Tuesday, June 30, 2009

BLESSINGS OF GOODNESS AND KINDNESS

The Holy Spirit drives out all fear from us — fear of falling, of being cut off from God, of losing the presence of the Holy Spirit — by implanting in us his joy. We are to go forth rejoicing, as David did, because God has assured us we will prevail.

 

Yet so few Christians have this joy and exceeding gladness. Multitudes never know rest of soul or the peace of Christ’s presence. They walk around as if in mourning, picturing themselves under the thumb of God’s wrath rather than under his protective wings. They see him as a harsh taskmaster, always ready to bring a whip down on their backs. And so they live unhappily, with no hope, more dead than alive.

 

But in God’s eyes, our problem isn’t sin; it is trust. Jesus settled our sin problem once and for all at Calvary. He doesn’t constantly harp on us, “This time you’ve crossed the line.” No, never! His attitude toward us is just the opposite. His Spirit is constantly wooing us, reminding us of the Father’s loving kindness even in the midst of our failures.

 

When we become focused on our sin, we lose all sight of what God wants most: “Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). This verse says it all. Our God is a rewarder, and he’s so anxious to shower us with his loving kindness that he blesses us way ahead of schedule.

 

This is the concept our heavenly Father longs for us to have of him. He knows when we’ll repent over our failures and sins. He knows when our contriteness is coming. But he can’t wait for the due date. So he jumps in, saying, “I want to assure my child he won’t be judged, because I’ve already forgiven him through my Son’s cleansing blood.”

Monday, June 29, 2009

THE PREVENTING LOVE OF THE LORD

Thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head” (Psalm 21:3). At first glance, this verse by David is a bit puzzling. The word “prevent” is usually associated with hindrance, not with blessing. A modern translation here would be, “The Lord hindered David with the blessings of goodness.”

 

Yet the biblical word for “prevent” signifies a completely different meaning. It means “to anticipate, to precede, to foresee and fulfill in advance, to pay a debt before it is due.” Furthermore, in almost every instance, it implies something of pleasure.

 

Isaiah gives us a glimpse of this kind of pleasure. It comes from God anticipating a need and fulfilling it ahead of time. “It shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24).

 

This verse provides us with an incredible picture of our Lord’s love for us. Evidently, he is so anxious to bless us, so ready to fulfill his loving kindness in our lives, that he can’t even wait for us to tell him our needs. So he jumps in and performs acts of mercy, grace and love toward us. And that is a supreme pleasure to him.

 

This is just what David is saying in Psalm 21, in essence: “Lord, you pour out blessings and loving kindness on me before I can even ask. And you offer more than I could even conceive of asking.”

 

David is referring to some awesome work that God performed for him in the spiritual realm. It’s something that gave David victory over his enemies, answers to prayer, overcoming power and unspeakable joy. And God did it all before David could even go to prayer, to unburden his heart or present his request. Once David finally did pour out his heart, he discovered that God had already made provision to defeat his enemies. David’s victory was assured before he could even get near the battlefield.

 

David laid hold of these promises. And the first thing he did was to take his eyes off the oncoming enemy. Now he was no longer weeping about being in trouble, trying to grasp why the struggle had come. Instead, he basked in the revelation of God’s loving kindness: “He delivered me, because he delighted in me” (Psalm 18:19).

 

This is what God intends for every one of his children when the enemy comes upon us like a flood. The Lord “prevents” us with his love. In other words, he says to us, “You may be wounded, but that doesn’t matter. I have already made you victorious.”

Friday, June 26, 2009

TRIUMPHANT CHURCH

There is a triumphant church rising up even now, coming out of great trials of faith.

 

This last-days church is emerging from fiery furnaces and long days of affliction. So, you ask, what does God plan to do?

 

What I see happening is the Holy Spirit at work bringing a people into utter brokenness. He’s leading them to a revelation of weakness in their own flesh, in order to show himself strong. I see him bringing his people to the end of themselves, crushing their stubborn wills, until their mindset becomes only, “His will be done.” I see him leading his beloved ones into places of trial so difficult only a miracle can deliver them. And through it all, they are becoming wholly dependent on the Lord for everything.

 

Does this describe your situation? Perhaps you’ve been walking with Jesus for years, and you’ve never faced a test like the one in front of you right now. Things are coming at you that seem overwhelming, things that only God can do something about. And you realize only he can bring you through.

