Wise Men Still Seek Him!

Wise Men Still Seek Him

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 service, 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.

Wise Men Still Seek Him 2

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The Greatest Gift Ever Given!

Angels singing Glory to God

Luke 2:8-20 NLT That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David! And this is how you will recognize him: You will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth!” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors.” When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Come on, let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this wonderful thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” They ran to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. Then the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their fields and flocks, glorifying and praising God for what the angels had told them, and because they had seen the child, just as the angel had said.

Can you imagine how quiet it must have been in that dark night after the sheep had been bedded down and the shepherds were relaxing from a day of caring for their flocks? When SUDDENLY…..an angel of the Lord appeared among them and the night sky lit up with the radiance of God’s glory! In just a twinkling of an eye their whole world changed from dark to light! That’s what happens in a person’s life when God’s glory shows up! Jesus is the glory of God in human form. His message of hope was shared with a group of shepherds. This was the greatest birth announcement ever made and it wasn’t given to kings or priests; it was given to lowly shepherds; those who, as an occupation, cared for sheep.

The first thing the angel said to the shepherds was “don’t be afraid”! In every visitation that we’ve seen from an angel that came to give a message to someone from God regarding the birth of Jesus we’ve heard “don’t be afraid”, or “do not fear”. God’s love casts out all fear. Fear is not from God, it comes as a message from the evil one who is the instigator of all negative forms of fear. The reverential fear of God is what comes from God; it is a respect, a reverence for who God is to us that causes us to love what He loves and hate what He hates. But fear that causes terror within the heart of a person comes from our enemy, the devil. The angel was instructed to tell the shepherds to not fear because God is the God of love.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

1 John 4:16-18 NLT We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in him. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we are like Christ here in this world. Such love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of judgment, and this shows that his love has not been perfected in us. We love each other as a result of his loving us first.

It has been said that there are 365 “fear nots” in the Word of God; one for each day of the year. God does not want His children to be afraid and especially not when they are encountering Him, or communing with His Spirit or having a visit from an angelic messenger. If fear is present when you are having a spiritual encounter with the Lord, it may be another spirit other than God’s Spirit. We are instructed in 1 John 4:1 to test the spirits to make sure they are of God.

1 John 4:1 NKJV Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NwaiAMPtHs

Immediately after the angel gave the shepherds the message from God the night sky became aglow with the heavenly host singing praises to our God! “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Christmas is not about giving and receiving presents, although we celebrate His birth through giving gifts to others. But Christmas is about Jesus! He is the Center of Christmas! He is the reason that we celebrate! Glory to God for sending Jesus to save mankind from their sin! Jesus came to bring peace on earth; peace between God and man and relationally to men with each other. When the Prince of Peace comes to live in the hearts of men we will see the ultimate peace on earth that Jesus came to give us. When we receive Him as Savior and Lord we experience peace with God that dispels all fear and gives us the hope for a bright future filled with His goodness!

Know Jesus, know peace

Know Jesus—know peace! No Jesus—no peace!

The next thing that we see happening in the life of the shepherds on that night when an angel of the Lord came to tell them of the birth of the King was that they acted on His word. We can hear the word of God spoken to us through His messenger but it’s not really ours or appropriated into our lives until we act on it. They could have heard what the angel said and rejoiced in what they heard but it was made more real to them when they acted on it by going to see the baby of which the angel had spoken. When we act on His word we are stepping out in faith saying, “I believe it and I receive it as God’s word for me in my life right now”! James calls that action as being a person who is not just hearing the word of God but doing it!

James 1:22-24 NLT And remember, it is a message to obey, not just to listen to. If you don’t obey, you are only fooling yourself. For if you just listen and don’t obey, it is like looking at your face in a mirror but doing nothing to improve your appearance. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.

The Word of God is exponentially multiplied in your life when you hear AND do it. When you read or hear it you receive one level of power from it, but when you add to it the doing then the reality of it is multiplied to you and change comes into your life. We are changed by what God says to us. His word changes our hearts and lives. We are changed from the ways of the world to know the way God thinks through the renewing of our minds to His word. (Romans 12:2) The shepherds lives were changed that night by what the angel of the Lord said to them and through their obedience to go see the baby for themselves.

