Thursday, December 21, 2017
Over Two Thousand Years The Devil Has Tried To Make The Name Of Jesus The Issue;The Dividing Point.You Can Talk About God, You Can Talk About Religion,You Can Do Anything,Just Don't Mention That Name.
Acts 4:15-17, “They sent them out of the room so they could work out a plan. They talked it over: “What can we do with these men? By now it’s known all over town that a miracle has occurred, and that they are behind it. There is no way we can refute that. But so that it doesn’t go any further, let’s silence them with threats so they won’t dare to use Jesus’ name ever again with anyone.” (MSG)
We're reading about a confrontation between the early apostles and the Sanhedrin, the religious ruling group of that day. Here's what they said to the apostles, “They sent them out of the room so they could work out a plan. They talked it over: “What can we do with these men? By now it’s known all over town that a miracle has occurred, and that they are behind it. There is no way we can refute that. But so that it doesn’t go any further, let’s silence them with threats so they won’t dare to use Jesus’ name ever again with anyone.” (Acts 4:15-17 MSG)
Well, believe it or not: The devil has a word he doesn't want to hear used, and it’s "JESUS", Because The Power of That Name Will Destroy All his Plans! So, for over two thousand years, the devil has tried to make the name of Jesus the issue; the dividing point. It was over two thousand years ago when the Sanhedrin said, "You can talk about God, you can talk about religion, you can do anything, just don't mention that Name!”
And sadly enough, that’s still the issue today, isn't it? Truth is, people don't mind if you talk about religion, or even God, or the Bible, or morality, or family values, or your church, but don't mention the Name Jesus.
All too often we fall right into the devil's trap to censor the name of Jesus in our conversation. We don't want to be offensive; we don't want to turn anyone off. And there's this little voice that says, "Well, just talk about God. You know, most everybody would accept that." So we talk about God in our lives, but we avoid the name of Jesus.
Christian musicians will write songs that talk vaguely about Him with a capitol H, but too often they avoid the Name Jesus, so their music can cross over to the secular world. We no longer sing Gospel music about salvation, the blood, the cross, the resurrection, and the Name of Jesus. No, today the church has become quite “inspirational.” If you listen to the music, the prayers or even the lessons and sermons, it’s hard to know exactly who the church is talking, teaching, preaching about, or praying to!
Even Christian leaders try to avoid conflict by watering down the Name: “In His name we pray.”
But Acts 4:11-12 says, "This JESUS is the stone which was despised and rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among people by which we must be saved [for God has provided the world no alternative for salvation].” (AMP). The power is in the Name of JESUS! The devil knows the power in that Name that’s why he works so hard to muzzle your mouth! Don’t let him do it!
The Scripture tells us, “…FOR GOD HAS PROVIDED THE WORLD NO ALTERNATIVE FOR SALVATION…”
That word “alternative” is defined as “of one or more things available as another possibility; expressing a choice; offering of options; something that can be chosen instead of something else.” But, when it concerns salvation, there is nothing else available, no other possibility, no other choice or option, and absolutely nothing and no one else you can use instead of, ONLY THE NAME OF JESUS!
So, how can we possibly be silent about the Only Name that brings Salvation, the Name OF JESUS!
Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation [from His wrath and punishment] to everyone who believes [in CHRIST AS SAVIOR], to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (AMP)
People of God this is where your boldness kicks into high gear! You have nothing to be ashamed of when talking about the Name of JESUS CHRIST! It is your (and everyone else’s) only means of Salvation from eternal death, damnation and hell! So, don’t murmur it, don’t whisper it, and don’t utilize politically correct names for it. His Name is JESUS!
I’ve even been with people while witnessing during outreach and listening to them talk about Jesus, without mentioning His Name! How is that even possible? You have to say the Name, because there is no other Name whereby they can be saved, except the Name JESUS!
How can you as a believer possibility be ashamed to say the Name JESUS?!
