Tuesday, November 30, 2010

JUST FOR THE FAMILY

"And Joseph made haste; for his [heart] did yearn upon his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there" (Genesis 43:30).

This is a picture of the heart of our Savior—even toward the sinful. Joseph’s brothers were in his house, eating and drinking in his presence. But "Joseph sat by himself, and they by themselves" (Genesis 43:32). We dare not pass lightly over the significance of this statement. These men were rejoicing in Joseph's presence without being fully restored, without really knowing him, without a revelation of love and grace.

We can be a praising people who eat and drink in the Lord's presence but have not yet received a revelation of His infinite love. The sense of being unloved still remains in their hearts. This is the case of Christians who go to God's house to sing, worship, and praise and then go home to the same old lie: "God doesn't show me any evidence that he loves me. My prayers go unanswered. He doesn't really care about me the way he cares for other Christians."

There was one final step for Joseph's brothers to take before they could be given a full revelation of love. Such a revelation is given to those who are broken-hearted and contrite. "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise" (Psalms 51:17). The brothers were not yet brokenhearted (Genesis 43:34).

These men had acknowledged their sin, but they needed to be completely broken, totally at the end of their bitterness and human resources, before Joseph could reveal his love to them. So Joseph put them to a final test. He commanded his steward to slip his personal silver cup into the sack of Benjamin, the youngest brother, before they returned to Canaan. The brothers were hardly out of the city when Joseph's men overtook them and accused them of stealing the cup. They were so certain of their innocence that they said, "With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, both let him die, and we also will be my lord's [slaves]" (Genesis 44:9).

Listen to the change in their attitudes: "God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants: behold, we are my lord's servants" (Genesis 44:16). There was no more fight in them. No more pride. They were humbled, broken—at last they cried out from the depths of their hearts, "We give up! We surrender!"

Then came the revelation of the great love of God. “Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren" (Genesis 45:1).

The world knows nothing of this revelation of love. They now had the sense of family—of unconditional love and acceptance. Scripture tells us that Joseph "wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard" (Genesis 45:2). The world can hear about God's love but only family can experience it. Only the family of God is dealt with in such love and mercy.
Beloved, God dwells within the humble and brokenhearted. He delights in his family—he has loved us all these past years, even when we were sinners. Rest in his love for you.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A REVELATION OF LOVE

Joseph’s brothers didn’t know how much they were truly loved until God used a crisis to reveal it to them. "And the famine was over all the face of the earth: and Joseph opened all the storehouses.... When Jacob saw there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said to his sons...Get you down thither, and buy for us.... And Joseph's ten brothers went down to buy corn" (Genesis 41:56; 42:1-3).

Twenty years had passed since their crime of selling Joseph into slavery and now he was Prime Minister of Egypt. For seven years he had stored grain in preparation for famine. Jacob's sons supposed they were going to Egypt just to get corn, but God had bigger and better plans. He sent them there to get a revelation of love! They were going to experience mercy, pardon, and restoration and learn what the grace of God was all about. Deserving nothing but judgment, they were going to receive pure grace.

Keeping in mind that Joseph is a type of Christ, I find it impossible to read this part of the story without tears. It is such a beautiful picture of the grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ for all those who have failed him.

Twenty years of sin and subterfuge had kept the brothers out of touch with Joseph. They probably assumed he was dead by this time. When they arrived at Pharaoh's court and came before Joseph, they did not recognize him, but he knew them immediately (Genesis 42:8). There they were, bowing down before him just as he had dreamed. Was Joseph angry and vengeful? Never! His heart was filled with compassion at the sight of the brothers he loved so dearly.

Why, then, did he speak sharply to them and accuse them of being spies (Genesis 42:7)? I once thought Joseph was getting a bit of revenge, but that was not his motive at all. He was merely following God's directions. These proud men were not yet ready for a revelation of grace and mercy. First they needed to see the exceeding ugliness of their sins and face their guilt and shame. They needed to come to the end of themselves, so that nothing but mercy could help them. This is the message of the cross of Christ—unconditional love and forgiveness to all who have come to the end of themselves!

God showed this truth to Joseph, and Joseph put his brothers in prison for three days—not to punish them, but to give them a chance to face the truth about their sin. It was the law at work, showing them their evil natures. And it worked! "They said one to another, We are truly guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us" (Genesis 42:21).

