Friday, December 19, 2014

Keep The Word Of God in Your Thinking If You Want God's Best

I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways (Psalm 119:15).

Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day (Psalm 119:97).

The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple (Psalm 119:130).

I’ve been reminded recently by the Lord of the importance of meditating in the Word daily. Like no other generation before our time, we have an overload of information. With so much available from multiple sources, it’s now necessary to become selective in what we read, hear, and watch.
The most important information that we need each day is the WORD! God’s Word is my standard that keeps distractions out, and keeps me focused on the necessary and important. As Isaiah 33:6 states, Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, and the strength of salvation...Without the Word, our lives will be like sand bombarded with a flood of water; we’ll be unstable!
The Word insulates us from the harsh environment of the world, where fear and doubt try to steal into our minds. The Word washes the debris from our thoughts that may get temporarily lodged there through daily interaction with so much stuff! And we’re admonished to let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly in all wisdom or practical application (Colossians 3:16).
Joshua tells us that meditation in the Word will bring prosperity and success into daily life (Joshua 1:8). David encourages that meditation in the Word will cause us to be like a tree by a river bank that has a great supply of nourishment, and from that association with the river, all that we do will prosper. Solomon tells us that the Word is even like medicine to our flesh (See Proverbs 4:20-22)! Isaiah relates that the Word will give us perfect peace (Is. 26:3).
If it’s available, what would keep us from pursuing that which would better us? Jesus said the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of money, and the desire for other things could steal what the Word wants to do in us (Mark 4). The enemy knows what a powerhouse for God we will be if we act on the indwelling word, so he’s real busy these days cooking up some interesting distractions. Don’t buy his game of bluff!
I’ve made a fresh decision to take time each day to meditate, to take scripture and let it go over and over in my mind while a taking a quick break, or when going for a walk or bike ride.  To speak it out loud in my car, or to let it revolve over and over in my mind when I’m going to sleep, or when I wake up at night. The more opportunities we give the Word to dwell in us richly, the more success, favor, health, life, light, peace, and rest we will enjoy. The Word will NEVER leave us empty like so much in this information age. Let’s let it dwell in us – RICHLY!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Get Ready! Persecution Is In Our Future!

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world (1 John 4:1-3).
 
The spirit of antiChrist is already busy on earth today. It manifests as a spirit of religious tolerance and religious inclusiveness. The idea is that all religions lead to the same God. It is rapidly gaining ground in the social and political discourse and ideology in our nation. It already dominates Europe. And the elites of our nation and the educational institutions are now under its’ diabolical control.
In the period to come, believers in Jesus will be more and more persecuted, labeled as extremists and castigated form the public social dialogue as harboring a belief that segregates, divides, and demeans. The idea is that all religions are good and that we must not speak against any of them, nor should we seek to proselytize anyone from another system of belief.
 
The idea of tolerance and inclusiveness is rapidly gaining ground in the workplace, and is already the norm in public schools and in colleges and universities. It’s the reason for the push for Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. It’s the reason that a hundred years of traditional Christmas songs and displays are being sidelines when the public refuses to protest.
 
We’re entering a dark period culminating in a severe worldwide test from Almighty God commonly called the tribulation. And it’s coming fast; perhaps faster than we think. The only restraining force holding it back and keeping it in check is the church! Once we leave in the rapture, the world will go full force into this ideology.
 
I want to give you the promises of God for the persecuted. These promises will guide you in the days to come and will give you boldness and strength to stand undeterred in confrontation with this anti-Christ spirit as it works through people.
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matt 5:11-12).
Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man's sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, for in like manner their fathers did to the prophets (Luke 6:22-23).
If you are censured and suffer abuse because you bear the name of Christ, blessed are you — happy, fortunate, to be envied, with life-joy, and satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, regardless of your outward condition, because the Spirit of glory, the Spirit of God, is resting upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or any sort of criminal, or as a mischief-maker (a meddler) in the affairs of others [infringing on their rights]. But if one is ill-treated and suffers as a Christian which he is contemptuously called, let him not be ashamed, but give glory to God that he is deemed worthy to suffer in this name (1 Peter 4:14-16 - Amplified).
Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution (2 Tim 3:12).