After all, it is by the Name JESUS where you received salvation, healing, wholeness, peace, joy, unconditional love, restoration, renewal, revival, forgiveness…HOW CAN YOU NOT SAY THE NAME JESUS?!
It is the Name JESUS that kept your marriage together; that brought your children back to their senses; that saved your household; that healed your mother; that delivered your father; that got you that job; that carried you through school…HOW CAN YOU NOT SAY THE NAME JESUS?!
But you see that's the 2,000-year-old editor from hell saying, "Edit out Jesus. How dare you mention that Name." But how did Peter and John feel about that? Let’s see:
Acts 4:18-20, “They called them back and warned them that they were on no account ever again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John spoke right back, “Whether it’s right in God’s eyes to listen to you rather than to God, you decide. AS FOR US, THERE’S NO QUESTION—WE CAN’T KEEP QUIET ABOUT WHAT WE’VE SEEN AND HEARD.” (MSG)
And truthfully, neither can you! I mean as you look back over the course of your life, and see what JESUS has brought you through can you honestly be quiet about the Name of Jesus?! Think about it: The addictions; the habits; the bad friendships, relationships, marriages; choices; consequences; health challenges; family troubles; financial disasters; loss of employment; repetitive failures…can you look at all of that and be quiet about the Name of Jesus?
After all you’ve seen what JESUS did for you and your loved ones, after all the praise reports you’ve heard about what He’s done for others, can you really remain quiet about the Name of JESUS?!
Now Peter and John were facing some seriously life or death decisions in mentioning or not mentioning the Name of JESUS. After all, listen to the Bible:
“…The religious leaders renewed their threats…” So, their attackers weren’t about to let up on this. They came back at them and renewed their threats. They were going to do whatever it took to silence these boys, however, let’s read some more…“…but then they released them. They couldn’t come up with a charge that would stick, that would keep them in jail. The people wouldn’t have stood for it—they were all praising God over what had happened. The man who had been miraculously healed was over forty years old.”
Listen, what you do and what you don’t do, affects more than just you. The people were standing around, they also saw and heard what Peter and John had seen, heard and done. And likewise, people are watching you, listening to you and imitating you. Do you really want to set the example of being a coward for Christ?
Husband and wives are watching and listening; your sons and daughters are watching and listening; your ministries and churches are watching and listening; your schools, jobs, businesses and communities are watching and listening. And if that’s not enough, the unsaved and even the devil is watching and listening! Don’t Destroy Your Witness By Playing Games With the Name of JESUS!
Don’t play games with the Name of Jesus, even the devil knows that Name and knows His Followers! The real ones at that! Don’t let the devil embarrass you!
Make sure your name comes up on his radar when the Name of Jesus is mentioned! Let the devil know, you know the Name and aren’t afraid to use it either! Don’t let him muzzle your mouth by mumbling some “in His name”, prayer. No, open your mouth and declare “IN JESUS NAME!”
John 14:13-14, “And I will do whatever you ask IN MY NAME [as My representative], this I will do, so that the Father may be glorified and celebrated in the Son. If you ask Me anything IN MY NAME [as My representative], I will do it.” (AMP)
With a promise like that, how can you possibly be silent about the Name of JESUS?!