When the shepherds heard the word from the angel and went to see the baby Jesus they couldn’t contain their excitement and had to go tell what they had heard and seen! When we have an encounter with the living God we are compelled to tell others about Him. We want to share what He has placed in our hearts; we want to give away the salvation that He has given us so others can know Him as well. The shepherds told everyone what had happened to them and what the angel had said to them about his child.

Luke 2:18, 19 NLT And all who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often.

They had to tell others about Jesus! When you’ve had a great experience in your life you want to share it with others. It is natural to let what is on the inside of you flow out to those around you. The greatest story ever told is the story of Jesus!

And the last thing that we see taking place in the lives of these shepherds is that they went back to their flocks praising God for what the angel had told them and having seen the child, just as the angel had said. The outflow of an encounter with the Lord Jesus is praise! When we draw close to Him through a living and vital relationship with Him the natural thing to do is praise Him! Our spirit connects with the Holy Spirit within us and the automatic outflow is that of praise! God fills your life with praise for Him!

Have you had an encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ, or do you simply know Jesus as the baby in the manger? Have you seen Him as Savior and Lord or just a little baby, helpless and defenseless? If you want to see Him as Your own personal Savior and Lord, just ask Him into your heart today and He will come in and save you and give you a new life, filled with His presence.

Father, I pray for those today who may want to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord. I pray that they will open their hearts to You and ask You into their lives to change them and give them a reason to continue living. For those who are depressed I pray that they will allow the Prince of Peace to come into their lives and bring peace in the midst of their sorrow. I pray that they will ask You to save them and give them new life. I pray that the eyes of the blind will be opened today to see Jesus in all His glory! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

~If you want to know more about receiving Jesus as your own personal Savior and Lord, please go to my page titled “The Road To Salvation”.  There you will find instructions on how to pray to receive Jesus as your Savior.

You Are Special!

John 3:16-21 NCV God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son so that whoever believes in Him may not be lost, but have eternal life. God did not send His Son into the world to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through Him. People who believe in God’s Son are not judged guilty. Those who do not believe have already been judged guilty, because they have not believed in God’s one and only Son. They are judged by this fact: The Light has come into the world, but they did not want light. They wanted darkness, because they were doing evil things. All who do evil hate the light and will not come to the light, because it will show all the evil things they do. But those who follow the true way come to the light, and it shows that the things they do were done through God.

God loved people so much that He gave the ultimate gift to mankind; the death of His one and only Son to pay the price for our redemption.

Redemption – Greek word apolutrosis – Strong’s 629 A release secured by the payment of a ransom, deliverance, setting free. The word in secular Greek described a conqueror releasing prisoners, a master ransoming a slave, and redemption from an alien yoke. In the New Testament it designates deliverance through Christ from evil and the penalty of sin. The price paid to purchase that liberation was His shed blood.

Jesus bought us back from the kingdom of darkness with His precious blood. He purchased our redemption with His life. The only way to have eternal life is to believe in your heart that God sent Jesus to pay the price for your redemption and then confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior. (Romans 10:9, 10)

Colossians 1:13, 14 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

Ephesians 1:7, 8 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,

Praise the Lord! Jesus made it possible for us to be washed clean of all our sins. He laid down His life for us that we might experience life through Him. He established peace between us and God.

Ephesians 3:14-18 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

There was a wall that stood between us and God. It separated us from the Father. Jesus broke that wall down when He sacrificed His flesh and blood for our sins. He joined us to the Father through His sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary. Now we belong to the family of God.

