Wednesday, August 31, 2011

DOES GOD HAVE THE ANSWER TO ALL MY QUESTIONS?

Any believer who wishes to please God with his prayer life will have to settle this question: “Does God have all I need? Or do I need to go elsewhere for my answer?”

This appears to be a simple question—one that should not even need to be asked. And most Christians would immediately answer, “Yes, of course I believe God has all I need.” But the fact is, many are not fully convinced!

We say we believe it. We sing hymns and preach about it. But when a crisis hits and God does not seem to answer, we do not really believe He has what we need!

Paul states: “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, NKJV). The Lord has a storehouse of abundance with which to meet our every need!

Why did the troubled woman in Jesus’ parable keep bothering the unjust judge, asking him for justice? It was because she knew that he alone had the power and authority to solve her problem. She could go to no one else (see Luke 18:1-8).

Oh, if only we had such an inner knowledge that God alone has all we need, we would never turn in vain to any other source. The Lord is a just and holy judge and He has all the wisdom, power and authority to solve any problem we face.

God spent forty years trying to convince Israel they would never lack anything—that He would be their constant source and supply: “For the Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hand. He knows your trudging through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you; you have lacked nothing” (Deuteronomy 2:7, NKJV).

God was saying, “There is no scarceness, no shortage with Me. I have all you will ever need!”

“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land . . . in which you will lack nothing . . . when you have eaten and are full . . .” (Deuteronomy 8:7-10, 12, NKJV).

Today, the Lord has brought us into our Promised Land—Christ! Jesus is to us an abiding place where there is never any lack. He represents the fullness of the godhead bodily.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

THE THUNDER OF HIS POWER

“Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?” (Job 26:14, NKJV).

Man needs power
To help those without it,
To strengthen those without strength,
To counsel him that hath no wisdom,
To declare things as they really are,
To renew dead spirits,
To cover the naked destruction of hell.
God has all power
To stretch out the universe
Over empty places,
Hanging the earth upon nothing.
He binds up humidity in thick clouds,
Placing boundaries on the waters.
He divides the sea with his power
And He smites the proud.
By His spirit He garnishes the heavens.
He even created the crooked serpent,
But these are on glimpses of His power—
Only a little portion of Him that is heard.
He has promised power to all men.
After that the Holy Ghost
Has come upon them
And there will be thunder in that power—
Thunder against injustice,
Immorality and crime,
Thunder against hypocrisy
And the tyranny of small things,
Thunder against materialism
And hate.
But deeper still,
Love
Is the thunder of power.

Monday, August 29, 2011

GOD’S CHILDREN ARE TATTOOED INTO THE PALM OF HIS HAND!

This is one of my favorite Scriptures:

“Sing, O heavens! Be joyful, O earth! And break out in singing, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted His people, and will have mercy on His afflicted. But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.’ Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me” (Isaiah 49:13-16).

God says I am engraved in the very palm of his hand! The Hebrew word means “tattooed”—that is, indelible, inerasable. He cannot stretch out his hand without being reminded of me!

Dearly beloved, I want to assure you: You may go through trials and sufferings. You may be far from what you wish to be in the Lord. But you can know one thing more than anything else: You are a delight to him!

I write to you with a confidence and knowledge in my heart that, although I have not arrived, he has made me a part of his remnant. I believe with all my heart I am a royal crown, a diadem in his hand, a delight to his soul. He is not mad at me—he delights in me!

Listen to this wonderful promise:

“I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy, for You have considered my trouble; You have known my soul in adversities, and have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a wide place . . . . Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men!” (Psalm 31:7-8, 19).

God has given you all you need to be free and victorious. He sees your condition—and he cares. He cuddles you as you call on him and he is ready to come forth to help you that moment.

Friday, August 26, 2011

FULL ACCESS

Every four years, in January, America inaugurates a president to what is called “the most powerful office on earth.” His signature is law. He commands the world’s most powerful army. And he can simply push a button and bring destruction upon whole nations. But the power he holds is nothing compared to the power Jesus has given to you and me!

You see, we have absolute access to the very presence of the living God—and also for him to come to us! “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way . . . let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:19-22).

That access came only after Jesus was crucified, died and was resurrected. It came at the moment the veil in the temple was rent in two. When that happened, it meant that man could go in and God could come out—that he would meet us!

