Friday, December 21, 2012
Luke 1:36 “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.”
There are so many miracles that occurred with the birth of the Savior that we often overlook them. This is one of them. Elizabeth was the wife of Zacharias, the priest. The scripture records that they were well advanced in age and they had no child because Elizabeth was barren.
Luke 1:6, 7 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.
We often don't understand why things happen as they do. Here was a couple that had walked before God righteously, had kept all His commandments and ordinances and were blameless in His sight and yet the blessing of childhood had eluded them. There was a stigma that was attached to barrenness in women during Biblical times. It was said to indicate a curse from God upon the woman who could not bare children. It was of utmost importance to women in Biblical times to be able to fulfill their role as a wife in being able to bare children to their husbands that would carry on the family name.
There are many this morning that are praying and have been praying for years to conceive a child and yet find themselves month after month without the good news of pregnancy. Elizabeth had been “called” barren; it says in Luke 1:36. People had said that it was impossible for her to become pregnant. She had been termed as a “hopeless case” for pregnancy. The voices of those around her had reinforced her greatest fear of not being able to conceive. But there was one thing they hadn't thought about.....God's power to intervene and bring into existence the impossible!
God had a purpose for Zacharias and Elizabeth and the child that He would bring into their lives. That purpose had a time for fulfillment and He needed a couple who were dedicated to living according to His will to bring that child up in the way that he should go so he could fulfill the purpose of being the forerunner for the Christ child. Elizabeth had grown wise in her knowledge of the Lord in all those years of waiting. She would be the perfect one to encourage Mary, a little, young virgin to whom He had given the express purpose of being the mother of the Savior of the world. She would be able to confirm to Mary that God is the God of impossibilities and all that He had spoken to her would come to pass because she, herself, was a recipient of His miraculous power at that very moment! Mary knew to go to the one person that would be able to encourage her and share with her about the mighty workings of the Lord. She left immediately after the angel told her that she would give birth to the Son of God to go see Elizabeth because she knew that she would be able to give her wise counsel regarding this miracle.
Luke 1:43-45 “But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? “For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. “Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”
Mary, immediately after conferring with Elizabeth, wrote what my Bible records as “The Song of Mary”:
Luke 1:46-55 And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy, As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever.”
Mary rejoiced in the fact that she was blessed to be the one who would bring the Christ child into the world. Elizabeth's son, also, would play an important part in ushering in the Savior of the world. He went before Jesus to pave the way for the people to receive God's perfect gift of salvation.
Elizabeth said to Mary that day, “Blessed is she who believed for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” She had already walked that path of believing; she knew the importance of receiving by faith what God had said through the angel. It was happening to her and she had had to believe when her husband came home unable to speak because of his encounter with the Angel of the Lord that had told him they would have a son in their old age. Elizabeth knew that in order to receive the impossible you had to believe that God was able to do what He had promised.
Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months after that miraculous conception. I believe she stayed that long to be encouraged in her faith to continue to believe. She had no visual proof of her pregnancy prior to that and it would have been easy to waiver in her faith until the visual manifestation of pregnancy could be seen or felt. But with Elizabeth she could voice her concerns and know that she would be understood and encouraged to continue to believe. She was sheltered from the questions of the community and given time to prepare for that time when everyone would know that she was pregnant and the accusations of being pregnant outside of wedlock would occur. With Elizabeth she could be herself, strengthened in her faith and prepared to walk the walk that, as a young virgin, she could not have even imagined would happen to her.
When God speaks a promise to us we can be sure that if we will receive it by faith and expect it to happen, that it will come to pass.
Numbers 23:19 NLT God is not a man, that he should lie. He is not a human, that he should change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?
Mary believed and received the promise that God gave her through that Angel.
Luke 1:37 “For with God nothing will be impossible.”
Maybe you're in an impossible situation this morning. Has God spoken a promise to you that you have not yet seen fulfilled? Are you wavering in your faith wondering if He really promised that or if you were just presumptuous in thinking you might receive the impossible? God is faithful to keep His promises!
Ephesians 3:20, 21 NLT Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen.
