Saturday, August 25, 2012
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
I'm fully convinced that we have no idea of the potential that is locked up inside of each one of us until we have to draw on the strength that God has placed within us. He has placed inside of each one of us His ability to accomplish the plan that He has for our lives and sometimes that requires what we feel is supernatural ability. It is only as we step out in faith and do what we think we can't do that we experience His ability within us to succeed.
Abraham thought when God told him he would be the Father of many nations that it was a total impossibility but he placed his trust in God to do what only God could do. He had to step out in faith and do his part, but God worked the miracle through him. The potential to create a child was within him all the time, but until He believed God for it, it didn't happen.
Romans 4:18-21 NLT When God promised Abraham that he would become the father of many nations, Abraham believed him. God had also said, “Your descendants will be as numerous as the stars,” even though such a promise seemed utterly impossible! And Abraham's faith did not weaken, even though he knew that he was too old to be a father at the age of one hundred and that Sarah, his wife, had never been able to have children. Abraham never wavered in believing God's promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was absolutely convinced that God was able to do anything he promised.
Abraham knew that if God promised something that it didn't matter how impossible it looked, He would do it. How many times have you been presented with an impossible situation that you knew you couldn't do on your own? It's in those times that as we spread our wings to fly we find the wind of God's Spirit gets under us and carries us to the place that we need to go. It's that dependence on the Lord that moves us from one place to the other. God is the God of impossibilities!
Zechariah 12:5 NLT And the clans of Judah will say to themselves, 'The people of Jerusalem have found strength in the LORD Almighty, their God.
Jesus said in John 15:4, 5 “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.”
It is only as we abide, or live in Jesus, that we can unlock the potential that God has placed within us. He is the vine and we are the branches. The branch gets it's nourishment from the vine. We draw our strength and nourishment from our relationship with the Lord. I woke up this morning with this phrase running through my mind: “Much prayer = Much power”! It is through interaction with Him through prayer and Bible study that we are filled with the ability to do all things. He is the Power Source and we must plug ourselves in to be able to live the way He wants us to live. Paul put it this way in Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
1 Corinthians 14:10 says: There are, it may be, so many kinds of languages in the world, and none of them is without significance.
Every voice that you hear has some significance of it's own. There's the voice of the Holy Spirit who will always lead you to Christ Jesus and the ability to succeed in the impossible. Then there's the voice of the enemy, or the devil, that will always bring condemnation, negative thinking, fear and defeat. He always leads you away from the Lord. And then there is your own voice that always wants to please itself. The voice of the flesh cries out for self-gratification. The voice of the world wants to pull you away from what's right and influence you to go along it's way. Your friends are there to put in their opinion as well. But it's the voice that you listen to the most that you will follow.
It is as you spend time in fellowship with the Holy Spirit through your relationship with Jesus that you will learn the voice to follow. If you follow His voice He will take you into the realm of the impossible. For without Him, you can do nothing!
Isaiah 30:21 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.
Father, I thank You for the voice of Your Spirit that leads us and guides us and gives us the strength to do those things that look to us as impossibilities. Thank You for Your supernatural ability within us to do over and above what we think we can do. Thank You for beginning the good work in us and for bringing it to completion. You are working in each one of us as we grow in our relationship with Jesus. Thank You for ushering us into the realm of the impossible. I pray for my friends, Father, that You will help them to look unto Jesus who is the author and finisher of their faith. I pray that they will depend on Your Spirit to give them the ability to do what they think they can't do. Lord, You are able to show them how to get things done in a way that they would not think as possible. Thank You, Lord, for showing them the supernatural ability that You have placed within them. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Friday, August 24, 2012
Have you ever said something and then immediately wished you could take those words back? I think all of us are guilty of that at some time or another. The Bible speaks a lot about the power of our words. In fact, Proverbs 18:20, 21 says:
A man's stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth; From the produce of his lips he shall be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
Those are pretty powerful statements! In fact, listen to how the New Living Translation speaks of those two verses:
Proverbs 18:20, 21 NLT Words satisfy the soul as food satisfies the stomach; the right words on a person's lips bring satisfaction. Those who love to talk will experience the consequences, for the tongue can kill or nourish life.
