Wednesday, October 18, 2017

"Continue To Victory"

"And he said, Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, Strike the ground. And he struck three times, and stopped.  And the man of God was angry with him, and said, You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Syria till you had consumed it: whereas now you shall strike down Syria but three times."  2 Kings 13:18,19

We tend to think that just because we prayed about a matter once, or did spiritual warfare in prayer one time, we can stop.  We have done all we need to do.  I know there was a teaching going around once upon a time that said if you prayed about a situation more than once you really didn't have faith the first time.  This isn't always true.

Sometimes we have to go after the enemy many times in order to defeat him and get the victory that already belongs to us.  Jesus taught that some things come by fasting and prayer-- that is continual.  Elisha rebuked Joash for not striking the arrows on the ground, symbolizing the defeat of the Syrians, many times-- until they were consumed.  The Lord God hit Egypt with ten plagues-- not only one.  He continued until all the "gods" of Egypt had been defeated.  Jesus taught the parable about the woman who would continually go to the unjust judge with her case.  Even in our video games we have to battle through many levels before we win the war. 

Jesus already gave us victory.  The enemy is already defeated.  But that doesn't mean we don't have to still do battle.  The victory is there-- we always triumph in Christ.  But to experience that victory we have to fight some battles.  And those battles are fought through repetition, perseverance and on many levels.  Don't quit striking until you have gained total victory.

Have a great day.  Keep fighting the battle, over and over again, until the victory is manifested.   

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

"Praise Is Faith"

"And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endures forever." 2 Chronicles 20:21

When the Israelites were facing a battle with many nations all gathered together against them at once, instead of sending out the military first the king sent out the worshippers.  The "choir" led the way.  When we are in a crisis, facing trouble, have a problem or going through a difficulty, the first thing we tend to do is withhold our praise.  But this is the last thing we should do.

We should never withhold our praise especially when facing a "battle".  Praise brings the presence of God.  It is a powerful weapon.  It magnifies God and in turn increases our trust in Him and His ability. 

We tend to withhold it because of what we see-- the "army" against us.  We tend to withhold it because of what we feel-- overwhelmed, discouraged, defeated.  Praise is not a "physical" thing.  Praise is spiritual.  Praise involves a step of faith.  This is why it is called a "sacrifice" of praise.  Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  Praise is an act of faith because it doesn't see the victory, but praises the Lord anyway.  

The just live by faith.  Without faith it is impossible to please the Lord.  When we praise the Lord, even in difficultly, it is the evidence of our faith in God.  It is a sign of our faith in Him.  When we withhold it, it shows our lack of faith that He will do what He says He will do-- fight the battle for you.

Have a great day.  Don't withhold your praise, it is the evidence of your faith.       

Monday, October 16, 2017

"Good Outcome"

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."  Romans 8:28

In the movies the boy always gets the girl, the villain is always defeated, the star always survives, the main character always recovers from a sickness, blindness or gun-shot.  They always end with someone either "riding off into the sunset" or living "happily ever after".  But that is the movies, it is not reality.  Life isn't perfect.  It doesn't always turn out perfect.  People don't always recover.  The boy doesn't always get the girl.  The good guy doesn't always win.  In the "real world" there is pain, heartache, grief, struggle, sadness, etc.     

We try to live life like the movies.  We all want things to go well like in the movies.  We all want to live happily ever after.  We all want life to be perfect.  But that is a fantasy.  We want a good outcome all the time and we think that if it isn't a good outcome then it isn't good.  We think that in order for it to be good, the situation has to turn out good.  God's definition of a "good outcome" is not necessarily the same as man's definition. 

The cross certainly didn't look like it had a good outcome.  It looked like death and defeat.  But it was a "good" outcome.  It was not a place of defeat.  It was a place of victory.  Sin and death were defeated so they could have no more power over us.  It wasn't a place of darkness.  It was in fact a place of light.  The cross was a shining beacon illuminating the path to eternal life.  It was in reality a place of hope, love, victory and life.