The word boldness in this verse means “with open, undisguised publicity.” Beloved, that “publicity” is for the devil’s sake! It means we can say to every demon in hell, “I have a right by the blood of Jesus Christ to walk into the presence of God and talk to him—and he to me!”

Do you believe you have this right—that God is willing to come out and meet you? Let us draw near to him with a heart full of the assurance of faith! We do not come by the blood of a bird or goat or bull, but by the blood of our Lord Jesus. “Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:12-14).

Nothing thrills the heart of God more than when his children come to him in boldness, without timidity! He wants us to come, saying, “I have a right to be here. And even if my heart condemns me, God is greater than my heart! (see 1 John 3:20).

Thursday, August 25, 2011

GOD WANTS TO SPEAK TO YOU!

God desires to speak to you as if you were sitting down to dinner with him. He wants to converse with you, heart to heart, on any and all matters! The Bible says: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20).

This verse often has been used when speaking to the unsaved. We speak of Jesus standing at the door of the sinner’s heart, seeking entrance. But, no—Christ is speaking to the believer!

The context shows that Christ is talking to those who are clothed in white raiment (righteousness), who have bought gold tried in the fire, whose eyes are anointed (having revelation), who are loved, reproved and chastened (see Revelation 3:15-19). These are repentant, holy people who want to know the voice of God!

As I read and reread verse 20 in this passage, three words kept leaping out at me: “Open the door! Open the door!” And the Spirit of God spoke clearly to my heart: “David, the reason you have not heard me as I want to be heard is because you are not wholly open in your spirit to hear!”

As I see it, this door represents a commitment—one that many Christians have not yet fully made. Most believers pray, “Lord, all I need is a little advice, a few words of direction—a reminder that you love me. Just let me know whether I’m doing right or wrong. Go before me and open the doors!”

But Jesus answers us: “If all you want from me is direction, I can send a prophet to you. If you only want to know where to go and what to do, I can send someone and you can filter it all through him. But you are missing me!”

Jesus wants your closeness, your deepest emotions, your locked-up room. He wants to sit down with you and share all that is in his heart—to talk with you face to face. Revelation 3 is a wonderful picture of this. It speaks of love and intimacy, of sharing secrets, of tender voices.

When Jesus comes in, he brings food and bread—in other words, himself. When you feed on him, you will be satisfied completely!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

ROOTED AND GROUNDED IN LOVE

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth, and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19).

Rooted and grounded here means “to build under you a deep and stable foundation of knowing and understanding the love of God to you.” In other words, the knowledge of God’s love to you is the foundational truth upon which all others truths must be built!

For example, this is what the fear of God is built upon. A holy fear of God is not a dread that he is ready to strike you down if you are caught in some little fault. Rather, it is the dread of his holiness against rebellion—and of what he does to those who love darkness rather than light.

Christians who live in guilt, fear and condemnation are not “rooted and grounded” in the love of God. Our heavenly Father sent his Son to die for our sins and weaknesses. And without fully knowing and fully understanding that kind of love to you, you will never have a stable or permanent foundation!

“[That you] . . . may be able to comprehend . . . the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:18-19). The Greek word for comprehend here suggests “to eagerly seize or lay hold of.” The apostle Paul means for you to seize this truth and make it the foundation of your Christian life. He is telling you to put your spiritual hands out and say, “I am going to lay hold of this!”

Perhaps you are assaulted by a temptation you can’t seem to shake off. Or maybe you carry a sense of never measuring up, of unworthiness—a fear that the devil is going to trip you up and you are going to fail God.

This is the day for you to wake up to God’s love for you! I pray that as you read this message, something will strike deep in your heart, and you will be able to say, “You’re right, Brother Dave. That’s me and I don’t want to live this way!” I pray that you will get hold of this truth—that it will open your eyes and help you enter a whole new realm of joy and peace in your daily walk with him.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

THE WAY OUT

Your way was in the sea, Your path in the great waters, and Your footsteps were not known (Psalm 77:19).

God has promised
To make a way of escape
From temptation—
A way that leads to the sea,
A path into deep waters.
I complained
And my spirit was overwhelmed.

