Monday, July 09, 2012
Isaiah 55:5-8 AMP Behold, you [Israel] shall call nations that you know not, and nations that do not know you shall run to you because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for He has glorified you. Seek, inquire for, and require the Lord while He may be found [claiming Him by necessity and by right]; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have love, pity, and mercy for him, and to our God, for He will multiply to him His abundant pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord.
Israel is God's chosen people and we see throughout the Old Testament His interaction with His people and how He lead them, protected them and provided for them. They are a type and shadow of the New Testament church. Those who believe in Christ Jesus and put their trust in Him for forgiveness of their sin become a child of God and a part of His Church. As such, we are His people and He always used His people as a witness to the unbeliever. As we look at Israel throughout the Old Testament God used them to witness to the surrounding nations of Who He was and what He wanted to be to them. As New Testament believers He wants to use us as a witness to those unbelievers around us. As we grow closer to the time of Christ's return it is imperative for believers to draw close to the Lord, to be filled with His Spirit and to be able to share with unbelievers the good news of Jesus Christ so they can enter into the family of God as well.
We do not know when the Lord will return, but He has given us enough information in His word about His return that we can look at the signs of the time and know that it is near.
Matthew 24:3-8 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. “For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. “All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
As we draw closer to the return of the Lord, people will be running to believers because they know Jesus and will be able to minister His love to them. It is as believers seek the Lord for His direction that they will be able to offer answers to those who are fearful about what is happening around them.
Luke 21:25-28 “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; “men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”
We see so much happening around us already of which the Scriptures have spoken. We see wars and hear rumors of wars; there is unrest all over the world. There are earthquakes happening all around us and people are fearful of the future, not knowing how to live even in the present. The economy and the state of the nation has provoked fear in the hearts of the people. The word says that men's hearts will fail them because of fear. It is imperative that we as believers are able to give them hope, knowing that God is our Source and He will provide even in the midst of troubled times. People need to know that God loves them and wants them to be saved from the destruction that will eventually take place. We, as believers need to draw near to the Lord so we will have something to give out to unbelievers as they become fearful of the future. You can't give something away that you don't own for yourself. If you are filled with fear then that is what you will share with others. If you are filled with faith and know God's provision for your own life, then you will be able to share with others that He is faithful to provide for them as well.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God, For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
Paul declared to the people Jesus Christ and Him crucified. He used His relationship with the Lord as a platform to preach the way of salvation to those unbelievers who were around him. He didn't share his own thoughts or feelings about their lives and situations, but he made sure that his preaching was a result of his dependence on the Holy Spirit so their faith could be placed in God and not himself. It is only the power of God that can eternally change people; it is only God that can save, heal, deliver and set free. Man under his own power can have no lasting eternal effect on another human being, but when man places his dependence on the Lord, he then becomes a living vessel through which God's power can flow.
Jesus said this in John 15:4-8 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”
Jesus said the key to being fruitful and having something to share with others on a spiritual level is abiding in Him; living in His presence; praying and listening to His voice and then sharing with others what you have heard. It is a life lived in close communion with the Lord that bears fruit for His kingdom.
Isaiah 55:6 Seek, inquire for, and require the Lord while He may be found [claiming Him by necessity and by right]; call upon Him while He is near.
It is of utmost importance that we seek the Lord before the time of trouble is upon us so that we can be ready to share the help needed with those around us. Are you seeking the Lord as if He is a necessity in your life that you can't live without? Or is your relationship with Him a hit and miss type of thing? It is much more difficult to get answers to a problem when you are in the midst of the battle, but if you have tuned your spirit to hear the voice of God in times of peace when there is no turmoil in your life you will be prepared to hear Him when the pressure of adversity is upon you.
1 Corinthians 2:9-12 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the hear of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.”
When we draw near to the Lord we can know what God has planned for us because He reveals them to us through His Spirit. Jesus told His disciples in John 16:13 that His Spirit would reveal to them those things that were yet to come, that would be happening n the future.
