Thursday, June 21, 2012
Ezekiel 22:30 “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; for I found no one.”
This morning as I've been praying the Lord has been speaking to me about the importance of standing in the gap before Him on behalf of our nation, our families and our friends. Are you standing in the gap before Him this morning on behalf of someone? Here is what I've heard from the Father this morning:
“Everything that you enjoy, Child, is because someone paid a price to purchase it for you. From the freedoms you enjoy as an American to the freedoms of salvation. They were all paid for through the sacrifice of people's lives. The ultimate sacrifice was when My Son purchased your salvation. Treasure the freedoms that you have, Child. Pray that the enemy of your soul may not have his way in destroying your freedoms. Stand in the gap on behalf of the land in which you live—the land of the free and the home of the brave. Stand in the gap on behalf of those who are fighting for their spiritual freedom. Pray for those around you. Move into the battle through your prayers to Me, for I hear and answer the prayers of My people.”
Prayer has been on my mind a lot lately. The last course I took was on Spiritual Warfare and the Lord has been impressing on me more and more the importance of standing in the gap before Him on behalf of others. God encourages us to pray. He has designed our lives to revolve around the relationship that we have with Him through prayer. When we come before Him on behalf of others He is ready and willing to act on their behalf.
2 Chronicles 7:14 “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Christians are His people. If Christians will humble themselves and pray and seek His face and turn from their wicked ways, then will He hear and forgive and heal our land. It is our responsibility as born again believers to humble ourselves before God on behalf of our nation, our families and our friends.
Proverbs 21:1 The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.
God holds people's hearts in His hand and can change their situations just like He formed and channeled the rivers. Nothing is too difficult for Him. But He has limited His activity in nations and people's lives to others who pray for them.
1 Timothy 2:1-4 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
He exhorts us to pray, especially for those in authority over us in our nation with this result in mind: that we may live a quiet and peaceable life, godly and reverent in His eyes. He exhorts us to pray for men to be saved and come to the knowledge of His truth so they don't spend an eternity apart from Him.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
God is waiting for us to pray for people to be saved because He is not will that they perish. He doesn't want people to die and spend eternity apart from Him. He is calling us to pray!
A further excerpt from the Lord this morning:
“Prayer changes people and situations. I am calling you to prayer. Do not turn a deaf ear to My request, Child. The welfare of those around you are dependent upon those who will stand in the gap before Me on their behalf. Be the priest that I have called you to be. Come before Me on behalf of the people and then take what I say to them. Be the intercessor that I have called you to be. Fight for the freedom of your people.”
I want to pass this conversation on to you, my friends, because the mandate that God has given me applies to every one of us as believers. We are all called to pray. It is not a mandate exclusive to any one person. We all, as believers, are placed in the position of being a priest before our God. He instructed me to not only come before Him on behalf of others, but then to take what I heard from Him and tell it to you. As believers, purchased by the blood of Jesus, we have been placed before God as modern day kings and priests.
Revelation 1:5,6 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Father, I thank You for giving Your very own Son to die for my freedom from the kingdom of darkness. Thank You for purchasing my redemption, Lord Jesus! Father, as I come before You this morning I pray for my friends as well as myself, that we will listen and hear the admonition that You have given us this morning to pray, to stand in the gap before You on behalf of our nation, our families and our friends. Help us to see the importance of our prayers, Father. Show us how we can make a difference in people's lives through praying. Let us catch a glimpse of what You are doing as we pray. Thank You, Lord, for the privilege of bringing others before You to see change in their lives. I ask You this morning, Lord, to turn the king's heart as You desire. Father, intervene in the life of our nation, Lord, to reflect the nation that we were at the beginning, founded upon Your principles, “one nation under God”. Lord, change the course of our country and cause the eyes of the people to once again be turned back to You. Father, move in the lives of our families; bring salvation to the lost, healing and deliverance to those who are oppressed. Father, save, heal and deliver our people! Thank You, Lord, for hearing and answering my prayers. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Luke 5:4-6 When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.