A way of escape?
Into the sea?
Deep and great waters?
I communed with my heart
And made diligent search.
The deep waters surround me;
I swim in a sea of trial.
Has the Lord cast me off?
Does he no longer favor me?
Is his mercy gone forever?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
In anger has he shut me up
In a sea of confusion?
Then I remembered,
Thou leadest thy people like a flock
By the hand of Moses
Into great waters.
The waters saw thee, O God
And they were afraid.
The depths . . . were troubled;
They obeyed
And the waters parted.
I too will walk by faith
Into great waters,
And if I cannot hear your footsteps behind me,
I will walk on.
I will remember
How he divided the sea
And . . . made the waters to stand as a heap.
I will pass through
With them.

Monday, August 22, 2011

OBEYING THE VOICE OF THE LORD

If you want direction—if you think you’re ready to do what he asks—then let me ask you: Are you ready for an unsettling word, a mission of hardship and rejection, a life of faith with no guaranteed comforts except those of the Holy Ghost?

That is exactly what happened to Isaiah! The prophet volunteered, “Send me, Lord,” and God sent him on a hard, difficult mission!

“And He said, Go . . . . Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart” (Isaiah 6:9-10)

The word Isaiah heard was not flattering! On the contrary, it would make him hated, unpopular. The Lord told him, “Go, harden those who refuse to hear me speak! Close their eyes and ears—finish the hardening of their hearts!”

If you want to know God’s voice, then you must be willing to hear everything he says! God will never say, “Go!” until he first asks, “Who will go?” He comes to you asking, “Are you willing to do anything I tell you and do it my way? Are you willing to lay down your life?”

When I prayed for direction years ago, the Lord told me clearly, “Go back to New York.” That was a most uncomfortable word for me! I had been ready to retire. I had planned to write books and preach at selected places. I thought, “Lord, I’ve already spent my best years there. Give me a break!”

Yes, we want to hear the voice of God, but we want to hear it comfortably! We don’t want it to shake us. Yet, why should God give us his voice of direction if he is not sure we will obey him?

Abraham learned to hear God’s voice by first obeying what he heard—at the time he heard it! God’s word to him was to sacrifice his son, Isaac (see Genesis 22:2). Abraham acted on that word and his obedience became a sweet smelling aroma that touched the whole world: “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice” (Genesis 22:18).

Friday, August 19, 2011

HEARING AND KNOWING HIS VOICE

Peter warns last-day believers that Satan will come to them with a loud voice, trying to bring fear. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

Here is my point: If Satan is making his voice known in these last days, showing his power to the masses of lost souls, how much more important is it for God’s people to know their Father’s voice? Do you think the Lord would sit by as Satan roars at the world and yet remain silent? Never! Isaiah said: “The Lord will cause His glorious voice to be heard” (Isaiah 30:30).

Since the time of Adam and Eve, God has been speaking to man. “They heard the sound of the Lord God” (Genesis 3:8). Adam said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid” (Genesis 3:10).

From Genesis through to the end of the New Testament, God made his voice known to his people. In the books of the prophets we see this phrase, “And God said . . .” repeated time after time. God’s voice was known and understood.

Jesus confirmed this in the New Testament, using the example of the Good Shepherd. “The sheep hear his voice . . . the sheep follow him, for they know his voice” (John 10:3-4).

Adam hid from God’s voice, because of the guilt and shame of his sin. And that is exactly where many of God’s people are today—hiding, afraid to hear God speak!

If you want to hear God’s voice, you must be ready to have your soul purged and cleansed. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I AM YOUR GOD

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
Is your God
To deliver and strengthen you
As he did your fathers—
To help you,
Uphold you,
Keep you,
Fear not: be not dismayed.
They who do know him as their God
Shall do exploits
And become strong.
He will still your enemies and avengers.
He will make his strength perfect
In your weakness,
For in his hand is all power and might
To do for you exceedingly above all
You could ask or think.
To you he speaks,
“I am with you,
I am your God,
I will help you.”

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

GO TO THE STOREHOUSE!

Here is how you go to God’s storehouse and get what you need;

1. Come boldly to his throne and ask largely for all the grace and mercy you need to see you through every temptation and trial. The devil has a million ways to make you feel guilty, fearful, condemned and confused and he’ll tell you, “You feel this way because you’ve got junk in your heart!” But I stopped looking in my heart a long time ago, because it’s always black. Yet it is white to my Father because it is covered with the blood of the Lamb! It does not matter how you feel. Simply look to God’s Word for what Jesus has done. He has wiped your slate clean!

