Friday, February 24, 2017

DO NOT BELIEVE A LIE

Idolaters live in deception — believing a lie to be the truth!
“For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the Lord will answer him by myself” (Ezekiel 14:7).
This passage of Scripture means, “Because you are hardened in your sin, with no desire to turn and repent, every word you hear from now on will confirm you in your iniquity and deception.”
We see a picture of this with King Ahab, who was probably the most idolatrous king in the history of Israel. At this time, he had aligned himself with King Jehoshaphat to go into battle against Ramoth-gilead.
And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him. And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so” (1 Kings 22:20-22).
Consequently four hundred prophets stood before Ahab, encouraging him to move forward with the attack. Can you imagine the scene? There stood a horde of flattering men, all mouthing words that fed Ahab’s idolatry. They were all lying to him, confirming his sin.
What a horrible tragedy. Ahab could not hear God’s voice because of the idols rooted in his heart. So God sent him a strong delusion — one that would destroy him. 
“They received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this [reason] God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11). 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

SET FREE BY TRUTH

“And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity: the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh unto him; that the house of Israel may go no more astray from me . . . but that they may be my people, and I may be their God, saith the Lord God” (Ezekiel 14:10-11).
God is telling us in tender terms, “Whatever it takes to get you away from your idols, I’m going to do. I will lovingly woo you to Myself, but if that doesn’t work, I will bring the necessary punishment.”
“When ye see their ways and their doings . . . ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done” (verse 23). The Lord is saying, “You’ll know that My strong dealings with you are for a reason. I simply will not let you go!”
Do you have a stumbling block or a besetting sin in your heart? Is there a bondage that could destroy you? If so, and you find yourself under conviction from this message, there is hope for you.
It doesn’t matter what your idol is, ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to it. He will soften your heart to His convicting word and you will begin to hate your sin. Determine in your heart that you will make no peace with it!
Cry out to Him now, “Lord, don’t leave me blind. If there is any delusion or deception in me, expose it. I don’t want to believe any more lies. I want to hear only Your voice and have Your power and authority rule my life.”
There is deliverance for you if you truly want it. But God will wait for you to turn away from your idols. Then, the moment you are ready to surrender them to Him, He will empower you by His Spirit — no longer a slave to bondage but a child of God set free by truth!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

NO TIME TO PRAY — REALLY?

In the first-century church at Jerusalem, the Greek widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. They sought the help of the leaders in the church but they didn’t feel right about giving up their time of prayer and the study of God’s Word to oversee this administrative task.
The apostles called together the church body and said, “It is not [good] that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables” (Acts 6:2). As a result, seven men of “good report” were appointed to handle all the church’s business affairs. In the meantime, the apostles pledged, “We will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word” (6:4). This arrangement resulted in the word of God increasing and the number of disciples multiplying (see 6:7).
Very few pastors today make this kind of sacrifice. A minister once looked me in the eye and said, “There are so many demands on my time that I simply don’t have time to pray.” Another pastor confessed to me, “I haven’t prayed in months. I meditate and have quick devotions occasionally but I can’t bring myself into the discipline of prayer.”
I will not condemn any hardworking, devoted minister of God, but the fact is, every servant rises and falls to his own master. Many preachers today are not aware that they have become victims of a satanic conspiracy of interruptions. Some of them are constantly on the run, bogged down by an avalanche of duties and details.
I thank God we are never at the mercy of Satan or any of his devices. We can expose his tactics, speak the word of truth, and in Christ’s name stop every interruption. By the power of the Holy Spirit within us, we can clear our path to the Lord’s gates and come boldly to His throne of grace to receive help in our time of need. That is what the Lord wants for all of us!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

