Heart of Worship

 

Worship is so much more than a few songs. It is not an organized form of service. If it can be organized and planned, then it is not worship. Worship is an expression of love. It can be a sacrifice, but that sacrifice of praise soon turns into a rush of emotional remembrance of who God is and what He is. True worship has to be stirred. When it settles it cannot be just utilized instantly, but it must be stirred back up again. Worship is that deep adoration and love that you feel for someone you love. It is not just a couple of statements stating how great God is. If it can be programmed, then it is not worship. Worship does not depend upon anything; it is a free pouring of your soul out before God.

 

Rend Your Heart

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And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Joel 2:12-13

Throughout the pages of the Bible we read about different people mourning the loss of a loved one or mourning over sin. When news entered their ears of a sin or tragedy, they rent their clothes. They tore up what they had. People then were not afforded the luxury of many different outfits of clothing. So, ripping their clothes was truly a great sign of heartache or loss. The loss of a loved one mattered more than their garments.

This is not part of our custom, but back then this was the outward expression of inner grief or turmoil. Many times when sin was repented of, someone would rend their garment, put on sackcloth, ashes, and repent until God would provide his mercy.

In the scripture above in the Book of Joel, God was letting the people know, quit performing the outward expression of ripping your garment, start rending your heart instead.

When we open our hearts, we need to allow God to teach us how to empty our hearts before Him.

God is saying here that we must rend our heart and not our garments. Rending a garment was the outward expression of inner pain, anger, or frustration.

In this scripture context, God is speaking that His people turn to back to Him with weeping and mourning, but rend your heart and not your garment. Do not let it just be an outward show.

The time of rending our hearts is now. It is time to open ourselves up to God, instead of covering up our hurts, our anger, and putting on an outward expression that we are okay. We can be lying to ourselves and wind up in a bigger mess.

Throughout our lives people have hurt us and offended us deeply. Although we not be aware of it, we can keep track of those wrongs. We were treated unfairly and we have every right to be hurt and we have every right to guard ourselves. However, it is when we look in the reflection of God’s Word and we start examining ourselves, can we see ourselves for who we are? Have I held onto pain so long that I don’t even realize that it turned into a grudge? Do I become angry or depressed when I talk about memories? If there something in me that I don’t even see?

As we yield to the Spirit of God, and as we ask Him to uncover the hidden things within ourselves, we will see the truth. There are things within us that are not healthy. As humans we do hold on to past hurts, but God reveals them little by little if we allow Him to. He will heal each and every hurt and memory in our lives. When we get to the place where we can talk about the past or someone who has hurt us, without crying or hurting, then we know that we are healing.

There are many of us who have been deeply hurt or treated unfairly, and we were completely innocent or had the best intentions. However, what the enemy wants to do is to turn that pain around on us, where we start letting things grow in our heart that toxic. We can be so used to doing something and not even realize that’s what we are doing; such as feeling sorry for ourselves. God’s Word is light, it illuminates all the dark crevices of the lurking past, the shadows that run deep into our being. He sheds light and then He fosters healing.

So, how do we rend our hearts today? Do we rip our clothes and sit in ashes today? We, take it all to God. We pour it out in worship. Adoration unto God. Worship is an expression of our love. To rend your heart, is to tear it open, pouring out the contents therein. Pouring out our concerns and our worship to God. Move past the cookie cutter Christianity and pour out your praise unto God.

Intercession

 

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And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. Mark 2:4

And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.  Ezekiel 22:30                                            

When we have issues in our own lives it is so much harder to believe for a miracle, but when someone else is at stake, there is a faith that is greater. We are to bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2). That sounds good, but do we actually know what this means. God can give us a passion and a desire to plead someone else’s cause.

O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbor! Job 16:21

In this place of intercession, nothing in our lives matter like the person we are praying for. They need a breakthrough and a miracle. Everything in my life is menial compared to what they are facing. I have come to the place where I just cast my cares upon God and go on. I go on praying and desiring a miracle for someone else. I know that God will take care of my cares and needs, I have work to do (1 Peter 5:7).