John 16:13 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”
He will guide you, share what He hears from the Father with you and inform you of future happenings. It is through the relationship and fellowship that we have with Jesus through His Spirit that we learn the things that God has planned for us and what will happen in the future. If we do not spend time in His presence we will be unprepared for the future and of no use to those around us who are fearful because of the happenings leading up to the return of the Lord Jesus.
Will you be ready to help those around you? Or, will you be one of those believers who is almost like an unbeliever because you have not grown in your walk with the Lord? Will you be able to give out hope and the answers that are needed for salvation to the lost or will you be one who needs reassurance from other believers that things are going to be okay in your own life? Success comes through preparation, planning and activation in all of our life's endeavors.
Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law.
The word for revelation in this verse actually means “prophetic vision”. We receive revelation or prophetic vision from the Lord. With out it people run around like chickens with their heads cut off. They do not know what to do. But with God's vision we know what to do to carry us through the difficult days. We can be happy in living by His laws or principles set down through His word and revealed by His Spirit for success. We will have something to share with others that will bring hope and success in their lives as well.
Father, I thank You for Your word and for making it possible for us to come to You through interaction with Your Spirit to know the things that lie ahead of us. Thank You for revealing Your plans to us so we can share them with those around you that may be fearful of the future. Father, open our eyes to see the need for a close walk with You. Grant us the courage to come boldly before Your throne of grace before it is too late to get the help that we need. Father, impress upon our hearts the importance of developing a close and intimate walk with you. Draw us by Your Spirit and give us a hunger and thirst for You, Lord, that can only be quenched as we draw from Your heart. Thank You, Father, for hearing and answering my prayer this morning. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Sunday, July 08, 2012
Matthew 4:4 But He answered and said, “It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'”
We talked recently about the Greek words for “word”. There are two: logos and rhema.
Logos is the message; rhema is the communication of the message. Logos is the Bible in its entirety; rhema is a verse from the Bible. The Greek word in Matthew 4:4 for “word” is rhema indicating that the Lord Jesus is saying that for us to live or be nourished we must have the rhema that proceeds from the mouth of God; or we must have the Holy Spirit speak to our spirits a living word from the Word of God. The Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts the verse of scripture that we need at that very moment to nourish our spirits or give us the scriptural help that we need to battle against the enemy and win.
This verse tells us that just as our bodies need nourishment, so our spirits do also. But it is a “now” word that we need; just as the Israelites gathered manna in the wilderness for their daily needs, so we need manna from God's mouth for our daily needs.....fresh manna.
John 6:31-35 “Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'” Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. “For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who come to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”
Jesus is the living word of God. He came down from heaven to do His Father's will, to give us LIFE. Just as the Israelites were fed manna in the wilderness, so we receive manna from God through His Son, Jesus Christ, as it is delivered by the Holy Spirit. He speaks His word to us that gives us life!
John 6:63 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”
As I think back through the years contemplating on my walk with the Lord, I see a consistent pattern of growth arising from the time I would spend with Him each day. As long as I came to the Lord and asked the Holy Spirit to minister His word to me I experienced the life of God flowing into me. That desire to be filled came from a hunger and a thirst for the Lord; I needed to hear from Him and He consistently fed me with fresh manna each day. We need to hear from the Lord daily or we will grow stagnant. We are either going and growing or we are sitting and stagnating!
John 5:39, 40 “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. “But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”
People look for Jesus in a lot of places; shopping, eating, addictions, relationships, etc. And sometimes, they sincerely search for Him through the word, but they approach the Word in a legalistic manner. I once knew a lady who was very knowledgeable of the Word; she could quote a lot of scripture, but her life didn't reflect the life that comes from the Word ministered by the Holy Spirit. She was constantly speaking negatively of her life and her countenance reflected the negativity that was growing in her heart. There was no joy or victory in her life as she battled the enemy. She had approached the Word through a work of the flesh; but not to receive the manna from the rhema word of God ministered by the Holy Spirit. Jesus said the people searched the scriptures thinking they could find eternal life, but they refused to come to Him to receive the life that He offered. The Holy Spirit brings life through the word so our spirits can be nourished and revitalized! When we seek the Lord in the Word, the Spirit brings Him to life within us.
