Sunday, January 13, 2013
John 4:34-38 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: One sows and another reaps.” I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.”
As I was walking through the flea market yesterday I came to the table of a lady that was selling beauty products. As a woman and a former beauty consultant I am always interested in products that will cover up the effects of aging and enhance a woman's natural beauty. This lady's table of products was especially interesting to me because I noticed a book on the end of the table about the fruit of the Spirit. Aha, maybe I was not just drawn to the beauty products, but could this be a divine appointment that God had set up for me?
Jesus said that His food was to do the will of Him who sent Him and to finish His work. He told His disciples that they didn't have to wait for the harvest because the fields were already white for harvest. In Matthew 24:14 He told His disciples that one of the signs of the end of the world will be that the gospel will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end would come.
As I talked with the lady who was selling the beauty products I learned that she was trying to raise funds to go on a mission trip to Kenya. That really sparked my interest and I began to converse with her about her trip, her fears, her desires and the plan that God for her life; to not only send her into the world to minister to the needs of the people of Kenya but also to set her free from a long-standing fear of flying through a trip oversees. Before I left to go on in my pursuit of flea market bargains she asked me to pray for her. So my husband and I joined together in agreement with her for a successful ministry trip and as we prayed God ministered His sweet presence in that place, right in the middle of the flea market, to a worker ready to be sent out into the harvest field. I was so blessed to be a part of what He is doing in her life.
When I got up this morning the Lord began bringing back to my remembrance some scriptures that He has been speaking to me personally. They all tie together with, I believe, what He is getting ready to do in the end-time harvest. If we are sensitive to His Spirit and willing to move at His direction to touch the lives of others that we come into contact with, He will set up the divine appointments that will be productive for His Kingdom's glory.
Is your food to do the will of the Father? Are you ready to go at the direction of the Lord to speak to those that He brings into your presence? Jesus was ready in season and out of season; ready to preach to the lost, heal the sick, raise the dead and to spread the good news of the gospel with all whom God placed in His path. He told His disciples that the lost and hurting are all around them; all they needed to do was lift up their eyes and look. The same is true in our lives today. Those that need the hope and healing that God has placed within us through the presence of His Spirit are waiting all around us for us to share it with them. The anointing of the Spirit of God is upon us, within us, and around us to win the lost, heal the sick and raise the dead. But are we willing to go into all the world? Are we willing to speak when He says speak? Are we willing to lay hands on the sick at His direction and see them healed?
2 Timothy 4:1-5 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the world! Be ready in season and our of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching, For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Paul told Timothy that there was coming a time when people would need a strong approach to the Word of God and that he should be ready to preach the word in season and out of season. In other words always be prepared to share God's word with those with whom you come into contact with. Be ready! Be prepared to convince, rebuke and exhort those that need to hear God's word; that need to be encouraged; that need to be corrected! Be ready to share what God has placed on the inside of you with others!
Shortly after Christmas as I was praying the Lord spoke Isaiah 54:2 and 3 to my heart and I have been meditating on what it means to me in my own life and ministry. I believe that it is tied to the divine encounter that God set up for me at the flea market yesterday.
Isaiah 54:2, 3 “Enlarge the place of your tent, And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; do not spare; Lengthen your cords, And strengthen your stakes. For you shall expand to the right and to the left, And your descendants will inherit the nations, And make the desolate cities inhabited.
Even though I believe He spoke this to me personally it is an instruction for the Body of Christ as well in preparing the end time harvest. He's saying get ready for increase; prepare room for those who will come into the family of God! The time is at hand for you to move into and reap the harvest. Ministry expansion is coming and you must be ready to share with those who are lost, hurting and in need of the Savior.
In verse one of Isaiah 54 God speaks of supernatural birth and how the barren would be giving birth to children. It may be that you have never shared the good news of the gospel with anyone. But get ready for God is about to do a supernatural work in your life. He needs our cooperation to work with Him in bringing in the harvest. Lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. Work on developing your relationship with the Lord so you can be sensitive to His Spirit within you. Do what needs to be done to prepare yourself for supernatural increase! God is getting ready to expand to the right and the left through His children. He is on the move to give us the nations for our inheritance. He is making desolate cities once again alive with His people. God is on the move! Will you go with Him?
