Thursday, July 26, 2012
Matthew 14:28-33 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. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
So often we hear the story about Peter walking on the water and we focus on the fact that he sank! But, HEY, he walked on the water before he began to sink. It was only as he looked around him and saw the great waves of the sea and felt the blustery winds that he took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink. Fear over-whelmed him and affected his ability to walk in faith. How many of us have walked on the water? I can't think of a single time when I was in the ocean or the lake or even a swimming pool when I walked on the water. So why do we condemn Peter for stepping out in faith, after hearing God's voice, to do the impossible? Why do we focus on the fact that he sank rather than the fact that he walked on the water? We often experience the same difficulty in life's battles when we take our eyes off Jesus and look at the enormity of life's difficulties and begin to sink. Our immediate cry is just like Peter's “Lord, save me!” The water that we are walking on are the “seemingly impossible” situations that we face in our own lives. The answer is found in keeping our eyes on Jesus!
Isaiah 26:3, 4 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, For in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength.
You want strength and peace of mind, the ability to walk on the cares of this life? Trust in the LORD!
Hebrews 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
You want to be able to endure the difficulties of life? Look unto Jesus; He is the author and finisher of your faith. He will give you the strength, peace of mind and the faith to win every battle!
I realize that very often my blogs have been long and “meaty”. I do not want to overload you with teaching so just as I sometimes have a “snacky” meal instead of a full-blown, 3 or 5 course meal, I think you need to have a “snack” instead of a full-blown teaching. I will at times, then, be posting a short devotional to encourage you or give you something to think about. This is the first of those types of posts!
Be encouraged in knowing that God never leaves you or forsakes you. He is always there to encourage you to stand strong in your faith and resist the enemy who wants to discourage you and cause you to sink! Never give up; never quit and never cave in!
“O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
"Little faith" -- Greek word oligopistos - Strong's 3640 Small, faith, describing a faith that lacks confidence or trusts too little. Another way to term it is "under-developed faith" as opposed to outright unbelief or distrust.
Food for thought: Where are you in your faith walk? Are there different levels of faith? Does doubt keep us from experiencing God's best?
Your comments are important to me. Let me hear what you think about these questions.
Father, I thank You for being there for us to help us “walk on the water” of life. Thank You for lifting us up when we fall down; for strengthening us so we can grow in our spiritual lives and for giving us the victory over the battles of life. You are God! There is none above You or beside You. You are the One who brings us through to victory! Thank You, Father, for Your peace in the midst of the storms. And thank You for giving us the ability to focus our eyes on You and win over the enemy's fiery darts that try to bring us down and defeat us! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
Jesus said to him, “If you can believe......”
Jesus was talking to the father of the little boy that was demon-possessed. His disciples had tried to cast out the demon with no success and the father's faith was evidently shaken and needed a little bolstering from the Lord.
Sometimes our faith is shaken. We get a negative report from the doctor and go for prayer and nothing seems to be any different. Our faith is then shaken and we lose heart in believing that God still heals today. But doesn't He? Doesn't the word proclaim in Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”? Yes, it does! If Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, then wouldn't we be able to look at His walk on earth and see that if He healed then, that He is still healing today? What happens, then, when our faith is challenged?
Jesus said “If you can....”, leaving me to think that the burden of responsibility for our receiving from God is on us. If we can believe, or exercise our faith for the promise to become a reality then it will happen. Wow, that stretches me, how about you?
We know that it is within God's power to heal; it often comes down to us believing that it is His will to heal us! Many times we add the phrase, “if it be Your will”, to the end of our prayer. But can't we know God's will? I believe we can, by studying God's word, understand that certain things are clearly shown as being His will in His word.
Hebrews 1:1-4 GOD, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
Jesus is the brightness of God's glory and the express image of His person. Jesus said it this way to His disciples in John 14:9-11: Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. “Believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.”
Jesus said that when they looked at Him, they were looking at the Father because He and the Father were One. He asked them to believe either based on what He said or what they saw, knowing that it was the Father speaking and doing His works through Him! Today He is still challenging us to believe that He is who He said He is and that He still does what He did over 2,000 years ago. He is still the same healing Jesus today as He was when He walked on the shores of Galilee!