2. Remind God that it was his idea for you to come in. You did not go the Lord saying, “Father, I want everything you have!” He invited you in saying, “All I have is yours. Come and get it!”

3. Take God at his Word! The Bible says that everything he has for us is obtained by faith. You need only say in faith, “Lord Jesus, flood me with your peace because you have said it is mine! I claim rest for my soul.” You cannot work this up. You cannot sing or praise it down. It comes from being rooted and grounded in a revelation of God’s love for you. This comes not in a feeling but rather in the Word that he himself has spoken: “In my house is bread enough to spare!”

4. Take God’s Word and hammer all your fear, guilt and condemnation to pieces! Reject it all—it is not of God! You can say, “Let the devil come at me with his lies. My Father knows it already, and he has forgiven and cleansed me. There is no guilt or condemnation toward me. I am free!”

Beloved, I believe that if you ask the Spirit right now to help you seize this truth—to get rooted and grounded in it—the coming days will be the greatest you have ever had. You can say, “Lord Jesus, I know I am going to make mistakes, but nothing is going to shake me because you have everything I need to attain the victory and to live in it.”

Come into his storehouse and claim all that is yours from your loving Father!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

STOP LIVING LIKE A PAUPER

Are you tired of living like a pauper when everything you need has been provided? Perhaps your focus is wrong. Do you tend to dwell on your weaknesses, temptations and past failures? When you look inside your own heart does what you see discourage you? Have you allowed guilt to seep in?

Beloved, you are to be looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith! When Satan comes and points at some weakness in your heart, you have every right to answer, “My God already knows it all and he still loves me! He has given me everything I need to attain victory and keep it.”

“For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things” (1 John 3:20). He knows all about you—and he still loves you enough to say, “Come on in and get all you need. The storehouse is open!”

The doors to his storehouse are wide open, and his riches are full to overflowing. God is urging you: “Come boldly to the throne of grace, that [you] may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

How many years have you been on the outside? You have a Father who has been laying up a great treasure of provision for you and yet you have left it unclaimed.

The parable of the Prodigal Son shows us that by going in and enjoying his father’s treasure, the Prodigal had it both ways. He could live his earthly life with the abundant forgiveness, joy, peace and rest that were his and when death brought him into his eternal inheritance, he would fully enjoy what he had already known on earth.

Indeed, the greater sin was committed by the older brother—the one who stayed home, walked obediently and never failed his father. Yes, it is a sin to waste our Father’s substance on sensual living and a runaway spirit, but it is an even greater sin to rebuff God’s great love—to leave unclaimed the bountiful resources he gave to us at such a great price.

The Prodigal was not chastised, rebuked and reminded of his sin, because God would not allow sin to be the focus of restoration! There had been true repentance and godly sorrow and it was time to move on to the banquet table—to the feast. The father said to the older son, “He was lost, but now he is in the house again. He is forgiven and it is time to rejoice and be happy!”

Monday, August 15, 2011

THE BANQUET

“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love” (Song of Solomon 2:4). In the parable of the Prodigal Son the father’s joy could not be complete until he was sitting in the banqueting hall with his son. He had to make sure the boy knew he was forgiven and his sin wiped out. They had to be sitting at the table—feasting on the lamb!

If you had looked in the window at that moment, you would have seen a young man who had just come into a true revelation of God’s love: He was dancing! There was music, and he was laughing and happy. His father was glad over him, smiling at him! (Luke 15:25)

He was not under a cloud of fear. He wasn’t listening to the old lies of the enemy: “You’re going to go right back to the pigpen! You are unworthy of such love . . . .” No, he accepted his father’s forgiveness and had obeyed his word to come in and take for himself all he needed.

He heard his father whisper to him and to his older brother, “All I have is yours. There is no need ever to be hungry again. You never need to be lonely, a pauper, cut off from My storehouse” (Luke 15:31).