Father, I thank You for the divine appointment You created for me yesterday. I know that You set that up as it was not even in our plans to go to that flea market yesterday; we were headed to another destination when we saw it and decided to stop in. Father, I thank You for placing someone there for me to minister to and encourage in her walk with You. Father, I know that the end time harvest is at hand and I thank You for placing workers in the harvest field. I ask You to impress upon the hearts of your people the need to be prepared; the importance of watching for opportunities and making sure that our hearts are ready to speak when You give the instructions. Father, I pray for those who are lost and hurting and in need of Your saving power in their lives. Father, soften their hearts and prepare them to receive the good news of the gospel as Your workers come into contact with them. Make them ready to be born again, healed and set free from demonic oppression. Cause us to be bold in our witness; unafraid to reach out to them and minister whatever You place on our hearts. Father, may Your will be done in our lives; may we be Your hands and feet extended, Your mouthpiece to minister forth the saving and healing word of God to whomever You desire. Thank You for the privilege of being Your representatives in the world around us! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Friday, January 04, 2013
Judges 6:12-14 AMP And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, The Lord is with you, you mighty man of [fearless] courage. And Gideon said to him, O sir, if the Lord is with us, why is all this befallen us? And where are all His wondrous works of which our fathers told us, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian. The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this your might, and you shall save Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?
Your identity and purpose are directed connected. We were created to accomplish great things for God, and He puts the highest value on our lives. But, as Gideon, we must agree with God in order for His purpose to be fulfilled in each one of us. Gideon was hiding in the wine-press, trying to thresh their harvest of wheat. He couldn't see past the oppression of the enemy to see the goodness of God. Many times we get caught up in the “why me, Lord” attitude of our lives. We can't see that bad things do happen to good people and that God is not the author of those things, but that He works through them to establish His plan and purpose for our lives. Gideon's people were under the oppression of the enemy because they had turned away from God and He had allowed them to live according to their own purpose and plan.
Judges 6:1-2 AMP BUT THE Israelites did evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hand of Midian for seven years. And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel. Because of Midian the Israelites made themselves the dens which are in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds.
When we step out from under the protective umbrella of the Lord we open the door for the enemy to come in to steal, kill and destroy our lives. The Israelites had opened that door and were suffering the consequences of their actions. Gideon couldn't see that the enemy's oppression was directly tied to their disobedience in not walking in the power and presence of God in their lives. He had taken the “why us” attitude of “if God is with us, why is all of this befallen us?” Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever thought that God had deserted you because of all the bad things that were happening in your life? And yet, even though Gideon was living under distress and persecution, God still had a plan and purpose for his life. In fact, He told Gideon that he needed to get up and go in his might or strength because He was going to use him to save his people from their enemies. God was sending him out on an assignment! The conditions were not perfect, in fact they were far from perfect, but God had a plan and a purpose for Gideon being right where he was. He was in the perfect place for God to move through him to effect change in the lives of others.
God has a plan and a purpose for your life, my friend. Gideon was afraid, but God offered His presence and power to equip Gideon to do the work that He had called him to do. He will do the same for you. God never sends us out to accomplish His work without His grace and empowerment to do it. His presence and power always goes with us. But He expects us to work with Him in accomplishing the task we are sent to do. The Israelites had been crying out to God for help and He had sent a prophet to tell them why they were in bondage. It was at their own hand. Their own decisions to live in their own ways was what got them into the mess they were in. God reminded them through the prophet of the good things He had done for them in the past. He had brought them out of the house of bondage to establish them as His very own people; to bless them and make them a blessing to the nations around them. They were to be a people that others would fear because they were His people. The surrounding nations would see the mighty power of God as He worked through His people, the Israelites, and they would know that God is real.