John writes in John 1:18 AMP: No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has reveled Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].
Jesus, Himself, has made God known! He has revealed Him, or brought Him out where He can be seen. He has interpreted God for us by showing us examples of how God feels about people and the needs that they have; that He wants to deliver them from the bondage of sickness and disease. He has the compassionate heart of a Father who longs to free His children from the grip of the spirit of infirmity. His heart is to set them free! We see example after example of that through the ministry of Jesus. God's heart is demonstrated through the actions of Jesus as He walked on this earth.
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.”
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.
God, Himself, proclaimed that He is the LORD who heals you in Exodus 15:26:
and said, “If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statues, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you.”
This was written under the Old Covenant. God proclaimed Himself as the “LORD who heals you.” It is written of Jesus in the book of Hebrews that He is the Mediator of a better covenant.
Hebrews 8:6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of t a better covenant, which was established on better promises.
If God proclaimed Himself as our Healer under the Old Covenant and Jesus is the Mediator of a better covenant then the New Covenant must include healing as well. The Old Covenant was made obsolete and the New was established on better promises. Promises that secured salvation for the total man: spirit, soul and body. Jesus died that we might have a covenant of healing spiritually, emotionally and physically. In order to understand that we must look back at the original Hebrew definition of the words describing the crucifixion of Jesus in Isaiah 53.
Isaiah 53:4, 5-6 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
Let's look at a few specific words here in these two verses:
Griefs – choliy – Strong's 2483 comes from the root word chalah which means to be weak, sick afflicted, diseased. So choliy means malady, disease, grief, sickness.
Jesus bore our sicknesses and diseases. He was made sick so we could be healed.
Sorrows – makob or makowb, or makobah; Strong's 4341 – means anguish, affliction, grief, pain, sorrow.
Jesus carried our pains, our anguish, affliction and sorrow. He bore on His back the stripes that were needed to bring healing for our bodies.
He was wounded for our transgressions.
Wounded – challah – Strong's 2471 deriving from Strong's 2490 meaning to puncture or pierce through, to slay.
He was pierced through, His body punctured, slain for our transgressions.
Transgressions – pesha – Strong's #6588 – meaning rebellion, sin, transgression, trespass.
Jesus was slain for our rebellion, sin and transgression.
Bruised – daka – Strong's 1792 –meaning to crumble, beat to pieces, break in pieces, crush, destroy, smite.
Jesus was beat to pieces, crushed for our iniquities.
Iniquities – 'avon – Strong's 5771 – meaning evil; fault, iniquity, mischief, sin.
He was beat to pieces and crushed for our evil sin.
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him.
Chastisement – muwcar – Strong's 4148 – bond, chastening, check, correction, discipline, rebuke.
Jesus was disciplined, corrected, rebuked, chastened for our peace.
Peace – shalowm or shalom – Strong's 7965 – welfare, health, prosperity, peace, wholeness, well-being.
Jesus was chastized or rebuked, punished for our welfare, health, prosperity, peace, wholeness and well-being. This comprises every area of man: spirit, soul and body. Peace, prosperity and wholeness; well-being for the total man.
And by His stripes we are healed.
Stripes – chabbuwrah – Strong's 2250 – blows that cut in; black and blue marks; bruised, hurt, stripe, wound.
Jesus was beaten with blows that cut into His body to secure our healing!
As we have taken a closer look at these particular words describing the crucifixion of Jesus I don't see how we could deny the work of His sacrifice on the cross for man's total redemption: spirit, soul and body.
But to further confirm, let's look at some scriptures in the New Testament:
Matthew 8:16, 17 When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities And bore our sicknesses.”
Hebrews 9:28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
1 Peter 2:24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.
Jesus carried our sins, sicknesses and diseases on His back when He was nailed to the cross, redeeming us from the kingdom of darkness and translating us into the Kingdom of God. Physical healing is just as much a part of redemption as forgiveness of sin. We were forgiven of our sin over 2,000 years ago when Jesus hung on that cross. Likewise, we were healed of our sicknesses and diseases when He hung on that cross. Our wholeness was secured for us spirit, soul and body when Jesus was beaten and crucified. But it is not made ours until we receive it.
