Thursday, March 5, 2015

Heart Obedience Opens Us To Experience God's Blessings

And the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day (Deuteronomy 6:24).
The Father wants the best for us as His children. And He knows that disobedience and sin will rob a person of the best He has for them! Understand that the Father is not against us, but He wants us to stay in a position to receive His fullness.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning (James 1:17). The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly (John 10:10). I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep (John 10:11).
Listen to the words in these verses. To fear the Lord our God, for our good always. Every good and perfect gift is from above. I am come that they might have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. The attitude of the Father towards us is to help us, to bless us, to meet our needs, to enable us to overcome. He does not have an attitude to put down, to beleaguer, to bring difficulty, or to punish!
According to Jesus, the Father is with you, in you, and for you! Trouble comes from the adversary as he seeks advantage in your life. The Father’s plan for us is for us to take the Word and navigate our way through life. The Word will sift us and reveal hindrance and weakness in our character, and then the Word will be like a fresh shower and wash away the grime brought by living in the world’s harsh environment.
Heart obedience to the Word gives light to our path so we won’t stumble into the path of hurt and pain. Obedience to the Word gives stability so that we can walk in the spirit and in faith in the midst of surmounting odds.
Make a decision today to walk in heartfelt obedience to God’s promises. He wants you to for your own good. He wants to preserve you and keep you alive! He wants you to enjoy Him and to enjoy life to the full. Don’t compromise your obedience today. That compromise may cost you the best that the Father has for you! Make a fresh choice today to obey the Word from your heart. Your obedience brings the Father’s best. Choose life!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Some Things To Know About Israel

Today I want to address Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before the US Congress and the back and forth we are hearing about it in the media. What should our response be a Christians?

As you know, Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the US Congress yesterday under a firestorm of criticism. In the speech, he advocated Israel’s need for security as the US seeks to reach an agreement over nuclear arms with Iran. The vitriol has been extreme, and we can be confused unless we understand some basic fundamentals. So I feel the need to make some broad comments about what we are seeing in our world today.

let today’s post serve as a reminder to us all that that regardless of what we see and hear in the news media, there is a greater plan and purpose being fulfilled in Israel’s existence. Here are some things to remember.

1. The nation of Israel is God’s plan. God establish Israel by covenant with Abraham:

The Lord had said to Abram, "Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father's family, and go to the land that I will show you.(2) I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others.(3) I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you (Genesis 12:1-3 - NLT)

God deals with us in the way that we deal with Israel. From Israel came our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. We the church inherit the blessings of Abraham through the sacrifice of Christ (Galatians 3:13-14).

2. God promised that Israel would reoccupy the land He promised Abraham.

The nation of Israel disobeyed God, fell into idolatry, and lost the blessings God intended to give them. One of the curses of Israel’s breaking of God’s covenant with them was that they would be removed from the land God promised Abraham (Read Deuteronomy 28 for details).

Yet, God promised that Israel would amazingly become a nation again before Jesus Christ returns to earth in His Second Coming. The Israelites were a people without a land from 70 A.D. until 1948. And in 1948 Israel became a nation on the very soil God promised Abraham. Over 20 reference in the Old Testament confirm that the Israelites would be drawn from the nations where they live and become a nation again before the Messiah returns to earth. Here’s just one scripture from the almost two dozen:

Therefore say, Thus says the Lord GOD: I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel (Ezekiel 11:17).

Israel will never be removed from the land they now occupy. They will not be destroyed by nuclear weapons from Iran or anyone else! They will be there for eternity. Their existence as a nation is a huge sign to the world that God reigns over the affairs of men, and that God’s Word will always be fulfilled!

3. What God does for each nation that now exists will be determined by how that nations treats Israel.

This message concerning the fate of Israel came from the Lord: "This message is from the Lord, who stretched out the heavens, laid the foundations of the earth, and formed the human spirit. (2) I will make Jerusalem like an intoxicating drink that makes the nearby nations stagger when they send their armies to besiege Jerusalem and Judah. (3) On that day I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock. All the nations will gather against it to try to move it, but they will only hurt themselves (Zechariah 12:1-3).

We need to pray for our President, our Congressmen, and our Senators. If we choose to withdraw our support from Israel, we will inherit a curse as a nation, and the blessings we have long enjoyed will be lost.

4. There is an intense spiritual battle being waged against Christians and against the purposes of God for Israel.

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).

As Christians, we should pray that God’s kingdom come, that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We should pray for those without Christ to be born again because the Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV).

And let me repeat that we should pray for our national leaders. Demonic forces are seeking to divide this once great nation; morally, socially, spiritually, and politically. United we stand. Divided we fall. Jesus said a house divided against itself cannot stand.

