Power, Presence and Perspective

Wine press in Biblical times

Judges 6:11, 12 Now the Angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the wine-press, in order to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!”

Threshing wheat in biblical times

Threshing wheat in Biblical times was done on a high hill where, when the grain was thrown up into the air, the chaff or outer casing of the grain, could be caught by the wind and blown away so the grain would fall to the ground where it could be gathered up and stored for later use. Here we see Gideon, because of fear of the enemy, threshing wheat down in a wine-press where he could possibly get it done without being seen. Every time the Israelites would plant and harvest a crop their enemies would come in and make a raid and steal their harvest. The had become very impoverished and had cried out to the LORD for deliverance from the enemy around them. The Angel of the LORD came to Gideon to work through him to bring deliverance to his people.

The first thing the Angel of the LORD spoke to Gideon was, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!” Gideon was hiding from the enemy down in a wine-press and the Lord wanted him to know that He saw him as a mighty man of valor! God sees each one of us as who we are under His guidance and empowerment. He told Gideon that He was with him. God’s presence goes with us to do the things that He calls us to do. He empowers us by His Spirit within us to do the extraordinary; our natural coupled with His presence and power becomes super-natural! But in order for us to live above the enemies of our lives we must see ourselves as God sees us. That means a change of perspective must happen on the inside that will be reflected on the outside.

Colossians 3:1-4 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

If you have received Christ Jesus as your own personal Savior and Lord, then when He was crucified on that cross to put to death the sin that was holding us in bondage, you died with Him. You are now a new creation in Christ Jesus and the life that He lived now lives in you. Gideon could not see himself as anything but a weak failure. The enemy had so oppressed him and his people that all he could see was fear and discouragement. When Jesus comes into a person’s life new hope is born. The Angel of the LORD came to Gideon to change his perspective and cause him to see that God was for him and he could be a new person if he would receive the presence and power of the Lord to enable him to accomplish the deliverance that his people needed. He needed a change of mind before he could exhibit a change of actions.

In Colossians we see that we have to have a change of thinking in order to attain a change of action. Our perspective must change from seeing only those things that are happening to us to see that God has positioned us on a higher level to effect change in our lives. When we see things from a heavenly perspective our earthly situations will appear different and we will see that with God all things are possible!

Gideon needed to see himself under the power and protection of his God. We are the same way. When our thinking is changed we see ourselves differently. So, how do we make that change?

Colossians 3:2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

Set your mind on heavenly things! To “set your mind” means to change what you are focusing on. Fix your mind on how things are in heaven. There is no lack in heaven! There is no sickness or disease in heaven! There is no failure in heaven! There are no losers in heaven! There is only victory, healing and wholeness, provision for every need, love, joy, peace and protection for those who view life from a heavenly perspective. Our perspective in how we see life is the driving force of success or failure. Gideon only saw himself as a failure. But God saw him as a mighty man of valor.

A mighty man of valor means a champion; an over-coming warrior who possesses valor, dignity and honor. Valor means strength, bravery and courage. Mighty primarily signifies military might and power.

Did Gideon’s attitude reflect that of a mighty man of valor? Not when the Angel of the LORD came on the scene. He needed an attitude adjustment in order to see himself as God saw him. Zig Ziglar would say he needed to get rid of the “stinkin’ thinkin’”! Gideon needed God’s super-natural presence and power to be changed into the person that God had called him and created him to be.

We all need the presence and power of God in our lives to do the things that He wants us to do. We can’t do them on our own, but when the Holy Spirit, who is our Helper, is with us He enables us to see ourselves differently and to win! But the first change has to be in how we see ourselves. That requires a change of mind.

Present your bodies to the Lord as a living sacrifice! Have you done that? Do you see yourself as living for the Lord in everything that you do, in every area of your life? Have you given Him complete control in your life? Change comes only as He changes us, but He will not over-ride our will. He will not force Himself on us. We must give Him permission to work within us; to change us. Is your life being lived as if God is in control or you?

