Wednesday, November 18, 2015

God is Able, and HE WILL Deliver!

One of my favorite Bible stories is that of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. These were three Jewish young men exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon with their friend Daniel.

We usually recall them by their Babylonian names, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

As the account goes, King Nebuchadnezzar set up a Gold Statue that was 9 Stories Tall! He commanded that when the music played, all were to bow down and worship the image.

These three Jews, far from home, which was burned to the ground by this King, had every reason to abandon their faith and acclimate to their new culture which had great promise of wealth and pleasure for them.

However, they refused to bow.

This set the course of their destinies.

Here is the confrontation before the King:

Daniel 3:15b-18 [the King says] ...if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?"
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up."

Too many times we have misinterpreted what they actually said here. We read verse 17 and see their faith for deliverance, then we read verse 18 and interpret that they are saying, "even if God does not deliver us and we die, we still will not bow."

That is a beautiful sentiment and show of faithfulness to God in any circumstance, however, that is not what they were saying.

In the start of verse 17, "If that be the case..." is referring to the King's intention and threat to burn them to death.

In the start of verse 18, "But if not..." is referring to the same thing! (The King's intention and threat to burn them to death).

Think about that!

Let's reread verse 18 in that light:

18 But if not(but if it is not your intention and just an empty threat to burn us to death) let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up."

In other words, "King Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this, whether you plan to kill us or not, GOD WILL DELIVER US!"

This is a 100% faith declaration of God's deliverance! 

Verse 17 bears this out, when they say: God is ABLE, and HE WILL deliver us.

No Fear!

No Doubt!

We often stop short with God is Able...yeah God could do that if He should decide to...

Faith speaks, and HE WILL!

I believe they may have recalled the words of the prophet Isaiah from 150 years before who had warned Jerusalem of their impending doom and exile to Babylon:

Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. 

No matter what fires are burning around you this week, the Lord is our Deliverer!

Trust in Him with all your heart!

Your deliverance draws nigh!

Friday, October 30, 2015

To See and Understand

Last week I wrote about the spiritual gift of Discernment.  I would like to continue with another aspect of this gift.

Again, Discernment could simply be defined as the ability to SEE and UNDERSTAND the things of the Spirit.

One way God uses this gift at times is to grant one the ability to see and understand what is happening in the invisible spirit realm. 

Throughout Church history as well as Bible history, people of God have seen visions, angels and demons.

One such account is when Elisha and the city are surrounded by the enemy closing in to destroy them. Yet, he is as calm as ever, with an unexplainable peace. 

His servant is freaking out thinking they are all going to die. So Elisha prayed that the Lord would open the servant's eyes TO SEE and UNDERSTAND (implied). 

2 Kings 6:15-17 (NKJV)
And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?"
16 So he answered, "DO NOT FEAR, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them." 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, "Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may SEE." Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

When we are up against what seems like insurmountable odds, and it feels like the enemy is closing in, we must not give in to fear! 

Ask the Lord to open your spiritual eyes, to allow the gift of Discernment to operate in your life.

It reminds me of a testimony in my family of my great grandmother. Her husband was away and a great thunderstorm was raging giving her anxiety. 

That very night in the midst of the storm, an Angel appeared in her room telling her not to fear but to trust the Lord. He left the room and she heard his wings flutter as he flew away.


God still moves in these miraculous ways.

Are you seeking Him?

Are your eyes open to what He will reveal?

Friday, October 23, 2015

No Condemnation

I want to talk today about the spiritual gift of Discernment. 

Discernment simply means: to see, and understand.

Of course, in the context of spiritual life, it is seeing and understanding what God is doing, what the Holy Spirit is saying, and where He is leading, as well as, what Satan, the enemy, is up to in His evil plans to kill, steal and destroy.

Recently I had a discussion with an individual who was struggling with feelings of guilt. He was trying to Discern what this was all about as he knew he was living right and not in sin.

I would like to draw a contrast between Godly Conviction and Satanic Condemnation.

When we sin, as Christians, our Born Again spirits in communion with the Holy Spirit will convict us for our sin. We have all experienced this. Our God-given conscience will not let us rest until we make things right with the Lord by confessing our sin so that He may cleanse us and forgive us. (1 John 1:9)

However, even after confessing and receiving forgiveness, there can be those lingering feelings of shame, and a reminding in our thoughts of our sin.

This is NOT God. These are feelings of condemnation. The Bible says in Romans 8:1 that there is NO CONDEMNATION  for those who are in Christ Jesus! That is us who are Born Again, living for Jesus, pursuing His Kingdom!

Satan is called, "the accuser of the brethren." (Revelation 12:7-12) He loves to throw our past failures up in our face in an attempt to shift our Identities from a child of God to a powerless sinner.

I came across this Psalm that really spoke into this truth:

Psalm 32 (NKJV)
The Joy of Forgiveness - A Psalm of David. 
32 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent, my bones grew old
Through my groaning all the day long.
4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah
5 I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,"
And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

King David is expressing first how joyful one feels knowing God has forgiven their sins!

Then he describes the feeling of living with unconfessed sin, as his "bones growing old." He talks about the Conviction of the Lord, as a "heavy hand" upon him. We have all experienced this when we are walking in the flesh and disobeying the Lord.

