For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7
If you didn't know it, you have an enemy that his #1 goal is to destroy you. He doesn't use physical danger to get us scared, but his small whispers are just as effective. "you tried before and failed, you will fail again!, What if you embarrass yourself?, what if....? Instead listen to what 'Spirit" God has given you, it is power, love and a discipline to do His will in our lives. It's His reassurance of who you are in Him when fiery darts come at you from any devil. The moment you taste fear, realize you have an opportunity for God to grow your faith in Him. Your fear then will grow in courage.
Remember that God has a great plan for your life and no devil in hell can take that from you. That only person who can do that is you. Define your life by victories and not trials or defeats. Live according to what the word says you are. Understand what anointing and power you have in Him. Fear is a feeling that will pass. Christ in you and working through you is eternal. Know that you are not a victim in this life but a Victor living in Victory! The devil knows who you are and what God has called you. We need to realize this so that we can live victoriously.
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written:“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us."
Some people have certain things in their possession that they believe brings them luck or maybe helps them play a sport better. Whatever it is, they have this secret fear of losing it and never getting it back. A harbored fear is tough to live with. We have them with fears of death, losing touch with our kids, financial losses, to fear of losing everything we have grown comfortable and accustomed to. One absolute sure thing in life remains: 'We can never be separated from the thing that strengthens and holds us together.' His love says that whatever is thrown our way, you can never be separated from Him and His love for you.
We may not feel victorious when we are in distress or in a disaster in life; but being a conqueror doesn't mean you feel like a winner through the fight. It does mean that you are on the best team, the greatest army that has never lost, and never will! Approach your darkest valley with confidence knowing you can't ever lose when you abide in Him and His love abides in you.
You are more than a Conqueror!!!
"So, Samuel said: Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams."
1 Samuel 15:32
There is an old saying "Every man has three worlds, What he perceives, what he shows to the world, and his reality. The Third one is a mystery to be lived."
I like to say your real self is who you are when no one is around and watching. We all have some level of facade that we want the world to see. It happens at home, work and church. The people of Samuel's day were intent on the visible as well, led by a king who had fallen into this trap himself. Saul believed that the details of his obedience were no so important, as long as he glossed over them with an especially visible sacrifice in the end. He brought a cover up rather than a contrite spirit.
But we are spiritual beings and must walk and live in that living sacrifice, which is obedience. If we sacrifice in any other way, our giving will be hollow at best and plainly false at worst. God wanted Samuel's sacrifice as an act of worship, submission, and reverence to God. We are to bow at the altar of God not the altar of the sacrifice.
"And his (Naaman's) servants came near and spoke to him, and said, “My father,if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
2 Kings 5:13-14 NKJV
I have a friend who says, "We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles". Naaman had this experience with Elisha the prophet. He was ill and looked for a miracle. It must have been a big disappointment when he was told by Elisha to just dip yourself in the river. General Naamans' men told him to obey. Maybe it took simpler men to respect Elisha's direction. This lesson is simple; we can miss a rich reward by refusing to obey instructions.
Repeatedly, the simple solutions to our problems like trust and obey, really do bring the finest results. It's an un-changeble spiritual principle that brings changes of restoration and healing.
Blessings to you and your family!
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations."
Matthew 28:19 NKJV
Anytime you see the word "therefore" you need to find out what it's there for. In this case, we have to look at the previous several verses:
28:17- And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
28:18- And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth."
Think about it, all the miracles that the disciples saw through Jesus and they still doubted Him, but they still worshipped Him. The next thing He did was speak to them like a friend and commission them with the same authority as He received from the Father. It's not just a commission but an order, a charge to "Go ye therefore to all the nations." Jesus is saying you now have the same authority over the enemy, diseases, and the elements as I have. Now, you may be worshiping Jesus, but doubt like the disciples. But how would you like a chance to be obedient to His commission over you? Would you like to try out this authority that Jesus gave you?
Do you know you don't have to go to the nations anymore because they are right here in front of you? That's right, there are 64 nations represented in Huntsville. Take a step of faith today and join us tonight for prayer and the rest of this week as we GO and present the Good News to all the nations here in Huntsville. Trust Him when He says ...