Do not be transformed to this world! Don’t think that in order for you to be a valuable human being you must live as everyone around you is living. You are not a citizen of this world, but a citizen of heaven. Your spiritual residence has changed; you no longer are controlled by the world, but the Holy Spirit who lives within you through your spirit has empowered you to live above the natural happenings of this world! You do not have to live as the world any longer. When you present yourself to God for Him to live through you He will give you the victory over the world’s ways. Set your mind, your focus, your attention on what God has in store for you, not the negative viewpoint of the world!

Where are you living today? Do you see yourself as a mighty man/woman of valor? Are you empowered by the Holy Spirit to win in life or do you see yourself as a failure, never able to accomplish your dreams and goals? Your mindset must be changed!

2013 lies before us! The past is behind us and new territory is ahead. I’ve heard many speak this week of the goals and dreams they have for the upcoming year. New Year’s resolutions abound, but will they bring lasting change? Willpower is only so strong and is driven by our own human ability. Change comes from within, not from trying to keep a set of rules and regulations! Lasting change happens when we give control of our lives to God, set our minds on heavenly ways and then live according to His ways and not our own.

Will you allow God to change you? Will you renew your mind to the word of God? These are the changes that need to be made in our lives. These are the changes that will effect the dreams and goals that we have for 2013!

Father, I thank You for creating each one of us in your likeness and image. I thank You for placing Your Spirit within those of us who have accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord. And I thank You for the power within us to change our lives and those around us; Your power and presence to work through us to bring the changes that we desire. Father, I pray for those today who may not know You. I ask that You would draw them by Your Spirit to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus. May today be their day of salvation! Father, I also pray for those who are weak and discouraged. I pray that they would see themselves as You see them, a mighty man or woman of valor. I pray that they would realize that You are the God of all impossibilities and through Your presence and power within them they can be changed to accomplish what they want to do. You have given them the power of Your Spirit to lead, guide and direct them in the way that You would have them to go. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for equipping us for the victory! Thank You, Father, for always leading us to triumph in Christ Jesus! Thank You for giving us victory in every battle that we face in this upcoming year! You are great and greatly to be praised! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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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

Do Not Be Afraid, Joseph!

Angel appearing to Joseph

Matthew 1:18-25 NLT Now this is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her fiance`, being a just man, decided to break the engagement quietly, so as not to disgrace her publicly. As he considered this, he fell asleep, and an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to go ahead with your marriage to Mary. For the child within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. All of this happened to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and he will be called Immanuel (meaning, God is with us).” When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord commanded. He brought Mary home to be his wife, but she remained a virgin until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.

God knew who to choose to be the mother and father of His only begotten Son, who would come to save the people from their sins! He chose Mary and Joseph, two who were devoted to Him, determined to do His will and unashamedly determined to moved forward regardless of what might be said of them by their peers and elders in society.

There were three steps in a Jewish marriage. First, the two families agreed to the union. Second, a public announcement was made and the couple was officially “engaged”. This was similar to an engagement today except that in Jewish tradition their relationship could only be broken through death or divorce (even though sexual relations were not yet permitted). Third, the couple was married and began living together. Mary and Joseph were in the second state of that union, the betrothal period. Because they were engaged Mary’s apparent unfaithfulness carried a severe social stigma. According to Jewish civil law, Joseph had a right to divorce her, and the Jewish authorities could have had her stoned to death.

Deuteronomy 22:23, 24 NLT “Suppose a man meets a young woman, a virgin who is engaged to be married, and he has sexual intercourse with her. If this happens within a town, you must take both of them to the gates of the town and stone them to death. The woman is guilty because she did not scream for help. The man must die because he violated another man’s wife. In this way, you will cleanse the land of evil.”