 

Right now, Islamics are preparing for a final jihad, to “take over the world” for Allah. Islamic training camps are rising up worldwide with a message of hate, characterized by merciless beheadings.

 

Yet the Lord also has a people in training, a people he’s going to use to face down the wrath of this world. How will he accomplish this? He is training and equipping them in his loving kindness and peace. Our God is a God of love, and he won’t use bombs, guns or suicide squads, but an overcoming people who are fearless in the Lord of tender mercies.

 

All over the world, God’s people are experiencing suffering, afflictions and torture more than ever in their lifetime. And of this I am sure: there is a divine, eternal purpose in the intensity of these spiritual and physical battles now being endured in the true body of Christ. “His tender mercies are over all his works” (Psalm 145:9 ).

Thursday, June 25, 2009

ARE YOU A MERCIFUL PERSON?

Great are thy tender mercies, O Lord” (Psalm 119:156). “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all; and his tender mercies are over all his works” (145:8–9, my italics).

 

I want to ask you a question I’ve been asking myself lately: Are you a merciful person? Most of us would answer, “I think I am merciful. To the best of my ability, I sympathize with those who suffer. I feel the pain of my hurting brothers and sisters in Christ, and I try to help them. I do my best to assist my neighbors in need. And when people hurt me, I forgive them and don’t hold a grudge.”

I believe all true Christians have a good measure of mercy for the lost and hurting. I thank God for that. But the sad truth is, God’s Word exposes in many of us deep roots of bias and very limited concepts of mercy.

 

Most religions that claim to fear God have a creed or doctrine that says, “God’s tender, loving mercies extend to all of humankind.” As followers of Jesus, we talk so much about his tender mercies to the wide world. But here is the truth:

 

There are many people to whom large numbers of Christians limit God’s mercy. I think of prostitutes who work in godless brothels. I think of people in Africa and other continents dying by the thousands with AIDS. I think of homosexuals who endure endless heart-aches and mental anguish, the trials of their lives, and who drink themselves into oblivion to try to cover their pain.

From what I read in Scripture, I can’t accept that my Savior would ever turn down the desperate cry of a prostitute, a homosexual, a drug addict or alcoholic who has hit rock bottom. His mercies are unlimited: there is no end to them. Therefore, as his church — Christ’s representative body on the earth — we cannot cut off anyone who cries out for mercy and deliverance.

 

We may not even be aware of these inner biases until suddenly they’re in our face, confronting us with the truth about our hearts. As you consider this in your own life, I ask you again: Are you a merciful person, tender and loving? I picture many readers saying, “Yes.” Yet, ask those around you — your family, your co-workers, your friends and neighbors, your friends of a different color — and see how they respond.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

BENEFIT OF THE CROSS

Jesus told this parable, using it as a teaching tool to get across a great truth. In the parable, we see the benefit to man clearly — and yet we also see the benefit to God. You see, the parable of the prodigal son is not only about forgiveness of a lost man. Even more so, it is about the delight of the father who runs after him.

 

You know the story. A young man took his portion of his father’s inheritance and squandered it on riotous living. He ended up broken, ruined in health and spirit, and at his lowest point he decided to return to his father. Scripture tells us, “He arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).

 

Note that nothing hindered this father’s forgiveness of the young man. There was nothing this boy had to do — not even to confess his sins — because the father had already made provision for reconciliation. Indeed, it happened all by the father’s initiative: he ran to his son and embraced him as soon as he saw the boy coming up the road. The truth is, forgiveness is never a problem for any loving father. Like-wise, it’s never a problem with our heavenly Father when he sees a repentant child.

 

So forgiveness simply is not the issue in this parable. In fact, Jesus makes it clear that it wasn’t enough for this prodigal merely to be forgiven. The father didn’t embrace his son just to forgive him and let him go his way. No, that father yearned for more than just his son’s restoration. He wanted his child’s company, his presence, and communion.

 

Even though the prodigal was forgiven and in favor once more, he still wasn’t settled in his father’s house. Only then would the father be satisfied, his joy fulfilled when his son was brought into his company. That is the issue in this parable.

 

In the father’s eyes, the old boy was dead. That son was out of his thoughts completely. Now, in the father’s eyes, this son who had returned home was a new man. And his past would never be brought up again. The father was saying, in essence: “As far as I’m concerned, the old you is dead. Now, walk with me as a new man. That is my estimation of you. There is no need for you to live under guilt. Don’t keep talking about your sin, your unworthiness. The sin problem is settled. Now, come boldly into my presence and partake of my mercy and grace. I delight in you!”