Have you ever felt that God was calling you to launch out into the deep and you couldn't see any way that it would work? Simon felt that way after he had fished all night and not caught anything and then Jesus told him to let down his nets for a catch. God loves to lead us out into uncharted territory where He can do the impossible through us!
Simon was tired, he was ready to go home after a long night of fishing with no results. He knew from his years of professional fishing that the best fishing was done at night and if you hadn't caught anything all night you probably would not do any good fishing during the day. And yet He stepped out in faith when he got instructions from the Master...."Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch". Simon began to tell the Lord why it wouldn't work but he quickly changed his attitude. "Nevertheless at YOUR WORD I will let down the net." (emphasis mine)
I have felt this way myself. A couple of years ago God impressed upon me the need to further my education. He told me to go back to school to get my bachelor's degree. I was totally unprepared for that! Me, at age 60, go back to school? It seemed like such an impossibility to think I could, at my age, earn a college degree. I was close to retirement age; it was not the normal time that I would think about pursuing an education; it was the time when I was thinking about retiring. And yet all through my working years I had said that I couldn't wait to retire so I could go into the ministry full time. I had been serving Him for years, fulfilling the calling that I knew He had on my life and working a full-time job as well as raising my children. But to think that at age 60 I would need to pursue a college degree was quite frightening. I had all the excuses just like Simon thinking why it wasn't the perfect time to fish when Jesus told him to let down his nets for a catch. I was too old; I hadn't been in school for over 40 years; my memory wasn't as sharp as it used to be, etc., etc., etc.! So I put it off for several months hoping the Lord would forget about it. But He didn't! I waited almost a year before I really began to investigate the possibility of taking online classes for a degree in Christian Counseling.
So, in September of 2010 I started my courses. My employer had closed the office where I worked and terminated all the employees so I had lost my job as a result of it and they had provided some re-training assistance funds in our severance packages. I wanted to use those funds to start my college education but I only had four months left before they would no longer be available. I felt I had waited too long, that this was an impossible situation. But I hadn't factored in the supernatural power of God to make a way where there seemed to be no way. He knew I was short on time, but nothing is impossible to Him. I had enough re-training funds for 10 courses and they had to be completed within those last 4 months. The college personnel said it was not humanly possible to complete them in that length of time but that they would do everything they could to help me get it done. My instructor worked diligently to help me plan a course of action and stay on course to reach my goal. I worked as if it all depended on me and prayed as if it all depended on God! I watched in amazement as He miraculously worked in my life enabling me to complete all ten courses, not only within the allotted time frame, but 2 weeks ahead of time! Where God leads He always provides! As I get closer to completion, He continues to anoint me to complete each course on time, with excellence, and earning a 4.0 grade point average. Now, that's a boat load of fish to me! I imagine Simon was surprised when he and the others pulled in that net full of fish, just as I've been amazed every time God has supernaturally anointed me to complete a course with excellence!
What about you? Has God asked you to do what seemed to be the impossible? Has He told you to "launch out into the deep". Fishing under the directions of the Master is so much fun! When He speaks a word and you step out in faith depending on it to be so, you will not be disappointed. He will not let you down. Your response in faith pleases the Father and when you step out at the Master's call you are allowing Him to stretch you and take you to a new level in your walk with Him! Why don't you ask Him to lead you out into the deep so you can have some fun fishing with the Master, too?
Father, I thank You for Your supernatural ability within me that enables me to succeed at what You have called me to do. I thank You that I can know that where You lead You always provide. Thank You for the joy of serving You and those that you place in my path. Thank You for allowing me to minister Your word to the lost and those who are hurting and in need of salvation and deliverance. I pray for my friends that You will lead them to the place where You can minister to them and through them; wholeness to their spirits, souls and bodies. Thank You, Father. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
I have felt for some time that God was directing me to establish a blog on the web so I am in the process of setting up a page on Word Press. Here is the link: http://www.aviesplace.wordpress.com Please let me know if you are able to access this blog at the new site so I can begin to incorporate my SP blog with the new one.
