Before we dive in I want to first apologize for being so late with this chapter. I was on a God appointed road trip and I thought I would have more spare time than I had. I want to share something really important that I was reminded of on this trip, just how truly important it is to know Gods word. If we don’t know Gods word, we don’t know the works that are from God or from the devil. For example, if healing is being done in Jesus name by Jesus, it will not involve mediums. We know this because there is over 100 bible verses that warns us to stay away from mediums, and God doesn’t contradict Himself. When Jesus healed the sick He simply laid His hands on them and commanded them to be healed. If a group is claiming to heal in Jesus name but at the same time the way they are healing doesn’t match this (they are chanting or performing rituals or it looks gory) then its really not in Jesus name. Mathew 7:22 brushes up on this. Not all who claim to heal in Jesus name are operating in the Holy Spirit, especially if they call themselves mediums in the same sentence. But if you don’t read your bible to know these important things, then you can be deceived and led down a dangerous path even if your heart was in the right place. I have seen it happen too many times, so do as Joshua says and read your bible day and night!

            The chapter begins with the Pharisees once again testing Jesus and this time asking for a sign. Even though Jesus could have performed a sign He didnt, because He knew that it wouldn’t change their hearts. Instead He mentioned the sign of Jonah which was predicting His own death and resurrection in a parable. Jesus didn’t argue with these men, we need to learn from this and not argue with them, especially ones whose heart will not soften. God knows who will turn to Him before they do, when sharing the gospel we need to seek His Godly wisdom on how to approach each person.

            When Jesus came into Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples who they say that He was. Simon Peter said that He was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus said that for that He was blessed, flesh and blood (man) didn’t reveal that to Him but God the Father in Heaven did. He told Peter that whatever he bound in earth would be bound in heaven and whatever he loosed on earth would be loosed in heaven. Peter was given authority, so he could stand on that authority and not be a victim to spiritual warfare.

            Jesus than showed His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes. He told them that He would be killed and be raised the third day. Peter told Him no, that none of that needed to happen to Him and Jesus rebuked satan. He didn’t rebuke Peter, He rebuked the thoughts and emotions that satan was putting on Peter to try to convince Jesus to go against Gods will. It is important to know that the devil or his little demons (sense the devil can’t be everywhere at once like God can) can put words or thoughts on peoples minds in hopes that they feed on it. It doesn’t meant that person is evil, or unsaved, or demon possessed. It simply means the devil or a demon placed a word of thought on your mind to try to trick you into falling into it, trying to get you to sin with it. Jesus knew this, so He simply rebuked satan and told him to get behind Him. If you ever have a thought pop into your head that you know isn’t from God, ask yourself if its a spiritual attack or just a thought that you simply don’t need? We should filter every thought in our minds, scripture says to hold our thoughts captive. We need to be aware of what we thing because our thoughts can easily lead to actions. We don’t ever want to act out a thought created by the devil to distract us.

            Jesus said that if anyone desires to come after Him they have to deny themselves and pick up their cross. Whoever desires to save His life will lose it and whoever loses his life for His sake will find it. We have to put God before our own life, we have to surrender our life to God so that we can live selfless to follow Him. Anything in our life that comes before God needs to be looked into. Is this something God wants in your life but needs to come after your relationship with Him? Is this a distraction that pulls you away form God that you are keeping selfishly? Is this something that you love and care about more than God? We have to surrender everything to deny ourselves to pick up our cross. If this is something you struggle with, ask God to help you. Whatever is in your life that is getting in the way of you fully surrendering, ask God to help you with it so there will be nothing in the way of your relationship with HIm.