Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Violent Take it By Force

God has a door of hope that He wants us to walk through by faith.  If we will walk by faith in the things He has spoken to us, we can possess all He has promised us.  What has God promised you?  Healing?  Deliverance?  Provision?  Peace?  Joy?  All of God’s promises are “Yes” and “Amen” in Christ Jesus (see II Corinthians 1:20).  All the promises of the Word belong to us.  What is the vision God has given you for the future?  You can possess it, by faith.  What battle are you facing today?  You can overcome it, by faith!

Jesus said, “I am the door.  If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9).  The pasture represents all of the blessings that are ours in Christ.  The pasture is like the Promised Land.  It is ours, but we must go in and possess it.  We possess it by exercising our faith.  Faith requires action.  We have to declare our faith, speaking life.

Everything you need in this life is found in Jesus, the door.  He promises life, abundant life!  But there is also a thief, who comes to steal, kill and destroy (see John 10:10).  Abundant life is not an unconditional promise.  It is something we possess by faith.

Jesus has given us the keys of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 16:19).  The keys represent authority in heaven and on earth.  What great privilege God has given to us!  Upon the revelation of Christ, Jesus is building his church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).  Have you ever felt like the gates of hell have opened wide against you?  Sometimes I feel like the hordes of Satan assail me with ferocious fury.  But, Jesus says Satan will not prevail.  Jesus has given me authority, both in heaven and upon earth, to walk in victory.

There is the ever-present reality of two kingdoms - the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of darkness.  Darkness wants to secure a beach head in our souls, make camp, and continue to advance.  Darkness wants to rule and reign in our personal lives, our families, our cities and our nations.  The enemy’s kingdom is ruthless, deceitful and under-handed.  Sometimes it seems unfair.  But we can rule in the midst of our enemies (see Psalm 110:2).  God will fight for us.  But God wants us to take up our authority in Him.  If we will do our part, God will do what we cannot do.  

The nature of God’s kingdom is that it must be entered into.  We must possess it by faith.  II Timothy 6:12 says, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (emphasis mine).  Jesus has provided everything we need through his life, death, and resurrection.  We must walk in His blessing by faith.

Jesus said, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12).  This verse stirs me up.  The kingdom of heaven is not for the faint of heart.  In Luke 16:16, Jesus said it this way, “The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it.”  God is calling us to a radical commitment to His kingdom.  

Did you sign up for this fight?  Perhaps not!  But you were drafted into God’s army when you accepted His request to become His child.  Welcome to the fight.  It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.  When we feel the kingdom of darkness trying to impose its way upon us, something ought to rise up inside of us.  We have the power within us that is greater than he who is in this world (I John 4:4).  You can do this, you can be victorious!

What is your fight?  What enemies are coming against you?  Rise up and take your place of authority.  Fight for your family, your children, your marriage, your city.  Stand at the doorway of your home and declare that Jesus Christ is Lord.  In the words of Nehemiah, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.” (Nehemiah 4:14)

Friday, August 28, 2015

He Loves You!

I think this is one of the most important prayers in the Bible, that God would give us a Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that we can know Him.  God loves you so much and wants a real relationship with you.  It is possible, you can know God and He can know you.  You can be alive in His Spirit, know His love in your life, and be filled with the Hope of eternal life.  God Bless!

"Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe..."
-Ephesians 1:15-19

Friday, August 21, 2015

Has the Message Changed You?

“For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”
-Philippians 3:18-21

As we drove through the West Virginia countryside last week, I saw a sign in front of a church that read, “We don’t change the message, the message changes us.”  That prompted me to think of how many people in our culture want to change God’s message by conforming it to their sinful lifestyle.  But Jesus didn’t die so we could remain in our sins.  He died to free us from our sins, to free us from the power of sin.  My question for you today is this:  Has the message changed your life? 

I grew up in church.  As a young boy, I was taught God’s word.  And I had a wonderful example of a praying mother.  I’m grateful for the foundation that was laid in my life.  I believe it has carried me through some hard times.  In many ways, the message formed my character.  Yet, I have still struggled with some things that have not been easy to change.  Sometimes the lack of change can be discouraging. 

It’s great when God changes us instantly.  There was a time in my life, where sometimes I would get so down on myself that I would literally look in the mirror and curse myself.  One night I was walking by my church in Texas, singing quietly.  I wasn’t really focusing on the Lord, just enjoying the peaceful evening.  Suddenly the Holy Spirit came upon me.  I couldn’t get low enough to the ground.  I was on my knees in the gravel, convicted by the Spirit.  In that moment, God made it clear to me that I was not going to curse myself anymore.  I didn’t feel the least bit condemned.  I felt loved by God.  I walked away free, a changed person. 

A week or two after my experience I felt that spirit, what I believe was a spirit of self-hatred, try to come back into my life.  I recognized it immediately and stopped it.  Since that day, I haven’t stood in front of the mirror and cursed myself.  Even though I still get down on myself sometimes, I know God set me free.  In His presence I was changed.    

There are other things in our lives that do not change as quickly or easily.  It is a process.  But we can change.  We are changed “from glory to glory.”  We change by beholding His glory.  II Corinthians 3:17-18 says, 
“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 
I have a tendency to focus on my problems.  I get discouraged with my own lack of progress.  Or I feel like a failure because I want to change, but struggle to do so.  However, focusing on our problems is not the answer.  Focusing on Jesus is the answer.  We are changed into His image by looking at Him.  We become more like Him, when we fix our eyes on Him.  By faith in Him, we can speak to the mountains in our lives, and see them move!  Thank God, we can be changed by the power of His Holy Spirit!  Today, the message is still powerful.  It still changes ordinary people.  Has the message changed you?

“I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”
-Matthew 17:20