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

God Guides Us Through Our Spirit Nature

The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the inner depths of his heart (Proverbs 20:27).
When you need direction, don’t look to circumstances or even to your thoughts and feelings. You must go much deeper than that. Look to your human spirit.
 
The Holy Spirit dwells in your spirit, not in your mind. In your spirit is the needed direction for every area of life.
 
As a pastor, I look to my human spirit for direction and guidance. I usually know intuitively many things about people and about out direction in ministry.
 
Information comes to us from our spirit in the form of a “nudge,” an inner witness, an intuition, or we sometimes call it a “gut feeling” or a “hunch.” This witness could also be referred to as conscience. This is deeper than logical thought. This is the Holy Spirit bearing witness in our human spirit (Romans 8:16).
 
If you want to make good choices and decisions, learn to listen to this inward witness. Throughout the years of my life, I’ve learned to depend on this inward witness for guidance, and it has never once led me the wrong way! All that we are doing in our ministry today is the results of leaning on and trusting this inward witness to have the final say in my decision making processes.
 
To become sensitive to your spirit and to this inward witness, you must take time to meditate the word. Meditation will cause you to become keen in spiritual perception. Take some time regularly to get quiet with the Lord and muse in the Word. If you do, He will begin to bear witness about things to your human spirit.
 
Praying in the spirit, in other tongues, is an excellent way to become spiritually sensitive. Taking time daily to pray in the spirit will also help keep you spiritually sharp. Then, when decisions must be made, you can look to your spirit for this inner sense, this inner knowing, this witness, and you’ll be perceptive enough to pick up a yes or a no, or a just wait a bit. It’s wise not to make decisions in haste, but to take time and wait until you’re sure about a matter before you act.
 
I suggest that you read Kenneth Hagin’s book How You Can Be Led By The Spirit of God if you haven’t. This is probably the best book I’ve ever read on the subject of being led by the Spirit and following the inward witness.
 
The Father wants us to be successful in all of life’s endeavors. And we will be if we learn to follow and obey the inward witness. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God (Romans 8:14). Allow the lamp of the Lord to burn brightly in your life today!
 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

This Is Not A Time To Be Slack Spiritually!

We know absolutely that anyone born of God does not deliberately and knowingly practice committing sin, but the One Who was begotten of God carefully watches over and protects him; Christ's divine presence within him preserves him against the evil, and the wicked one does not lay hold (get a grip) on him or touch him (1 John 5:18 - Amplified). Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4:8a). And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force (Matthew 11:12)
This is not a time to coast spiritually. There is too much at stake. Satan has launched an all out assault on man and on the kingdom of God. Persecution is becoming more intense. The potential pull on the flesh from the world and the enemy is stronger than ever. There are many “potholes” in the road of life right now that could trip you up and make you stumble.
This is a time to draw closer to the Father than ever before. Spend more time in the word. Spend more time in prayer. Spend more time in church meetings, not less! Keep your spirit fine tuned so that the Father can use you to minister to those around you in bondage. Those believers who are sidelined by the flesh and the world need someone to lift them up. That someone is me and you.
Keep your mind saturated with the Word of God. Confess the Word about who you are in Christ every day. Constantly affirm what God says about you, particularly when it doesn’t seem real, and thoughts and feeling defy the reality of the Word. Make yourself say what God says about you.
 
Don’t give in to fear and doubt. They are the twins born of Satan to put you out of commission spiritually. Yield your tongue to the Word! Meditate it, speak it, and chew on it. When the pressure to yield and quit is strong, that’s when you need to speak the Word the loudest!
 
When temptations to yield to strife come, choose instead to yield to love. Go love’s way instead of the flesh way. Demon forces are looking for a way into your life to trip you up. Strife will let them in. See strife as a tool of the enemy to sideline you spiritually and cause your faith to fail. Mediate on the attributes of love in 1 Corinthians 13. Keep your mind fine tuned to the Word.
 
Don’t allow the selfish spirit of the age to box you in and rule you. Ideas like the most important thing is for me to be happy are of the enemy and the world. Thoughts that tell you that you don’t have to put up with this or that from your spouse are born in hell (I’m not talking about adultery or abuse here, but just the small aggravations). Thoughts that tell you that you deserve a better spouse are lies from hell. God wants you to have stable family life so your children will grow up emotionally and mentally level and whole. The kingdom of God is strengthened or weakened by family matter in believer’s lives! Refuse to yield to the compromising pressure of the age!