Father, I thank You for Your miraculous power that is working in us, Your children. I know You are able to do the things that You have promised us in Your word and through the times we have communed with You in prayer. Father, there are those today who have been standing in faith waiting for the fulfillment of those things that You have promised them. I ask You to encourage them as only You can. Place people of faith around them to help them continue to believe. Father, give them a glimpse of what You are doing in their lives to keep the vision of the promise alive within them. Thank You for showing us through this story of Mary and Elizabeth how You work the impossible in different situations in the lives of Your people. I thank You for the purpose that You have for each of our lives. May we reflect Your glory while we wait for our promises. Thank You, Father! To You be all the glory and honor. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Isaiah 9:6 NLT For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David. The passionate commitment of the LORD Almighty will guarantee this!
This prophecy that is recorded in Isaiah was given to reveal to us the attributes of the Savior of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ. And the government will rest upon His shoulders! All governmental authority rests in Jesus Christ. He is the hope of the nations! In His government there is fairness and justice. He judges righteously, not according to man's decrees but according to God's. Jesus is the hope of the nations. The phrase “And the government will rest upon his shoulders” gives Him the entitlement to rule and reign over all the governments of the the world. If all governments would give Him His rightful place in ruling there would be no war, no hate, no destruction or fear of attack from surrounding neighbors. There would be peace on earth, goodwill towards men as the angels declared at the birth of the Christ child! His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end!
This portion of scripture identifies the Christ child as having four primary attributes:
Wonderful, Counselor – Isaiah 28:29 says that the LORD of hosts is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance. The only one who can counsel rightly is the One who knows all, sees all and is all powerful. This name that was given to the Christ child, Jesus, expresses His ability to govern rightly, to counsel with fairness, which is essential to any political leader. He is the living Word, the infallible source of guidance. He is all wisdom and knowledge; the Truth and the Way. There is no beginning to Him and no end.
Mighty God – He is God Himself. There is none above Him and none beside Him. He is the ultimate authority. The Child is God incarnate, the omnipotent One. The primary meaning for the Hebrew word for “Mighty” is power or strength. He is the All-powerful God!
Isaiah 11:1-5 NLT Out of the stump of David's family will grow a shoot—yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him—the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. He will delight in obeying the LORD. He will never judge by appearance, false evidence, or hearsay. He will defend the poor and the exploited. He will rule against the wicked and destroy them with the breath of His mouth. He will be clothed with fairness and truth.
Everlasting Father – This name expresses Christ's fatherly care. His place as the second person of the Trinity does not over-ride the Father, but He is an extension of the Father. He is the exact representation of His Father God.
Hebrews 1:1-3 NLT Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. But now in these final days, He has spoken to us through His Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son He made the universe and everything in it. The Son reflects God's own glory, and everything about Him represents God exactly. He sustains the universe by the mighty power of His command. After He had died to cleanse us from the stain of sin, He sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God of heaven.
He said He came not to do His own will, but the will of the One who sent Him.
John 6:38-40 NLT For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do what I want. And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those He has given me, but that I should raise them to eternal life at the last day. For it is my Father's will that all who see His Son and believe in Him should have eternal life—that I should raise them at the last day.
When you look at the life of Jesus that He lived here on earth you see the will of God in action. He did those things that He saw His Father doing and said what He heard His Father saying.
John 5:19; 30 NLT Jesus replied, “I assure you, the Son can do nothing by Himself. He does only what He sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. But I do nothing without consulting the Father. I judge as I am told. And My judgment is absolutely just, because it is according to the will of God who sent me; it is not merely My own.
Prince of Peace – When sin entered the world through Adam at the Fall in the Garden of Eden, man was eternally separated from the Father; he was at enmity with the Father because God is a holy God and will not co-exist with sin. But when Jesus died on that cross to save man from His sin, the power of sin was broken and abolished and man, upon receiving Jesus' payment for his sin, was then able to come into God's presence as sinless, with nothing held against him because the payment for his sin was paid by the crucifixion of Jesus. Jesus made peace between God and man. He is the Prince of Peace.
Ephesians 2:14-18 NLT For Christ Himself has made peace between us Jews and you Gentiles by making us all one people. He has broken down the wall of hostility that used to separate us. By His death He ended the whole system of Jewish law that excluded the Gentiles. His purpose was to make peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in Himself one new person from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of His death, and our hostility toward each other was put to death. He has brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and to us Jews who were near. Now all of us, both Jews and Gentiles, may come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.