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

GOD’S DELIGHT COMES IN HIS ENJOYMENT OF OUR COMPANY

The Lord has great joy that the cross has provided us with open access to himself. Indeed, the most glorious moment in history was when the temple veil was rent in two, on the day that Christ died. At that moment, the earth trembled, the rocks rent and the graves were opened.

 

It was at this very moment that the benefit to God burst forth. In the instant that the temple veil — separating man from God’s holy presence — was torn asunder, something incredible happened. From that point on, not only was man able to enter into the Lord’s presence, but God could come out to man.

 

He who once dwelt in “thick darkness” didn’t wait for us to come to him, but he came out to us. God himself took the initiative, and Christ’s blood cleared away all hindrances. It was a unilateral move on the Lord’s part, the kind when one party declares, “Enough — I’m going to make peace. I’m going to tear down this wall of partition. And I’ll do it out of my own initiative.”

 

Before the cross, there was no access to God for the general public; only the high priest could enter the Holy of holies. Now Jesus’ cross made a path for us into the Father’s presence. By his grace alone, God tore down the wall that blocked us from his presence. Now he could come out to man, to embrace his prodigals and sinners of all sorts.

 

Here is the key to my message: you cannot come into joy and peace — indeed, you cannot know how to serve the Lord — until you see his delight in your deliverance…until you see the joy of his heart over his communion with you…until you see that every wall has been removed at the cross…until you know that everything of your past has been judged and wiped away. God says, “I want you to move on, into the fullness that awaits you in my presence!”

 

Multitudes today rejoice in the wonderful benefits of the cross. They have moved out of Egypt, and they’re standing on the “victory side” of their Red Sea trial. They enjoy freedom, and they thank God continually for casting their oppressor into the sea. But many of these same believers miss God’s greater purpose and benefit to them. They miss why the Lord has brought them out — which is to bring them in to himself.

Monday, June 22, 2009

BOLDNESS TO ENTER GOD'S PRESENCE

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil…let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:19–20, 22).

 

There are two sides to Christ’s work at Calvary. One side is to the benefit of man, and the other side is to the benefit of God. One benefits the sinner, while the other benefits the Father.

 

We are well acquainted with the benefit on the human side. The cross of Christ has provided us with forgiveness of our sins. We are given the power of victory over all bondages and dominion over sin. We are supplied with mercy and grace. And, of course, we are given the promise of eternal life. The cross has given us the means of escape from the terrors of sin and hell.

 

I thank God for this benefit of the cross to humankind, and for the wonderful relief it brings. I rejoice that it is preached week after week in churches all over the world.

 

Yet there is another benefit of the cross, one that we know very little about. And this one is to the benefit to the Father. You see, we understand very little about the delight of the Father that was made possible by the cross. It’s a delight that comes to him whenever he receives a prodigal child into his house.

 

If all we focus on about the cross is forgiveness — if that is the end-all of our preaching — then we miss an important truth that God has meant for us about the cross. There is a fuller understanding to be had here, and it has to do with his delight. This truth provides God’s people with much more than just relief. It brings liberty, rest, peace and joy.

 

In my opinion, most Christians have learned to come boldly before God for forgiveness, for supply of needs, for answers to prayer. But they lack boldness in this aspect of faith — an aspect that is just as crucial in their walk with the Lord.

Friday, June 19, 2009

GRACE AND PEACE BE MULTIPLIED TO YOU

As I prepared to write this message, the Holy Spirit spoke very clearly to me that I should send you the following encouragement from Psalm 37.  I am constantly amazed at how God sends his Word to us just in time, when it is needed most.  It is his loving nature to have heard your cry and to have prepared a special word to arrive the very hour you need it.  Hear the word of the Lord to you:

 

1.     Do not be upset by evildoers or those who trample you down for their benefit.  Their day is coming:

·         Psalm 37:1, 2, 7, 8-15, 32-34.

 

2.     Trust in the Lord – delight in him.  Turn everything over to him and give rest to your mind and spirit:

·         Psalm 37:3-6.

 

If you will obey this Word, you will be filled with rejoicing and have the desire of your heart.  God will bring to pass all he has promised.  You will see his righteousness coming forth in you.

 

3.     God knows every step ahead of you.  And he is ordering everything pertaining to your life, your family, your needs.  So, trust him in everything:

·         Psalm 37:23-29.