I just feel like I need to reiterate to someone this morning that God is not mad at you. He loves you. He gave His all that you might have life. We have an enemy who is the accuser of the brethren. He will accuse you to yourself and make you feel like you are not worthy of God’s love and that He is angry with you. That is not true. Satan is the accuser of the brethren. He will always try to get you to believe his lies by making you feel bad, like you’ll never be worthy of God’s love. But God has already demonstrated His love for you by giving Jesus to die for you when you were yet a sinner.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

If God gave Jesus for you while you were at your worst, a sinner, why would He be angry with you or love you any less after you received Jesus and were forgiven of your sins? There is nothing that you could do that would be any worse than what you were before you were forgiven of your sins and born again. There is nothing that you can do to make Him love you any more or any less than what He did when Jesus died for you on the Cross. The accuser of the brethren has fed you a lie. Do not believe it!

Romans 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Condemnation does not come from God; it comes from the devil. He will try to make you feel like you do not deserve God’s love. But God’s Son, Jesus Christ paid the price for your righteousness. You are now worthy in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

God made Jesus to be sin for us. He traded places with us. He became our sin so that we could become His righteousness. It is a free gift with no strings attached; just believe and receive it.

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.

Satan will not stop trying to deceive you into believing that you are not worthy of God’s love until you put your foot down on his neck and stop him from lying to you. You must resist him. He will not go until you tell him to leave.

James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

When you begin to take a stand on what you believe about God’s word, the devil will become less able to deceive you. If you will submit yourself to God first, then resist the devil, he will have to leave you alone. Take your rightful place in Christ Jesus and stand up to the enemy and command him to leave you!

Luke 10:19 “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”

Jesus has given you authority over the power of the enemy! He cannot harm you when you realize who you are in Christ Jesus and take your rightful place as a child of God standing against the enemy! The only ground that Satan can have is the ground that we relinquish to him. Jesus calls him the thief in John 10:10 because he comes to steal, kill and destroy. He uses illegal means to steal from people, kill their dreams and their lives if possible, and tries to destroy them.

1 Peter 5:8, 9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

The Word says we are to be on the alert for the devil because he tries to paralyze his prey by roaring at them. He tells them lies; he tries to get them to think things are worse than what they are. He constantly looks for the weak ones on the outer edges of the sheepfold that are easy prey for him to grab. But when you resist him in the faith, standing strong on God’s word, his lies are subjected to the light and no longer have any power over you.

As I was praying this morning, I felt the Lord wanting to share something with me so I got out my pen and paper and began to write. I feel He has a message for someone this day, so here it is:

 

My Child, I have loved you with an everlasting love. When you go through the fire of life I will be with you. The floods shall not overtake you for I am there to lift you above them. Look to Me for I am there. I will carry you through the difficult times. Do not feel as if you are forsaken, just look to Me and live. I will not fail you. I love you. You are Mine. I have called you by your name. I know everything about you. You are My ‘lovely one’ for I love you.”

 

Friends, God is not like people. He doesn’t hold grudges or get mad and not speak to you.

Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”

God loves you with an everlasting love. He has shown it to you this morning through His word and by His Spirit. He delights in you.

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Can you see the great love that He has for you. Don’t let the enemy tell you that God is mad at you or that He doesn’t love you because of what you may have done. God loves you! Receive His love and forgiveness and go on and have a blessed life!

 

Father, I thank You for Your great love for us. You don’t think like we do and you don’t stay angry with us. Thank You for forgiving our sins and for blessing us with good lives. Father, I pray for my friends this morning who may be struggling with guilt and condemnation. I pray, Father, that You will reveal to them that You are not condemning them for what they have done, but forgiveness from You is freely given when they confess their sin to You and turn to walk with You according to Your ways. Give them peace in their hearts today, Lord, and fill them with a new sense of Your presence with them. Thank You, Father, for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

 

The Power of God!

Romans 1:16, 17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ! Why? It is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.  Please notice that in order to receive God’s salvation you must believe! Faith is the vehicle that brings God’s salvation into your life.

This is such a power-packed couple of verses.  Let’s look at a few of the Greek words in this scripture to get a good understanding of what the Word is saying:

Ashamed – Epaischunomai – the feeling of shame arising from something that has been done.

Gospel – Euangelion – “good news” of salvation; not only the promise of salvation, but it’s fulfillment by the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.

