Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Be Strong and Courageous

"Be strong and  courageous.  Do not be terrifed; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."  Joshua 1:9b

As we read in Chapter 1 of Joshua, God begins by telling Joshua, "Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give them - to the Israelites.  I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses...  No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life.  As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.  Be strong and courageous, because I will lead these people to inherit the land which I swore to their forefathers to give them.  Be strong and courageous.  Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful in wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth, meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

God raised up Joshua for such a time as this.  Joshua no longer had Moses to rely on.  He was now the one who would be leading all of Israel out of the desert into the promise land.  He waited 40 years to see the promise fulfilled after Israel rebelled in the desert.  Joshua was filling the shoes of Moses and God knowing our weaknesses came to Joshua to give him encouragement, hope, knowledge, instruction and direction.  So he tells him three times "be strong and courageous."  He encourages him by letting him know that no one will be able to stand up against him all the days of his life.  He also then gives him hope by knowing that he will never leave him or forsake him.  He instructs Joshua that he will lead him into the promise land and gave him wisdom to continually meditate on his word and to obey it.  Then he confirms again to Joshua be strong and courageous, not to be terrified or discouraged because he is with him.  God was building up Joshua with his words to bring faith into his heart.  He knew that Joshua needed affirmation and encouragement. 

God today still speaks to us.  He desires that we enter into the promise land.  He knows that we cannot do it alone that is why he gave us his son, Jesus.  By receiving Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we receive the promised Holy Spirit, who will lead us and guide us in our life.  He give us his word to provide us with instruction.  He also gives us the faith to believe what he promised.  He is the one who will be leading us into the promise land.  He is the one who allow no one to stand up against us.   Keep in mind though, Joshua still had to go into battle and fight for the territory.  He did not sit idly by waiting for it to happen.  We too, like Joshua have battles set before us.  God requires that we take action.  We have to fight off discouragement, fearfulness and terror.  God also comforts us by letting us know that he will never leave or forsake us.  He is the one who will give us victory in our battles.  We have to trust and rely on what he told us.  We have to meditate on the word of God day and night so that we may know the path to follow.  We too have to be like Joshua, seeking God daily to know his plans for our life.  So today we are reminded to "be strong and courageous, do not be terrifed; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."  Our victory is in what Christ Jesus has done for us.  Remain strong and stand firm.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Destroyed from Lack of Knowledge

"my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge."  Hosea 4:6
God uses the prophet Hosea to address Israel and their poor spiritual condition.  They had turned away from God and began worshipping idols.  They had put their hope in craved wooden images offering sacrifices to them.  The prophets stumbled the people through false prophecies and the priests were in sin.  The no longer brought God's word and promises to rememberance to the people.  They had forsaken God and his law.  Each had gone their own way determining in their heart how to serve God rather than serving him according to his righteous standard that he had given them. 
Clearly in the book of Hosea, they lacked truth and the revelation of God.  They no longer experienced God and his great love and blessing.  They no longer recognized who he was or his goodness.  They were worshipping wooden objects.  They were being deceived into thinking that these wooden objects would bless them.  They put their hope in things rather than the living God.   "They exchanged their glory for something that was disgraceful" and were led astray by a "spirit of prostitution." 
God in his great mercy always sends someone to bring truth so that they may turn back to him. He desires mercy and the acknowledgement of who He is rather than sacrifices and burnt offerings. God wants us to turn to him and seek him personally. If we desire to know his ways, we truly have to look to him and read his word. His word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. The word gives us his truth. The word is used to renew our mind. It also divides the soul from the spirit. It is what brings conviction to us when we see that we are not doing something according to God's will. We cannot do this simply by reading the word, we have to receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior. When we do this, then we receive the promise of the Holy Spirit which empowers us to overcome sin and understand his truth. 
God desires that we not be destroyed, but clearly Israel was coming under judgement because they had forsaken God.  They no longer read his word and were being destroyed for lack of knowledge.  The prophets and priests were able to lead them astray because they too no longer sought God.  God wants to restore you and remove destruction today in your lives.  If you will seek him with all your heart and turn back to him he will give you grace and mercy in your time of need.  We don't have to be destroyed from not knowing what God's plans are for us.  We can have fellowship with the living God who sent his son Jesus to die for us.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

God Will Provide a Way Out

"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."  1 Corinthians 10:11

God tells us that he will provide a way out to stand up under temptation.  In this world, there are many temptations.  God does not tempt us, but he does allow temptation to come our way.  Through these trials, we can clearly see our areas of weakness.  God desires to become a strength in that area of weakness that is why Jesus tells us to pick up our cross, deny ourselves and follow him daily.  If we do not pick up our cross, deny ourselves and follow Jesus daily, then we may find ourselves giving into temptation.  Fleshly needs need to be put to death.  God tells us that if we ask for help he will give it to us.  He also tells us if it will bring glory to his name because you asked in Jesus name, then it will be done for you. But action is required for us.  We do have to exercise our will and repent or turn away from that sinful behavior.  If we do not make an effort, then sin will give continue to grow in us.