 

4.     Godly parents do not stay continually angry with their children, just as the Lord is not angry with his children.  He wants to be your peace, your strength, and your help in time of trouble:

·         Psalm 37:34, 37-40.

 

The Lord promises to do all these good things for his people in Psalm 37, “because they trust in him” (37:40).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

PEACE AND LOVE TO YOU FROM OUR BLESSED LORD

As I was in prayer, the Holy Spirit led me to Psalm 20:1-2:


“The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee; send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion” (my italics). 

 

THIS WORD IS FOR YOU.  Exactly what is the trouble you are facing?  Is someone in your family sick or facing a great trial?  Is your need financial?  Or is the trouble in you – some inner struggle with sin or self?

 

No matter what you’re facing, no matter how serious the trouble, the Lord hears the cry of his children “in the day of their trouble.”

 

Is there seemingly no one to turn to?  “The name of the God of Jacob defend thee.”  The Lord is not your adversary – he is your friend, your great defender.  Trust in his name and his power to deliver you.

 

If all you had was this one promise, it would be enough: “The Lord send thee help from the sanctuary [the place of prayer and worship].”  In just two verses he has promised to hear you…to defend you…to help you…to strengthen you.  How wonderful – believe it! 

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

THE RIVER OF LIFE IS RISING!

Even while death stalks on all sides, the river of spiritual life is rising.  And it is healing all it touches.

 

There is a rising tide of spiritual death in many denominations, as well as in numerous local churches.  People are dying spiritually for lack of God’s solid Word of truth.

 

Isn’t it ironic that while in Russia, China and Eastern bloc Communistic countries people are turning to the Lord with great spiritual hunger and thirst – while here in America, abortionists, pornographers and dead denominations are spreading death and mockery of sacred things?

 

Thank God, his divine purposes will not be hindered one iota.  Even now the Spirit of the Lord is moving throughout the world.  And here in America, we see pockets of revival and great spiritual hunger.

 

Are you experiencing more hunger for the Lord and his Word than ever before?  That is the work of the Holy Spirit, as he sovereignly raises up a holy remnant.  Here in New York City, we are experiencing a flood of God-hungry people who come to church early and leave late.  People from all walks of life are becoming conformed to the image of Jesus – rich, poor, homeless, from all nationalities.  People are visiting from all over the world, and they too are witnessing “waters to swim in.”

 

The river is rising, and it is bringing spiritual life to all it touches.  May it touch you where you are.  

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

THE LORD BLESS AND KEEP YOU IN ALL YOUR WAYS

Recently I reread the life story of George Muller who, in the mid-1830s, cared for over 2,000 orphans in England – all by faith in God.  Muller was a known as the man who got answers to his prayers.  Before he died, he had listed in his journals over 50,000 answers to prayer.

 

When asked how he determined the will of God on any matter, Muller listed the following steps he believed were necessary:

1.     “I get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to any particular matter.”

2.     “I do not leave the result to feelings or simple impressions.  That can make one open to great delusions.”

3.     “I seek God’s will through, or in connection with, his Word.  If you look to the Spirit without the Word, you open yourself to delusion.”

4.     “I consider providential [God-controlled] circumstances.”

5.     “I ask God in prayer to reveal his will to me.”

6.     “I make sure I have a clear conscience before God and man.”

7.     “Every time I listened to men instead of God, I made serious mistakes.”

8.     “I act only when I am at peace, after much prayer, waiting on God with faith.”

 

Those who walk by faith, seeking only God’s perfect will, are often sorely tested and tried.  More and more in my own life, I am finding out how important diligent prayer and Bible reading are.  Sadly, not many of God’s people pray diligently nowadays.  Instead, there is much TV viewing and very little of waiting on God. 

 

When I give myself to prayer, my faith rises.  And when I feed on God’s Word, my confidence in his power to lead and help me increases.  The Lord becomes my banker, my advisor, my attorney.

 

May you find him doing the same for you.  

Monday, June 15, 2009

I GREET YOU IN THE PRECIOUS NAME OF JESUS

God’s Spirit has moved me deeply to send you a note reminding you of the importance of being thankful to the Lord for all his love and blessings to us.  Giving him thanks is important, even in the midst of troubles and times of testing.