It is impossible to understand God's grace until we come to the end of our own resources and experience his mercy. That grace delivers from all shame and guilt.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A CRY FROM THE HEART

I believe God's merciful love is revealed in response to a cry from the heart—not just any cry, but a humble cry for deliverance. The Bible has much to say about this cry from the heart. "In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God; he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears" (Psalm 18:6).

"Many times did he deliver them; but they provoked him with their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity. Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry" (Psalm 106:43-44).

You can be sure that a cry to God will always be answered by a healing word from heaven! No one is too wicked or too hopeless if he reaches out to God in humility. The story of the wicked King Manasseh proves it! The Bible says he was one of the most wicked kings of Israel. "And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord… For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal…and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them…. And he made his son pass through the fire…and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards; he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 21:2-6).

"So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen.… And the Lord spake to Manasseh, and to his people; but they would not hearken" (2 Chronicles 33:9-10).

Is there hope for someone who gets so far from God, so possessed by evil and darkness? Yes, if he will humble himself, and confess and believe Christ’s victory at the cross. Manasseh ended up a prisoner in a foreign nation, bound with chains. What a vivid picture of the wages of sin. But in his affliction, he cried out and God heard him, forgave him, and restored him.

"And when he was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed unto him; and he was entreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord he was God” (2 Chronicles 33:12-13).

“And he took away the strange gods, and the idol out of the house of the Lord, and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the Lord, and in Jerusalem, and cast them out of the city” (v. 15).

The word of hope, forgiveness, mercy, love and restoration is for you! Heed his Word, repent, and then be made whole and walk with the Lord! There is no sin that can’t be forgiven—no one is too far down to be healed and restored.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

RISE AND WALK

"Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk" (John 5:8). This crippled man at the Pool of Bethesda may have thrilled to stories of Jesus going about the land healing. He may have heard other stories of Jesus, but he did not know him personally. He was trapped in his infirmity and did not recognize the Lord. But Jesus knew all about him! Jesus had come to him in his misery and sorrow, and mercy was about to spring forth! The Lord was touched with the feelings of this poor man's infirmity and all he asked of him was to believe his Word and act on it. "Rise! Take up your bed! Walk away from this scene!"

Later, after the man’s healing, Jesus would find him in the temple and talk with him. He would get to really know Jesus and trust him. But now, lying by the pool helpless and in despair, he faced the biggest decision of all his painful years. A word of resurrection hope had come to him and he was being challenged: Rise by faith and be made whole, or lie there in self-pity and die alone!

The man could have continued to lie by the pool in disbelief, refusing to move, thinking to himself, "It won't work. Why would God pick me out of this multitude to heal? I'm destined to die in this condition." Jesus could not have raised him up against his will. The man had to believe that his cries had been heard and his time for deliverance had come. It was now or never!

"Then answered Jesus and said unto them [Jews], Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth; and he will show him greater works than these, that ye may marvel" (John 5:19-20).

In essence, Jesus was saying to the doubters, "My Father wanted him healed, so I healed him. I do only what my Father wills." It was God's will, God's love, God's desire, to make this man completely whole.

It is difficult to believe God still loves you when you are down and weak! When years have been wasted; when sin has crippled your body and soul; when you feel worthless and displeasing to God and wonder why he would even still care. It takes child-like faith to accept that love, step out in faith and say, "Lord, on your word alone I will arise and walk—with you!"

You don't have to understand all the doctrines about repentance, sin and righteousness. You may not even know Jesus in a deep and meaningful way! But there is time for that; it will all be made known if you take the first step of obedience, rise up, and turn to the Lord. "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine" (John 7:17).

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

THE WIND OF THE SPIRIT

Those who were headed for the Upper Room (see Acts 1 and 2) loved Jesus dearly. They had been taught in the school of Christ. They had performed miracles, healed the sick and cast out demons. They were compassionate, self-sacrificing, and soul-loving, but they were not yet qualified to be his witnesses!

They had been nearby when he sweat drops of blood. They had seen him hanging on the cross and had seen his empty tomb after he had been resurrected. They had eaten with him and talked with him in his glorified body. They had seen Jesus clothed in his eternal glory on the mount. They even had seen him ascend into heaven! Yet, still they were not ready to witness of him!

Why couldn't Peter go to those milling crowds in Jerusalem and immediately testify to his resurrection? Hadn't he witnessed that event firsthand? They needed the power of the Holy Spirit.
Peter made a powerful statement to the chief priests: "And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him" (Acts 5:32). Through the words of the Holy Ghost spoken through Peter, the priests "were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them" (Acts 5:33).