How's your relationship with the the Lord? Is it filled with the life of the Holy Spirit, or does it seem dry and life-less? Do you invite the Holy Spirit to lead you as you study the word? Jesus said that He is our Teacher.
John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”
The Holy Spirit teaches us and brings back to our remembrance the things that Jesus has said. He gives life to the words of Jesus. He anoints us to learn as He teaches us.
1 John 2:20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.
1 John 2:27 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
As I started my college courses in 2010 I was very hesitant in thinking that I could go to college at age 60 and earn a college degree after having been out of school for so long. I had to learn to trust the Holy Spirit to teach me and bring back to my remembrance the things that I needed to pass my tests. He has repeatedly proven to me that His anointing to study and pass my courses with excellency is with me. He teaches me and helps me learn what I need to know to pass the courses. He meets with me and brings life to my courses. He does not just want me to pass academically, but He wants me to have an encounter with Him through each course. It has been an awesome experience. I needed more of the interaction of the Holy Spirit in my life and He has repeatedly shown up and manifested His presence to me through my seeking Him and allowing Him to fellowship with me.
Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to fellowship with you? He is a person; the third person of the God-Head. He longs to reveal Jesus to you and fill you to overflowing with His love; manifesting His presence in your life.
John 16:13-15 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. “He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine an declare it to you. “All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.”
The Holy Spirit wants to glorify Jesus in your life. He wants to guide you into all truth and tell you of things to come. Won't you invite Him to come and fill your life with His overflowing presence?
John 7:37-39 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
The Holy Spirit has been given today. He came to live within believers on the Day of Pentecost. He now is living in the hearts of those who believe in Jesus. But there is a difference between being indwelt by the Spirit and being immersed in the Spirit. If you fill a glass with water it has the water within it, but if you put the glass in a bowl of water it not only has the water in it but it also has it all around it. It has now been immersed in the water. That's the way it is with being baptized in the Holy Spirit. He comes to live within you when you ask Jesus into your heart to be your Savior, but you are immersed in Him when you receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. That subsequent event in my life is when I really experienced the life of God within me. The Holy Spirit filled me to overflowing with His very presence. The word of God came alive to me and I experienced a new joy and power from above. I became alive with a new reality of Who Jesus really was to me through the manifestation of His Spirit within and upon me. And I received a heavenly prayer language that I could use in praying and praising the Lord.
If you have not received that gift from the Lord, just ask Him to baptize you in His Spirit, receive it by faith and allow Him to fill your mouth with His heavenly prayer language. Begin praising Him and using that supernatural language that He has given you. Let Him take you to new places in Him.
Father, I thank You for Your Spirit who lives within me. I thank You for the manifest presence of Your Spirit and that I can fellowship with Him. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for glorifying Jesus in my life. Thank You for teaching me and anointing me to do the things that the Father has called me to do. I pray for my friends that they might fellowship with You and allow You to teach them and reveal Jesus to them in an fresh, new way. I pray that they might have a life-giving encounter with You, Holy Spirit. Father, bring the Spirit of Jesus to life in each one of them; not just in living within them because they are born again, but through the manifestation of Your presence living and moving through their lives, refreshing and revitalizing them, baptizing them in Your Spirit! Set them on fire for you, Lord Jesus, through the presence of Your Spirit living and flowing out of them! Thank You, Lord, for hearing and answering my prayer because I believe I receive when I pray. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Saturday, July 07, 2012
1 Corinthian 12:4-11 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all; for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
The gifts of the Spirit are high-tech weapons that God has made available to us through the Holy Spirit to defeat the works of the enemy in our lives and the lives of those for whom we are praying. These are the gifts of the Spirit, not ours to be used at our will, but His to be used as He sees fit. He flows through believers to touch the hearts and lives of people for His glory, not ours. We are His body, and as such, when we yield ourselves to His Spirit, He will touch through us bringing salvation, healing and deliverance to those in need.
Jesus told His disciples in Mark 16:15-20 that they were to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He said there were certain signs that would follow those who believe.
Mark 16:17 “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; “they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
And in verse 20 the word says:
And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.
God is waiting for us to do our part in preaching the gospel and ministering healing and deliverance to those around us so that He can confirm His word through what we say and do!