Beloved, here is the fullness of God’s love, the very heart of it! It is that even in our darkest times, God not only embraces us and brings us back in, but He also says, “Bring forth the fatted calf, and let us eat and be merry! In My banqueting house, there is a feast of plenty for my loved one!” (see Luke 15:22-24).

Today we have an even better promise: “To know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. 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 3:19-20).

Here is God’s love promise to us: “I offer you exceeding, abundant fullness—provision for every crisis, joy throughout your entire life. You may go to the storehouse and claim it all!”

Friday, August 12, 2011

GOD’S PROVISIONS AND HIS UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

The parable of the Prodigal Son is about two sons—one who comes to the end of his own resources, and one who would not claim his father’s resources. The parable is also about the father’s unconditional love and the provisions in his home.

The younger son went to his father and said, “Give me the portion of goods that falleth to me” (Luke 15:12). The portion he received—and then wasted—represents his own interests: his talents, his abilities, all the things he used to face life and all its problems. He said, “I have intelligence, good wits, a good background. I can go out and do it on my own!”

The younger son’s attitude describes many Christians today. Yet, when things get hard how soon we come to the end of our own resources! How quickly we spend all that we have within ourselves! We can figure our way out of some problems and find inner strength for some trials, but a time comes when famine strikes the soul!

You come to the end of yourself, not knowing which way to turn. Your friends can’t help you. You are left empty, hurting, with nothing left inside to draw upon. You are spent—all your fight is gone! All you have left are fear, depression, emptiness, hopelessness.

Are you still hanging around the devil’s pigpen, wallowing in emptiness, starving to death? That is what happened to the Prodigal Son. There was nothing left in him to draw upon! He had exhausted all his own resources and he realized where all his self-reliance had brought him. But what was it that finally brought him to himself? It was when he remembered all the abundant provisions in his father’s house! He said, “I’m starving here. But in my father’s house there is bread enough to spare!” He decided then to go back and appropriate his father’s bountiful provisions!

There is not one word in this parable that indicates the Prodigal came back because of love for his father. True, he was repentant; in fact, he fell on his knees, crying, “Father, I’m sorry! I’ve sinned against you and against God. I’m not worthy to come into your house,” but he never said, “Father, I came back because I love you!”

What is revealed here is that the love of God to us is without strings; it is not dependent upon our loving Him. The truth is, He loved us even when we were far away from Him in our hearts. That is unconditional love!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

TREASURES IN GLORY!

You cannot divorce God’s provisions from his love, which has to do with the abundant riches laid up in glory for our use. He has given us provision for every crisis in life to help us live victoriously at all times!

For weeks I had prayed, “Lord, I want to know your heart. I can’t get a revelation of your love for me from any of the books in my library, or even from the holiest men who ever lived. That can come only from you. I want my own revelation of your love—directly from your heart! I want to see it so clearly it changes the way I walk with you and the way I minister”

As I prayed, I didn’t know what to expect. Would a revelation of his love come rushing into my soul like a flood of glory? Would it appear as some great insight that would leave me breathless? Would it be a feeling of being very special to him—or a touch of his hand on me so real it would change me forever?

No, God spoke to me through a simple little verse: “God so loved...that He gave...” (John 3:16). His love is tied to his riches in glory—his bountiful provision for us!

The Bible says our love for the Lord is shown by our obedience to him. But his love for us is evidenced in another way—by his giving! You cannot know him as a loving God until you see him as a giving God. God so loved us, he invested in his Son Jesus all the treasures, glory and bounties of the Father—and then he gave him to us! Christ is God’s gift to us.

“For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell” (Colossians 1:19). “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him” (2:9-10). In other words, “In him you have all provision—everything you need!”

Very few Christians take the time to appropriate what God has freely offered. We don’t go after it or take possession of it and the treasures of Christ often lie in glory, unclaimed!

What a shock we are going to have when we get to glory! At that time, God will show us all the riches his love had provided and how we did not use them.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

BELIEVING THE LOVE OF GOD

The Holy Spirit has been leading me to pray for a greater understanding of God’s love. After reading 1 John 4:16, I realized how very little I know about living and walking in God’s love. “We have known and believed the love God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”

I believe most Christians know about God’s love for them only theologically. They have learned the Scriptures on love and have heard them preached—and yet their understanding is limited to a line from a children’s chorus: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

We believe God loves us, the world and the lost, but it is an abstract faith! Not many Christians can say with authority, “Yes, I know Jesus loves me—because I have an understanding of what his love is. It is the foundation of my daily walk.”

