<p class="has-drop-cap" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">Say you're taking a trip last minute out of no where. Not a good idea, for some, it's a great idea. If you remember the important parts of the… More
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
How great it is to be called a son or daughter of the Most High. Every season of Christmas I am reminded of not only the Promise of Jesus but the invitation that He gives freely to everyone to receive Him. It is an invitation for all. “That no one should perish”
I’d like to mention that we can receive many things in life and people without actually acknowledging them. We take everything for granted at times, I know I do. Anyone who is of God has already received Him, but are we acknowledging Him? In our everyday? Are we showing it with our actions, on how we treat others, show love and our lives presenting Christ?
Receive definition: be given, presented with, or paid (something).
Acknowledge definition: accept or admit the existence or truth of.
When we received Him, we had said “God I can’t do life on my own, I need your help, forgive me of any wrong in my life and help me everyday to live a life for you.” That is acknowledging Him!
SO ARE WE DECLARING WHO WE ARE IN CHRIST EVERYDAY? ACKNOWLEDGING THE POWER THAT IS IN HIS NAME WHEN WE RECEIVED HIM AS LORD OVER OUR LIVES?
OR ARE WE DECLARING WHAT OUR PROBLEMS ARE INSTEAD OF WHO WE ARE.
WE ARE WHO HE SAYS WE ARE:
We are royalty.<p class="has-text-align-center" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">We are his.We are his.
I believe there’s a difference between things that are given to us and things that are available to us in the unseen or the spiritual realm (2 Cor. 4:18). What’s given are the things that are just handed to us and we often become complacent in them.
It’s easy to settle for a simple, yet surface-level life, a job that just provides, the so-called American Dream, or a relationship with Jesus that has no depth. However, things that are available are true satisfaction, healing, miracles, purpose, breakthrough, power, closeness to God, and joy.
Desperation causes us to look beyond what’s given. Desperation takes what’s available. It says, “There has to be more and I need it.”
The woman with the issue of blood that we read in Luke 8:43-48 was to say the least very desperate. She had spent her life savings just to find a cure but nothing helped. She had heard of a man named Jesus who was in town. A man who some claimed was the Messiah, but she was willing to just touch the hem of His garment to be healed.
She didn’t let the crowd that was pressed around Him stop her. She didn’t let the naysayers along the way to doubt her. She didn’t care about her social status, she was desperate.
There are times when we need to get out of our box of what’s “normal.” It might require undignified prayer, praise, fasting, and devotion. If we want to experience a touch from Heaven badly enough, we’ll do whatever it takes. Desperation makes a move.
What is one move you could decide to make today?
God desires relationship. He wants to be part of every aspect of our lives. He wants to come in and fill every void space in our minds, our hearts and soul. All He requires is for us to keep the doors to our hearts wide open.
“Lift up your heads, O gates!
And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.”
Lord I give you control over every area of my life. Every ancient door in my life, and stubborn entrance within my heart, my mind, my body and soul be lifted so that you can come in and have your way.
Outnumbered. Over taken. Out of options.
10 When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” 13 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
Sometimes we run out of options but we never run out of opportunities. We may feel:
- OUTNUMBERED – but not forgotten.
2. Overtaken – but not forsaken.
3. Out of options- opportunity for God to do something that He has never done before.
It takes us running out of options before we get to a Divine opportunity at times. It seems when you have no options thats when God can do what He does best — miracles.
In the book of Exodus, God ordained that place where they would be outnumbered, overtaken, but it gave divine opportunity for a miracle.
The enemy delights in shutting down all of our options so that we reach a point that we can compromise or quit.
But Moses says this…”“Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today.”
When you run out of options somewhere hidden in that situation is a divine opportunity for God to move in a way that you would not get if you still had alternatives that you could turn to other than God.
When you run out of options it gives an opportunity for God to do a miracle!
When you run out of options it is God that is saying, “Stand firm and see the Salvation of the Lord.”
Do you feel Outnumbered? Overtaken or Out of Options?
To grant those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called the oaks of righteousness…
–Isaiah 61:3 ESV
There was a man whose livelihood was in the wine industry. He was asked by a friend if the drought they were having in California was negatively impacting him.
He said no and that actually grapevines are amazing plants because the harsher the weather and the rougher the vines are treated, the better grapes they eventually produce. Their roots are forced to dig deep to get what they need to survive, thus producing healthier plants. This farmer had no idea how true what he said was for life in general.
We don’t know when this pandemic will end, we don’t know if this is the new normal. Fear has run rampant and chaos has sprung up. However, these are the things that make us dig deep, to find our identity in Him. And to have a sturdy foundation for what comes next, we know in whom we put our trust in and dig even deeper. Let these strange times shape you for the better. We will eventually see fruit coming from them.
