Jesus Always Delivers
Jesus Always Delivers
Pippa and I met Ah Yin when we visited Jackie Pullinger in Hong Kong. He had become a drug addict as a teenager. His father was an addict. He was brought up in the notorious Walled City. He joined a gang at the age of eleven. They ate, stole, fought and took heroin together. At the age of fourteen, he got caught doing a robbery and spent his first time in detention.
Over the years he tried everything to get off drugs. Nothing worked. Then he met Jackie and, through the power of Jesus, came off drugs with no pain at all. Since then he has become one of the leaders of Jackie’s work in Hong Kong. He has trained many people to pray for the sick and to work with the poor. He is one example of the millions of people whom Jesus has delivered from addiction and set free. Ah Yin has spent the rest of his life testifying about the saviour who always delivers.
Trust God to deliver youPsalm 56:1-13
I have found that sometimes fear can be overwhelming. David feared for his life (v.6). He discovered that the answer to fear is trust in God (vv.6,11).
David had been captured by the Philistines in Gath. It must have been a terrible experience. He was ‘kicked around’, ‘stomped on every day’ and beaten up (v.1, MSG). Yet in the midst of it all he trusted in God: ‘When I get really afraid I come to you in trust. I’m proud to praise God; fearless now, I trust in God’ (vv.3–4, MSG).
There are times in life when we come under attack. It could be spiritual attack or attack from other people – at work, from neighbours, or from further afield.
Whatever the cause of the fear, like David, put your trust in God: ‘In God I have put my trust and confident reliance; I will not be afraid’ (v.11a, AMP).
This psalm ends on a note of triumph and deliverance (‘you have delivered me’, v.13). David thanks God for setting him free: ‘God, you did everything you promised, and I’m thanking you with all my heart. You pulled me from the brink of death, my feet from the cliff-edge of doom. Now I stroll at leisure with God in the sunlit fields of life’ (v.13, MSG).
Lord, thank you for the many times in my life when I have been afraid and have called on you for help and you have delivered me. Today I call on you for help and trust in you to deliver me.
Testify about the SaviourJohn 4:27-42
Every Christian has a testimony. The most powerful way of passing on the message of Jesus is to tell people your story. If they are interested then you can say, like the woman in this incident, ‘come, see...’ (v.29a).
The population of a whole town came to the conclusion that Jesus ‘really is the Saviour of the world’ (v.42). The Samaritan woman had been transformed by her encounter with Jesus. She immediately began to testify about her Saviour. She went back to her village and told the people, ‘Come see a man who knew all about the things I did, who knows me inside and out. Do you think this could be the Messiah?’ (v.29, MSG).
There really is great power in a testimony. This woman had no theological training or even understanding of Christian doctrine. She was not even totally convinced about Jesus herself. She does not say with great conviction, ‘Jesus is the Christ’. Rather, she has reached the position of saying, ‘Could this be the Christ?’ (v.29b). Yet she was powerfully used by God in evangelisation.
In this sense, she is like so many of the testimonies we hear on Alpha. People are not even sure themselves of what they have discovered, but they speak powerfully at the end of Alpha when they give their testimonies and often bring their friends to the next course.
All they know is that Jesus has revealed himself in some way to them. They have experienced some kind of ‘deliverance’ from the empty way of life. They have discovered a new well of water welling up to eternal life. They say to their friends, ‘Come, see…’ (v.29a).
‘Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony’ (v.39). Jesus had changed her life. The waters of life were pouring out of her as Jesus had promised. The people were amazed and astonished by her transformation. They came and saw, and ‘because of [Jesus’] words many more became believers’ (v.41).
‘They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Saviour of the world”’ (v.42). The teaching of Jesus and the testimony about Jesus both powerfully point to his identity as Saviour of the world.
He said, ‘My food… is to do the will of him who sent me’ (v.34). Jesus shows by the example of his ministry that our spiritual hunger, a life of emptiness and lack of purpose, can only be satisfied by doing God’s will. Nothing is more satisfying than doing God’s will – being where he wants you to be and doing what he wants you to do.