The daily walk of many Christians, however, is not one of believing in God’s love; instead they live under a cloud of guilt, fear and condemnation. God did not save you to live in condemnation. Jesus said, “Verily, very I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1). All guilt and condemnation are clearly of the devil. One meaning of the word condemnation is wrath. This is saying you won’t come under his judgment—that on the Judgment Day you will be free from his wrath. But condemnation also means “the feeling of never measuring up to standards.” And the Word is teaching us that the believer shall not come under the feeling of never measuring up!

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19).

Rooted and grounded here means “to build under you a deep and stable foundation of knowing and understanding the love of God to you.” In other words, the knowledge of God’s love to you is the foundational truth upon which all other truths must build!

God loves you!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

DRESS ME, JESUS

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil(Ephesians 6:11).

Dear Jesus,

You told me to resist the devil and he would flee from me,
But I have no resistance.
You have all the power and resistance I’ll ever need,
So give me the power to resist.
You told me I could move my mountains
If I had faith even as a mustard seed;
Yet my mountain won’t move
Even though my faith in you is as great
As I can conceive it.
You made the heavens and earth;
Please move my mountain.
You said, “Flee the very appearance of evil!”
So I ran hard,
But sin overtook me
In my finest hour of effort.
You have power
Over all the power of the enemy
With miracles, signs and wonders.
Deliver me from the trap of Satan.
I don’t even have the strength to put on the whole armor,
So dress me as my armor-bearer.
Do for me what I know I cannot do for myself.

Monday, August 8, 2011

JOSEPH RESPONDED TO THE SPIRIT'S CALL

God's Spirit has always been calling mankind to himself—to holiness, purity of heart, a separated life—and in every generation a remnant answers this call. Joseph responded to God's call at a very early age; his ten older brothers received the same call to surrender and walk righteously, but they chose to remain in the world.

On at least two occasions all of Jacob's sons received the Spirit's call very clearly. The first was when Jacob built an altar to the God of Israel (Genesis 33:18-20). Jacob called his sons to the altar to worship with him, to kneel before the Lord and follow him, but Joseph’s brothers turned to revenge and bloodshed, instead.

The second time God clearly called out to the ten was at Bethel. Jacob knew his sons were bound with idolatry and were rejecting God's call to purity and righteousness, so he warned them: "Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: and let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and 1 will make there an altar unto God" (Genesis 35:2-3).

This is one of the clearest calls in all of God's Word! The phrase "change your garments" in Hebrew means a moral and spiritual purification of the mind and heart. Outwardly, Jacob's sons surrendered: "And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings" (verse 4). But their repentance was only on the surface—they never had a true heart-change. They went right back to their rebellion, hate, envy and strife!

Joseph was different from his brothers: his repentance had been from the heart. He had responded to the Spirit's call and was wholly set on following the Lord. In the midst of a wicked, evil environment, Joseph maintained clean hands and a pure heart.

Joseph was sent out to the fields to help his brothers care for the family’s flocks. But he was soon grieved because his brothers spoke and lived like the heathen! His pure heart was crushed by the wickedness in his own family.

"And Joseph brought unto his father their evil report" (37:2), Joseph unburdened his heart to his father: "You wouldn't believe the way they live, Father. They speak against your God. They're grieving him!"

A mark of the Joseph Company is that they grieve over sin! They have forsaken all idols and are in love with Jesus, their hearts aflame with his holiness! They see the sin in the land, but they are grieved most of all by the sin in the church. They cry out from their souls, "Oh, Father, look at what is happening among your children!" If you are a part of this last-day company, you can't overlook sin. Rather, something has to rise up in you that says, "Oh, God, I can't stand what they're doing to your name!" You begin to pray—not against people, but against the inroads of demonic powers into the church of Jesus Christ!

Friday, August 5, 2011

JOSEPH'S GREATEST TRIAL WAS THE WORD OF GOD!

"He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant . . . until the time that his word came: the word of the Lord tried him" (Psalm 105:17, 19). Joseph was tested and tried in many ways but his greatest trial was the word he had received!