It is an honor to bear someone else’s burden, because you can literally ease their heart. Whether they know it or not, you can touch the hem of Jesus’ garment for them. You can stand in their place and earnestly and fervently seek the face of God. The thing is, God wants us to esteem one another more highly than ourselves (Phil. 2:3).

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

Lay down your desires, dreams, goals, and wants for a while. Place them in God’s hands and ask God to use you to help someone else. He will give you an assignment. He will allow you intercede for someone who needs your prayers and devotion. Get a passion and desire to press for that person.

Four men literally tore the roof off to get their friend to Jesus. What is it going to take for some people to receive healing and deliverance? It is going to take people like you and me to tear the roof off. Rip it off layer by layer. Determine and purpose in your heart that no matter what comes you are going to pray for the person to be healed, delivered, or to have their prayer answered.

God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7). Be a giver in the most sincere way. Give your life and devotion to the pursuit of someone’s else peace, someone else’s needs, and watch God work for them. Suddenly, your problems do not matter anymore, they become minute details in the background of the picture. You trust God will take care of you, but you have to tear the roof of for someone to reach Jesus.

These four men, no doubt they had jobs and families of their own. They had obligations to every day life, but something in them was determined to have their friend healed. They were willing to face the odds and tear up someone’s roof, destruction of property, to get him to Jesus. This is a love that God takes notice of.

You have the capacity to carry others to Jesus. Your prayers can become their strength in troubled times. This man had palsy, no strength in his body to lift himself or to get himself to where Jesus was, but there were those who wanted to push through for him. They did not go there wanting to ask Jesus to meet their needs. They did not go with their own agenda, “Well, since I am here let’s deal with my issues too.” No, they broke through for this man. I am not saying that it would have been wrong to ask Jesus while they were in His presence, but there is something about selfless intercession. They left their desires on the sideline. They asked nothing for themselves.

We need to live this by example, lay down your burdens at the feet of Jesus and leave them there. Do not go back and pick them up. Instead, pick up someone else’s load, someone else’s needs. Pray for God to go before them and pray down barriers that they will face. Obstructions that they will encounter. God will give you specific details on what to pray for and how to pray.

 

Surrendered

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Romans 12:1-2

Apart from Him, I can do nothing. My will, mind, and emotions can get in the way. The only way that I can properly do anything without getting in the way of God’s will is to present my body, along with my mind and everything about me, unto God as a living sacrifice. A submitted and willing sacrifice to God, for His use.

I get up and I make my requests known unto God, but am I praying out of worry or fear? Am I waiting on the leadership of the Holy Ghost to teach me what to pray for this day? When I submit to God, I am rendering my faculties useless without Him. I am saying that I need Him for everything. This is my reasonable service, to surrender, this is my acceptable worship. This is me laying down what I think should be and taking up what He wants.

Ye know not what to pray for, but the Spirit prays for you, making intercession for you through groanings that cannot be uttered. There is a depth in prayer that maybe we have not come to the knowledge of yet. Consider that prayers cannot be prayed properly without the guidance of the Holy Ghost. We can always pray and ask God for things, but I believe there is another level of prayer, where we listen first then pray.

Isn’t it amazing when God will lay someone on your heart, you pray for them, then you hear later of how they were going through a situation where they needed that prayer? Where did the actual concept of the prayer list come from? It is good to have a prayer list, it is good to have the needs of others ever-present before you, but what about those people who have not asked for prayer that need it? Where is the leadership of the Holy Ghost for them? It is there, but are we listening?

We can pray out of desperation and pray for God to come to our rescue and to the rescue of others, but I believe that there is a time for prayer, where God delegates the praying. Where He speaks gently to our hearts about situations and people in their time of need. To delegate means to entrust, to turn it over to. “Father, you can handle this more than I can.”

When we see the holy elders around the throne in the book of Revelations, they cast their crowns before God. We delegate our authority back to Him, we relinquish our victory back to Him, and we give Him all of the glory for His unfailing love.