Stephen, filled with the Holy Ghost, preached to the religious leaders: "Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.... When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth" (Acts 7:51, 54).

When you emerge from seeking God, full of the Holy Ghost, you can stand with boldness before fellow workers, family—anyone—and your witness will provoke one of two reactions. They will either cry out, "What must I do to be saved?" or they will want to kill you. You will speak a word that cuts to the heart.

If you look for the miraculous in a church building, you will be disappointed. Had you visited the Upper Room a few hours after the wind blew in, the fire fell, and the building was shaken, looking to experience something miraculous, you would have been disappointed.

You see, the wind of the Spirit blew all the people out into the streets, into the marketplace! You could have asked, "Where is the revival, the supernatural wind? Can I see some of those tongues of fire?" And you would have been directed outside to 120 witnesses on the streets, preaching Jesus in the power of the Holy Ghost! That's where the revival was—and always is! That's the outpouring! The wind, the fire, the Spirit—it's now in God's witnesses!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

THE FOUNDATION OF TRUE FAITH

The only time God’s patience runs out with us is when we refuse again and again to accept how much he loves us.

Many Christians today have been turned back into a wilderness of their own making. They have no joy, no victory. To look at them, you’d think God had forsaken them years ago. No—he has simply turned them over to their own complaining and murmuring.

Thank God, Joshua and Caleb entered into the Promised Land. And they stood as green trees in God’ house until their dying days. They were men of power and vision because they know they were precious to God.

You also are precious to the Lord, in spite of your problems and failures. You can be a green tree in God’s house just as Joshua and Caleb were.

Simply stand on what God’s Word promises: “He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me” (Psalm 18:19).

That is the foundation of true faith!

Monday, November 22, 2010

YOU ARE GOD’S TREASURE

The Word says, “The adulteress will hunt for the precious life” (Proverbs 6:26) The adulteress spoken of in this verse is Satan. And he hunts down those who are precious to God.

The Bible gives us a vivid illustration of this in Numbers 13 and 14. Israel had sent twelve spies to search out the Promised Land. When the spies returned after forty days, ten of them planted three lies in the hearts of God’s people: (1) “There are too many people in the land; they’re too strong for us.” (2) “The cities are walled too high; the strongholds are impregnable.” And (3) “There are giants in the land, and we’re no match for them. We’re helpless! Finished!”

These lies took the heart right out of Israel. Scripture says the people endured a night of despair. “All the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night” (Numbers 14:1). More than 2 million people were weeping, wailing, moaning—focused completely on their weaknesses and inabilities. Their wails of unbelief bombarded heaven.

Beloved, the devil throws the same three lies at God’s people today. “Your trials are too numerous. Your temptations are too overwhelming. You are too weak to resist the power coming against you.”

The word that God spoke to Israel is for us today also: “Ye shall be a special treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine” (Exodus 19:5). “Thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar [precious, special] people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth” (Deuteronomy 14:2).

Joshua and Caleb had a revelation of their preciousness in God’s eyes. They knew Israel was special to the Lord. That was the key to their hopeful spirit. Joshua said, “If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it to us” (Numbers 14:8). In other words, “Because he delights in us, the land is as good as ours already.”

This is the same revelation David had: “He brought me out and delivered me—because he delighted in me.” Likewise, every victorious Christian today has this same revelation of their loving heavenly Father. “We can’t fail! All our enemies are meat for us, because we’re precious to the Lord.”

Friday, November 19, 2010

YOU ARE SPECIAL TO YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER!

I will never forget the pain I endured when one of my teenage children came to me and confessed, “Dad, I’ve never once felt as if I’ve pleased you. I’ve never felt worthy of your love. I feel like I’ve let you down my whole life. You must be really disappointed in me.”

No words ever hurt me more. I asked myself what I might have done to make my child feel that way. Then, hurting deeply inside myself, I embraced my tearful young one. I thought, “How wrong. I’ve shown this child my love. I’ve spoken it and demonstrated it time after time. All my other children feel secure in my love. How could this child carry such a misconception for so long and bear such unnecessary misery and guilt?”