You may be facing a situation and praying for a "happily ever after" ending.  Judge the outcome by the Lord's definition and not your own.  He will and does make all things work together for good.  Even if the outcome doesn't look good to you.

Have a great day.  God's definition of a good outcome and ours is not always the same.  But it is good none the less. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

"Desperate"

"As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God."  Psalm 42:1

The other night at church we were talking about why we don't see the move of God like we should or would want to.  What is the problem?  How are we lacking?  We were also talking about surrendering totally to the Lord.  My pastor made the statement that one reason is because we aren't desperate for the presence of God.

As he said that I thought-- that is so true, we aren't desperate for the Lord.  We aren't desperate to know Him personally and intimately.  We aren't desperate to know His heart, His plan and His will.  The only time we truly get desperate is when we have a need, have a problem, need His help or are in trouble.  When those times come, we get desperate.  We will seek Him.  We will turn to Him.  We will cry out to Him.  We will pray to Him.  We will bargain with Him.  We are in a desperate situation and desperately need His help so we will get desperate in seeking Him. 

If we treated seeking Him all the time the same way we do when we are in a desperate situation, our relationship would be totally different with Him.  It would be more evident.  It would demonstrate more power.  It would make our lights shine brighter.  It would make us saltier in this world.  It would completely change and transform our lives.

Are you desperate for the presence of God in your life?  Are you desperate for a closer intimate relationship with Him?  Are you like a deer who isn't satisfied until it finds water when it comes to seeking the Lord?  Is He your longing and desire?  Do you only draw close to Him when you have a problem or need?  It is time we get a hunger and thirst, a longing and desire, a desperation for the presence of God.  It will make a difference in our lives and the world around us.

Have a great day.  How desperate are you for the presence of God? 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

"Job's Wife"

"Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die."  Job 2:9

We know that when Job came under attack by satan, he lost everything.  He lost his herds, servants, children and health.  All he was left with was a wife.  And she encouraged him to "curse God and die".  Do you ever wonder why God didn't let satan take her too?  After all, she was no help to Job.  She gave him bad counsel and certainly didn't make his suffering any better.

I think Job's wife gets a bad rap.  The book primarily focuses on Job, but she is there behind the scenes.  She is there grieving as well.  She lost everything along with Job.  She lost her children-- not only one or two, but all of them in one moment.  She carried them, nursed them, nurtured them, took care of them.  A mother's heart is her children.  Behind the scenes she was suffering and suffering alone.  Her husband couldn't comfort her because he was dealing with his own illness and accusing friends. 

Although we don't see or hear much about Job's wife other than her statement to "curse God and die", we learn lessons from her life like we do from Job's. 

Those lessons?  God did not let satan destroy her because He still had a plan for her-- He was not finished with her yet.  The devil can't destroy you when God has an unfulfilled destiny/plan that awaits you. 

Although she made that statement, God knew that she spoke from her pain, not her heart for Him.  Often in times of grief, confusion, suffering and pain we say and do things that we would not normally say or do.  God understands, He remembers our frame and is still loving, gracious and patient with us. 

He was going to bring joy out of her pain.  He knows how to bring joy out of your pain.  Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.  And with that joy comes renewed hope and strength.  

He was going to glorify Himself through, and in spite of, her suffering.  He knows how to work all things together for good. 

God used her as part of Job's restoration.  When the Lord brings you through a time of darkness, He can use you to bring restoration, comfort and consolation to someone else.  The book ends by letting us know that Job had other sons and daughters after his trial.  And his daughters were the fairest in the land.  Where did those sons and daughters come from?  How carried them in her womb?  Who gave birth to them?  The same one who said, "curse God and die".  The Lord completely restored and healed her and fulfilled His purpose through her.  

You may think you have "messed up" so badly that there is no hope from you.  Not true.  Think about Job's wife and remember that the same grace and mercy is available to you as well.  

Have a great day.  When you think about Job's wife, be encouraged.