Power – Dunamis – energy, power, might, great force, great ability, strength. Dynamic; dynamite.

Salvation – Soteria – deliverance, preservation, soundness, prosperity, happiness, rescue, general well-being. The word is used both in a material, temporal sense and in a spiritual, eternal sense.

Believes – Pisteuo – to trust in, have faith in, be fully convinced of, acknowledge, rely on. It expresses reliance upon and a personal trust that produces obedience. It includes submission and a positive confession of the Lordship of Jesus.

Righteousness – Dikaiosune – the character or quality of being right or just; right actions. It is used to tell of that gracious gift of God to men whereby all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ are brought into right relationship with God. It is unattainable by obedience to any law, or by any merit of man’s own, or any other condition than that of faith in Christ.

Okay, so now let’s think about what Paul is really saying in these two verses. He is not feeling any shame towards the good news of Christ, for it is the might, strength and great force of God resulting in deliverance, preservation, soundness, prosperity, happiness, rescue and general well-being of everyone who places their trust in Him and is fully convinced that He will do what He has promised. It results in acting out that trust and speaking positively of the Lordship of Jesus Christ in their life. The picture that we see here is of a person understanding that salvation is all-inclusive of whatever he needs for the well-being of his person; spirit, soul and body. It is placing trust in Christ Jesus as Lord knowing that He has purchased the salvation that you may need and you are willing to obey Him whatever the cost in order to receive what He died to give you.

Jesus, when He began His ministry, gave it’s description in Luke 4:18,19:

“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.”

He preached the gospel, the good news, then He demonstrated by healing those who were oppressed of the devil with sickness and disease and demonic possession.

The good news of salvation to the person who needs to be spiritually re-born would be forgiveness of sin. It means that in order for the person to receive that salvation he must place His trust in Jesus, confess Him as Lord and receive His forgiveness.

Romans 10:9, 10: that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

The good news of salvation for someone who is sick would be that God heals and Jesus purchased that healing for him through the stripes that He took on His back in the crucifixion.

Matthew 8:16, 17: When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities And bore our sicknesses.”

The good news for salvation for someone in poverty and lack would be that Jesus became poor that he might become rich.

2 Corinthians 8:9: For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

Philippians 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

There is a promise in God’s Word for every need that we have. It has been purchased for us through the covenant that Jesus sealed with His very own blood. It’s a matter of getting into God’s Word, finding what applies to your life and believing it in your heart, confessing it with your mouth and acting on the promise to receive it. Sometimes we must “war” to receive it. If a sick person stands on God’s word for healing he will have to fight in faith to stay firm until the manifestation of the healing appears. It is a real battle against fear, symptoms of illness, pain, others who may not support you in believing and a negative doctor’s report. But Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:12 that he should “fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life”. A good fight is one that you win and it is a fight of faith to “lay hold” on eternal life. It is a faith fight that gives us the victory!

1 John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.

Father, I thank You for providing for whatever we have need of in our lives. I thank You that the blood of Jesus purchased our redemption, full and free, and provides salvation for the total man; spirit, soul and body. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for dying for us, for shedding Your blood that we might experience life. I pray for my friends this morning, Father, that You would show them the scriptures that apply to their needs, Father, that they might trust You to bring the provision that they have need of. Thank You, Lord, for meeting their every need. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Don’t Worry!

Sometimes my husband points out to me that I am worrying. I’m thankful that God brought him into my life and for him helping me to keep a proper perspective on casting my cares on the Lord and not allowing worry to steal my peace!

So, God tells us in this scripture that we are not to worry about anything. Wow, how hard is that? Have you ever caught yourself fretting over something? I think we women especially have a tendency to do that. But God actually gives us a “pattern” to follow for success in this portion of scripture.

  1. Don’t worry – instead pray!
  2. Tell God your needs – and don’t forget to be thankful for what He does for you!
  3. Result – God’s peace will encompass your mind and your heart!
  4. Rest – will come as you trust in Christ!