Thanks and God bless!
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Hebrews 12:25-28 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” Now this, “Yet, once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
We look around us today and we see all kinds of shaking going on. Shaking in the nations of the world, shaking in economies, shaking in relationships, shaking in our government and shaking in people's personal lives. As we look back through history at God's people, the Israelites, we see that they would go through periods of strife and war and difficulties and then God would send a deliverer and they would experience years of peace before the cycle would start all over again. Time and time again their difficulties would bring them to a place where they would turn back to the Lord and serve Him whole-heartedly, after finding out that they couldn't live by their own standards and ways and have peace. It is the same today.
God is shaking those things around us and in our own lives that are not of Him so that what is of Him will remain. God's kingdom is UNSHAKEABLE! Only what is of Him is lasting. All else will fall away. It is at those times when we are shaken that we realize that we can't make it without Him. Often it is through times of difficulty that people seek the Lord and turn to Him.
As we look into God's word we see that there are principles and laws that God has established for us that if we will build our lives on them we will have the stability that we need to not be shaken when things start falling around us. Psalm 119 talks about these principles as being God's testimonies, precepts, statutes, commandments, righteous judgments, and laws. God has set in place spiritual laws that will never change and if we will live according to them when the winds of adversity blow we will still be able to stand strong.
Paul describes times in his life where he suffered a shaking in 2 Corinthians 4:8, 9:
We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed--
And he says in Acts 20:24 “But none of these things move me; not do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
Paul experienced many winds of adversity in his life but he allowed them to strengthen him, not defeat him; to the point that when adversity came he could say, “but none of these things moved me.”
Through the years I have experienced many times of shaking and the Lord would speak to me about strengthening me and hardening me to difficulties from this scripture in Isaiah.
Isaiah 41:10 AMP Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.
I used to hate it when God would speak to me about this scripture because He would always say “I will strengthen you and harden you to difficulties”, and I knew when He said that that there was a major shaking coming my way. And yet He was right there beside me to help me through it.
It is as we face the difficult times that we dig our heels in and stand strong. It's like a little sapling that when first planted and encounters the winds and rain of a storm that causes it to bend clear over to touch the ground, but as that little tree's roots grow down deeper into the soul and it is nourished and strengthen that it becomes strong enough to withstand the storms and then when the wind and rain comes it eventually just sways back and forth, not bent clear over any longer.
Jesus said in Matthew 7:24-25 that we should build our lives on the solid rock of His word and then the winds of the storms will not shake our foundations.
“Therefore, whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock; “and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.”
What are you building your house on? Are the winds of adversity ripping through your life? The things that can be shaken will be shaken so that the things that are of the Lord will remain. There is a whole lot of shaking going on, but if we will build our houses on the solid rock of God's word we will stand when all is falling around us.
Father, I thank You that Your word stands true throughout the ages and nothing can shake us when we build our lives on Your word. Thank You, Father, for being close to us when we go through difficulties! Thank You for taking us by the hand and walking us through them. Father, I know that as we near the time of Jesus' return that there will be more and more shaking going on around us. Help us to develop now our relationships with You that will stand through the shaking that is to come. Help us to live our lives according to Your unshakeable kingdom principles so we can withstand the adversity that comes in our lives. Thank You, Father, for giving us an anchor that we can attach ourselves to that will hold us in the right place when the storms come. I pray for my friends this morning that they will prepare ahead of time for the shaking that is to come. I ask You, Father, to show them the importance of building a firm foundation upon which they can stand through the difficulties. Help them, Father, to look to You as their source, not other people, their jobs or any material possessions for these things are all subject to the shaking. Only what we build on in You will stand strong. Thank You, Father. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Monday, June 18, 2012
Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
Last week Gerald and I watched Nik Wallenda walk a tight-wire over Niagara Falls. It had never been done at that particular place by anyone before and as he walked we heard him praying and giving glory to God for giving him the ability to do that brave feat. He definitely stepped out in faith believing that God had given him this ability and that God rewards those who faithfully step out to fulfill what they believe God has called them to do. Now, whether we agree or not about his belief that this is his calling from God, is not the issue here. He believes and that is what matters. He sees his acts of tight-rope walking as his calling from God, the continuation of the profession of his family. To me this illustration simply shows the level of achievement a person can arrive at through acting on the faith that they have in God's ability to bring into manifestation what they believe about Him. Nik Wallenda trusted that God was leading him to this adventure in his life and that he could do it empowered by the Holy Spirit as he walked. He wanted to instill within people all over the world that dreams can be achieved through faith in God.
