Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The devil Ain't in Control Part 1

The devil Ain’t in Control

Part 1

Daniel 2:44-45 (KJV)—And in the days of these kings shall the God of Heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

Let me lay some foundation for the next several blogs. Israel had refused to obey the God that had brought them out of bondage and gave them their own land. God sent prophet after prophet after prophet to warn them that they would once again be brought into bondage if they didn’t repent. They didn’t so God had no other choice but to do what He said.

However, not everyone was guilty of the nation of Israel’s sin. The book of Daniel talks about four individuals that, though they were captives, they lived like God had commanded. Because they honored God, God honored His covenant Word that he had spoken to their forefathers when the Hebrew nation was first established. These four men (and I’m sure there were others) found favor with their captors. And, much to the angst of the native Babylonians, the ‘captives’ were made rulers over sections of their ‘captors’. (See Deuteronomy 28:1-14)

In the second year of King Nebuchadnezzer’s reign, God sent a troubling dream to him. He was upset about it but he couldn’t remember it. It unsettled the king so much that he called for all of his magicians, soothsayers and fortune tellers with a most unusual request. He told them to tell him what his dream was and also to tell him the interpretation. They told the king to tell them what the dream was and they would be glad to interpret it for him. The king told them to do it or die. They couldn’t and the king commanded to kill all the wise men in Babylon.

The guards were sent out to arrest all the magicians in the kingdom. When they got to Daniel, he asked why and they told him. He went to the king and asked for time to pray about it. The king gave Daniel what he didn’t give to his own people. He gave to this captive some time. That’s divine favor, folks. That is divine favor from a tyrant.

I’ll get to the rest of the story in subsequent blogs, but I need to stop right here and share something that I hope is ‘Christian-shaking’. That’s kinda like ‘earth-shaking’ only a whole lot more important. As I mentioned earlier, some of the Hebrews that Nebuchadnezzar had taken captive were God-fearing, covenant-trusting men of God. To the Babylonians they were just captured slaves that didn’t deserve to be more than their menial servants.

But, to God, these men were more honorable than the back-slidden Jews. Even though God had to bring judgement on the nation of Israel for their collective sins, He would ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS honor EVERY ONE of those who honored Him and His Word. Please, understand the Godly precept here. Even though these Godly men had lost their freedom along with the other Hebrews, they had NEVER….not even for one day….not even for one fleeting second….lost ANY of the respect that God had for them. They were in a strange land but it didn’t matter to God. He was covenant bound to honor His word. They were surrounded by ungodly people and subjected to ungodly circumstances. But God never forsook them for even the shortest of moments.

AS A MATTER OF FACT, this dream came to King Nebuchadnezzer BECAUSE of the captives. Later on, in Daniel chapter six, we find that it had always been Daniel’s habit to pray towards Jerusalem three times a day. Every day since setting foot in a strange land, Daniel prayed in accordance to God’s promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14 where God promised deliverance if they were ever in bondage. Daniel believed God’s Word to be true and he prayed for deliverance three times every day.

Here’s my point for today. A God-fearing, Bible-believing person made a quality decision concerning the dire conditions that he found his nation to be in. Did his nation deserve it? Yes, God spoke it and there it was. BUT, a God-fearing, Bible-believing, continuously praying person brought about a God-change in several areas.

First of all, his constant prayer and faith in the Word of God worked in his own life. It gave him courage to proclaim to the ungodly ruler and the ungodly captives that the God that he served could answer prayer and reveal the king’s dream. Next, constant prayer and faith gave him covenant standing with a covenant keeping God. God granted his request, gave him the dream and the interpretation.

Second, and this is important, Daniel’s God habits worked on and changed the king. Because of Daniel’s behavior, God was the one who sent the troubling dream to the king and then made him forget it so that He could honor His servant and His Word. When the king heard the dream and the interpretation, THE KING fell on his knees and bowed down to Daniel. The king not only honored Daniel, he promoted him over the vast majority of his captors.

The captured slave became a ruler. How about that for a Godly turn around? This not only happened to Daniel, but it happened to the three Hebrew children also. Although it’s not mentioned, I believe that God honored many others even though they were in captivity.

Here’s the point of today’s blog. A bold God-fearing Bible-believing prayer warrior made the best of his situation by praying and honoring God constantly. Today we are faced with some of the ungodliest of situations any of us have ever heard of in our entire lives. The story of Daniel is only one that proves that the devil ain’t in control. He might have instigated things and ramped up hatred and violence but the devil DOES NOT have the final say in ANY situation.