God has not changed His plan and purpose for the lives of His people even today. He still wants to exhibit Who He is through His people so others will be drawn into a relationship with Him. God has a plan and purpose for your life just as He did for Gideon. Will you follow His call to go forth and make a difference in the hearts and lives of those around you. Will you be the one that shows the way of salvation to the lost and discouraged?
Gideon questioned the Lord about how he could be the one to save his people when he was the least in his father's house and his clan was the poorest in Manasseh. He couldn't see himself of any value in his own sight. He needed to change his perspective to see himself as God saw him. God answered his questions about his inability with this statement:
Judges 6:16 AMP The Lord said to him, Surely I will be with you, and you shall smite the Midianites as one man.
God is all-powerful; He is all-seeing and He is all-knowing! He knows exactly what to do at the right time. He told Gideon that he needed to “go in this might of yours” because He was the one who was sending him. The first thing that we have to do to make changes in our lives is to “go”; to “get up and do something”. It is impossible to guide a car that is not moving. You can't turn the steering wheel. The car must be running and engaged in drive for you to be able to steer it. God wants us to get up and go in what He has placed within us. Then He will give us the direction and power that we need to accomplish the job. But the first step is always ours. Will we agree with God that He wants to do something through us? When we have taken that first step God will always be right there to empower us to go forward!
Judges 6:34 NKJV But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon; then he blew the trumpet, and the Abiezrites gathered behind him.
The phrase in this verse, “But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon”, in the Hebrew, actually says “The Spirit of the Lord clothed Himself with Gideon”. The Spirit of the Lord lives within you if you have received Jesus as your own personal Savior and Lord. You are the temple of the Holy Spirit; the house that He lives within! You are of so much value that He purchased you with the precious blood of Jesus! He goes with you wherever you go.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NKJV Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.
God has a plan for His body today. It is to spread the gospel; to make disciples of all nations, to heal the sick, to cast out demons, to destroy the works of the enemy. He wants to do those things through you and me!
Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “God therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit; “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Mark 16:17-20 “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; “they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.: So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.
God has a plan for His people today. It is the same as it was when He spoke these words to His disciples just before He ascended back into heaven. The plan still applies to His people. We are to go into all nations and preach the gospel; make disciples, baptize new believers, lay hands on the sick so they will recover; speak with new tongues; encounter and disarm demonic spirits.....And the Lord works with us to accomplish all that He has called us to do!
Mark 16:20 NKJV And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.
It's not up to us to go and do the work under our own power. It is our responsibility to go and act as He directs, but He does the work to confirm the word that He wants us to preach, whether it is through actual preaching of the word or however we are ministering to the people. He is the one who works through the believer to accomplish the work!
Will you be the vessel that He will flow through today to effect His kingdom's work in someone's life today?
Father, I thank You for the plan and purpose that You have for each one of us. You are the God who lives within us. You go everywhere that we go; and You want to work through us in each individual situation to spread Your word and do Your work in the hearts and lives of people who are lost and hurting. May we be willing vessels that You may flow through to do Your work in our world today. Father, I pray for those who are having difficulty seeing themselves of value to You this morning. I pray that they eyes of their understanding might be enlightened to see that You have a great inheritance in them. I pray that they might see that You love them with an everlasting love and You have a good plan for their lives. Father, restore what the devil has stolen from them through His deceptive work in their lives. Give them a glimpse of the great love that You have for them. Show them that they are worth the blood of Your Son as You gave Him to save them from their sin. Father, cause them to see the extreme value that You have placed on their lives. Grant them deliverance from the enemy of their souls! Thank You, Father, for living within us and for equipping us to do Your work in our world around us. May You receive glory and honor through each one of us as we go about our daily lives today! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Thursday, January 03, 2013
Judges 6:11, 12 Now the Angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the wine-press, in order to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!”