The wind blows where it wishes (John 3:8), the same is true of the Spirit of God, it cannot be predicted or calculated down to a science, it changes in its evidence. It is the same always, but the direction and the intensity changes. Study to be quiet and listen to God. Be still and know that I am God. Be still and listen to what I am saying. If any man hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the church (Rev.13:9). The manna you ate yesterday; you will not eat today. The prayers you prayed yesterday are not the prayers He intends today.

The wind can be studied and its effects, so can the Spirit of God be studied and His effects. He wants to work but who will let Him? (Isa. 43:13) Who will allow Him to have His way? We get up and pray but do we listen? When we are led by His Spirit, then are we sharp and on point. When we exercise our senses to full capacity, we are yielding to His voice and His guidance. Not my will God, but thine be done. Not my ways or mannerisms, nor my praying, but You have Your way.

It is the reasonable service of a believer to yield, submit, and surrender thus allowing God to have His way.

A water bottle is useless without water, but the water needs the bottle to contain it.  An instrument has no purpose without the wind and skill of the musician. God wants vessels to contain Him, He wants instruments that He can use.To house His divine nature and produce His will. Not by our might, our will, our thoughts, our words, but a surrendered life that He may teach and use for His glory.

GIVE UP!

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The more you know someone and become close to them the less likely you are to do something that they don’t like. The more you fall in love with someone, the more you want to do things for them, and make sure you do not do things that would hurt them or make them angry.

When you grow in your relationship with God, things become clear to you about your pursuit of Him, you want to do things that please Him and you desire to know Him more. If we are defiant in our attitudes and actions, there is something wrong in our hearts that we must look inward and not outward to find the cause. Give up and let God take over. Recognize how you truly feel. Write it all down before God and if you truly want things to be different with you, prepare yourself for change.

Things will be uprooted out of your soul, mind, and heart.

In order to change, get ready to have things removed from your heart. These things you have actually grown accustomed to and adopted as your personality. You have just come to realize that they are not good for you, they are things that you hold on to tightly and therefore, God has shown you or will show you how these things do not stand the test of time. These things you may hold dearly will not help you through a storm or a battle, so it is your hopes that God will change you and soften you and make you pliable in His hands.

Once you pray for that change, the crushing begins, the temperature rises. In order to get the impurities out of precious metal, like silver and gold, it is required that you raise the temperature and melt these metals to allow the dross or impurities to rise to the surface. The impurities of your heart will surface. Your temper will burst when you least expect it. You think that you have everything handled and under control, while you have been seeking God for change. All of a sudden you feel an anger or outburst come from your emotions and you simply do not understand. You feel like you are so disappointing to God.

“Why must this be? I am trying to be more like Christ.”

This is the problem. You are trying. It is time to stop trying. Give up! Let God know you can do nothing without Him. He is nigh unto them that humble themselves, those who surrender their will, and they are willing to admit that without Him we can do nothing. He is allowing these things to surface, so that He can cleanse you of all imperfection and weakness. Yes, we hold our mouths shut and bite our tongues, all the while at the end of the day we can pat ourselves on the back for not messing up? No!

When we disassemble our religious characteristics, we surrender and say, “God, I cannot even walk without you holding my hand.”

I must submit myself therefore unto God, resist the devil and he will flee from me. Draw nigh unto God and he will draw nigh unto me. That is where it is. It is in the need of a Savior. It is in the dependence on His strength. Reliance on His character. If we are dead, then let’s die every day. Today is the day that Lord has made. This is the day I want God to steer me, lead me, breathe through me as though I am a musical instrument. It is not the day for me to tell God what he is going to do, it is the day that I want to know His will.

If we offer ourselves a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, we are simply saying that we want Him to lead us, we want to walk in His spirit and hear his voice. I am tired of hearing my voice dictate my thoughts every day. I am tired of my emotions ruling many important moments in which I could do so much better through surrendering my will to God.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.                                           Romans 12:1

Growth Spurt

Throughout all stages of childhood, there are signs of growth. With the teenage years, there comes the horrible pains of growing, the mood swings, and much more. For my son, I have watched him experience a lot of leg aching and pains right before another growth spurt. He would complain about his legs aching and feeling cold inside. The next thing I know, he would shoot up in height and I was having to go buy him new jeans once again.

