Facing Your Giants

Facing Your Giants

Judges 3:1-4 NLT The LORD left certain nations in the land to test those Israelites who had not participated in the wars of Canaan. He did this to teach warfare to generations of Israelites who had no experience in battle. These were the nations: the Philistines (those living under the five Philistine rulers), all the Canaanites, the Sideonians, and the Hivites living in the hill country of Lebanon from Mount Baal-hermon to Lebohamath. These people were left to test the Israelites—to see whether they would obey the commands the LORD had given to their ancestors through Moses.

 

1 Corinthians 10:1-13 tells us that the Old Testament examples of what the Israelites experienced were recorded for our admonition, that we might learn from what they experienced. God had instructed the Israeltites that when they entered the Promised Land they were to conquer their enemies and be sure they did not make any alliances with them, because they would ultimately lead the Israelites to worship false gods. God had promised to go before them to drive out their enemies. All they had to do was fight; the battle was already set for them to win. God had promised the victory.

 

In Judges chapters 1 and 2 we see that the Israelites failed to keep God’s commands because they didn’t conquer their enemies and ultimately joined with them through marriage. So God left some of the enemies in the Promised Land to teach those who had not been taught how to fight their enemies the tactics of warfare and to test them to see if they would obey His commands. Any soldier knows that he must be able to do these two things: obey his commanding officers orders and know how to effectively fight his enemy.

 

2 Timothy 2:4-6 NLT And as Christ’s soldier, do not let yourself become tied up in the affairs of this life, for then you cannot satisfy the one who has enlisted you in his army. Follow the Lord’s rules for doing his work, just as an athlete either follows the rules or is disqualified and wins no prize.

 

Again, we see from what Paul, the Apostle, told Timothy, is that we are to be loyal to Jesus Christ, as His soldier, and follow His rules, or commands. And in 2 Corinthians 10:3, 4 we are instructed to fight a spiritual battle with spiritual weapons. These two things are primary to winning any battle.

 

2 Corinthians 10:3,4 NLT We are human, but we don’t wage war with human plans and methods. We use God’s might weapons, not mere worldly weapons to knock down the Devil’s strongholds.

 

In our humanity we usually see people react to the battles of life with one of two responses: we either stand our ground and fight or we turn and run; in either instance we exhibit what is known as the fight or flight syndrome. Some of us are more naturally born as fighters and some of us would rather run from the fight and get off to ourselves. But God knew the Israelites would succumb to the influence of their enemies if they didn’t learn how to stand their ground and fight for what He had promised them. He also knew that in order to win the battle they had to follow His orders.

 

Sometimes it seems easier in life to run from the challenges that are set before us than it is to try to hear from God to know what to do and how to fight for what He has already promised is ours. We find in God’s word that all the promises of God are “yes” and “amen” in Christ Jesus. (2 Corinthians 1:20) We see them throughout the Bible and yet at times we wonder why we are not experiencing the promises that He has said are ours. Are the promises of God automatic or is there something we need to do bring them into our lives?

 

Jesus gives us this instruction on receiving God’s promises in Matthew 7:7, 8: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

 

Ask, seek and knock are all “action” parts of the process in receiving from God. The Greek word “ask” is aiteo and it means to request or petition. The word usually describes a suppliant making request of someone in higher position, such as an individual asking something from God. The word denotes insistent asking without qualms, not “commanding” God, but solidly presenting a requisition whose items He longs to distribute.

 

When we petition God based on the promises of His word, His instruction to us would be then to bring that promise before Him making request that it might be manifested in our lives. To seek is then to look for the promise to be manifested; to expect it to happen. When I tell my granddaughter that I am coming to see her she expects me to keep my promise. She stands at the door watching for me when she knows it is about time for my arrival. When we seek God for the manifestation of what He has promised we seek it; we look for it and we expect it to happen. To knock means that I am constantly looking for the opportunity behind which my promise lies. I am not waiting for it to drop out of the sky on my head, but I am looking for it, following God’s directions to find the answers to my questions and to determine what I need to do to cooperate with His provision for my life.

 

As we follow God’s directions to receive the promises we will have times when our faith will be challenged. We don’t have to beg God to do what He has already promised, but we do have to fight the good fight of faith to see it happen. We may have thoughts that God is not going to come through for us or that we might never see the promise manifested. It is at those times that we have to stand up and fight. The devil will throw all kinds of thoughts your way to see if he can get you to back down from your stand of faith.