Joseph, being a just man decided to break the engagement quietly, so as not to disgrace Mary publicly. He was a “just” man. The Greek word for “just” is dikaios and it means “upright, blameless, righteous, conforming to God’s laws and man’s.” Joseph was fair and righteous, not looking to expose Mary by rejecting or casting her off before witnesses. He was compassionate towards her. He did not want to make a public example of her. This concerned him and as he thought about how he would do this he fell asleep. As he was sleeping the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and explained how Mary became pregnant. The angel told Joseph that the father of Mary’s child was the Holy Spirit and that he did not have to be afraid to take Mary as his wife because she had not been unfaithful to him.  Fear, when received, can be a determent to receiving the promises of God. The enemy always speaks fear to us to try to get us off track, to keep us from fulfilling God’s plan for our lives. But Joseph, being a godly man, received the message from the angel with faith as Mary had when the angel appeared to her to tell of her upcoming pregnancy.

Matthew 1:24, 25 NKJV Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.

Joseph knew about the prophecies of which the angel of the Lord had spoken; how Isaiah had prophesied that a virgin would be with child and bear a Son, and that they would call His name Immanuel, meaning “God with us”. He knew the Word of God as recorded in the Old Testament. And he knew that when the angel of the Lord appeared to him with those prophecies that he could believe him and trust that what God had said He would do would happen. Joseph’s faith reached out and grabbed onto the word of God and caused him to step out believing that God would do what He had promised.

Isaiah 7:14 NKJV “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

Joseph so honored what God was doing in Mary’s and his lives that even after they were married he refused to have sexual relations with her until after Jesus was born. They did not enter into normal marital relations until after her Son was born. Mary was still a virgin when Jesus was born and so the scripture was fulfilled that a virgin would be with child and bear a son!

Jesus

Joseph called His name JESUS. The name means “Yahweh is Salvation”. The angel gave him instructions from the conception to the birth and even what they were to name the child. The scripture records that Joseph called His name JESUS; he followed the commandment of the Lord in every instruction that he was given. He didn’t worry about what the community would think of him; his only concern was that he would do the will of God and care for the wife that God had given him. His full devotion was to doing God’s will.

When we look at the life of Joseph we see a man who was not afraid to follow God. He was a disciplined man doing what needed to be done to work with His heavenly Father in order to see the manifestation of the promise of God in his life. He was focused on what God was doing in his life instead of what people and circumstances might dictate. He was determined to obey regardless of public opinion.

Immanuel, God with us, was the promise that the Christ child would bring to the world. God with us, in a different way, the way of salvation. Jesus was born to save His people from their sin. He was not born as a baby to be worshiped in a manger, but as the Savior of the world, who took on human form that He might face all the trials and temptations that we face and yet overcome and become the payment for our sin, our failures, our brokenness and iniquities.

The question we each need to ask ourselves at this time of the year is would we be willing to give up our lives to usher in the will of God in our world today? What would it take for God to be able to depend on us to work with Him to establish His will in the hearts and lives of those around us?

Matthew 16:24 NKJV Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”

Philippians 2:5-11 NLT Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though He was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross. Because of this, God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name that is above every other name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Father, I thank You for the story of Joseph and how he obeyed Your instructions regardless of whether it meant public disapproval or not. I thank You for his resolve to obey You in order to see the fulfillment of the plan that You had to bring Your Gift of salvation into our world. I pray that I will be that kind of person to be able to work with You in effecting change in my world as well. Father, I ask You to give each one of us the determination to obey You regardless of the opinion of those around us. May we be people of integrity that not only speak of You in our lives but act out of what You tell us to do. May we walk the talk and not just talk it. Thank You, Father, for sending Jesus to save us from our sin. Thank You for being with us in the form of humanity in order to identify with the problems that we experience in our lives. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for dying a criminal’s death to purchase our salvation! To You be all the honor and glory due Your name! Amen.

