In Christ Alone

This morning we heard a word about an enemy who has a plan to engage us in a battle. It’s a battle of entanglement to dishearten us from our weapons and the authority that is ours. However, we heard a word about God as our maintainer and our provider. He does not deal in confusion, but in the position of truth. His provision comes as the living word of truth which he watches over to perform wonders. We heard a word that says God is all sufficient and he works at the place of our surrender. We heard a word that says our God in Christ left us a pattern that we should follow, so that at the pattern of the cross we posture ourselves for success not failure. It is a posture of humility by which he will perform wonders before our very eyes. Today he would say, do not be afraid, and do not listen to the voice of the adversary who would discourage your Faith in Christ alone! When you speak those words “In Christ Alone” you make a bold declaration of surrender about who you’re going to trust. By assuming this posture, you will be speaking forth a prayer of great release. Today, let him release you from the fear, let him release you from the things that keep you from realizing what only He is able to produce! I was impressed this week with something someone had given me to read. It revealed a long forgotten story of a man in New York City, who in 1857 called a meeting to gather people with him to pray. In that prayer meeting only six people showed up. Rather than be discouraged by what may have seemed to some as a failed attempt, they would continue to meet weekly for the purpose of prayer. It would be that within the next year, the Spirit of God would move on upwards of 10,000 people to meet daily in churches all over the city to pray. As a result of a little prayer meeting, it is estimated that 1 million people came to faith in Christ during the course of the next year. There are greater things to be had when we pray in agreement with the Spirit of God. Today, find the authority that belongs to you in Christ and never underestimate the power when His saints pray in faith.

The Rains of Harvest

1798287_670762142981430_2065430413_nRemember Nazareth, the hometown of Jesus? It was the place He could do very little. You’ll remember it to be a place of unbelief and a place that just considered Jesus a common man with nothing special to offer (Matt 13:54-58). It was here He would declare the power of God to release the captive and heal the broken. It was here the foolish thoughts of men raged so as to want Him dead (Lk.4). We need to get ourselves away from the small minded, common thoughts of Nazareth. The Prophet Joel prophesied of a day of power and provision of early and late rain unto a harvest to restore God’s people (Joel 2:23). It would promise a harvest of righteousness and an outpouring of His Holy Spirit. It is however, important to understand what Joel prophesied could only come when men humbled themselves to pray from the heart. James 5:7 says, ‘be patient for these rains like a farmer who waits for the early and late rain to produce what’s precious’. Too often we are thinking of the latter rain of Joel’s prophecy as some clearly defined end times movement, but what about the move of God that awaits us in prayer? I believe the patient farmer does not wait in the hot sun, but after his labor looks to do his waiting in a place of shade with a cool breeze. If you will look with spiritual eyes you will understand he waits in hope for God under the shadow of His almighty power. The patience to wait is found in prayer. “Prayer is the patience God will answer your fears and the confidence that He alone can dissolve your doubts”. Prayer changes the mind and heart of God concerning His people and moves Him to action on their behalf. Listen… there’s a thinking God must revolutionize and even re-new in your life. There is a wound that God must heal. He says to you, ‘I have healing balm which flows only from the finished work of Calvary, but you must open up your heart and trust Me to heal and restore in the humble place of prayer, and the shadow of my presence will refresh you, heal you and send rain to bring precious produce! Stop trying to live out of the movements of others, and start listening to what the Holy Spirit is saying to you! Stop looking for ‘the Revival” and start living for Jesus in this moment knowing He produces a harvest from His shadow by sending the early and late rain!

Green as the Grass

Recently, seeing a nearby field, the question came to me, “How green is the grass?” There are days we look upon the fields and because of our complaint, fail to see anything.  Other times, we are passing by way too fast, thinking way too many things to realize the grass is green for a reason.  The answer I received is; it all depends upon the prism thru which you look, either through the humble eyes of a ‘suffering servant,’ or the angry heart of an ‘indentured slave’. Only Jesus, can cancel the certificate of debt by the power of His cross to those decrees against us that hold us in pledge to this world and its lusts with an extreme precision to release us from slavish thinking and cruel bondage.  The power of the cross is for the humble who will draw near with confidence to surrender their thoughts of care and ambition for this life to understand the statement, ‘Have this same attitude which was in Christ Jesus who although He existed with all the attributes of God, He humbled Himself as a slave, becoming obedient to God by taking up His cross.’ His cross, calls us higher under the influence of a still small voice, mighty in power, rich in service, and green as the grass.  Philippians 2:6-11