Faith is not simply acting on a presumptuous thought or feeling. Faith is developed by hearing the word of God.
Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. The Amplified Bible says it this way:
So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself).
So we see that in order to develop faith we have to hear the Word of God. Hearing and hearing and hearing! Faith comes as we hear what God has to say about our lives, what He has given us in our covenant with Him that was purchased through the blood of Jesus. Faith begins small and is developed over time.
Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
We don't see ourselves in a position of presumption in acting out what faith has not already developed within us, but we act on the measure that God has given us, developing it in time, and acting on it as it arises within us. Nik Wallenda prepared for his tight-rope walk across Niagara Falls as he grew in faith to believe for bigger things that God would bring into his life. He did not just get up one day and say “I think I'll walk across Niagara Falls on a tight-rope today” and then go out and try to accomplish it. He had the dream planted in his heart when he was six years old and then he developed faith to believe for it as he accomplished smaller feats of faith-walking. Faith is like a muscle; it begins small and develops as we act on it.
God prepared David's faith to kill Goliath as he trained him to defeat smaller enemies like the bear and the lion while he was tending his father's sheep.
1 Samuel 17:34-37 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father's sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, “I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. “Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Phillistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” Moreover David said, “The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Phillistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you!”
David had developed his faith in God to be able to fight Goliath by having trusted in his God to deliver him from the bear and the lion. He knew that God would enable him to win in his fight against Goliath because He had shown Himself faithful to David already in the other fights. Confidence in God was instilled within David as he prepared his measure of faith to be developed over time and through exercise. He did not act in presumption when it came to fighting Goliath, he acted in faith.
Mark 11:22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.”
Faith has to have a foundation, a beginning place. That foundation has to be God; what He says, not what we think, feel or see with our mind, will or emotions. Faith is not a trick or confession of a formula, but it is a spoken expression that springs from the conviction of our hearts. It is as faith grows in our hearts that it can be spoken from our mouths and acted out through our actions. Jesus goes on to say in verse 24 that “whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them”. Faith builds the conviction that, when developed, arises within us to empower our actions. It is faith, not presumption that brings into being what we believe.
Jesus told His disciples in Luke 17:6 when they asked Him to increase their faith that it wasn't the size of their faith that mattered, it was what they did with it that determined the outcome.
Luke 17:5, 6 And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith”. So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.
What we do with our faith is what matters to God. He has given us all the measure of faith, but we must develop it. He does His part in giving by grace, and we do our part in receiving by faith. You cannot trust God for the money to fund a million dollar ministry if you haven't exercised your faith to believe Him to provide for your monthly bills. You will not have faith to believe for healing from a terminal illness if you haven't believed God for healing from a headache. We go from faith to faith and glory to glory.
Father, I thank You for instilling faith within me. Thank You for enabling me to exercise the measure of faith that you have given me to see it grow to believe for the bigger things that You want to do through me. I pray for my friends today that You will instill within them the desire to step out in faith to believe that You will accomplish through them the good plan that You have for their lives. Help them to grasp, by faith, the things that You want to give them. Father, may they grow in their faith as they exercise it for small things and then develop it for the bigger things. Thank You, Father! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Ephesians 2:8, 9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
All of us come to salvation by the same avenue—by grace, through faith! We receive all things from God the same way—by grace, through faith!