God is the vine; we are the branches; and united in Him, we shall flourish. God wastes nothing, and from these ashes, beauty will arise.
IN THIS CHAPTER, BEFORE JOSHUA’S PASSING, HE CALLS FOR ALL THE ELDERS, JUDGES, & LEADERS. HE BEGINS TO REMIND THEM OF THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD. HE REMINDS THEM OF EGYPT, PAST BATTLES THAT GOD GAVE THEM VICTORY OVER. THE MANNA THAT WAS GIVEN EVERYDAY IN THE WILDERNESS.
14 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” — Joshua 24:14-15
We have choices everyday. What to wear, what to eat that day. But everyday we make a conscience decision to choose Him in everything.
“But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
ii. Joshua could make this statement because he had lived a life that continuously chose to serve the LORD.
· Joshua chose to fight against the Amalekites – choosing when it might cost everything.
· Joshua chose to reject the golden calf – choosing when the flesh might be satisfied.
· Joshua chose to serve the Lord by serving Moses – choosing a humble place.
· Joshua chose to believe God’s promise about the Promised Land – choosing against the majority.
· Joshua chose to recognize the leadership of the Captain of the LORD’s army – choosing surrender to God.
· Joshua chose to take leadership of Israel and lead them into the land – choosing faith instead of unbelief.
iii. God gives us choice. God is a choosing God; we are made in His image. He wants us to also choose.
So who will you choose?
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. — Matthew 6:24
A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
In everything we do there is always preparation. Preparation to start a new job, preparation to getting married, preparation to having kids. You get the picture. And there is also another kind of preparation that God is calling us to do. This kind of prep is ongoing, it’s not only for a season of our lives but everyday.
There are obstacles that we can put before God, and those obstacles can be a hinderance to our relationship. What we might think is good for us on the other hand isn’t pleasant in the eyes of God. God can do anything, right? His power is limitless, we all know that. But it’s up to us, as obedient children of God to surrender those obstacles to Him. I like the prayer that David prayed in Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me”
I don’t need to give examples of the obstacles that can get in the way, we all know those obstacles that we need to make flat. It’s all in the prep work to make every “mountain and hill low; the uneven ground shall become level…”
Right now, where you’re at ask the Lord to reveal those obstacles in your life, ask Him to make a way in the wilderness. Ask for help in preparing your heart for His soon return.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
— 1 Peter 1:3-7
Before I can even start telling you about the Living Hope in Jesus, we first must realize that it was mercy that sent us Hope.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) …” Ephesians 2:4-5.
WHAT DOES THIS LIVING HOPE MEAN FOR THE BELIEVER?
FOR THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN BORN AGAIN WE HAVE A LIVING HOPE THAT IS LIVING INSIDE OF US!
DESPITE WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND US
INTO WHATEVER STORM WE MAY ENCOUNTER
INTO WHATEVER BATTLE WE MAY FACE
WE HAVE THIS GREAT HOPE IN THE MIDST OF THE WAR
OUR ONLY HOPE BELONGS IN NO OTHER PERSON BUT IN HIM
Remember our hope is not in a pastor, it’s not in America, it’s not in ourselves or anything this world has to offer.
How can we remain steadfast in a storm when the waves come up against me?
HEBREWS 6:19 “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,…”
- HE IS OUR ANCHOR
“On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.”
a. Let us cross over to the other side: Jesus made a promise to His disciples. He didn’t say, “Let us perish in the middle of the Sea of Galilee.”
He promised His disciples that they would cross over to the other side.
We are not promised a fair life
We are not promised to a life without struggles
We are not promised to not go through the fire
We are not promised tomorrow!
Many times we don’t understand the “why’s” of life. It’s in those moments that when the seas become choppy and everything is against us that we truly know how strong the anchor holds.
BUT WHAT HE DID PROMISE IS THAT HE’LL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU!
DEUT. 31:6 “BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS. DO NOT BE AFRAID OR TERRIFIED BECAUSE OF THEM, FOR THE LORD YOUR GOD GOES WITH YOU; HE WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU OR FORSAKE YOU.”
Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.“
IT’S IN THOSE TIMES MANY WANT TO JUMP SHIP.
Many believe the lies that they will never see light at the end of the tunnel, it’s always going to be this way, it’s over my head. We may have these thoughts but what He promised the disciples and to us…He will meet us on the other side.
HE DIDN’T SAY I’LL MEET YOU HALF WAY AND YOU FIGURE IT OUT.