Now, in closing, you would think after dealing with all of that, Peter and John might rethink this whole mentioning the Name of Jesus thing, but nope that wasn’t the case at all! Listen to the remainder of the chapter:
“As soon as Peter and John were let go, they went to their friends and told them what the high priests and religious leaders had said. Hearing the report, they lifted their voices in a wonderful harmony in prayer: “Strong God, you made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them. By the Holy Spirit you spoke through the mouth of your servant and our father, David: Why the big noise nations? Why the mean plots and peoples? Earth’s leaders push for position, Potentates meet for summit talks, The God-deniers, the Messiah defiers! “For in fact they did meet—Herod and Pontius Pilate with nations and peoples, even Israel itself!—met in this very city to plot against Your holy Son JESUS, the One You made Messiah, to carry out the plans You long ago set in motion. “And now they’re at it again! Take care of their threats and give Your servants fearless confidence in preaching Your Message, as You stretch out Your hand to us in healing and miracles and wonders done in the name of Your holy servant JESUS.” While they were praying, the place where they were meeting trembled and shook. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak God’s Word with fearless confidence. The whole congregation of believers was united as one—one heart, one mind! They didn’t even claim ownership of their own possessions. No one said, “That’s mine; you can’t have it.” They shared everything. The apostles gave powerful witness to the resurrection of the Master JESUS, and grace was on all of them. And so it turned out that not a person among them was needy. Those who owned fields or houses sold them and brought the price of the sale to the apostles and made an offering of it. The apostles then distributed it according to each person’s need. Joseph, called by the apostles “Barnabas” (which means “Son of Comfort”), a Levite born in Cyprus, sold a field that he owned, brought the money, and made an offering of it to the apostles.” (vss. 23-37 MSG)
Isn’t it amazing what God does through His servants that aren’t afraid to publicly serve Him?!
Not only did Peter and John continue to preach in the Name of Jesus, but they were all endowed with power from the Holy Ghost, the other believers joined them in prayer, praise and worship and the furtherance of the Message of Jesus Christ! Even the church grew and there wasn’t a selfish bone in the Body of Christ, for they all met the needs of the entire church!
Two men decided to stand by the Name of Jesus, and to mention it out loud!
The results was they were blessed, and all the people, and all the church.
Peter and John are passed away. However, you are still here! Will you dare to continue their discipleship work and say and share the Name of JESUS? Or, will you let the devil have the final say as he muzzles your mouth?
In the end, the choice is yours!
Sunday, December 17, 2017
And Much Like Eve, We Also Feel Like: Lord, YOU Said You Have A Plan, A Purpose, And A Promise Just For Me, And Yet All I’ve Seen Thus Far Are Problems, Pain And Persecution! Lord, What Happened?
“Later on Eve gave birth to another son and named him SETH (meaning “GRANTED”); for, as Eve put it, “God has GRANTED me another son for the one Cain killed.” (Genesis 4:25 TLB)
In one sweep of jealousy, Eve’s dreams lay bleeding on the ground; her older son a criminal on the run, her younger son murdered in the prime of his life! And yet she’s supposed to be the mother of all living! In fact, this is what the Scripture says: “The man named his wife Eve (meaning “The Life-Giving One”), for he said, “She shall become the mother of all mankind.” (Genesis 3:20 TLB). Well, how do you maintain a title like that, when you’re now the mother of a corpse and a killer? Her own husband spoke “Life” in naming her, and yet the one he called “Life” would have birthed from her own womb, one that would be killed and one that would be his killer! How bad it must have felt to be called “Life”, and yet be dealt the hand of “Death”?
Have you ever been there, when your CALLING and your CIRCUMSTANCES are opposites that DON’T attract?
Can you identify just a little bit with Eve? Or should I say it like this, have you ever found yourself asking, “Lord, this is not what YOU promised me!”; “Lord, this is not the way this was supposed to go!”; “Lord, I saw this work out a little different in my mind than what has manifested in my life!”; “Lord, after all this time, shouldn’t this and they be better?”; “Lord, I give my tithes, but the windows of heaven must be open on the wrong side of the house!”; “Lord, am I really supposed to STILL live here, STILL drive that, STILL walk there, STILL face this, STILL deal with them?” In Essence: Lord, This Is NOT How This Was Supposed to Go!