Consider everything Joseph endured: At only seventeen, he was stripped down and cast into a pit to starve to death. His cold-hearted brothers laughed at his pleas for mercy and sold him to Ishmaelite traders who took him by caravan to an Egyptian slave market and sold him as a common slave.

Yet Joseph's greatest trial wasn't his rejection by his brothers or even the human indignity of being made into a slave or being cast into prison. No—what confused and tried Joseph’s spirit was the clear word he had heard from God!

God had revealed to Joseph through dreams that he would be given great authority that he would use for God's glory. His brothers would bow before him and he would be a great deliverer of many people.

I do not believe any of this was an ego trip for Joseph. His heart was so set on God that this word gave him a humble sense of destiny: "Lord, you have put your hand on me to have a part in your great, eternal plan.” Joseph was blessed just by knowing he would play an important role in bringing God's will to pass! But the circumstances in Joseph's life were just the opposite of what God had put in his heart. He was the servant—he had to bow! How could he believe that he would one day deliver multitudes when he was a slave himself? He must have thought, "This doesn't make sense. How could God be ordering my steps into prison, into oblivion? God said I was going to be blessed but he didn't tell me this was going to happen!"

For ten years Joseph faithfully served in Potiphar's house but in the end he was misjudged and lied about. His victory over temptation with Potiphar's wife only landed him in jail. During such times he must have pondered the awful questions: "Did I hear correctly? Did my pride invent these dreams? Could my brothers have been right? Maybe all these things are happening to me as discipline for some kind of selfish desire.”

Beloved, there have been times when God has shown me things he has wanted for me—ministry, service, usefulness—yet every circumstance was the very opposite of that word. At such times I thought, "Oh, God, this can't be you speaking; it must be my flesh," I was being tried by God's word to me but God has given us his promises and we can trust them, all of them!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

EVERY WORD AND PROMISE WAS FULFILLED

Joseph was in one of his darkest hours—lonely, downcast, about to give up his dreams, questioning his place in God. Suddenly, the call came from one of the king's guards: "Joseph! Get cleaned up—Pharaoh is calling for you!"

In that moment, I believe the Spirit of God came mightily upon Joseph and his heart leapt with excitement. He was about to understand what it was all about!

As Joseph shaved and trimmed his hair, he probably thought, "This is the beginning of what God promised me. Now I know I heard from him! The devil has not been in control and my life hasn't been wasted. God has been directing everything the entire time!"

In a matter of minutes, Joseph was standing before Pharaoh, listening to his dream. Joseph gave the interpretation of the coming famine and told Pharaoh he had to gather and store the nation's grain: "Someone must be in charge of the storehouses. You have to find a man who's full of wisdom to oversee it all" (see Genesis 4l).

Pharaoh looked around and then turned toward Joseph: "You! Joseph! I appoint you second ruler. Only I will have more power in the kingdom than you. You will oversee it all!"

How quickly things had changed! The day came when Joseph stood before his brothers and was able to say: "But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive" (Genesis 50:20).

"God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt" (45:7-8).

Dear saint, very soon you're going to understand your present fiery trials. God is going to bring you into the promise he gave you and suddenly it's all going to make sense. You'll see that he has never forsaken you. He had to take you this way, for he has been training you, preparing you, teaching you to trust him for everything. He has planned a time for you to be used—and that time is just ahead!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

JOSEPH AND GOD’S FAVOR

Does our heavenly Father favor certain of his children? Does the Bible say God is no respecter of persons? When it comes to salvation and his wonderful promises, God treats all alike but he also puts his special favor on those who respond wholeheartedly to his calling and yield their lives to him entirely!

Job said: "Thou hast granted me life and favour" (Job 10:12). David said: "For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield" (Psalm 5:12).

Our heavenly Father puts a special garment on those who completely give him their heart: "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness" (Isaiah 61:10).

Joseph responded to the Spirit's call, surrendering all, and as a favor from his father he received a robe that set him apart. But that favor of his father was costly! It cost Joseph relationships and brought him rejection, misunderstanding and mockery: "All his brethren . . . hated him" (Genesis 37:4).

Why did Joseph's brothers turn on him? The key is in verse 11: "His brethren envied him." When they saw the robe Joseph wore, they knew it spoke of favor, righteousness. And they hated it, because it reminded them of the Spirit's call they had rejected! Joseph was a reproach to their halfhearted lifestyle!