James 1:13-15, We are told that not to say "God is tempting me," for God cannot be tempted by evil nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then after the desire is conceived; it gives birth to sin; and sin, when full grown, give birth to death.    We clearly see that if we give into our evil desire, then we can be enticed and dragged away by sin.  It is a choice.

God gives us a way out by taking every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5 b).  We are also instructed to equip ourselves daily in Ephesians 6 with the full armor of God.  We also are to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12).  Even like in Genesis, sometimes we have to be like Joseph.  We need to run from that temptation like Joseph ran from Potiphar's wife.  He also wants us to submit ourselves to God and resist the devil and he will flee from us.  We have a way out, but we have to follow the path God has given us.

Some however are still struggling with their situations having given in to the temptation before serving God and have not been able to overcome. Some have just given into it.  They have feelings of guilt and desire to be set free from these acts.  They sincerely want freedom and desire to change, but have not been able to.  It is controlling their lives and they live secretly with their sin.  God does have a way out.  You are not beyond God's mighty hand to deliver you.  He came to set the captives free, give sight to the blind and remove all oppression.  He came to destroy the works of the devil.  He also tells us that we can demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.  He over 2000 years ago finished the work at the cross to set you free from sin and death.  If you sincerely desire to repent (turn away) from this God will deliver you.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I praise you heavenly Father for all that you have done.  I thank you that you came to destroy the works of the devil.  For those that are in bondage to sin that is keeping them from walking in your perfect will, I ask now in the name of Jesus that you will rebuke the enemy and remove the oppression, bondage and blindness.  I ask that the power of God, and by what his son Jesus accomplished at the cross to destroy that yoke and burden of that sinful nature and give them the desire to submit to your Lordship so that they may receive power from on high to turn from their sinful way.  You said if I ask believing by faith and ask according to your will and if it will bring glory unto your name, it will be done for you.   So today as they read this prayer may the anointing of God destroy the yoke of bondage and freedom to prevail in Christ Jesus.  May they give glory and thanks unto you and serve you all the days of their life.  Thank you Jesus!

Betrayal the Ultimate Scheme Defeated

When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, "Go take yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord."  Hosea 1:2

Betrayal is the ultimate scheme to destroy us and our relationship with God and others.   In the book of Hosea, we clearly see that betrayal through idolatry and spiritual adultery brings in judgement on God's chosen people. The book of Hosea talks about this prophet who married an adulterous wife.  God uses this example to describe Israel and her idolatrous worship of Baal and other gods.  As we read through Hosea, we see that Gomer his wife runs off with another man. However, God had a plan.  He had Hosea reclaim his adulterous wife by buying her back although she had been unfaithful.  This is a picture and type of what Jesus did for us when he died for our sins on the cross.  Even though we were unfaithful and idolatrous, God was willing to pay the price for us despite what we have done.  He knew that we deserved judgement, but God out of his love desired to show us mercy and grace.  God didn't want his people to serve him as their master, but he was desiring to to be that loving husband to a wife.  His love for us would be the motivating factor to have us seek him only and to have a personal relationship with him.

When a friend or spouse betrays you by being unfaithful it is very painful.  Unfaithfulness brings in pain, hurt, bitterness and unforgiveness.  It is one of the most difficult things to overcome.  It is hard to trust and show love to that person once this occurs.  Typically these relationships are severed due to the hurt, pain, distrust and betrayal.  In Hosea, we clearly see how God continually experienced unfaithfulness.  As we look at our own lives, we can clearly see our unfaithfulness to God.  However, God saw beyond this.  He saw that the people were unable to overcome because they had no power to do so.  So he made a way for his perfect salvation to us.  He knew that love would be the only way.  He loved the world so much that he gave his most precious possession as a sacrifice to save us so that he could give us what we needed.  We needed to have his Spirit to overcome and that came through the promise of Jesus and him dying for us.  This provided what we needed, forgiveness from our sins.  He would remember our sins no more and become our great friend, father, husband and love.  He would be the one we would turn to because of his goodness towards us.  We would say "You are my God."

God desires that we forgive others.  Love is the greatest gift of all.  God knows the pain, suffering, disgrace and hurt you are feeling.  He desires to come to him so that you may receive healing in that area.  However, in order to be healed, we have to stand in what Jesus has done.  We have to go to the cross of Jesus.  We have to surrender our hurts, pain, disgrace, unforgiveness, resentment and betrayal to God to receive what he has done for us.  His body was beatened and bruised so that we may be healed.  His blood was shed so that we may receive forgiveness of our sins.  We have to see those who hurt us like God saw Israel in Hosea.  Although they were unfaithful and adulterous, they needed love and forgiveness so that they may have a relationship with God.  So today, may the Lord grant you the grace and mercy to forgive as you have been forgiven.  May the yoke of betrayal which caused you pain and suffering be defeated in Christ Jesus.  May the scheme of Satan be destroyed.  May God's love, faithfulness, grace and mercy flood into your hearts as he heals you.  In Jesus Name!