Thanks be to God for the birth of Jesus

Doubt Believes The Roadblocks Are Bigger Than God

Gabriel with Zechariah

Luke 1:5-25 NLT 5 When Herod was king of Judea, there was a Jewish priest named Zechariah. He was a member of the priestly order of Abijah, and his wife, Elizabeth, was also from the priestly line of Aaron. 6 Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations. 7 They had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive, and they were both very old. 8 One day Zechariah was serving God in the Temple, for his order was on duty that week. 9 As was the custom of the priests, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense. 10 While the incense was being burned, a great crowd stood outside, praying.  11 While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. 12 Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. 13 But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. 14 You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth.b 16 And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God. 17 He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children,c and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.” 18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.” 19 Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! 20 But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.” 21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah to come out of the sanctuary, wondering why he was taking so long. 22 When he finally did come out, he couldn’t speak to them. Then they realized from his gestures and his silence that he must have seen a vision in the sanctuary. 23 When Zechariah’s week of service in the Temple was over, he returned home. 24 Soon afterward his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and went into seclusion for five months. 25 “How kind the Lord is!” she exclaimed. “He has taken away my disgrace of having no children.”

Zechariah, a Jewish priest, was Elizabeth’s husband. The scripture records that they were both of priestly lines; they were righteous in God’s eyes; both were well advanced in age and they had no children. We learned about Elizabeth’s visit from Mary, the mother of Jesus, yesterday. Each morning a priest would enter into the Holy Place in the Temple and burn incense. When the incense was burned and the smoke went up out of the Holy Place the people would see the smoke and pray. Incense in the Bible represents the prayers of the people.

On this particular day the lot fell to Zechariah for this duty. But it was not by chance that God had Zechariah in the Holy Place that particular day for He had a message for him that the Angel was to deliver that morning. While he was in the Holy Place burning the incense the Angel of the Lord, Gabriel, appeared to him and gave him this message: “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John.” Zechariah was afraid for he had never had a visitation from an angel. But Gabriel told him not to be afraid because he had a message for him from God. After delivering the message we hear something totally different coming out of Zechariah’s mouth than we did from Mary in our lesson yesterday. Zechariah exhibited unbelief in his response to Gabriel where Mary exhibited faith in her response. Zechariah said “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.” Zechariah allowed his age to speak more loudly than the promise of God or God’s ability to bring into manifestation the promise that He had given him. The waves around him were bigger in his mind than his God! He couldn’t see past the roadblocks in his life to see that God could make a way where there seemed to be no way!

Have you ever felt like Zechariah in not being able to see that God could do anything about your situation? Faith takes God at His word and expects that word to come to pass; doubt sees only the negative aspects of a situation and doesn’t believe that God can do anything about it. Thomas, when Jesus had arisen from the dead and was being seen by all the disciples said, “I won’t believe it unless I see….”. (John 20:25) Zechariah said to Gabriel, “How can I know this will happen?”. He was basically saying, “what sign can you give me that this is true?” The difference between doubt and faith is taking God at His word without requiring a further sign or revelation to guarantee it’s proof. Just the fact that an angel was standing before him in the Holy Place should have been proof enough to Zechariah that God had given him a promise and He was going to fulfill it! So Gabriel gave Zechariah the sign that he requested but not without consequences. Verse 19-20: Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! 20 But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.”

Sometimes we don’t understand the roadblocks along the path to the fulfillment of our promise. But often they are to show us the power of God in our lives so that we will believe what He has promised in it’s fulfillment. Zechariah’s mouth was shut until the promise could come into manifestation. His ability to pass on a doubtful attitude was silenced because we speak what we believe.
Faith is believing God

2 Corinthians 4:13 NKJV And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak.

The only way Zechariah could communicate the message of a miracle coming into their lives in the form of a little baby was through gestures and possibly writing. Elizabeth later told Mary that she was blessed because she believed that the Lord would do what he said. (Luke 1:45) Jesus told Thomas in John 20:29: …”Blessed are those who haven’t seen me and believe anyway.”