WHAT DOES THIS Living Hope mean for the Believer?
- GOD IS FOR US — Romans 8:31 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
When we are faced with the impossible, we forget what is possible with Him. We may ask, “Where is God in all of this?”
Mark 4:38 “And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
IN THAT MOMENT OF ASKING QUESTIONS…WE WANT ANSWERS…WE DON’t WANT TO WAIT ANY LONGER…I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE…
Even though words can’t express the chaos and confusion and questions we may have. We serve a God who knows and feels our infirmities
But let me assure you that God doesn’t always have to speak to you to know that He is with you.
In the midst of the storm there is a presence. WE MUST Believe in the power of the presence of God KNOWING THAT HE IS FOR US.
The DISCIPLES DIDN’T TAKE JESUS AT HIS WORDS
A. ARE WE TAKING HIM AT HIS WORD?
ISAIAH 55:11 “ SO SHALL MY WORD THAT GOES OUT OF MY MOUTH; IT SHALL NOT RETURN TO ME EMPTY, BUT IT SHALL ACCOMPLISH THAT WHICH I PURPOSE, AND SHALL SUCCEED IN THE THING FOR WHICH I SENT.
IF HE SAID IT HE WILL DO IT!
How many times has God said a word to you and in order to fulfill a purpose. And all the sudden the storm comes in your life and when you get through that storm you look back and think if I had not went through that storm I would not have made it to where I am right now.
If HE LED YOU TO IT, HE WILL LEAD YOU THROUGH IT.
He won’t leave you hanging!
Mark 4:39-40 “And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. “But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!””
— It is possible to have peace in a crisis.
— It is possible to have joy in a crisis
He WANTS US TO HAVE AN UNMOVABLE — UNSHAKABLE— UN WAVERING FAITH.
WHAT DOES THIS Living Hope mean for the Believer?
We have this hope as an anchor
We have this hope knowing that He is for us
- WE KNOW WE HAVE A FUTURE HOPE –
1 Peter 1:3-4
“He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
WE MAY NOT KNOW THE PLANS or what’s next, “I don’t need to know ‘why,’ as long as I know the One who knows “why.’”
YOU’VE GOT TO LEAN NOT ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING BUT LEAN ON THE ANCHOR FOR NOTHING WILL MOVE HIM
Hope itself is like a star — not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity and only to be discovered in the night of adversity. — Charles Spurgeon
— To realize the worth of the anchor, we need to feel the storm.
When we feel the stress of the storm, we learn the strength of the anchor.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
In these trying times, it seems that darkness is overtaking light. We can look at our economy, the violence that we may hear of terrible things happening, or even the fear of getting sick. At times it seems that darkness is taking over and so we ask, where is God in all of this?
As God heard the cries of deliverance from His people in Egypt who had been in bondage for over 400 years; God responded. He found a man named Moses to free His people. A man who claims to have stuttered and not speak eloquently found a side kick to go with him, Aaron.
After many attempts to free His people, God told Moses to “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness to be felt.” — this ninth plague would make Pharaoh’s heart even harder.
(A darkness that had a supernatural element in which it could be felt.)
“So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was pitch darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days, but all the people of Israel had light where they lived.”
In all of the darkness that was there for three days, God supplied the needs of His people, He provided His light so that they would not be in darkness.
In this season that we are in, we may feel fear, discouragement, anxiety, the darkness that at times feels like its sucking the very life out of you. But remember this, that every time you ask “God, where are You in all of this?”
Remember, He is right where you are. He is still being a provider, supplying all of your needs according to His riches in Glory. He is the light, a light that darkness cannot, will not overcome.
Jesus said that He has overcome the World. He has overcome the fear, the depression, the anxiety, any darkness. Come to the light which is Jesus and find the freedom that you need!
Like others, I have too had to adapt to this “quarantine” “Stay at Home” or “Lose Your Mind” kind of lifestyle. It’s like life halted all at once, because it has. Everything was comfortable, normal, we were in control of when and where we wanted to go and BAM! We were left with the economy spiraling downwards, millions of unemployment within three weeks and our lives would be changed. But for the better?
We ask ourselves, what was the point in all of this?
It’s like we have been scattered in a wilderness of isolation, desolate, uninhabited and deserted by others. Let’s face it, isolation is a wilderness!
But I want to point out that the “wilderness” is an invitation. How is that?
God may be shaking us, wanting us to re-prioritize our lives and re-align ourselves for the better. He may be showing you areas in your life where you need to repent, areas that you are lacking. For some, it is a hard thing to do. But it’s been done before.
