Saturday, November 24, 2012

But They Loved the Darkness

"This is the verdict:  Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of the light for fear that his deads will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it my be seen plainly that what he had done had been done through God."  John 3:19-21

When the election outcome was announced, the aboved verses resonated in my heart.  God is setting the stage.  The stage has one that has been in moving in the direction for his Son's return.  It was no surprise at the election outcome.  Although I was hopeful for a different outcome, I knew in my heart that God's plan will stand. 
When I went to bed that night, I opened my bible and I was reading in Ezekiel 22.  God talks about the whitewash prophets with false visions and lying divinations.  The people were one of practicing extortion and committing robbery.  They were oppressing those who were needy and poor.  They did not believe in justice.  God was looking among them to find a man to stand in the gap and pray for this land, but he found none.  So God's judgment was about to happen.  He now has to pour out his wrath.  As I read this passage, I thought about the United States. We have become prideful and full of self.  We are not really interested in justice or helping the poor, but we have become of a nation that seeks our own ways. 
In the morning my daily bible reading was in Matthew 24 where Jesus began talking about the signs of the end of the age.  He tells us be careful not to let anyone deceive you.  We are living in an age where people are spiritually blind.  Obadiah 1:3 says the pride of your heart has deceived you.  We are hearing of wars and rumor of wars.  We are seeing nation rise up against nation and kingdom against kingdom.  Famines and earthquakes are becoming more prevalent.  Jesus then tells us that these things will come before the son of Man returns.  He talks about how many will be living.  Many will not be expecting Jesus to return.  People will be living life how they want rather than doing what the master asked them to do. 
Jesus is returning.  We are to live each day as if our master was returning for us.  Some may disagree.  When we expect our Lord to return, then we are living each day being a blessing to others.  We would be treating others with love and respect.  We would be seeking to do good rather than abide in selfishness. We would try to be more like Jesus. 
I truly believe we are living in the end of times.  Take a look at where the center stage is.  It is all pointing to Israel.  Israel one day will stand alone.  Not really alone because God said he is with them.  We are seeing the stage now being set in the middle east for the final fulfillment in the prophecies.  We are living in a time where we will see the Son of Man return in the clouds.  It is truly exciting!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Take Refuge in the Lord

"It is better to take refuge in the Lord, than to trust in man."  Psalms 118:8

Sometimes the first thing we do when we are having troubles are to turn to man for answers, but it is better to take refuge in the Lord.  God is almighty, all powerful, all knowing, full of wisdom and knowledge.  He has power to heal, deliver and to give life to dead situations.  He can restore, rebuild and be our very present help in our time of need.  He is to be our everything.  He is good and always looking to keep us out of harm's way.  To show this to be true, let me share this with you:

I went to see a friend of mine who lived about an hour away from me.  We went out to breakfast and then we went to her jeweler to find out how much it would cost to reset a Tanzanite stone into white gold.  I didn't really like the current setting and thought what the heck. So we went to see her.  As we were there just looking at settings and discussing different things, the jeweler began to share with us that she was going to see a psychic.  I was thinking to myself, oh Lord, she doesn't know the power of God or she wouldn't be seeking a psychic.  As the story unfolded, we found out that her nephew who was 16 years old died of a heart attack.  It was a sudden loss and such a tragedy.  She was in pain from this.

It didn't take to long to find out that she was a Christian.   I began even more concerned for her because she was seeking a dark source and not the true source. She was like the one sheep who just wandered off.  She was going to the wrong source for answers and healing.  God was in the midst waiting for her to turn to him to bring healing.  I know that she didn't understand the why she lost her nephew suddenly and I had no answer for her.  However, I knew God wanted to intervene and change the route she was about to take.  I knew this was a divine appointment.  He was about to use my friend and I to bring this sheep back to the sheepfold.

Immediately, I began to converse with God on how he was planning on handling this.  I was sure that he had a plan.  I just didn't know what to do at that moment.  After she shared her testimony, I shared the love of God with her and talked about how Jesus was there for her.  I had the opportunity to share with her how God wants to comfort her and heal her.  That his heart's desire is to bring her close to him and make her whole.  I didn't fully understand her loss, but compassion arose in my heart.  As she continued to share in her grief, loss and pain, we found out that the enemy was using guilt to put her in that bondage.  He was telling her that she didn't spend enough time with her nephew.  It was horrible.  I shared with her that there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus and that God already knew the circumstances.  Then my friend began to share with her how she went to psychic.  The psychic began to tell her how they could help her out of her situation.  They wanted money to fix her problem.  So she gave them money.  Then they would call her up and ask for more money to fix her problems.  They were using scare tactics and fear to control her life.  She didn't want to share this with her friend in front of me because she knew of my strong convictions.  She also shared with her jeweler friend what God did for her.  She shared that the Lord gave me a word of knowledge and the anointing to break the power of this darkness that came in through this psychic.  She came over one day unbeknownst to me that she had been seeing a psychic.  Out of his goodness he was leading my friend back to repentance.  He knew she wanted freedom from this darkness and bondage that the enemy over her life.  After the Lord broke the power, she was set free and began to use the word of God to break off the stronghold that had come in.  This was powerful.  God wanted to clearly show this jeweler that this was not the way to go.  He also gave my friend's the boldness to share this testimony to keep her jeweler friend from going through the same situation and bondage she encountered.