Not only did Jesus make peace between us and God, but He also created peace between Jews and Gentiles. He rules with peace! If we could only understand the greatness of His dominion and power there would be no fighting between the Jewish nation and their brothers and neighbors. Jesus paid the price for us to have peace in our world! He paid the price for us to have peace with God and with man!
What a wonderful world this would be if people would follow the Christ child this Christmas! How great is our God! He paved the way for peace to rule and reign in all of our lives through the birth of that One little baby, Jesus Christ! How awesome was His plan to redeem mankind. Who would have thought that the King of kings and Lord of lords would come as a little baby, born to a virgin who was betrothed to marry and laid in a manger because there was no room for Him in the Inn. No room—we have proclaimed in so many ways through the years that there is no room for Him in our governments, our schools, even in the hearts of so many. NO ROOM!
Will you make room for Jesus in your heart today? Will you receive Him as your own personal Lord and Savior. Peace begins in our own hearts when we accept the payment that Jesus paid for our sin. Once peace is established with God we can then extend it to those around us. Peace is spread one person to another. It is possible for our world to be a peaceful world.....if we will make room for the Savior!
Father, I come before You this morning to thank You for giving Your Son that we might have peace with You and with those around us. May Your peace permeate our hearts this Christmas and may it be a lasting peace that will follow us through into all eternity. I pray for those who have no peace in their lives this year. Those that have not followed Jesus as the Prince of Peace. I pray that You will show them their need for Jesus as Savior and Lord. I pray that they will surrender their hearts to Him and make Him the Lord of their lives. I pray that many will come to salvation as they read that Jesus is the hope of the nations. I pray that this will be their day of salvation. Open their blinded eyes and minds to see Jesus as the Savior, the One who paid the price for their sin and the One who wants to redeem them from the bondage of sin. Thank You, Father!
I pray also for all the people of the world that You would re-establish your rule and reign in the hearts of government leaders. I pray that governments will turn to You as the Wonderful Counselor, the One who is entitled to rule through the governments. I pray that the government will be on Your shoulders once again and that government leaders will turn to You and seek Your face and guidance in order to lead their countries in peaceful habitation with others. May You rule through them with fairness and justice!
Father, I thank You for hearing and answering my prayer this morning. I believe that I receive when I pray as instructed in Your word in Matthew 21:22. Thank You for effecting change in the hearts and lives of people all over the world! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Psalm 53:2 God looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.
Living with a mountain view gives a person a whole new perspective on life in the valley. When I get up in the morning while it is still dark, I look out the back windows to see all the lights of the surrounding communities and it seems as if I'm perched high above all the happenings of the world. The lights shine and twinkle; you can point out different places and it's like being removed from life with all of it's joys and sorrows. One day I was standing at the back window looking down on the valley and I saw a car moving on one of the roads below. It looked like a matchbox car traveling along a narrow trail. It was then that the Lord quickened my heart to the fact that God sees all the busyness of man, as he hustles here and there, living his life as if that's all there is to it. And yet, God, looks down from His position high in the heavens and sees our world from a whole different perspective. We are often oblivious to what is going on around us because we see from a limited perspective, but God knows all and sees all from His omniscient, all-knowing perspective.
Isaiah 55:8, 9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
God thinks differently than us; He acts are different from ours. His ways and thoughts are so much higher than ours. So, does that mean that we can't know and understand our God? I don't think you'll find any substantiation to that thought in God's Word. He makes it clear that we can know Him; that if we will draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. We often hear 1 Corinthians 2:9 preached and the message is usually that we can't know what God has prepared for us; that His ways are so much higher than ours that we can't ever understand our God. And yet when you look at the context of that 1 Corinthians passage we can see that God reveals His will to us through His Spirit. We can know what is in the heart of God and His will to give us the good things that He has planned for us.