The Israelites: When they were in their “wilderness” God provided; not for days ahead but each day He made provision. – Exodus 16
Hagar: When she fled into her “wilderness” a promise was revealed to her by an angel of the Lord about her son who was Ishmael. – Genesis 16
Jesus: After being baptized in water by John, Jesus was led into His “wilderness” where he was tempted for forty days and forty nights by the enemy, preparing Him for His ministry. – Matthew 4
The Wilderness is an invitation into dependence.
Sometimes invitations from God are not wrapped in a pretty bow. Most times it’s going to cause discomfort and loneliness. But remember that we never graduate from being dependent on God to being independent from God.
//QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF\\
WILL YOU ALLOW THE WILDERNESS TO HARDEN YOUR HEART?
OR ALLOW HIM TO CRUSH US, PRUNE US?
LEAVE THE WILDERNESS CHANGED!
Q: In whom does your strength come from?
A: We find strength in the Word of God.
1 Samuel 30:1-6. FINDING STRENGTH IN HIS WORD
Now when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, the Amalekites had made a raid against the Negeb and against Ziklag. They had overcome Ziklag and burned it with fire 2 and taken captive the women and all who were in it, both small and great. They killed no one, but carried them off and went their way. 3 And when David and his men came to the city, they found it burned with fire, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. 4 Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep. 5 David’s two wives also had been taken captive, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 6 And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
We read David had a choice to seek God for strength or to go on his own strength.
- WHEN NO ONE IS THERE TO ENCOURAGE YOU,
- WHEN ALL YOUR FRIENDS HAVE TURNED AWAY
- THERE IS ONE! THAT STICKS CLOSER THAN A BROTHER
- ABLE TO EMPATHIZE WITH OUR WEAKNESSES
- He IS AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER INTERCEDING ON OUR BEHALF
WHEN ALL HOPE IS GONE AND HIS WORD IS ALL YOU HAVE, YOU’VE COME TO THE PLACE WHERE HE WANTS YOU! WHEN YOU COME TO THE END OF YOURSELF BUT ALL YOU HAVE IS HIS WORD, YOU’VE COME TO THE PLACE WHERE HE WANTS YOU!
WHEN YOU TAKE THE SPIRITS LEADING INSTEAD OF YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING AND ALL YOU HAVE IS HIS WORD TO LIGHT UP THE PATH, YOU’RE GOING TO THE PLACE WHERE HE WANTS YOU!
“But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God”
“It’s the Word of God that is sharper than any two edged sword.” – Hebrews 4:12
It cuts through sin
It cuts off addictions
It is living!
THINGS BEGIN TO CHANGE WHEN YOU FIND STRENGTH IN HIS WORD!
“But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.”
WHEN WE WAIT ON HIM, HE WILL RENEW OUR STRENGTH, IT’S ONLY IN HIS WORD THAT ARE STRENGTH IS FOUND.
We are living in strange times, who would’ve thought that some virus could devastate the economy? It has shaken every part of our world as we know it. Our jobs, our families and more than that it has shaken the economy. And for some it has shaken a lot of things that you would’ve never thought possible. What will you be left with when all of this goes away? Will you have more money than before? Will you have your job? What will remain when the dust settles? or more importantly, will you be moved by this storm? Or will you take refuge in the Lord?
Paul reminds us in Hebrews 12:27 “This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken — that is, things that have been made — in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.”
Every distraction that has been the priority, our careers, our lives has been shut down. And we have been driven back to the basics of family and faith. I believe that God sometimes has to shake our world to re-focus our priorities in order to wake us up and for us to realize that He is our priority.
So where is your faith? Is it in man, money, possessions?
Or is it in Christ alone?
God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power – to overcome the obstacles and love – to help others and sound mind – ability to not panic, make wise choices, to choose faith over fear. – 2 Timothy 1:7
Have you ever thought that there was something too hard for God? Have you ever thought to yourself, “why am I even praying this prayer”? My hand is raised. I’ve been guilty of limiting the power of God in my life. Just think about it. You have an impossible situation in front of you and what is the first thought that comes to mind? Are we casting “that” in the sea and pursuing, believing for the impossible? Or are we casting that thought down and choosing to believe that it’s too hard?
What God is asking Jeremiah is the same question that He is asking you and I. Is there anything too hard for Him? Is there a family member, someone you may know of too far to save? What about the drug addict? too far gone to deliver? The diseased? Sickness is too far gone? Your situation too far gone that God cannot still show up and show off? Of course not, He is the same today and forever and hasn’t changed. The only one that has changed is YOU!
Our vision changes when we don’t believe in God for the impossibles.