God honors faith! He expects us to believe Him when He gives us a promise. Many are the promises of God and they are all “Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” (2 Corinthians 1:20) God’s fulfillment of His promises in our lives gives Him glory! He is glorified through us as He brings into manifestation those things that He has promised. When we reach out and take them by faith He opens the door for them to happen and they are fulfilled in His timing. We work with Him in believing that He is doing what He has promised.

Hebrews 11:6, 7 NLT So, you, see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. It was by faith that Noah built an ark to save his family from the flood. He obeyed god, who warned him about something that had never happened before. By his faith he condemned the rest of the world and was made right in God’s sight.

Faith brings the grace of God into our lives. Without it God’s ability to work in our lives is greatly hindered. According to Hebrews 11:6 we can’t be pleasing to God without faith.

Do you believe today that God will perform His promises in your life? Or, maybe I should say, WILL you believe that God will do what He has promised in your life?

Father, I thank You for the accounts in Your word of how You have performed Your promises in the lives of real people to show us that what You have done for one You will do for another. I know that You are no respecter of persons, Father, and I thank You that I have been able to look into Your word and see those times that I needed encouragement through what You have done in someone else’s life to enable me to stand firm in faith believing that You would do it also in my life. Thank You for giving us the measure of faith that causes us to believe that Your word is true and that You will do what You promise. I pray for those this morning who may be struggling with their faith walk. I ask You to give them a glimpse in Your word of how You have performed a promise for someone else so that they can have their faith built up to believe that You will do the same for them as well. I pray that they will guard their speech so that they do not negate the promise that You have given them. I pray that their speech will be of only Your word and not their fears. Father, silence the voice of the enemy in their minds that’s saying it will never happen or that it’s impossible for that promise to be fulfilled. Father, there is nothing impossible with You and You’ve said that all things are possible to him who believes. Thank You, Father, for giving us Your word to stand on and Your Spirit within to confirm the word to us. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for leading us and guiding us into all truth! Lord Jesus, may You be glorified in us as we believe that the promises of God are Yes and Amen to us in our lives. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Are You A Friend Of God?

Psalm 53 2

Psalm 53:2 God looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.

Living with a mountain view gives a person a whole new perspective on life in the valley. When I get up in the morning while it is still dark, I look out the back windows to see all the lights of the surrounding communities and it seems as if I’m perched high above all the happenings of the world. The lights shine and twinkle; you can point out different places and it’s like being removed from life with all of it’s joys and sorrows. One day I was standing at the back window looking down on the valley and I saw a car moving on one of the roads below. It looked like a matchbox car traveling along a narrow trail. It was then that the Lord quickened my heart to the fact that God sees all the busyness of man, as he hustles here and there, living his life as if that’s all there is to it. And yet, God, looks down from His position high in the heavens and sees our world from a whole different perspective. We are often oblivious to what is going on around us because we see from a limited perspective, but God knows all and sees all from His omniscient, all-knowing perspective.

Isaiah 55:8, 9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

God thinks differently than us; He acts are different from ours. His ways and thoughts are so much higher than ours. So, does that mean that we can’t know and understand our God? I don’t think you’ll find any substantiation to that thought in God’s Word. He makes it clear that we can know Him; that if we will draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. We often hear 1 Corinthians 2:9 preached and the message is usually that we can’t know what God has prepared for us; that His ways are so much higher than ours that we can’t ever understand our God. And yet when you look at the context of that 1 Corinthians passage we can see that God reveals His will to us through His Spirit. We can know what is in the heart of God and His will to give us the good things that He has planned for us.