Strongholds

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 KJV For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

 

Your mind is the battlefield. It is here that we see that we are not to make any alliances with the enemy, as it is here that the war is fought and either won or lost. God’s word says that the weapons that we fight spiritual battles with are spiritual weapons. We are to cast down, or arrest imaginations. These are the “what ifs”: what if God doesn’t come through for me; what if I never see the provision that I need; what if my health continues to deteriorate; what if I lose my house and all my possessions; what if……? God calls these “imaginations” and “every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God”. What is the knowledge of God? It’s what His word tells us about Him, His character and nature. It’s the truth of God’s word regarding His faithfulness to do what He has promised. When the battle is going strong and the enemy is firing his arrows of doubt and unbelief at your mind that is when you have to stop and fight. It is then that you must take authority over the enemy to drive out those thoughts! That’s no time for retreat! You must replace the lies with the truth of God’s word. That’s when you say, “wait a minute, God’s my Provider; God’s my Deliverer; God’s my Healer; God’s my Source!”

 

Matthew 7:9-11 NKJV “Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? “Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

 

If you being human know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to you when you ask Him? Is that not what God’s word says? When the devil tells you that God doesn’t love you or care for you, how are you going to respond to that lie? It’s up to you to stop the lie, arrest it and replace it with the truth.

 

Hebrews 10:35-38 NKJV Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: “For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”

 

Do not throw away your confidence; God will come through for you! Faith reaches out and takes those things that you can’t see and believes that they are already here. It’s believing God’s word over the natural happenings that you see going on around you. When you arrest those imaginations you replace them with what God says in His word about your situation. You declare the promises of God in the face of life’s problems! And you endure until you receive it because it is a fight of faith!

 

1 Timothy 6:12 NKJV Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

 

Father, I thank You for showing us Your faithfulness through Your word. I thank You that Jesus purchased our redemption spirit, soul, and body and that through His finished work on the cross on our behalf we have all that we have need of. Father, I pray for those who may not know You today that You will reveal Your great love to them that they might have a desire to receive Jesus as their own personal Savior and Lord. I pray that the blinders that Satan has hung over their minds that is blinding them to the light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ might be pulled down so they can see their need for Him as Savior and Lord. Father, I pray for those who are in the heat of the battle right now. I pray that they will ask, seek and knock to find out what You would have them to do in their situation. I pray that they will arrest the negative thoughts that the devil places in their minds that comes against the truth of Your word. Father, displace those thoughts and help them to replace them and stand firm on the truth of Your word. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Advertisements

Turning Your Mourning Into Dancing!

Ephesians 2 11-13

Ephesians 2:11-13 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands—that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

 

Sometimes when we are going through difficulties we momentarily lose sight of who we are in Christ Jesus because the things that are going on around us or to us become larger than our understanding of our identity in Christ Jesus. This morning as I was praying about some things happening in my own family I was reminded of this portion of Scripture in Ephesians 2.

 

God reminded me that people who have never received Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord are a people without hope living in a world that is devoid of God, the only One who can save them from their sin, their sickness and their poverty. They are strangers from the covenants of God’s promises.

 

God has given to those who have received Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord, precious promises that are a part of the covenant that we have with Him through the blood of Jesus. Jesus secured our covenant; there is nothing that we can do to attain those promises because our own righteousness is as filthy rags before Him. But the blood of Jesus is pure and clean, without sin, spot or wrinkle, and the only acceptable sacrifice that God would receive as the payment for man’s sin. Jesus paid the price that we might experience all that He gave up for us. He gave up His holiness to become our sin. He gave up His divine heath to take upon His own back the sickness of mankind. He give up His prosperity that we might not have to live in poverty any longer. We have been given the great exchange through the blood of Jesus Christ and brought near to God through His righteousness.

 

In Hebrews 8 we find the record of what the Old Testament priest did when he offered the gifts and sacrifices before God on behalf of His people. It says that the High Priest offered those sacrifices as a copy and shadow of heavenly things, but that there is One who has obtained a more excellent ministry than those earthly priests, and that He is the Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. Jesus is that High Priest for us who, once for all, offered the sacrifice that forever served as the offering for man’s sin. (Hebrews 8:3-6)

 

Jesus is the Mediator, or as defined by Strong’s concordance in the meaning of the Greek word for Mediator, mesites, as the go-between, umpire, reconciler, arbitrator, or intermediary. He is the one who goes between us and God and has accomplished our salvation through His vicarious death thereby guaranteeing the terms of the New Covenant. This New Covenant is established on better promises than those of the Old Testament. We now see that through Jesus Christ, that His blood purchased our redemption, full and free. We are the beneficiaries of the covenant that Jesus and God made between themselves thereby freeing us from the need to try to obtain salvation, healing, and prosperity. It has been done for us through the blood of Jesus.

 

As the Lord spoke to me this morning through this scripture in Ephesians 2:11-13, I came into a greater understanding of the power and privileges that we have as God’s own children. The world has no hope because they do not know God and He is the God of all hope (Romans 15:13), and the promises of God are “yes” and “amen” in Christ Jesus, to the glory of God through us (2 Cor. 1:20).