 

God had a controversy with Israel because they were not thankful for all his blessings and provision.  David understood that God loved to meet every need of his people, but he also knew the Lord wanted their thanksgiving.  David wrote, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving” (Psalm 100:4).  We are to begin with thanks: “Offer unto God thanksgiving” (50:14).  “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms (95:2).

 

In recent times of testing, I have found joy and relief in simply going before my Lord with thanksgiving.  I tell him I’m overwhelmed and that I’m grateful for all he has done for me in the past.  By doing this daily, my soul is lifted above the fray, my joy returns, and I am put at rest.

 

Have you been thankful to the Lord in recent days?  I ask you, aren’t there many things for which you can give him thanks?  Your salvation.  Your health.  The comfort and support of the Holy Spirit in your hardest times.  His past deliverances.

 

Paul tells us we should give thanks to God for what we have been taught.  His lessons have given us roots with which to withstand the devil in these times.  “Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as we have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:7). 

 

The Lord is calling all of his people to a renewed outpouring of thanks, for all he has done for us.

Friday, June 12, 2009

HEAVEN

Paul was thankful for his life, his calling, his ministry. I believe he loved God’s people with a passion. But throughout his years of ministry, Paul’s continual desire was to go home and be with the Lord. His heart was simply anxious to be there.

 

The apostle Paul refers to heaven when he speaks of being taken up into paradise. He says he saw and heard things there that so staggered his mind he had no language to describe it. You get the idea from Paul’s description that, even if he could explain what he saw, our human minds couldn’t comprehend it.

 

The Bible tells us that in heaven we will rule with the Lord as “kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:10). We’re going to act as his servants there and “shall serve him” (22:3).

 

Paul exults, “Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). Many Christians quote this verse daily, applying it to their trials and tribulations. Yet the context in which Paul speaks it suggests a deeper meaning. Just two verses earlier, Paul states, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (15:54–55).

 

Paul was speaking eloquently about his longing for heaven. He wrote, “We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven(2 Corinthians 5:1–2, my italics).

 

The apostle then adds, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (5:8).

 

According to Paul, heaven — being in the Lord’s presence for all eternity — is something we are to desire with all our hearts.

 

Dear saint, make heaven your earnest desire. Jesus is coming for those who long to be with him there!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

MAY THE LORD SHINE ON YOU WITH HIS GRACE AND LOVE

While praying about what I should share in this message, God’s Spirit strongly impressed upon me to talk you about his faithfulness.

 

“His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23). 

 

I want to speak to those readers who have failed the Lord.  Perhaps you have slipped.  Maybe you have become complacent in prayer and Bible reading.  Or, maybe you’ve broken a commandment, sinning against the Lord.  You may be under the dominion of a besetting sin.  Whatever your situation, you may be overwhelmed with fear, guilt and unbelief.  You know God has said he will judge all manner of sin, and that knowledge has become a burden of fear to you, because you know the Lord is faithful to his Word. 

 

BUT GOD IS ALSO FAITHFUL IN MERCY.  In Psalm 89 we find one of the most healing, encouraging words in all of Scripture.  God says:

 

“I have found David my servant…with whom my hand established… I will beat down his foes before his face.  My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him… I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth” (89:20). 

 

This Psalm is referring to Christ.  And it is here the Father establishes a certain covenant with his Son:

 

“My mercy will I keep for him for ever more, and my covenant shall stand fast with him” (89:28).

 

Beloved, the same covenant that God made with Christ is made with all of his children. 

 

“His seed [children] also will I make to endure for ever… If his children forsake my law…and keep not my commandments…I will visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.  Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.  My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my mouth” (89:29-34).

 

Think of it: God has made a covenant never to take his loving kindness from any of those who are in Christ.  He will discipline us with his rod of correction, but he does this in mercy, love and compassion – because whom the Lord loves he chastens.  He will be faithful to you in your struggle, enduing you with the power of his Spirit.  Christ will not give up on you; he has made a glorious promise to keep you: “His seed (children) shall endure for ever” (89:36).

 

Give thanks to the Lord for his lovingkindness in the morning.  Then thank him for his faithfulness every night (see Psalm 92:1-2).  By faith, receive this healing word. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

GOD BE PRAISED!

A friend of mine was at his wit’s end, despairing, wondering if God had forgotten him in his personal nightmare.  He became so desperate one morning recently that he cried out to God, “Unless you send somebody to give me a word of hope, I cannot make it through the day.  I simply cannot go on one more day.” 