(v.20) I am always with you even unto the end of the world. Will you join us this week with the evangelism team as we answer the call of each one of us?
"While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!"
Do you know what your friends, family or co-workers say about you when you're not there? As followers of Jesus, we hope that our lives reflect God. We hope that people see us as genuine, not proud. People aren't naive, but they wish there were more honest and trusting people in the world. If you are a person whose heart (not just your finger) is pointed to God, people will recognize that and be drawn to it. They will at least notice something different about you and inquire or wonder.
There are many "self-help" books, seminars and courses that teach you how to live this "good character". But that is the problem. They are doing it in their "self". It's like taking tennis or golf lessons. If you don't have the right foundation or fundamentals, you can hit thousands of balls and never get it right or get better.
To gain a godly character you must first gain God. That means removing yourself and allow His word, presence and ultimately character to invade you. Then our character becomes a reflection of His character. You can't get that from a person teaching a seminar. It takes a daily walk with God which turns into a lifestyle.
"I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs."
It is one of those 'bare your soul' spiritual questions: are you consistent, are you persistent in prayer? In life, we might ask it like this: are you making the right choices in your everyday life?
Though it is unlikely that we would answer either of those questions favorably, we should still be encouraged to move forward in the striving of living before God and fulfilling the desires He has put on our hearts. Steady prayer is one of these. We might not understand why we must be persistent with an omniscient God. We may need to swallow our pride to keep going back to Him, or go somewhere or do something out of our comfort zone; but Jesus' parable of the knock-knocking friend spurs us in this direction. Sometimes, perhaps, God wants to know just how committed we are to the petitions of our heart.
I like to ask people "what is your greatest need from God?" because it churns the heart. I would ask the same question to you.
Then I would ask how are you not just praying for it but knocking, knocking and pursuing it?
"The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him,
And He will show them His covenant."
Psalm 25:14 NKJV
God promises more in His New Covenant than to cover all our iniquities and unrighteousness. Maybe you or someone you know has loved the Lord for years. They are a praying, faithful, gentle spirit-filled believer, but then one day they are overcome and yield to a powerful temptation. They are now drawn back into an old besetting sin. Maybe it's a raging temper, evil or lustful thoughts, lukewarmness or a sin such as drunkenness, fornication or adultery. They devil now attacks them with thoughts of, 'they have sinned once too many after being convicted', 'they crossed a line and can't get back', or 'there is no forgiveness going forward.'
Here is the "secret" of the New Covenant. When we desire Him more than anything else, the Holy Spirit doesn't condemn but gently whispers "come back to the blood of Jesus". Stay in the love of God. You are forgiven so now walk with me again. When the devil fills you with these other thoughts, this is God's mercy speaking, "I will bring you back into My Grace". The "secret" is a life-freeing revelation of His loving kindness to us at the point of our sin, failures, and bad choices. God says to repent and get your eyes off of your failures and sin. God is saying don't run from me, but run towards me, and my grace laden with mercy. The only thing that can stop you from entering into My Covenant is YOU. The "secret" is that Jesus wants you to rejoice and be glad because your past, present, and future sins have been taken away. Hallelujah!!!
"The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him,
And He will show them His covenant."
Psalm 25:14 NKJV
The word "secret" David is referring to means to be alert, to be on the lookout, to be a confidant. But God doesn't share this secret with anyone but only those who seek Him with a deep hunger. This secret promise isn't for a casual Christian, it's only for those He knows He can trust. The secret of this New Covenant is a life preserver to those sinking in a mire of sin. He is calling out to those in evil strongholds, lust, and habits which they can't break. This New Covenant brings a new heart, a righteous awe of God, dominion over sin and a Holy Ghost hatred and shame for sin; but, it also brings guidance, and power to walk in His will with good pleasure enduring to the end.
The condition of this Covenant takes more than prayer and fasting, it comes from seeking Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. This secret isn't some quick, feel good sense we get when we are encouraged after Sunday morning. Then during the week about Wednesday, life starts to happen and we start feeling like we did the previous week, and by Sunday morning we need picking up again.
Do you want to know what the secret is?
I'll tell you tomorrow. To be continued...... :-)
Pastor Michael Garcia
Overseer and Pastor at First Assembly HOEN