1 Corinthians 2:7-16 NLT No, the wisdom we speak of is the secret wisdom of God, which was hidden in former times, though he made it for our benefit before the world began. But the rulers of this world have not understood it; If they had, they would never have crucified our glorious Lord. That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” But we know these things because God has revealed them to us by his Spirit, and his Spirit searches out everything and shows us even God's deep secrets. No one can know what anyone else is really thinking except that person alone, and no one can know God's thoughts except God's own Spirit. And God has actually given us his Spirit (not the world's spirit) so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. When we tell you this, we do not use words of human wisdom. We speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit's words to explain spiritual truths. But people who aren't Christians can't understand these truths from God's Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them because only those who have the Spirit can understand what the Spirit means. We who have the Spirit understand these things, but others can't understand us at all. How could they? For “Who can know what the Lord is thinking? Who can give him counsel? But we can understand these things, for we we have the mind of Christ.
Paul says that man's wisdom is not the same as God's wisdom because if the rulers of the world would have known the good things that God has planned for those who love Him, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. They would have embraced Him as their King and ruler over the hearts of men. The only way to know God's thoughts and ways is to be born into His family; to be awakened from the spiritual darkness that separates man from God. Then when we seek the Lord, through His Spirit, He reveals to us the things that He has planned for us. He shares His secrets with us. We can understand His ways because we are born of His Spirit; we have the mind of Christ through the entrance that He has provided for us into the family of through His shed blood. He is our Head and we are His body. The head tells the body how to act, what to do in each situation. It is as we draw near to Him that He reveals the secret things to us.
Psalm 25:14 AMP The secret [of the sweet, satisfying companionship] of the Lord have they who fear (revere and worship) Him, and He will show them His covenant and reveal to them its [deep, inner] meaning.
God reveals the deep, inner meanings of His covenant to those who have a sweet, satisfying companionship with Him; those who revere Him, worship Him and spend time with Him in prayer and Bible study.
Psalm 103:7 He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.
God revealed His ways to Moses through the intimate relationship that he had with Him, but the children of Israel just got to see God's acts. They didn't want to come close to God because they were afraid of Him. They told Moses to go be with God and then come back and report to them what God had said. But Moses spent time with the Lord and it is said that God spoke with Moses face to face as a man speaks to his friend.
Exodus 33:11 So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend...
Jesus told His disciples that He didn't see them as servants, but as friends and as such He revealed the Father's heart to them.
John 15:15 “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing, but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”
As friends of God we can know His heart, we can understand His ways and through our relationship with Him we can do His will. We have the mind of Christ because the God who is all-knowing lives in the hearts of those who trust Him for salvation. Those who receive Jesus as Savior and Lord become the body of Christ. The Head is Jesus, the believers are His body. The Head shares with His body what He wants done and the body responds through obedience.
John 15:14 “You are my friends if you do whatever I command you.”
Does God consider you His friend? Are you responding to His call through obedience? Do you have a living and vital relationship with Him that is characterized through love and obedience?
God has made Himself available to His man; His family. Will you move from the outer court into the holy of holies and be known as a friend of God?
Father, I thank You for revealing Yourself and Your ways to those who know You, who through entrance into the family of God through the blood of Jesus, have come into relationship with You. I pray that those who don't know You will come to the saving knowledge of Jesus and be born again into the family of God today. May this day be the day of salvation for the lost. May they come to Jesus and be saved from their sin and given entrance into the family of God. Thank You, Father, for giving Jesus to die for their sins, to pay the penalty for sin in their lives. Thank You for drawing them by Your Spirit and for convicting them of their need for Jesus.
Father, I also pray for those who are in Your family, but haven't drawn close to You to experience Your sweet, satisfying companionship. Father, I pray that they will draw near to You so that You can draw near to them. Father, place a hunger and thirst within their hearts that is unquenchable, a fire that cannot be put out that will compel them to come close to You to know You and live through their relationship with You. Enlighten their spirits to Your Spirit within them and show them the secrets of a life lived in the Presence of Almighty God. Thank You, Father, for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Isaiah 43:1-3 NKJV But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;”
There are times in our lives, according to Ecclesiastes 3:1, when we experience different types of life events. The Bible records them as “seasons” and says that there is a time for every purpose under heaven.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war,And a time of peace.
This week there are many who are going through a time of weeping; a time of sorrow and mourning. It is a sad time for them. The Bible says that there will be “times” or “seasons” for these things, but just as the seasons of our world change, so will the seasons in our lives. It is at these “times” of sorrow or fear or uncertainty that we can take refuge in God; we can find comfort in His Word and we can experience peace through the power of His Spirit within us. God is the One who created all things and knows His creation the best. He is the One who goes before us into all seasons of our lives and prepares the way for us to be successful and prosperous in them. He says in Isaiah 43:1 that we do not have to fear in these “times” for He is the One who has redeemed us. We are His and He has called us by name.