 

A few hours later, at the point of giving up on life, he went to his mailbox and found a printed message a friend had mailed a few days before.  It was a message I released in 1992 entitled, “The Making of a Man of God.”  It spoke hope and restoration to his sick soul, and he marveled at the timing of the Holy Ghost.  God was right on time, with a word of hope especially for him.

 

Today I am led by God’s Spirit to send out just a few words of encouragement to certain few who will be receiving their own word of hope, at just the right time.  See if one of the following mini-messages is meant for you:

 

1.     To someone going through a dark night of the soul, feeling God has failed you: voices have confused you.  Your Christian friends have deserted you.  You feel too defeated to pray.  You feel betrayed and even forsaken by God.  Your sense of abandonment is frightening.  There is a deep sorrow in you.  A thought has lingered in your mind that you may have offended God.  You have lost all sense of God’s love for you.  Here is what God has to say to you:

“Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?  Yea, they may forget, yet I will not forget thee” (Isaiah 49:15).

 

2.     To someone in a marriage crisis: you have been deeply hurt.  You want your marriage to be healed and restored, but it looks hopeless.  You are miserable.  You have prayed diligently.  You do not want to disobey the Lord, but you see no hope of restoration.  I say to you: do not give up on your marriage, no matter how bad things appear.

“I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you” (Joel 2:25).  “I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead also, and restore comforts unto him and his mourners” (Isaiah 57:18).

 

3.     To somebody who is grieving: something happened to bring down on you a grief, a sadness, a heaviness you can’t shake.  You love the Lord, but this deep grief is there night and day.  You get up with it, you carry it all day, you can’t shake it at night.  Yet, the Lord knows what you are suffering.  Here is his word of hope for you:

“I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.  Let, I pray, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.  Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight” (Psalm 119:75-77).

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN THE LORD

Recently I prayed with a dear sister in the Lord who is dying of cancer.  She has been in great pain for many weeks.  But what a beautiful testimony she is to all who know her.  There is no complaining, no sorrow, no questioning of the Lord’s greatness and faithfulness.  She told me she feels a magnetic pull toward Jesus, and that she is now “there with Christ” more than here on earth.  She blessed me with her rejoicing hope and rest in the Lord. 

 

I once heard a very righteous minister say, “I just want to finish my work and get out of here.”  Some who heard him say this thought he was being unthankful for the gift of life.  But the apostle Paul declared virtually the same thing.  Paul’s constant desire was to be with the Lord.  And, beloved, so it is with me.  Almost every day I say to Jesus, “I love my family and I thank you for life.  But there is nothing here that satisfies – not family, houses, land or wealth.  Nothing here can touch my need.  This world is only like a mirage.  I long to be with you, Lord, in the ultimate reality.” 

 

I confess to you, there is one thing I fear more than any other thing in my life: the sin of covetousness.  What a damning sin it is: a love for things of this world, a lust for more and better material possessions. 

 

Covetousness has enslaved the hearts of many Christians.  People can’t seem to get enough, and their debt is piling up.  They think our nation’s prosperity will never end.  Americans have gone mad with acquisitiveness.  We are now on a spending spree that has baffled experts.

 

Jesus warned us to hold lightly to the things of this world.  We are to give thanks to him for his blessings, and to give generously to the needs of the poor.  But we are never to let anything of this world steal our hearts.  We have to be willing to lose it all yet rejoice in his faithfulness. 

 

God does not want us to feel guilty for his blessings upon us, as long as we do not consume them all on ourselves and our family, and we keep it all at arm’s length.  May the longing of your heart be not for the things of this world, but to be in Jesus’ presence – the ultimate reality.  

Monday, June 8, 2009

GOD BLESS YOU MIGHTILY

As I sat down to write this message, the Holy Spirit prompted me to edify and encourage all readers.  I truly believe that the following word is from the Lord, and I pray you will be built up by it in your faith.  This is what I believe the Holy Spirit has led me to share with you:

 

  1. The first word is for those who are captive to a besetting sin, lust or habit.  You have felt defeated, wicked, helpless.  Satan has told you you’re evil and that God is turning away from you.

I remind you of what God said to a group of Israelites who were going into Babylonian captivity, a result of their past sins.  Even though these Israelites were under discipline for their sins, God called them “good fruit.”  Then he promised, “I will set my eyes on you for good… I will build you up, and not pull you down; I will plant you; and not pluck you up.  I will give you a heart to know me… I will be your God; you shall return unto me with your whole heart” (Jeremiah 24:4-7).