Jesus says, ‘I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest’ (v.35). This was fulfilled by the coming of Jesus. The disciples can see that the time is right because people everywhere need to know this message about Jesus.
Jesus said, ‘I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labour’ (v.38). This, of course, originally applied to the coming of Jesus. However, again it is fulfilled at a different level in many ways.
For example, I feel that we are reaping now as a local church – and also with Alpha – what others have sown. For many years, people have prayed for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit at HTB. Many worked hard in developing Alpha. We are reaping what others have sown. Now we must sow so that others can reap.
Lord, I pray that you would use my testimony so that many others may believe in you.
Thank God for leaders who deliverJudges 2:6-3:31
Have you ever found your faith being tested? Challenges at work, difficult relationships, temptations, health issues – these are all tests. The people of God are often tested (2:22; 3:1,4). What matters is how you respond in times of testing.
We see in this passage a recurring pattern that runs throughout the book of Judges:
‘Another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel… they forsook the Lord… they followed and worshipped various gods of the peoples around them’ (2:10,12).
God’s response was to allow disaster, so that they might turn back to him: ‘The Lord handed them over… He sold them to their enemies’ (v.14).
This understandably left the people ‘in great distress’ (v.15).
When they got into trouble they cried out to the Lord and he raised up judges ‘who saved them’ (v.16). The word translated ‘judge’ (shophet) has a wide meaning in Hebrew. It can also mean ‘deliverer’ – anyone who brings about justice or sets things right.
The first of these ‘deliverers’ is Othniel. ‘The Spirit of the Lord came upon him’ (3:10). Othniel was anointed by the Spirit of God, and it was this anointing that enabled him to deliver the people and establish forty years of peace (v.11).
Once again though, the people slipped into disobedience and disaster (vv.12–14) and cried out to God for a deliverer (v.15).
God delivered the people in a fascinating, if rather unpleasant, way (v.21). Ehud must have been an extremely courageous and brave man to walk right into enemy territory alone, with a sword hidden on him. It was a crazy thing to do, but for the fact that God was with him. And it was remarkably successful. Once again, the land had peace. This time for eighty years (v.30).
God sometimes uses people who are not part of the people of God to deliver his people. Shamgar may have been a Canaanite (see 5:6). He was a powerful man: he ‘struck down six hundred Philistines with an ox-goad. He too saved Israel’ (3:31).
These leaders only brought temporary peace, ‘as long as the judge lived’ (2:18).
All this only foreshadows, in rather a murky and inadequate way, the great work of Jesus, the Saviour of the world. Jesus is the great deliverer. Through his death and resurrection, he has delivered you. He is your Saviour. The Holy Spirit now lives within you (Romans 8:9). He gives you power and wisdom so that you too can make a difference with your life.
Lord, today I cry out to you for deliverance from all the difficulties, troubles and fears that I face today. I praise and thank you for your great deliverance through my Saviour Jesus Christ.
With Ehud, God raises up a ‘left-handed’ (Judges 3:15) deliverer. I am left-handed, so this makes me feel affirmed. I tried to work out the advantage of being left-handed in this story, and how the manoeuvre would have worked when ‘Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s belly’ (v.21). It is slightly revolting to read how the sword disappears completely into the king’s enormous belly and kills him (v.22). However, the result was eighty years of peace (v.30), so it must have been a good thing.
Verse of the Day
‘In God I have put my trust;
I will not be afraid.’ (Psalm 56:11, NKJV).
Jackie Pullinger has been in ministry in Hong Kong since 1966. Her work has resulted in thousands of addicts being set free from their addictions. I will talk more about Jackie on Day 336. To read her full story see, Chasing the Dragon by Jackie Pullinger (Hodder & Stoughton, 2006).
Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.
Scripture quotations marked (AMP) taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)
Scripture marked (MSG) taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.