How quickly can words spoken break the spirit of a person? As soon as they hit! Words either kill or nourish life!
The book of Proverbs offers much wisdom for everyday living when we adhere to it's principles.
Proverbs 20:15 NLT Wise speech is rarer and more valuable than gold and rubies.
Evidently God wants His people to watch what comes out of their mouths!
Many times in the New Testament we hear Jesus say to His listeners: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matthew 11:15) Why? In John 6:63 Jesus said that the words that He spoke were spirit and life. He spoke forth life to His hearers, not death. The word of God is living and powerful according to Hebrews 4:12:
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Maybe people should start to speak the word of God over themselves, their families and their friends. What do you think would happen if your speech changed? What if people began to tell themselves that they are a child of God, made in His image and likeness with the Spirit of God living within them; that they are able to do all things through Christ because of His strength within them; and that they are not a loser, but a winner through Him who loves them? Do you think they would begin to feel differently about themselves? According to the New Living Translation on Proverbs 18:21 they would be nourishing life within them.
What if people began to tell their children what a blessing they are to them instead of criticizing their every move? Would there be less children wanting to take the lives of their friends and teachers? What if wives told their husbands how much they appreciate them instead of complaining that they don't make enough money or take them out to eat often enough, or buy them enough nice things? What if husbands would compliment their wives on their looks instead of belittling them for putting on a few pounds? Do you think it would make a difference in their relationships?
I talked with a young woman this week who was terribly hurt by the words that her husband had spoken to her in a time of anger. She said he had crushed anything precious that she had thought of their marriage. I thought “how sad” that someone who had vowed to love and cherish another individual could dash all hope of a lifelong love and crush another's spirit through just the words that came out of his mouth. And yet we hear of it all the time. One after another is wounded by the piercings of the tongue!
Psalm 57:4 My soul is among lions; I lie among the sons of men Who are set on fire, Whose teeth are spears and arrows, And their tongue a sharp sword.
James speaks of the tongue in James 3:6 as being “a fire, a world of iniquity.” “The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.”
James 3:8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Ephesians 4:29-32 NLT Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, He is the one who has identified you as His own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words,and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Oh my, folks, how we need to guard our tongues! How we need to be conscious of what we are saying to each other! May our words be uplifting and encouraging!
Father, I pray today that we will be aware of the potential for life and death that we hold in the words that we speak. May we remember, Father, to guard our tongues that we might nourish life and of ourselves, enjoy a long life. Father, I pray that the words that we speak will be words of life; words that You would speak over us that we might bring life to those that we talk with. I ask You, Lord, to help us catch ourselves before we speak things that would wound another individual. Father, place a guard over the door of our lips and remind us to think long and hard before we speak. I pray, Father, for those who have been wounded by the piercings of another's tongue. I ask You to heal the brokenhearted and wash over them with the healing balm of Gilead; remove the arrows that have pierced their hearts and cause the hurtful words to be remembered no more. Thank You, Father. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Ephesians 3:20, 21 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
What has God done in your life that is exceedingly abundantly above all that you could ask or think?
Exceedingly - To a very great degree; in a degree beyond what is usual; greatly; very much.
Abundantly – Greek word perissos – Strong's #4053 Superabundance, excessive, overflowing, surplus, over and above, more than enough, profuse, extraordinary, above the ordinary, more than sufficient.
God has done in my life that which is more than enough; a superabundance, excessive and overflowing more than what is usual and far above anything that I could ask, hope, imagine or think of!
How? According to His power that is at work in me! That power is the power of the Holy Spirit who works in me teaching me, leading and guiding me and forming me into the image of Jesus! How blessed I am!
To Him (God), be all the glory forever and ever! Amen!
Now, what can you say that He has done in you that is exceedingly abundantly above all that you could ask or think? Let's be specific now! And let's praise the name of the Lord for His great work!