 

So, what exactly does that mean? Well, for us who are in Christ Jesus there is never a time where we are without hope. God’s word tells us that He has a good plan for our lives; one that is filled with hope and a good future. (Jeremiah 29:11) Our life’s situations are not hope-less, but hope-filled! We have the God of all hope living within us. That makes hope a reality to us! Without hope we have nothing to hang our faith on. But with hope in God we have a foundation for our faith to rest upon. The promises of God to us are “yes” and “amen”, or “so be it”! And God is glorified as we receive the manifested promises of God through our lives. When a believer in Christ Jesus is healed, God is glorified in their life. When His provision comes into our lives to meet the need that we have, He is glorified through that.

 

Mark 11:22-24 NKJV So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you, pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”

 

Jesus said to have faith in God! And once you rest your faith in Him, then you can SAY to your mountain, your situation, your difficulty that is trying to present itself as hopeless, that it needs to change; to come into alignment with what you are asking God for through your prayers. When you do that you can then believe that you receive what you have asked of God.

 

The wind and waves that Peter encountered when walking on the water to Jesus come to all of us at times in our lives. If we do not keep our eyes focused on the One who is calling us to Himself, Jesus, we will sink under the waves of adversity. The devil would like for us to focus on the wind and the waves so he can watch us drown. But God’s word prevails over all the devil’s lies.

 

Isaiah 59:1 NKJV Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear.

 

God is not far away; He is not limited in His ability to reach down and save a person from disaster. He is not deaf that He cannot hear our cries for help. But we have to be the ones who SAY to the mountain of adversity, speaking God’s word to it for it to move.

 

I remember one time I was returning with a friend from a ministry time and upon leaving my friend instead of saying “goodbye”, I said “well, take care”. She immediately said to me, “oh no, I don’t take care, I cast my care on the Lord.” That was an eye-opener for me. It caused me to stop and think about the things that I say that are said out of habit or tradition based on what I might have learned through my environment, or from friends or family. How many times have you used the phrase, “I’m tickled to death”, when thinking about something funny? Why would we want to be tickled to death? Why not be tickled to life?

 

1 Peter 5:6, 7 NKJV Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

 

We are not to “take care” upon ourselves, but we are to “cast our cares” upon Jesus. These are two drastically different courses of action that will either result in our being burdened by care or free from the weight of it.

 

A good illustration in God’s word of taking care, instead of casting it upon Jesus, is found in Matthew 6:31: KJV Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? Or, What shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

 

The way that we “take care” is when we speak out our thoughts of fear, doubt, lack, sickness, hopelessness, etc. A good illustration of taking the thought by saying is when we call a sickness or other difficulty that we are struggling with as “my sickness”, i.e. “my arthritis, my lack, my pain, etc.” Jesus said that we make these thoughts of lack ours through what we say about them.

 

Psalm 107:2 NKJV Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy.

 

Instead of saying that we are lost, poor, sick, burdened down, helpless to do anything in our situation we should be saying the provision of God that He has recorded in His word that speaks to our situation.

 

Joel 3:10 NKJV Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, ‘I am strong’”.

 

God has redeemed us from the hand of the enemy! If you have received Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord then you are the REDEEMED! Let the REDEEMED of the Lord SAY SO! Let the weak SAY, “I AM STRONG!”

 

God says to say the promise instead of the problem!

 

Isaiah 35:3, 4 NKJV Strengthen the weak hands, And make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with a vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.

 

Friends, never give up, never give in to the lies of the enemy that are saying to you that things will never be any different and that there is no hope for you or your loved ones. The GREATER ONE lives on the inside of you and He is always at work! He will come and save you, or your loved one, or your situation or problem! He will COME and SAVE YOU!

You have turned my mourning into dancing

Speak to your problems the promises of God and watch Him build your faith and turn your mourning into dancing! Expect to see the promises of God manifest in your life. Believe in God and put your faith in Him that things are changing; you are being saved from whatever it is that is causing a problem in your life. Believe and receive!

 

Father, I thank You for being the greater One who lives within me. I know that nothing is too difficult for You. So I declare Your promises in the face of the problems that often try to invade our lives. Thank You for being there for us to cast our cares on You, as I know that You care for Your own. May we each find the promises from Your word that apply to our lives right at the moment when we need them. I pray that Your word will abide within our hearts so that when we need to be set free from a problem or difficulty Your word will be there to set us free. Father, help us to focus on You, not on the wind and the waves, but on the promises of Your word. Cause us to be focused and alert to the Sword of the Spirit, which is Your word, that we can use to slash the enemy as he tries to bring hopelessness into our minds. We are not defeated, we are over-comers in Christ Jesus, for You always lead us to triumph in Him. Thank You for the victory! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

The Words Of Kings

We’ve been looking at the importance of our words and the effects they can have for life or death in the lives of those to which we speak them and the situations that we encounter in our own lives. Today we will look at what God intends for us to do with our words; the warfare that He intends for us to carry out with the word of God as it is spoken out our mouths.