Our Vision – Without the vision of seeing it come to pass, we will never walk into what He has for us. Do you have 20/20 vision?
GENESIS 15:1-6 < A VISION IS GIVEN >
15 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2 But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” 4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” 5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
Abram was questioning God, “Offspring? I’m too old.”
When a vision is given by God, we need to nurture that vision. God has pregnated each one of us with a mission, His will in our lives. Even though it may sound strange or down right crazy. Will you believe the Lord?
GENESIS 17:15-19 < A PROMISE IS GIVEN >
We know by now that the Lord promised Abram a child. But he listened to his wife instead of waiting for the promise. What would you have done?
I have looked past over the years the friends and people that God has put in my life. Some have stayed but most have gone. Not on bad terms, we have just grown in different ways. It’s important to be around people with the same mindset, who not only cares just as much as you do for the vision that God has impregnated you with, but a friend who you can trust to give you Godly advice
Studies have shown that being thankful improves our physical and emotional health. Holding on to feelings of thankfulness boosts our immune system and increases blood supply to our heart. Daily guided exercises or the habit of keeping a weekly gratitude journal can increase our alertness, enthusiasm, and energy, and improve our sleep. People who describe themselves as feeling grateful tend to suffer less stress and depression than the rest of the population.
On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance.
- ITS COMMON TO SEE A GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO HAS THE SAME OUTLOOK AND THE SAME ATTITUDE OF A CONDITION HUDDLED TOGETHER.
- LIKE NEGATIVE NANCY, DEBBIE DOWNER, PESSIMISTIC PAT, AND A FEW OTHERS WERE THERE.
13 and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” (DO YOU WANT TO BE HEALED?)
SOMETIMES WE ARE NOT PRESENTED WITH A QUESTION FROM GOD BUT AN ACTION AND THAT ACTION IS THANKFULNESS, PRAISE AND HONOR!
HE WANTS TO SEE OUR HEARTS REACTION TO A MIRACLE OR A BLESSING.
“I will give thanks to you with all my heart, O Lord my God. I will honor you forever because your mercy toward me is great.”
And as they went they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice;
- (STOOD AT DISTANCE) IT WAS LAW THAT THEY HAD TO KEEP A DISTANCE BETWEEN OTHERS. JESUS IS STANDING IN FRONT OF THEM. RELIGION KEEPS US FROM GIVING THANKS, RELIGION KEEPS US FROM BELIEVING THE IMPOSSIBLE.
16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
THE LEPERS WERE WANTING HEALING BUT ONLY ONE CAME BACK WITH A SOUND OF PRAISE!
BE THANKFUL. IF WE ARE NOT CONTENT AND GRATEFUL FOR WHAT WE HAVE AND WHO WE ARE, THEN WE ARE NOT LOVING GOD AS WE SHOULD.
EMBRACE TRUST RATHER THAN CONTROL
THE BEGINNING OF REBELLION IS A THANKLESS HEART.
Who and what are you leaning into? That is the question.
26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” – Genesis 32:26
Maybe at times we have wrestled with God about a certain situation. We think of all the why’s. Why hasn’t He fulfilled that promise in my life, why hasn’t He performed this miracle that He said He would do? Our mind could go in a thousand directions off of just one why. But we are told to not lean on our own understanding. So who and what are you leaning on?
When we experience the pain from those “why’s” we have two options.
- Lean into God
- Lean on self
It took me years, I mean years to learn not to lean, to listen to others, to figure out my understanding of the issue. But to “Be Still and know that I am God” resting in Him will divert your own solution to the issue.
Questions to ask yourself:
- Are you leaning on His guidance? The direction of the Holy Spirit?
- Or are we leaning on ourselves to figure the why’s of life out?
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:2-4
- There’s value in struggles
- There’s value in trials
- There’s value in temptations
Jacob didn’t understand in that moment but he still leaned into Him…
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. (Struggle, trial, sickness, temptation,) In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”- Proverbs 3:5
…And whenever God is ready there will be a blessing in the release.
James 1:12 blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life.
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Surrendering is not on our weekly to do list. I know it isn’t on mine. with the hustle and bustle of life, it’s so easy to strive for success than to surrender. But for most we define success as a fulfilling and prosperous career, satisfying relationship, and a happy and productive life.
God though, defines success a lot differently then we do. He isn’t concerned with the amount of money you make, the shoes you wear, the position you hold in a company or a church. He doesn’t measure you on the accomplishments or charitable work that you’ve done.
The question I have to ask ourselves is this. We repent to be forgiven but are we choosing to surrender in order to be changed?
