Grapes And Giants

Grapes and Giants

Deuteronomy 9:1-3 “Hear, O Israel: You are to cross over the Jordan today, and go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourself, cities great and fortified up to heaven, “a people great and tall, the descendants of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you heard it said, ‘Who can stand before the descendants of Anak?’ “Therefore understand today that the LORD your God is He who goes over before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and bring them down before you; so you shall drive them out and destroy them quickly, as the LORD has said to you.

God had told His people that He was giving them their “Promised Land”. It was a land filled with milk and honey, or a prosperous land, full of opportunity and abundance. He was sending them in to possess it, to make it their own. But there were giants that resided in that land. In this portion of Scripture He told them to know and understand that He was bigger than the giants; that He was going before them to assure their success in possessing their promised land. They were not to pay any attention to what they had heard about the giants or what the giants had done to others that had gone into the land before them. It was because of His presence and protection with them that they were assured of being successful and victorious in defeating their enemies and experiencing all that God had planned for them.

Numbers 13:27-30 Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. “Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. “The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.” Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.”

Grapes from the promised land

When it came time to cross over into their Promised Land Moses sent some spies into the land to assess the land, the inhabitants and the strength and size of their cities. He instructed them to bring back some of the fruit of the land. When they came back they had a cluster of grapes that was so large it had to be carried on a pole between two of them. The fruit of the land was just as God had said, luscious and bountiful! But the report of the giants in the land was as He had said as well. Instead of listening to God and following His directions for success in taking the land they believed the negative report of the spies and allowed the fear of the giants to keep them from possessing what God had given them.

We sometimes react to the “giants” in our land today just as the Israelites did in their day. The stories of the Israelites are meant to show us types and shadows of the spiritual battles that we fight in possessing our spiritual promised land. God has given us the land, but we often believe the negative report of the giants over the fruit that we see that can be born out of the battles that we have to fight to win the victory and receive the fruit of the land.

Matthew 11:12 “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.”

There is a war going on in establishing the kingdom of heaven in the hearts and lives of people. The giants are still in the land and we, as believers in Christ Jesus, have been commissioned by God to take the land, to establish God’s kingdom in our world. Can it be said of us that we are violent warriors, taking the land for Christ Jesus? Or are we as the Israelites, cowering in fear, believing that the giants are bigger and more violent than us and allowing that negative report to stop us from receiving all that God has for us?

1 Peter 2 9

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

We are the King’s kids! We are a chosen generation of royal priests, a holy nation, God’s own special people. We have been sent out to proclaim His praises and establish His kingdom in this earth! The giants will always be around, but the fruit of victory is greater than the report of the size or strength of anything that the devil would throw at us!

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 goes before us into every battle; He is for us, not against us! The victory is assured because of who we are in Christ Jesus.

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

We are more than conquerors! In Numbers 13:30 Caleb quieted the people and told them “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” God is still saying to His people today to go up and take the land for we are well able to take possession! We are well able to win! With God going before us into every situation we can take the kingdom with violent force and establish His rule and reign in the hearts and lives of people. He has made us kings and priests before Him and we shall reign with Him on the earth!

Revelation 5:10 “And have made us kings and priests unto our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”

There are always going to be battles in a Christian’s life. We have an enemy who has a plan to steal, kill and destroy from us, but the good news is that we have the Greater One on the inside of us to give us the victory!

1 John 4:4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

We are of God and have already overcome, even before we go out into the battle, because the God who lives within us is greater than the enemy that we face in the battle! Praise the Lord! So the questions to reflect upon today are: “Will you believe the report of the Lord that the giants in your land have no power to stand against you? Will you respond through godly violence, ready to go into battle and win?”

“….the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.”

