Thursday, August 30, 2012
To pray is to bring your requests before God inquiring about, requesting, or making a demand upon His ability to answer or fulfill the request that you have made of Him.
Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
Are you anxious about things that are happening in your life? Take them to God. Talk to Him about the provision that you have need of. Have you prayed about your situation? Rest in His ability to answer and take care of your need. Have you thanked Him for providing for your need even before you see it? That's the way He wants you to come before Him; in thanksgiving, without anxiety, but solidly presenting your requests and placing your trust in His ability to provide for you.
Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Worry – Greek word merimnao – Strong's #3309 Means “to divide into parts.” The word suggests a distraction, a preoccupation with things causing anxiety, stress, and pressure.
When we worry about things it's like our minds are divided into parts; we are preoccupied to the point that we can't think clearly. The act of worrying then causes more anxiety that what we are worried about. Our stress level is multiplied and we feel the pressure of a pressure cooker in full steam. But Jesus said we don't have to worry because we have a heavenly Father who cares for us and has provided for our every need.
Matthew 6:26-30 “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; “and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. “Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
God cares for all of His creation, but His masterpiece is the man/woman that He has created in His very own image and likeness. We are His most important creation. If He takes care of the flowers and the birds that He created for our benefit, would He not much more care for us, His children? Why, then, would we worry when we can look at those created things and see God's constant care for them?
Jesus coins those who worry as having “little faith”. That word for “little faith” is the Greek word “oligopistos” and it means lacking confidence in God. We worry because we lack confidence in the ability and willingness of our heavenly Father to provide for our needs. That confidence in Him needs to be strengthened in order for us to overcome the temptation to fear or be anxious about the happenings in our lives.
Matthew 6:31-34 “Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' “For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Verse 31 gives us a couple of keys in overcoming worry. It says “Therefore do not worry, saying,....” When we speak forth what we are worrying about it gives credibility to the anxiety that is going on within us. Words are containers of power. They either carry life or death in them according to Proverbs 18:21. When we speak out the worry that's in our hearts we are giving it power over us. What if, instead, we spoke out the promise of God that would be the solution to what we are worrying about? Not only would be be speaking the truth about what God wants to do in our lives, but we would be building our confidence, or faith, in Him to provide for us.
Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
When we speak forth the promises of God to counteract the worries that we have, we are building our faith as we hear them spoken. Faith comes, or is strengthened, by hearing the word of God spoken out.
So, instead of worrying, we should speak out some promises of God that speak of His ability and willingness to provide for us.
The second key to overcoming worry is to seek God's kingdom first. When we put Him first in our lives our focus is taken off of ourselves and placed on Him. Whatever we magnify in our lives will become the largest to us. If we magnify the worry that we have over our life's situations, the problem will become bigger than the answer to the problem. But when we magnify God then He becomes the focus of our attention and that opens the way for Him to move supernaturally in our lives with the provision that we need.
Philippians 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
How does God provide for us? According to His riches in Christ Jesus. Those two words “according to” means “in a manner consistent with”. So God provides for His children in a manner consistent with His riches, not ours. Does God ever run out of provision? NO, His riches never run out and He never suffers lack. He is not limited by our ability to hold a job that pays what we need to cover our obligations, or the money or lack thereof that we have in our bank account. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. His riches are ever flowing to His children. But we must trust Him to provide for us, for when we worry we limit His ability to flow the provision to us because everything that we receive from God comes by His grace through our faith. We access His grace through faith. When we worry we are really saying we don't believe God will come through for us this time.
What are you worried about this morning? Will you place your trust in God to make provision for you? What scriptures can you find on the subject that you are concerned about? There is a promise in God's word for every problem you will encounter. If you will pray and ask Him to help you, He will give you the scriptures that you need to stand on to counter the worry that is coming against you. God will not fail to provide for your need!
Matthew 10:29-31 “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will. “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. “Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
God knows every problem that you are experiencing. You are much more valuable to Him than the birds of the air or the lilies of the field. He knows every time a sparrow falls to the ground. He even knows the number of hairs on your head. That's how intimately involved He is in your life. He will not fail to care for you! Put your trust in Him!