I told my beloved child, “You’ve always been special to me. Why, you’ve been the apple of my eye. I think of you and my whole being lights up. Sure, you’ve done foolish things at times, but so have your siblings. And you were forgiven. You were truly sorry, and I never once thought less of you. You’re nothing but a joy to me. You’ve made me happy all your lifetime. You’ve been a delight to my heart.”

So it is with many Christians in their relationship with the heavenly Father. The devil has convinced these believers they’ve only disappointed God and will never please him. So they simply don’t accept God’s love. Instead, they live as if his wrath is always breathing down on them. What a horrible way to go through life. And how pained God is when he sees his children living this way.

Beloved, from the day you were born, you’ve been special to your heavenly Father.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

YOU ARE PRECIOUS TO GOD

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Even if you lived to be 500 years old, you wouldn’t live long enough to please God by your own doings. It doesn’t matter how hard you may try to clean yourself up. Your flesh isn’t accepted before God; it can’t even be reformed. All flesh was done away with at the cross. Now a new man has come forth: the Christ man. True faith is having confidence in what he has done for you.

You may say, “O, I can believe that God delights in faithful pastors. They pray and spend so much time in his Word. I can believe that elders are precious to him. They’ve endured sufferings, testings and trials, and they’ve come out victorious. But I find it hard to believe that a troubled, failing Christian like me could be precious to God. He has to be disgusted with me because my life is so up-and-down. I’ve got problems I can’t seem to get through. I believe he still loves me, but surely he is disappointed in me.”

Please understand Isaiah’s wonderful prophecy of grace when God said, “I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine” (Isaiah 43:1) This was spoken to a people who had been robbed, spoiled, snared and cast into prison—all because of their own foolishness and unbelief.

It is at that point that God said to them, “Now—after all your failures—I come to you with this message of hope. And it’s all because you are mine!”

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

GOD WANTS TO DELIVER YOU

When the three Hebrew children were thrown into the fiery furnace, a fourth man was there with them: Jesus! They didn’t get burned. In fact, their clothes and hair didn’t even smell of smoke. That’s the kind of deliverance God wants to bring you in your spiritual valley.

What is God’s motivation for wanting to deliver you? Is it because you have done something to appease him? Have you increased your prayer time? Do you spend more hours reading Scripture? All this is good. But Isaiah had the true revelation when he said, “Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee…Fear not: for I am with thee” (Isaiah 43:4-5).

God was saying to Israel in Isaiah 43, “You’re about to go through fires and floods. But don’t worry; I’ll walk with you through them all. And I’ll deliver you in the end simply because you are mine. I know you by name. And you are a delight to my heart.”

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

GOD’S PURE MERCY

Isaiah had a revelation of God’s great delight in us. He prophesied, “O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee” (Isaiah 43:1-2).

Isaiah wasn’t talking about a literal flood or fire. He was talking about what people go through spiritually and mentally. Israel was in captivity at the time. Their floods were trials; their fires were temptations; their rivers were testings. These were all Satan’s attempts to destroy and overwhelm God’s people.

Isaiah’s words were a message of pure mercy for Israel. The people were in captivity because of their own stupidity and foolishness. But God sent them a brokenhearted prophet who said, “God wants me to tell you that you belong to him.”

Right now, you may be in the midst of your own swirling waters. You may feel overwhelmed by a trial or temptation that threatens to consume you. You’ve got to understand from these biblical examples that the Lord does not always calm the waters. He does not always keep the floods from coming or put out the fires.

Yet he does promise this: “I will walk with you through it all. This trial or circumstance will not destroy you. It won’t consume you. So, walk on. You’ll come out on the other side with me beside you.”

Monday, November 15, 2010

THE KEY TO ALL DELIVERANCE

The Holy Spirit gave David a revelation that is the key to all deliverance. David could say, “The reason God delivered me from all my enemies—from all my sorrows and the powers of hell—is because I am precious to him. My God delights in me!”

“He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me (Psalm 18:19). Do you need deliverance? From lust, temptation or trial? From a problem that’s mental, spiritual, emotional or physical? The key to your victory is in this verse above. God delights in you! You are precious to him!

In Song of Solomon, the Lord says of his bride, “How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!” (Song of Solomon 7:6). Three of the Hebrew words in this verse are synonymous: fair means precious; pleasant indicates pleasure; and delights. These words describe Jesus’s thoughts toward his bride as he beholds her. He looks at her and says, “How beautiful, sweet and delightful you are. You are precious to me, O love.”

In turn, the bride boasts, “I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me” (7:10). The meaning here is: He runs after me with delight. He chases me because I am so precious to him.