You see, Joseph's brothers sat around indulging in petty gossip and self-centered talk. Their hearts were occupied with lands, possessions, the future, but Joseph's was elsewhere. He spoke of the things of God, of supernatural dealings. God had given him dreams, which in that day was synonymous with hearing the voice of God.

Lukewarm believers around you will want to talk about their cars, houses and jobs, but you'd rather talk about eternal things, about what God is saying to you. Soon you'll become a reproach to their halfheartedness. They will envy you because you represent the call of the Holy Ghost they turned down!
Yes, Joseph was of a different cloth and that difference made him hated and envied among his brothers. And, beloved, the same will happen to you if you are sold out to Jesus!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

THE JOSEPH COMPANY

Let me show you the Joseph Company—a body of last-day believers wholly given to the Lord. They commune with God daily and are led by the Spirit in every detail of their lives. At this moment they are coming out of great trials to enter a place of revelation, wisdom and fruitfulness. God is working in them, giving them his truth and knowledge, and very soon he is going to call upon them as he did Joseph!

For the most part, the church today is experiencing widespread spiritual famine: shallow sermons, dead hearers, "lively" worship that is not backed up by righteous living.

God has always worked far in advance of every spiritual famine in his church. In every generation he has moved ahead to prepare a way out for his people!

The seventy-five members of Jacob's clan would have died in the great worldwide famine (and the promise of Israel would have been destroyed) had God not been working ahead of it all. In fact, some twenty years before the famine hit, God was already setting in motion a plan to save his people from destruction.

God sent Joseph ahead to Egypt! For twenty years God worked on this man—isolating him, trying him, preparing him for a place of authority—because Joseph was to become the life-saver of God's chosen. He kept Joseph from the limelight in order that he might be ready for a coming day of chaos and death!

Beloved, just as surely as God isolated Joseph, he has a Joseph Company today that is hidden from all eyes. These are in the furnace of affliction, prisons of testing, battlegrounds of trials and temptations. They are dying to this world, wanting nothing of its fame, honor, money or pleasure. And they are growing hungry to become more intimate with Christ, to know his heart and his voice.

You may not understand all the mysterious testings, trials and troubles in your life. But if your heart is fully set on following Christ, you can rest assured God has purpose in it all: He wants to bring you into his Joseph Company!

Monday, August 1, 2011

GOD IS DOING A NEW THING

How often have you heard Christians say, “God is doing a new thing in his church”? The “new thing” they refer to may be called a revival, an outpouring, a visitation, or a move of God.

Yet very often, this “new thing” dies out very quickly. And once it has faded, it can’t be found again. In this way, it proves not to be a move of God at all. In fact, Christian sociologists have tracked many of these visitations and discovered the average span of life of such an event is about five years.
Personally, I believe God is doing a new thing in his church today. Yet this great work of the Spirit can’t be found in just one location. It’s happening worldwide.

God will not begin a new thing in his church until he does away with the old. This biblical principle, proven throughout centuries of church history, is found in both Testaments and governs any true move of God. As Jesus put it, he won’t put new wine into old wineskins (see Mark 2:22).

The principle of doing away with the old and raising up the new was first introduced in the Old Testament at Shiloh. During the time of the Judges, God established a holy work in that city (see Judges 18:31). Shiloh, where the Lord’s sanctuary stood, was the center of all religious activity in Israel. The name Shiloh itself means “that which is the Lord’s.” This speaks of things that represent God and reveal his nature and character. God spoke to his people at Shiloh; it was there that Samuel heard God’s voice and where the Lord revealed his will to him (see 1 Samuel 1).

The Lord stopped speaking at Shiloh because the priest had become lazy and sensual and the city had become corrupt. God told Samuel, in essence, “Shiloh has become so defiled, it no longer represents who I am. This house is no longer mine. I’m finished with it.” So the Lord lifted his presence from the sanctuary and wrote “Ichabod” above the door, which means, “The glory of the Lord has departed.”

The Lord completely did away with the old but once again, he raised up a new thing. After that, the temple in Jerusalem became known as “the Lord’s house” and God spoke to his people there.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).