Thursday, May 31, 2012

JESUS RANSOMED US

By Adam's sin, we all were made sinners and by Jesus' sacrifice, we are made righteous. Jesus ransomed us, paid the price, so that the devil would have no claim on those who repent and trust in Christ and His completed work.

All along God knew that man could not keep or fulfill His divine law. He had instituted the law to bring order to the human race, lest we destroy ourselves. The law was for our own protection; it was to make us realize that in our own strength and righteousness, we could not stand before a holy God. The law was a mirror God held up to us, saying, "Let me show you what I expect, what My justice requires. Here is My law and here is where you've failed, where you're living in sin. You have failed at this point . . . this point . . . and this point. No one is righteous enough to fulfill My law!"

The Pharisees tried to fulfill the law. They observed more than 600 regulations, from the washing of hands and pots to refusing to touch a Gentile. They tried to keep all the law, believing that one day they could stand before God and say, "I kept all Your laws. I did this, this and this. Now You are obligated to save me."

But no one can expect his good works to merit justification. God's Word answers, "If you've failed just one point of the law, you've failed the whole law!" If you expect God to accept you for your good behavior, forget it! You'll never be able to keep the whole law.
Because we couldn't meet justice's demands to fulfill God's law, Jesus came to earth and perfectly fulfilled the law of God. He never failed one point of it and He did it all out of pure motives of love. "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil" (Matthew 5:17).

When Jesus ascended to the Father, His perfect obedience had fulfilled all the demands of the law and His blood was presented in full payment for our sin. Here stood a Man in the presence of God whose righteousness was perfect and therefore acceptable to the Father.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

OUR INHERITANCE

When Elijah went up to heaven, he left Elisha his cloak (2 Kings 2:13). Likewise, when Jesus went up to the Father, He left us His own garment — His perfect righteousness. He cast it upon us, as surely as Elijah cast his garment upon Elisha. The prophet's action was a type and shadow of what was going to happen when Jesus was translated to the Father. Indeed, we are heirs to a wonderful garment of righteousness that covers us completely, making us acceptable in God's holy presence!

This garment is our inheritance and God expects us to value it. He expects us to seek after it, to be willing heirs to His legacy. You may remember what happened when King Ahab came against Naboth, coveting his vineyard. Naboth valued his vineyard so much, he rejected Ahab's offer to buy it, saying, "The Lord forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee" (1 Kings 21:3). He was saying, "God forbid that anyone should take my inheritance from me. It's mine!"

I believe the most important thing you can seek from God is the understanding that this inheritance is yours and it is waiting to be claimed. The knowledge of the perfect righteousness of Jesus will put you on a rock that is unshakable. It will end all your useless struggles and put you in God's presence justified and accepted.

If God has provided you with an inheritance whereby you can stand before Him with perfect righteousness in Jesus Christ, then you should want it. It should be an inheritance nobody can take from you. No lie of the devil should be able to remove it from your spirit, no man should be able to steal it from you, and no emotion should drain you of it.

Because God said it, you must lay hold of it! You need to seek it, go after it, allow your soul no rest until you get your hands on it. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33).

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

PERFECT RIGHTEOUSNESS

God accepts only one kind of righteousness — perfect righteousness. Nothing else will stand in His presence on Judgment Day. Unless our righteousness is absolutely perfect, He cannot save us, justify us, recognize or accept us. This perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ our Lord can be had only by faith.

The writer of Hebrews introduces us to the truth that this righteousness is the inheritance of all true believers. It is something Jesus has left for us, something that belongs to us, a legacy: "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith" (Hebrews 11:7).

Noah became an heir not by building an ark, but by what he believed and preached. He grasped this knowledge of righteousness which God had revealed to him — a righteousness that is by faith — and he became an heir of a perfect righteousness!

Beloved, you and I were given a great inheritance when Christ departed the earth. He left us a title and deed to His very own perfect righteousness. Of course, Jesus lived in absolute poverty while on this earth; He owned no land, had no money. But He left us riches greater than the diamond mines of South Africa; greater than the oil fields in the Middle East; greater than the gold and silver buried under America's mountains. Jesus gave us an inheritance that can make us far richer than any person on the face of the earth. It is an inheritance to a perfect righteousness that allows us to stand before God without condemnation.

Once you understand this inheritance, you can stand against every devil in hell. Satan will not be able to accuse you before the Father, before your brethren, before your own conscience, because you are an heir to the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ!

Monday, May 28, 2012

GIDEON’S 300 by Gary Wilkerson

“And Gideon came to the Jordan and crossed over, he and the 300 men who were with him, exhausted yet pursuing” (Judges 8:4, ESV).