Father, I thank You for the exceedingly abundantly that You have done in my life! You far surpassed what I could have ever thought or imagined in the life that You have given me with Gerald! And I praise You for bringing it together and making it happen! Thank You, Lord, for working in me by Your Spirit to lead, guide, teach and train me in the way that I should go. You are ever there waiting to be my confidant, my friend, my all in all and I give You the glory for You deserve it! I pray for my friends this morning that You would show them the good things You have brought into their lives. I pray that they will set aside the heartache and look for the good in each happening. Father, show them Your glory in all that You have done through them and for them. Enable them to look at their lives as mosaics that you are constructing; beautiful works of art that You are bringing into existence for all to see. Let Your glory be seen through each of our lives, Father! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
What do we do when our faith is challenged?
1 Timothy 1:18-19 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck.
Faith challenges come to all of us. There is no one exempt from the temptation to suffer shipwreck when we come up against a storm in life. We all encounter battles, are taken through warfare where our faith is challenged and we are presented with the opportunity to give up or stand up and fight. Paul told Timothy to wage the good warfare, according to the prophecies previously made concerning him. God gives us all promises that are personal prophecies for our lives, words that He speaks so clearly to our hearts and it is those promises that cause us to push forward to experience the good things that He has in store for us. But sometimes we run into major roadblocks and our faith is challenged.
A few years ago I experienced a major faith challenge and through it the Lord gave me a message entitled “Don't allow the disappointments of Life to Shipwreck Your Faith.” These two verses in 1 Timothy were the ones that He spoke to my heart about the challenge that I was experiencing. Here is my story:
As a single person my heart's desire was to have a godly mate; one that would walk through life with me as we served the Lord together. It was my desire to have a marriage that would glorify God and be an example to those around me of what marriage should be. So, I began seeking the Lord for His will in this situation and as I studied His word and prayed for His direction it became evident that God's will was for me to experience this marriage, but that I would receive it by faith as I believed Him to provide just the right person as my mate. After several years of believing God for this godly mate He brought a special man into my life. Larry lived 90 miles from me in a large city. We began our courtship which soon blossomed into more than a friendship. It was at that time that I began seeking the Lord more diligently about closing the gap of the miles between us. I discerned His directions in moving to the City where I would live closer to Larry, so I prayed about obtaining a new job in order to move. He quickly provided the job that I needed, so I resigned my position with a tenure of over 10 years and excitedly pursued my new career. A temporary home was located and mine was put on the market for sale. Everything fell into place just as I had heard from the Lord in my prayer times. I had the green light from the Lord and was excited to be entering a new chapter in my life. I moved, started my new job and accepted Larry's proposal for marriage. We were married shortly thereafter. My house sold and all my possessions were put in storage in anticipation of us buying a new home to start our life together. Little did I know the heartache, disappointment and challenge of my faith that awaited me.
Larry and I had been married for only 7 ½ weeks when he suffered a major stroke. He went home to be with the Lord the following day. I was devastated! My life came crashing down around me. My ship was battered and torn; my faith was challenged. How could this have happened, Lord? I followed Your directions; I prayed and sought Your will for my life. Why, Lord, why?
I suddenly found myself alone and lonely, in a large city, on a new job with no job security, in a church of 3,000 versus my little home church of 60; in a rental basement apartment where I had to face every day the thoughts of him having that stroke right there in our home; and with people around me that were new faces, new friends. My whole world had been turned upside down. Where was God in the midst of all this? Why had I prayed and sought His will for my life and then had it turn out like this? Questions and more questions arose in my heart day after day. The darkness closed in around me and I sensed a real battle going on for my soul. I knew that I had to stay focused on the Lord or the devil would take my life. Suicidal thoughts interrupted my sleep. My days were lonely as I waded through life without the one I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. I went home to my bed at night and wished I could curl up in a ball with the covers over my head and go to sleep, never to awaken again. I remember standing in front of the casket at Larry's funeral and wishing I could crawl up in it with him and go to that place where He had gone. The trips to his graveside were times of grief where I would cry and tell him I wished he was here.
Through all the devastation, God was right there with me. But the faith challenge was mine. I had to fight for my stand of faith. This was not an easy time, but it was a time of growth. I don't know why it turned out that way. I don't understand all that took place during that time, but I know that my God is faithful to bring us through the faith challenges that we experience. Even though I don't have all the answers I can tell you that God's word is true; that He still heals today and even though my husband wasn't healed in this life, he is healed now. I know that not every faith challenge turns out the same and that if I were presented with the same type scenario today that it possibly would turn out different this time around. And I know that we go through faith challenges to help others as they are challenged and that is why you are reading this blog.