Father, I thank You for Your provision for Your children this morning. I pray, Father, that You will show each one of us the promises that You have for us to counter the worrisome thoughts that come into our minds. Help us, Lord, to stand on Your promises to overcome the fear and worry that we experience as we encounter difficulties in our lives. Thank You, Father, for always supplying the needs of Your children. You care for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, so I know You will provide for us. Thank You for Your goodness to each of us today. I commit this day into Your hands, Lord. May Your will be done in my life as it is in heaven! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
How can I know that I am saved? I've heard people say so many times, “I don't feel like I'm saved”. And even in my younger years I heard myself saying that a few times. Well, my friends, I can tell you that you can be assured that you are saved through following the requirements of the Bible for salvation.
So, let's begin at the beginning. The Bible says a person must be born again; born of the water and of the spirit. We have a physical body that is born through the natural means of birth. But we have a spiritual inner man that has to be born again through the Spirit. Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:3 that “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus didn't understand what Jesus was talking about so Jesus expounded on his statement:
John 3:6 NKJV “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
John 3:14-18 NKJV “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, sin came upon all mankind. We are all sinners by birth, but we also sin by choice. It is man's human nature within him to sin. God, who is holy, had to have a payment for that sin in order for man to be restored to his place of righteousness with God. So God sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the penalty for the sin of all of mankind. It is through dependence upon Jesus that brings us into salvation.
Romans 3:23 NKJV for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 6:23 NKJV For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 5:8 NKJV But God demonstrates His own love toward us, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
You see, we couldn't purchase our own salvation and we can't earn that salvation because the only one who could buy us back out of sin was a sinless human being. A man sinned (Adam) and brought sin into our human bloodline and it took a sinless man (Jesus) to pay the payment for our sin. Jesus was the only one who could do that because His blood was not of man, it was of the Holy Spirit. He was sinless by birth and by choice. He overcame all the temptation of the enemy that He might be the perfect sacrifice for man's sin.
Romans 5:12 NLT When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. Adam's sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.
Romans 5:17-19 NLT The sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over us, but all who receive God's wonderful, gracious gift of righteousness will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Yes, Adam's one sin brought condemnation upon everyone, but Christ's one act of righteousness makes all people right in God's sight and gives them life. Because one person disobeyed God, many people became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many people will be made right in God's sight.
So, now we see that every human being from the time Adam sinned has been automatically a sinner. It came down through the bloodline. The only way to be freed from the sin that we inherited is through receiving the finished work of Jesus on our behalf. It is a personal dependence upon Jesus that saves a person.
Romans 10:8-10 Salvation that comes from trusting Christ—which is the message that we preach—is already within easy reach. In fact, the Scriptures say, “The message is close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.” For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.
Romans 10:13 For “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
The way that you receive salvation is by believing in your heart that God sent Jesus to die for you, He was crucified, buried and God raised Him from the dead and then confessing Him as your Lord with your mouth. It is the belief or trust in your heart that Jesus did that for you personally that brings righteousness, then it is made yours through the confession of your mouth that Jesus is your Lord and Savior.
We make that salvation personally ours through prayer.
Father God, I confess that I am a sinner both by birth and by choice. I believe that You gave Your very own Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for my sin; that He was crucified for me, buried and You raised Him from the dead. I ask You to forgive me of my sin and come into my heart, Lord Jesus, and save me. I confess You as my Lord and Savior and I thank You for dying for me and for saving me. I will live every day of my life for You. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Once you have prayed that prayer and meant it sincerely in your heart, you are saved. Remember, the Word says in Romans 10:13 For “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” You cannot earn this salvation because it is a free gift. The only way to get it is to receive it by faith.
Ephesians 2:8, 9 NLT God saved you by His special favor when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
You must believe the Word of God over your feelings as you will not always feel saved. The devil will try to condemn you every time you sin so that you won't believe that you really were changed when you prayed. But you must believe that if you asked God to do something in faith that He really did do it. He wants you to know for sure that you were born again!
1 John 5:11-13 NLT And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. So whoever has God's Son has life; whoever does not have His Son does not have life. I write this to you so that you may know you have eternal life.