Threshing wheat in Biblical times was done on a high hill where, when the grain was thrown up into the air, the chaff or outer casing of the grain, could be caught by the wind and blown away so the grain would fall to the ground where it could be gathered up and stored for later use. Here we see Gideon, because of fear of the enemy, threshing wheat down in a wine-press where he could possibly get it done without being seen. Every time the Israelites would plant and harvest a crop their enemies would come in and make a raid and steal their harvest. The had become very impoverished and had cried out to the LORD for deliverance from the enemy around them. The Angel of the LORD came to Gideon to work through him to bring deliverance to his people.
The first thing the Angel of the LORD spoke to Gideon was, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!” Gideon was hiding from the enemy down in a wine-press and the Lord wanted him to know that He saw him as a mighty man of valor! God sees each one of us as who we are under His guidance and empowerment. He told Gideon that He was with him. God's presence goes with us to do the things that He calls us to do. He empowers us by His Spirit within us to do the extraordinary; our natural coupled with His presence and power becomes super-natural! But in order for us to live above the enemies of our lives we must see ourselves as God sees us. That means a change of perspective must happen on the inside that will be reflected on the outside.
Colossians 3:1-4 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
If you have received Christ Jesus as your own personal Savior and Lord, then when He was crucified on that cross to put to death the sin that was holding us in bondage, you died with Him. You are now a new creation in Christ Jesus and the life that He lived now lives in you. Gideon could not see himself as anything but a weak failure. The enemy had so oppressed him and his people that all he could see was fear and discouragement. When Jesus comes into a person's life new hope is born. The Angel of the LORD came to Gideon to change his perspective and cause him to see that God was for him and he could be a new person if he would receive the presence and power of the Lord to enable him to accomplish the deliverance that his people needed. He needed a change of mind before he could exhibit a change of actions.
In Colossians we see that we have to have a change of thinking in order to attain a change of action. Our perspective must change from seeing only those things that are happening to us to see that God has positioned us on a higher level to effect change in our lives. When we see things from a heavenly perspective our earthly situations will appear different and we will see that with God all things are possible!
Gideon needed to see himself under the power and protection of his God. We are the same way. When our thinking is changed we see ourselves differently. So, how do we make that change?
Colossians 3:2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
Set your mind on heavenly things! To “set your mind” means to change what you are focusing on. Fix your mind on how things are in heaven. There is no lack in heaven! There is no sickness or disease in heaven! There is no failure in heaven! There are no losers in heaven! There is only victory, healing and wholeness, provision for every need, love, joy, peace and protection for those who view life from a heavenly perspective. Our perspective in how we see life is the driving force of success or failure. Gideon only saw himself as a failure. But God saw him as a mighty man of valor.
A mighty man of valor means a champion; an over-coming warrior who possesses valor, dignity and honor. Valor means strength, bravery and courage. Mighty primarily signifies military might and power.
Did Gideon's attitude reflect that of a mighty man of valor? Not when the Angel of the LORD came on the scene. He needed an attitude adjustment in order to see himself as God saw him. Zig Ziglar would say he needed to get rid of the “stinkin' thinkin'”! Gideon needed God's super-natural presence and power to be changed into the person that God had called him and created him to be.
We all need the presence and power of God in our lives to do the things that He wants us to do. We can't do them on our own, but when the Holy Spirit, who is our Helper, is with us He enables us to see ourselves differently and to win! But the first change has to be in how we see ourselves. That requires a change of mind.
Romans 12:1, 2 I beseech your therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God; which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Present your bodies to the Lord as a living sacrifice! Have you done that? Do you see yourself as living for the Lord in everything that you do, in every area of your life? Have you given Him complete control in your life? Change comes only as He changes us, but He will not over-ride our will. He will not force Himself on us. We must give Him permission to work within us; to change us. Is your life being lived as if God is in control or you?
Do not be transformed to this world! Don't think that in order for you to be a valuable human being you must live as everyone around you is living. You are not a citizen of this world, but a citizen of heaven. Your spiritual residence has changed; you no longer are controlled by the world, but the Holy Spirit who lives within you through your spirit has empowered you to live above the natural happenings of this world! You do not have to live as the world any longer. When you present yourself to God for Him to live through you He will give you the victory over the world's ways. Set your mind, your focus, your attention on what God has in store for you, not the negative viewpoint of the world!