2 Corinthians 1:3, 4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
God revealed Himself to me through this difficult time. He gave me a message to pass on to others. It is that sometimes God uses the bad things in our lives as a springboard to the good that He has waiting for us. God always has a good plan for us. Look at the ones in the Word that experienced great heartache and how He used those times to catapult them into something great.
Mary, and the disciples were devastated when Jesus died on the cross. Their world came crashing down around them. The had just experienced the death of their best friend. They didn't understand, but God had a better plan than what they had known as Jesus had walked among them. You see, if Jesus hadn't died to pay for the sins of mankind, they and all of us would have been doomed to a life separated from God. The heartache that they had experienced was working for them a much greater joy; a much greater plan for a good life. They had to experience the heartache to know that the best was yet to come!
When Mary and the other ladies went to the tomb on that first day of the week to anoint Jesus' body they found that their heartache may have lasted for a night, but joy comes in the morning! They heard the angels say to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!” (Luke 24:5,6) Their darkness had turned to light as they encountered the message of the Lord! They had hope again! When they were going through the faith challenge they couldn't see the good that was ahead of them. When we are faced with difficult times we can't see the good that God has planned for us until we are through with the challenge. It's during the challenge that we must stand strong in the Lord and continue to believe and trust in Him.
Now, think about the Israelites that had been in bondage for 490 years when God sent a deliverer to bring them out of bondage and lead them into the land of Promise. After leaving Egypt they had to go through the wilderness. They often complained and thought about what they had left behind. And here they were wandering around in the wilderness, not understanding why they weren't experiencing the blessings of God as He had promised. They had to go through the faith challenge to get to the good plan that He had made them. Between the land of bondage and the land of promise was the wilderness; the place of growth. They learned in the faith challenge how to fight for their freedom; how to overcome their enemies and how to depend on God to provide what they needed. They had a faith challenge before they reach their Promised Land!
What about Job? It is recorded in Job 1:1 that he was a righteous man, blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. He was successful; had a wife and ten children. His possessions were many and he was known as the greatest of all the people of the East. He had prestige, power and possessions and in a period of less than a year all of them were taken from him. The devil stole everything that he had except his wife and his life. Job went through a faith challenge! At times he was advised to curse God and die. His friends didn't understand but always had an opinion of why he was going through the heartache and devastation. But Job's strength to fight the faith challenge came from his relationship with his God. And in the end Job grew in his faith and his relationship with God. He said in Job 42:5:
“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You.”
Job came to know God more fully during his faith challenge. And God blessed him when Job walked out of that challenge and prayed for his friends.
Job 42:10 And the LORD restored Job's losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.
God took Job through the heartache and devastation and revealed Himself to him and then blessed him more abundantly than he was before he entered his faith challenge. He had good planned for Job even before he entered into his faith challenge because God is always good.
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 ore abundantly.”
In 2 Timothy 2:17, 18 we have the story of Hymenaeus and Philetus who are referenced in the 1 Timothy 1:18-19 passage that I quoted earlier. The scripture records in 2 Timothy 2:18 that they “strayed concerning the truth” when they went through their faith challenge.
Roadblocks happen in all of our lives. You see, we can either grow bitter or better when we go through difficulties. We can either give up on God, or continue to believe that God knows all things, has a good plan for our lives and will reveal it to us and bring it into manifestation as we continue to believe and trust Him. We can either continue with what we know that's right, that's faith-filled living or we can “stray” concerning the truth! The choice is ours. The challenge is ours. The outcome is determined by the choice that we make concerning the challenge that is placed before us.