The Prayer that Makes Perfect

Something made me think of my Grandmother the other day; she would often call and say, ‘I don’t know nothing….I just called to find out how you were doing’. She was a busy woman, probably too busy, but I was amazed that she could find the time to do the things she did. “I don’t know nothing” may not be good english, but it made me think about her and the love she had for me. It makes me lovingly think of others I care about and how I should find the time to reach them. The truth is, I don’t have much to offer and I really don’t know much… but, for the grace of God I am nothing and I have nothing. While in that momentary thought of, ‘what little I could offer anyone’, I found myself praying; God save my children, save my family, God save me, and Lord save others through my life…oh, how I need Your power.’ Your life is a powerful thing, a tool created really for only for one purpose and that’s to be used by the power of God to influence others for His cause. Your life is to become a living testimony made by what only the Holy Spirit can reflect upon you, so others could be saved. I love the place where Jesus says, ‘Come to Me all you who are weak and heavy laden, and I will give you rest….’ The word says, Jesus lives at the right hand of God (Mk16:19). Residing in power, He lives to make intercession for us’ (Heb7:25). He lives to call us to rest ourselves in His finished work and be connected to His life and power by the Holy Spirit whom He sent as our Helper and His agent of extra-ordinary benefits. He lives to bring you into a restful place to stop thinking there’s anything you could do for Him. He lives so you might realize it’s in only what He can do for you– to reflect His life by powerful changes in your character and demeanor. The Spirit of God moves in the place of prayer connecting us to the will and intention of His heart. While men search for the perfect; the perfect life, a perfect home, the perfect love, it can only be found in the perfect heart of God, known only by time in the presence of His own dear Son.   E.M. Bounds one said, “Prayer is far reaching in its influence and worldwide in its effects. It affects all men, affects them everywhere, and affects them in all things. It touches man’s interest in time and eternity. It lays hold upon God and moves him to interfere in the affairs of earth. It moves the angels to minister to men in this life. It restrains and defeats the devil and his schemes to ruin man. Prayer goes everywhere and lays its hand upon everything.” It’s prayer that makes us behold Him who is perfect, so we should reflect His glory. The enemy would have you weak and giving up over the things you see, but Jesus would have you pray and He says, ‘come to Me!’

The Victory That Is Our Peace

Your life will rise or fall depending upon the word that you hear. Truth is, your life in Christ is dependant upon the word dwelling in you richly to increase your hearing and make you mindful of the resources He offers you to bring you to victorious living. This year, I believe God would say to you, stop living on the faith experiences of others and take a determined approach to devote youself to His word allowing His Holy Spirit to feed you and give you and understanding of ‘the things eye has not seen or ear has not heard what things God has prepared for those who love Him’ (1 Cor. 2). Stop allowing the enemy a place in your thinking to keep you stubbornly opposed to what God says by locking you in a default position resistant to the riches of God’s word. God says, ‘find your focus in prayer’ following the example of Jesus who urges us in Luke 21 to, ‘keep watching and praying’ with a pattern of persistance that gains not just answers but victory over the thief who comes to steal your joy and your peace. He comes to rob you of the vast riches in Christ that are yours because of God’s Word.  Are you going to faint or finish strong? Stop living in defeat by what the enemy says; surrender your life to God and you will hear His terms of peace and see the victory of His power on high.