If I brought a gift to you and said that it was yours, that I had brought it for you, when would it be yours? As far as I'm concerned it was yours the minute I bought it and laid it down before you. But you can turn and walk out of that room and that gift will not be yours because you didn't pick it up and take it with you. So it is with salvation, whether it is forgiveness of sin or healing for your spirit, soul or body. If you don't receive it; it will do you no good. It has to be made personal. That is done through God's grace, by your faith.
Saved -- Sozo -- Strong's #4982 To save, heal, cure, preserve, keep safe and sound, rescue from danger or destruction, deliver. Sozo saves from physical death by healing, and from spiritual death by forgiving sin and its effects.
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, least anyone should boast.
Salvation is a free gift, given by God's grace and received as we exercise faith for it. The way that we exercise faith is by believing it in our hearts and speaking it out with our mouths.
Romans 10:8-10; 13 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach); that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
You must align the confession of your mouth with the belief in your heart! Salvation is a free gift, but we have to believe it in our hearts and confess Jesus as Lord with our mouths.
Romans 10:13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
Have you called on the Lord for your sins to be forgiven? Have you asked for His healing power to flow through your body bringing healing and wholeness? Have you confessed that Jesus is your Lord and Savior; that He is your Healer? What do you believe in your heart?
Yes, Jesus forgives; He heals and He delivers from oppression. He died for you to be saved, healed, delivered, and set free. The question is this: Will you now receive it?
If you have never asked Jesus into your heart to be your Savior and Lord this is the place of beginnings for you. If you would like to do that just pray along with me and mean this with sincerity in your heart:
Father, I come before you in the name of Jesus. I confess that I am a sinner, both by birth and by choice. I believe that You gave Your Son, Jesus Christ, to purchase my redemption from sin. I ask You to forgive me and save me. I thank You, Lord Jesus, for dying for me and I confess you as my Savior and Lord. Please come into my heart and live through me. I commit myself to you and choose to live for you the rest of my life. Thank You for saving me! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
If you are sick and in need of the Healer, just reach out and receive your healing today! It is yours, Jesus purchased it for you. Exercise your faith to believe for His healing power to flow through your body right now.
Father, I ask You to flow Your healing power throughout my friends' physical bodies right now. I speak life to their bodies, in the Name of Jesus! I declare that sickness and disease has no right to exist in their bodies, for they are children of God and their bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Sickness and disease must go right now, in Jesus Name. Father, I thank You for touching them and making them whole! Thank You for healing them! In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
If you prayed with me this morning to receive the Lord Jesus as Your Savior and Lord, I would like to hear from you. You may privately email me if you so desire or leave a comment on this blog. Either way, I want to pray for you and rejoice with you in your decision to follow Jesus.
If you have prayed for healing for your body, I would like to stand with you in faith believing for the manifestation of that healing. You may contact me and I will be happy to offer further assistance in standing in faith believing for the manifestation of your healing. God bless you all!
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Isaiah 49:16 See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.
One day at work I was really down about something and I went to the restroom where I was praying and confiding in the Lord about the situation. I told Him that I really would like to have some kind of reminder that He was working in the situation and that He really cared about what I was going through. I went back to my desk and someone had sent me an email with the quote “If God had a refrigerator your picture would be on it!” I was reminded of His great love for me and thankful that He had heard my prayer and sent a special word of encouragement through another individual.
God cares about you! He has you engraved on the palms of His hands and His thoughts are ever of you!
Psalm 139:17, 18 NLT How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They are innumerable! I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up in the morning, you are still with me!
God thinks about you all the time! He is always there with you! He will not leave you to deal with life on your own, under your own power and ability. He is always working on your behalf!
Zephaniah 3:16, 17 “In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Do not fear; Zion, let not your hands be weak, The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”
The Lord your God is in your midst. He is the Mighty One, the One who comes to save, heal, deliver and set free! He rejoices over you with gladness and quiets you with His love, rejoicing over you with singing. You know, I've found that when I focus on the love that God has for me and how He is working in my life, the pressures of life grow less and the problems that I experience become smaller. Anytime I magnify God in my life I see His greatness and the difficulties that I am experiencing then have to bow their knee to the King of kings and the Lord of lords! Things just look better to me when I think about how great my God is!