Judges 7:1 tells us that Gideon and his 32,000 men were about to go to war with the Midianites who had well over 100,000 soldiers. Those are not good odds.

God said to Gideon and his men, “If any of you are weary or distraught or discouraged or fearful or timid, I want you to go home” (see Judges 7:3).

We see that 22,000 left and 10,000 remained and the Lord said to Gideon, “The people are still too many. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ shall go with you, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ shall not go” (Judges 7:4, ESV).

So now it’s 300 against 100,000!

Late at night with only 300 soldiers left, Gideon went to the camp of the Midianites and heard two Midianite soldiers talking. One soldier said to the other, “I had a dream. It was like a piece of tumbleweed was blowing around and when it blew through our camp it knocked all of our tents and armory down.” The other soldier answered, “That is Gideon and his soldiers tearing down our camp” (7:13-14).

What he heard brought such an encouragement to the soul of Gideon that he began to believe that he could win this battle. What is his response?

“As soon as Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped” (7:15).

Gideon began to worship! God’s goal in bringing us to a place of victory in the midst of our struggle, in the midst of our pain, is to cause us to exalt and worship Jesus Christ.

God is not after just the victory in your life — helping you in your finances, helping you find a job, helping with your marriage. He will help you with all those things, of course, but what God really wants is a people who worship Him.

Friday, May 25, 2012

KNOWING TIMES OF REFRESHING



I believe I am speaking to a number of godly people who love Jesus with all their heart and who are at a point of deep despair.
What is the way to victory?

1. Dive into God's Word. Lay hold of your special promise, take it into the secret prayer closet, and hold God to it. I present my favorite promises to God whenever I cry out to Him:
  • "What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" (Matthew 7:9-11). 
Ask the Lord for good things for He is waiting to give them to you. Ask Him to set you free, to take away all your shame, to remove all the stain of sin. He longs to do it for you.
  • "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen" (Ephesians 3:20-21). 
Take this promise to God every day, saying, "Father, You said You would do well above everything I ask so today I'm asking You to over-answer my prayer." God is pleased by such faith!

2. Trust the Holy Spirit. The Father has sent His Spirit to reside in your heart but you must acknowledge that He is within you to answer. God doesn't have to send an angel to speak to you; He has already put His resources within you — the Holy Spirit Himself.

Say to Him, "Holy Spirit, You know the way out of this mess. I don't. It's completely beyond me. So I'm resigning right now and I give direction of my life to You. I know that what I'm going through is not uncommon to believers and I am going to hold the Lord to His great and precious promises. And then I will trust You to do the rest because You know the very mind of God!"

Dearly beloved, if you make this simple confession, you will know times of refreshing from the Lord. Even when you are ready to give up, He remains faithful to deliver you.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

PRESSED BEYOND MEASURE

Perhaps like Paul, you are being pressed beyond measure, tested beyond your endurance. Your strength is nearly gone, and you are on the brink of giving up. You want to run, but there is no place to go. Now you say with Paul, "This is above my strength!"

So, what is the way to victory? All I can tell you is how God continues to bring me out. Here are two important truths He has given me:

1. Don't think you are experiencing some strange, unique battle. On the contrary, you are in good company. Recall Job, Jeremiah, Elijah, David, Paul — even me. What you are going through is common to believers throughout the centuries.

"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy" (1 Peter 4:12-13).

2. When you think you can't go on another hour — when everything looks absolutely hopeless — cry out to God with all that is in you, "Lord, help!" Consider the counsel of the psalmist in the following verses:
  • "As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me" (Psalm 55:16-18). 
  • "I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. . . . 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" (18:1-2, 6). 
  • "O Lord my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me. O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit" (30:2-3). 
Here is a key verse: "For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper" (72:12). Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit to be your helper and He will not turn a deaf ear to your cry for help!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

BUILDING ON THE ROCK

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock” (Matthew 7:24).

Beloved, you are not building on the rock if you need a preacher to thunder at you to obey God — if you need a set of do's and don'ts. You don't need a book of rules, you need a passionate love for Jesus. You need to be so in love with Him that you know what pleases Him.

The more you love Him, the easier it is to serve and obey Him. You will no longer care what the world says about you. You can answer, "I've heard from my Father and I'm doing the good pleasure of His heart!"

When your heart is enraptured with Jesus, such obedience naturally flows out. You won't have to constantly go before the Lord, crying, "Oh, God, break the power of the devil over me!" All those chains will begin to fall off as you get to know His heart!