I have a unique name, Avanell, and many have difficulty saying it and remembering it. But I do not have to worry about God being able to remember my name. He knows me. I am known by my Creator. He has called us by name!
Isaiah 49:15, 16 “Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are ever before Me.
God remembers each one of us. He has us inscribed on the palms of His hands. He is aware of every season of life and knows how to guide us through each one. We do not have to fear what lies ahead of us because He knows us intimately and cares for us through each “season” of our lives. God didn't promise that there would not be “seasons” of heartache and disappointment, but He did promise us that He would go with us through them; that He would make sure we made it through the “seasons” of difficulty. That is a comfort to me. It encourages me to know that the God of all creation is holding my hand as I hurt; that He is shining a light before me so I can see to make my way through that particular “season” of life. I know that I will make it because He is my Savior; the One who has bought me back from the dominion of sin and darkness. He is the Light who lights my way; He is my Redeemer!
Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'
He is our God; the One who is there to help us, to strengthen us and to lead us through to victory.
Isaiah 41:13 For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, 'Fear not, I will help you.'.
They say that the spirit realm is the most active in the early morning hours. It is at that time that a person is the most likely to be visited in their dreams by the evil one who comes to plant fear and despair in their mind. I have so many times been awakened at around 3-3:30 a.m. with fearful thoughts and a heaviness that's like a dark cloud hanging over my head. It is then that I have to take a stand against the evil one to remind him that my God is the One who controls my life; He is the One in whom I place my trust when fear comes knocking at my door. He has said that when I walk through the waters He will be with me and when I go through the rivers they will not overflow me; even when I walk through the fire I shall not be burned or scorched because He is my God; my Savior!
Shadrach, Meschach, and Abed-Nego went through a time of fire in their walk with the Lord when they refused to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar and worship the gold image that he had set up. They held fast to their God and the scripture records that when they went through that fiery furnace that they threw them into that their oppressors looked in and saw not just the three that had been thrown in but a fourth man walking with them that looked like the Son of God. They said that Shadrach, Meschach, and Abed-Nego were loosed of the ropes that had bound them; they were not hurt, the hair of their heads was not singed nor were their garments affected. They didn't even smell like smoke when they came out of that furnace. (Daniel 3:13-30)
God was right there with them, walking through the fire with them and enabling them to come out unharmed. That's the God that we serve! He is the God of impossibilities. He takes care of His own!
This morning you may be walking through a fire of your own. This may be a season of sorrow or discouragement for you. If so, hang on to the hand of your Savior! He will walk with you through it and the “season” will pass.
Father, I thank You for going before us into every season of our lives. And I thank You for walking with us through them. I know that You hold us by the hand to walk us through the difficult times as well as the good times. Thank You for being a personal God; One who knows Your children and calls them by their names. Thank You for taking a personal interest in each of our lives. Father, I pray for those who are sorrowing today. I ask You to be close to them; to let them feel Your presence; to give them the supernatural strength that only comes from You for the day that they are facing. I pray that they will recognize Your hand upon them and that they will sense a closeness with You that they have not known before. Heal their broken hearts, comfort them and strengthen them. Father, remind them that this season in their lives will pass and a brighter one lies ahead of them. Thank You for being there with them, Father. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Today's confession: When I walk through the waters of adversity and fire, I will not drown or be burned for my God holds my hand and leads me through to victory. He knows me and calls me by my name. I am His and He is mine!
Monday, December 17, 2012
Matthew 4:4 But He answered and said, “It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'”
Jesus, when He was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, quoted scripture to him in order to defeat him. This is a key element to our walking in victory over the attacks of the enemy. The word of God is vitally important in our exercising authority over the devil when he comes to attack our minds. In this first attack that the devil threw at Jesus he challenged Him regarding His physical need for food. Jesus had fasted for forty days and forty nights. He was hungry. This was a primary need in His life at that very moment. There are certain times in our lives when we are more vulnerable to the enemy's attacks than others. It is at those weak times that we will be more apt to have the enemy attack us. This was a time in Jesus' life when He knew He must rely heavily upon the word of God to defeat the attack of the enemy on His life.