Genesis 4:1-8, "Now the man Adam knew Eve as his wife, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have obtained a man (baby boy, son) with the help of the Lord.” And [later] she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept the flocks [of sheep and goats], but Cain cultivated the ground. And in the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground. But Abel brought [an offering of] the [finest] firstborn of his flock and the fat portions. And the Lord had respect (regard) for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and his offering He had no respect. So Cain became extremely angry (indignant), and he looked annoyed and hostile. And the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you so angry? And why do you look annoyed? If you do well [believing Me and doing what is acceptable and pleasing to Me], will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well [but ignore My instruction], sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you [to overpower you], but you must master it.” Cain talked with Abel his brother [about what God had said]. And when they were [alone, working] in the field, Cain attacked Abel his brother and killed him." (AMP)
Can't you just imagine the sound of the voice of Eve? As a mother, I certainly can! "God, Abel was favored and his offering to You accepted, and yet he's the one who lost his life! Why God? This can't be right! He did everything he was supposed to, he got it right, so how did it all go so wrong for him? This is not the way this was supposed to go! I shouldn't have to bury one son and watch another banished! I'm the mother of all living, so why does it feel like the death of all hope is happening to me instead?"
And Much Like Eve, We Also Feel Like: Lord, YOU Said You Have A Plan, A Purpose, And A Promise Just For Me, And Yet All I’ve Seen Thus Far Are Problems, Pain And Persecution! Lord, What Happened?!
Well, if that’s where you are today, here’s my advice to you and it’s free: GO THROUGH UNTIL YOU GET THROUGH! Or in the words of our title: GO THROUGH UNTIL IT’S GRANTED!
Now, many of you will say, “Thanks for the encouragement, but I’m still stuck in the middle of the tunnel, and I hear a train coming but don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel! You say Go Through, but I’m still stuck and can’t Get Through, so, now what?” I reiterate, GO THROUGH UNTIL YOU GET THROUGH…GO THROUGH UNTIL IT’S GRANTED! How is that possible? Simple, just remember this: Matthew 5:18, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (KJV). However, there’s another translation of this Scripture that I love and it reads like this: “I can GUARANTEE this truth: Until the earth and the heavens disappear, neither a PERIOD NOR A COMMA will disappear from the Scriptures before EVERYTHING HAS COME TRUE.” (GWT). Do you know how determined God has to be to “Guarantee” that not even a “Period or a Comma” will come up missing “Before Every Word He’s Declared Comes True”?! In other words, be encouraged, because regardless to how bleak the situation looks, whatever God has declared concerning you in His Word HAS to come to pass!
Hear me clearly: You will go through and get through because God has granted you a guarantee that everything He said WILL come true! And His guarantee comes with an assurance that every condition will be favorable in the end. Your outcome of victory is sealed and certain. Your promise of goods, money, and services are safe-guarded and protected. And as long as you have this promise from God you will forever be protected from dangers that attempt to sift your life! Satan may touch your stuff, but you will maintain the testimony that: “…my life is safe, and I will live to tell what the Lord has done.” (Psalm 118:17 CEV) Or in the words of the Good News Translation, “I will not die; INSTEAD, I will live and proclaim what the Lord has done.” (GNT). I love that word “Instead”, it means, “In Place Of”. In other words, devil no matter what you do or bring my way, IN PLACE OF DYING, I will Survive and Live to tell the story! Will this always be easy? Of course not, if it was, none of us would need any encouragement at all! But is it doable, is it possible? YES! Just Let His Guaranteed Promises Keep You Anchored in His Word Which Cannot Even Allow a Period or Comma to Move Out of Place Before All He Has Said Comes True!
Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man that He should lie. He is not a son of man that He should be sorry for what He has said. Has He said, and will He not do it? Has He spoken, and will He not keep His Word?” (NLV)
Isaiah 55:11, “So shall My Word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (AMP)
Jeremiah 1:12, “The Lord then said, “You are right, for I’m watching over My Word until it is fulfilled.” (CEB)
Are you getting this? No matter how bad things may be, they cannot, and will not stay this way for good! Before you know it you’ll have the testimony that “IT’S MY TURN!” Psalm 30:11, “Then He TURNED my sorrow into joy! He took away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy.” (TLB).