Are you in love with Jesus? If your answer is yes, then I have several questions for you: How can you go throughout the week without spending time in His Word? How can you not yearn to get alone with Him in prayer? How can you not have a time of love talk with your Father, praising and worshiping Him, seeking to learn what pleases Him? These are foundational to obedience.

Jesus tells us, "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him" (John 14:21). What an incredible promise — all based on an obedience of love.

Search the gospels and get to know Jesus' words as recorded in Matthew 5-7, beginning with the Sermon on the Mount. As you learn His words, do them! God's commandments are not grievous; they are not a heavy burden laid upon us. On the contrary, obeying them becomes easier the more you grow to love Him.

That is building your house upon the rock! Then, when the storm comes, you can stand unafraid. Nothing will move you because you are walking in loving, pleasing obedience to the Father.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

SO THE WALL WAS FINISHED

Often Satan will attack you in order to stop a great work for God. He will put enemies in league together just to hinder your labors. They will come against you in unison, trying to discount the minister in order to stop the ministry.

You can be sure of this: If you are on a divine mission — if you are called to do a work for the Lord and are busy fulfilling that calling, trusting in Jesus — none of their plots will work against you.

Nehemiah was called by God to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. The work was progressing wonderfully, with the walls going up steadily. Suddenly Satan stirred up a hornets' nest to hinder it all. Four prominent leaders joined in a plot against Nehemiah: “They thought to do me mischief” (Nehemiah 6:2).

Four times these leaders set a trap. They called out to Nehemiah, "Come down off your wall. We want to have a conference with you. We insist you talk to us!" But four times Nehemiah answered, "I'm not coming down off these walls! I have work to do here because God has ordained me to do it" (see Nehemiah 6:3).

Beloved, you cannot get involved in arguing with people just because they want to argue. It's all meant to be a distraction. You must go on with God's work.

The reason Satan comes against your prayer life, your consecration to God, your walk with Him, isn't just to bring you down. He also wants to ruin the ministry God has given you. He wants to destroy anything you're doing that brings glory to God!

These four VIPs started a rash of rumors against Nehemiah. They claimed, "You're doing this for yourself, not for God!" One of them, Tobiah, sent slanderous letters to other leaders in Israel. All the slander, plotting and snares were designed to put fear into Nehemiah's heart, in hopes that he would get discouraged and run. Nehemiah sums up the scheme in verse 13: “[He was] hired that I should be afraid . . . that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me.”

But none of those snares could stop the work of God! Scripture states: "So the wall was completed. . . . When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God” (verses 15-16, NIV).

Monday, May 21, 2012

YOU CAN OUTRUN CHARIOTS by Gary Wilkerson

Jezreel was known as a city of chariots. It excelled in warfare because of its vast fleet of iron vehicles made for swift movement in battle. Chariots represent the strength of man. They signify the power to speed ahead with great agility, the ability to accomplish something through a powerful, dominating resource.

Today there is a "chariot lifestyle" — one of comfort and ease, where all our needs are provided. If we need something, we write a check for it. If we want to do something, we go ahead and do it.

To a Christian, the chariot lifestyle can have great appeal. In the world's standard of success, we see impressive "chariots" and "stallions." These are the means, the material wealth, that provide people with ease, security and comfort at all times.

But the servant of God does not seek those things primarily. Instead, he seeks to obey his Master's voice and pursue the concerns of His kingdom. The Christian learns early in his faith walk that by pursuing the Lord first, "all these things will be added to him" (Matthew 6:33).

This same believer sometimes may find himself without the needed resources to do certain things for his family. He doesn't see his calling or ministry being fulfilled, so he is tempted to think, "The resources are out there, and the world is using them to great effect but I don't have any of them. I need them to accomplish God's work. How can I get hold of them?"

Elijah knew better than to look to the world's resources. Imagine the scene as he addressed King Ahab. There stood the king, perched high in his brilliant chariot, towering over the lowly prophet. Yet Elijah spoke boldly to Ahab: “Prepare your chariot and go down” (1 Kings 18:44, ESV).

Next we read, "The hand of the Lord was on Elijah, and he gathered up his garment and ran before Ahab to . . . Jezreel" (1 Kings 18:46). God's man outran a chariot over a distance of many miles! How did Elijah accomplish this? The phrase "gathered up his garment" means, essentially, “to gird up your loins” which means that he prepared himself.