These same thoughts are found throughout the Psalms. “The Lord takes pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy” (Psalm 147:11). “The Lord takes pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation” (149:4).

Friday, November 12, 2010

TURTLEDOVES

God has kept me through my struggles by showing me King David's secret hope. David, lamenting and complaining, wondered why God was angry with him. He called on God to “put out your hand and destroy the enemy" (see Psalm 74:11). It seemed to David that the enemies of God were taking control and in his despair, he prayed, "O deliver not the soul of the turtledove unto the multitude of the wicked" (Psalm 74:19).

Like David, we began to see ourselves as little turtledoves, surrounded by the snares and traps of the wicked. It encouraged me, in my most trying times, to see myself as his lovebird, resting on his promise to keep me out of the snares of the wicked. Like a turtledove, we long for the presence of our beloved Savior.

I picture Christ coming to me in the form of a dove—his Holy Spirit—revealing to me his constant love and continual care. How unspeakable that such a great and majestic God would condescend to relate to my needs as a turtledove. Did he not descend on Christ at the baptismal waters as a dove?

Child of God, are you going through difficult times? Is there suffering in your home? Do you hurt? Are you confused at times because of the severity of it all? Remember, you are the Lord's little turtledove and he will never turn you over to the wicked one. He will deliver you from every snare of the enemy and show you how devoted he is to you in your hour of need. He is there beside you, at all times, as a dove, whispering, sharing his love with you.

Solomon, speaking of Christ, said, "His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, beautifully set" (Song of Solomon 5:12). And of the church, the Lord's beloved, it is written, "My dove, my undefiled one is but one..." (Song of Solomon 6:9). We are one in Christ—his dove—a turtledove.

The sparrow falls to the ground, but not the turtledove. He is kept in the hollow of his hand, safe and secure in his love. Best of all, the Lord will deliver us out of our troubles and prove his everlasting faithfulness to us. We shall come through it all rejoicing and in full rest and trust in his power and love.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

CALEB

Caleb, whose name means forcible, fortitude, is a type of one who clings to the Lord! Caleb was inseparable from Joshua, representing one who continually walks with the Lord through all the distractions of life.

Caleb had accompanied the spies over Jordan, where the Holy Spirit drew him to Hebron—"the place of death." Abraham and Sarah were buried there, as were Isaac and Jacob and the patriarchs, and years later, David's kingdom would begin there. With awe Caleb climbed that hallowed mountain and faith flooded his soul. He prized that sanctified place and from that time on, he wanted Hebron for his possession.

It was said of Caleb that he "wholly followed the Lord" (Numbers 14:24). He never wavered to the very end and at eighty-five years of age he could testify: "As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in" (Joshua 14:11).

In his old age Caleb waged his greatest battle! "Now therefore give me this mountain [Hebron]..." (14:12). "And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb...Hebron for an inheritance..." (14:13). "Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb...because that he wholly followed the Lord" (14:14).

The message is glorious: It is not enough to have died to sin—to have entered fullness sometime in the past. The need is to grow in the Lord to the end! To keep your spiritual power and strength without wavering. To "wholly follow the Lord" even in old age!

Hebron—Caleb's inheritance—means a company associated! Associated with what? With death! Not only the death to sin in Jordan, but living in a place of death. Living with those who are associated with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! "Give me this mountain," Caleb had prayed. In other words, "Give me this walk of death to self!" It was here that Abraham had built an altar to sacrifice his son and it was here that Caleb and his tribe would live, constantly associated with that altar of living sacrifice.

Caleb's wholeheartedness for the Lord produced a holy fire for God in his children. While the children of the two and a half tribes turned away and embraced the world and its idolatry, Caleb's family grew stronger in the Lord!

God’s desire for all of us is that we enter a place of rest, joy and peace in the Holy Ghost. That requires following him “with all thy heart…and with all thy strength” to the very end (Mark 12:30).

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

FINISHING THE RACE

"For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish" (Luke 14:28-30).

Jesus spoke these words near the close of his ministry on earth with the purpose of warning followers that good intentions would not be enough to see them through hard times. Many followers would not have what it took to finish the race!

I believe the most tragic condition possible is starting out fully intending to lay hold of Christ and grow into a mature disciple, and instead slowly drift away, and become cold and indifferent to him. He laid a foundation but could not finish, because he did not first count the cost. He ran out of resources; he went so far and then quit.