As a Good Father, He chastens and disciplines those He loves! (Hebrews 12:6) 

The Good News is, there is a solution! In verse 5, David gives us the answer!

Acknowledge our sin.

Confess it to the Lord.

Receive His forgiveness!

There are many topics and subjects in our Christian walk that require Godly Discernment. Get in His Word and grow in your seeing and understanding!

Thursday, July 09, 2015

To be Seen of Others

Matthew 6:1-4 (NIV)
"Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2 "So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Have you ever been challenged by these words of Jesus? 

In this scripture, there is an implication that we are already giving to others in need.

As humans, when we do something for others, there is an immediate temptation that follows "to be seen of others." 

James calls this the Pride of Life.

I think the problem comes from that issue of Identity. When our eyes fall off of Jesus, we seek significance in all the wrong places.

So in this scenario, you could actually be walking in obedience to the scriptures, doing the right thing, with a totally wrong heart.

That is exactly how the Pharisees lived their lives. 

We like to get mad at them as we read the Gospels and Acts, but if we are not careful, we find the heart of a Pharisee within ourselves.

So rather than struggle in these areas of having a hardened heart, let's put our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith!!

He said, your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Pledge or Faith Commitment?

I am writing from Tulsa, OK. 

Juli and I had come down for a conference this week. 

It has been full of revelation, anointed worship and great teaching. 

One area that the Lord spoke to me this week was in the difference between making a "Pledge" vs. a "Faith Commitment."

If you are a follower of Jesus, at some point the Lord will challenge you in the area of Giving and Generosity. The reason for this is that God is a Giver and He is abundantly Generous...and He expects us to become like Him!

When we make a "Pledge" to give, what we do is look at our budget, and decide "what can I afford to give without messing with the status quo of my finances?"

However, God does not call us to make these kind of pledges. The Lord always wants us to be operating out of a place or position of Faith.

So a "Faith Commitment" is where we ask the Lord, "What is it You want me to give?" The answer to that has nothing to do with your current financial status. 

I heard a minister this week give testimony to this. 

He asked us all, "Have you ever been in a situation where you wished you had a lot of money so you could help someone or give generously into an offering?"

When he was younger he was in that exact situation where he wanted to get behind another ministry's Kingdom endeavor, but quite frankly, he did not have the money.

It was in his heart to give $1000.

At that time he felt he could only believe for $100.

Honestly that was where his Faith was then.

So the Lord told him to believe for $100...TEN TIMES!

We all got a laugh at the story, but that is exactly what he did. 

He made the Faith Commitment for $1000. 

Following that meeting, every time God brought him $100 above his normal resources He sent it to that ministry. 

He ended up meeting his Faith Commitment in 4 months! 

This in the natural was a miracle!

You see, when we put ourselves in a position of Faith, God can then begin moving on our behalf.

Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is (exists), and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

The Effect of No-Frills Worship

2 weeks ago we had a great worship service at LifeTree!

In case you weren't there, we had major sound issues right as we were starting the service. Everyone rolled with it. 

Svanna just so happened to have brought in her new acoustic guitar, Andy started leading, we pushed the grand piano over, Jeff played his bass through the amp, Jadyn jumped on the congas and somehow John's electric still worked...

...and we had CHURCH!

It was so beautiful hearing all the voices worship the Lord without all the frills of full sound and a full band. 

It reminds me of Paul and Silas in prison, as they began worshipping the they didn't even have an acoustic guitar! 

However, I heard the acoustics in that prison were pretty sweet for a cappella singing! hahaha.

Seriously, talk about no-frills worship!

They had just been beaten with rods, their backs were bleeding, their feet were fastened into stocks, it was dark.

The result of that pure worship before the Lord was:
                     foundation-shaking Worship!

Acts 16:25-26 (NKJV)
But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and EVERYONE'S chains were loosed.

Wow! Their Worship lead to EVERYONE around them being set free from their chains???

Think about that one!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The god of this world?

The Lord brought something to my attention this past week.  

Most of us are aware the the devil is called the "god of this world" or the "god of this age" in the Bible, depending on which English version you read.  (2 Corinthians 4:4)

When we look at the news media and the reports of evil around the world we can surely see why he has such a title. His influence seems to be everywhere, from  politics, media, entertainment, academia, war, terrorism, religion,  peoples' opinions, conversations...etc.

However, what does this really mean, the "god of this world?"

Is he the owner?

Is he in control?

Is God trying to get it back from him?

The Bible says,

1 Corinthians 10:26 (NKJV)
...for "the earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness."

That means the earth and everything in it!

The Lord, in His wisdom has set certain boundaries for the devil to operate because of the rebellion of mankind, but NOTHING is outside of God's control.

We, as Believers, are no longer under the rule of Satan. 

The Bible also says,

Colossians 1:13 (NKJV)
He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.

Jesus through His death and Resurrection gave authority over the devil to His Church that we may walk in Victory!

Jesus said,

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

We exercise this Authority when we Pray in Jesus' name.

John 14:13-14 (NKJV) And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

Wow! What a Promise!

I pray the Lord give us greater Revelation of this Promise and Truth from His Word!

Walk in it!