Thursday, June 23, 2016

Gaining Ground

In my Bible reading this week, I came across an interesting scripture in Exodus 23.

They Lord tells His people that He is sending an Angel before them, to protect and keep them, and deliver them to the Promised Land. 

God tells them if they walk in obedience, the Lord will become an Enemy to Israel's enemies and an Adversary to Israel's adversaries. 

God does this by sending His Angel before them, which causes them to defeat their enemies. It seems this Angel also carries out God's plan to provide food and water and remove sickness and disease from their midst.

He says it like this:

Exodus 23:27 NKJV 

"I will send my terror ahead of you and create panic among all the people whose lands you invade. I will make all your enemies turn and run. 28 I will send terror ahead of you to drive out the Hivites, Canaanites, and Hittites.

Wow. Now we understand our Enemies are not people. Our true enemy is Satan and all spiritual wickedness. 

Apply, the scriptures here to understand how the Lord fights our battles in the invisible spiritual world for us when we obey and depend on Him!

I found this next verse very interesting:

Exodus 23:29 NKJV 
I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you.

In the natural, God is saying, if He removed all of Israel's enemies at once, before they were able to grow into this new land, the lack of people in certain areas would allow the population of dangerous wild animals to proliferate and become a major issue for the Israelites to protect themselves. 

In the spiritual, the Lord does the same thing for us. He knows we must grow and mature in Him. For Him to suddenly remove ALL barriers and enemies, without us growing to place to handle the success and blessing that would rush into our lives, would end up being more harmful than helpful.

Furthermore, the idea here is that of "Possessing the Land" or taking ground for the Kingdom. 

Are we currently taking and holding ground for the Kingdom of God? 

Take our City of Rochester for example. Are you walking in Faith and Action for our City? 

If God suddenly removed EVERY Principality and Spiritual Wickedness from the City of Rochester, would you and I be already working to take Ground for the particular, are we ministering and sharing the Gospel with the PEOPLE of Rochester?

The Lord could do this, removing all demonic hindrance, but if we are not able, ready or mature enough to reach all the unsaved at once, what would the result be?

Look what Jesus taught about such things:

Luke 11:24 NLT
"When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, 'I will return to the person I came from.' 25 So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order. 26 Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before."

So imagine, Jesus removes all the Spiritual Wickedness from Rochester...we are unable to reach all the people immediately with the Gospel, so the evil spirits return after a time, and the City ends up 7 times worse off than it started.

I believe that is the idea in verse 29 of Exodus 23, regarding the multiplication of wild animals or "beasts of the field" becoming "too numerous for you."

So, how does the Lord work these things out in our lives?

Exodus 23:30 NKJV 
Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased, and you inherit the land.

Little by little.

As we grow in spiritual maturity, as we take steps to gain ground in the Kingdom, and show ourselves as faithful stewards in what the Lord has given us, He then defeats more enemies, giving us more ground. In this way, His Kingdom comes and expands.

Luke 16:10 NLT
"If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won't be honest with greater responsibilities.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Faith that Works

Did you ever question the power of your Faith to work?

Most of us can think of someone we feel has Great Faith, perhaps a grandmother, or minister, or Bible teacher.

What about your Faith?

Jesus said:

Luke 17:6 NKJV
"If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.

Wow. That sounds like Great Faith to me. 

We often agree with Words like this in Scripture, but do we really believe our Faith could accomplish something like that?

I want to share 2 thoughts today around your Faith and seeing it work for you when you pray. 

Thought #1 - Jesus talks about Faith here as a "seed." The idea of a seed is something that starts very small, but when planted and nurtured, it GROWS into something much greater than its humble beginning. 

Thus, we learn our Faith can grow. It can become greater than it is presently. 

How do we grow our Faith?

I believe the number one way to grow our Faith is found in Romans:

Romans 10:17 NKJV
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

The quickest and most effective way to grow your Faith in any particular area that you are praying for, is to Read, Meditate, and Speak the Word of God, (His Scriptural Promises for what you are believing for).

This will take your seed-sized Faith and turn it into a tree-sized Faith!

Thought #2 - Faith works by Love

In Galatians 5, Paul is contrasting living by the Law of Moses versus Living by Faith in Christ.

In context, some thought that by following all the Old Testament rules of being a Jew would save you. Paul makes very clear, that is not the case. Only Faith in Jesus will save you.

Then he adds a little secret to effective Faith:

Galatians 5:6b KJV
...but faith which worketh by love.

Did you get that?

The Greek word here in the King James Version, "worketh," or works, is the word, energeō.

You can clearly see the English word, Energy in there. Or as a verb, Energize.

It literally means: 
  • to be at Work
  • to put forth Power
  • to be Effective

So this scripture teaches us, for our Faith to Work, to put forth Power, and the be Effective...LOVE must be at the source of our Faith.

The motivator for our Prayers when we use our Faith, must be LOVE. 

Love for God. Love for People.

So, if your Faith seems to be falling short, check up on these two thoughts, and do something about it!!

Get in God's Word, and Love God and People!