In my case, God brought me through the faith challenge and used it to be a springboard to catapult me into the good plan that he had for my life. It wasn't very long after I experienced the loss of my husband that God brought another special man into my life. His name is Gerald. Again, I had been seeking God's will regarding a godly mate because God's plan for my life was marriage; and that hadn't changed. He once again made it very clear to me that He had that mate for me. I didn't want to go through the heartache and disappointment again and had almost given up hope, but God dealt with me about believing in Him; trusting Him to put this together again. And now I am living out the good plan that God had for my life as Gerald and live and love each other, and serve the Lord together! Gerald is everything that I could have wanted in a husband. He is loving and kind, compassionate and caring. He is the fulfillment of the good plan that God wanted me to have. But it is only as God brought me through the heartache and disappointment that I could experience the good that He had waiting for me with Gerald.
You may feel, as I did, that you have experienced a major setback. But just know, that with every setback God has a comeback planned for you! He will bring you out of that difficult time to bring you into the good plan that He has for your life. You can either choose to allow the difficulty to shipwreck your faith and become bitter towards God or you can choose to continue to stand in faith believing in Him and trusting that He knows how to deliver you from temptation and bring you into your Promised Land.
Father, I thank You for all things, even the difficult times in my life. You have always been there to see me through every heartache and disappointment. Thank You, Father, for bringing me out of the darkness into Your glorious light and the good plan that you have for my life. Father, I pray for my friends this morning who may be experiencing a faith challenge. Only You, Lord, know what they are truly going through. Father, I ask You to reveal Yourself to them through this difficult time and give them a glimpse of the good that You have awaiting them after they come out of their faith challenge. Father, I ask You to give them strength to endure to the end; a vision that is God-given and a determination to defeat the enemy and be the person that You have created and called them to be. Father, give them Your strength, Lord; Your vision and Your presence. Thank You, Father. I ask these things in Jesus' name. Amen.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Mark 5:25-34 Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well. Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?” But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, 'Who touched Me?'” And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”
This is a beautiful example of a “faith healing”. No one touched this woman; there was no prayer for her to be healed; she simply recognized what she had to do to receive her healing and she reached out to receive it! Jesus said that it was her faith that had made her well.
I love what the Amplified Bible says about this woman in Mark 5:28: For she kept saying, If I only touch His garments, I shall be restored to health.
This woman had tried every doctor around; she had spent all that she had on medicine and yet she only grew worse. Her faith was challenged to the maximum! The Amplified Bible says that the reason she came to Jesus was because she had heard the reports concerning Him. (Mark 5:27) She knew that the Healer was close and she wasn't about to let tradition or negative doctor's reports or lack of money stop her from getting what she knew Jesus would give her. Her faith spoke out that if she could only get to Jesus, touch His garments and receive that healing virtue that would flow from Him, she would be restored to health. Her faith spoke and acted on what she believed in her heart! She kept speaking what she was believing!
The Amplified Bible says that Jesus recognized that the power had gone out of Him and He turned around to see her and then spoke to her about what had just taken place.
Mark 5:34 And He said to her, Daughter, your faith (your trust and confidence in Me, springing from faith in God) has restored you to health. Go in (into) peace and be continually healed and freed from your [distressing bodily] disease.
Faith, trust and confidence in God, restores a person to health. Have you reached out to touch the hem of Jesus' garment and trusted Him to bring healing to your body?
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is [always] the same, yesterday, today, [yes] and forever (to the ages).
Hebrews 13:9 Do not be carried about by different and varied and alien teachings;
What worked in Bible days still works today because Jesus Christ never changes! He is always the same. If faith worked to bring healing into a person's life in Bible times, it will still work today because He never changes!
When Jesus stopped to minister to the woman with the issue of blood He was on His way to the synagogue ruler's house to minister healing to his daughter. While the woman with the issue of blood received her healing, Jairus' daughter died. Sometimes things go from bad to worse! They came to him and Jesus to report of her death and this is what Jesus said to him:
Mark 5:35-36 While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue's house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”
Fear always stands in the way of faith! Jesus reminded Jairus that he needed to stay focused in faith for his daughter to be able to receive her healing. Are you troubled by someone that you love who needs healing but only seems to get worse? Here are two examples of situations where healing was sought after, but the people only got worse.....until Jesus arrived on the scene! Jesus told Jairus, “Do not be afraid; only believe.” Sometimes we get caught up in how bad things look when we should be looking at how big God is and that His power to heal knows no boundaries; and is not limited to how impossible things look.