This is the time that the Father wants us to rise up and shine and display His light in the darkness. Resolve to give God your best today!

Monday, December 15, 2014

God Wants Strong Marriages And Families

And did not God make you and your wife one flesh? Did not One make you and preserve your spirit alive? And why did God make you two one? Because He sought a godly offspring from your union. Therefore take heed to yourselves, and let no one deal treacherously and be faithless to the wife of his youth (Malachi 2:15 -Amplified).
 
The will of God is that once you’re married, stay married for life. That is always God’s best. Yes, there are innocent victims of divorce. When a spouse chooses to sin and leaves his or her marriage partner for another, that leaves an innocent person behind. The Father understands the hurt and pain that brings. But if you’re married, work on the relationship! Don’t allow the enemy to pit you against one another!
Children suffer the most when a marriage dissolves. A culture is weakened when a marriage ends. So we must be diligent to keep our marriages strong and we must be willing to weather the storms that life brings our relationship.
 
If you’re married and you’re reading this, let me encourage you to renew your commitment to your spouse before God. The enemy is bringing an all out assault on the family today. Be aware of his desire to pull at your family and hinder your marriage.
 
Marriage is a relationship that can create great personal growth! You’re married to a person with habits, responses, thoughts, opinions, and ideas that may be quite unlike your own! As believers, we are called to walk in love, and that means accepting others at face value. It means treating your neighbor the way you want to be treated. This starts in marriage!
 
We’re called to live an unselfish life. God’s goal for us is not that everything pleases us and that everything goes just the way we want it to go! His goal for us is that we mature in Christ and learn to get along with others even when they don’t please us! He wants us to learn to smile when we don’t get our way!
 
Guard your marriage today by praying for your mate. Ask the Father to make you the spouse that your partner needs! Make a choice before God to do something every day to strengthen your marriage! Take time to communicate your heart.
 
If you’re divorced, don’t allow the enemy to condemn you. Walk in the mercy and forgiveness of the Father. Allow the Father to heal the hurts and wounds. Forgive and release the weight of anger and resentment. Expect the Father to guide you into His best for you right now.
We are watching the breakdown of our culture today. The assault on marriage is affecting our children! The family is being pulled by social pressure to fragment. Pray for those around you. Ask the Father to strengthen marriage. Call couples by name and hold them before the Father.
 
Guard your life and your family. Walk closely with the Lord. Watch what you allow in your eyes and ears! Refuse the social pressure to live selfishly. Be a lover. Be a giver. Be a problem solver. Be a person of integrity. Resist the pulls of the flesh and the world. Commit yourself to the Father every day to be a person that will make the world a better place to live. And let that commitment begin in your home!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Virgin Birth Brings All Of Creation Back To Its Original Position!

For God has allowed us to know the secret of His plan and it is this, He purposed long ago in His sovereign will that all human history should be consummated in Christ, that everything that exists in heaven and earth should find its perfection and fulfillment in Him (Ephesians 1:9-10-J. B. Phillips).
The Virgin Birth was God’s way of bringing all of creation back to its original position before Adam’s sin. Jesus is called the last Adam. He came to blaze a new trail for humanity. He came to destroy Satan’s works and to restore to humanity all that was lost in Adam’s disobedience.
The first thing Jesus did was to restore our fellowship with God. Through the New Birth we now have boldness to approach the throne of God just as Adam did before he sinned!
 