1 Corinthians 2:7-16 NLT No, the wisdom we speak of is the secret wisdom of God, which was hidden in former times, though he made it for our benefit before the world began. But the rulers of this world have not understood it; If they had, they would never have crucified our glorious Lord. That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” But we know these things because God has revealed them to us by his Spirit, and his Spirit searches out everything and shows us even God’s deep secrets. No one can know what anyone else is really thinking except that person alone, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And God has actually given us his Spirit (not the world’s spirit) so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. When we tell you this, we do not use words of human wisdom. We speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. But people who aren’t Christians can’t understand these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them because only those who have the Spirit can understand what the Spirit means. We who have the Spirit understand these things, but others can’t understand us at all. How could they? For “Who can know what the Lord is thinking? Who can give him counsel? But we can understand these things, for we we have the mind of Christ.

Paul says that man’s wisdom is not the same as God’s wisdom because if the rulers of the world would have known the good things that God has planned for those who love Him, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. They would have embraced Him as their King and ruler over the hearts of men. The only way to know God’s thoughts and ways is to be born into His family; to be awakened from the spiritual darkness that separates man from God. Then when we seek the Lord, through His Spirit, He reveals to us the things that He has planned for us. He shares His secrets with us. We can understand His ways because we are born of His Spirit; we have the mind of Christ through the entrance that He has provided for us into the family of through His shed blood. He is our Head and we are His body. The head tells the body how to act, what to do in each situation. It is as we draw near to Him that He reveals the secret things to us.

Psalm 25:14 AMP The secret [of the sweet, satisfying companionship] of the Lord have they who fear (revere and worship) Him, and He will show them His covenant and reveal to them its [deep, inner] meaning.

God reveals the deep, inner meanings of His covenant to those who have a sweet, satisfying companionship with Him; those who revere Him, worship Him and spend time with Him in prayer and Bible study.

Psalm 103:7 He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.

God revealed His ways to Moses through the intimate relationship that he had with Him, but the children of Israel just got to see God’s acts. They didn’t want to come close to God because they were afraid of Him. They told Moses to go be with God and then come back and report to them what God had said. But Moses spent time with the Lord and it is said that God spoke with Moses face to face as a man speaks to his friend.

Exodus 33 11

Exodus 33:11 So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend…

Jesus told His disciples that He didn’t see them as servants, but as friends and as such He revealed the Father’s heart to them.

John 15:15 “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing, but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”

As friends of God we can know His heart, we can understand His ways and through our relationship with Him we can do His will. We have the mind of Christ because the God who is all-knowing lives in the hearts of those who trust Him for salvation. Those who receive Jesus as Savior and Lord become the body of Christ. The Head is Jesus, the believers are His body. The Head shares with His body what He wants done and the body responds through obedience.

John 15:14 “You are my friends if you do whatever I command you.”

Does God consider you His friend? Are you responding to His call through obedience? Do you have a living and vital relationship with Him that is characterized through love and obedience?

God has made Himself available to His man; His family. Will you move from the outer court into the holy of holies and be known as a friend of God?

Father, I thank You for revealing Yourself and Your ways to those who know You, who through entrance into the family of God through the blood of Jesus, have come into relationship with You. I pray that those who don’t know You will come to the saving knowledge of Jesus and be born again into the family of God today. May this day be the day of salvation for the lost. May they come to Jesus and be saved from their sin and given entrance into the family of God. Thank You, Father, for giving Jesus to die for their sins, to pay the penalty for sin in their lives. Thank You for drawing them by Your Spirit and for convicting them of their need for Jesus.

Father, I also pray for those who are in Your family, but haven’t drawn close to You to experience Your sweet, satisfying companionship. Father, I pray that they will draw near to You so that You can draw near to them. Father, place a hunger and thirst within their hearts that is unquenchable, a fire that cannot be put out that will compel them to come close to You to know You and live through their relationship with You. Enlighten their spirits to Your Spirit within them and show them the secrets of a life lived in the Presence of Almighty God. Thank You, Father, for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

**If you’ve never received Jesus as Savior and Lord, please go to my page, The Road To Salvation, and read about how you can become a friend of God!