The apostle Paul tells us we have been called by God to run a race. Peter refers to this race also when he tells us to gird up the loins of our mind. He's saying we need to prepare ourselves for the contest by reinforcing our belief and trust in the Lord. When you see chariots in front of you carrying people swiftly toward their goals, don't despair. Do not be dismayed at the power they have and you lack. God has a different way for you. When you set your eyes on the Father and let His powerful hand come upon you, you too can outrun chariots.

Friday, May 18, 2012

PROCLAIMING THE VICTORY

What does God expect of us once we are sprinkled with the blood of Jesus? Are we obligated in any way by this sprinkling? Yes, we certainly are! If we have been sprinkled by the blood of Jesus, we are commanded to do two things:

1. We are to go in peace and not doubt anymore.

When Moses sprinkled blood on the sinning Israelites, they never once doubted that they were pardoned and accepted by God. They trusted in that sprinkling.

Today, the blood sprinkled on us is not that of bulls, goats or sheep but of Christ, the Lamb of God. And yet we have more doubt, more fear than those Israelites.

Martin Luther said it is blasphemy to take back to ourselves all the sins that were laid on Christ and I agree with him. It is absolute sacrilege to go about in fear, guilt and condemnation. We are not to say, "The Bible says that by faith I am cleansed, justified and protected from Satan's power, yet I cannot believe such a glorious thing is possible."

2. We are to praise God with a thankful heart — never doubting.

We are commanded to thank God for the precious blood of Jesus, with high praises:
  • "We also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement" (Romans 5:11). 
  • "Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart" (Psalm 32:11). 
  • "Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound" (Psalm 89:15). 
  • "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). 
Proclaim the victory of Jesus' blood in your life and begin praising Him now for the promise of that great day of redemption to come.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

OUR HIGH PRIEST

In the Old Testament, once each year the high priest went into the Holy of Holies to make atonement, which means "reconcilation." This act was meant to wipe away the people's sins so they could be reconciled and have communion again with the heavenly Father.

The priest carried into the Holy of Holies a handful of incense, a censer of burning coals of fire from the altar, and a container of blood from a slain ox. Within the Holy of Holies was an ark that had the mercy seat on top of it where God "sat" — it was His very presence.

After cleansing himself in an elaborate ceremony, the priest went inside the Holy of Holies with great reverence and fear. He dropped the incense into the fire, causing an aroma and smoke to ascend. This represented the prayers of Christ interceding for His people. Then the priest dipped his finger into the blood and sprinkled it seven times on the mercy seat.

"And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times" (Leviticus 16:14).

When the blood was sprinkled on God's seat, forgiveness of all sins was accomplished and all past sins were covered. When the high priest came out, the people knew God had accepted the sacrifice and their sins were pardoned. Israel never doubted it!

Beloved, we too have a High Priest — Jesus, our Lord, our High Priest for all time. Jesus took His own blood to the true mercy seat — into God's presence, the Holy of Holies — and presented it for the remission of all sins, of all believers, for all time.

Scriptures says of this act: "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us" (Hebrews 9:12).

Jesus took His own blood into heaven for us and it is not reserved there simply as a memorial. It is to be sprinkled on all who come to Him by faith.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

ENJOY HIS COMPANY

In Exodus 24 God made a covenant agreement with Israel. He promised, "If you will obey My words, I will be a God to you and you will be My people." After Moses read the law to the people, they answered, "We understand and we will obey."

This covenant had to be sealed — ratified and made valid — and that could happen only through sprinkling the blood upon it. Hebrews tells us that “[Moses] took the blood . . . and sprinkled both the book, and all the people" (Hebrews 9:19).

The shed blood of the burnt offerings was contained in a basin. Moses took some of this blood and poured part of it by the altar. Then he took a hyssop (plant), dipped it in the basin and sprinkled some of the blood on the twelve pillars (representing the twelve tribes of Israel). Finally, Moses dipped the hyssop into the basin and sprinkled the blood on the people, which sealed the covenant.

It is clear that the sprinkling of the blood gave the Israelites full access to God — with joy. On this occasion it had nothing to do with forgiveness of sin but, rather, with communion. They were now sanctified, cleansed, fit to be in God's presence.

Moses and the seventy elders went up to the mountain to meet God, where the Lord appeared to them. These men saw a table spread before them and Scripture implies that with ease, comfort and no fear of judgment, they sat in God's presence and ate and drank with Him: "And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink" (Exodus 24:11).

This is simply amazing. These men could eat and drink in the very presence of God, whereas shortly before, they had feared for their lives. The blood had been sprinkled and they understood the safety, power and security in that. They had no fear!