NOT ALONE IN YOUR TROUBLES

“Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency” (Psalm 73:13).
The writer of this psalm, Asaph, was confused by his sufferings, especially when he observed the easy life of the wicked around him. He nearly slipped into a pit of unbelief, ready to accuse God of forsaking him, of being unconcerned. In fact, he almost quit the battle completely.
This godly man must have thought, “I’ve been living right and enduring hardships all this time for nothing. All my diligence has been in vain. I’ve been faithful to praise Him and study His Word and these plagues and sorrows make no sense. What’s the use of going on?”
Beloved, when calamities fall and trials come upon you, you must be very careful. When you are grieving, you need to guard your heart against slipping.
If you are not personally in Asaph’s condition, you may know someone who is. Perhaps a relative or a friend or a church member is having great trouble. When you observe that righteous person’s suffering, you ask, “Why, God? How could You allow this to happen?”
Asaph went to the temple and prayed. Likewise, when your time of grief or suffering comes, you must go to your secret place of prayer. Get alone with God and cry out your heart to Him. He will understand.
The Holy Spirit spoke to Asaph, “Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction” (verse 18). Asaph realized, “I’m not the one who is slipping, it’s the wicked who are slipping straight into destruction.”
When Asaph began to see the whole picture, he rejoiced: “God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever” (verse 26). He could say, “Yes, my strength is failing and I’m enduring a great battle but I’m not alone in my struggles. I have a loving Father in heaven who watches over me!” 

Monday, February 20, 2017

WHEN THE SEARCH IS UNSUCCESSFUL - Gary Wilkerson

“Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost” (1 Samuel 9:3).
In the Word of God, stories of lost items signify the Father’s heart for the lost. God wants His people to be willing to go out and rescue what is lost, and we see that happening in this story.
Saul’s father said to him, “‘Take one of the young men with you, and arise, go and look for the donkeys.’ And he passed through the hill country of Ephraim” (verses 3 and 4). Traipsing up and down the hills of Ephraim was a hard way to start but Saul was committed to completing the mission his father had given him.
Indeed, Saul went all over the hill country, searching in various territories, but still he did not find the donkeys. He must have started feeling kind of hopeless, but he pressed on because he was determined to remain obedient to his father’s command.
Finally, Saul said to his servant, “Come, let us go back, lest my father cease to care about the donkeys and become anxious about us” (verse 5).
Saul was actually conceding defeat, explaining, “We did our best. I thought we could be successful but we can’t, so we have to accept it and go on.”
For some, stepping out in faith is part of a larger commitment to obey at any cost. For others, apprehension over following through is really a fear of failure. In other words, those people do not engage in what God has called them to because they are afraid they may not succeed.
It is important for you to understand that when God calls you to something, He is not always calling you to succeed, He is calling you to obey!
The obedience to the call is up to you — the success of the call is up to Him!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

A VISION OF THE CHILDREN - Nicky Cruz

Over the past few years God has given me a vision of the future. He has shown me a time when the Holy Spirit will move into the quietness of the night and stir up our children as never before. They will be like the young boy Samuel in the Bible who ran to the priest Eli because he didn’t know whose voice was speaking to him in the night (see 1 Samuel 3). I have seen how these children will run frightened into their parents’ bedroom at night, not realizing that God Himself is speaking to them.
God is calling our children to make a difference. He knows that many of their parents have not fully surrendered their lives, their time, and their energy — their hands and feet and minds and hearts — to His control, so He is calling the children of our time to fill the gap.
My message to the parents of these precious children is this: Do not stop them! It is God Himself calling them. It is His fire, His Holy Spirit preparing the way for the greatest transformation ever to take place in the world.
So many young people are restless, tired of going to church where everything is the same routine. They want to see the Holy Spirit in action. They want to experience all of Jesus now!
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions” (Acts 2:17).

Nicky Cruz, internationally known evangelist and prolific author, turned to Jesus Christ from a life of violence and crime after meeting David Wilkerson in New York City in 1958. The story of his dramatic conversion was told first in The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson and then later in his own best-selling book Run, Baby, Run

Friday, February 17, 2017

THE WAY TO VICTORY

What is the way to victory for God’s people?
First, dive into God’s Word, lay hold of your special promise, take it into the secret place of prayer, and hold God to it. I have favorite promises from the Bible that I hold up to God whenever I cry out to Him.
“What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:9-11).
Ask the Lord for good things. He is waiting to give them to you! And ask Him to take away all your shame and remove the stain of sin. He longs to do it for you.
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end” (Ephesians 3:20-21).
Take this promise to God daily, saying, “Father, You said You would do more than I ask so today I am asking You to answer my prayer abundantly.” God is pleased by such faith.
Second, trust the Holy Spirit, who abides in you. God does not have to send an angel to speak to you; you already have His resources within you — the Holy Spirit Himself! Acknowledge His presence and say to Him, “Holy Spirit, You know the way out of this mess and I don’t. Right now I give You direction of my life. You know the very mind of God.”
Beloved, if you make this simple confession, you will know times of refreshing from the Lord. Even when you are ready to give up, He remains faithful to deliver you.