I remember a few years ago I was in a park near my home walking early in the morning, as was my daily custom, and as I walked I would pray. So, this one morning I was walking on the track when an elderly couple pulled up in their car. I watched as this sweet, little lady got out of her car and began making her way down to the track. She could barely shuffle along. I could tell that it took everything she had within her to walk that distance to the track. As I was walking towards her the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and asked me to stop her and pray for her. I was not used to approaching someone that I didn't know in that manner and, being somewhat of a shy person, I spoke to her and walked right on past her giving the Lord some lame excuse about not knowing her and being shy and not wanting to offend her in case she wouldn't receive my offer of prayer. Well, He didn't let me off that easily, so as I approached her on the next trip around He asked me to pray for her again. This time I obeyed. I spoke to her and told her my name and that I walked there every morning and usually prayed as I walked. Then I told her that as I was walking that morning the Lord asked me to stop and pray for her and would she mind if I did that. She very graciously accepted my offer so I laid my hands on her frail, little body and began to pray for God to touch her with His healing power. I closed my prayer and she thanked me and we both went on our way. I didn't see any immediate result of my prayer but day after day she began to walk more briskly and with a strength that had not been visible when she first came to the track. It was evident that Mark 16:18 “they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” was working in her physical body. One day as we met she stopped me and thanked me for praying for her. She said she had gone to the same church for 50 years and no one had ever prayed for her like I did. She was so grateful.....and I was so blessed!
God opens doors for us to be His body; to minister His love, grace, and healing power to those around us. But how many times do we slough it off? How often do we accept His offer to be His mouthpiece, or His hands and feet? One illustration that the Lord gave me of how He wants to flow through us as His body is like a hand inside a glove. We are the glove and He is the hand that moves inside the glove.
When we yield to the Holy Spirit for Him to flow through us to touch people He becomes the voice within us speaking God's word or the hand inside of us; the One doing the work through us. It is then that He ministers His gifts through His people, His body.
I often tell the ladies that are preparing for counseling and deliverance sessions that most of our session will be spent in prayer seeking the direction of the Holy Spirit for guidance and following the instructions He gives for deliverance. He can do in just a few minutes what might take me months to accomplish. It is as we yield to Him and ask Him to lead us and show us how to minister that He will be right there working through us to accomplish His will in that person's life. The gifts that He gives are high-tech weapons used to help us overcome our shortcomings in spiritual warfare. We operate in the natural through our limited knowledge and ability, but when the Holy Spirit operates through us with one of His gifts it is done supernaturally and very often instantaneously! There is nothing that compares with Him!
It was said of Jesus in Luke 4:18, 19: “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
We don't have any trouble accepting the fact that Jesus was God in the flesh, sent to do the will of the Father, to redeem mankind and bring healing and deliverance to those who were in bondage. But what about the verse that Jesus shares with His disciples in John 14:12?
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”
“He who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do”. Do you believe in Him? Do you believe that He will do the same works and greater through you than He did Himself? Faith opens the door for Him to work through you just like it does in you receiving God's grace for salvation, healing, or deliverance for your own personal benefit.
The man, Jesus of Nazareth, who walked on this earth preaching, teaching and healing, received His power from God through the anointing of His Spirit.
Acts 10:38 “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”
Jesus said in Acts 1:8 that when the Holy Spirit comes upon us we will receive power to be His witnesses.
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
The Holy Spirit is the person of the God-head that is in operation in the earth today. He is the Spirit of Christ Jesus that was sent when Jesus ascended back to heaven. Jesus described Him in John 16:7 as the “Helper”. He is working in and through His body in the world today. He has chosen to work through individual believers in the body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:27, 28 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.
Each one of us has a calling on our life to fulfill the will and purpose of God in reaching the lost and hurting around us. No one is more important than the other.
1 Corinthians 12:18-26 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
There is no one person in the body of Christ that is more important than another. God has set each one of us in the body as He pleased. We each have our own part to play in His work. He is the one working in us to establish His will and good pleasure.
Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Jesus said that He didn't do anything that He didn't see the Father doing and He didn't say anything on His own judgment.
John 5:19, 30 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.”