Beloved, today we are in a new covenant with Jesus Christ, a covenant sealed by His own blood. When His precious blood is sprinkled on your soul, it is for purposes of communion so that you can go boldly — with ease, without fear of judgment — into God's presence. You are given access to Him, with no sin condemning you, free to talk to God and enjoy His company.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

THE MOST PRECIOUS GIFT

The blood of Jesus is the most precious gift our heavenly Father has given to His church. Yet few Christians understand its value.

Christians often sing about the power of the blood. Indeed, the anthem of the Pentecostal church is, "There is power, power, wonder-working power in the precious blood of the Lamb." But most believers seldom enter into the power of that blood, probably because we simply do not comprehend its great significance. For example, we constantly "plead the blood" as some kind of mystical formula of protection but few Christians can explain its great glory and benefits.

If I were to ask you what the power of the blood means, you might answer, "It means that all my sins are forgiven and I am free." Yet, beyond forgiveness, what does the blood of Jesus Christ mean to you? Can you explain to your family or to a coworker the worth and significance of the blood of Jesus?

Let me share with you the benefits that flow from the blood of Jesus. 
  1. Jesus’ blood redeems us from sin and the power of darkness. “In whom we have redemption through his blood” (Ephesians 1:7). We are no longer under condemnation. 
  2. Jesus’ blood has purchased the whole church of God. “Feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). 
  3. Jesus’ blood breaks down all walls. “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us” (Ephesians 2:13-14). 
  4. Jesus’ blood sanctifies us. “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). 
  5. Christ’s blood overcomes Satan. “And they overcame him [the devil] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:11). 
  6. The blood gives us access to the Holy of Holies — to our heavenly Father. “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus” (Hebrews 10:19). 
Through the blood of Jesus we are able to come to our Father boldly — without fear!

Monday, May 14, 2012

PURSUING A GOD-GIVEN VISION by Gary Wilkerson

In Haggai 2:15-16, the children of Israel were having difficulty constructing a building. Their cry was, "We needed fifty measures of material for this building but we got only twenty measures."

Does this seem to describe your own life or calling? You need certain "measures" to accomplish what God has set before you, but you get only a part of it. You hope for one amount but receive a smaller one.

God has a message for you: He wants to supply for us what we cannot supply for ourselves. Indeed, Jesus tells us the Father longs to double our harvest. In John 4:35 we see Jesus and His disciples walking near some grain fields. He pointed to the fields and said to His followers, "The fields are ready for harvest, so don't say that there is going to be a harvest four months from now. Lift up your eyes, for the harvest is ready now."

The disciples were perplexed. They saw that the plants were only half grown and thought, "Anyone with common sense can see these fields are nowhere near ready for harvest." But Jesus was talking about the harvest of souls for God's kingdom.

The lesson of the harvest has a broader meaning for our lives. To us, it has to do with God's kingdom purposes. Jesus is telling us, "You don't have to wait four months to overcome your sin or have a burning passion for Me. I have made all those things available to you right now. It is impossible to you in your own strength and ability, but I am expediting all things and there can be no excuses among those who follow Me."

I have a question for every student or young working person reading this. Do you say to yourself, "I'll wait till I graduate before I stop drinking"? Maybe you say, "I'll wait till I'm older to stop sleeping around and settle down in marriage." Or, "I just want to taste a little more of the world before I give my all to Jesus."

Jesus' lesson of the harvest fields declares to all who would follow Him: "Now is the time." This lesson of the harvest addresses every human excuse: "There is no waiting in My kingdom. If you wait four months, the harvest will pass you by. Don't let any excuse sidetrack you. In my kingdom, today is the day. Now is My time for My calling on you to be fulfilled."

If this is true of you, I offer a challenge. Write down your excuse on a piece of paper and read it for the last time. Then crumple that paper and toss it into the trash and say, "I'm leaving that excuse behind me. I have no more excuses. Jesus says His harvest in my life is ripe right now."

Friday, May 11, 2012

GOD REMAINS FAITHFUL

The only thing that can abort God's wonderful purpose for you is the sin of stubborn pride. We see this in the life of King Saul.

Scripture tells us that God's Spirit was on this man from the day the prophet Samuel saw him coming down the road. God had called Saul and He was using him, but something in Saul was emerging quickly — an arrogant pride. Saul would not confess or admit his sin. Instead, he blamed others to justify his actions. He was more concerned with keeping up appearances than with what God thought of him.

Beloved, the difference between David and Saul was pride. Think about it. David sinned as grievously as Saul did — Saul never killed another woman's husband — but David quickly repented of his sin. When Nathan pointed out his grievous act, David didn't justify it. Rather, he immediately cried out, "God, don't take Your Holy Spirit from me! All I want is to please You. I know I have failed You but please forgive me. Cleanse my heart." (See 2 Samuel 12:13 and Psalm 51.)