God, wake us up and make us to understand that we are all changing. There is no such thing as standing still; you are either changing daily into Christ's image or you are changing back into your old carnal ways. For those who have determined to lay hold of Christ at all cost, who are taking up their cross, denying self, and going on with him, Paul said, "We are all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord"' (2 Corinthians 3:18).

What a joy to meet these who are finishing the race. They are growing in the wisdom and knowledge of Christ, becoming more distant from this world and its pleasures, and becoming increasingly heavenly minded. Their spiritual senses are highly exercised and their discernment of what is of God or the flesh is ever increasing. The older they get, the hungrier they are for more of Christ. They cut away all earthly attachments and with growing intensity, they long to be with him in his glory. For them, to die is gain and the ultimate prize is to be called into his presence to be at his side forever. It is not heaven they seek but Christ in glory!

You can be sure that when Christ returns, he will have a glorious church eager to be with him. It will consist of those who have become so unattached to this world and so united with him that moving from the corruptible to the incorruptible state will be but one last love step into his presence!

You may have fallen down in the Christian race, but you can get up and run again. Jesus will not let you lie down by the track, exhausted, crippled. He will lift up your weakened knees and give you supernatural strength to finish.

He will not fail you. By grace, you are going to finish the race and the Lord will be at the finish line to say, “Well done!”

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

OUR ONLY FOOD!

It's true—we are what we eat. Jesus said his flesh is our meat [food]. "Except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you" (John 6:53).

“[They] said, This is a hard saying; who can hear it?” (v. 60). The Jews could not comprehend such a thought, and "many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him" (v. 66).

Those who relegate this eating of the Lord to the communion table alone do not understand what Jesus meant. The Lord's Supper is not just symbolic; rather, it is to remind us that he became our source of life through death. We are to come often, daily, to eat and drink of him. The more we eat of him, the more spiritual life will be demonstrated in us. We have an open invitation to come to his table, eat, and become strong. Partaking of Christ is to feed on God’s Word and commune with him in the prayer of faith.

When sheep are not fed, they grow skeletal and weak, becoming easy prey for the enemy. Yet, I see in the land the coming forth of a remnant ministry made up of servants and handmaidens who are becoming acquainted with the Lord's own heart. The Spirit has anointed them to bring forth a seeking people who will follow them into the fullness of Christ. Their numbers are few, but growing. They have no other source of life! They are bursting forth with life because they have been in the presence of the Lord so often.

God has provided a way to make every child of his strong to resist the enemy! This strength comes from eating the Bread of God sent down from heaven. Our spiritual health and strength depends on this. Hear carefully the words of Jesus: "I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me" (John 6:57). Jesus was in such close union with the Father, so committed to doing only the his will, that the Father's words became his very food and drink! He was daily sustained by hearing and seeing what the Father wanted, the result of spending much time alone with him.

Jesus once told his disciples, "I have meat to eat that you know not of.... My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work" (John 4:32, 34). Jesus further said, “Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat [food] which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you” (John 6:27).

We dare not miss this secret of strength! Even as Christ lived by the Father, so must we get our life by feeding on him. Get alone with the Lord and spend quality time in his presence. He wants to feed your hungry soul and guide you through these perilous times. God will always manifest his presence when you seek him with all your heart.

Monday, November 8, 2010

AN OUTPOURING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT ON HOUSEHOLDS!

“While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word…. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God” (Acts 10:44 and 46). This is speaking of the household of Cornelius.

Think of it, a private Pentecost falling upon an entire household with everybody there lifted into the heavenlies. It was miraculous! The praises were thrilling as all the relatives and children were getting saved and filled with God's Holy Spirit. All because one man set his heart to seek God until an answer came.

And here we sit, in the day of the outpoured Holy Ghost, with many homes where there is little or no evidence of his working and presence. Many of our Christian homes are now under the control of the spirit of the world rather than the Spirit of God. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is unity. Where he abides, there is rest and peace, unspeakable joy, and victory over the spirit of this world.

We need to take back the spiritual authority in our homes. If a Christian husband and wife are not in total unity, flowing together in the Spirit and love of Jesus, there is extreme danger ahead. One or both are not walking in the Spirit. When both are seeking God in private prayer and devotion to God, the Spirit works his wonders.