I know it’s tough right now, tight right now, stressful right now, frustrating right now. And yet I still assure you that with all that’s against you, you will still say like Joseph, “…Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good…” (Genesis 50:20 MSG). You see, even when things don’t work out as we think they should, God’s Plans Are Never Put On Pause Because Of Our Problems. He’s in fact so awesome as God that He won’t even change the plans of the enemy, but will even make the enemies plans work for your good! How powerful is that?!
Therefore, don’t let the disturbances, distractions and discouragement deter you, His Promises Are Coming to Full Completion In Your Life! Remember: Your God Can’t Lie, and His Word Can’t Fail!
No matter what it looks like, consult God, He will always reveal your hidden blessings! Don’t believe it? Listen to this: “I will give you RICHES HIDDEN IN THE DARKNESS and things of GREAT WORTH that are HIDDEN IN SECRET PLACES. Then you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by name.” (Isaiah 45:3 NLV).
In fact, God loves us so much that He even promises: “I will answer them BEFORE they even call to Me. While they are still talking to Me about their needs, I WILL GO AHEAD AND ANSWER THEIR PRAYERS!” Isaiah 65:24 (TLB) I declare, the promises of the Lord gets better and better as the days go by!
Now, we’ve talked a lot about GO THROUGH and GET THROUGH…but what about GRANTED?
Well, God has a way of restoring things you thought would never come to pass again. He moved in Eve’s life and gave her another son named “Seth”, which means “One who takes the place of; appointed; compensation and granted”.
Eve named “Life”, had to Go Through “Death”, but ended up being “Granted” another blessing, and his name was “Seth”. “In Place Of” all that had been loss, she gained a ‘Grant’, which is defined as ‘Favor’! In the end, Eve could testify that: “My Loss Gained Me More”! Which brings us to an additional fact: Seth’s name also means “Compensation”. And “Compensation” is defined as, “something given to compensate for loss, suffering, or injury; something that compensates for an undesirable state of affairs.” Why Go Through Until You Get Through? Because God is not a Stingy God! He Will Compensate You For Your Loss, Suffering, Injury and Undesirable State of Affairs! Which reminds us of James, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance? Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, NOT LACKING ANYTHING.” (1:2-4 NIV) Sounds Like Compensation to Me! And don't forget, Seth's name also means "appointed", so here's further reason to rejoice, because what you're about to birth out of this pain and loss is going to be the very thing assigned to appoint your compensation! GRANTED!!!
But then as an added generational blessing, Seth bore his parents a grandson named Enoch! The Scripture declares, “Adam slept with his wife again. She had a son whom she named Seth. She said, “God has given me another child in place of Abel whom Cain killed.” And then Seth had a son whom he named Enoch. THAT’S WHEN men and women began praying and worshiping in the name of GOD.” (Genesis 4:25-26 MSG).
Never Judge Prematurely How Your Story Will End! After All, Eve Began Chapter 4 With LIFE…Than Stepped in DEATH…HOWEVER, Before the Closing of the SAME Chapter, She Birthed LIFE AGAIN, Plus the Added Blessing of a Grandson Who Invoked the People to Pray and Worship in the Name of GOD! “…And then Seth had a son whom he named Enoch. THAT’S WHEN MEN AND WOMEN BEGAN PRAYING AND WORSHIPING IN THE NAME OF GOD.” (Genesis 4:25-26 MSG).
In a Nutshell: Don’t Get Discouraged By a Few Verses, God Can Turn Everything Around in Your Favor Before the Closing of the Same Chapter!
People of God, Be Encouraged: Go Through Until You Get Through, For When You Get Through, Your Greatest Blessing Will Be Granted!
Sometimes it may be grievous going in, but that don't mean it won't be glorious coming out! 1 Chronicles 4:9-10, “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; but his mother named him Jabez, saying, “Because I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would indeed bless me and enlarge my border [property], and that Your hand would be with me and You would keep me from evil so that it does not hurt me!” AND GOD GRANTED HIS REQUEST.” (AMP)
Get Ready For Your Life to Be Stamped: "REQUEST GRANTED!"