For my son, growth spurts require bigger shoes and a lot more food. I want to take a moment to look at this spiritually. You may be going through some struggles and pains, but hold on to God because you are about to hit a growth spurt. When you get that growth spurt, you are going to need more food, bigger shoes, and take on more responsibility.

God equips us as we grow. He will not lead you where you cannot stand. He will not guide you where you cannot conquer. God has already prepared the next level for you. He has already picked out your shoe size and your responsibility. Instead of carrying your own burdens, God is growing you up to start carrying the burdens of others. When you feel the pains of growing, be encouraged, you are about ready to hit a growth spurt!

Mountains Do Crumble

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A couple of months ago I had taken my son to a new dentist for a cleaning and an examination. They found something on the X-ray that they called a bone cyst. This more than likely occurred when he was hit in the face playing baseball a couple summers ago. So, I took him to an oral surgeon. Soon he was set for surgery to have this cyst cleaned out, to receive a bone graft, and be good as new within a short period of time.

Before the surgery, I received a phone call from the hospital. The lady on the line was nice and kind, but I soon found that she was the bearer of bad news. She said, “Your son’s surgery will cost a total of $28,000. After the insurance goes into effect, it should be brought down to around $13,0000. Would you like to take care of that today?”

My heart sank to my stomach. I immediately said, “No, there’s no way.” I talked with her about payment options. She informed that if a health finance company would actually accept me, then my payment would be a little over 200 dollars a month for 2 years, not counting interest. She also informed me that this would not include the anesthesia for his surgery.

I got off of the phone with her and discouragement hit my stomach. I had enough concerns about my son going through his first surgery at the age of thirteen; and now I had this huge mountain looming over me as well. Immediately, I felt tears well up in my eyes and pain hit my heart. I wondered if God was there in that moment. “Father, do you see my condition? Please come to my aid.”

I realized that I would not worry about it. I put it in God’s hands and focused more upon the health of my son and prayed more about him. The surgery went exceptionally well and in no time he was healed up. God taught me through small details of the process of surgery and recovery. He would just pour out all of these analogies and references to His love. My son was better and I was so wrapped up in the good things about this process, that I completely forgot about the cost. God had me ignoring my mountain.

Soon, I started wondering when the bill would come in the mail. Because my ex-husband and I share custody of our children, he was responsible for half of this bill. I texted him and told him that we would just do what we could. Time went one and about a month and half later after the surgery, I received a bill in the mail. I reluctantly opened up the envelope. When I pulled out the paper, it said that the health finance company had approved me for 0% interest for 2 years, which was awesome. Then, I realized that the total bill was only $870.00, and my payment was $37.00 a month.

My mouth dropped open. I watched a mountain standing at $28,000, crumble down to $13,000, and then down to a small $870. So if you consider the fact that I pay half of that, I would pay a total of $435.

When I did the math, that price came down 98%. I literally watched a huge mountain collapse and crumble before my eyes. I know that it was God who showed His authority over the mountain. This is a victory of His power to remind me that if He can do this, He can do so much in my life. That He can do so much in your life. I have had struggles financially for a while and there was no way that I could afford even the payment of this surgery, let alone the bill in its entirety.

My hope is to encourage someone today that may be facing a mountain. Trust in God, listen to what He is trying to teach you through your trial and testing, and then watch Him work out all things for your good. He showed me that He is in control, that He loves me and wants to take care of me and my children. To God be the glory!

FALL RISK

When my son went in for surgery, he was given a bracelet that identified who he was and then he was given a second bracelet that read FALL RISK. When I saw this bracelet I immediately wanted one. I wanted one of these to wear for myself, so that I could look down at it to remind myself every day that I am indeed at risk of falling. We sometimes think that since we are a Child of God that we are no longer are capable of falling. So, when we do stumble and when do fall flat on our faces, we become this judge of ourselves.