Father, I thank You for equipping us to fight the giants and win the victory! I thank You for placing Your Spirit within us to be the Greater One in our lives; the One who enables us to overcome whatever obstacle that is placed before us. I pray this morning that as we look around us and see the lost, the hurting, the sick and oppressed that we will have the same mind that was in Christ Jesus who came to destroy the work of the devil in people’s lives. I pray that we will look at the fruit of the land and not believe the negative report that we can’t take the land because of the giants. Father, give us a kingdom mindset that sees the victory and knows that we are winners with God and well able to conquer our Promised Land. I pray that we will become passionate about being all that You have created and called us to be. I pray that we will be determined to defeat the enemy that has blinded the minds of those who are perishing; violent in persisting to pray, in witnessing of Your goodness and in driving sickness and disease out of people’s lives. Father, we are Your army! May we go forth with victory in our hearts and a determination to see Your kingdom come and Your will being done on earth as it is in heaven! Thank You for working with us as we preach and teach Your word, confirming it with the accompanying signs! Thank You for giving us the victory! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Miracles Happen

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Faith Acts!

Hebrews 11:2 AMP For by [faith – trust and holy fervor born of faith] the men of old had divine testimony borne to them and obtained a good report.

We can look at the lives of the men and women of old and see how they walked by faith and this scripture says that their tests turned into testimonies and they obtained a good report through it all! Wow, how I would love to have it said of me that I had a divine testimony borne out of my walk of faith and obtained a good report through it! I desire to please the Lord so my choice is to be a person of faith! How about you!

We can get an idea how the people of old walked by faith in looking at the ones identified in Hebrews chapter 11. Here’s how a few of the verses start in talking about these folks:

Hebrews 11:4 [Prompted, actuated] by faith Abel…..

Hebrews 11:5 Because of faith Enoch…..

Hebrews 11:7 [Prompted] by faith Noah,…..

Hebrews 11:8 [Urged on] by faith Abraham,….

Hebrews 11:9 [Prompted] by faith he dwelt…..

Hebrews 11:11 Because of faith also Sarah…..

Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham,….

Hebrews 11:20 [With eyes of] faith Isaac,….

Hebrews 11:21 [Prompted] by faith Jacob,

Hebrews 11:22 [Actuated] by faith Joseph,….

Hebrews 11:23 [Prompted] by faith Moses,….

Hebrews 11:27 [Motivated by faith he left……

Hebrews 11:28 By faith (simple trust and confidence in God)….

Hebrews 11:29 [Urged on] by faith the people crossed……

Hebrews 11:30 Because of faith the walls……

Hebrews 11:31 [Prompted] by faith Rahab….

Hebrews 11:33 Who by [the help of] faith….

Do you see the correlation here that faith had in relation to their lives? All of them were moved by their faith. Faith is not a passive activity. Faith motivates and moves people to act. Faith is an action!

A couple of years ago at Christmas time when we were going to visit my son and his family that we were one our way to his house when I received a call from him asking me when we were expecting to arrive. It seems as though my little granddaughter had taken her grandma at her word when I said I would be there to see her because she was standing at the window looking out expecting me to arrive at any minute.  My son said she had been standing there for quite some time in anticipation of seeing her Grandma!  That’s faith in action! She believed what her grandma had said and so she placed her trust in me that I would keep my word and then she expectantly watched to see us pull into the driveway! Likewise, these folks of old did not wait to see God’s promises, but they received them as if they were already in manifestation.

Hebrews 11:13 These people all died controlled and sustained by their faith, but not having receive the tangible fulfillment of [God’s] promises, only having seen it and greeted it from a great distance by faith, and all the while acknowledging and confessing that they were strangers and temporary residents and exiles upon the earth.

Please notice that they were controlled and sustained by their faith! They didn’t receive everything in manifestation that they were believing God for, but we know that they did receive some of those things, because Abraham and Sarah received the promise of Isaac. They didn’t stop believing when they didn’t receive the promise because they died still believing, still looking at the promise as if it were already in manifestation and confessing that they were just here temporarily, but willing to walk by faith in order to live a life pleasing to God. They didn’t allow their temporary citizenship to affect their walk of faith and they didn’t look back thinking about how good it was in the “old days” when they were in Egypt under bondage.