Satan, described as the “tempter” came to Jesus and said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” (Matt. 4:3) The “tempter” is one of the names of Satan because it describes him by what he does. He tempts people to go against the word of God thereby taking things into their own hands to try to accomplish God's will in their lives. Jesus was drawing close to the Father through fasting and prayer. He was seeking God's will in His life for the plan that God had to free mankind from the dominion of sin to which they had been held in bondage. The “tempter” came to draw Him away from the plan that God had for His life by tempting Him to do things His own way.
The response that Jesus had towards the temptation of the devil serves as an example to us in how we can defeat his attacks in our lives. Jesus said, “It is written”! The Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword according to Hebrews 4:12. It is described as the sword of the Spirit in Ephesians 6:17 where Paul is speaking to us about the armor of God and it's place in enabling us to be able to fight and stand against the wiles of the devil during times of spiritual warfare. Jesus quoted scripture, used like a sword, to the devil to defeat his attack against Him. When He was attacked regarding hunger He applied the word of God to that particular attack by saying, “It is written”, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'” To nourish the physical man you must eat. Likewise, to nourish your spirit man, the inner person, you must eat of the Word of God. Food is necessary in both instances, but physical nourishment will not strengthen the spirit man, only the Word of God will do that. You can't fight a spiritual battle with physical food. The spirit of man will only be strengthened through eating or ingesting the Word of God.
Word – Greek word “rhema” which means the communication of the message. It is a verse taken from the Word of God and spoken to us by the Holy Spirit when needed to defeat the devil in his attacks against our lives. Rhema – the spoken Word of God.
Jesus was being attacked in His hunger. The Holy Spirit spoke the scripture needed to counter the attack upon His physical being. A Rhema word from God's Word will be given to you by the Holy Spirit as you need it to counter an attack upon your life. The key to having the Holy Spirit speak that scripture to you is through you putting the Word of God into your heart. That's why Jesus said, “'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'” The spirit man within you cannot live and be strong enough to counter the attacks of the enemy without feeding on the Word of God.
Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit would be given to us, after He ascended back to heaven, that He would be our Helper and would teach us all things and bring back to our remembrance all things that Jesus had said.
John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
The Holy Spirit brings back to our remembrance the Words of Jesus, or the Word of God, when we need them to fight the attacks that Satan arrays against us and to help us in our walk of faith. If we are not ingesting the Word of God, reading, studying and acting on it, the Holy Spirit does not have anything to help us with when the attack comes from the enemy.
God told Joshua that he should not let the Book of the Law, the Word of God, depart from his mouth, but that he should meditate in it day and night, that he might heed it and do all that was written in it so that he might be prosperous and successful in all that he did.
Joshua 1:8 “This Book of the Law shall not depart form your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
Success in standing against the enemy comes through knowing and speaking the Word of God to him in each attack. God told Joshua that he need not be afraid but to be strong and courageous for He was with him wherever he went. God goes with us through His Word and His Spirit within us. When we are filled with His Word and His Spirit we can effectively stand against the attacks that Satan throws at us. We have no need to fear because our God has empowered us to win. He has given us His Word and His Spirit to enable us to fight and win. Are you prepared for the battle? Does the Word of God hold a high priority in your life? Are you eating of the Word of God as often as you are feeding your physical man?
Father, I thank You for Your Word and Your Spirit who gives us the victory. Thank You for giving us the Word to defeat the devil when he attacks our lives. I thank You for Your Spirit who never leaves us nor forsakes us to fight under our own power. Thank You for helping us to strengthen our spirit man so we can stand against the wiles of the devil. Father, I pray for those who are struggling in a battle this morning. I pray that You will give them the Rhema Word that they need by Your Spirit to fight and win against their enemy. I pray that my friends will eat of Your Word every day to strengthen them for upcoming battles. Father, I know that in these last days the attacks of the enemy will increase as he knows that his time is shortened so I ask You to make us aware of the importance of giving Your Word pre-eminance in our hearts and lives. Thank You for equipping us to win the battles of life. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Today's confession: The Word of God is in my heart and in my mouth. I defeat the devil's attacks through speaking the Word of God into that situation.
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