The Son lived in such sweet communion with the Father that what He saw the Father doing was what He did. And He spoke only those things that He heard from the Father. Philippians 2:5-8 tells us that He laid His deity aside when He came to earth and submitted Himself to the will of the Father. He was anointed by the Holy Spirit, and followed the directions given by the Father to do His will. He is our perfect example of how God wants to now flow through His body of believers, to accomplish His will through the Spirit in our world today.
Father, I thank You for Jesus, who came to this earth, lived a life of ministry as You anointed Him by Your Spirit to do Your will. I thank You that He became our substitute for the payment for our sin. Thank You for redeeming us and placing us in You as Your body. Father, may we represent You well by listening to Your Spirit as You direct us in ministry. May we flow with the Holy Ghost as His mouthpiece and hands and feet! Father, do through us what You want to do to bring salvation to the lost and healing and deliverance to those who are in bondage. Fulfill Your will through us today, Father! In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
Friday, July 06, 2012
Ephesians 6:18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints--
After all the armor of God is applied to the believer's life, he now goes into the battle......praying! Just as Jesus entered the battle in the Garden of Gethsemane, so the believer enters the battle with the enemy through prayer.
The Amplified version of Ephesians 6:18 reads this way:
Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God's consecrated people).
The word for “praying” in the Greek is proseuchomai which means “to pray” and is the most frequent word used for prayer to God.
Supplication – Greek word deesis – means primarily “a wanting, a need”; a beseeching or entreating; it is an earnest request presented with an urgency that almost says “God this must be done now”. It is reflective of the importance of the situation at that very moment.
In this verse of Scripture the Lord is telling us to make prayer always a priority. We are to pray earnestly, beseeching the Lord in the Spirit, or in tongues, or if you don't have your heavenly prayer language, that you always pray at the direction of the Spirit. We are to always be spiritually alert for the next move of the enemy. And we are to persevere, continuing to entreat the Lord on behalf of all the saints. This is the stance that we are to take before, during and after the battle. It is a lifestyle of communication with the Father at different levels of prayer; some of which are prayer to God for ourselves; intercession, which is standing in the gap before God on behalf of another; and spiritual warfare, which is fighting against the enemy during times of war. At times the prayer takes on a more intense type of urgency because the battle is more intense. We follow the direction of the Spirit as He knows exactly what is taking place and what needs to be done at each step of the way. For us to be victorious in battle, we must be spiritually intimate in our relationship with the Lord.
In Psalm 32:8 the Lord tells us that He will guide us with His eye.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.
When my children were little they knew by the look in my eyes what message I was trying to convey to them. If they were not behaving they knew if Mom gave them a certain look they better straighten up or a more severe form of discipline would follow. I could guide them with that certain look because they knew me; they were used to my character and nature because they were my children and they spent a lot of time with me. When we are close to our spouses we can be across the room from each other and look into the others eyes and almost know exactly what they are thinking or intending to do at that very moment. When we are close to the Lord we learn His character and nature. We “know” Him and He leads us through that intimate communication that we have in our relationship with Him.
He tells us in Isaiah 30:21 that He will direct us by speaking to us.
Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” Whenever you turn to the right hand, Or whenever you turn to the left.
Jesus said in John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
We are His sheep! When we “know” Him we will hear His voice and know how to proceed in the battle against the enemy.
The Greek word for “know” is ginosko and it means “to know completely”. He knows us completely and it should be our desire to come to know Him as completely as is possible in our own limited human understanding. Ginosko is knowledge obtained not by mere intellectual activity, but by operation of the Holy Spirit upon acceptance of Christ. It is progressively growing in relationship with the Lord as the Holy Spirit leads you through prayer, Bible study, and fellowship with Him. “Know” or “ginosko” is the same word used to describe Joseph knowing Mary, his wife, in an intimate sexual relationship as husband and wife in Matthew 1:25. When a man and woman say “I do” they become “one”. But It is the intimate sexual union of the marital bed that consummates the marriage and brings them into “oneness”. It is then as husband and wife live together day after day that they grow in their knowledge of each other. As we get to know God more intimately we will understand His character and nature and learn who He is to us personally. We are able to understand the desires of His heart; His compassion and understanding and through that “knowing” we will be able to hear His voice clearly; to follow His directions in defeating the enemy in our lives and the lives of others. Prayer is not just bringing a laundry list of requests before Him, although He desires to answer our requests, but that we would grow through interaction with Him to where we know His heart; to be able to pray effectively on behalf of all the saints that the enemy would be silenced and stopped in his attacks against fellow believers.