Now, how simple can that be? It all boils down to our willingness to place our trust in God and allow Him to handle our problems instead of us trying to do it on our own. He’s a BIG God; the only true GOD! He created the universe and all that’s within it! Who are we to think we can help Him out by worrying? Jesus says in Matthew 6:34 that when we worry we actually borrow from tomorrow’s trouble. Wow, who would want to bring tomorrow’s troubles into today? Instead He says that when we seek His kingdom and His righteousness, or His right way of doing things, that everything that we have need of that we’ve worried about will be added unto us. What a great exchange…..trading our needs for His provision! I think I’ll concentrate a little more on doing that. How about you?

Psalm 55:22  Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.

Father, I thank You for always meeting my every need according to Your riches in Christ Jesus. Thank You for handling the things that I tend to worry about. You are so much better at dealing with life’s issues than me. I thank You that when I present my requests before You that You hear me and set my heart at peace. Thank You for always being there for me! And now Lord, I bring my friends before You. So many of them are struggling with their own problems right now and need encouragement and provision for what they are experiencing. Father, You’ve said that You would provide for their needs according to, or in the same measure as, Your riches in glory by Christ Jesus. I pray that they will receive that provision today, Father. And that You will give them an assurance in their hearts that it’s been taken care of and that You are working in each situation bringing the resolution that they have need of. Thank You, Father. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Stepping Stones of Opposition

1 Corinthians 16:9 For a great and effective door has been opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

 

Have you ever known that you were supposed to do something but everything seemed to being going against you? Paul recognized the opportunity ahead of him, but he also saw the opposition. With every opportunity there will always be opposition and obstacles placed in our path to try to detour us from what we are trying to accomplish. We feel the calling and are excited at the new opportunity placed before us, but we often cave in when opposition appears. However, the obstacles that are placed in our path are simply stepping stones on our path to success!

 

Paul talked about so many different obstacles that had been placed before him in Acts 20 and in verses 22-24 he tells us how those oppositions affected him:

 

Acts 20:22-24 “And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, “except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

 

Paul knew that opposition awaited him everywhere he went, but he had learned to overcome it; to not allow it to stop what he felt he had been called to do. Reaching the goal at the end of his life was bigger than the fear of what the opposition could do to him.

 

You may think that this doesn’t apply to you; that you are not on the same level with Paul. He was a great preacher and apostle called to the work of ministry. But whatever you feel you have been called to do, whether it is to take a new job, make some changes in your lifestyle or health, get married, or go to college, there will always be obstacles to face and overcome. With every new endeavor there are new challenges! If we will take the proper attitude towards the opposition we will find that it will actually work for our good.

 

The difference in whether we achieve success or not is in how we view the challenges placed before us. We can go into them knowing that, as a believer, we have God’s support and empowerment to win; to achieve the desired goals; or we can look at the obstacles and back down because of the size of them, not having the faith that we can do it or that God is for us and will help us. The size of the obstacle is not really what is important; it is our attitude towards the obstacle that either causes us to win or lose. We win or lose by what we think about what we are up against. The battle is in the mind. Attitude is everything! You can either soar with the eagles or be confined to the ground with the chickens. Which would you prefer?

 

Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

 

Jesus saw that the disciples had met opposition in their ministry to the child with a mute spirit. They were not able to free him of the demonic control that was constantly throwing him into convulsions. Their inability to set the child free affected the faith of the child’s father. Jesus then told the father that his problem was not that the disciples failed in ministering freedom to the child, but that it was an issue with his faith. We must believe in order to receive! Once the father had the problem identified he was able to call on the Lord to help him.

 

Mark 9:24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

 

Sometimes we are at a certain level of faith, but we need an extra boost to be fully assured that what we are believing for will come into manifestation. I know that when I started to college I believed that God had asked me to do that, but the 4 month time frame that I had to complete 10 courses became an obstacle to me. I constantly had to go the the Lord with this same attitude as the little boy’s father; “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” I was at a certain level of faith, but needed the assurance that God was there, helping me to overcome the obstacles. It was a walk of faith, not of sight; I needed to trust God to help me achieve my goals.