UNLESS…..God-honoring, Spirit-filled prayer warriors……do nothing. When God’s people refuse to pray, pray improperly, pray without power, pray amiss, cringe and cry, fight each other, refuse to humble themselves and refuse to honor God then the devil is free to do whatever he wants.

Whatever you decide to do is your business. AND whatever I decide to do is my business. I’m going to dare to be a Daniel. I’m praying hard and often. I dare to come boldly to the throne of Grace with a heart full of the promises of God that I lay before him. Just like the poor widow in Luke 18, I don’t have the power to get these things accomplished in my own strength. But, He said He would answer these prayers and I believe He will.

I want to be like Daniel and pray so hard and fervently that the leaders of this land will not be able to succeed with their ungodly plans. I specifically pray for confusion to come into their camps. (Isaiah 19:14) I pray that God would show up in such a way that the ungodly would have to admit that it had to be God.

I believe that bold, fervent prayer could bring peace to troubled lives and troubled areas. I believe that crime, murders, rapes, kidnappings and hatred can be stopped when people continue calling on God. Just like God did with Elisha, (2 Kings 6:8-14) I believe that God can reveal the secrets of our enemies to our security forces. One of the things that I have been praying for is that the Godly men and women that serve in our country would receive “nudgings” or “words of knowledge” from the Holy Spirit that would lead to capturing criminals or stopping crime before it happens.

And I don’t believe in giving the devil any slack. I believe in worshipping and praising God with all of my heart, mind and soul. Psalms 8:2 tells us and Jesus repeated it that praise paralyzes the enemy. C’mon folks let’s not only pray with boldness, let’s praise and worship Him with all that is within us.

Let’s put God in control and let the Jesus Force arise.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Pursue Your Enemies

Leviticus 26:7 & 8--KJV--And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. 8--And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.

Note: Pursue your enemies also appears in Joshua 10:19 and Psalm 18:37

     I get a daily devotional every morning in my e-mail and this was today's topic. It immediately struck a chord with me because I have been putting in some prayer hours lately. I have seen some changes and I have faced some challenges. It seems like the enemy, satan, just doesn't want to leave me alone. You might say that he's after me. He can't have me and he has his hands full trying to handle me.

     Then when the devotion concerning this verse hit my e-mail this morning it struck me in a positive way. Yes, I know the devil gets after you and hounds you to no end. So why not turn the tables on him and give him more than just a taste of his own medicine.

     That's what this verse talks about. The devil is the cause of all of the bad things that happen to us. He is the main source of inspiration for all of the evil that goes on in this world. This verse promises that if we will pursue our enemy (the devil) he will fall before us by the sword (the Word of God Ephesians 6:17).

     The Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit. When we pray in line with the Word of God it unleashes the power of the Holy Spirit against the forces of evil. When you begin praying in the strength and the integrity of the Word of God the power of your prayers becomes and unstoppable force.

     All that is left to do is the obvious. Let's Pray. This is just one example.

     Ephesians 6;12--For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Father, in the name of Jesus, we bind the powers of these forces of darkness and spiritual wickedness in this world. We set ourselves in battle against these forces that are deceiving many. We bind these forces in Jesus' name and demand that they loose their hold over our unsaved loved ones and our city, Savannah, Ga. We demand you, devil, to loose those souls that you are keeping from coming to Jesus Christ. Holy Spirit convict the sinners stronger and stronger. Father we pray that the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ would shine into those sin darkened souls and help them to realize their need for You. Stay after them Holy Spirit until they make Jesus Christ their Lord. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.



Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Start Your Day Rejoicing

     We used to worship with a song with these words, Rejoice for the steps of a righteous man are ordered of God. That was taken from Psalm 37:23 which says--The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord; and he delighteth in his way.

     What we need to understand is that each day brings a new trial. And each new trial is not meant to destroy us. Each new trial we face is an opportunity for God to prove us as one of His children whom He delights in. And each new trial we face is an opportunity for God to prove to us and the world that He is indeed Lord God Almighty.

     Daniel in the lion's den didn't prove how mean the king or the people were as much as it proved Daniel's faith in God. The end result was that Daniel proved God's word to be greater than anything that the king would put him through.