Ephesians 6:19, 20 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
The ultimate intercession that we could make for any believer is that they would be able to open their mouths boldly to speak forth the mystery of the gospel. The mystery of the gospel; that all men, both Jew and Gentile, might come to salvation through Jesus Christ. We, as born again believers, have all been made ambassadors of His just as Paul was.
2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God.
The enemy's attacks, for which we stand in battle against, is ultimately designed to stop the spread of the gospel in the lives of lost people and to destroy the lives of believers. If he can attack a believer and stop him from sharing the way of salvation to those around him, he has succeeded in stopping the mystery of the gospel from going forth. It is with this in mind that we learn to pray through the battles at the direction of the Spirit until we stop the enemy in his tracks!
Father, I thank You for making the way possible for us to come to You through prayer. Thank You for opening the door for us to know You, through Your Son, Jesus Christ. I pray that we might take our relationship with you seriously and develop our knowledge of You through prayer and studying Your word. I pray as Paul prayed in Ephesians 1:17-20 that You would give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of You, that the eyes of our understanding might be enlightened that we might know the hope of Your calling for us what are the riches of Your inheritance in the saints and that we might know the power that is available to us who believe; that same great power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead. Father, open our hearts to see You in all Your greatness and know that You are for us, equipping us with the same power that You used in raising Christ from the dead. Help us to stay in close relationship with You, Father, that we might be able to hear Your voice clearly and know exactly how to fight the enemy. Father, give us the victory in battle! Thank You, Lord, for hearing and answering my prayer! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Thursday, July 05, 2012
Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
As we continue to look at the Soldier's Attire I want to focus today on the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. These two essential parts of the Soldier's attire are often misunderstood because of lack of knowledge regarding what is included in the covenant that we have with God through Jesus.
God said in Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge,....”
It is of utmost importance that you get into God's word and find out for yourself what belongs to you as a child of God. The covenant that Jesus died to give us is a “better covenant, which was established on better promises” according to Hebrews 8:6.
The Roman soldier's helmet had a chinstrap and a visor, and came down to cover the back and sides of the neck. It was designed so that it covered the head and neck from attacks from all angles. Officers' helmets had a ridge on top on which was mounted some sort of plumage depending on the rank.
The helmet of salvation is the part of the armor of God that protects our minds. Many times when we think of salvation, we think of forgiveness of sin, which, of course, is included in salvation. But salvation includes so much more than just having our sins forgiven. Let's look at the actual definition of the Greek words for salvation:
Salvation: Soteria, soterion and soterios. All three have similar definitions which define salvation as being an all-inclusive word signifying forgiveness, healing, prosperity, deliverance, safety, rescue, liberation, and restoration. Christ's salvation is total in scope of the total man: spirit, soul, and body.
When we renew our minds to the truth of God's word regarding salvation we come to understand that to be saved is to be forgiven, healed, cured, preserved, kept safe and sound, rescued from danger or destruction and delivered. To save, the Greek word is sozo, means that we are saved from physical death by healing and from spiritual death by forgiveness of sin and it's effects. Sozo, or saved, in primitive cultures is translated simply, “to give new life” and “to cause to have a new heart”.
Jesus said in John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
Abundantly – perissos – Superabundance, excessive, overflowing, surplus, over and above, more than enough, profuse extraordinary, above the ordinary, more than sufficient.
Jesus died that we might have a covenant with God that is superabundant, excessive, overflowing, more than enough and more than sufficient. Salvation is all-inclusive; whatever you need is supplied through the covenant that you have with God through the blood of Jesus!