 

Do you trust God to see you through to whatever it is that you are trying to accomplish? Do you believe that He is for you and will help you? The disciples thought they needed more faith so they ask Jesus to increase their faith and He responded by saying this:

 

Luke 17:6 So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree. ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”

 

It’s not that we need more faith, but we need applied faith. We just need to believe what God says and then act on it in order for our faith to be activated! Strong faith comes from having a strong foundation based on God’s word:

 

Matthew 7:24-27 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock; “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

 

You see the wind and rain come to all of us, but Jesus said the key to withstanding the storms is having a firm foundation based on His word and then acting on what you know that He has said. The key to standing strong is basing your life on what God says, not what you see happening around you. If God said you can do this, then believe it and act on it. It is when we ignore what God has said to us that we fall.

 

Paul said in Philippians 4:13 that he could do all things because of the strength that he received through Christ Jesus.

 

Philippians 4:13 AMP I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].

 

Can you say, as Paul said, that you are ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who fills your inner being with strength? He recognized his inability, but he was convinced that he could do it through Christ’s sufficiency. He believed that even though there were obstacles and opposition, through Christ’s strength he could accomplish his goals. When I look at this scripture I get a picture in my mind of Jesus standing over me with a funnel on top of my head pouring His strength into me. It’s as if He is filling me up so I will be sufficient for whatever I’m going through, not in my own sufficiency, but in His.

 

God said in 1 John 4:4 that when we meet up with spiritual opposition we can know that we will win because “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

 

The greater One lives in you and me! How can we lose if God Himself is living and moving through us as we meet up with opposition?

 

Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

 

Romans 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

 

There is no opposition that can stop us when God is for us! He is on our side and He makes a way where there seems to be no way. We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us! Begin to see yourself as God sees you. He sees you as a winner, not a loser. He doesn’t see you struggling to make it through the difficulties; He sees you rising above them and conquering them! In order to win you must change the way you think about opposition!

 

Romans 12:2 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.

 

Renew your mind to the truth of God’s word and the obstacles in your path will become the stepping stones to your success!

 

Father, I thank You for making me more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus! You have made it possible for me to always be a winner! Thank You, Lord Jesus, for strengthening me for whatever lies ahead of me. I know that I can do all things through Your strength, Lord! You are my strength and my salvation. It’s in You that I live and move and have my being. Praise Your holy name! Father, I lift my friends up to You this morning that may be struggling with opposition in their lives. I ask You to show them the way over the difficulties so they may also be more than conquerors in their life’s endeavors. Help them to see themselves as the victors that You have created them to be. May they devour Your word until the Spirit of God brings it to life within them so that they know they are the winners that You have created them to be. Thank You, Father, for hearing and answering my prayers this morning. In Jesus name. Amen.

Praying Always

Ephesians 6:18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints–

After all the armor of God is applied to the believer’s life, he now goes into the battle……praying! Just as Jesus entered the battle in the Garden of Gethsemane, so the believer enters the battle with the enemy through prayer.

The Amplified version of Ephesians 6:18 reads this way:

Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people).

The word for “praying” in the Greek is proseuchomai which means “to pray” and is the most frequent word used for prayer to God.

Supplication – Greek word deesis – means primarily “a wanting, a need”; a beseeching or entreating; it is an earnest request presented with an urgency that almost says “God this must be done now”. It is reflective of the importance of the situation at that very moment.

In this verse of Scripture the Lord is telling us to make prayer always a priority. We are to pray earnestly, beseeching the Lord in the Spirit, or in tongues, or if you don’t have your heavenly prayer language, that you always pray at the direction of the Spirit. We are to always be spiritually alert for the next move of the enemy. And we are to persevere, continuing to entreat the Lord on behalf of all the saints. This is the stance that we are to take before, during and after the battle. It is a lifestyle of communication with the Father at different levels of prayer; some of which are prayer to God for ourselves; intercession, which is standing in the gap before God on behalf of another; and spiritual warfare, which is fighting against the enemy during times of war. At times the prayer takes on a more intense type of urgency because the battle is more intense. We follow the direction of the Spirit as He knows exactly what is taking place and what needs to be done at each step of the way. For us to be victorious in battle, we must be spiritually intimate in our relationship with the Lord.