Mary is a perfect example of the power of God knowing no limitations:
Luke 1:26-38 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. “And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. “Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. “for with God nothing will be impossible.” Then Mary said, “behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Mary was told by an angel that she would have a son and His name would be called Jesus! But there was a slight problem here; Mary had never been with a man to be able to conceive a child. But the angel told her to look past her limitations and see the power of God in her life to do what He had said He would do! He also told her to look at what God had done for her cousin, Elizabeth, who had been “called” barren! Elizabeth had a word curse spoken over her; people had called her “barren”. She was pictured as hopeless; no chance of things ever being different for her. Yet, here was a perfect example for Mary to see where God had done something for someone else and, since He is no respecter of persons, that He would do the same for her. She had a choice to make; would she believe and receive, or would she say that it was impossible for God to do something outside of the realm of her understanding? God always gives us a choice; we can either believe and receive or doubt and do without! Notice that Mary's faith in God spoke as an action to bring into existence that which He had promised. She said, “Let it be to me according to your word.” That needs to be the voice of our faith as God speaks His promises to us. “Lord, let it be to me according to Your word”! It is then that the “nothing is impossible with God” becomes a reality in us.....personally!
Elizabeth later prophesied to Mary about the promise that she had believed would happen to her 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.”
Believing is seeing it before the manifestation of the promise! Mary had not given birth to Jesus yet; she didn't even have the outward appearance of being “with child”; she didn't look pregnant and hadn't felt the movement of a child within her. All she had to go on was what had been told to her by the Angel of God. The message gave the promise; her part was to believe and receive; God's part was to fulfill the promise. Many times we want to do both parts, and then we are disappointed when the “impossible” part is not realized. Could it be that we have fallen short on our part by not fully believing? God will do His part; we can be assured of that!
We see a perfect example of that is Zacharias in Luke 1:11-20. He also had a visitation from the Angel of the Lord who gave him a promise from God, but Zacharias didn't believe the message because he couldn't see that God was the God of impossibilities and not limited by his human abilities.
Luke 1:20 “But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.”
God blessed Zacharias with the promise, but Zacharias was not able to speak about it until it was fulfilled. His unbelief limited what God really wanted to do in his life and even though he received the promise his unbelief caused hindrances in the way the promise was fulfilled. When we do not believe God we limit Him from having the freedom to move in our lives as He desires.
It is said of the Israelites in Psalm 78:40-42: How often they provoked Him in the wilderness, And grieved Him in the desert! Yes, again and again they tempted God, And limited the Holy One of Israel. They did not remember His power; The day when He redeemed them from the enemy.
It is later said in Psalm 78:56, 57 Yet they tested and provoked the Most High God, And did not keep His testimonies. But turned back and acted unfaithfully like their fathers; They were turned aside like a deceitful bow.
God was not pleased with them because of their unbelief. The writer of the book of Hebrews instructs us to not be like the Israelites who had an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God. They could not enter into the Promised Land, His land of rest for them, because they did not mix faith with the Word that He had given them.
Hebrew 4:2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.
It takes faith to receive what God has promised. There are more examples in God's Word of people who were healed by faith; received provision through their faith; did great and might exploits by faith, but unless we spend time in God's word meditating and saturating ourselves with that Word we will not be bold in faith to step out and believe that we are no different from them. God has not changed; He is still the same God as He was in that day and He still does the same miracles that He performed for those people in our own daily lives.
Today I want to challenge you to believe God! Believe Him for what He has promised in His Word and for what He is speaking to you personally! Begin believing for the little things so that when your faith is challenged for something big, you will have the foundation of strength that you need to receive His promise for the bigger things!
Father, I thank You for showing us through Your Word that You are a God who provides for whatever need Your children have. Thank You for showing us that faith believes, speaks and receives whatever it needs as Your grace provides. I thank You for still being the same God as You were in Bible days. You still perform miracles in our lives when we believe You for them. Help us to grow in our faith, Lord! I pray for my friends this morning who may be experiencing a “faith challenge” in their lives. Father, open their eyes to see what You would have them to do in receiving their provision. Make Yourself real to them at their point of need, Father, and reveal Your desire for their wholeness to be manifested through their faith! Thank You, Father. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
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