     The same could be said of the three Hebrew children. The fiery furnace was designed to destroy them. Instead it exalted the Lord God Almighty and God's men were promoted.

     So face this day and every other day with a sense of joy that whatever comes your way, God is going to prove you as His child and prove to the world that His Word is true.

     Let's rejoice and enjoy what God has ordained this day to bring to us.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Me: This is All I've Got Jesus: That's All I Need

The sixth chapter of John tells the story of the feeding of the 5,000. Here's some things about the story that I think we all can relate to.

1.  Jesus and the disciples saw the crowd coming up the mountain they were on. How many times have you seen something coming in your life that you didn't know how to face? Maybe you didn't even know if you could face it. Perhaps, you wished that it would go around you and camp in someone else's yard. Yet, you know that something was coming that you had to face.

2. Jesus asked Philip, "Where are we going to buy the bread to feed all of these people?" Jesus already knew what He was going to do. Why didn't He just tell Philip and the rest, "Hey, guys. Just relax. I've got this miracle well in hand. Just do what I tell you and you're going to see a miracle."  Instead, he asked a question that challenged Philip's ability to solve the problem. Philip answered, "Looky here, Jesus. All we have in the treasury is 200 pennies and that's not enough."
     Jesus knew how much they had in the treasury just like He already knew what He was going to do. His challenge to the disciples was to think. He asked them to take a full stock of their inventory and their ability and come up with a real solution.

     In our walk with Jesus Christ, we have got to expect that He will bring us to the same challenging moments. He'll remain silent while we think and re-think our plans to solve a problem. We need to understand that it is times like these that God is training us to rely on Him. He's not picking on us. He's not trying to make us look stupid. BUT, He is trying to get us to learn how to rely on Him.


3. Andrew told Him about a boy that had five loaves and two fishes.
    a. Andrew was not just sitting and waiting for the problem to get bigger. He had been out among            the folks, making friends and loving on people. During this time, he met a little friend who had a        lunch with him.
    b. It wasn't until AFTER Andrew brought the news to Jesus about his find that Jesus began to give         orders on how to meet this tremendous need.

     The worst thing in the world to do is just what most of us have been trained to do. When we see a problem coming our way, we stop everything we're doing and begin worrying about how to fix it. The problem is not a challenge to us. It is another opportunity for God to display His ability to meet our needs.

     Andrew kept ministering. No, he wasn't preaching. No, he wasn't leading worship. He was going through the crowd and looking for an opportunity to tell someone about Jesus. This crowd was hungrier for a relationship with Jesus Christ than they were for food. If they had come for food they would have waited until Jesus had already put the hamburgers on the grill. 

     The people you live with, live around, work with, and worship with are all looking for something more than just their meals. They don't spend hours and hours eating. Well, most of them don't. But they will spend hours and hours talking about something that interests them. AND, if that interest can be channeled into a conversation about Jesus Christ, you have fed and satisfied a soul.

4.  Jesus did NOT tell them what He was going to do. If He had, they might have had a reason to just stare at Him like He was the biggest idiot on the planet. And, Jesus, knowing their limited faith and comprehension didn't want to take the time to listen to their arguments. He just wanted to get down to the business of feeding these people and showing the disciples the glory of God. And when He deals with us, He deals with us the same way. If He DID tell you how He was going to meet your need, you would spend a lot of time trying to tell Him how impossible it was. God's smart enough to know when to shut up. He loves us just that much.

5.  An important key to witness God working a miracle in your life is to be obedient when you have no clue as to what God is up to. We are called to be disciples, or students. We are to listen, obey and learn. It is when we obey without question the things that God has asked us to do that it will begin to dawn on us what the Master is up to. When we become argumentative, rebellious or obedient because we sware up and down we HAVE to do it, we lose sight of God's ability to meed our needs.

6.  Jesus took the bread, blessed it, broke it and passed it out. He did the same with the fish. In solving our problems, the answer comes quicker when we seek the blessings of God, allow Him to break us when it is necessary, and minister to others as is needed. Remember that AS we are blessing others, God is sending others to us to bless us in return. And His promise is that it will be good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over that men will give to us.

7.  The greatest point to remember about this lesson is the title to this blog. When we say to God, "This is all I've got" He'll answer, "That's all I need." 