In Psalm 32:8 the Lord tells us that He will guide us with His eye.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.

When my children were little they knew by the look in my eyes what message I was trying to convey to them. If they were not behaving they knew if Mom gave them a certain look they better straighten up or a more severe form of discipline would follow. I could guide them with that certain look because they knew me; they were used to my character and nature because they were my children and they spent a lot of time with me. When we are close to our spouses we can be across the room from each other and look into the others eyes and almost know exactly what they are thinking or intending to do at that very moment. When we are close to the Lord we learn His character and nature. We “know” Him and He leads us through that intimate communication that we have in our relationship with Him.

He tells us in Isaiah 30:21 that He will direct us by speaking to us.

Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” Whenever you turn to the right hand, Or whenever you turn to the left.

 

Jesus said in John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”

We are His sheep! When we “know” Him we will hear His voice and know how to proceed in the battle against the enemy.

The Greek word for “know” is ginosko and it means “to know completely”. He knows us completely and it should be our desire to come to know Him as completely as is possible in our own limited human understanding. Ginosko is knowledge obtained not by mere intellectual activity, but by operation of the Holy Spirit upon acceptance of Christ. It is progressively growing in relationship with the Lord as the Holy Spirit leads you through prayer, Bible study, and fellowship with Him. “Know” or “ginosko” is the same word used to describe Joseph knowing Mary, his wife, in an intimate sexual relationship as husband and wife in Matthew 1:25. When a man and woman say “I do”, they become “one” in marriage.  But it is the intimate sexual union of the marital bed that consummates the marriage and brings them into “oneness”. It is then as husband and wife live together day after day that they grow in their knowledge of each other. As we get to know God more intimately we will understand His character and nature and learn who He is to us personally. We are able to understand the desires of His heart; His compassion and understanding and through that “knowing” we will be able to hear His voice clearly; to follow His directions in defeating the enemy in our lives and the lives of others. Prayer is not just bringing a laundry list of requests before Him, although He desires to answer our requests, but that we would grow through interaction with Him to where we know His heart; to be able to pray effectively on behalf of all the saints that the enemy would be silenced and stopped in his attacks against fellow believers.

Ephesians 6:19, 20 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

The ultimate intercession that we could make for any believer is that they would be able to open their mouths boldly to speak forth the mystery of the gospel. The mystery of the gospel; that all men, both Jew and Gentile, might come to salvation through Jesus Christ. We, as born again believers, have all been made ambassadors of His just as Paul was.

2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.

The enemy’s attacks, for which we stand in battle against, is ultimately designed to stop the spread of the gospel in the lives of lost people and to destroy the lives of believers. If he can attack a believer and stop him from sharing the way of salvation to those around him, he has succeeded in stopping the mystery of the gospel from going forth. It is with this in mind that we learn to pray through the battles at the direction of the Spirit until we stop the enemy in his tracks!

Father, I thank You for making the way possible for us to come to You through prayer. Thank You for opening the door for us to know You, through Your Son, Jesus Christ. I pray that we might take our relationship with you seriously and develop our knowledge of You through prayer and studying Your word. I pray as Paul prayed in Ephesians 1:17-20 that You would give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of You, that the eyes of our understanding might be enlightened that we might know the hope of Your calling for us what are the riches of Your inheritance in the saints and that we might know the power that is available to us who believe; that same great power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead. Father, open our hearts to see You in all Your greatness and know that You are for us, equipping us with the same power that You used in raising Christ from the dead. Help us to stay in close relationship with You, Father, that we might be able to hear Your voice clearly and know exactly how to fight the enemy. Father, give us the victory in battle! Thank You, Lord, for hearing and answering my prayer! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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