The Spirit That Makes Us Sons

Remember the word given to Saul? Namely this, that he would would be changed into another man and would be numbered among the prophets. There was however with Saul an uncertainty that left him timid and restrained from doing God’s will. With all of us, God seeks to do a new thing, but the timid of spirit can’t see it–its view is clouded by all the baggage. Get it! God says ‘you will be endued with mighty power and with the mind to receive what I would do on your behalf; you will be changed by a heart touched by my love and declare My word to men.’ The word says as much in 2 Timothy 1:7 when it says, ‘God has not given us a spirit of fear or timidity but one of power and love and sound judgement.’ Samuel declared of the Lord’s chosen, ‘see there is none like him in all the land’. The New Testament says we are a chosen race, a royal priesthood and yet we too easily miss His mighty acts because we all too often dwell with the timid and not the humble. Saul’s royal life was haunted by that timid spirit, and he never got rid of the baggage he was hiding behind. Timidity will keep you in “Yourself” while humility will take you beyond yourself to behold what God will do just because He said so. Humility will give you a front row seat to God’s glory, but timidity leaves you blocked off with a very realistic view of yourself and no faith to see beyond the strength of your own hand. I recently found myself frustrated and angry because I could not change a particular situation that I was facing. God revealed my frustration was borne of a timid spirit causing me a place of grief instead of seeing the way of victory. The timid never go past the frustration, but continue with a passive approach that leaves them disappointed and missing the full plan of God. He showed my need to dwell with the broken not the timid. In that moment of anxiety God revealed this: the timid fail to see His move because of many reasons all driven by fear, but the broken humbly take a seat of rest by a window of recovery to behold what God says and moreover what He would do. Saul became King, but failed to possess all God had intended because he was slave to his own thinking. It left him angry and disappointed not full–timid but not broken. And the end of his life was spent still trying to change the situation by His own methods missing God by a half a step. What about you…want to be angry for the way things are turning out? The timid spirit will keep you there–mad but unable to really do anything about it. That is why it is so frustrating because there is really nothing “you” can do there behind all that baggage hiding from God’s favor. God says, ‘why don’t you look to the word that I’ve given to you as sons?’ ‘I have not given you a spirit of fear and slavery, but I give a Spirit of love so your heart becomes mine. I give a Spirit of power–an unction moving your life from uncertainty to possess the things I have said on your behalf, because son, there is to be none like you, so that I might declare my life through yours. I have given you a Spirit of discipline to think with sound judgement so you can work my plan not your own with the unlimited ability of my resources to accomplish the word I will send before you. I offer you today sound judgment enabling you to think like sons not slaves. Today, which will you be?’ He further says, ‘kindle afresh the gift of God by the Spirit I have given to you, which is powerfully appointed to enable you to focus and to act as sons.’

Beyond the Baggage

Remember the word given to Saul? Namely this, that he would would be changed into another man and would be numbered among the prophets.  There was however with Saul an uncertainty that left him timid and restrained from doing God’s will. With all of us, God seeks to do a new thing, but the timid of spirit can’t see it–its view is clouded by all the baggage.  Get it!  God says ‘you will be endued with mighty power and with the mind to receive what I would do on your behalf; you will be changed by a heart touched by my love and declare My word to men.’ The word says as much in 2 Timothy 1:7 when it says, ‘God has not given us a spirit of fear or timidity but one of power and love and sound judgement.’ Samuel declared of the Lord’s chosen, ‘see there is none like him in all the land’.  The New Testament says we are a chosen race, a royal priesthood and yet we too easily miss His mighty acts because we all too often dwell with the timid and not the humble. Saul’s royal life was haunted by that timid spirit, and he never got rid of the baggage he was hiding behind.  Timidity will keep you in “Yourself” while humility will take you beyond yourself to behold what God will do just because He said so.  Humility will give you a front row seat to God’s glory, but timidity leaves you blocked off with a very realistic view of yourself and no faith to see beyond the strength of your own hand. I recently found myself frustrated and angry because I could not change a particular situation that I was facing.  God revealed my frustration was borne of a timid spirit causing me a place of grief instead of seeing the way of victory. The timid never go past the frustration, but continue with a passive approach that leaves them disappointed and missing the full plan of God. He showed my need to dwell with the broken not the timid. In that moment of anxiety God revealed this: the timid fail to see His move because of many reasons all driven by fear, but the broken humbly take a seat of rest by a window of recovery to behold what God says and moreover what He would do. Saul became King, but failed to possess all God had intended because he was slave to his own thinking. It left him angry and disappointed not full–timid but not broken. And the end of his life was spent still trying to change the situation by His own methods missing God by a half a step. What about you…want to be angry for the way things are turning out? The timid spirit will keep you there–mad but unable to really do anything about it. That is why it is so frustrating because there is really nothing “you” can do there behind all that baggage hiding from God’s favor. God says, ‘why don’t you look to the word that I’ve given to you as sons?’ ‘I have not given you a spirit of fear and slavery, but I give a Spirit of love so your heart becomes mine. I give a Spirit of power–an unction moving your life from uncertainty to possess the things I have said on your behalf, because son, there is to be none like you, so that I might declare my life through yours. I have given you a Spirit of discipline to think with sound judgement so you can work my plan not your own with the unlimited ability of my resources to accomplish the word I will send before you. I offer you today sound judgment enabling you to think like sons not slaves. Today, which will you be?’ He further says, ‘kindle afresh the gift of God by the Spirit I have given to you, which is powerfully appointed to enable you to focus and to act as sons.’