point out, knowledge and knowing are not the same thing. You can know the Bible as the Pharisees and the doctors of the law knew it. These people were the most educated theologians of their day, but they did not know God on a personal level. If they had they wouldnít have rejected Jesus. You can not know God through simple mental knowledge, or understanding, but you have to know Him personally. Jesus came to give life, but are we embracing it? One way to know is by looking at how you talk when the report is bad? A bad report is not a revelation of Godís will is it? Are we lining up with Godís Word or are we lining up with the bad report? This is a true indicator of what is on the inside of us. Jesus said out of the hearts abundance the mouth speaks. You are only going to say what is on the inside of you. If you are saying the wrong thing, then there is a cure, begin to put the right things in your heart and to speak those things our of your mouth. Reprogram your mind, and refuse to listen to the doubts that will surely come your way. The devil will make sure they do. This again is a choice and I would say the beginning of the path to victory.
The devil will try and keep you from ever receiving the word, if he canít he will try to steal the Word by dissuading you from what you have already received. There is an answer for this. Keep it before your eyes.
Habakkuk 2:2 Then the Lord answered me and said: "Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. 3. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, it will not tarry. 4. "Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith.
Your faith level and the level of your confidence will be in direct proportion to how well you know the Lord. You can not separate this. Your confidence and the level of your persuasion will grow as you get to know Him. One indicator of this is that you will become persuaded that Godís Word is absolutely true when all the circumstances seem contradictory. When you are persuaded, nothing will stop you. You might say like I did at the beginning of my journey, how can I get this way? One thing to consider is make up your mind that you are not going to give up in the day of adversity.
Proverbs 24:10 If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.
Remember the joy of the Lord is our strength. Rejoice in Him continually. You can't go around grumbling and complaining and have great strength. And this as wellÖ
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
Hold fast to your confidence. If you are confident, you donít give up. There is an implication that we can give up. He is admonishing us to not give up. We can grow weary in well doing.
2 Corinthians 2:14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.
We have to be aware that in the natural, sometimes things can take time.
When you plant seed, you donít see the growth immediately . The seed germinates and begins to grow. In our time we want everything done instantly. We have so little patience that we have carried this mentality into our spiritual walk.
Donít grow weary in well doing. The seed will grow and grow. Allow patience to have her perfect work. Know God is faithful.
Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
This can be a starting point for some who are struggling and need help. We have a great high priest who is always there interceding on our behalf. He will forgive us and empower us in our most desperate time. When we call on Him He will be there. We can stand firm in this and we can know He will not fail. Glory to God. Amen
Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Do you want to be a joint heir with Christ?
If so, I urge you to earnestly pray the following prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. Your word says, "Öand the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Jn.6:37),
So I know You wonít cast me out, but You take me in, And I thank you for it. You said in your Word, "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'' (Ro. 10:13).
I am calling on Your name, So I know You have saved me now, You also said, "Öthat if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation." (Ro.10:9,10).
I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe He was raised from the dead for my justification. And I confess Him now as my Lord, Because Your Word says, "Ö with the heart one believes to righteousnessÖ" and I do believe with my heart, I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21),
And I am saved! Thank You, Lord!
I can now truthfully say, I see myself as a born again child of God!
Glory to God!!!! Amen.