You receive God's Son, by His Spirit, when you asked Him to save you. That's what it means to be “born again”. Your spirit man comes to life. When God created man He breathed into Him the breath of life and he became a living soul. When sin came upon mankind the ability to fellowship with God through our spirit man was snuffed out. Man then lived according to the dictates of his flesh and physical being. But when you become “born again” your spirit man is brought back into relationship with God. Now you can live spirit to Spirit; once again having fellowship with the Father through your relationship with Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 NLT What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. An new life has begun! All this newness of life is from God, who brought us back to Himself through what Christ did. And God has given us the task of reconciling people to Him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. This is the wonderful message He has given us to tell others. We are Christ's ambassadors, and God is using us to speak to you. We urge you, as though Christ Himself were here pleading with you, “Be reconciled to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
Now that a person is born again and a new creation in Christ Jesus, does that mean he will never sin again?
No, absolutely not. What it means is that our sins, past, present and future have already been paid for. We now have the freedom to confess our sins as we commit them and know that we are acknowledging that what we did is wrong, but that it's not being held against us because Jesus paid for us to be forgiven.
1 John 1:8-2:2 NLT If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth. But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that His word has no place in our hearts. My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if you do sin, there is someone to plead for you before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who pleases God completely. He is the sacrifice for our sins. He takes away not only our sins but the sins of all the world.
When we become saved we no longer have the desires that we had before conversion. We now want to live for Christ Jesus because we love Him and want to please Him. That is one way that we can know we belong to Him. When we sin, we feel sorry for it; we want to confess it to Him because we know that sin displeases the Father. We want to live a life that is pleasing to Him. And His Spirit within us bears witness with us that we are His.
Romans 8:16 NKJV The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
He gives us peace within when we wonder about whether or not we truly were born again. The Holy Spirit is our guarantee that we are God's children.
Ephesians 1:13, 14 NLT And now you also have heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, He identified you as His own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom He promised long ago. The Spirit is God's guarantee that He will give us everything He promised and that He has purchased us to be His own people. This is just one more reason for us to praise our glorious God.
The problem that people run into after they are saved is that the devil comes with condemnation every time you do something wrong, trying to tell you that you really didn't receive salvation; that there is no hope for you. Listen, folks, kick the devil out of your life. When you prayed to receive Jesus as Savior He really did come into your heart by His Spirit and He lives within you. Write down the date and time that you prayed to receive Jesus so you can tell the devil when it happened and kick him our of your life! Nail it down! If you are still having trouble with this, pray it again and then write it down and go back to that date and time every time the enemy comes at you with condemnation.
Romans 8:1-4 NLT So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. For the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you through Christ Jesus from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses could not save us, because of our sinful nature. But God put into effect a different plan to save us. He sent His own Son in a human body like ours, except that ours are sinful. God destroyed sin's control over us by giving His Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the requirement of the law would be fully accomplished for us who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.
Condemnation and conviction are two different things that come from two different sources. Condemnation offers no hope; it says that you are a hopeless case; you will never be any different and you are no good to anyone. It comes from the pit of hell, straight from the father of lies, the devil. Conviction, on the other hand, is from the Holy Spirit, where He gently convicts us of something we've done wrong and encourages us to confess it to the Father so we can be forgiven once again and cleansed from the guilt of that sin. The Holy Spirit always offers a way out; the devil always tells you nothing will work. Do you see the difference?
Now that we've gone all through salvation from the beginning to the end, I hope that you will be assured that when you accept Jesus as Your Savior and Lord you truly are “born again”. May you walk in the Spirit and not the flesh. The victory comes as you follow the Holy Spirit's guidance; being quick to repent when you are wrong and get back into sweet fellowship with the Lord that comes from that repentance.