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Thursday, December 14, 2017
No More Excuses. It's Time To Get Refocused. Stop Procrastinating.Face Your Fears And Go For It. So Today Is Your Wake-Up Call And Challenge To Write The Book, Start The Business, Buy The Car & More.
“And now, children, stay with Christ. Live deeply in Christ. Then we’ll be ready for Him when He appears, ready to receive Him with open arms, with no cause for red-faced guilt or lame EXCUSES when He arrives.” (1 John 2:28 MSG)
No one else is to blame BUT YOU, because no one can stop you, BUT YOU! That’s why I admonish you TODAY: “Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.” Know your Purpose and your Passion and simply go for it! Why? Because: “As you grow older, you’ll find the only things you regret are the things you didn’t do.” Think about it: How much longer are you going to say I can’t wait to go there, I can’t wait to do that, I can’t wait to become that, I can’t wait to try that, I can’t wait to taste that?! Enough is Enough! So make it count! Go there, do that, become that, try that, taste that! Why? Because: “When it comes time to die, make sure all you got to do is die.” Don’t leave dreams unfilled, goals un-reached and challenges not faced! Don’t leave behind a to-do-list that you never got to do! “Lost time is never found again.”
Listen, life is far too short to leave it incomplete and unfulfilled. So today is your wake-up call and challenge to write the book, produce the play, preach the sermon, teach the lesson, start the business, open the church, purchase the house, buy the car, take the vacation, board the cruise, face your fears and go for it! If you never really LIVE what LEGACY will there be to LEAVE behind? So, stop delaying, stop procrastinating, stop hesitating, stop blaming others, stop pointing fingers. You get to work on fulfilling all that’s within You! After all, you can’t keep saying “I’ll do it tomorrow”, eventually you will run out of tomorrow’s! So discover what’s in you today and began birthing it out of you Today! NO MORE EXCUSES, IT'S TIME FOR YOU TO FINALLY LIVE A FULFILLING LIFE!
“…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV). Therefore, if your life feels empty, you my friend are living far below the standard of life Jesus gave up His life for you to have! Full and Abundantly!
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
We Get in the Worst Predicaments Because We Forget God Knows Best! God Is There To Help, Not To Hinder Us! When You’re Wondering Which Direction And What To Do, Seek God FIRST!
Joshua 9:14-15, “So the men [of Israel] took some of their own provisions [and offered them in friendship], and [FOOLISHLY] did not ask for the counsel of the Lord. Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant (treaty) with them, to let them live; and the leaders of the congregation [of Israel] swore an oath to them.” (AMP)
Consider the example in Joshua 9:14-15. The Jews have been winning one victory after another over the Canaanites as they took possession of the Promised Land that God was giving them. Now, they are about to come upon Gibeon, one of the royal cities of Canaan. The Gibeonites have heard about the fall of the other cities the Jews have gone against. They know they're going down next unless they can trick God's people somehow into making a peace treaty with them, which seems unlikely in light of the fact that God's Orders are to remove every tribe from the land and Not to coexist with them!
But the Gibeonites are shrewd. They sent a delegation to see Joshua, with donkeys loaded with cracked wineskins and worn-out sacks. They wore patched sandals and old clothes, and they carried dry and moldy bread with them. The whole scam was to make it LOOK LIKE they were from far away and that they had come on a long journey. Here's how Joshua and his men decided what to do with these Gibeonites, "The Israelites sampled their provisions (so they made sure the bread was really dry and moldy) BUT THEY DID NOT INQUIRE OF THE LORD. Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath." (NIV)
Do you know, within days, the Jews learned that the Gibeonites weren't from far away; in fact, they were from close by. But because they had been tricked into this treaty, they could not, by honor, remove them as God had originally commanded. As a result, the hands of the Jews were tied for years to come, and the treaty actually sparked a major battle with other armies. How did this mess happen? They decided on the basis of what SEEMED right to them, but they made the fatal mistake so many of us have made so many times before –THEY DIDN’T CHECK WITH HEAVEN...THEY DIDN'T CHECK WITH GOD! And so they blew it! And so do we!