Throughout my life, because of my critical view of myself and always wanting to do exactly what is right at all times. Because of my view of God being so perfect and therefore expecting me to be holy, the way that I saw Him sitting on His throne with judgment in His right hand ready to strike me the moment I faltered; I would spend the time after a fall in total anguish. I would beat myself up for weeks, even months trying to remedy my own failure. I felt that if I would punish myself enough that God would take me back into His loving arms and care again. Asking God’s forgiveness and mercy, receiving His grace for my imperfections was just too easy. I had no faith. I had no true understanding of God’s love.

As humans we are a FALL RISK because of the sinful nature we are born with and because of the sinful world that we live in. When we are born into the body of Christ we do take on a new nature, but that nature is dependent upon on Holy God. As we are born in Christ, we undergo surgery to remove many of the old habits, weaknesses, and imperfections in our lives. Surgery is performed to fix something, and there are surgeries that we go through as children of God. We do not go to the altar and come up a completely perfect. We come up changed, but there is work to be done and we must allow God to take us under and through some things so that we may be changed from glory to glory, moving from faith to faith. We are always a fall risk until the day we enter heaven. We live in a human body and we all make mistakes.

The danger of being a Fall Risk is not falling, it is remaining down. The whole character of a person is shown in their ability to get back up, dust ourselves off, take steps of faith to recover and resume our relationship with a merciful God. Because of the anesthesia we are under during surgery, we become a fall risk when we come out of surgery. The medicine Is strong enough to put us to sleep where we do not feel a thing going through surgery. God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam when He removed one of his ribs to form Eve. The anointing in our lives, the anointing that can cover us through a surgical procedure, it is heavy on the human body; and it is often something that we know little about. All that we know is that we feel good, we feel safe, we feel God’s presence. This anointing takes place for a reason. When God allows us to feel His presence, Him showing up is an awesome experience. However, here is the warning: after experiencing the anointing of God we become at risk for weakness and for stumbling; we become a target for the enemy. When you are in God’s presence understand that He is doing some amazing things in your heart and in your life. He is always performing something in your life to help you function better, whether it is a minor change of attitude or a major bondage that He is breaking.

Whatever the procedure might be, please understand that you feeling the anointing of God is not just so you can “feel good.” It is the power of God’s hands upon your life, doing something for you that you may not even know about. When we go into surgery, the surgeon always lets us know what to expect and what they will be doing, but because they have a greater knowledge and experience of such things, we do not fully understand the capacity of what is actually taking place. If a surgeon goes in to perform a minor surgery, but he sees something while you are open and exposed that he needs to fix in addition, he will go ahead and take care of that for you. In the Bible, David prayed for God to forgive him of his secret sins. Sins in our lives that we may not even realize are a sin, or things we may be holding in our heart that we not realize are still there, God has the mercy and compassion to correct all things.

Another reason we may be vulnerable and a fall risk after surgery is the boost of confidence that the anointing can bring. A lot of times after experiencing a strong touch from God in a worship service or breakthrough anointing is having an overwhelming sense of confidence. This is normal, but how we handle it is crucial. It is important that we stay focused on God and how it was Him who gave us that anointing to keep us going deeper and stronger. Because of that confidence we can feel like we can conquer the world without doing what we should always be doing. We may spend a little less time seeking God, spending time with Him, and this is a trap for every believer. Keep that open line of communication with God, keep your hunger and thirst for Him. Ultimately, we want an increase of His presence and there is no time to just sit down and take it easy. The place to sit down and take it easy, is in the secret place of the Most High. We may feel strong enough to think we can handle things on our own, but the truth is we can do nothing without Him.

PRO24.16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.

There are so many benefits to the anointing of God’s presence, but there are many traps laid for the believer even after we receive that breakthrough. We must recognize that even though we are not feeling any pain of surgery, we still need God. That even though we may feel no discomfort, that medicine will wear off and we must be prepared for any attack that is certain at any given time. We are a fall risk, no matter how old we are in God, but our confidence must not lie in our abilities nor should our confidence be upon the great things that God does through us. We must be sober and vigilant, because the time of attack is at all times.