In Luke chapter 1 we find the story of Mary, the soon to be mother of Jesus, as the angel tells her about the magnificent transformation that will take place in her body. Mary was about to experience what seemed like an impossible situation to her limited perspective when the angel of the Lord reminded her that “....with God nothing will be impossible.”
The word tells us in 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.”
We see things going on around us in the world and are inclined to see them as impossible situations, but God holds the king's heart in His hand. He is able to change people and situations to bring them around for our good. There is nothing too hard for our God!
Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear.
God hears and is able to save us. The problem is not in God's ability to do what we ask of Him. We are the ones who limit God. Many times we do not see Him as being able to save us out of the mess in which we find ourselves.
Psalm 34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all.
Is God's word true or do we allow our situations to over-ride the truth of God's word? Many times we don't see God moving bringing deliverance into our lives because we don't believe He is able or that He will do it for us. We put limitations on God based upon our own human perspective. Our vision and mindsets need to be renewed to the truth of God's word.
Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
God's word is what renews our minds. We are transformed into agreement with God's will for our lives as we ingest the word of God into our spirits. It is at that time that we can understand what is His good, acceptable and perfect will for our lives. But as long as we continue to look at the enormity of what is happening in our lives, instead of God's ability to deliver, we will remain in bondage to the impossibility of deliverance from our problems. Faith must arise in our hearts for us to believe that God is able and willing to bring healing and deliverance into our lives.
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.
Our thoughts of what we are experiencing are not dependent upon our own ability to save ourselves. But God has given each one of us a measure of faith to use in believing Him to save and deliver. It is as we exercise our faith in Him that we will see a change in our situations.
Jesus told the man who had a demon-possessed son that the disciples had been unable to set free from the demonic influence that constantly threw the boy down and put him in seizures that “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believers”. (Mark 9:23)
We have a part to play in our own deliverance. It is to believe that God is able and willing to set us free! If we will do our part we can be assured that God will do His.
Elizabeth, Mary's cousin said of Mary in Luke 1:45 “Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Mary told the Lord in Luke 1:38 “....Let it be to me according to your word.” She readily received the word the angel brought her of God's plan for her life and exercised her faith to believe for it to happen.
We see the story of a man of great faith in the Roman Centurion that Jesus talked about in Matthew 8:5-11; 13:
Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. “For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it.” When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.
Jesus said to the centurion, “as you have believed, so let it be done for you”.
The Roman Centurion knew that Jesus had the authority to just speak the word and his servant would be healed. Jesus said he had “great faith”! It is as we believe that we see God moving in our lives. Sometimes we see the negative and as a result it becomes a personal prophecy fulfilled in our lives when we would really like to see the hand of God moving in the direction of our salvation, healing or deliverance. But because we have “seen” the negative with our eyes of faith, that is what has transpired. Job said it this way:
Job 3:25 For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, And what I dreaded has happened to me.
Fear is a hindrance to our faith. Fear, in essence, is saying that I have more faith in the devil's ability to harm me that I have in God's ability to save me. Joyce Meyer often says that fear is “False Evidence Appearing Real”. The devil always wants us to think the worst of our situations. If he can get you into fear then he has your faith that he will bring the worst into manifestation. Fear is one of the first weapons that Satan uses to bring discouragement and defeat into the lives of believers.
Romans 15:13 has brought hope and comfort to my heart so many times as I was standing in faith believing God for the manifestation of His promises in my life. He is the God of hope who fills us with joy and peace while we are believing so that we can abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. The biblical definition of the word “hope” is:
Hope – Greek word elpis—Strongs #1680 – Hope, not in the sense of an optimistic outlook or wishful thinking without any foundation, but in the sense of confident expectation based on solid certainty. Biblical hope rests on God's promises.