 

God Will Make A Way

Exodus 14-1

Exodus 14:10-16 And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD. Then they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt,have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? “Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians? For it would have been better for us to served the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.” And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. “The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” And the LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry out to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. “But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.”

The Israelites had been in bondage for 490 years when God delivered them from the hand of the Egyptians. They had a bondage mentality that caused them to not be able to see anything good that the Lord would do in their futures. They also could not understand God’s love for them and His ability to protect them. They were afraid and because of their fear they were willing to continue in the land of bondage, serving their enemies.

Many times people who have lived in an abusive situation have this same mentality. They can’t seem to shake the fear the comes when they think of doing anything different, being anywhere different or living a life of good instead of evil. They can be lead out of bondage, but only God can deliver them from the bondage mentality. This takes time and consistency in Him showing them that He is for them, not against them and that He will protect them. Immediately after Moses led the people out of Egypt they saw the enemy coming up behind them and they were afraid. They could not imagine anything but defeat because of the bondage mentality that they lived under.

“And when Pharoah drew near……they were afraid.” Is the enemy drawing near to you this morning? Does it feel as if he is closing in on you? The Israelites cried out to the LORD in their fear. They were so afraid they couldn’t move forward. They saw the Red Sea before them and the enemy behind them and they felt trapped. Sometimes we feel the same way when the pressures of life close in around us. We feel trapped, like we are between a rock and a hard spot. We can’t turn back because the enemy is there and we are afraid to go forward because there is an insurmountable object in front of us. The unknown awaits us and we don’t know how we will overcome it.

Moses told the children of Israel “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today you shall see again no more forever.”

Fighting fear

Once we face our fears they no longer have a hold over us. David said in Psalm 56:3 “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You”. God goes before us into every situation. He is able to deliver us even when it looks like an impossible situation. God makes a way for us to cross over the insurmountable objects ahead of us. We can trust Him to protect and provide for His children. He has promised us in Hebrews 13:5, 6 “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Hebrews 13:5, 6 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do t me?”

We can boldly proclaim in the face of fear that we don’t need anything but the LORD! He is the One who goes before us into every situation. We can boldly say that we do not have to fear anything that the devil throws at us because our God is able to take care of us.

As a believer in Christ Jesus, we are children of the New Covenant. Now, if God protected His children under the Old Covenant recorded for us to read in the Old Testament, how much more will He protect those who are His under the New Covenant. It is said in Hebrews 8:6 that Jesus is the Mediator of a better covenant which was established on better promises. God has not changed from His power to protect from the Old Testament to the New; He has promised His covenant to us, even as adopted children; a covenant of protection and provision.

Romans 8:31-32 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

God gave His only begotten Son that we might inherit all His promises; that we might be delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of the Son of His love.

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.

The enemy has no hold over a child of God! We do not have to fear what the devil can do to us because our God is able to deliver us, to protect us and to provide for our every need. When the enemy comes to you with his threats of destruction you can look him right in the face and tell him to get away from you because your God is standing between you and him. Command the devil to get behind you because Your God is able to deliver you. Stand still today and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf!

Father, I thank You for being our God. I thank You for going before us into every situation and for defeating the enemy on our behalf. You are great and greatly to be praised. You are well able to deliver us from any foe that comes against us. If You are for us then who could possibly stand against us. Thank You for providing for our deliverance from whatever enemy we are facing. Thank You for bringing us through the sea that may be ahead of us. You are God; there is nothing too difficult for You. Father, I pray for my friends this morning who may be afraid. I rebuke the enemy in their lives right now in the name of Jesus. I speak to that mountain that may be ahead of them and command it to move right now in Jesus’ name. I declare that they will win the battle because You are defeating the enemy on their behalf. Thank You, Father, for the victory that You have assured us of when we are in Christ Jesus. To You be the honor and the glory for it. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

 

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