Hebrews 11:15 If they had been thinking with [homesick] remembrance of that country from which they were emigrants, they would have found constant opportunity to return to it.

You know if you constantly think about the way things used to be, you will have every opportunity to go backwards! Faith moves forward! Faith sees the good out ahead and embraces it as if it were already here. Faith doesn’t talk about the problem, it talks about the solution. You can’t walk a straight line forward if you are constantly looking behind you! Faith says “I’ll let the past be the past because God’s got a great future ahead for me”!

Hebrews 11:16 But the truth is that they were yearning for and aspiring to a better and more desirable country, that is, a heavenly [one]. For that reason God is not ashamed to be called their God [even to be surnamed their God—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob], for He has prepared a city for them.

Are you yearning for the promises of God to be manifest in your life? Or are you just halfheartedly believing that God will do the miraculous in you and for you? Do you aspire to a better life or are you satisfied with the way things are? These people didn’t take God’s word lightly; they believed Him; they trusted Him wholeheartedly and they followed Him to that better land! They lived controlled and sustained by faith!

James 2:17 So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead).

Faith by itself, if it doesn’t have action of obedience to back it up is dead! Faith and action, or works, go together like a hand inside of a glove.

James 2:21, 22 Was not our forefather Abraham [shown to be] justified (made acceptable to God) by [his] works when he brought to the altar as an offering his [own] son Isaac? You see that [his] faith was cooperating with his works, and [his] faith was completed and reached its supreme expression [when he implemented it] by [good] works.

Abraham had to believe and trust God that He was able to bring Isaac back to life from the dead if he was obedient to offer him as a sacrifice to God. He trusted God and his faith moved him to obedience whereby God was pleased. God didn’t intend for him to sacrifice Isaac, but his faith was being tested to see if it was strong and if he would be obedient to what God was asking him to do.

Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham,when he was put to the test [while the testing of his faith was still in progress], had already brought Isaac for an offering; he who had gladly received and welcomed [God’s] promises was ready to sacrifice his only son, Of whom it was said, Through Isaac shall your descendants be reckoned. For he reasoned that God was able to raise [him] up even from among the dead. Indeed in the sense that Isaac was figuratively dead [potentially sacrificed], he did [actually] receive him back from the dead.

Sometimes we won’t understand why God wants us to do something a certain way. Just like Abraham didn’t understand why God asked him to sacrifice his son. But he knew that God had promised to bring his descendants through Isaac and what God promises to do He fulfills! That faith in God moved Abraham to obey Him! He even saw Isaac already dead; it was that clear to him that God would fulfill His promise even if He had to raise Isaac from the dead. His faith enabled him to obey!

James 1:3 Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.

Your faith is strengthened so you can go further with God through the endurance and patience of it’s testing. These people all endured trials to the greatest magnitude so their faith would be strengthened to sustain and control them until they could receive the promises of God. Some of them died still believing; still acting as if their promise was already in manifestation. But all of them pleased God with their faith! They all received a divine testimony and a good report!

Father, I thank You for being faithful to fulfill Your promises to Your people. May we be people of faith, believing You and acting on Your promises before we actually see them. Father, I pray for my friends, that You would encourage them and show them the promises that You have for them. Give them a vision, Lord, of what lies ahead of them; the good that You desire for them to have. Show them how to walk by faith, expecting to receive all that You have for them. Father, I pray that they may be strengthened by Your Spirit within so that they can endure the testing when it comes. May their faith be proven strong and steadfast, enduring to the end! Thank You, Father, for what You are doing in each one of us. May we please You by walking by faith each day of our lives! Thank You, Jesus, for lighting our way! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

Kitten or Lion; Grasshoppers and Giants?

Numbers 13:33 “There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

 

The Lord told Moses to send spies into the Promised Land that He was giving them to check out the land and see what it was like and what the people were like. So he sent twelve spies into the land, one for each tribe of Israel, and they brought back a report to him and the people Here is their report:

 

Numbers 13:26 Now they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. They they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.