Biblical hope rests on God's promises. We find the promises of God in His word. Faith arises as we hear the word of God according to Romans 10:17:
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
So, we've come full circle back to Romans 12:3 where we see that God has given us a measure of faith and now we see that it is through hearing the word of God that our faith grows with hope, or the confident expectation based on the solid certainty of God's word, that brings the fulfillment of the promises! How awesome is that! God has given us the key to victory! It is as He has provided faith that we start out and then we exercise our faith as it grows from hearing God's word, and He gives the hope that is needed to confidently expect what we've seen in His word to come into manifestation in our lives! He has given us the victory! We just need to develop our faith to believe that He will do what He has said in His word!
Thank You, Father, for the faith that You have placed within each one of us. May we not ever again see our situations as being hopeless, but may we see You as bigger than any problem we might encounter. Thank You, Lord, for bringing deliverance and salvation into our lives as we believe what You have said. Thank You, for establishing us in hope while we are believing for the promise to come! You have equipped us to win! Thank You, Lord, for the battle is yours but the victory is ours! All praise, glory and honor be unto You, Lord Jesus, for You are worthy to receive it! Thank You, Lord, for hearing and answering my prayer offered up to You in the name of Jesus! Amen.
Monday, July 23, 2012
Deuteronomy 9:1-3 “Hear, O Israel: You are to cross over the Jordan today, and go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourself, cities great and fortified up to heaven, “a people great and tall, the descendants of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you heard it said, 'Who can stand before the descendants of Anak?' “Therefore understand today that the LORD your God is He who goes over before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and bring them down before you; so you shall drive them out and destroy them quickly, as the LORD has said to you.
Israel in the Old Testament is a type and shadow of the New Testament believer and the Church of Jesus Christ. The battles that Israel fought in the Old Testament are representative of the battles that the New Testament believer fights spiritually, not physically. People often look at the Old Testament as being a book of stories that happened to people long, long ago, but with no significance to their lives. When, in actuality, the Old Testament is filled with examples that God tells us in the New Testament were written for our admonition, or instruction.
1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
Romans 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
God intends for us to look at the stories of the Old Testament and understand that He is telling us these things so we can learn from them and have hope. He doesn't want us to go through the same types of difficulties that His people in the Old Testament experienced, but instead that we might learn from their mistakes and battles and be strengthened and encouraged in our spiritual battles.
In the passage in Deuteronomy 9, God is speaking to His people about crossing over the Jordan to go into the Promised Land. There were giants in the land and He knew His people would be frightened as they saw the size of the giants and encountered the battles that were ahead of them. He wanted to assure them that they could fight and win the battles and that He would be going before them to assure them of the victories. That is the way that He is with us, His people today. He wants us to know that in our spiritual walk there will be battles, but He has equipped us to win. He is the God who goes before us and who walks with us through the difficult times. He has said in Hebrews 13:5, 6 “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear, What can man do to me?”
God walks with us through the battles of life. He is there to strengthen us and help us; to give us the assurance that there is nothing to fear. We can win if we will allow Him to lead us into the victory.
Romans 8:31-35 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 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? Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
God is on our side. Many times we credit God with the bad things that happen to us in life, when we should be looking at it as a battle that is brought against us by the enemy of our souls, Satan, that old deceiver, who is still trying to condemn and defeat God's people today. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Just as the Israelites entered the battle with God going before them and walking with them through it, so He goes before us into the battles that we fight spiritually and is making intercession for us, helping us to fight and win the battles that we encounter today. There is nothing that can separate us from His love! His love enables us to fight and win in our spiritual walk through life.
Romans 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
We are more than conquerors! There is nothing that the devil can throw against you today, Child of God, that God hasn't equipped you to win.
Romans 8:38, 39 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
There is nothing that you will encounter in life that will be able to separate you from God's love. The devil comes only to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10), but Jesus said He came to give you life and that more abundantly. When we come to understand that we are in a spiritual battle, but that God intends for us to win, we will be more well equipped to fight to the end knowing that the victory is ours in Christ Jesus.
Why does God want us to win these battles? Well, we find a key to that in 2 Corinthians 2:14-17:
Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.