When Saul was caught in sin, however, he grabbed hold of Samuel's skirt and cried, "Don't take my kingdom from me. Please stand with me so I won’t look bad in front of my people.” (Read 1 Samuel 15:22-35.) Saul was more interested in what the people thought about him than in having grieved the Holy Spirit.

Beloved, it is pride — a haughty, immovable spirit — that brings men down. A broken heart, a contrite spirit, captures the heart of the Lord. It does not matter what you have been through or how you have failed God. If you run to Him and weep it all out after you have failed, He will stand with you. He always stands with those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

We all fail the Lord; no one in His church is perfect. Yet every time we are unfaithful to Him, He remains faithful to us.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

GOD WILL SEE IT THROUGH


Peter was the man who said he would never desert Jesus. Yet, not only did Peter deny he knew Him, but he did it with a stream of profanities pouring from his mouth.

"And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them. And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them. . . . But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak" (Mark 14:69-71).

If you had been standing near the fire listening to Peter, you may have thought, "Is this the man who was on the Mount of Transfiguration? The one who laid hands on the sick and they recovered? The one entrusted with the keys to the kingdom? Listen to what's coming out of his mouth! How could he walk so intimately with the Lord and then blow up like this, lying, cursing and denying Him? It's all over for Peter. He might as well go back to his fishing nets. He'll never be heard of again."

Had you run to the Lord exclaiming about Peter’s cursing, He would have answered, "Yes, Peter has failed Me but I know his heart. He's going to be on a hill in a few hours, weeping and coming back to Me. In fact, he is on his way to Pentecost — to a life of ministry for Me."

"If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself" (2 Timothy 2:13). The actual Greek reading of this verse is: "If we are faithless, yet He remains faithful." It is true that Peter was terribly unfaithful but God remained faithful and His eternal purpose in Peter's life was not thwarted. Why? Because God cannot deny who He is.

No matter what you have been through this past year, God looks on your heart. If you have a broken and contrite spirit, He will be there for you. His eternal purpose for you will not be ruined because He will see it through!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I AM YOUR REWARD

"After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram" (Genesis 15:1). This verse means, "After Abram looked around fearfully at the enemies surrounding him, after he felt dejected that he hadn't made any progress, the Word of the Lord came to him."

The first thing God told Abram was, "Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward" (same verse). In this single verse, God has given us the secret to the greatest blessing any believer could ever have. The meaning for shield here in Hebrew is "protector, defender." This verse means, "I will fight for you and I will be your champion."

The Lord is telling Abram, “Go ahead and look at all those armies surrounding you. Nobody can touch you because I am your protector. Entrust your life and future into My hands.”

This same verse tells us the Lord is much more than a shield to us, though. He is also our exceeding great reward. God says to Abram, "You will have your son, and he will be a joy to you — but I will be the One who fulfills your deepest needs."

God knows all about human nature. He knew that Abraham would have a great measure of joy when he got his son. Abraham could then say, "God did it! He promised this to me, and He kept His Word." Yet God also knew that Abraham would not be totally fulfilled when the child came. He would still have an inner hunger, a restlessness, an inexplicable need that no human could touch.

Isn't this what happens to us when we finally get the thing we have wanted so badly? All along we think, "If only I can get this one thing, I'll be happy. It will make my life wonderful and end all my problems." No, it won't! Only the Lord Himself can fully satisfy our deepest need.

Our High Priest says, "The secret of My blessing is that I am what you are looking for. I am your reward — your answer — your blessing."

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

BLESSINGS FROM OUR HIGH PRIEST

The Bible tells us that when Christ ascended to heaven, He took up the ministry of High Priest to all who come to Him by faith. "This man [Jesus], because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood" (Hebrews 7:24).

Jesus is unchangeable — the same yesterday, today and forever. As long as you live, He will be your High Priest in heaven, interceding on your behalf, and He will remain your High Priest until you go home to be with Him.

Our High Priest is seated at the right hand of the Father, in the seat of authority: "We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty" (8:1). Our High Priest has all power and authority at His command.

Jesus is in the Father's presence right now, interceding for us. He confronts our accuser and says, "I rebuke you, Satan. This one is mine because he is sprinkled in My blood. He is secure and his debt is fully paid!" Yet I believe there is even more for us to learn about our wonderful High Priest's ministry on our behalf.