All you need is godly sorrow, a desire to be free and a yearning for him.  He will not forsake you.  He is going to supernaturally change and deliver you! 
 

 

  1. I also have a word for those who feel they have lost direction.  You feel confused about a number of issues in your life.  You have no one to turn to, and some things appear as if they are out of control.  You wonder, deep within in your heart, whether you are under some kind of discipline or judgment from God.

    Please receive this word from the Holy Spirit: “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.  O Lord, correct me, but with judgment (justice); not in anger, lest thou bring me to nothing” (Jeremiah 10:23-24).

    The Lord will not allow you to be brought down by despair or hopelessness.  He will not allow anything in your life to mislead you or confuse you.  He will do what is best for you, but never in anger.  God is not mad at you.  He will direct you, if you will give him your faith, no matter how weak.  Trust his love. 

This is the word I know the Holy Spirit has prompted me to send you.  May you be encouraged and helped by it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

MAY THE PEACE OF GOD BE UPON YOU

I was much in prayer about what the Lord would have me say to you. While meditating, the Holy Spirit prompted me to carefully read again Psalms 33 and 34. After reading these two Psalms, I knew immediately what the Lord wanted me to do.

I believe that in the following four passages, every single reader of this message will find a special, direct word from the Lord. God is faithful to send his people a word in season, and his Spirit will show you which of the following passages is yours at this very moment in time:

1. “Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waiteth for the Lord: he is our help and our shield” (Psalm 33:18-20).
2. “For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. The Lord bringeth counsel of the heathen to nought; he maketh the devices of the people of none effect. The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations” (Psalm 33:9-11).
3. “I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles” (Psalm 34: 4, 6).
4. “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but God delivereth him out of them all” (Psalm 34:15, 17, 19).

God bless his precious Word to your heart. He sends his Word to heal.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

THE LORD BLESS AND KEEP YOU IN HIS LOVE

Recently, while counseling a Christian man who faced marital, financial and career problems, it dawned on me he was hoping I would say a prayer or give him some kind of supernatural advice to solve his problems. Yet he admitted he himself does not pray. He watches many hours of television, but he doesn’t pray or read the Scriptures. I thought to myself, “How many Christians today face incredibly complex and overwhelming problems, yet never seek God in private prayer?”

May I lovingly ask you some questions? Do you diligently seek the Lord with all your heart and strength regarding your problems and needs? Do you give him quality time in secret prayer, waiting on him? Do you spend at least some meaningful time each day studying his Word? If your answer is no, I would have to honestly say that no one else’s prayers will prevail on your behalf. God expects us all to be in agreement in prayer.

His Word promises, “If you seek the Lord your God, you will find him, if you seek him with all your heart and soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29).

Until God’s people learn to go quickly to him in secret prayer with all their needs and problems, unburdening their souls in his presence, there will be constant disorder and despair. Every time I spend unhurried, quality time with my Lord, I come away refreshed, encouraged and confident God is going to make a way.

If my messages provoke you to get back to praying diligently and in faith, I am convinced you will one day thank me, because you’ll see God’s blessing and favor on all sides. The Lord deeply loves all who seek his face daily. May he forgive us for neglecting him days on end.

I urge you, begin spending that time with him today. Go to God and pour out your soul in his holy presence.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

GRACE AND PEACE TO YOU FROM GOD OUR FATHER

“Be careful [anxious] for nothing; but in every thing prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).

I believe that prayer mixed with faith is the answer to everything. Paul says here, “in everything” – meaning, “Pray about everything. And give thanks that your requests will be heard and answered.” We are told to pray as our first option, not after we have tried everything else in vain. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33, my italics).

So many Christians today are being plundered by Satan. Their homes are in turmoil, they are plagued with fear and guilt, they face trouble on all sides. The problems our ministry reads about in letters from Christians are overwhelming.

But to be truthful, so few believers who are facing difficulties turn to the Lord in fervent prayer. Few today have consistent, daily, quality time alone with God in prayer. Too often, despair sets in because they do not go to the secret place, to unburden their souls and cry out their sorrows to the Lord. Instead, they tell all of their problems to friends, pastors, counselors – and they neglect the Lord, who waits to have them all alone. We pray as a last resort.

Could God be grieved with this generation the same way he was with Israel? He said of them, “My people have forgotten me days without number” (Jeremiah 2:32).