Listen to the text in varying translation:
“The Israelites TRIED some of the food, BUT THEY DID NOT ASK THE LORD IF HE WANTED THEM TO MAKE A TREATY.” (CEV);
“So the Israelites EXAMINED their food, BUT THEY DID NOT CONSULT THE LORD.” (NLT);
Now, this is where many of us mess up and get messy! Like the Israelites, we’ll try it; take some; taste it; sample it; exam it, believe it, and even eventually accept it…but what we fail to do is to ask God what to do about it and with it! The Israelites (like many of us) were cautious, they checked out what was presented to them, however, the final decision was not theirs to make (and not ours either)!
“The Israelites took some of their supplies, BUT THEY DIDN’T ASK FOR ANY DECISION FROM THE LORD.” (CEB)
And can we be honest? We Get in the Worst Predicaments Because We Forget God Knows Best!
The decision was the Lord’s to make! They were to consult Him. And even with the decisions He allows us to be a part of, we are still to consult the Lord! And it’s not because they didn’t know any better, so they don’t even have that as a justifiable excuse and neither do we!
James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom [TO GUIDE HIM THROUGH A DECISION OR CIRCUMSTANCE], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him.” (AMP) When God Himself is telling you to use His Wisdom, only a Fool would refuse!
God Is There To Help, Not To Hinder Us! But He’s not rudely forcing Himself on us either! But He’s laid out for us the safest way to travel if only we’d adhere to it! Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart AND DO NOT RELY ON YOUR OWN INSIGHT OR UNDERSTANDING. IN ALL YOUR WAYS know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and HE will make your paths straight and smooth [REMOVING OBSTACLES THAT BLOCK YOUR WAY].” (AMP) Do you realize just how smooth this journey of ours could be if only we’d humble ourselves enough to follow His lead? We wouldn’t even have to worry about the bumps in the road along the way because He promises to “…remove obstacles that block our way.” But no, we insist on doing things our own way! And what is the result of that decision?
Proverbs 16:25, “There’s a way that looks harmless enough; look again – it leads straight to hell.” (MSG) Surely that’s the destination you were hoping to reach, right?
Don’t you see, we’re much like the Israelites, as soon as something (or someone) APPEARS to be alright; APPEARS to check out; APPEARS to be on the up-and-up, we jump head long into a mess with eyes wide open! All we know is that it “…LOOKS HARMLESS ENOUGH…” but so does she (until you get married to her and her $100,000.00 debt); so does he (until his perfect tall, dark and handsome exposes you to an STD); so does that church (but little do you know they’re only concerned with the prosperity of your pockets and not the prosperity of your soul); so does that business (until you find out the under-handed methods they use to keep it afloat)!
What am I saying? Ask God Before You Decide It or Are They Really the Answers You Were Looking For! This could literally save your very life!
Think of all the divorces that could have been avoided had the individuals sought the Lord FIRST! When our children messed up, imagine how quickly they could have clean up, if we FIRST helped them God’s way instead of ours! The many soul ties that would never have tangled up your peace of mind if only you’d sought the Lord’s decision in the matter, FIRST! How many broken hearts that would not have needed years to mend, if only we sought the Lord FIRST. Many of us would not have to start over (for the 97th time, just this week) if only we’d sought the Lord FIRST! So much unnecessary pain, so many unnecessary complications and difficulties and conflicts, and all because of our failure to seek God's direction FIRST! And in this day and time of read your horoscope; find your inner-self; reach for a higher power; let them read your palm; check out the tarot cards; let the soothsayers soothe you; (You Need to Know to Seek God FIRST!)