Jesus Broke the Law

     John chapter eleven tells of the death and resurrection of Lazarus. Dying is not unusual. Ever since Adam defaulted the world to satan, death has been the normal, every day occurrence in the world. Paul said in Romans eight that there was the "law of sin and death". Death was something everybody accepted and expected.

     Lazarus got sick. Martha knew that people died from this sickness so she sent for Jesus to come and heal her brother before he died from it. She believed that Jesus had the power to keep this horrible nightmare called death from taking her brother captive.

     Jesus knew it, too. That's why He stayed where he was for a couple of days. He knew when Lazarus died. He told His disciples that He was glad that He wasn't there to heal Lazarus of the sickness. He had previously told them that the sickness was for the glory of God and that through the sickness they were going to believe in Him stronger than ever before.

     It's important to note that God brings us through some hard things for the same reason. There are things that hurt us, things intended on destroying our faith, things that just don't look right or feel right but Jesus is Lord of them all. Hallelujah!

     When He got to the grave site, Jesus broke the law in front of everybody. Not only did Jesus break the law of death, but in raising Lazarus from the dead many of the chief priests in Jerusalem broke the law also and believed that Jesus was the Messiah.

     In Luke seventeen, Jesus met ten lepers. Leprosy was a slow and ugly death that was inescapable. Once a person was chained by the grip of leprosy the law said they were forced to live outside of the city in leper colonies. The law said they couldn't touch anyone. They were no longer allowed to share fellowship with their families. They could only talk at a safe distance while they watched their loved ones body parts disappear in ugly festering sores.

     The law of leprosy was death. Jesus broke that law and told the ten to go and show themselves to the priests so that they could be declared clean and healthy. Jesus broke the law and fellowship was restored with their families and friends.

     Just the law of sin is the same way. Under the curse of sin, fellowship with loved ones is broken. Happy and peaceful lives seem to be forbidden to those under the grips of sin. Everywhere they turn, joy eludes them on every side. Riches might come but loving relationships slip away from them.

     Jesus breaks that law and restores lives in a way that no other can.

     However, there is a worse law than sickness and death. In John the fourth chapter, Jesus came to a well in Samaria. Samaria was considered unclean and it's inhabitants were considered unclean.

     He met a woman at a well there. This woman had been married five times and was now living with a man. More than likely, the social law of the day would have considered this woman more unclean than most of the women of the town.

     Even though her past spoke volumes of "ungodliness" to the people she was around, Jesus saw something inside of her that only He could see. Deep inside this woman was an ability to follow hard after God that nobody else in that town had. This is obvious by the directness of Jesus' activity with this woman.

     He reasoned with her about 'thirst'. Being the Master that He is, He bantered with her until her curiosity about this 'thirst' subject was at it's peak. Jesus saw that her real thirst was not for men as she would think or as we would suppose by reading the story. Jesus saw that her real thirst was a strong ability to follow hard after God.

     Jesus again broke the law by calling this thirsty woman into the ministry. It's obvious that her reputation around the village of Samaria was such that when she announced 'Come see a man which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?' the men of the city came to see this Jesus. They were so amazed at Jesus' words that they asked Him to stay a couple of days and feed their hungry souls. Jesus broke the law and did. He broke the law again and led them into a deeper relationship with the Father.

     Many of us allow ourselves to be judged, convicted and considered outcasts by today's religious society. Our pasts do not necessarily 'measure up' to their supposed prerequisites for ministry. But, still there is a calling and a burning down inside of us that we were born with. Just like the woman at the well, there is a God-sensitivity we were born with that we are aching to answer. But, because of the 'laws' of religious piety we are considered common and unclean.

     In the light of this law breaking Jesus, let us reflect on several God-facts. Abraham lied twice about his wife. Moses had a speech impediment, anger issues and murdered a man. Jacob was a deceiver. King David was an adulterer and a murderer. Saul of Tarsus persecuted, imprisoned and killed Christians before he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. Noah had a drinking problem.

     God saves us and calls us to minister regardless of our background. John Newton was an avid atheist. In 1745, he became a slave trader. But, in 1748, God grabbed his heart and he later wrote the greatest hymn known to mankind, Amazing Grace. Can you imagine that? What qualifications did he have that God would dare move John Newton to write a song that has been America's go-to hymn for almost 300 years?

     His qualifications are the same as yours and mine. There is something God saw in him that nobody else did. He had a desire to follow hard after God. Sin had buried it way down inside of him. But when Jesus came into his life, He broke every imaginable, religious law and said, "Follow me."