Colossians 2:6,7 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
Grace has several different definitions. But the one that best describes grace in Ephesians 2:8 is the Greek word “charis” meaning unmerited favor, undeserved blessing, a free gift.
God's grace is given simply because of His goodness. It is a free gift as stated in Ephesians 2:9 so that we can't boast that we earned it or take credit for its goodness. God places each one of us on the same level playing field when we come to Him. He gives what we need by His grace, His unmerited favor and we receive it through our faith.
Faith – Greek word “pistis” meaning conviction, confidence, trust, belief, reliance, trustworthiness, and persuasion. In the New Testament setting, pistis is the divinely implanted principle of inward confidence, assurance, trust,and reliance in God and all that He says.
Author Paul E. Billheimer in his book “Destined To Overcome” describes a working definition of faith as this: “Faith is the acceptance of a fact which already exists in reality but which has not yet been manifested to the senses.” Hebrews 11:1 says that “Faith is the evidence of things not seen”-- things which already exist in reality. It is this confident trust in God's goodness and provision that causes us to step out believing that what He has said He will do for us that is already a reality in the spirit realm and we bring it to us through receiving what we can't yet see and standing firm until it becomes a material reality. Faith—the substance, or confidence of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
Example—Peter had to step out of the boat at Jesus' word that he would be able to walk on the water. The water was not stabilized to hold his weight until his feet hit it. Peter believed what Jesus said and acted in faith to receive it.
Matthew 14:28, 29 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.
Example—In Joshua 3 God tells the Israelites to cross the Jordan river and that He would part the river for their crossing so they could cross safely on dry ground. But the Priests had to go before them and step into the Jordan river before He would part it. The Jordan river was at flood stage at this time, but God required the exercise of faith before they could receive His provision from Him.
Joshua 3:13-17 “And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the waters that come down from upstream, and they shall stand as a heap.” So it was, when the people set out from their camp to cross over the Jordan, with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, and as those who bore the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest), that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away at Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan. So the waters that went down into the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, failed, and were cut off; and the people crossed over opposite Jericho. Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan.
Can you imagine the fear that came against them as they got to an overflowing, raging river at flood stage? Fear will always try to over-power faith! But fear and faith cannot co-exist. It is impossible to have both at the same time. In order to receive from God you will have to say “no” to fear and “yes” to faith. Fear is simply, as Joyce Meyer has so often stated, “False Evidence Appearing Real”. Fear is a spirit that God says He has not given us.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Is fear hindering you from receiving from God today? Does it cause you to stay within a walled box that keeps you from achieving your dreams? How about your weight loss journey? Or your desire to live pain and illness free? Do you see God moving in your life as you exercise your faith to receive from Him?
Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
God doesn't limit us to what we can achieve when we come to Him in faith. He says, “all things”, not “some things”, not “a few things”, but ALL things! The limitations that we place are only on ourselves. He is ready and willing to give of His grace, but are we ready to receive by exercising our faith?
Father, I thank You for making the way possible for us to receive “all things” from You that You have planned for our lives. You are the all-sufficient One; the great I AM, holding all things together by the word of Your power and You say that “all things are possible” to us when we believe. Father, this morning I believe in You. I believe that You will enable me to walk in the fullness of Your plan for my life. I believe that You are willing and ready to empower me by Your Spirit to do all that You have called me to do. Father, I pray for my friends this morning that fear will not stop them from achieving their dreams that You have given them. I pray that they will step out in faith to receive from You and not allow fear to hinder them. I speak to the spirit of fear right now in the name of Jesus Christ and command fear to leave them right now! I lose the Spirit of freedom in Christ Jesus to them to work in them all that You desire to do, Father. And I thank You for fulfilling Your plan in their lives! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
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