- There is always a call to surrender
Everyday of our lives, we are called to surrender our will for His. We are called to lay down our lives for His name sake. Luke 14:27 “And whosoever cannot bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”
The beauty of surrender is that in everyday life, we have the choice to lay down our burdens, our ways of doing things and exchanging them for His rest.
When Jesus called the disciples, it meant no going back to the way of life they once knew.
In the book of 1 Kings 19:19-21 after Elisha is called of God to follow Elijah, Elisha went back, not to stay, not to think about it or to throw a “going away party” but he did something very crucial. He destroyed his livelihood, the very means of secure necessities of life. Elisha seen more value in the pursuit of God than his own.
“To step forward in your destiny you have to step away from your security.”
Just like Elisha, we have the choice to follow God or our own agenda.
” Choose this day in whom you will serve.”
PART 1 – REJOICING IN HOPE
Have you ever been asked, “how is it possible to be so joyful in your situation?” or ” how are you being so patient with ___________?
Paul in Romans 12 shows us what the true character of the child of God has. A character of hope, a character of patience and a character of steadfastness.
Romans 12:9-12 “ “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
IN ANY WALK OF LIFE, THERE WILL BE TIMES OF GREAT BLESSING AND TIMES OF GREAT DIFFICULTY.
There will be times when we will be joyful, and times of desperation in the middle of our crisis. But experience in the Christian walk is to be a learning tool. You don’t learn truth by just remembering it you learn it by experiencing it in our lives. God teaches us His word through experience.
HOW TO REJOICE IN HOPE WHEN LIFE IS HARD?
- IF WE KEEP THINKING THAT SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN, AND IT DOESN’T, YOU END UP FEELING SICK, DON’T PUT YOURSELF IN THAT POSITION. DON’T LIVE YOUR LIFE IN SUCH A WAY THAT YOU SET YOURSELF UP TO BE DISAPPOINTED.
|Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.|
5 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
As you learn to rejoice in hope, you will not be overcome by life’s hardships. Instead, you will overcome them with good!
IN HIS WORD, GOD CALLS US TO PERSEVERE OVER THE LONG HAUL.
Are you pressing onward toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God? – Philippians 3:14
When you value something, you protect it, you cherish it, and you guard it. Do you look at it this way about the anointing? What is the anointing? Why should I guard this anointing? And how to preserve what God has given us will be answered.
First off, the gifts that God has given to us is way different than the anointing.
The gifts of God are the tools in which God has given us to help further the kingdom. The anointing of God is the empowerment of these gifts, make sense?
There are gifted worship leaders and yet there are anointed musicians.
There are gifted pastors but yet there are anointed pastors.
What a gift does:
A gift can fill a room
A gift can entertain a crowd
A gift can stir people up
What a gift cannot do:
Set those who are captive free.
Break off the bondage of those who are in chains.
Isaiah 66:1 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, he has sent me to bind up the broken hearted; To proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.
What the anointing does:
The anointing does what it’s intended to do, to break the bondages off of the enemy grip. to free those who are walking in bondage.
2 Timothy 1:14 “By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.”
How well are you guarding the anointing?
We can live a life and live it wrong or live it right.
If you want to live the right life…
1. The right atmosphere – creating the right atmosphere with praise.
2. The right energy source – The power of the Holy Spirit
If you’re fighting the flesh with the flesh you’re not going to win.
Ephesians 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness.”
A. The problems, challenges or addictions that we try to “fight” we will always lose.
But we have a Energy Source
1. We have a supernatural energy source — for the believer THE Holy Spirit
PRAYING IN AN UNKNOWN TONGUE,
PRAYING IN THE SPIRIT,
A LANGUAGE THAT GOD GIVES will give us the energy, the
1 CORINTHIANS 14:2 “FOR ONE WHO SPEAKS IN A TONGUE SPEAKS NOT TO MEN BUT TO GOD.”
WE BYPASS THE NATURAL MIND, AND OTHER OPINIONS when we pray in the spirit
PAUL SAYS IN 1 COR. 14 “I THANK GOD I SPEAK WITH TONGUES MORE THAN YOU ALL”
WHEN YOU PRAY IN AN UNKNOWN TONGUE — IT’S THE BELIEVERS ENERGY SOURCE.
It disrupts the enemies plans short circuits
ISAIAH 28:11 “WITH STAMMERING LIPS AND AN UNKNOWN TONGUE HE WILL SPEAK TO HIS PEOPLE, IT’LL BE A REFRESHING. IT’LL BE A ENERGY SOURCE…”
IT’S WHERE WE GET OUR ENERGY FROM! It’ refreshing, it will edify the Believer!