 

They went into the land and saw that it was just as God said it would be; a land flowing with milk and honey; a land flourishing with large fruit. God had promised them their Promised Land and it was true, just as He had said! But……even though they saw what God had promised the giants that lived in the land were bigger than the promise of God and they didn’t see any way past the giants!

 

Numbers 13:28-33“Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. “The Amelekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.” Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. “There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

 

Of the twelve spies that Moses sent into the Promised Land to see what it was like, ten came back with what God called an “evil” report and two, Joshua and Caleb, came back stating that even though there were giants in the land they should go up at once to possess the land because they were well able to overcome it. The ten with the evil report struck fear in the hearts of the whole nation so that they believed that they could not overcome and take the land. God said that Joshua and Caleb were the only two out of the whole group that would see the Promised Land because they had a different spirit in them in that they wholly followed the Lord their God. (Numbers 13:24; Numbers 32:12)

 

The thinking that kept the Israelites from entering the Promised Land was that they did not believe God but believed what they thought about themselves. Their mentality about themselves put restraints upon their ability for success. They saw themselves as grasshoppers and the giants as being bigger than anything they could conquer. They did not believe that because God was giving them the land that He would certainly enable them to defeat the giants and give them the victory in conquering them. They believed a lie over the truth! They saw themselves in a negative light and it affected everything they wanted to accomplish.

 

How do you see yourself? Do you see yourself as who God says you are or do you measure your worth and your ability to succeed by what is going on in you and around you in your life? Are you more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus as God says you are, or are you living “under the circumstances” of the problems of your life? How you see yourself will determine where you go in life. Truth always supersedes fact! The truth of God’s word is what we need to use to determine our worth and ability to perform not what we see happening in our lives or the success or defeat of what we have attempted to do through our own talents or abilities. Past failures do not determine your future success! You may have failed in something, but that does not mean you will have a repeat performance in upcoming challenges.

 

Paul said in Romans 8:31: What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

 

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

 

God sees us as more than conquerors through Christ Jesus! He is for us and if He is for us then who can stand against us? The Israelites were limited in what they could do because of their preconceived thoughts of themselves. They believed what they saw over what God said. They were walking by their senses instead of by faith. They could not enter into the Promised Land because of unbelief.

 

Hebrews 3:16 For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

 

God did not let them enter into the Promised Land because they did not believe Him. He said they could not enter in because the word that they received was not mixed with faith. They didn’t take what God said as the truth; they looked at their situation and believed it over God’s word. The word that God gave them about their situation was mixed with fear, not faith, and so it did not benefit them the way it should have. God was not pleased with them because they did not receive what He said with faith so that they could have what He had promised.

 

Hebrews 4:2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.

 

We have to mix faith with the word of God. If He says we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, then we must mix faith with it, believe it and act on it.

 

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.

 

Whatever you see in His word that describes who you are in Christ Jesus is what you must mix with faith to cause it to be profitable for you. If you believe your own thoughts or what someone else thinks about you or how you feel at the moment or the negative that you see happening around you, you will not succeed because how you see yourself determines where you go in life.

 

Proverbs 13:7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…..

 

 

How we see ourselves in our hearts is what we will speak out and act on. When we believe what God says about us we will begin to speak it out and act on it. Then we will have great success!

 

Father, I thank You for encouraging us to believe You above all else. You speak the truth about Your children and You expect us to believe that truth and receive it into our hearts so we can be all that You have created us to be. I pray for my friends today that might be struggling with low self-esteem. I pray, Father, that You will reveal to them just how important they are to You; that they might see that You gave everything for them; You gave Your very own Son to die for them that they might have eternal life. That is the greatest gift anyone could have given anyone else. Father, may they see themselves as You see them. Help them to receive the truth in Your word about themselves instead of the lies of the enemy. Thank You, Father, for showing them who they are in Christ Jesus. I pray these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

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