It was the duty and privilege of the Old Testament high priest to come forth from the Holy of Holies and bless the people. The Lord instructed Moses: "Speak unto Aaron and his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace" (Numbers 6:23-26). In other words, after the high priest takes the blood into the Holy of Holies, sprinkles it on the mercy seat and waves the incense, he is to come out, face the people and bless them.

This is the unchanging ministry of our High Priest. Jesus says, "I will cover you with My blood. I will intercede for you before the Father and I will come forth and bless you. "

When the Old Testament priest spoke this blessing to the people, it was not just a wish for them. He did not say, "I wish you peace. I wish the Lord to shine His face upon you." No, the blessing was backed by the full power of God (see Numbers 6:27).

Likewise, when Jesus our High Priest blesses, He does not just wish us good. He pronounces His blessing with authority — and it is done!

Monday, May 7, 2012

TOTAL VICTORY by Gary Wilkerson

We read about the final lesson from Elisha's life — and what a lesson it is! When the famous prophet was on his deathbed, Joash, the king of Israel, wept aloud that Israel's great prophetic light was about to go out.

Elisha rallied briefly to bring the king hope. He instructed the king to shoot arrows into the air, so Joash did. Then Elisha told him to take the arrows and strike them into the ground and Joash complied, striking the ground with the arrows three times.

What Elisha did next was surprising. “Then the man of God was angry with him and said, ‘You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Syria until you had made an end of it, but now you will strike down Syria only three times’” (2 Kings 13:19 ESV).

This may seem like one more strange scene from Elisha's life but the fact is, God's prophet was still all about faith-building. He was telling the king, "How dare you expect so little from God. You could have defeated Syria five or six times, but you will settle for only three."

Elisha's words here apply to every Christian today. Our Lord wants us to go beyond limited victories. The stories He provides are to help us build our faith and inspire us to be hungry for Him to act. Elisha tells us, "God will give you as many victories as you are willing to lay hold of. Keep striking the ground in faith."

This isn't some heartless demand. It is deeply compassionate. God wants every spouse in a hurting marriage to know, "I don't want you to settle. I want every rift to be fully healed, not just partially. I want you to know the fullest joy in loving each other. That is my design for you."

Regardless of your situation, pray with me: "Lord, open our eyes to You in our crisis. In the midst of our need, fill our jars. In our difficult battle, show us your chariots of fire. And on the brink of defeat, remind us that You are already driving away our enemies. Stir our faith so that we continue to strike the ground with belief. And remind us to seek rest in You."

May God open your eyes to the miracle He has begun in your situation. He has surrounded you with chariots of fire and all the forces of heaven are at His disposal to provide for you and protect you. He is already bringing your victory!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

2012 EXPECT Church Leadership Conference Colorado Springs, CO September 25th-27th by Gary Wilkerson

Expect Church Leadership Conference 2012 Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs, CO
September 25-27, 2012
All over the world, pastors and church leaders labor day in and day out to bring His love to those in need. As a minister, you have no doubt experienced the joy of His hand guiding you. But like many, you may also have experienced the difficulty, the loneliness, the dryness, even the despair which can occasionally come to all of us who serve. The ministry you are about to be introduced to was established just for you, to strengthen you, to bring a fresh anointing of God’s love and divine healing into your ministry, into your family, into your church.
Please join us as we stand in awe at the healing work of God taking place in our very midst.

Friday, May 4, 2012

BLESSING OTHERS

God said to Abraham, "That in blessing I will bless thee . . . in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 22:17-18). He was saying, "The reason I am blessing you, Abraham, is so that you can bless all the nations."

Obviously, very few of us are called to bless entire nations but each of us has a circle of family, friends and colleagues. How many in your circle are being blessed by what the Lord is doing in you? Are your friends and family being blessed by Christ in you?

When you start blessing others in the midst of your trials, you will know that God's hand of blessing is on you. This is what happened with David. When his enemies showed him no mercy, he testified, "Let them curse, but bless thou: when they arise, let them be ashamed; but let thy servant rejoice" (Psalm 109:28). David cried out to God for help and blessing as his enemies cursed him.

Jesus commands us: "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Matthew 5:44). If you can keep this word, you are surely blessed of the Lord.

Finally, those who are being blessed are being drawn ever closer to the Lord. God never blesses without drawing that person closer to Himself, urging, "Come closer to Me." Increasing nearness to Him is more of the blessing.

Perhaps you still say, "I see no evidence of God's blessing in my life. My life isn't marked by any of these things you've mentioned. How can I have God's blessing?"