God is doing something new in the land right now. Something so powerful, so supernatural, it is terrorizing hell. The Holy Ghost has come to separate a people unto the Lord. Being successful is not nearly as important as hearing from God. To newly baptized saints, prospering means seeing Jesus in a new and living way. Houses, land, furniture, cars, clothes—all these things have lost their charm to a people now passionately in love with the Lord of glory. The Holy Ghost has come to reveal Christ as the Savior of homes—our homes!

I have seen into the spiritual world and I see demons fleeing. I see powers of darkness trembling because God's true church, a once slumbering giant, has been provoked by the Holy Ghost to shake itself and rise up and claim its place of power and authority.

Entire families, entire churches, entire ministries are being turned upside down. God is saying, "Get serious about spiritual things and I will meet your every need!" The Father is doing great things all around the world and we can be a partaker of his mighty blessing.

Friday, November 5, 2010

CORNELIUS SAVED HIS HOUSE

“There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band. A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always" (Acts 10:1-2).

The life of Cornelius proves that God seeks full-hearted devotion, obedience, and ceaseless prayer. Consider the ways in which this devoted man of God saved his house and the miracles his devotion wrought.

Cornelius was so determined that he and his house come into God’s fullness that he actually neglected eating in order to seek God. Food was secondary to his deep spiritual hunger and longing for God. Days of fasting without a corresponding hunger and thirst for God avails nothing; in fact, it is better to eat than to fast in an effort to earn blessing from heaven. But hunger for God takes the edge off the desire for food for a man with a heart in pursuit of him.

This man Cornelius should put us all to shame. He had no teaching tapes; he didn't even have a teacher. He was not a Jewish proselyte but simply a man desperate for God. What he had learned had come the hard way—no seminars, no conventions, no how-to-get-it-from-God books. He did not even have the Holy Ghost in him yet, urging him to pray and seek God's face. Yet he fasted and prayed always.

His prayer life made him a giver of alms. God still had not answered his prayer for his own household, yet he gave generously to all in need. He was not so wrapped up in his own need that it took all his time, attention and money.

Praying men always get God's attention and the praying man hears God speaking. It's been that way since the beginning.

You can save your house the same way Cornelius saved his. In a single day, with one glorious miracle, his entire household was saved and filled with the Holy Ghost. In one day his house was transformed from spiritual blindness to marvelous light and life. All because this man set out with great determination to save his house. God help us to get serious about praying for our lost family and friends.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

IN HIM WE LIVE AND MOVE AND HAVE OUR BEING

Paul said, "In him we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28). Men and women of God live within this very small circle; their life, their every move, their very existence is wrapped up only in the interests of Christ.

To know nothing but Christ, there must be continual flow of revelation from the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit knows the mind of God, if he searches the deep and hidden things of the Father, and if he is to be a well of living water springing up, then that well of flowing water must be a continual, never-ending revelation of Christ. It awaits every servant of the Lord who is willing to wait on the Lord—quietly, in faith believing, trusting the Holy Spirit to manifest the mind of God.

Today we need his infallible word—a true and living revelation. Samuel had that kind of word from God, and all Israel knew it. When Samuel spoke, of all the voices in the land, his came through and not one word fell to the ground.

Today multitudes are trying to sift through all the voices to hear the clear word of God. Saints of God are getting weary of a barrage of voices, while finding only a few kernels of truth. Christ alone is the light! The whole world lies in darkness, and light alone dispels that darkness. You may be in a dark place right now.

Peter said, "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place" (2 Peter 1:19).

Paul said, "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6).

John said, "His kingdom [Satan's] was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain" (Revelation 16:10).

Your good works won't dispel that darkness and our preaching on social issues won't cut through it, either. All your personal experiences won't do it. I'll go a step further—even your binding the powers of darkness won't work without the light of Christ shining forth. All darkness vanishes in the light of God's glory reflected in the face of Jesus Christ! Let us study Christ alone in the secret closet. We serve the same God and are taught by the very same Holy Spirit as all others who have known Christ in fullness.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

AN EVER-INCREASING REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST

Ever since the cross, all spiritual giants have had one thing in common. They were in close communion with the Lord; they became lost in the glorious vastness of Christ; and they died lamenting they still knew so little of him. So it was with Paul, with all the disciples, and with many early church fathers; with Luther, Zwingli, and the Puritans; with the pious English preachers; and with many godly leaders today.