Father, I pray that You will take this message of Your word and seal it in the hearts of the readers that the enemy might not be able to come and steal it from them. I pray that those who read this message that don't know you will accept what Jesus did for them on the cross of Calvary. I ask You, Holy Spirit, to convict their hearts and convince them of their need for Jesus as Savior and Lord. Father, may the enemy be defeated in their lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. I ask You to help the ones who have received Jesus to put a stop to the devil's condemning words being thrown at them. May they realize that they can submit themselves to You, God, and resist the devil and Your word says when they do that he has to flee from them. I ask You, Lord, to give them an assurance of their seal, the Holy Spirit within them, as the guarantee that they are Yours. May they walk in the victory that Jesus has secured for them. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
II Corinthians 1:3, 4 AMP Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of sympathy (pity and mercy) and the God [Who is the Source] of every comfort (consolation and encouragement), Who comforts (consoles and encourages) us in every trouble (calamity and affliction), so that we may also be able to comfort (console and encourage) those who are in any kind of trouble or distress, with the comfort (consolation and encouragement) with which we ourselves are comforted (consoled and encouraged) by God.
God cares so much about His people that when they encounter heartaches He comforts them while they are going through it so that they, in turn, can comfort others when they are going through difficulties. I've experienced His comfort many times but especially when my husband passed away. I kept telling God that I just couldn't understand why it happened. I had followed every direction He had given me along the way as I prayed about His will for me to marry Larry and then 7 ˝ weeks later to have him pass away from a massive stroke just devastated me. This clearly was an attack from the enemy! But one morning as I was praying about it the Lord prompted me to read Isaiah 63:7-9.
Isaiah 63:7-9 NIV I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD, the deeds for which He is to be praised, according to all the LORD has done for us—yes, the many good things He has done for the house of Israel, according to His compassion and many kindnesses. He said, “Surely they are my people, sons who will not be false to me”; and so He became their Savior. In all their distress He too was distressed, and the angel of His presence saved them. In His love and mercy He redeemed them; He lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.
Immediately upon reading that passage of scripture the Lord drew me to verse 9 which says, “In all their distress He too was distressed”....
He simply said to me, “When My children hurt I hurt with them”. That so touched my heart knowing that when I cry the Lord cries with me; when I am distressed He is distressed as well. Not only does He cry with us and hurt when we hurt, but He does something about that pain. He redeems us from it. He buys us back from the heartache that we experience. The blood of Jesus purchased our emotional peace, as well as our spiritual peace. He paid the price for us to be whole; spirit, soul and body. The last part of that verse says that He lifts us up and carries us through those days.
He is the God of all comfort! Jesus said His Spirit, the Holy Spirit is our Comforter in John 14:16:
AMP And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever--
He is our Comforter to come alongside and carry us through the difficult times. He is our Counselor, to give us wise counsel when we need to know which way to go in a confusing situation. He is our Helper when we feel that we can't get something done on our own; our Intercessor always living to intercede on our behalf; our Advocate to plead our case when we need legal assistance. He is our Strengthener when we are weak and our Standby coming to our aid when we feel we can't go on. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth that leads us into all truth and teaches us the ways of the Lord. He directs our paths and tells us of future happenings. Jesus described Him in this manner:
John 16:13-15 AMP But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future]. He will honor and glorify Me, because He will take of (receive, draw upon) what is Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you. Everything that the Father has is Mine. That is what I meant when I said the He [the Spirit] will take the things that are Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you.
The Holy Spirit is my friend! Jesus told His disciples that He no longer called them servants but He called them His friends. The Spirit of Jesus, who lives within the believer, is our friend, just as Jesus is our friend.
John 15:15 AMP I do not call you servants (slaves) any longer, for the servant does not know what his mater is doing (working out). But I have called you My friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from My Father. [I have revealed to you everything that I have learned from Him.]
When Jesus ascended back to the Father after He was crucified and resurrected from the dead, He sent the Holy Spirit to live within each one of us who receives Jesus as Savior and Lord. He is our friend; our confidant; the One who comes alongside us and reveals Jesus to us. He glorifies Jesus in our lives and reveals to us what we need to do and how we are to live as believers in a world filled with darkness and despair. Without the Holy Spirit we would be be lost because there would be no one to convict the lost person of their need for salvation. He convicts the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. (John 16:8) No one can come to salvation without the Holy Spirit drawing them to Jesus. His job is so vast, it is incomprehensible and can't be understood without Him granting us spiritual discernment. There are many things that the Holy Spirit does that we don't even recognize that He is working among us.