Revelation 19 13

Revelation 19:11-16; NLT Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. And the one sitting on the horse was named Faithful and True. For he judges fairly and then goes to war. His eyes were bright like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him, and only he knew what it meant. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in pure white linen, followed him on white horses. From his mouth came a sharp sword, and with it he struck down the nations. He ruled them with an iron rod, and he trod the winepress of the fierce wrath of almighty God. On his robe and thigh was written this title: King of kings and Lord of lords.

The Apostle John’s vision recorded in the book of Revelation gives us a picture of Jesus, the Lamb of God who died for the sin of mankind, to redeem us from the death and separation that comes upon all men who reject Jesus as Savior and Lord, as He comes again to reign in power and put to end the devil and all the forces of evil, in the greatest battle that the history of the world will ever know.

We tend to think that this battle will be a battle of force, hand to hand combat with weapons of war. But God’s ways are not ours; His weapons of warfare are not carnal for He does not fight as men with swords and spears. The sword that He fights with comes out of His mouth; it is His words. Spiritual warfare is not fought with weapons fashioned from steel or iron, but through the words that come out of the mouth of one who is empowered to fight with the word of God.

Isaiah 11:4 NKJV says that Jesus will “strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.

As Jesus comes to fight this battle we see with him a great army. That army is referred to in Revelation 19:7,8, as the saints who are to be united in marriage with the Lamb of God. This is not a marriage in terms that we understand where a husband and wife are joined together by worldly standards, but is a marriage or union of the saints who have received Jesus as Lord and Savior being united with their Lord, the One who has given His life as a Lamb sacrificed for the sins of the world. This is the time when the saints of God, dressed in fine linen, will join with Jesus to rule and reign throughout eternity.

As we see in verse 16, Jesus is known as the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is King and Lord over all the kings and lords of the earth! And He will rule and reign as a King does, through the decrees that come out of His mouth. That is the sword that we see coming out of the mouth of Jesus as He arrives on His white horse, with white being the symbol of purity. The saints of God that come with Him as His army are dressed in white linen, symbolic as described in Revelation 19:8 to be the righteous acts of the saints. As believers in Christ Jesus we have been made righteous in Him through His sacrifice for us that cleanses us from all sin. Our righteous acts arise out of the love that we have for Jesus as Savior and Lord. The righteousness that we have is a gift from God because we can’t earn our way to heaven as His children. It must be received by faith and then as we serve Him we live rightly through the power of His Spirit within us.

Looking back to Revelation 1 the Apostle John writes the Revelation of Jesus Christ as given to him by the angel of God as pertaining to the Seven Churches which he refers to as in Asia, and which are representative of all local churches in every age:

Revelation 1:4-6 NKJV John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

King of kings and Lord of lords

In God’s kingdom, the King rules and reigns through the decrees that He makes. We see that from Genesis to Revelation in the record of our God that speaks things into being that have no beginning form. He speaks life into non-existent things and they become manifest. Romans 4:17 says that God is the “God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;” He creates with His spoken word. An example of that is in Genesis 1:3: Then God said, “Let there be light;, and there was light. And Hebrews 11:3 records that “the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” God creates and rules by His words.

Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords. If He is King of kings then there must be kings for Him to be King over. We see in Revelation 1: 6 that He has made us, born again believers in Christ Jesus, the kings that He will be King over. We will come with Him when He comes again to rule and reign as King of kings and Lord of Lords; ruling and reigning with Him through our words just as He speaks and rules through His words.

In 1 Peter 1:9 we see where Paul records that we are “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;”

Kings and priests, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people are all descriptions of the born again believers in Christ Jesus. In this scripture the purpose for us as His own special people made up of kings and priests, is to proclaim the praises of Him who called us, Christ Jesus. Our words are not only purposed to be kingdom words that rule and reign but words that proclaim the praises of our King!

In Romans 5:17 we see that it is through the gift of righteousness that we receive from Christ Jesus that we will “reign in life” through Him. We have been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:21) and as He rules and reigns we will reign with Him.

So, what could be the purpose in us speaking words of life into dead situations, relationships that need reconciliation and life’s problems that need changing? Paul E. Bilheimer, in his book “Destined To Overcome”, states that prayer is “on-the-job training”. In Old Testament times the Priest went before God on behalf of the people and before the people on behalf of God. When we pray we bring others before God interceding on their behalf. We not only come before Him with our requests and petitions on behalf of ourselves and others but we get His word on the situation to speak out into the dead places, and into the lives of people who need new life; who need a word of encouragement. We also stand before the enemy to speak as Jesus did in Matthew 4:3-10 when He was tempted by the devil and had to wage warfare with “it is written”.

