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.
“Are you saved?” I can remember as child a Baptist preacher saying every week without fail the words; ‘Are You saved?’ I believe those 3 words are possibly Baptist’s greatest contribution to the faith. You may know a lot about Him, but do you know Him? If there is no grieving or sorrow over your sinful condition…no witness of the Spirit, then you don’t know Him. For Jesus to truly save you, you must believe you are drowning and in need of saving—otherwise the broken cry for a savior is not heard and He cannot save. It is a matter of need…do you need Him? Do you see your very real need of His love and forgiveness? Or, do you see yourself ‘pretty good’– never considering that one sin…it’s rebellion like witchcraft that has you under a spell of deception never considering yourself that bad; it is your only weak link, but it is powerful enough to destroy your whole life with that one unredeemed failure. I see God is not mocked and sin must be atoned for. What are you doing and where are you taking your sin for atonement? Because what He takes, He covers–what He covers, He redeems, what He redeems He changes, and what He changes He keeps for Himself with a movement of the Spirit that directs my steps to increase as His disciple and witness. So, I ask you again, “Are You Saved…Are You Really Saved?”
In Psalm 40, David says of God, ‘He took me out of the miry clay and put my feet upon a rock!’ The miry clay is a picture of something, it represents a horrible place, but a timeless reminder of what to do when you get your feet stuck. While hopeless for the unbelieving, it holds a truth that there is great hope for all who call upon the name of the Lord by faith. Hear the lessons from the miry clay. It’s a place of waiting, but with expectation. There’s an expectancy that God will deliver. It is a place God uses to bring about patience, but with it the ability to endure because God is faithful and He sits in the place of confident victory. David says in that place, “He inclined to me.” Do you recognize that place holds the inclinations of God’s heart. If you go on to read, it continues by saying, “many are your thoughts to me and too vast to number.” He inclines himself toward us by making that place abundant with his thoughts to lead, to guide, to encourage, to strengthen, to rise above, and to make our footsteps firm. The picture here is one producing a place of foundation out onto a rock. The land longs for foundation, for when the foundations are shaken and men no more live by the principles of God’s word, things begin to crumble, and so goes the evolution of societies that failed to recognize God as Almighty! But God has a foundation for those who cry out to him there in that horrible stuck place–it’s a place on the Rock, and it’s a place of comforting refuge! The miry clay represents a place of melody and song because David says out of that place, “He has put a new song in my heart a song of praise to our God”. It is the sound of praise and singing that establishes us as victors and not victims. It will be a song that will call many to worship His name because of the testimony that the clay produces for the believing. It’s a super-natural place of Divine influence with a power able to raise us up because of Jesus Who says, ‘because I live, so shall you’. Verse 4 of that same chapter says, “How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust”.
“Then Jesus told them, I entered this world to render judgment, to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.” John 9:39; (NLT) What Jesus said then, he is still saying to us. He came for a great revelation, one that would obliterate our thinking making us fit to take up his cause. As with the blind man, when Jesus heals the eyes he does so to reveal himself in a way as to involve us in a greater, more devoted worship (Jn 9:38). This revelation knowledge has the power to destroy speculations that severely limit our potential to believe him and see great and mighty things. It obliterates the thoughts and intentions of the heart that held us guilty and bound and of no use to God (Jn 9:41). ‘This knowledge’ truly is power to remove the blindness we so easily stumble over. I don’t know about you, I can only speak for myself, but I need the “eye doctor” who can remove my limitations caused by sin and failure to see things clearly. I need the eye doctor! He changes my view so that I might be able to see from his perspective thinking less of myself and more of him. He changes my slavish thoughts and the way that I think in an incorruptible fashion consistent with his potential to overcome my inadequacies. And finally, he changes my motives and the intentions of my heart, so that I am no longer stumbling for bread, but I’m owning the things that he gives me, so I may be used to reveal His cause and His glory. Do you need the eye doctor? If so, get in line and be willing to wait your turn. Get everything else off your agenda, you just need to see him. He will come to you, and He will find you at your lowest point when you cry out to him. And If you’re wiling, he will show you great things you did not see.
Jesus says in John 16:33; ‘These things I have spoken to you that in me you might have peace…’ The peace Jesus speaks of here in John’s gospel is directly related to what He says a few verses before about asking God things in prayer. It’s in a place of prayer I begin to understand the source of my frustration with others. I realize waiting on men and not leaning on God is really the fear of man and not the fear of God. This will leave you frustrated and angry with people as they fail to meet your expectations and demands, and it will miss the peace Jesus promises those who lean into Him. Peace is a powerful word of promise, we all want it, but it can escape us when we fail to deal with the fear that keeps us from wholly leaning on Jesus name. Fear will keep you from a Godly mandate to move forward in your circumstances. Others are not the problem, but failure to wait on God in prayer is. Prayer is the pathway to lasting peace with God and it holds promise that I can be part of restoring others rather that being bothered by their perceived failures. The words of an old hymn, ‘learning to lean on Jesus’ encourage us to trust Him in every trial, finding the peace He promises. Jesus went on to finish John 16:33 AMP; by saying, ‘I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have prefect peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer…[take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted!] For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.] Peace, is the victory Jesus gives and He calls us to pray, so we can overcome in the face of every fear.
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.