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Word in Season

Many of you have been in training for what the Lord has.  God tells us fiery trials have come "so that your faith of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire may be proved genuine and may result in the praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." (1 Peter 1:7)

God is raising up a church that will be spotless and blameless.  He is pruning the branches so that they may bear fruit and be fruitful.  Many are full of the word of God and need to share with others.  Many desire to be blessed, but yet do not seek his face constantly until trials are before them.  We are entering into a time when faith will be required to continue to remain faithful in him.  It is a trying, testing and proving of our faith.      

The calling and gifts that God is building in our lives will be used for his glory.  He is shaping and molding each of us right now by our experiences.  Through perseverance through these trials,  we will be able to encourage others as they go through similar situations.  This is a time of building our trust in God and seeing his goodness.  He is changing our mind to think like Christ and to know the good and perfect will of God.

Do not lose hope, but realize what it says in Romans :2-5 to "rejoice in our sufferings because we know that sufferings produces perseverance, perseverance character, character hope.  And hope will not disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

It is not always easy when trials come our way, but through it all God does promise to keep us to the very end.  Also, God desires to show us our hearts towards him to remove the things that are impure and idolatrous.  He is looking to purify our motives so that we may truly function in the love of God.  God tells us that "should any man should want to come after me, he must deny himself and take up and cross and follow me"(Luke 9:23).  Our life is not our own, but God bought us with the precious blood of Jesus.

God is faithful to deliver us from our situation.  He is able to help us overcome this world by the blood for the lamb and the word of our testimony, not loving our soul live (Revelations 12:11).  Remain hopeful and hold on tight to Jesus.  After the trial is complete we will be made whole in him, firm in faith with our salvation assured in our hearts.

May 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 comfort you:  "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we have received from God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.  If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation, if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.  And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

May the Lord comfort you now as you endure and may you be strengthened through faith in him who is faithful to do what he said he would do.  Blessing you and the family of God!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Need Encouragement?

There are many times in life when things go awry.  The enemy tries to bring you down low.  Some are resilient and bounce back and some find it difficult.  Some endure more than others.  There are many examples of this in the bible, but the one who stands out the most to me is King David.

King David was all too familiar with needing encouragement.  He was anointed as king at as a young man.  Things were going well for David.  He defeated Goliath and was married into King Saul's family becoming a prince.  He was rising up in stature because of his confidence in God by defeating the Philistine army.  He was favored among the people and began to receive more stature than King Saul.  People were rejoicing and singing:   "Saul killed 1000's Philistines and David killed tens of thousands of Philistines."  He wasn't seeking the glory, but the extreme favor of God got the attention of King Saul.  King Saul became very jealous and fearful because he knew that it was prophesied that he would lose the kingdom that given to someone else due to his disobedience.  However, rather than repenting, Saul decided to try and destroy David.  David was the one who blessed the army by defeating Goliath and he was also his son-in-law.  Talk about feeling a little bit betrayed, rejected and hurt.  Now David found himself running for 20 years from Saul.   David only wanted good for King Saul, yet Saul did not wish the same for him.  Saul spent the balance of his life trying to find and kill David.

David wrote the majority of the Psalms.  He was more than familiar with heartache.  He experienced much rejection, hurt and abuse.  He endured hardship, heartache and troubles.  He experienced much affliction.  He loved the Lord and at times felt as if he were in the valley of the shadow of death.  He knew the only way to survive this was by seeking God.  He knew that this involved laying his troubles before God and asking for help.  He also knew that praising God and seeing his goodness would bring deliverance.  So daily he would pour out his heart to God and then praise Him for His goodness.  He knew that even in the most dire situation, God cared for him and would deliver him.  He didn't understand why this was happening to him, but he endured and kept the faith.  He knew that God is faithful.

God desires to encourage us.  Like David, we sometimes have to encourage ourselves in the Lord.  David was an example of one who endured much hardship when given so many promises.  He was anointed King and it took 20 years to see the fulfillment of that promise.  However, he did not give up hope in this promise, but held tightly to God.  He kept in constant fellowship waiting on God.  God is waiting on us to come to him today to have fellowship with him.  Just like David, we too need to encourage ourselves.  The book of Psalms is a great place to start.  God has something good to share with us.  He has blessed us because we have been forgiven for our sins.  God loved us so much that He sent His one and only Son to die for us that we may have eternal life.  He has also given us a peace that is not of this world.  We can be assured that God is with us.  He has a sure word for us because he is faithful.  He has us in the palm of his hands.  God began a good work in us and will complete it.  He will keep us strong until the end.  He has plans to prosper us and not to harm us but one that will give us a hope and a future.  He is here to day to give us life and life abundantly.  God is good.  All good gifts come from above.  Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil in our lives.  So in the midst of the trial look above and be expecting that what the enemy meant for evil God will turn around for good.  Be expecting victory in Christ Jesus!