Galatians 5:22, 23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
When the Holy Spirit comes to live within us He brings His fruit along with Him. It is through the development of the fruit of the Spirit within us that we become more Christ-like. If we did not have the Holy Spirit within us we would not have the potential to live as Jesus lived, but through His indwelling Spirit we are able to live like Him, walk like Him, and do the work of the ministry like Him.
God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power and that's how He carried out His ministry.
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 was with Jesus in His humanity, through the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit, enabling Him to do the things that He did and working through Him to heal those who were oppressed of the devil. That same Holy Spirit anointing is available to us to do those same things that Jesus did. In fact, Jesus said when we went back to the Father that those of us who were left here as believers in Him would do the same works that He did, and even greater works.
John 14:12-14 “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.”
Jesus went back to the Father and sent the Holy Spirit to take His place and now He lives within believers equipping them to do the same works that Jesus did. The Holy Spirit, the third person of the God-head is so important to me! I can't make it through life without Him!
Do you need comfort today? Receive the comfort of the Holy Spirit. He will hold you and care for you as you go through difficult times! What help do you need? The Holy Spirit is here to be your Helper. Draw on His strength today for your weaknesses. Do you need the Teacher to help you understand the Word of God? Call upon the Holy Spirit and He will illuminate the eyes of your understanding. What about ministry? Do you feel inadequate in doing the work that God has called you to do? You can't without the anointing of the Holy Spirit. You can not do the supernatural without the equipping of the Holy Spirit. But He is here waiting to fill you to overflowing with His power, His ability, His comfort; whatever you need. Just ask Him and He will come.
Father, I thank You for Your Spirit who lives within me. I can't make it through life without You, Holy Spirit. I thank You for being my friend. I pray this morning for my friends who may not be aware of Your presence within them. I pray that You, Holy Spirit, will make Yourself known to them. Be their best friend also. Help them to do the things that they see as impossibilities. Show them Your power to live above the circumstances of life. Father, reveal Your Spirit to them in ways that they will understand. Give them Your anointing that saves, heals, delivers and sets people free just as You did for Jesus. Touch them by Your Spirit; draw the lost to You, Lord and save them. Father, thank You for the Holy Spirit and His supernatural ability within us. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Monday, August 27, 2012
Psalm 55:4-8 My heart is severely pained within me, And the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, And horror has overwhelmed me. So I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. Indeed, I would wander far off, And remain in the wilderness. Selah I would hasten my escape From the windy storm and tempest.
I love to read the Psalms that David wrote because he is so open and honest in expressing his feelings to God. I think many times we are afraid to tell our heavenly Father how we really feel. Some of that fear comes from growing up in a performance oriented society where we are accepted and loved based on our performance, not for who we are. But God loves us unconditionally! If we've received Jesus as our Lord and Savior we belong to Him; we are a part of His family. God reaches down to His children in love to lift them up and pull them out of the messes they may be in. He forgives and restores us to right fellowship with Him when we acknowledge what we've done wrong in confession to Him. He is not like a person who changes his feelings toward those he is supposed to love when they do not respond to him as he would like. God loves because He is love!
1 John 4:8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
It is said that David was “a man after God's own heart”. I believe that he was described as that type of person because he wasn't afraid to talk to God in the honesty of his feelings. He wasn't a perfect man, because we see in the scriptures of his sin with Bathsheba, but he was a man who was quick to repent and had a soft heart towards the Lord; he was teachable and reachable! But David had deep feelings that we see so often coming out in the Psalms that he wrote.
In Psalm 55 we see where David was hurting to the point of death. Fear had come upon him and he trembled under the load of what was bothering him. He longed to run away where trouble couldn't find him! He wanted to escape from the storms of life.
How many times have we felt the same way? Maybe you're in that spot right now; where life has overwhelmed you to the point that you wish you could fly away where no one knew where you were. I've been there myself a time or two! David pours out his heart to his God expecting Him to hear and answer his prayers.
Psalm 55:16-18 As for me, I will call upon God, And the LORD shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice. He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me, For there were many against me.
After pouring out His heart to his God He believed that he would receive what he had asked of Him. He knew that God would save him from the battle that was raging around him. He cried out to him morning, noon and night and he knew that God was hearing his voice and would come to his rescue. He proclaimed that his God had redeemed his soul in peace even before he saw it come into manifestation. David was a man of faith, believing that he would receive when he prayed.