Isaiah 8:19-22, “When people tell you, “Try out the fortunetellers. Consult the spiritualists. Why not tap into the spirit-world, get in touch with the dead?” Tell them, “NO, WE’RE GOING TO STUDY THE SCRIPTURES.” People who try the other ways get nowhere – a dead end! Frustrated and famished, they try one thing after another. When nothing works out they get angry, cursing first this god and then that one, looking this way and that, up, down, and sideways – and seeing nothing, a blank wall, an empty hole. They end up in the dark with nothing.” (MSG)
And why would anyone want to waste time on such Foolishness when you have direct access to the Wisdom of God? That’s Who you seek…FIRST! When you’re wondering which direction and what to do, seek God FIRST! Jeremiah 33:3, “This is God’s Message, the God who made earth, made it livable and lasting, known everywhere as God: “Call to Me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.” (MSG) With that as your best option, how could you choose anything different? You do not have to figure out life on your own (and thank God, because clearly WE are not good at decision making on our own)! And who cares, since we can simply call to our Father and He will answer His children with marvelous things that we don’t have to keep digging to find on our own!
However, truth is, we neglect to check with God for many reasons. We're in too big of a hurry, we're feeling pressured by other people, we compromise for the sake of convenience, or we just plain know how we want it to be and we stubbornly blaze ahead with our own will. Sometimes, we may even be doing God's thing, but it's not God's time or it's not God's way. Which is why it’s so vital that we "lean not on our own understanding," which can only see part of the picture. When you consult with the Lord, you're getting direction from the only One who can see the whole picture. That’s why counsel before decisions is so important! Proverbs 15:22, “Refuse good advice and watch your plans fail; take good counsel and watch them succeed.” (MSG)
Do I dare ask how much money you would not have lost if you sought God FIRST? How much of your integrity, dignity and character would still be intact if you sought the Lord FIRST? How many mistakes and missteps could you have avoided if only you asked if this or they were in His Will for your life? Maybe you wouldn’t have lost the job, the house, the car, the career, the ministry or church, if only you would have asked God for His Guidance, before deciding to Go Your Own Way…Only to Have Crashed Over the Cliff Where He Already Had Warning Signs in Place!
And LEADERS, this is dangerous for us as well, listen to the text again in closing: “JOSHUA AND THE OTHER LEADERS finally believed them. They did not bother to ask the Lord but went ahead and signed a peace treaty…” (TLB);
Leadership Means We’re Responsible For Everyone On Board, Whether We Sail Safely, or Sink Fatally. Which is why we (above all people) ought to use the Wisdom God has made available to us to lead people according to His Word, Way and Will…and NOT That of Our Own! Because in the end, these LEADERS made a decision (WITHOUT GOD) that affected the WHOLE CONGREGATION. And if we dare make the wrong decision, the Body of Christ, as a whole, is damaged. Because you can’t hurt your pinky and the rest of your hand not know what happened. And in the Body of Christ, whatever we do in the Body, affects the whole body. So let’s start today by asking the Lord to lead and guide us in the way we should go, not in the way we want to go. Let’s ask the Lord for His decision, His Word, His Will, His Way, and His Timing.
Why? Because we can avoid a lot of problems and a lot of pain if only we'll instinctively check with God FIRST. Let’s decide today to stop making messy decisions!
I share this because we’re embarking on another New Year. We have much indeed to be grateful for. However, this is also the time and season when everyone wants to be something new, try something new, go somewhere new. And nothing is wrong with New, when it’s the Lord’s doing: Isaiah 43:18-21, “This is what God says…Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’M ABOUT TO DO SOMETHING BRAND-NEW. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?” (MSG) God doesn’t need your New Years’ Resolutions! If something is to be New, let Him do it instead of you attempting to experiment with it! Let God change it; alter it; move it; or send it…not you trying to make things (you want, but may not need) to happen!
In 2018, make one resolution only…SEEK GOD FIRST! Wait On the Lords’ Timing and Direction and You’ll Never Be Steered Off Course.