Beloved, rejoice! Do you love His Word? Do you love coming to His house with other believers? Does your mind run to Jesus throughout the day? Do you talk to Him? If you can answer "yes" to any of these questions, you can rest assured that He is drawing you, blessing you.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

THE BLESSING OF ABRAHAM

Paul writes: "So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham" (Galatians 3:9). What is this blessing of Abraham?

James tells us, "Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness" (James 2:23). Abraham believed that he was in right standing with God, even though he was still being sanctified.

Beloved, the blessing of Abraham is the knowledge that we are justified by faith. "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith" (Galatians 3:14).

This blessing spoken of is the knowledge that Jesus paid with His blood to blot out all our sins. The Father credits Jesus' own righteousness to us, and we are made right in His eyes. We do not have to try to work to earn God's favor. Instead, we are to trust and believe in the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Even though we still struggle, we have right standing with Him as we continue in faith and repentance.

David understood this and was able to enjoy the blessing of Abraham: "Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputed righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin" (Romans 4:6-8).

As we are blessed by God with the blessing of Abraham, our faith begins to expand. Soon we see and believe that the same Christ who justifies us gives us power to overcome sin. God says to us, "We are going to work on your holiness and sanctification, but you must understand that in the meantime, you are secure in Me. You are My child and I will keep you from falling!"

Has the blessing of Abraham fallen upon you yet? If you fully accept Christ's righteousness by faith, then you are blessed with faithful Abraham and David. Indeed, you are one of the most blessed people on earth.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

DON'T BE BLIND TO THE BLESSING

I am a father of four, all of whom are married and have children of their own. Whenever my children face any kind of difficulty, I do not get angry at them. On the contrary, I am delighted when they call on me. Whether I can help them by providing prayer, counseling or financial blessings, I take great pleasure in reaching out to them and blessing them.

How much more does our Lord Jesus delight in blessing His children in their time of need? He tells us, "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:11).

You may look around the body of Christ and see other Christians who seem more talented and blessed. Some can memorize and quote whole passages of Scripture. Others can preach, teach or sing to God's glory. You say to yourself, "How blessed they are by God. But, poor me! I am not smart enough to memorize God's Word. I can't even remember a sermon. I don't have the gifts my brothers and sisters have to serve God."

Beloved, you do not know how blessed you are. Are you poor in spirit? Is it difficult for you even to smile? Do you lament over seeing no spiritual growth in your life? Do you grieve because you feel inadequate, left out, unneeded?

Jesus says, "You are blessed. You have nothing to be proud about and in that way, you serve Me best — because My strength rests in your weakness! I can use you more readily than all others." Jesus said to the apostle Paul, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

What a blessing! Jesus never said, "Blessed are the strong, the happy, the self-sufficient, the forceful." No! Our Lord blessed the weak, the reviled, the persecuted, the downcast, those who are considered nothing in the eyes of others. He is saying to you, "You know you have great need of Me — and therefore you are blessed!"

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

JESUS DELIGHTS IN BLESSING HIS PEOPLE

Many Christians think God delights only in chastising and correcting us. Not so! The Bible tells us He takes no pleasure in disciplining us. On the contrary, Jesus says, "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32). He assures us, "I'll give you everything you need — because My heart is set on blessing you!"

Nowhere in the Bible do we find Jesus cursing anyone (the only thing He cursed was a fig tree). No preacher, apostle, prophet or shepherd in history ever blessed people more than Jesus did. He pronounced blessings everywhere He turned.

Consider the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are you who mourn. Blessed are the meek. Blessed are you if you hunger and thirst after righteousness. Blessed are the merciful, the peacemakers, the persecuted, the reviled." Everywhere Jesus turned He pronounced, "Blessed . . . blessed . . . blessed."

Jesus took children into His arms and blessed them. He blessed those who held feasts for the poor, crippled, lame and blind: "He lifted up his hands, and blessed them" (Luke 24:50).

It touches my heart deeply that Jesus' last words before He left His disciples were words of blessing. Luke says, “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures" (Luke 24:45). And then ". . . he blessed them" (verse 51).

At this point you may be thinking, "I can understand how the Lord would bless children, or new converts, or even Christians in poor countries who need miracles just to have food. I can see how He would bless imprisoned believers in foreign countries, miraculously providing them with glorious revelations of Himself. But me? Well, I don't think I ever live up to the light I have received and I don't feel worthy of His blessings."

Beloved, I hope you understand by now that you will never be worthy of God's blessings. No one earns His blessings. Rather, He comes to us — strictly in His mercy and grace — and bestows on us spiritual blessings beyond our comprehension.