Jesus told us in Matthew 21:22 “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
David knew that his God would hear and answer his prayer of petition. He believed that he would receive what he asked of his Father.
Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.
The Hebrew word for “sustain” in that verse means “to maintain, nourish, provide food, bear, hold up, protect, support, defend; to supply the means necessary for living.”
David knew that his God would sustain him, providing for whatever need he had when he cried out to him. He had a living and vital relationship with his God, but it was based on the Old Covenant, secured by the sacrifices of animals. Thanks to Jesus we now live under the New Covenant, of which He is the mediator. It is a better covenant. The sacrifices David had to offer for sin that would make him acceptable to his God we no longer have to make. Jesus is the sacrifice for our sins and the way to the Father is open for all to boldly come in.
Sometimes we are hesitant to tell our heavenly Father what we are feeling because we think we shouldn't feel that way, or we are afraid we will be rejected because of our feelings. But Jesus made a way for us to come before the Father without fearing. He paid the price for us to have the freedom to come boldly before our God when are in need.
Hebrews 4:14-16: Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
My friends, the door to the Father is open for you to enter in. Jesus experienced all that you are experiencing, but He didn't sin through it. He didn't fear but He trusted His Father to sustain Him; to provide for His every need. Our Father now wants to hear all about your heartaches and He wants to give you the solution to your problems. But he's waiting for you to open up your heart to Him. He will not force Himself on you. Will you tell Him what is bothering you? Will you believe that He will hear and answer your prayers even before you see that answer in manifestation?
David knew God under the Old Testament law, but Jesus made it possible for us to know God under the New Testament grace. Jesus paid the price for us to be children of God. He made it possible for us to come boldly into God's presence to receive the help that we need at just the right time.
Hebrews 8:6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant,which was established on better promises.
Jesus stands between us and God bridging the gap that once was there that held us back from being close to our Heavenly Father. He died that we might live! He took the punishment for our sin that we might be free to be children of God.
John 1:12, 13 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name; who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
David still had to perform animal sacrifices under Old Testament Laws to be acceptable to God, but we are acceptable to God when we place our faith and trust in the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the Cross of Calvary.
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.
Hebrews 10:11-14 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting til His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
Since Jesus died for us we are now able to call our God, “Abba, Father” because we are His sons and daughters. When we receive Jesus as Savior and Lord we are born again, not of the flesh, but of the Spirit; born into the family of God.
Have you been born into the family of God? If not, I would like to introduce you to the best friend you will ever have; the Lord Jesus Christ. He longs to bring you into His family where you can know the Heavenly Father. If you have never received Jesus as your Savior and Lord and would like to, please pray this prayer with me and believe it sincerely in your heart:
Father, I come before you this morning in the name of Jesus. I confess that I am a sinner both by birth and by choice. I believe in my heart that Jesus is the Son of God; that He died for my sins that I might live to new life, and that You, Father God, raised Him from the dead and He now lives seated at Your right hand. I ask You to forgive me and cleanse me of all unrighteousness. I receive Jesus as my Savior and Lord and I thank You for saving me. I will live for You every day of my life. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
If you prayed that prayer for the first time and meant it, you are now a child of God, privileged to have all the benefits of the family of God. You can now come boldly before the Father in your time of trouble to receive the help that you need. You an heir of God and joint-heir with Christ Jesus! Praise the Lord! I welcome you as my brother or sister in Christ!
If you are going through a difficult time right now, Jesus is right there with you. He is there by His Spirit who lives within you. He longs to help you with your troubles. Won't you share your heart with Him and let Him lead you in the way you should go to receive the help that you need? Don't be afraid to pour out your heart to Him. He understands and is waiting to come to your aid.
Father, I thank You for Jesus! I thank You that He died for us, rose again triumphant over death, hell and the grave and that He ever lives to make intercession for us! Thank You, Lord Jesus, for laying down Your life for us that we might have eternal life in You! Father, I pray for my friends this morning that are going through difficult times. I pray that You will make Yourself real to them in ways that they will understand so they will know that You are right there to help them through the difficulties. Please strengthen them by Your Spirit who lives within them. Heal their bodies that are suffering through physical illnesses; comfort those who are hurting emotionally; set free those who are oppressed and burdened by the attacks of the enemy. Father, bring to salvation those who don't know Jesus! Lord, You are more than able to deliver Your people from temptation and trials. I ask You, Lord, to work miracles in their lives by healing, delivering and setting them free. Thank You, Lord! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Philippians 3:4b-6 NIV If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.