Every one of these giants shared the same ruling passion: an ever-increasing revelation of Jesus Christ. They cared nothing for the spectacular, the earthly, the things of this world, success, ambition or worldly fame. They prayed—not for things, not for physical blessings, not to be used, not for anything of self, but only for a fuller revelation of the glory and vastness of their Lord.

Satan is displaying greater power, and hell is unleashing all its fury on this generation. The enemy strongholds are much more fortified, powerful, and entrenched than in any past generation. Without a doubt, Satan is revealing himself to the world as never before and he is becoming better known, less feared, and more accepted.

A basic Bible school knowledge of Christ will not be enough in this final war! Knowing about him is not enough. We need to seek for a greater revelation of the Holy Spirit. That requires much time at his table. You get to know him only by being much in his presence, only by sitting with him, hearing his voice, waiting on him for divine wisdom. Busy, preoccupied men seldom get to know him.

Paul was committed to an ever-increasing revelation of Jesus Christ. All he had of Christ came by revelation. He said, "By revelation he made known to me the mystery" (Ephesians 3:3). The Holy Spirit knew the deep and hidden secrets of God, and Paul prayed constantly for the gift of grace to understand and preach "the unsearchable riches of Christ" (v. 8). Paul said we have access to these glorious riches in Christ. In speaking of God's eternal purposes, he said, "In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him" (v. 12).

God is looking for believers who will seek a revelation of him that is all their own—a very deep personal intimacy that unlocks “the unsearchable riches of Christ.”

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NOTHING BUT CHRIST!

What is it that our Lord wants most from those who claim to be devoted to him? What would bless and please him? Shall we build him more churches? More Bible schools? More homes and institutions for hurting people? These are all worthwhile and needed, but he who dwells not in buildings made by hands wants much more than that! Solomon thought he had built an everlasting temple for God, but within years, it was in decay, and in less than four hundred years, it was completely destroyed.

The one thing our Lord seeks above all else from his people, ministers, and shepherds is communion at his table! Oneness around his heavenly table! A place and time of intimacy! A continual coming to him for food, strength, wisdom, and fellowship.

This generation has a limited revelation of the Lord Jesus because so many are missing from the feast—the feast of communion alone with the Lord. Their seats are empty! Few know the grandeur and majesty of such a high calling in Christ Jesus.

We mistakenly get our spiritual joy out of service rather than communion. We are doing more and more for a Lord we know less and less about! We run ourselves ragged, burn out, go anywhere on this earth, and give our bodies to his work—but we seldom keep the feast! We are too casual about the Lord's table, not serious enough about taking our place to learn of him!

Paul speaks of three separate years in the desert of Arabia. They were three glorious years, sitting in the heavenlies at the table of the Lord. It was there that Christ taught Paul all he knew and the wisdom of God was made manifest in him. Conversion was not enough for Paul! A one-time supernatural vision of Christ, a one-time miraculous hearing of his voice from heaven, was not sufficient! He had caught a fleeting vision of the Lord and he wanted more!

Something in Paul’s soul cried out, "Oh, that I might know Him!" No wonder he could say to an entire Christian system, "I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2 NAS). He was saying, "Let the Jerusalem Judaizens keep to their legalism. Let others argue their points of doctrine. Let those who seek to be justified by works wear themselves out. But as for me, I want more of Christ!"

Monday, November 1, 2010

HELP YOURSELF

Help yourself! I am not speaking of the godless self, but the regenerated self, possessed by Christ. One of the most important verses in God's Word is John 4:14:

• "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."
• "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:37-38).

This life-giving water shall be in him and shall pour forth out of him. Out of where? His inner-most being!

Let me prove to you beyond any shadow of a doubt that everything you need in this life has already been given you when Christ came in! He is in us with all power for all needs!

• "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue..." (2 Peter 1:3).
• "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Ephesians 1:17, NAS).
• "And what is the surpassing greatness of his power toward us who believe” (Ephesians 1:19 NAS).
• "Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ..." (Hebrews 13:21).
• "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..." (Ephesians 3:20).
• "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory... to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man..." (Ephesians 3:16).
• "[He] hath raised us up together, and made us to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6).
• "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you" (Romans 8:11).

I know there is some great, indescribable power within me! I sense it. It is a feeling that an explosion of greatness can break forth.

I know the Spirit knows and sees all and that he alone has all the answers I need. I know I don't have to go to man or to anyone outside of myself. I know I must help myself. Everyone who calls Christ Lord and trusts him has the Holy Spirit in him to help make life abundant and glad