We should also pray for the nation of Israel; for its leaders to walk in wisdom, and for God’s plans to be fulfilled.

Pray also for the Christians that are suffering persecution and death in the Middle East and in Africa for their faith in Jesus Christ. Pray that these persecuted believers endure the hardness they face, and that they present a bold witness for Christ.

The spirit of antiChrist is working all over the earth right now, seeking to hinder God’s plans and purposes for Israel and for the salvation of the lost. Doctrines of demons that the Apostle Paul mentioned in Second Timothy chapter four are deceiving believers into thinking that since God is love, any behavior and lifestyle is acceptable to Him.

The two most important things we can do as Christians is 1) let the Word of God dwell in us richly (Colossians 3:16) and 2) develop a daily prayer life. Human strength alone will not keep us in the days ahead. We need the power of God and we need the moment by moment presence of Jesus.

Let’s allow the current events that we see and hear remind us that Jesus is returning, that God’s Word will be fulfilled, and that we can make a huge difference by how we live our lives. Let’s walk with God together!

Lastly, just a reminder: We have a prayer meeting every Saturday from 9:00 am to 10:00 am at Victory Church here in Raleigh. Join us each Saturday. We are praying for God’s purposes to be fulfilled in the earth at large and in us individually. It’s a Holy Spirit inspired time and we’d love to see you there! If you want to learn to pray effectively, come!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

God Knows Us Intimately

O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.  You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether (Psalm 139: 1-4).
These verses amaze me. Here is a Person who knows everything about me that could possibly be known. He knows every fleeting thought, every faint motive of my heart, every desire, every word, every action. Everything. And still He loves me and is committed to my care.
One Bible expositor said you could translate this verse, Lord you have x-rayed me. Today we could say, Lord you have an MRI of me. God doesn’t see me from the outside in or from the top of my head down. He sees me from the inside out. At first, this is quite unsettling to know. Nothing can be hidden. Then, as you get to know Him, it becomes a freedom that delivers you from fear. From fear of others, fear of yourself, fear of your past, fear of really knowing the truth. Without God, self-revelation could be a frightening thing. Some people refuse to face themselves with truth.
This being called God, who is love, who knows everything that can be known about me and still loves me, is absolutely the most wonderful person I have ever met. He is the most real, the most encouraging, the most patient, the most understanding, and the most motivating person I will ever know.
His unconditional love melts me. His love is not based on me and my performance, but on Him and on His character. All at the same time He can make me feel so loved and accepted, yet so challenged to change and move away from the negative elements of my existence.
I have found a place in Him where I can pour out my all, the good and the bad, and know that He understands, and will lead me away from harm. I can commit everything to Him; my past, my present, and my future. His all wisdom absorbs my pain, my fear, my lack, my need, my weakness, and replaces it with His stability and calmness.
I encourage you to come to know Him through His Word and by His Holy Spirit. Open your inner being to Him. Tell Him everything about yourself. Give yourself unreservedly to Him. He is not like any person you have or will ever meet. And let Him show you true freedom. He’s waiting for you to open the door and let Him in today.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Change A Bad Habit A Step At A Time!

But I say, through the instrumentality of the spirit habitually order your manner of life, and you will in no wise execute the passionate desire of the evil nature, for the evil nature constantly has a strong desire to suppress the spirit, and the spirit constantly has a strong desire to suppress the evil nature. And these are entrenched in an attitude of mutual opposition to one another so that you may not do the things that you desire to do (Galatians 5:16 – Wuest Translation).

There’s a fight daily between the flesh and spirit. We allow habits to continue from our before Christ days, such as anger, jealousy, gossip, selfishness, lust, or worry, and they hinder our walk with God. This verse gives a key to overcoming these fleshly tendencies.

You don’t overcome a habit by fighting the habit. The more you think about it, the stronger it seems to get. You overcome a negative trait by replacing it. Walking in the spirit keeps us from fulfilling the desires of the flesh.

Walking in the spirit means allowing your human spirit to control your moment by moment conduct. Walking in the spirit is not some ethereal life where your feet aren’t touching the ground. Walking in the spirit is walking in the Word.

Being a doer of the Word puts the spirit, your human spirit, in charge of your life. If you have a habit entrenched in your flesh let me give you some practical encouragement on how curb it.

Habits are overcome a step at a time. The first step is to recognize the problem. Many times we just let things slip by because these habits are so familiar and frequent. When the light of the Word comes, conviction comes.

Secondly, find scripture, portions of the Word that directly challenge the behavior and meditate on it. Thirdly, repent every time you fall into this habit. Tell the Lord you’ve repented and then ask forgiveness again for violating your heart’s desires.