We prayed with her jeweler friend for the Lord to bring healing to her grief, pain, the trauma and shock as well as the guilt.  God is in the business of setting the captives free, bringing sight to the blind and healing all oppression.  He is also near to the broken-hearted.  He is familiar with our sufferings.  He knows what we are going through.  He too experienced what we experienced to a greater degree because he died for us on the cross.  He experience pain, trauma, suffering, sin and separation from God.  It is beyond comprehension.

We don't need to seek man for answers, God has them all.  Even if the midst of such a tragic loss God's unanswered prayers one day will be revealed.  So in the midst of such a tragic loss our hope is one day we will see the truth.  In the midst of a trial may the Lord be the comforter of your soul.

In Deuteronomy 18:10-11 we read "Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or cast spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead."  When you trust in the Lord rather than man, you will find that you will abide under the shadow of the almighty God.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Gifts and Calling

Many today are unsure of what their gifts and calling are in the body of Christ.  When a believer does not know what purpose God has called him/her to do it can be very frustrating.     Without the knowledge and understanding of God's purpose we will feel helpless, hopeless and lacking purpose in this life.  

God tells us in Jeremiah 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." In Ephesians 2:10 says "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do."  So we can clearly see God desires to utilize us in His Kingdom for His glory.  
So if God has a plan and purpose for each one of us the question then arises, what is my gift and calling?  How do I identify this?   Not everyone has the same gift or calling and the gift may be in varying degrees.  God identifies the gifts and calling in His word, so it is important to seek God's perfect will for your life.  
Outlined below are scriptures of God's gifts and callings:

"We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;  if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,  do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."  
Romans 12:6-8

"So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up."  Ephesians 4:11-12

"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.  All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines."  
1 Corinthians 12:4-11

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."  1 Corinthians 13:13

These scriptures clearly outline specific purposes that God has to edify and build up His body for His glory and his gifts are irrevocable (Romans 11:29).  Let's outline these gifts:  

We see that there is the seven gifts of grace, which are prophesying, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving generously, leading and showing mercy.  Then we have the fivefold ministry of God which build up the body of Christ, which are the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.  Then we have the nine gifts of the Spirit that are distributed by the Spirit of God.  These include a message of wisdom, a message of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, discernment of spirits, speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues.  Last the greatest gift is the gift of love.  

Without experiencing and knowing the love of God and walking in love, our gifts are futile.    So the greatest one is to love God, then others.  It is God's goodness that leads others to repentance and love is the greatest motivator of all.  

Some of the gifts and calling are seen in the natural.  The greatest way to determine if you are in the perfect will of God is when you can function in the body by His grace.  When you do not have the grace to function in any of these gifts that it is a good determination that you may be out of the will of God.  So seeking Him is important in functioning in your gifting. May the Lord reveal your gift and callings to you as you move forward in your walk with Christ.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Trauma and Shock

There are many things that happen in life that cause trauma and stress in our lives.  When those incidents happen what we don't realize is that it could cause you to be put into bondage to the enemy.  Paul tells us not to be ignorant of the strategies of Satan.

I know personally when I experienced trauma, shock or was struck by excessive worry that added stress to my life that a heaviness.  I felt weighted down and oppressed.  

Trauma or shock can be emotional, physical or mental.  Some examples are financial stress, unexpected losses of loved ones. loss of loved ones or dramatic change in circumstances as well as hurts and pains caused by loved ones or people around us.  It is a strategy the enemy uses to keep us from focusing on God and trusting in Him.

We are told by Jesus that in this world we will have trials and tribulations, but to be of good cheer He has overcome the world.  However, there are times when we are caught off guard, blindsided by the enemy.  This hit has caused us to question our circumstances.  It is unexpected and can shake our faith.  It can test whether or not we believe what God has promised.  When we begin to respond to these negative feelings and situations, we open ourselves to the strategies of the enemy to lie, steal and kill from us.  We are told to be vigilant and watchful.  When we fail, God is there to pick us back up.  

God can heal us from all those past pains,, the trauma, shock and disappointment.  He can heal us from the rejection and hurt.  He is the only one who can heal the heart.  When the heart is wounded then we function like a sick person.  We cannot glorify God or see His goodness.  We can only see how poor we are and how poor are our circumstances.  God never intended for us to be a victim, but to be victorious.  However, we cannot be victorious if we live in self pity, self protection, self justification, self righteousness and in a victim mentality of woe is me.   When you are wounded you will live focused on self.  

God can heal today.  He can restore the brokenness and bring life to your mortal body.  He came to set the captives free, give sight to the blind and remove all oppression.  Today is the day of salvation and you can receive the fullness of what God has for you.  God sent Jesus so that you may have life and life abundantly.  Sure we will still have problems, trials and tribulations, but we have a God who is bigger than the mountain.  God has given us the faith to believe in His son Jesus and He has given us the power to have faith to believe and overcome.

If you need healing today, pray this prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Praise be to you, our God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing from above.  I come before you as I lay my hand on my heart and I pray that you will remove all the trauma, shock, pain, hurt and rejection that came into my life.  I ask for you to comfort me with the Holy Spirit and bring healing and wholeness so that I may worship you in spirit and in truth.  I ask that you allow for me to release all the negative memories and to focus on what is good, perfect lovely, pure or noble, whatever is praiseworthy.  Erase all those negative effects on my mind, will, emotions and physical body.  Erase all the pain that came into the my cells in my body and remove all stress and anxiety.  Help me to cast all my cares onto you.  I ask this Lord so that I may fulfill your purposes.  I ask this in Jesus name.  Amen.