Where are you living today? Do you see yourself as a mighty man/woman of valor? Are you empowered by the Holy Spirit to win in life or do you see yourself as a failure, never able to accomplish your dreams and goals? Your mindset must be changed!
2013 lies before us! The past is behind us and new territory is ahead. I've heard many speak this week of the goals and dreams they have for the upcoming year. New Year's resolutions abound, but will they bring lasting change? Willpower is only so strong and is driven by our own human ability. Change comes from within, not from trying to keep a set of rules and regulations! Lasting change happens when we give control of our lives to God, set our minds on heavenly ways and then live according to His ways and not our own.
Will you allow God to change you? Will you renew your mind to the word of God? These are the changes that need to be made in our lives. These are the changes that will effect the dreams and goals that we have for 2013!
Father, I thank You for creating each one of us in your likeness and image. I thank You for placing Your Spirit within those of us who have accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord. And I thank You for the power within us to change our lives and those around us; Your power and presence to work through us to bring the changes that we desire. Father, I pray for those today who may not know You. I ask that You would draw them by Your Spirit to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus. May today be their day of salvation! Father, I also pray for those who are weak and discouraged. I pray that they would see themselves as You see them, a mighty man or woman of valor. I pray that they would realize that You are the God of all impossibilities and through Your presence and power within them they can be changed to accomplish what they want to do. You have given them the power of Your Spirit to lead, guide and direct them in the way that You would have them to go. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for equipping us for the victory! Thank You, Father, for always leading us to triumph in Christ Jesus! Thank You for giving us victory in every battle that we face in this upcoming year! You are great and greatly to be praised! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Tuesday, January 01, 2013
Matthew 24:36-44 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. “For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, “and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. “Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. “Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. “But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
We have just crossed over into a New Year. There have been some prophecies regarding this new year and many are concerned about the state of our nation as well as our world. The uncertainty of the future has people in turmoil, fearful of what lies ahead. We clearly are moving according to God's timetable through the last days before the return of the Lord!
Jesus, when approached by His disciples in answer to their questions about the end of the times, stated several different things that they could use to measure when that would occur. In this portion of Scripture He indicates that no one, not even He, knows the exact date and time of His arrival because that knowledge is reserved for the Father only. He is the One who decides when He will send His Son back to reclaim those who are His. But there are some signs that we can use to determine the nearness of His appearing. One of the signs that give us an indication of the timetable used to determine His return is the condition of the world; the condition of the hearts of people. He said the time of Jesus' return would be like that of Noah in the days before the flood. He specifically mentions the lifestyle of those living at the time of that great flood. They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark. In other words, life was lived to their own liking regardless of the fact that Noah had been warned of the flood and was building an ark for safety for all who would believe and enter into it with him. We can understand more about the lifestyle of the people of that day by looking at the record of Noah and the flood found in Genesis, chapter 6.
Genesis 6:5-8 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart,. So the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them” But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”
The lifestyle portrayed by this portion of scripture leads us to believe that wickedness and evil, or lawlessness abounded in the hearts and lives of the people of Noah's day. Jesus said in Matthew 24:12 that lawlessness would be a sign of His return.
Matthew 24:12 “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”
What is lawlessness? It is willfully disregarding the righteousness of God and choosing sin above His ways.
1 John 3:4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.
Hebrews 1:9 says that Jesus loved righteousness and hated lawlessness, so lawlessness is the complete opposite of God's righteousness and is a practice of willful disobedience to His ways. Sin, or falling short of the glory of God through willful disobedience, choosing your own way over His, is considered lawlessness. That was the picture of life in Noah's day before God destroyed the life of man and beast through that great flood. Jesus said life in the last days would be like that. Can you see the similarities in the lifestyles of those in our world today?