God is pleased when we run to him first, when we make special time to be alone with him, pouring out our innermost feelings and laying our petitions before him. We have no right to say we love the Lord if we don’t spend time with him on a regular basis. He will hear your prayers and answer. But he needs you alone so he can speak to you in a quiet moment.

As I go into the Lord’s holy presence each day, my most consistent petition is that the Holy Spirit will open God’s Word to me so I can be a true oracle of him. I trust him that my messages to the body of Christ will edify, convict and provoke believers to righteousness.

May you make quality time for him, trusting him with your petitions.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

DEARLY BELOVED

As I was in prayer, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart about four expectations that God’s people should trust him to bring pass. These expectations are based on absolute promises the Lord has made to us. Our God is a promise-maker and a promise-keeper!

1. EXPECT TO BE REWARDED AS YOU DILIGENTLY SEEK THE LORD. “God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
You can ask in faith for a token from the Lord to encourage and rekindle your confidence. God is always on time, and he knows you need a ray of hope and good news in your time of testing. Expect him to keep his promise to reward you now, when you are in greatest need. God cannot lie – he has said he rewards those who diligently seek him – so seek him daily. And truly believe this will be your season of great spiritual blessing.

2. EXPECT TO SEE EVIDENCE OF A PROGRESSIVE MIRACLE IN YOUR LIFE. “With God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27).
I have written about instantaneous miracles and progressive miracles. Progressive miracles start in unseen, quiet ways and unfold little by little, one small mercy at a time. You are now in such a miracle. Expect to see God working in mysterious ways, unseen to the human eye. This should be the season you can say, “I don’t know how it will come to pass – I don’t see much happening right now – but I believe God set into motion an answer to my prayers the very first hour I asked.”

3. EXPECT TO ENTER INTO GOD’S PROMISED PLACE OF REST. “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God…enter into that rest” (Hebrews 4:9, 11).
The recent year has been one of the most stressful for many believers. It was a year of incredible calamities, problems and trials. Now the Lord desires that you trust him to bring you into his promised rest. God never intended his children live in fear and despair. We need a reckless faith, a trust in him in the face of fear and trouble. Now is the time to lay it all on Jesus.

4. EXPECT THE HOLY SPIRIT TO BE ALWAYS “IN HIS TEMPLE.” “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19).
The Holy Spirit abides in the heart of every believer. He is omnipresent throughout the world and universe. I face each day acknowledging that he is here in his temple to comfort and guide me, encourage and anoint me, to reveal the glory of Jesus Christ in ever-increasing revelations. He desires that you expect him to make his presence manifest to you, and more so each passing day.

Believe these promises. Lay hold of these four expectations, and you will see marvelous things in this season of your life.

Monday, June 1, 2009

THE LORD IS MERCIFUL AND GOOD TO THOSE WHO TRUST HIM

While I was praying about this message, the Holy Spirit whispered to me: “SOMEBODY READING THIS IS IN NEED OF ENCOURAGEMENT. SOMEBODY NEEDS TO BE REFRESHED AND DELIVERED FROM MENTAL AND PHYSICAL PAIN AND CONFUSION. SOMEBODY NEEDS A SPECIAL WORD OF HOPE EVEN WHILE READING THIS.”

Is that somebody you? I am thinking of someone who is facing trouble on all sides. Someone nearly overwhelmed by fears within and fightings without. Most likely this person has no one to talk who would fully understand, no one to trust in such an hour of trial.

I know in my spirit that God is using my pen right now to bring a word of hope and refreshment to someone near the end of their patience and endurance. Please hear the word of the Lord as I write this to you under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. God has heard your cry, and the following words to you are from his loving heart:

Satan is trying to implant lies in your mind in your time of weakness and trouble. He will try to convince you God is not with you. If you believe that lie, you can never escape Satan’s trap.

If you will quiet yourself before the Lord, and call on him in secret prayer, the Holy Spirit will tell you clearly: God is with you. He has not forsaken you. He sees you and knows what you are suffering. Jesus said, “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20).

You are loved – and you are needed. Satan is a liar, hoping you will give in to despair by believing you are alone in your struggle. No, you are not alone – not ever. God has someone praying for you in your time of need.

You are going to come out of your trial victorious. But you must believe God has heard your cry. Just lean on the Lord. If he could show you all the good things ahead for you, you would rejoice with gladness.

Finally, hear God’s heart through his pure Word:

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall seek for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:11-13).