Our words, as we learn to harness the tongue and speak life into people’s lives and our own life’s circumstances, are a training ground for us to learn how to control the tongue, how to pray in intercession for others and how to overcome the attacks of the enemy and his temptations to be lured away from the Lord and His purpose for our lives. We are in training to rule and reign with Christ Jesus. We are in training to proclaim His praises throughout eternity. If we can’t praise Him now, we won’t be able to praise Him when we get to heaven. If we can’t harness the energy that’s within us that proceeds from our mouths now, we will not be able to rule and reign with Him throughout eternity!

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

What kind of fruit are you eating? Is it the fruit of life filled by God’s Spirit or the fruit rising up out of an old nature that has been replaced by a new spirit, but is still allowed to rule without being restrained? This is an area of which we all need practice to make it perfect, as my mother would always say.

Psalm 141:3 Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.

Father, I come before You with an enlightened heart in this area of my words and their importance and purpose. I confess to You that I have not always restrained my old nature from speaking words of doubt, unbelief, and death. I desire a cleansed heart and mouth that I might be like Jeremiah who was touched by Your hand and then received Your words to speak to nations and kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, to destroy the works of the devil in the people’s lives and to build and plant new life into them. Father, Jeremiah said that Your word was in his heart like a burning fire shut up in his bones. Father, I want to be ready to rule and reign with Christ Jesus. I want to be perfectly trained by You, my Master.

I pray for those who may be struggling with having a vision of what Your purpose is for their lives. I pray that the eyes of their heart might be enlightened to see the hope of the calling that You have on their lives. I pray that they will also understand the importance of the words that they speak in giving life to those who are without hope and calling forth life in the dead places of their lives. I pray that we, as a nation of kings and priests unto You might go forth in the power of Your Spirit proclaiming the praises of our Jesus Christ, our King. I ask You to teach us how to be the prophet of our own lives in using our words to root out unbelief and doubt, and to plant hope and faith in their places. Teach us Your ways, Oh God, that we might walk closely with You and be ready to take our places as kings under Your Kingship! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Harness Your Tongue

Bridle the horse

James 3:1-3 NKJV My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body.

James is talking about the ability to walk in victory where our words are concerned. He addresses the teachers because teachers have a much larger sphere of influence than their students. The larger our sphere of influence the greater the accountability is to God for the words that we speak. James goes on to say that when we learn to control our speech we will have reached maturity and will be able to harness our whole body. When we bridle the tongue we harness the energy that it exerts to influence people. If we are lead by the Spirit, our tongue will give out words of life to others as well as speaking life to the seemingly dead situations that we encounter.

Jesus went a step further in speaking to us about our responsibility where our words are concerned when He said in Matthew 12:36, 37: “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

As we can see from these two verses the responsibility for our words lies with each person as each one of us will either be justified or condemned by what we say. The Greek word for “idle” in verse 36 is the word “argos” and it means inactive, idle, unfruitful, barren, ineffective and worthless. So it is clear from this portion of scripture that our words not only have an effect on others, but they have a lasting effect on us as we eat the fruit of either barren, ineffective speech or speech that is fruitful and effective.

Hebrews 4:12 AMP For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature] exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.

God’s word, on the other hand is alive and full of power making it active, operative, energizing and effective. As James talked with us about bridling the tongue like we would a horse, I believe that God’s word gives instruction that when we harness the tongue to speak forth from a heart filled with an abundance of God’s word that we will be speaking His word in power to be effective over all of life’s problems and challenges. We will be speaking productive, life-filled words of healing, wholeness and victory into people’s lives just as He spoke His word to effect change in His world.

James stated that the energy that flows from a tongue that has not been bridled comes from the flames of hell. He says that no man can tame the tongue because it is fueled and set on fire by hell. (James 3:6;8) But God tells us in Hebrews 11:2 that the worlds were framed by the word of God. The word for “framed” is the Greek word “katartizo” and it means to arrange, set in order, equip, adjust, complete what is lacking, make fully ready, repair, and prepare. When we speak the word of God out of a heart that has been taking in what God says, meditating on it and allowing it to be the standard by which we live, we will see that the tongue can be harnessed to speak words that arrange and set in order what is wrong in our lives. God spoke “light” into the darkness and “light was”. He didn’t speak about the darkness, he spoke the answer or solution to the problem and it was changed.

John 6 63

Jesus gave us an example of His words being harnessed and fueled by the power of the Spirit of God in John 6:63: (NKJV) “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

 

 

So, Jesus said that the words that He spoke were life-giving, Spirit-filled words that brought life into a person’s life. He spoke life not death, healing not sickness, deliverance not oppression; and from those words came forth the manifestation of what He had called forth through His speech.

 

Dry bones

We see an example of this in the life of the Prophet Ezekiel. In Ezekiel 37:1-14 we see where the Spirit of God took Ezekiel to a valley filled with dry bones and He instructed him to speak the word of God to the bones and they would live.