Paul tried to live his life by every rule and regulation that was expected of him as a Jew under the law. He was a Hebrew among Hebrews; one who lived what he believed to the fullest; passionate about his religious endeavors. He was a man who went after the life that he wanted to live with the fullest intent of doing everything by the letter of the law. But it was to no effort; he couldn't know the Lord by keeping a set of rules. It was only as he had an encounter with the Lord Jesus that he was changed! It is the same with us. We must come to a life changing encounter with Jesus before we can be different. The difference that his encounter with the Lord Jesus made within him was that his wants and desires changed. He no longer wanted to hurt Christians, but instead saw them as brothers and sisters in Christ; members of God's family, as he was. He no longer wanted to live by a set of rules and regulations. His desire now was to know the Lord Jesus intimately; not ritualistically but through a relationship with the King of kings and Lord of lords. Paul's heart was changed and it was reflected in his attitudes and lifestyle. He was a new man!
Philippians 3:7-11 NIV But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Nothing of his past made any difference to him any longer once He met Jesus. All that he had placed confidence in before now was considered rubbish. All he wanted was to know Christ and be found in Him. In other words, he wanted to have an intimacy with the Lord Jesus that comes from walking and talking with him and to be known as one who loves and follows Jesus Christ. He no longer cared about his former lifestyle; his desire was to please the Lord and be transformed into his image. If he had to suffer as Jesus suffered to attain that privilege, then so be it, he welcomed it because it meant that he was worthy to be counted as one like Jesus! Whatever he needed to do to be like Jesus was what he was determined to do.
This really touches my heart because as modern day Christians we try to get out of suffering or avoid things that might cause us discomfort. How many times do we say, “Lord, if I may but be like You, I would gladly suffer as You suffered”? We try to avoid persecution by pleasing the masses; conforming to what is “politically correct” instead of walking the walk and talking the talk!
Philippians 3:12-14 NIV Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Paul kept pressing on towards all that God had given Christ Jesus to purchase for him through the cross! He realized he was not where he was meant to be and he wouldn't get there by looking at the mistakes of the past, but as he focused on what was ahead in his walk with Jesus, the author and finisher of his faith, he would be all that God had called him to be. The untapped potential within each believer is available to help us press on, to enable us to flow with the Holy Spirit in doing those things that we see as impossibilities. But it is in pressing upward and onward that we attain the prize!
Philippians 3:15, 16 NIV All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
Maturity is a growth process. It doesn't happen through floating along. It comes through diligence in pressing in to the things of the Lord. We grow as we experience the trials of life and learn to overcome through the power of the Holy Spirit. No one wants to go through storms but they do come to all of us. It's our response to those difficult times that moves us forward or backward. Loosing ground comes as we give up; look backwards and wish that we could go back to the way things used to be. Paul said he “pressed on” to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of him. He forgot about the difficulties of yesterday and pressed on to the prize of tomorrow.
Will you be a modern day Paul with the same mind as him? He said that those who are mature should have that same mind. I long to press into the things of the Lord that I might fulfill the call of God on my life! That comes with a price. How about you? Are you willing to pay the price?
Father, I thank You for all that You did for me by giving Your very own Son, Christ Jesus, to die for me. I pray that I may press into Him, attain the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus for my life. I desire to do the same works that Jesus did in His earthly walk; to have an impact on people's lives for Your kingdom and their eternal destiny. I pray for my friends who have that same desire, Father, that You will draw them to Your side and show them a glimpse of what You have in store for them as they press towards their prize in Christ Jesus. Thank You, Father, for keeping them from the evil one; for protecting them from the one who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. May we be the over-comers that You have planned and prepared for us to be. I declare that Jesus did not die in vain, but I will live and do what He has died to secure for me. In Jesus' name. Amen.
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