Blessing you with encouragement, strength and endurance!

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Pride of Your Heart Has Deceived You

The Pride of Your Heart Has Deceived You

The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home o the heights, you who say to yourself, "Who can bring me down to the ground?"  Though you soar like the eagle and make your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down," declares the Lord.  Obadiah 3-4

Pride is the open door where Satan can work in your life.  Pride is defined as "to act presumptuously, insolently or rebelliously."  It also can be defined as disagreement with the truth.  

Obadiah was addressing the Edomites and their pride.  They were rejoicing in Judah's suffering and taking pride in where they lived.  They lived in the clefts of the rocks on the mountains.  They felt protected there.  They felt confident that they could easily protect themselves from enemy invasion.  Their confidence was in themselves and their location.  Rather than having mercy on Judah and seeking to help them out, they chose to rejoice in their sufferings and as a result God declared that he was going to bring judgement against them for their sin.

Pride comes in when we think more highly of ourselves than we ought to. It is when we take the credit when all glory should be given to God.  It is the starting place where deception enters.  It justifies our actions, attitudes and mindset of being right rather than godly.  It fuels the ability to rejoice in others people's disgrace.  When this comes in, we cannot see truth.  Pride makes us spiritually blind.  Pride is what caused Lucifer to fall.  He wanted to be like God and he exalted himself.  He was in the highest position of angels and lost it all because of pride.  

God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).  Humility is defined a quality by which a person considering his own defects has a humble opinion of himself and willingly submits himself to God and to others for God's sake.  It is trusting and depending on God.  It is realizing that you need to submit to the Lordship of Christ.  It is taking a position considering others higher than yourself (Philippians 2:3).

Deception can only be broken when pride is broken.  It takes the mighty hand of God and our willingness to submit to him to transform our life.  It we are willing, he will help us.  So God today we ask if there is any pride in our life, we ask in the name of Jesus for pride to be broken so that we may truly see truth.   Remove all deception that pride has brought in.  We know that if we ask unto the glory of the Father in the name of the Son that it will be given.  So we ask Lord in the name of Jesus that you will remove pride from our lives so that we may live a life worthy of your praise, honor and glory.  We also ask for forgiveness of our pride.  You said if we confess our sins that you are righteous and just to heal us, to deliver and to forgive us for all of our sins.  Thank you Lord for delivering us from pride today in Jesus Name!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Those Who Are Led By the Spirit of God Are the Sons of God

"Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation - but it is  not to the sinful nature, to live according to it.  For if you live according to the sinful nature, you  will die; but if the by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God."  Romans 8:12-14

Wow what a powerful word.  We have to be led by the Spirit of God to be the sons of God.  Hummm, how do you do that?  Paul tells us put to death the misdeeds of the body and not to live by the sinful nature.  The only way you can put your sinful nature to death is through the power of the Holy Spirit.  How do you tap into the power of the Holy Spirit?  It is by receiving Jesus not only as your Savior, but your Lord.  Twelve years ago is when I made Jesus Lord over my life and through that decision God has brought forth fruit.

I remember going with the my grandmother to a baptist church in South Gate when I was about 5 or 6.  That is where I heard about Jesus and how he died for my sins.  At that time, I received Jesus as my savior, but not really as my Lord.  Although, instinctively I knew in my heart growing up never to speak Jesus or to listen to others speak evil about him.  In addition, when I committed sins, I immediately felt guilty and had conviction in my conscious.  However, I really did not know how to deal with it.  It was so easy to just sin and I did not know how to reconcile back to God.  So as this continued, I got to a point where I thought it was too difficult to live for God.  It was too hard.  I didn't understand fully what God had done for me or how to have a relationship with God.  Although I would go to church, it was not consistent.  My dad would send my sisters and I from time to time by ourselves, but he himself would not go.  So I concluded in my mind that since Jesus was part God he was able to do it, but I could not overcome sin.  I was ignorant of God and his covenant promises he made.  Although I would try and read the bible, I could not fully understand it.  So the easiest path to follow and do my own thing. Unfortunately, I lived too many years living in the world.  My lifestyle caused me much pain, sorrow, grief and hurt.

The good news is that God knew where I was at and he worked all these things out for good.  This change came 12 years ago when Jesus became not only my savior but my Lord.  As I submitted to him, he began to deliver me from a lot of my sinful nature and opened up the word to me.  Immediately I was able to do what the Lord wanted me to do, although not perfectly.  I also desired to do what he said.  I began reading his word daily and applying the truth to my life.  I desired to please him because he loved me so much that he sent his son to die for me.  Were there times, I missed the mark?  Yes, there were but through the years as I submitted to him and put to death the misdeeds of the sinful nature, I not only overcame the sinful nature, but my mind was being put at peace.   I was able to hold good thoughts and dwell on the things which were pleasant.  I was hopeful again.  I not only hopeful, but I could see the goodness of God.  I could see his goodness in his word and I could hear clearly from him in through the Spirit of God who lives in me.  He not only fulfilled his promises, but exceeded them.  He gave me a new heart one that is full of love.  I could see his workmanship as he daily restores the years that were eaten away by the locust.  He is healing my heart from all the past pains and hurt daily.  Having him become Lord over my life was an important part of desiring to put to the death the misdeeds of my sinful nature.