The second thing Jesus did for us was to break Satan’s dominion over our lives. Jesus defeated Satan in his own territory. He showed the spoils of His victory over the dark kingdom in the spirit world before He was resurrected (Colossians 2:15). His all authority in heaven and in earth has been given to the church. Now you and I have the same power over Satan and demonic forces that Jesus exercised.
The third thing Jesus did for us was to guarantee us a new body at the rapture of the church. God never intended that the human ever die and vacate his body. Before the fall, God’s plan was that we live in these bodies of ours for eternity. The death that sin brought is not the plan of God. Jesus conquered death and brought life and immortality back from the grave for us! At the rapture, each believer will receive a glorified body that he or she will inhabit for eternity. This body will fit us for life both in heaven and in the new earth. It will last for eternity. Read 1 Corinthians 15 for the details.
The fourth thing that Jesus did for us was to make the way for the curse that was placed on the earth when Adam sinned to be removed. This is when God through Christ rids the earth of all rebellion, judges His enemies, and returns the earth to its pristine pre-fall state.
Here’s how it happens. Jesus returns to earth with the redeemed church and sets up a one thousand year reign here (Revelation 19, 20). He rules until all of His enemies are subdued (1 Corinthians 15:24-25). Then He judges Satan and his forces and casts them into the Lake of Fire, their eternal abode (Revelation 20: 10). Then God judges all of the unbelievers of all ages, and they experience the second death. They are likewise cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20: 11-15). They receive the same judgment as their spiritual head, Satan.
Then God autoclaves the earth. He renovates it with fire (see 2 Peter 3). This cleansed earth is called the New Earth (see Revelation 21)! A city called the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven and is suspended between the present heaven and earth. It’s a cube 1500 miles high, wide, and deep. There the saints of God will conduct the business of heaven and earth with the Father for eternity.
The curse is completely removed form the earth (Revelation 22)! And we get to live here in glorified bodies for eternity! We will be able to travel back and forth between heaven, earth, and the New Jerusalem! We will reign with Him for eternity. It will be even better than life would have been if Adam had never sinned.
 
That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:7). But as it is written: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God (1 Corinthians 2:9-10). O the wonder of the grace of God!

 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Thank God For The Virgin Birth!

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
The implications of the virgin birth are far reaching. First, Jesus Christ existed from eternity past as the second member of the Trinity. Before Abraham was, I am (John 8:58). He had all the attributes of Deity prior to His birth in the manger because He was God; all-power (omnipotence), all-knowing (omniscient), everywhere at all times (omnipresence), righteousness, justice, love, etc. He is co-eternal and co-equal with God. Jesus said if you’ve seen Me you’ve seen the Father (John 14:9)!
 
When the Son of God was born, He laid aside His Divine powers, and lived the way we must live, by the power of the Holy Spirit (see Philippians 2: 5-11). He did not rely on His God powers to do anything as a man. He showed us that it is possible to live above the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil!
Jesus was born with total authority over Satan and his demons. Because He was born with God as His Father, He was not subject to Satan’s rule. He was born as Satan’s master! Also, Jesus was not subject physical death when He was born. He was not mortal (death doomed). Physical death is a result of sin. Because Jesus was not born as a sinner, He was not subject to death. He died only when He became our sin and allowed death to seize Him.
 
So here’s the picture. Jesus was born as a full human being that was also Deity. He was the God Man! He was just like Adam before He sinned. Satan tried to have Jesus killed as a child because he knew that Jesus was his master. As Jesus grew up, He came to realize who He was. Jewish boys had to memorize the first five Old Testament books by age twelve. As Jesus read, He came to know who He was! He came to see His mission in life.
 
At age thirty, the power of the Holy Spirit came upon Him, and in that power He ministered for three and a half years. He healed sickness and disease through the gifts of healings; He multiplied food through the working of miracles; He calmed the storm through the gift of faith; He knew what was in man by the word of knowledge; He knew what would happen in the future by the word of wisdom; He saw demonic forces and took authority over them through the discerning of spirits.
 
He developed His prayer life the way we must, through perseverance and diligence. He put His flesh under by fasting. He exercised His faith the way the Father expects us to exercise faith.
 
When Jesus allowed Himself to die, He brought many sons unto glory! What He possessed became ours. He took our sins to give us His righteousness. He took our sickness to give us His health. He took our poverty to give us His prosperity. He defeated Satan to give us His authority. He is seated at the right hand of the Father to give us the same standing in heaven as He! We’re seated with Him in heavenly places in Christ. What He was, we are! As He is, so are we in this world!
 

The works He did, we are to perform (John 14:12). We are the branches, He is the vine. His life flows through us today. He took the sting out of death for us. We are those that live unafraid of anything! We are more than conquerors! Nothing can separate us from His love! No foe can defeat us. We are kings and priests unto God because of Him. We can do all things through Him who strengthens us! Our past is forgotten, our present is blessed, and our future is bright! And in eternity we will rule and reign with Him! Thank God for the virgin birth!