Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Greatest Privilege of All

He (Jesus) replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” Luke 10:19 NIV parentheses mine

Jesus appointed seventy-two believers and sent them two by two to preach the gospel and to heal the sick and cast out demons in His name. These "sent-ones" enjoyed enormous success. They returned with joy and said to Jesus that even the demons submit us in Your name.

Our Lord's response was intriguing. On one hand He encouraged them; He affirmed them by declaring the authority that was given them over Satan. But he also told them they were to rejoice that their names were written in heaven not because of the authority they possess through the name of Jesus. Jesus was pointing out that their relationship with the Father was to be their number one concern.

At this time, Jesus beamed with joy and said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was Your good pleasure.” (Luke 10:21 NIV) It takes someone with a childlike heart to believe that God has given us power to defeat the enemy; it takes someone who has a genuine relationship with the Lord, someone who is not wise in their own eyes to find victory in spiritual warfare. Psalm 8:2 says, “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” Here the Scripture refers to praise as one of the weapons we have against the Devil, but also notice that this victory is given to children and infants or to those with a childlike heart before God.

Let's embrace the authority that the Lord has granted us. When we pray in faith, mountains move and demons flee in terror. But let us not glory in the power that has been delegated to us; rather, let's glory in the intimate relationship we have with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Because of Christ's sacrifice on the cross, we have been given the greatest privilege. We now have free access into the throne room of God; for knowing Him is the greatest privilege of all.

Dear Father God,

I praise You and worship You. I thank you for giving me victory over the enemy. But Lord I am filled with praise and awe because You chose me to have an abiding relationship with you. Help me to know you more and more intimately as I walk with You. In Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Words You Say

In the midst of the struggle
She cries out in faith
God's word on her lips
Creates the way

Paves a pathway through the chaos
To victory unearned
God's word spoken
A prayer that heaven heard

God moves with a fury
To right the wrong
To bring justice to His child
She sings a praise song

His faith is in our hearts
We must speak it out
We must speak it out

His faith in our hearts
Must be heard aloud

If you'll speak His word today
From the heart
Victory is on its way
If you'll speak His word today
God will listen to the words you say

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Prayer that Pleased God

The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”  1 Kings 3:4-5

Heartfelt worship pleases God. Young king Solomon pleased God immensely when he offered the Lord those thousand burnt offerings on the altar. This worship cost Solomon of his time and his treasure. This worship came from Solomon's heart; otherwise, God would not have delighted in it.

That night the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream. He told Solomon that he would give him anything he desired – anything. Solomon impressed the Lord again with his answer. Instead of asking for great wealth, or great victory, or long life, he requested that he might receive a heart of wisdom and discernment to lead his people. He knew he was young and inexperienced, and his heart was humble and pure so he asked for what was right in God's eyes; he asked for wisdom.

This pleased the Lord to no end. He made Solomon the wisest king to ever sit on the throne, save Jesus Christ. The Lord also made him the wealthiest king to every live, even though Solomon did not ask for this blessing. Solomon started with a triumphant bang. Unfortunately, he stumbled greatly in his later years.

But we can learn much from Solomon's example here. We too can make worship a priority. We can set aside special times to seek God's face in a more focused and significant way. We can learn to ask God for things that delight our Father's heart. We can seek and pursue wisdom through prayer and the study of God's word.

If we will do these things, we will find - like Solomon did for much of his life - that the Lord will give us success in all we do. He will prosper us in every way even as our soul prospers. Like young Solomon, let's cause our Lord to smile, when we do, He will honor our requests and bless us with even more than we imagined.

Dear Father God,

I choose to seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness, and I thank You that You will bless me with all the things I need and desire. Lord, I ask for your wisdom so that I can serve You better. Thank you for hearing my prayer. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Look into the Life of Samson

Whenever the Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson, he was furnished with supernatural strength.  The first time we witness this is when he is met by a roaring lion, while he was strolling outside.  The Spirit of God came upon him in power, and he literally ripped the beast to pieces.  On another occasion, he killed a thousand men with a donkey’s jawbone. 

Samson was uniquely gifted by God.  Before he was born, the angel of the Lord prophesied to his mother that her son would begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the hostile Philistines.  The angel also gave specific instructions for the mother and the child to follow.  One of these instructions forbade the boy from cutting his hair throughout his entire life.  His long hair was a sign of his covenant with God.
Although Samson had a great calling on his life, and though he was endowed with great power and had enormous potential, he proved to be a carnal man.  He did not honor his relationship with God above his desires.  On one occasion, we find that he slept with a prostitute.  Later, he fell in love with a Philistine woman named Delilah.  The Philistines promised her money if she could find out the secret of Samson’s strength.  They wanted to capture him.  At first, Samson tried to deceive Delilah.  He did not tell her the truth about his mystery.  But eventually her nagging persuaded him, and he told her that if his hair was shaven, his strength would diminish to that of a normal man.

When Samson fell asleep on Delilah’s lap, a man shaved his hair.  Then the Philistines subdued him and, soon after, gouged out his eyes. 
This is tragic.  Samson first gave in to the desires of his flesh, and then he compromised his unique covenant with God.  He lost his spiritual vision before he lost his physical sight.

The Scripture says that while he was in captivity, his hair started to grow back.  When we fall, God makes a way for us to rise again.  Though Samson never regained his physical sight, he did come to a renewed sense of spiritual vision.  One day, the Philistines celebrated and sacrificed to Dagon their god.  They called for Samson to be brought out of the prison to entertain them.  Samson asked to be placed between the pillars that support the temple.
Samson cried out to God for one last display of strength.  He asked to die with the Philistines.  He exerted great force on the two pillars and they collapsed causing the temple to be crushed to the ground and with it Samson and the Philistines that were gathered there.  In doing so, Samson killed more Philistines at his death than he did all throughout his lifetime.

What can we learn from this uncommon story?  I think a good take away would be that we value the calling the Lord has placed on each of our lives.  No matter who you are, if you belong to Christ, you have God-given gifts and abilities.  You also have a mission.  We have been chosen to build up the body of Christ and to win the world to Him.  We all have a part to play.  But our focus can become muddied by worldly living, if we allow it.  Let’s fix our eyes on Jesus and esteem the calling on our lives.  If we do, we will not only start well, we will live for God in a steady and consistent manner, and we will finish well with the strength that the Lord provides.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Infinite Love

I thought I stumbled upon it
Like Columbus encountering the American shores
But You sought me out
You drew me towards Infinite Love

Once I was aware of You,
My life began to change
Like black and white
Now bleeding with diverse color

You transformed me
Your love so pure, so driven
A catalyst so potent

Your love knows no limits
Your infinite love
It leads me to eternity's shores

Your love spills over
Instilling in me a passion
For the souls of men finding freedom
That they may taste and see
The goodness of God

That they may know firsthand
Your infinite love