There are many prophecies going around regarding the day and age in which we live. There are those who prophesy doom and gloom and others who are claiming to have a word from the Lord regarding God's grace and favor being manifested in this upcoming year. Who are we to believe? Are the warnings valid and the great grace invalid, or vice verse, do we listen to the prophecies of God's grace being manifested and fore-go the warnings of the day of the Lord's return growing near? I don't see it as an either or choice that we must make. Revelation 19:10 tells us that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Clearly He has shared with us the ultimate prophecies regarding the end of the age and His approaching return.
Hebrews 1:1-4 GOD, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
Jesus has warned us that the time is near. The signposts all point to His return! We must be ready! We must warn those around us that the end is near! Salvation must be appropriated in this life, before Jesus returns or we die a physical death. That decision to receive His payment for the penalty for our sin must be chosen before we are caught up to meet Him in the air at His return or we die and leave this body to spend eternity either in the presence of the Lord or eternally separated from Him in outer darkness.
There is one thing that I want to point out to you about the great flood in the day of Noah....it is found in Genesis 6:8:
But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
Noah lived at the same time as the others who perished in the flood and yet he found grace in the eyes of the LORD. What was different about Noah that caused God to extend His grace to him?
Genesis 6:9 This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.
We see three things that exemplify the lifestyle of Noah: 1) He was a just man; 2) he was perfect in his generations; and 3) he walked with God.
Noah found grace in the eyes of God because of his relationship with God. It affected his lifestyle and granted him salvation when others around him were perishing. God's grace was greater than the lure of the world to eat, drink and be merry. Noah was a righteousness man; he listened when God spoke and obeyed His command to build an ark in preparation for a great flood!
Genesis 6:22 Thus Noah did, according to all that God commanded him, so he did.
Even though we don't see specifically in scripture where the people questioned him about what he was doing and the ridicule he must have received for telling them that God had told him to build an ark in preparation for an upcoming flood, we know that it would only be human nature for him to have experienced those questions from the community around him. So it has been throughout the ages that those who follow Jesus have suffered persecution and always will. And yet Noah chose God over the ways of the world around him. And so he found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
Will you choose God over the ways of the world and thus find grace in God's eyes. God's grace was given through the sacrifice for sin offered on the cross when Jesus was nailed to that tree.
Romans 5:17 For if by one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign through the One, Jesus Christ.
Those who receive the gift of righteousness that Jesus purchased for them will also receive an abundance of God's grace. Righteousness comes through receiving Jesus Christ as the payment for your sin. Grace is God's unmerited favor towards us given through the blood of His Son. Jesus is God's gift of salvation.
John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
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.
Yes, there is a need for warning mankind of the eminent return of Jesus Christ. That will happen in God's timing and we must be ready for His appearing. But we, who have received Him have been given the right to be children of God and thus have entered into that ARK of safety which is only found in the relationship that we have with Jesus Christ. We have been given great grace! We reign with Him in life through that abundance of grace; the favor of God resting upon those who have chosen Him over the wicked ways of the world.
Will you be ready for His return? Will you be busy about the Father's business telling others and warning them of the impending danger of not entering into covenant relationship with Jesus? There are only two classes of people in God's eyes; the saved and the unsaved; those who know Jesus and those who don't. Which class will you be in?
If you have not made the choice to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord I must warn you that the time is drawing near for His return. If you have not made the decision to choose Him over the world, you must do that in this day before it is too late. God's gift of salvation is free to all who will receive it. He gave His all that you might have life eternal; life spent eternally in the presence of God.