Lastly, follow through day after day with recognizing and repenting after yielding to the offensive habit. Entrenched habits take time to expel, but it’s worth the effort. Before long, your spirit will win the fight if you just don’t quit! Walking in the spirit, that is, walking in the Word is the key to overcoming every resistance the flesh offers!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Conformed To The Image Of Jesus From The Inside Out

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29).
Once we’re born again, God wants us to be conformed to the image of His Son. This word conformed is the Greek word ‎summorphoo‎, which means to bring to the same form with. The root of this word is morphe which means an outward expression of an inward essence or nature.
In the New Birth, our spirits are made new creatures in Christ. Old things pass away; all things become new. And what should take place is that what has been placed on the inside should begin to show up in our daily behavior; in our actions, our words, our speech, our habits, and in our attitudes. Years ago we sang a song, “I’ve got something on the inside working on the outside…”  That’s the idea here.
Paul prayed for the Galatians believers, My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you (Galatians 4:19). This word formed in this verse is the Greek word morphe which again means an outward expression of an inner nature. He was praying that the New Birth experience would begin to show up on the outside in the daily lives of these believers.
Paul travailed in prayer for these believers. Travail is intense prayer. It denotes agony and tears much like a woman giving birth to a child. So instead of complaining about the lack of Christ likeness we may see in others, we should pray as Paul did that Christ may be formed in them.
All of us are the process of being conformed to the image of Jesus. What’s on the inside is rising up to be seen on the outside! Let’s pray for each other today that this process would be completed. We’re morphing!


Friday, February 27, 2015

Establish Your Heart Life In The Word Of God!

Psalm 112 explains the blessings of the person who chooses to be a doer of the word. This is the person who has an established heart.
An established heart is not blown by the winds of adversity. It is not motivated by fear but by faith in God’s unfailing promises. It has the patience to stand its ground when tests and difficulties come. It doesn’t cast away its confidence, but knows that being a doer of the Word brings results (Hebrews 10: 35-36).
A person with an established heart will attract the blessings of God upon his home and his family. His obedience will affect his family for generations to come.
The established heart gives generously and is kind and considerate of others. It is not moved when difficulties come because it is grounded in the Word.
The person with an established heart is a light and example for others to follow. He gives encouragement to faint and to the weak, and becomes a source of  hope in times of great need.
An established heart gives a sense of righteousness, peace, joy, hope, rest, health, and prosperity. An established heart breeds optimism in the darkest test. It is surer of the promises of God’s Word than the rising sun!
Your heart becomes established by daily meditating on, confessing, and practicing the Word. Take time today to establish your heart in the Word. You’ll gain inward strength and outward stability. The blessings of God will be upon you, and you will be a source of light and aid to all around you.

Psalm 112 -- New Living Translation

Praise the Lord! How joyful are those who fear the Lord  and delight in obeying his commands. (2) Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed. (3) They themselves will be wealthy, and their good deeds will last forever. (4) Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous. (5) Good comes to those who lend money generously and conduct their business fairly. (6) Such people will not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered. (7) They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. (8) They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly. (9) They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor. (10) The wicked will see this and be infuriated. They will grind their teeth in anger; they will slink away, their hopes thwarted.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Your Faith Is Like Your Muscles

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. (Romans 12:3)
When we are born again, God places in us a measure of faith. Jesus told us to have faith in God (Mark 11:22). The Greek there in Mark actually says have the faith of God. God has given us the same kind of faith that He has; a measure of it. He expects us to take the faith He gave us and develop it so that it produce more and more fruit!
Our faith is what overcomes the daily challenges that life brings. Until Jesus returns or we leave this planet in physical death, we will always need to exercise faith to receive from God and stand against Satan’s attacks.
Your faith is like your muscles. You have all the muscle you will ever have in your body when you’re born, but as you grow, they develop stronger and stronger. A baby has to crawl before it can walk because muscles all over the baby’s body have to mature and develop to be able to support and balance its’ body.
Similarly, faith grows a little at a time. Faith comes by meditating on the Word of God, but your faith muscles only become strong when exercised against the problems of life.
Too many believers don’t exercise their faith enough for it to be strong and then find themselves greatly disadvantaged when difficulties arise. Often their faith is overwhelmed by the challenge. This does not have to happen.
Start now to exercise your faith in small things. Believe for your lunch money this week. Believe for the headache to leave without pain medication. Believe for the upset stomach to be healed without intervention. Believe for a parking place when you coming into a full parking lot! Look for small ways to exercise your faith, and before you know it, you’ll be able to believe for big things!

Be prepared when a 500 pound problem comes by starting to lift small 10 pound problems with your faith. You or someone you love will be glad you took the time to develop strong spiritual faith muscles when acute challenges land at your door. Be ready.