Ezekiel 37:3-6 And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” So I answered, O LORD GOD, You know.” Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! ‘Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. “I will put sinew on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the LORD.”’”

As Ezekiel goes on to tell the story he did as the Lord commanded and spoke to the bones and as he prophesied, “there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone.

Ezekiel 37:8-10 Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them. Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, “Thus says the Lord GOD: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.”’” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.

As Ezekiel spoke the word of God over those dry bones, life came into them, and breath came when he spoke and commanded the breath to come from the four corners of the earth. God commanded that he speak His word to the dead bones so that life would come into them.

God’s word brings life. When we speak it to others it produces life and wholeness and brings changes into people’s situations that seem to be dead and completely without possibility. Ezekiel said in verse 2 that when he looked at the bones they were “very” dry. It looked like an impossible situation to Ezekiel but at God’s word the whole situation changed and all of sudden he was no longer looking at a valley full of dead bones, but he was looking at an exceedingly great army!

Look at what happens next:

Ezekiel 37:11 Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Indeed they say, “Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!”

What have you been saying about your husband, your children, your family members, your relationships, your health, your finances, your jobs, etc., etc., etc.? Have you been proclaiming that your bones are dry, your hope is lost and you are cut off from victory, success and life!?

Ezekiel was listening to and proclaiming the word of God as instructed by the Lord and the Israelites were looking at their situations and proclaiming the problem instead of the solution. The had no hope because they were looking at the impossibilities instead of God, who gives life to the dead and fills them with success and victory!

God went on to tell them through Ezekiel that He would bring the dead back to life and re-establish them as a nation and that because of that they would know that He is the LORD.

The word for LORD is the Hebrew word Jehovah and it means the self-existent one. All of life is contained in Him. He is the great “I AM WHO I AM”. He is the eternal I AM, the Alpha and the Omega, the same yesterday, today, and forever. Jehovah or I AM That I AM means “I am with you, ready to save and to act, just as I have always been” It implies His personal, intimate presence; unchangeable, forever in the “now”.

God said, in essence, when you speak My word to those bones, to those dead situations in your life, I AM ready to act on My word, ready to save, heal, deliver, set free, restore, reconcile, give new life and establish My personal, intimate presence in your life’s situation! Glory to God!!!

Child of God, do you see the power that is resident in your mouth to speak forth the promises of God to change your relationships, your health, your finances, and to bring life into what you see as impossible situations?

God told Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:9, 10: Then the LORD put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me: “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, To root out and to pull down, To destroy and to throw down, To build and to plant.”

He gave Jeremiah the same basic instructions that He gave to Ezekiel. Speak forth My word to change; even kingdoms and nations. There is power in the word of God when spoken out of the mouth of a believer under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Jeremiah goes on to record that God asked him then in verse 11: “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see a branch of an almond tree.” Vs. 12: Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word.”

The Amplified Bible says that God said, “You have seen well, for I am alert and active, watching over My word to perform it.”

When a believer, by the instruction of the Lord, speaks forth His word God becomes alert to that word to perform it. He waits for us to fill our hearts with His word so that when He tells us a certain scripture to speak He can perform it as it is spoken.

Friends, I want to challenge you today to meditate on God’s word, put it in your heart and in your mouth so that when God needs you to speak life to another person, you’ll be ready. When He asks you to speak life to a dead situation in your life, you’ll have the faith that He will empower your tongue to effect change through the word of God that He brings out of your heart. Harness your tongue, bridle it and take control over what it speaks so that it will be effective in bringing life into those that you love and the challenges of life that you encounter.

Father, I thank You for Your word and the power of Your Spirit to equip us to speak life instead of death into our families, our friendships and our life’s circumstances. I pray that Your people will grab hold of and understand the importance of harnessing and bridling our tongues. I pray, Father, that we will be a people who speak as Ezekiel calling forth life from deadness and Jeremiah, rooting out bitterness, taking authority over demonically instigated attacks in nations, and building and planting good into the lives of others. May we be the army of God that goes forth in the power of Your Spirit speaking the word of God with authority knowing that You are watching over that word to perform it in our lives. Thank You, Father, for equipping us to be victorious through the power of Your Spirit and Your word. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

Words Can Hurt Or Heal

Words Can Hurt Or Heal

I know that you have probably never been caught up in the moment of a heated discussion with someone that you love where your whole witness of Christianity was whisked out the window through the winds of hurtful words, dissension and strife. No, not you or me or any other “good” Christian would “lose it” and say things that cut to the core of an individual’s whole being!

 

I say this facetiously as we all have experienced those times when we wish we could take back the words that came spewing out of our mouths in the heat of the moment when we were caught off guard by a strategically placed attack of the enemy through a friendship or relationship. Ephesians 6:11 says that we should put on the whole armor of God that we might be able to stand against the wiles of the devil because we do not fight against people but against the spirit that is driving or motivating the person. The argument between two people is demonically instigated and strategically placed as an attack to destroy relationships!