If you have never received Jesus as your own personal Savior and Lord and would like to do that, please pray with me this prayer and mean it sincerely in your heart:
Father, I come before you this morning with the understanding that I am a sinner, both by birth and by choice. I admit that I have lived my life for me and me alone, disregarding Your will and ways. Father, I thank You for giving Jesus to die for my sin. I believe that He is the Son of God, was crucified for my sin and was raised to new life and lives today seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven. I ask You to forgive me for my sin and to come into my heart and be my Savior and Lord. I ask You, Lord Jesus, to come into my heart and save me! Thank You, for Your salvation. I receive it today and I confess Jesus as my Savior and Lord, I promise to live every day of my life from this day forward for You. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Father, I bring those before You this morning who may be fearful about what lies ahead in these uncertain times. Father, Your word says that we are not to be overcome with fear for Your grace is greater than anything the enemy could have planned for us. You are the greater One who lives within the hearts of Your children and You are greater than he who lives and rules in this world system. To You be the glory due Your name! May You be exalted in these last days, Lord Jesus, over all the evil that is taking place in the world. Please forgive us of our sins, Father, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness that we might be fit to rule and reign with Christ Jesus in the days ahead. Establish Your kingdom in the hearts of believers that we might take back what is rightfully ours that You have given to us as our inheritance here on earth. I declare that no weapon formed against us shall prosper but we shall rise up as Your people, the army of God and pray and speak out at Your direction to effect change in our world. Give us courage and boldness through Your Spirit to live as You direct and be about Your business until the day of the Lord's appearing! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Matthew 2:1-12 NLT Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote: ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah,
are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’” Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!” After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.
Some have said that the three wise men were actually Eastern astrologers that had studied the Jewish manuscripts that prophesied of the coming of the Messiah. Others have said they were kings from the East that came to bring gifts to the newborn King. Whoever they were, God used a bright star in the night sky to lead them to Bethlehem where they found and worshiped the Christ child. God will speak to us through whatever means we will allow Him. He meets us where we are in our walk of life and shows the reality of His presence in whatever we undertake to do. If we will open our hearts to Him, He will speak to us as He desires. We can't put Him in a box and expect Him to function in just the way we think He should, but if we will allow Him to reveal Himself in His own way we will find that often there is no limit to the great heights of glory that He will reveal to us. The wise men had the ultimate GPS, God's positioning system, revealed through the heaven-lies!
King Herod was an evil ruler. He didn't want anyone to move in on his territory and take over his kingdom's rule. News had traveled throughout the land that there was a newborn King of the Jews and the wise men had come from afar to worship Him. So King Herod sent the wise me a private message for them to come and see him. After getting some information from them about the exact time when they first saw the star, he told them to go Bethlehem and search carefully for the child and then when they found him, they were to come back and tell him so he could go worship Him, too. He was using them to find the baby Jesus so he could kill Him. He didn't want a new king competing with His allegiance from the people.
Once the wise men had left their meeting with King Herod the star came out again and led them directly to the baby Jesus. It stopped right over the place where He was. God led them right to the Lord! He will do the same for each of us if we will open our hearts to Him. He wants to lead us into a deep and intimate relationship with Him. He desires our allegiance, our hearts, our lives, our talents, our all in all!
Luke 10:27 So he answered and said, “'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,' and your neighbor as yourself.'”
We can learn a lot from these “wise men”. They were wise because they followed God's directions, they spared no cost to worship the Christ child, they were mindful of the enemy's strategies in killing the plan of God for their lives, and they listened to the angel's warning to go back by a different route to avoid revealing to the enemy what God was doing through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Will you be as wise as these “wise men”. Will you follow God's plan for your life? Will you give your all in worshiping the Lord Jesus? Will you be watchful for the enemy's plan to destroy what God wants to do with your life?
Jeremiah 29:11 NLT “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
John 4:23 NLT But the time is coming and is already here when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for anyone who will worship him that way.
1 Peter 5:8, 9 NLT Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour. Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.
Father, I thank You for the wise men who were led by Your star to worship the Christ child. I thank you for the example they have given us in giving their all to worship You. You, alone, Lord Jesus, are worthy of our praise and adoration. You are worthy to receive our worship! Today I pray that we will be mindful of the strategies of the enemy in trying to lure us away and kill the plan that You have for our lives. I pray that all who read this blog will see that the devil has a plan for their lives just as You, Father, have a plan. But the devil's plan is to steal, kill and destroy and Your plan, Father is to give us a good life with a future full of hope and abundance. Thank You for Your goodness to us, Father, in giving Your Son to die for us to buy us back from the bondage of the evil one. May You be glorified in our lives, Father. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
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