ROMANS 8: “WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO PRAY, THE SPIRIT HIMSELF WILL INTERCEDE FOR US.”
HE WANTS TO PRAY FOR THE PERFECT WILL OF GOD THROUGH YOU…
HOW DO YOU DO THAT?
- YOU GET BAPTIZED IN THE Holy Spirit
- YOU GET FILLED WITH THE Holy Spirit
AMERICA NEEDS TO BE FILLED WITH THE Holy Spirit
⁃ IT WILL MAKE YOU LOVE EVERYBODY
⁃ WOULD’NT BE ANY RACE ISSUES
⁃ IT WOULD MAKE YOU LOVE ONE ANOTHER
⁃ BE FOR ONE ANOTHER
⁃ ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER
⁃ THERE IS TOO MUCH HATE
⁃ TOO MUCH FLESH
WE NEED THE POWER OF THE Holy Spirit BACK IN OUR LIVES!
Do you ever wonder if you’re living the right life? In Proverbs it talks about a way that seems right to a man but in the end it will lead to destruction. That’s the price we pay if we go our own way. But Jesus says in John 14:6 “6 Jesus said to him, “I am lthe way, and mthe truth, and nthe life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Key # 1 – The Right Atmosphere
3 keys to living the right life
Psalm 34:1-4 “
We can live a life and live it wrong or live it right.
“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.
4 I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
When we begin to magnify God and praise God that is the key to deliverance.The enemy chooses fear because it is so gripping.
In our life we create the atmosphere.
Emotions create atmospheres
If someone is sad angry, upset without a word being said from their spirit you feel whatever they are feeling.
But when we MAGNIFY
When you praise the Lord you confuse the strategy of hell.
When you praise the Lord you take control of the territory you are in.
From worry to worship.
From panic to praise.
Praise is a divine invitation
That’s How we get Gods favor and blessings and God responds to the atmosphere of praise, thanksgiving, of gratitude!
So whatever situation you may be in, press in to Him! Give Him praise and see how things can change!
There is nothing like going on vacation to see those who you haven’t seen in such a long time. Knowing the activities and adventures that you will embark on are priceless. The time that you will spend together laughing, maybe crying about stories that you have experienced in the past are priceless. Maybe it’s just a phone call to hear their voice that you haven’t heard in a long time. That time together is priceless.
That is how it is with the Lord, David says in Psalms 63:5
“Daily I will worship you passionately and with all my heart. My arms will wave to you like banners of praise. I overflow with praise when I come before you, for the anointing of your presence satisfies me like nothing else. You are such a rich banquet of pleasure to my soul. – Passion Translation
Q: So What is The Purpose of His Presence?
A: He, the Holy Spirit keeps you from wandering and causes you to separate (consecrate) anything else that is trying to take His place.
18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen.19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”[a]20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
There was something about Him that made these men leave behind their lives their livelihoods all that they have ever know they threw it away for the cause of Christ. What was it? They saw His Presence so valuable.
“You make known to me cthe path of life;
in your presence there is dfullness of joy;
at your right hand are epleasures forevermore.”
Do you see His Presence so valuable and so priceless?
“Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
David knew the grace and deliverance of God many times. In these 4 verses we see a fundamental truth.
Let me start out by mentioning that when we choose to rejoice, when we choose to pray no matter what circumstance, God is going to show up in a powerful way.
Rejoice no matter what!
This is sometimes the hardest thing to do is when your in the middle of something is to get your praise on. But it is very essential to keep focus on Him as He directs your steps.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ” Rejoice always; pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
When you enter His presence with praise, He enters your circumstances with power.
You have the choice to give or withhold praise.
I see David’s heart in these scriptures it was like he was telling himself…
Self, I don’t care what you feel like right now,
I don’t care what trials I’ve been through this week,
I don’t care what the situation I’m in right now.
I don’t care what others might think or say about me…
As long as I’ve got breath in these lungs, I’m going to bless the Lord, and all that is within me, I’m going to bless His holy name!
We are told in Hebrews 13:15 “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.
When we live a life fully surrendered to Him, I believe what may come will not be a total surprise to us. We know we are in His hands and everything is in control.
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
“Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, in whom He has delivered from the hand of the enemy.”
Forget not His benefits
We bless Him because:
He’s freed us
He’s healed us
He’s with us
He’s for us
Choose This Day to Worship
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:7-8
We live in times of instant gratification. We are so accustomed these days to a “vending machine” mentality, that we no longer have the patience to wait or not to find what we need immediately. Unfortunately, I have noticed that sometimes we carry the same mentality into our prayer life.