So today, if you have not made Jesus Lord over your life, ask him to do this for you.  If he did it for me he will do it for you.  He is no respecter of persons.  So today as you hear the voice of the Lord do not harden your hearts, but submit to what he is saying and be blessed by what he will do in your life.  You will not regret it.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Trials Develop Perseverance

As we all know trials are not fun.  As a matter of fact, when trials come they test our strength and faith. We are told the devil is looking for someone to devour and he does this by trying to attack you.  The devil is a liar and the father of them. God informs us that trials will come and tells us in James 1:2-4 tells us "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

Trials are put into our lives to develop perseverance which brings maturity and completeness in us.  When we arrive here, we will be lacking nothing.  Trials test our faith and will prove it.  When you enter into a trial the longer it lasts it shows you the attitude of your heart. It also shows you your weaknesses in your faith and where God needs to build it.  It requires us to press into God and stand in his promises.

Trials and Tribulations are defined as tests of ones patience or endurance.  This shows us what we believe and are trusting in.  Do we trust in God or are we believing what we see?  Sometimes when trials come all we can do is see the trial and not past it.  It shows us our limited vision.  God tells us that we are to view things spiritually by faith.  We are not to be moved by what we see, but move by the unseen.

Perseverance is defined as steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement; continuance in a state of grace to the end, leading to eternal salvation.  As we can clearly see perseverance is the ability to continue to believe in God and his promises by faith despite whatever difficulties, discouragement and obstacles that come our way.  It is abiding in a continual state of grace.  Do we believe that His word is truth and will we stand on His promises?

Through these trials we will be made mature in Christ, fully knowing and having confidence in God.  Knowing this we should count it as joy when trials come our way.  When the trial is over we will see what God has done in our life and how we have grown in our faith.  It will give us the ability to see beyond our problems, distresses and discouragement.  Our hope will be made sure.  We will be confident in who our God is.   The trial will bring forth a blessing that can only lead to knowing that our salvation is sure.  What the enemy meant for evil God will turn it around for good. 

When the enemy comes in like a flood, God will raise up the standard.  He will lift us up and give us victory to overcome.  Stand firm as it says in Ephesians and stand in the day of evil having put on the armor of God, which is Jesus Christ and the fullness of His work.  God tells us He will keep us strong until the end.  Wait on the Lord, stand firm and believe and see your victory!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Battle is the Lord's

"The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine."  1 Samuel 17:37

1 Samuel Chapter 17 is where we see the story of Goliath.  Goliath is a Philistine that was taller than 9 ft.  He was intimidating to the Israelites.  They were paralyzed when they saw him.  They were so fearful that they would run back into their tents when he came out to challenge them.  No one had confidence, not even King Saul.  They hid for fear of their lives.     

However, one day David was sent by his dad to check on his brothers and to bring supplies.  He showed up and saw this Philistine come out where the battle line was and shouting defiance at the Israelites.  David couldn't believe what he was seeing.  He was surprised that no one would stand up against this uncircumcised Philistine.  David then spoke out and said "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?"  David was full of faith.  He saw this over 9 foot Philistine as one who was defiant and against God.  He knew his God and understood completely that God would deliver them from this.  God delivered David from the paw of the the lion and the paw of the bear.  If he would do that for him tending sheep, how much more will God do to deliver his people.  However, not too long after speaking opposition came from within the camp. Not only that, but it came from his oldest brother Eliab who rebuked him.  Eliab asked him, "Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert?  I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle."  However, David knowing his brother was trying to discourage him turned away from his brother and said "Can't I even speak?" and began to share with another about God and his greatness. 

Because of his hope and faith he was brought before the King where he encouraged him.  He told King Saul "Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him." David shared with Saul God's faithfulness by telling him how God delivered him from the paw of the lion and bear to save his sheep.  David then went on to say that God would do the same for his people, because Goliath was defying the armies of living God.

Seeing David's faith, Saul then handed his armor over and dressed David.  But David knew that he would not be wearing Saul's armor.  He knew it had to be God's way.  So instead he chose a few stones and put them in a pouch and took his sling with him.  He approached the Philistine who then mocked him by saying "Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.  He told him he would feed him to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field.  David undeterred replied "You come against me with the sword and speak and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, who you have defied.  This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head.  Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the whole beasts of the earth and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.  All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord's and he will give all of you into our hands."

That day David slew Goliath with a stone and his sling and he cut the head of Goliath off.  This Philistine who invaded Israel with his threats, intimidation and size was defeated by the living God. David knew God had prepared him for such a time as this.  He was being trained for greatness.  He training included wisdom, might, power, faith and trust in the living God.  He knew that God would fight this battle and be victorious because he did it for him before.  He saved him not only from this Philistine, but from the bear and the lion. So today remember the battle is the Lord's. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

But We Have the Mind of Christ

"For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?  But we have the mind of Christ."  
1 Corinthians 2:16

What a powerful statement Paul made here, we have the mind of Christ.  We can trust that God will instruct us when we receive him as our Lord and Savior.  He has given us power, dunamis power, which is the supernatural power through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  We now have God with us. 

God has equipped us with what we have need of.  Sometimes it is a process to fully comprehend the covenant that we have with God.  This understanding and wisdom comes through a personal relationship with Christ and through faith in him. "Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6)."  We cannot expect to receive anything from God if we do not believe by faith in what he has done.  He clearly tells us in Hebrews that "he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6)."  He also tells us to pray for power, the gifts of the Spirit and for wisdom.  He knows what we have need of, but he wants you to ask so that your prayers may be heard and you know that he has heard them by answering your prayers.  

When I saw the verse that we have the mind of Christ, my expectation and faith began to change.  I realized that God would give me the wisdom and the instruction I needed because he has equipped me with the mind of Christ.  He was the one who would become my teacher. He tells us that is part of the new covenant is "I will put my laws in their mind and write them on their hears.  I will be there God and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor or a man his brother, saying, know the Lord, because they will all know me, from the least to the greatest.  For I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more (Hebrews 8:10-12)."  That is why he gave us the promise of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit would come and abide in us affirming God's law and promises.  He would be the one to lead us, guide us, instruct us and give us wisdom.  God gave us part of himself.   

We are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:37).  He gives us the ability to do it.  He will show the path if we seek him, depend on him and trust in him.  He is the one who can instruct us for we have the mind of Christ.  So be expecting to hear what he is saying and follow his lead.

Expect Opposition When Rebuilding

"Then the peoples around them set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building.  They hired counselors to work against them and frustrate their plans...."  Ezra 4:4-5

Have you ever noticed that when God begins to do a work and rebuilding begins in your life and the lives of others around you all of a sudden you have people trying to discourage you?  They try to hinder and frustrate you in all that you are trying to accomplish.

When God begins a new work in your life, you can expect opposition.  You may even be surprised that the opposition can come from those closest to you.  They may be a family member or a good friend.  They want to just offer you some advice to improve your situation.  They may even offer to help you out during the process.  They will tell you what you are doing wrong and how you need to do things this way or that way.  Pretty soon, you are frustrated.  It is as if all that you can do nothing right.  Someone is trying to give you a set of rules to follow.  Please understand I do believe God has a perfect way to do things, but God works through people differently.  He is the one who will perform the refining process within the person.

When I began to step out in obedience to God and do as he asked, I immediately was being admonished all the time.  People would say, oh, you need to pray first or say it this way because the church said they don't want people to know that they are oppressed.  We don't want to hurt people's feelings by speaking the truth.  Be careful sharing the word of God because it may offend them if you don't say it right or with love.  I learned from God you need to do it this way.  Well, they responded that way because you did it wrong.  You know the bible is just a guideline.

I was floored by all these people wanting to correct me.  What floored me the most was the fact that some of the stuff they were saying did not line up with the word of God.  God said that the gospel would be a stumbling block for others, the word would be an offense, he sometimes rebuked and corrected the leaders. The word of God is God.  Jesus was the word that became flesh.  The word is sharper than a two edged sword dividing the soul from the spirit.  The word of God brings life, truth and where it is sent accomplishes God's will.  So I was blown away by all of this.  It was like being in Galatia where they were setting all these rules and regulations in place to make things work.  They have left the simplicity of the gospel of Jesus and the grace given.  There was no trust that the Holy Spirit would work things out.  Jesus told us not to be concerned about what we would say, but the Holy Spirit would speak.  I think about the book of Acts where Stephen spoke.  He said some things that really offended the leaders and the people.  It was so bad that they stoned him to death.  So from that I can clearly see that when you speak truth there will be opposition and persecution.

What surprised me the most was the fact that this came from within the churches and those who call themselves Christians.  I was surprised how many do not read their bible or think that they are not called to preach the gospel or share the good news with others.  I was surprised when others would gladly accept those who were unbelievers into prayer groups and those that were believers were not so easily accepted.  They were excluded from the group.  It blew my mind.  I then began to wonder if they were really even saved.  What even concerned me more was how many people don't like to talk about God and the bible.

Funny part to all of this was God was causing fruit to happen in these peoples lives.  By stepping out like a child believing God put this on my heart, he began to do a work in the lives of those he had me speak to.  It changed their direction and destiny.  Had I listened to those around me, I would have never seen what God was doing.  So when God begins a new work in your life rebuilding your life and the life of others expect opposition.  Remember do not always listen to those around you and allow them in to what God has designated for you.  Pray and seek God for wisdom.  And remember that God is bigger than those who try and frustrate and discourage you.  Pray for them to find Jesus and be blessed.  Jesus tells us to pray for those who curse us.  Remember when persecution comes we are told in Matthew 5:10 "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."  All glory be to God!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Ungodly Prayers

Prayer is important.  Prayer is necessary to change things and we are even told to pray unceasingly.  However, there are prayers that can be prayed that are out of selfish ambition or with a spirit of control and manipulation that can cause the wrong effect.

When you pray prayers according to selfish desires to change people according to what you think they need to see, you are now in realm of praying witchcraft prayers.  Prayers that are not according to God's will are not answered by God, but by demonic forces.  It will bring demonic attacks on the individual you are praying for.  It brings confusion, oppression and the inability for them to hear clearly from God.  It brings you out of God's will causing sin and rebellion in your life, because you are functioning out of the soulish realm seeking to please the flesh.  But in Corinthians 13 we clearly see that "Love does not seek it's own way."

I have been in prayer groups and found that the prayers were pretty controlling.  Sometimes, I even found out they would pray what they thought was best for me and it was opposite of what I was praying.  They would pray that the Lord would show people this or that that was wrong with them or what they were doing.  There were times when I found myself battling confusion, depression, frustration and the inability to hear clearly from the Lord and I believe it was from wrong prayers from these individuals.  One time, I was really battling a situation and found out that someone was praying that the Lord would show me this.  It brought on a demonic attack and lack of clarity to hear anything from the Lord.  It caused me to be frustrated, confused, angry and brought on condemnation.   This went on for several months.  This person was playing Holy Spirit junior.  Sometimes people think they are helping God by praying these prayers, but are actually causing the people to be demonically attacked.  It is a sad situation.  It is better to bless others and pray that the Lord would show them his will rather than bring a spirit of condemnation towards them.  It is God's goodness that leads to repentance.  It is his desire to show mercy and grace and the love of God first.

It is also better to address the person directly if you feel the Lord is revealing something to you rather than praying for them to see this or that.  However, timing may be important to delivery the information to the person.  It also can be revealed by sharing scriptures together in a bible study.  God is more than able to do the work needed in a person's life if we will step out of the way and allow him to be God and for us to be obedient to what he called us to do.

Another area to watch is gossip and talking evil about others.  God tells us that their is "death and life in the power of the tongue."  We can either speak words of life, God's word or speak evil.  God tells us to dwell on whatever is perfect, lovely, pure, noble or praiseworthy.  It is good to identify the issues, but not let that overtake the good.  Sometimes people need to be blessed in their lives rather than constant judgment.

Last, if you are uncertain how to pray, we can always rely on how Jesus instructed us to pray in Matthew 6:9-13:

"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread.  Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."

May the Lord give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation knowledge of his will for us as we pray for others.  May he also give us a heart full of love for those we are praying for.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Blood of Jesus

 "to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel."  Hebrews 12:24

The blood of Jesus speaks a better word.  Jesus is speaking and in verse 25 we are told not to refuse him who speaks.  What does the blood of Jesus speak over the blood of Abel?  In Genesis, Cain murdered his brother because he was jealous.  His brother brought the offering to God with a right heart and the offering was accepted by God.  Cain brought his own offering with a wrong motive in his heart and his offering was not accepted by God.  He was so upset that God accepted Abel's offering instead of his.  God spoke to Cain and offered him an opportunity to do the same, but he refused.  Bitterness went into his heart and he killed his brother.  When God went to look for Abel, his blood cried out to him for vengeance, justice and wrath.  It brought a curse to Cain.  He had no peace, the ground no longer yielded crops for him.  He no longer had peace and was worried about someone killing him.  His sin brought in fear, death, destruction and unfruitfulness.  God was still gracious to him even though he did not repent.  He did not allow anyone to kill him.

However, the shed blood of Jesus brought to us the perfect will of God.  Jesus was murdered for doing nothing wrong.  His adversaries which were His own chosen people killed because of jealousy.  They made offerings to God like Cain with wrong motives in their hearts.  They didn't care to listen to God either.  Although, they did this, Jesus did something greater.  Rather than cursing them, He now provided an opportunity to them.  Even though they killed him, mocked him, disbelieved him and cursed him.  He brought in a better covenant.  He brought in reconciliation, peace, removal of the curse, pardon, mercy, grace, life and acceptance of God, if they chose to follow the cross and receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  We can do this because He was perfect and not us.

When we plead and have faith in the blood of Jesus, we have His grace, mercy, pardon, goodness, love, acceptance, provision and fruitfulness.  His blood not only redeemed us from the curse of the law, but it also provided a way for us to come into the throne with boldness.  It is the power to allow for us to overcome and fulfill God's plans and purposes here on earth.  The blood of Jesus, however, is not a license to sin. God tells us in 1 John 2:3-6  We are told in verse 3 that "We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.  The man who says, "I know Him, but does not do what He comnands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But if anyone obeys His word, God's love is truly made completed.  This is how we know we are in Him:  Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did."  Sin was not in Jesus life.  We might sin, but we should not be actively sin.  If we sin, it should be as like a car accident.  It just happened.

God tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.:"  God does not tempt us.  He is not the tempter, we are told in James 1:13 that if we are tempted it comes from our own evil desires.  Luke 4:13 tells us that the devil is the tempter.  We are given a way out as well, in James we are told to submit ourselves to God, draw near to Him, and He will draw near to us, resist the devil and he will flee from us.

It is not the will of  God for a believer to fall into sin.  The will of God is from to to walk out your faith and not sin.  He has given us the Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, to turn us from our evil ways (Acts 3:26).  His desire is to wash us and cleanse us with His blood and His word to sanctify us.  The word is the mirror to show us what is in our hearts that need to come to the cross and receive healing and deliverance from.

Their is power in the blood of Jesus.  You have the ability to overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, not loving our soul life.  Today receive a fresh cleansing and turn to God and receive life and life abundantly.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Be Expecting

"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 a hope and a future (or an expected end)."  Jeremiah 29:11

Expecting is hope.  It is anticipating that God will do what He said He would do.  This is the time to come from disappointment and begin to enter into expectation.  Begin to anticipate that God is more than able to do what He said He would do.  He tells ask to ask believing that we would receive the answer to our prayers.  Without faith it is impossible to please God.  How do we build ourselves up in the most holy faith?  Our answer is simple....."Faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God."  Faith does require action.  We are told in James that faith without works is dead.  We need to also exercise our faith by our works.  God is the one who has given us those good works in Christ Jesus which God prepared in advance for us to do.

How can you have hope or expected to know what the plans are of God if you do not investigate it.  God sent His one and only Son to be the Hope of Glory for us.   He has fulfilled His perfect plan in Him and has given us the instructions through the word of God.  The word reveals the covenant promises that we have as children of God.  He also tells us how we know we are walking with Him.  He identifies what the fruit of the Spirit is as well as the actions that are not of Him.  He tells us that His promises are yes and amen.  Have you been waiting for the yes or the amen?  God is waiting for you to be expecting and anticipating.  When you begin to thank God for His goodness, you will see the glory of the Lord in the land of the living.  God is alive!  He is not too busy for you.  He is waiting for you to remind Him of His promises that He made to you.

If you messed up and think that there is no way to redeem you, repent.  Repent and turn from that way and ask God to deliver you from it.  God told us that by His stripes we are healed.  He is waiting for you to ask and begin to exercise your most holy faith in him.  He has given you a measure of faith. There is no way you could have received Jesus as your Lord and Savior unless it was given by God.  You have the faith in you.  He is there with you.  He is Immanuel with you.  He has not left you or forsaken you, but is ever present waiting upon you,  He is interceding right now waiting for you to come in agreement with Him and His promises.  God tells us that it is His kindness that leads us to repentance.

So today as you fellowship with Him, be expecting and anticipating for Him to bless you.  Hope will rise up in you!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

By His Wounds You Have Been Healed

"He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed."  1 Peter 2:24

Jesus came to bring salvation.  Salvation starts by believing in him and receiving him as your Lord and Savior.  The starting of healing comes first through forgiveness and through faith in Him.

Jesus loved us so much and paid the price for us.  He took up our infirmities, carried our sorrows.  He was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities and by his wounds we were healed (Isaiah 53:4-5 paraphrased).  He not only wants us to have forgiveness of sins, but he also wants to heal you.  He wants to heal you physically, mentally and emotionally so that you can tell others about God's goodness.  God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power and he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil because God was with him (Acts 10:38).  Jesus then tells us in Mark 16:17-18 that these signs shall follow those who believe in my name..."they will drive out demons, speak in new tongues.....they will place their hands on the sick and they will get well."

When God is with us and under his power and authority and as we move in faith in what Jesus has done for us healing is available.  He also tells us that healing comes through confession of sins as well (James 5:16).   He healed the woman with the 12 year blood issues.  She had exhausted all natural resources. She had no where else to go.  The final doctor's report was we have done everything, just go home.  Inside her, she was desperate.  So when she heard the good news about Jesus and his healing powers, she began to become hopeful again.  Jesus stood before her and all she could see is healing in his wings.  She did the unthinkable.  She being unclean moved in the crowd closer to Jesus.  She put her hand forth and touched the hem of Jesus garment and immediately she was healed.  She received her healing because of her faith.

Jesus does desire to heal you.  It is not based upon what you have have, but what he has done.  May God bring healing in His wings to you through your faith in Him.