 

Ephesians 6:10-12 NLT A final word: Be strong with the Lord’s mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in heavenly realms.

Stressed

None of us are perfect; we all experience anger and emotions that arise from a hurtful past or injustices done to us by another individual. Those hurts lie dormant until someone rips the scab off the wound and suddenly a monster arises from within that is far from the picture of the Christian that we profess to be. And as the saying goes, “hurting people hurt people”. It is often the ones closest to us that receives the poison of the infection that lies dormant in those wounds that have not been submitted to God for cleansing and healing. Healing for those wounds is available in Christ Jesus when we submit them to Him as Luke 4:18, 19 says that Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted.

 

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”

 

While it’s true that a person who has received Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord is a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17), and all the things of the old life are passed away with newness of life in Christ replacing them, the old nature can still rise up and exhibit itself when pressured if we aren’t aware and ready to meet the challenge that has arisen through the form of an angry temptation or attack.

 

Paul says that one of the characteristics of the unrighteous, or those who have not received Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord is that their throat is an open tomb and with their tongues they have practiced deceit. The poison of asps is under their lips. He goes on to say this:

 

Romans 3:14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”

 

When a person receives Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord their spirit is regenerated or made new. The spirit of man is where the Holy Spirit lives. But the spirit of man is just one part of man’s makeup. We are a spirit being because we are made in the image and likeness of God, who is Spirit. He has equipped us to live on this earth through giving us a body that is able to exist with the material elements around us and He has placed within each one of us a soul, which is our mind, will and emotions. While the spirit of man is reborn through forgiveness of our sin and receiving Christ Jesus as Savior, the only One who can cleanse us from our sin and make us whole and new again, the soul must be changed through a process of renewal. The mind has to be renewed to God’s way of thinking, the will must be yielded to God’s way of living and the emotions must be submitted to God’s way of feeling. The body always follows the soul in acting out what man’s soul feels, thinks and chooses to do. This change of the soul is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. Jesus, while rebuking the Pharisees for blaspheming the Holy Spirit, said that the mouth speaks out of what is in abundance in the heart.

 

Matthew 12:34 “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

 

Notice that he addressed them as a brood of vipers because in their unregenerate state of sin the poison of asps was under their tongues and their mouth was full of cursing and bitterness just as Paul described the unregenerate person in Romans 3:13, 14. They could not help but speak out of that state of sinfulness that had not been cleansed. Their heart was full of evil things. He again referred to the fullness of a heart that has not been fully cleansed, healed and filled with God’s thoughts and ways in Matthew 15:16-20:

 

NLT “Don’t you understand?” Jesus asked him, “Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes out of the body. But evil words come from an evil heart and defile the person who says them. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all other sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands could never defile you and make you unacceptable to God.”

 

Jesus said that evil words come from a heart that has in abundance evil thoughts. Out of that abundance comes murderous words, lies and slanderous statements. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

 

King David wrote in Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.

 

The sinful thoughts that we hold in our hearts have been a problem for all people from the time that sin first entered into man’s life through the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Sin creates sinful thoughts, words and actions.

 

So, according to the scriptures that we have seen so far, the words that come out of our mouths can either bless or curse, give life or bring death, build up or tear down and the words that we speak show where we are spiritually. They are an indicator of what needs to be changed in our hearts.

 

Is there hope for us when we slip and say hurtful things to another person? Of course, when we come to Jesus to confess the wrong that we have done we are assured that He will cleanse us and forgive us from the sin.

 

1 John 1:9 NKJV If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

God forgives and it is Him that has ultimately been sinned against when we walk outside of the love that He has placed in our hearts. The first thing to do is confess that sin to Him and receive His cleansing.

 

Then the next thing we need to do is to go to the person that we have hurt or who has hurt us and work it out with them. That may mean asking forgiveness for what we’ve said or done or it may mean that we tell that other person that we forgive them for hurting us.

 

Jesus instructs us in Matthew 18:15 that “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the fault. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.” And again in Luke 17:4 that “Even if he wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, forgive him.” So in both of these instances we are admonished to make it right with the other person, whether it be our fault or theirs.

 

So, what is the ultimate purpose for our words? God does have a purpose and a plan for our words. We will continue this discussion in Part 2. Please be sure to stop back by.

 

Father, I come before You today to ask forgiveness for the times when my words have wounded another person. Father, I realize that there are times when I am caught off guard or may be having a stressful day when an attack comes from the evil one through someone else to destroy our relationship. Father, I pray that I might be more aware of those times; that I might see the signs of an attack coming and be quick to turn from that offense and offer forgiveness. I pray also that I might see the temptation that is placed before me to use my words to wound instead of to heal. And I confess to You that the fault has been mine at times and then at other times I have been the recipient of someone else’s stress or wounds that have not been submitted to You for healing. Whatever the case might be, Father, I pray that You will make me aware of it and show me how to avoid being wounded or causing a wound in another’s heart.