Let’s think about vending machines for a moment. We have a pocket full of change and we stand in front of a vending machine trying to decide what we want, we look at all the options. Once we make up our minds, we put in the change and voila! We get what we want.
The same thing may be happening in our prayer life. Unconsciously we think of God as the ultimate vending machine. Our thought process goes like this: Jesus promised that whatsoever we ask in His name He would do. Then we pray for what we need or want in His name, and we may continue to pray thus for few days expecting that God will do what we want. but whenever an answer comes not exactly in the way we expect it, we become mad at God. Some people believe that God does not love them because He did not give them what they had asked! Seriously?
We must realize that even when we ask good things, sometimes the answer is “No”.
“God is not a vending machine where we can go and purchase with prayer our every desire and whim”
If every prayer you ever prayed were instantly answered, two things would be true. Prayer would become a weapon of destruction in your life and you’d never think about God because He would become a vending machine.
Why be persistent? When you pray a prayer request over and over, it’s not to remind God. He doesn’t need to be reminded! It’s to remind yourself who the source of your answer and all your needs is.
Prayer is a faith builder. In the waiting God begins to grow you even more. So don’t let go of your prayers, keep on trusting
So Why Keep Praying?
Without prayer you will be powerless.
Without prayer you won’t build faith.
Without prayer you have no insight of what God is doing in your life.
Prayer prepares us for what is yet to come, what we aren’t ready for perhaps. Prayer humbles us, takes us off the throne, and puts God in His rightful place.
2020. From here on we will think of 2020 as a bad dream, a nightmare, a year of setbacks and unforeseen challenges, but it’s not over yet. For me it was a year of issues one after the other, especially my health. Looking back I couldn’t imagine not having the Lord by my side. The hope I had, the joy I’ve had after a fearful night. Through it all it has strengthened me.
The Israelites was in a similar situation – setbacks. In exodus 13:17 we read that God could’ve led the Israelites a different route, an easier route. But He chose a route that had an obstacle that would be placed between their enemies and the Promised land. the Red Sea.
We can only imagine the fear and uncertainty they were facing at that moment. Their enemy, the Egyptians, were closing in on them from behind. The Red Sea, an immovable obstacle, was before them. They had no other options.
Suddenly and unexpectedly, He split the Red Sea. He decimated their enemy before their very eyes. And on the other side they rejoiced. Moses wrote a song of celebration and God gave strength to His people.
Do you believe God can part the Sea that’s in front of you? All He is wanting you to do is just stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. Wait and see what He is going to do next. He will get you through it, He will see you through it and He will guide you through!
2. Taking hold of God’s will and refusing to let go until His will comes to pass.
In the book of John 11 we read the story of Lazarus.
It wasn’t Lazarus TIME TO DIE JUST YET.
SO MANY TIMES WE LOOK AT THINGS IN THE NATURAL AND NOT THE SPIRITUAL.
WHAT WE THINK IS DEAD TO US CAN COME ALIVE AGAIN IN HIM.
IF WE LET THE ENEMY PUT OUR DREAMS,
OUR PROMISES FROM GOD IN A BOX BECAUSE WE HAVE LIMITED THE POWER OF GOD IN OUR LIFE BY REFUSING TO BELIEVE.
THAT BOX WILL BECOME A COFFIN.
THE ENEMY WOULD LOVE TO SHUT US UP! AND PUT THE LID ON IT.
LET GOD OUT OF THE BOX!
AND LET HIM BE GOD!
BELIEVE FOR THE IMPOSSIBLE
21 “Lord if you had been here…he would not have died.” …Even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.
JESUS waited 2 more days after he died, why? It was jewish superstition that the soul could return to the body within 3 days of it being dead but on the fourth day there would be no hope for resuscitation.
There is still a rescusitator
There is still a redeemer
THERE IS ONE WHO IS SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER WHO IS INTERCEDING FOR YOU AND I THIS MORNING.
HE KNOWS WHATS AHEAD,
HE KNOWS MORE ABOUT US THAN WE KNOW of OURSELVES,
HE HAS THE PROVISION FOR OUR LIVES EVERYDAY!
Sometimes we may think He is delaying
THE BREAKTHROUGH but in reality He knows the hour to visit you in your state of hopelessness.
Martha said “But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”
Before Jesus raised Lazarus
She was expecting a miracle because the one who performs miracles was in her presence.
“WHERE TWO OR THREE ARE GATHERED IN MY NAME, THERE AM I WITH THEM.”
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE INTERCEDE?
When you intercede for someone you are declaring truth in that persons life, whether it be healing, deliverance, salvation etc. you are canceling out the enemy’s plan, binding the work of the enemy and declaring the promises of God on that persons life…