     Just like the woman at the well and John Newton, you and I have gone through things that even we hope nobody will ever have to go through. But, God will use our hurts and disappointments to shape us into His instrument of glory. Man might not ever ordain us into "their" ministry just like Jesus was never "one of the priests". But, God will break those religious laws. He'll throw them aside just like last week's left over beans and use us to reach the lost if we'll run after him. Phil 3:12-14

Friday, January 15, 2016

Never Thirst Again Part 2, Prelude to Danger

     Pursuant to my previous blog, let me caution my readers. It is dangerous to press in to the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. Psalm 1 says that the person who meditates on the Word day and night is like a tree that is planted by the rivers of water, the Holy Spirit.

     The Psalm goes on to say that this Holy Word combined with the Holy Spirit in a person will bring forth a change. Instead of just being an ordinary limbs and leaves thingy, he will be transformed into a prosperous, fruit-bearing tree that will never wither. But that's not the danger.

     Instead of being like all of the other ordinary trees, this Word man Spirit drinker will morph. He will no longer be content to be like the other trees. The insides of him will begin to compel him to spread out his limbs and branches so he can produce more. As the demand grows, his roots will go deeper into the soil to quench his thirsting heart. His roots will get bigger and begin to soak up more Spirit water to feed the hunger of his fruit producing limbs. But that is not the danger.

     Instead of just bearing his fruit, with power and joy he will encourage more of the 'just trees' to drink deeply of that living water. More trees will experience the joy of 'never thirsting' as they, too begin to grow, sink down deeper roots and produce bigger and better fruit. But that is not the danger.

     Let me say at this point, there is no danger to a God-tree if it grows because of the Word and the Water of the Holy Spirit. That is what the God-tree was meant to do----drink deeply and produce abundantly.

     The danger is not to the God-tree but to the pure out ol' devil and his demons. As the God-tree produces food, others are fed and more are encouraged to do the same. Lives change and in turn become fruit producing God-trees sucking in the Holy Spirit. Others see the glorious change that goes on in the life of the God-tree, imitate it's actions and in turn stop being just normal.

     As for me, if it's going to cause the devil ANY grief at all, I'm going to drink deeper and more often than I have been. I want to put that disgusting slime ball out of business in my life, my home, my children, my church and the town God sent me to live in.

     So let me go on record as saying that I want to go on a God adventure that would make James Bond and his antics look like a cartoon. I have already begun prayer walking around my neighborhood as well as the streets of Savannah. What for? Well, why not? You gotta pray somewhere. I may as well walk through demon infested streets pleading the blood of Jesus over the powers of hell that run rampant.The idea is to trip some of them to where they turn loose of their sinful prey and I get a chance to win them to Jesus Christ.

     Let's drink up and stay thirsty my friend.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Never Thirst Again

John 4:14--NIV--But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up into eternal life.

John 7:38--NIV--Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.

     According to Jesus, there should never be a statement like, "I can't wait to get to church tonight because I really need a blessing." Or, "I sure hope everyone is in one accord tonight because the church sure does need a breakthrough. We've been going through a real dry spell."

     He was talking about the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit in these two verses. Jesus left His throne in Heaven, toiled among mortal man, had people talk down on Him, was beaten more than any human being had ever been beaten, hung on a cross for six hours until God said it was enough just to shed His blood to clean us up for the Holy Spirit to live in us. He said that the Holy Spirit would fill us so full that we would never thirst again. He said that the Holy Spirit was supposed to be like an artesian well springing up within us.

     Then why do we come to church so dry and thirsty? Why do we hope that the worship leader can pep us up? Why do we hope that the preacher gets on fire today? If that is our thought while we are getting ready to go to church then we're not ready to go to church yet. We're not ready to go to church until the power of the Holy Spirit is coursing through us. On top of that, we're not ready to face the day or the day's problems until the Holy Spirit is bubbling up inside of us. THAT is the way Jesus said the Holy Spirit was gonna be. If that's not the way it is in our lives then it is not Jesus' fault or the Holy Spirit's fault.
   Never thirst again. Give Him praise and flow in His power throughout the day. It will build up your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and His power will begin to grow inside of you. Your faith in Him and the Word of God will blossom. Souls will be saved, people will be healed because of the increase of the Presence of God that will begin abounding in your church.

     So what do you have to lose?