God always leads us in triumph in Christ Jesus. He does that so that those around us will experience the fragrance of the Lord. He works through His people to show others that those who are perishing are experiencing death spiritually, so they will turn to the Lord and be saved. Those who are saved we are the aroma of life leading to life; a sweet smelling fragrance of how God is working through us to bring life to them. I have noticed that when I pray for people at the altar time at church that a certain fragrance comes upon my hands. I used to think it was from someone that I had prayed for, a certain fragrance from a ladies cologne, but I've realized lately that it comes when I lay hands on the people and pray for them, not from anything that they are carrying on their bodies, but from me. I sense the presence of the Lord during these times as He ministers through me to bring healing and wholeness to those in need. To me it is a reminder that He is there bringing the fragrance of Jesus into their lives, showing the world that He is real, that He is to be feared, revered and respected. He is God, working to bring the victory to His people.
What battle are you facing today? Have you seen it as an insurmountable obstacle, an impossible situation? God is with you; He is going before you into the battle. He will not leave you to fight alone. He told the Israelites that there would be giants in their Promised Land but that they should not fear them but go in an conquer them because He would be going before them to drive them out in preparation for the Israelites to win the battles. He is going before you into whatever situation you face today. Do not fear the battle, for God is with you, strengthening you to win.
God told the young preacher, Timothy, in 1 Timothy 6:12 to “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
We are called to fight the good fight of faith and lay hold on eternal life. Eternal life is our Promised Land. It begins the moment you come into the saving knowledge of Jesus. Jesus said in John 17:3 that eternal life is knowing God, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom He sent. We have an enemy who fights us all the way into our Promised Land. His name is Satan, the devil. But we can win in our fights against him. A good fight is a fight that you win. God has equipped us to win, if we will be faithful to fight and not give up. Lay hold on eternal life! Don't let the devil steal from you what God has said is yours. Don't give up; don't quit and don't cave in! The battle is there, but with God you are mightier than anything the devil can throw at you!
Father, I thank You for equipping Your people to win in the battles of life. Thank You, Lord, for going before us and making our way successful and prosperous in all that we face. You are our God. There is none above You or beside You and if You are for us who could possibly be against us? Thank You, Father, for the victories that You make possible as we fight through our relationship with Your Son, Jesus Christ. I pray for my friends this morning who may be facing a battle. Lord, I ask You to show them that You are right there with them, enabling them to fight and win. Don't let them give in to the plans of the enemy for their lives, Father. Give them a vision, Lord, of the good plan that You have for their lives. Show them that winning is possible, Father! Help them to draw their strength from You so they don't try to fight through their own abilities. Show them how to win spiritually! Thank You, Father. I believe I receive the answers to my prayer as You have instructed me to pray in faith believing that whatsoever I ask in faith I will receive. Thank You, Father. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
As I was walking and praying recently, the Lord gave me a simple, little song to be sung back to Him as my prayer. Here are the lyrics:
Speak to my heart, Oh God!
Speak to my heart, Oh God;
Speak to my heart and reveal what You will,
Speak to my heart, Oh God.
Show me Your ways, Oh God!
Show me Your ways, Oh God;
Show me Your ways that I may walk by Your side,
Show me Your ways, Oh God.
Psalm 25:4,5 Show me Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.
The Psalmist had a desire to know God through understanding His ways and being taught to walk in His truth and along paths that God had chosen for him. In order for us to know Him, we must have a desire to also apply what see in Him to our lives so we can walk together in agreement.
Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?
We can't effectively walk with the Lord until we are walking in agreement with Him. He does not compromise and will not adapt to our ways; we must conform to His!
Likewise, Moses had a relationship with the Lord where he walked and talked with God. The children of Israel were afraid to get too close to the Lord. They had seen His acts; what He did to the Egyptians to get them released from bondage and they were afraid of Him. They wanted His protection and provision but not His presence. They wanted Moses to go before the Lord on their behalf and then come back and report to them what God had said.
It is said in Psalm 103:7: He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.
Do you want to know God and be able to walk in His ways or are you afraid of the closeness of relationship with Him and just desire to see His acts? He will let you get as close to Him as you desire, but He will not force Himself on you.
Father, I desire to know You, the One true God and Your ways that I may walk closely with You. I long to hear Your voice and understand Your ways that my life might reflect You in all I say and do. Help my friends to draw near to You that they may know You as well. Dispel their fears and reveal Your love to them so they will have a desire to really know You and understand how You think and feel so they may walk closely in agreement with You. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
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