 

I pray for those today who have wounds that have not yet been submitted to You for healing. I pray, Father, that You will reach down and pull out the roots of bitterness that have been sown in their hearts that is waiting to grow up and defile not only them but others around them. I pray that You will heal the hurts in people’s hearts that is causing them to be on the defense at things that others say to them. I pray that You will set them free from the bondage of pain and sorrow from the hurts that they are experiencing. Father, heal and restore them to wholeness. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Forgiveness opens the door

Friend Of God

I worked for several years in mortgage institutions. At my last position I was an escrow processor. My job was to audit loan papers for accuracy as they came back in from the closers after all mortgage papers had been signed. There was one document in particular that I had to look at that verified that all other documents were correct. It was the signature affidavit, the one that showed the legal name and signature of the individual for which the loan papers were written. All other documents had to be signed just as that one was to meet the legal compliance for the loan. I learned to identify any false signatures on the loan papers by looking at the real.

Friend of God

We, as Christians, learn to identify the false by looking at the real. We identify the workings of the devil by getting to know the real, which is God! The word of God, His character and nature, what He has done for people in the past, what He expects of His children, how His Kingdom’s economy works are all found in His word. We should not base our understanding of the word of God on our experiences, our feelings, our thoughts and opinions or what we see happening around us or to us. We should, instead, base our understanding of the word of God on our relationship with Him and what He reveals to us through prayer, the study of His word, and His voice as He speaks to us and reveals His love to us. We learn to identify the devil’s workings in our lives by knowing God. When we know God we can identify the counterfeit because we know the real.

A bank teller learns to recognize the counterfeit bill by handling the real bills. She/He looks at the real much more than the counterfeit. What we hold before our eyes the most is what we learn to recognize.

God gets blamed for a lot of the devil’s workings simply because we don’t know and understand God and His ways. Acts 103:7 says that He revealed His ways to Moses but the children of Israel only knew His acts. Exodus 33:11 says that God spoke to Moses, face to face as a man speaks to his friend. The Israelites were afraid of God; they had misconceptions of Him and refused to get close to Him to know Him. Moses, on the other hand, had a friendship with God. He spent time with Him, learning His character and nature and communing with Him. The Israelites misunderstood God’s ways because they didn’t give Him a chance to reveal Himself to them as the loving Father that He was. They were afraid to come near to Him.

I am a friend of God

Friends, I want to challenge you this morning to draw near to God and become not just His child, but His friend. James 4:7 says that if you drawn near to God He will draw near to you. He longs for you to know not just His acts, but His ways. It is as we walk closely with Him that we understand His ways and learn to recognize the false from the real.

John 14:8-11 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you, I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.”

We see the Father at work in the Son, Jesus Christ. What Jesus did on earth is the will of the Father.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Your circumstances in life do not determine what God’s will is for you. The only way you can know whether what you are experiencing is God’s will is by getting to know the real, true and living God. The life of Jesus reveals the will of God. When you look at Him you have seen the Father.

Hebrews 13:9 Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace,…..

God’s wrath for sin was poured out on Jesus when He became the one sacrifice for all times to pay the debt for man’s sin. It is through God’s grace that all that you have need of has been supplied. God’s grace, His unmerited favor, provision and supply waits for you to learn to identify His goodness and believe to receive all that He has provided for you so He can pour out His blessings of provision upon you. Whatever the Father has stored up in His grace for you comes to you through believing and receiving.

Matthew 21:22 “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

Father, I thank You for the picture that You have given us of Yourself in the life of Your Son, Jesus Christ. I thank You that we can know and identify the counterfeit by knowing the real. Thank You for all that You have provided for us through the crucifixion of Jesus. It is through Your grace in the redemption that He purchased for us by becoming the sacrifice to pay for our sin that we can have all that He died to give us. Thank You, Father, for making it possible for us to know You, to understand Your goodness and to see it at work in the actions of Your Son as He walked on this earth before us. Father, I pray that those who don’t know you will come to Jesus for forgiveness of their sin and be born again into Your family, a spiritual birth that gives them the right of Son-ship, the right to be Your child. Father, for those who are Your children but haven’t drawn close to You to get to know You on a personal basis, I pray that they will desire You above all else, to know Your friendship, to see Your loving character and nature and to know that You have goodness planned for them in Your grace and that provision is there for whatever need they have. Father, I pray that they will believe in You, trust You to provide for their needs and that they will step out in faith to receive from Your hand all that they have need of. Thank You for that provision, Father. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

%d bloggers like this: