Sunday, November 16, 2014
II 7:1, 2 NLT Elisha replied, “Hear this message from the LORD! This is what the LORD says: By this time tomorrow in the markets of Samaria, five quarts of fine flour will cost only half an ounce of silver, and ten quarts of barley grain will cost only half an ounce of silver.” The officer assisting the king said to the man of God, “That couldn't happen even if the LORD opened the windows of heaven!” But Elisha replied, “You will see it happen, but you won't be able to eat any of it!”
Have things ever become so bad that you lost all hope that it could ever be any different, even if God were to show up with His miraculous power? That's what was happening in the life of this officer of the king. His life had become so hopeless that he couldn't see that even God Himself could make a difference in the things that were happening around him. He had lost all hope and faith, even to the point of being skeptical of God's word, of His power to bring deliverance and His ability to turn a hopeless situation into a miracle of provision.
Sometimes we become so preoccupied with the problems of life that we lose sight of the opportunities that God places before us. Elisha delivered a word from God to give hope but the officer of the king refused to receive it. His response was filled with doubt and unbelief and even cynicism. “That couldn't happen EVEN if the LORD opened the windows of heaven!” To say that God cannot rescue someone or that situation is impossible demonstrates a lack of faith. Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith it's impossible to please God and that faith causes a person to believe that God really is who He says He is and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. In God's economy believing comes before seeing or receiving His promises.
I love this story because it shows us so much about God's faithfulness to provide for His own. There's so much more in this chapter about God's provision for His people than one blog can contain. He watches over us and cares about the difficulties that we are experiencing. His provision never runs out, He never suffers lack and He always looks for ways to get the provision to us that we need. In this story He used the most unlikely candidates to deliver the news of His provision. Four lepers, sitting outside the entrance of the gate because they had been shunned from society because of their illness, were chosen by God to do His work in discovering and delivering the news of His provision to the king and the people of the city. They weren't supposed to be around people because they were considered to be unclean because of their illness and yet when they discovered that deserted Syrian camp full of food and supplies they were not turned away from delivering the news of God's provision. In your situation God may use the most unlikely source to deliver your provision as well.
God's word came true that day! It happened just as the man of God said. And the officer of the king that was so cynical about God's miracle working power saw it but was unable to eat of it because the people trampled him to death rushing to get through the gate to get the food and supplies. He lived and died in his unbelief!
Jesus said this: Matthew 21:22 “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
In our economy you don't receive something until you pay for it, but in God's economy the currency used to obtain His provision is prayer and faith is the vehicle that He uses to bring the provision. Mark records Jesus as saying it this way: Mark 11:24 “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” He prefaced this verse with having faith in God and speaking from the confidence you have in Him, knowing that God will honor words spoken in faith from a heart that looks to God for its provision.
In Luke the apostles asked the Lord to increase their faith. They thought they had to have “much faith” to see God move in their lives. But Jesus told them in Matthew 17:6 that they didn't need a lot of faith, but that faith the size of a mustard seed when spoken to situations as deeply rooted as a mulberry tree would bring results. Romans 12:3 says that we have all been given a measure of faith. But what are we doing with the faith that we have?
In Romans 10 God's word says that it is the belief that we have in our hearts that brings righteousness into our lives and the confession that we make from that heart of belief is what brings a person to salvation.
Romans 10:8-10 NLT Salvation that comes from trusting Christ—which is the message we preach—is already within easy reach. In fact, the Scriptures say, “The message is close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.” For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.”
If a person's eternal destiny is changed by confessing what they believe in their heart about Jesus; His provision for salvation being applied in our lives through believing and speaking out of that belief, then everything that we receive from Him comes first from the faith in our hearts and then confessing it with our mouths. That's the beginning point to receiving. Pray about everything, basing your prayers on a heart of faith in God, and then move out at His direction in receiving it. Meditate on His word until it becomes more natural to speak faith than it is to speak what you see happening around you. Having faith is not a formula that you use to receive from God; it is a confident assurance that God will do what He has promised. Provision from God is seen throughout the Bible; the greatest of which was Him sending Jesus to die for our sins. It was while we were yet sinners that Christ died for us. He didn't wait until we could show Him that we were worthy, because that is unattainable in our earthy existence. It was when we were at our worst that Jesus came to earth to be the sacrifice for man's sin, to give us eternal life through our belief and trust in Him. It was after He died for you and me that the Word says that “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)
My Friend, God's word is His will. Faith comes through hearing His word (Romans 10:17) You're in a battle right now that requires supernatural weapons. Those weapons are the scriptures! If you are having trouble believing God for what you need, get into His word and find the scriptures that pertain to the provision that you need and meditate on them until they become real to you. Then begin to confess them over your life. Look for Him to bring the provision that you need and work with Him in receiving it by seeking Him for what you need to do to live expecting to receive at any moment. God provided for the Israelites in the wilderness through sending manna for their daily provision of food. They had to go out and gather it or they wouldn't have what they needed. He provided it but they had to go out and get it. God provides and we gather that provision at His direction.
Today I believe the Lord would say to you, “Look up and live, My Child. Look to Me as your Source of provision. I will provide; I will not let you die in the wilderness, but I will make provision for all your needs. Do not be afraid, only believe and receive what I have for you. Turn your face towards heaven and look for My provision, for your redemption draws nigh. Don't continue to be weighed down with the cares of this world, for I have made provision for your every need.”
Father, this morning I thank You for being our Provider. I speak life into the places of lack in people's lives this morning. I call forth Your provision and say that they will live, they will not die but according to Your word they will live and receive all that You have for them. Thank You, Father, for the provision of life, of healing, of finances, of mental stability, of deliverance! Thank You for supernatural provision coming into the lives of people today! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Monday, October 13, 2014
Mark 4:35-40 NKJV On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”
Jesus' disciples had no idea that a great windstorm was going to arise as they were “crossing over” to the other side of the lake. All they knew was that Jesus said “let us cross over”. They were seasoned fisherman, accustomed to all sorts of weather while out on the sea. What was different about this occasion?
Mark's version of this story says that while they were crossing over to the other side “a great windstorm arose”. Now Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible gives this definition of “windstorm”: “a great storm of wind” – “loelaps” which signifies a particular kind of wind, which is suddenly whirled about upwards and downwards; or rather, a conflict of many winds: it seems to be a whirlwind, or hurricane.” With no warning, all of a sudden, this “great storm of wind”, a “whirlwind or hurricane” was upon them. They hadn't expected it; they didn't see it coming and had no indication that a storm of this magnitude would come upon them. And they were very fearful that they would perish in the storm.
As panic set in the disciples knew they had to get Jesus awakened so their first course of action was to run to Him. Prayer should be the first thing that we do when confronted with a storm in life. Jesus was quick to respond to their request and Mark's version of this story says He arose and rebuked the wind and said “Peace, be still!”to the sea and it ceased and there was a “great calm”. Jesus spoke and the wind and waves obeyed! But notice what He says to His disciples after that.
Mark 4:40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”
Why would He ask them those questions? I think He was trying to get them to locate where they were in their faith walk and to get them to see that they could take action and see their storms cease just as He did. When the storms of life are raging it's easy to panic and forget that the greater One lives on the inside of us. In their case He was in the boat with them! But today we live in the reality of the victory that Jesus secured for us on the cross. He lives inside every born again believer by the power of His Spirit. We must stop and take stock of where we are and who we belong to. The fear that is on the outside will try to over-ride the faith that we have on the inside. It's at that point that we have to re-focus and anchor ourselves in God's word to overcome the fear and stabilize our faith to keep from sinking under the cares and fears of this world. But Jesus Himself said in John 16:33 that we don't have to succumb to the pressure that's in the world because He has already overcome it for us. He said that because of the work that He did on our behalf that we could have PEACE even in tribulation.
Where are you in your faith walk today? Are you struggling to overcome the fear and emotions of life's problems? Are you afraid of what will happen next? Watchman Nee says that the Christian experience from start to finish is a journey of faith. 1 John 5:4 says that it is our faith that overcomes the world! Our faith! Not the faith of the person next to you or me, but your faith and my faith! Our faith works as we place our trust in God and speak to the storms in our lives to be still! It's not a formula for success, but a heart-felt journey from the time we place our faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord to the everyday lives that we live, walking by faith, to the point of our crossing over into eternity.
Romans 1:16, 17 NKJV For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
Today I have a stronger level of faith than I did yesterday because I am trusting in God and building my faith through His word! The gospel of Christ, the Good News of what He purchased for us on Calvary, is powerful and when I believe it and act on it in faith it works in my life to give me the ability that I need to overcome all the evil that's in the world and the devil who comes to steal, kill and destroy my life. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:17 that it is the “sword of the Spirit”. That means that when I speak the word of God that the Holy Spirit reveals to me that will work in my situation that it becomes like a sword to defeat the enemy that is hindering me from walking by faith and living according to the plan that God has for me. But I have to be the one to focus my attention on Jesus, His word and resist the fear that comes with tribulation in order to live by faith. No one can do that for me and no one can do it for you either. It is a growing process that I work on daily. How about you? Are you growing in your faith every day?
You can change your life, the course of it, and the outcome by growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ and acting according to His word. It's what we believe in our hearts and living out of that belief that changes our lives. God is always at work within us to mold us and make us into the image of His dear Son. (Rom. 8:29) But we have to cooperate with Him in order to change. Living and walking by faith, speaking positive, faith-filled words and obeying what He asks us to do is our part of this equation. If we do our part, we can be sure He will do His.
Father, I thank You for creating me to walk in faith with You. I thank You for giving me a measure of faith and that I can build and strengthen it through your Word and exercise it through my actions. Father, I pray for those today who are weak and struggling to overcome the obstacles that are in their way in their faith walk. I pray that You will reveal to them the great power that You have placed within them to help them; the power of Your Spirit. I pray that they may be encouraged today in knowing that You are with them and will guide them in how to overcome the trials and tribulations of life. May they experience a new reality of Your power to overcome the storms of life today. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Friday, October 10, 2014
Psalm 71:17 NKJV O God, You have taught me from my youth; And to this day I declare Your wondrous works.
To God be the glory, GREAT things He has done!
When I started my journey I was just a few days shy of 61 years old. At that time I was really apprehensive of my ability to do college level coursework and retain what I was learning enough to be able to pass the exams, etc., which were needed to complete my goal of a degree, but I knew God had called me to continue to seek Him, to grow in my relationship with Him, and to learn more that I could pass on to others. My instructor, my husband Gerald, my close friends and other students encouraged me, prayed with me and expressed what we all knew to be true, that God, the Holy Spirit, would teach me and enable me to pass my courses with excellence. And He did!
As I grew closer to my completion I set a goal to have my courses completed by my 65th birthday, which is today. So, I am happy to post these pictures and to say "Thank You, Lord", for helping me accomplish this goal!
Sunday, August 31, 2014
Let not the face of terror be that which you behold;
But instead turn your gaze into the face of the Lord.
The God of Creation is greater by far
Than he who was formed and whose nature was marred,
By the sin and disease of the the one who is known
As the father of lies and the murderer of those
Who stand for what's right, for freedom and love,
Who stare in the face of the terror of one
Who hates all those who do not agree
And plans to destroy all those who are free.
The God of Creation is mindful of that.
He watches the hearts of those who are fat
With hate and destruction, the motive He sees;
Who when they repent, through love He sets free.
So do not be afraid of the terror by day.
Or the arrow that flies or the knife that is swayed
By the hand of the face of the terror you see
For the God of Creation is mindful of thee.
He provides for His own; He protects and defends
The ones who are helpless and burdened within
With cares and fears of the blackness of him
Who's face is the terror that plagues all their years.
So turn away from the face of that tyranny and fear
And look into the face of the God who is near.
Avanell Savage 8/30/14
Psalm 91:1-16 NLT
1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare of the LORD:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I am trusting him.
3 For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from the fatal plague.
4 He will shield you with his wings,
He will shelter you with his feathers.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor fear the dangers of the day,
6 nor dread the plague that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
8 But you will see it with your eyes;
you will see how the wicked are punished.
9 If you make the LORD your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your dwelling.
11 For he orders his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you with their hands
to keep you from striking your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample down lions and poisonous snakes;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
14 The LORD says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble,
I will rescue them and honor them.
16 I will satisfy them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”
Saturday, August 23, 2014
I read a book by Joyce Meyer several years ago entitled “Enjoying Where You Are On The Way To Where You Are Going”. It really made an impression on me! How many times do we think that we will be happy as soon as......? And then we wait for that “perfect” time to arrive, or that “perfect” person, or that “perfect” life. As we wait the life that we have to live ticks away, moment by moment, without us enjoying the virtues of the “present”.
A few weeks ago I purchased, at a garage sale, a box of Beach Body workout DVDs. I had heard a lot about the Beach Body workouts, but thought they probably would be too intense for me at “my age”! But the 14 brand new unopened DVDs at $5.00 for the box grabbed my attention and I thought just maybe they might be worth the investment! So I bought the box and opened the first set entitled, “Slim In 6”. I decided that I would give them a try and if I couldn't do all the exercises even if I did some of them, or a modified version of them, it would be better than if I just sat on the couch and didn't try at all.
That was almost six weeks ago. I found that even though they were difficult, that I could do them, and I have had some really good non-scale victories through this past 5 weeks. I decided that I might not be “Slim in 6”, but I definitely could be “Stronger in 6”. And how true that is! My energy level has increased immensely, my Abs have responded to the “Slim in 6-Pack” workouts and my flexibility has increased greatly through the “Limber in 6” DVD. As a result I have lost 5 pounds, 1 ½ inches off my chest, 1 inch off my waist, 1 inch off my hips, and 1 ½ inches off my thighs. I decided that my $5.00 purchase was a great choice!
I'm enjoying the present much more because of the choice I made to take a chance for change!
God's blessings to each of you! May He grant you great success in your journey to healthy living!
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