By looking at the helmet of salvation and understanding the broad definition of salvation, we see that it simply means to be saved from whatever danger you are in. To a person who doesn't know Jesus as Savior, salvation would mean forgiveness of sin. That would be the gospel or “good news” to him; that Jesus came to save him from his sins and when he receives the personal revelation of that and believes in his heart that God raised Jesus from the dead and confesses him as Lord, he becomes “saved”. To the person who is struggling with an illness, salvation would mean physical healing. To the person that needs provision in their finances that salvation would mean deliverance from debt and the ability to meet their financial obligations with an abundance for every good work. For the person who is oppressed that salvation would mean deliverance from mental and emotional distresses.
When we place the helmet of salvation on our heads we are covering our minds with the truth of God's total work of redemption; spirit, soul and body. Then when the enemy comes with tormenting thoughts of fear that we're going to die and be eternally separated from God we can say, “oh no, devil, my salvation was purchased by the blood of Jesus and I am in Him and He is in me.” Or when he comes with his dirty baggage of sickness we can assuredly say, “No, no, I'll not receive that package. I was healed by the stripes of Jesus. He is my Healer.” Or when the bank account is running short we can safely say that “My God supplies all my need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” We counter the devil's attacks with the truth of God's word. It may be a fact that you have a certain illness, but truth supersedes facts. We don't deny the fact, but we simply state the truth of what God says about our situation so that we can in time see the manifestation of it. God never asks us to deny what we are currently experiencing, He just asks us to believe Him for the provision for it and speak the answer and not the problem.
Now, to look at the second part of Ephesians 6:17 “and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;”
Sword – An offensive weapon worn at the side, and used by hand either for thrusting or cutting.
The sword of the Spirit is the only offensive weapon of the believer's armor. It is said of Jesus when He comes again in Revelation 19:13-16:
He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called the Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
The word of God when spoken out of our mouths becomes a sharp sword that pierces the enemy. Our words are containers of power either of life or death.
Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
When we fill our mouths with the word of God it becomes as a sharp sword filled with living power. Our speech needs to reflect what God says about our situations, not what we think, feel or see.
There are two different Greek words to define “the word of God”.
Word – logos – A transmission of thought, communication, a word of explanation, an utterance, discourse, divine revelation, talk, statement, instruction, an oracle, divine promise, divine doctrine, divine declaration. Jesus is the living logos, the Bible is the written logos; and the Holy Spirit utters the spoken logos.
Word – rhema – That which is said or spoken, an utterance, in contrast to the logs, which is the expression of a thought; a message, a discourse.
Logos is the message; rhema is the communication of the message. In reference to the Bible, logos is the Bible in its entirety; rhema is a verse from the Bible.
The Greek word for “word” used in Ephesians 6:17 is rhema, the spoken word of God. This is a portion of the Bible that the Holy Spirit speaks to you to give you the sword that you need to use to defeat the enemy in the attack that he is bringing against you. It needs to be spoken out of your mouth. Jesus spoke to the devil when he was attacked in the wilderness with “it is written” and then He followed it with the portion of Scripture that applied to the specific attack that He was under. (Matthew 4:1-10) The Holy Spirit will speak just the right scripture to you, making it a rhema word which is the sword that you can use to defeat the enemy right then. It becomes the sword of the Spirit to you! You speak it and continue to speak it until the attack ends. It is important that you have a good working knowledge of the Bible before the attack comes so you can have the word inside of you for the Holy Spirit to bring to your remembrance when it is needed. Many people are unprepared when the attack comes because they have not put the word into their hearts so they have nothing for the Holy Spirit to bring back to their remembrance.
John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
The Holy Spirit is our Helper. He brings back out of our hearts the word that we have feasted on at just the right time; when we need it to counter an attack from the enemy. With His help we are sure to win if we follow His directions and obey what He tells us to do!
Father, I thank You for the salvation that You have so freely bestowed upon us. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for purchasing our salvation with Your very life. I know that no one took it from You, Lord, but You laid it down for us. Thank You for dying that we might live! Father, I also thank You for Your word that becomes a sword for us when the Holy Spirit brings it back to our remembrance when we are in a fight with the enemy. Thank You for empowering us to win! Father, help us to feast on Your word so we can be ready when the enemy comes with an attack. Thank You for giving us the victory in Christ Jesus. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
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