What happens if we do fall? What happens if we are overtaken in a fault? What happens if we do give in to temptation? How do we handle it? The first thing that we must do is make it right with God and keep going. Do not quit. Do not spend all of your energy wallowing in regret or guilt. Lay it down at the feet of Jesus and ask Him for forgiveness. Is it that easy? Yes, faith in God is the active resolver to all things. When we come to God, we must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder to them who diligently seek Him. Have faith that He died for the sins that you would commit even as a Christian.

There is a fine line between conviction and condemnation. Conviction is God’s way of letting us know that we did wrong, only to have us to come to Him and make it right. Condemnation is Satan’s way of nagging us, weighing us down with guilt, to the point that we such a weight of shame that even when we ask God’s forgiveness it still lingers. Conviction says, “Come to God, He loves you and He will restore you. His mercy is right there waiting to lift you back up and put you on your way.” Condemnation says, “God is angry with you. Look what you did. After all that God has done for you, look how you messed up. Look at how you failed.”

When we fall, we must be careful not to allow unbelief to grow in our hearts. Quickly doubt comes and tells us that we have nothing with God anymore, that He no longer listens. That God is disappointed in us. The disappointment of God as we have read is when people doubted. Jesus shunned multitudes of people because of their unbelief. Repent and start trusting God, that He is there and that He wants us to get back up and continue walking. The four lepers became determined when they declared let us go on, for if we go into the city we will die (there was a famine in the city), and if we sit here we are going to die. So, they set their minds that they were not just going to sit there. It was not the issue of their leprosy, it was the issue of food to sustain them through their lives. They were not saying anything about their long-term conditions, they were speaking of their short-term issue which was death from starvation. So, they determined themselves to get up and get going. They went to the enemy’s camp and God allowed the enemy to hear chariots and great noise, so the enemy ran away. The lepers were able to go into their camp and get the food and drink and even the spoils of great riches. If we sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. We cannot afford to sit and listen to the enemy tell us that we are failures and outcasts, but we must lift our eyes to Jesus. Look upon Him and live. Jesus said that, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to me.” This has been interrupted several ways, but one way refers to His crucifixion, that because of Jesus being lifted up on the cross, He draws all men. He gives everyone the opportunity of repentance.

To repent means to turn around and go the opposite direction. When we repent, we must take it by faith and trust God at His word when He said that He would never leave us nor forsake us, but He would go all the way, even unto the end of the world. We put sin into categories and we determine within our churches and our minds that one sin is greater than another. We look for ways to justify “little sins” and not bother repenting over those. God wants to convict us of all wrongs and His purpose for conviction is repentance. Also, His conviction is to bring us into the truth of His word. That He will not leave us comfortless. He has sent His Spirit to comfort us and intercede for us.

Think about someone that you love, someone who you truly love. Say this person does you wrong on purpose. Because of your love for them, you do not find it hard to forgive them. True love forgives and keeps no record of wrongs. How many times have we fallen from grace? How many times have we known that something was a sin yet we did it anyway? This brings me to a couple of examples that were brought to my attention today.

Yesterday, I went back home from work to take care of my son because my heart was there. I needed to be close by to him in case he needed me. I spent the majority of the whole morning mowing the grass and weed eating, but knowing that I was close to him was important to me. I was able to get things taken care of that needed my attention. The weeds were so high because it had been weeks since I was able to take care of them and cut them down. This made the job much more intensive, it took more effort, and more fuel.

As I was cutting the weeds, God began to show me just how crucial it is to remain fixed in Him. We sometimes get busy with day to day things, and like my yard overtaken with really high weeds, our hearts can have an overgrowth in them. It is not altogether that we are willfully sinning, it is just neglecting. Neglecting our hearts and spending time with God because we are busy is not necessarily a sin, but it can be a danger. We are at risk for so much more when we neglect our relationship with a merciful Father.

The higher the weeds get, the more effort it takes to cut them down. If I were to keep them cut regularly, they are simply not as difficult to remove. However, it is almost as if I have cut the top half and then the bottom half, taking more time, energy, and fuel. What once took two full tanks of fuel, took me three. Just because we are Children of God, does not mean that we do not have things to cut away every day. So how do we cut them away from our lives? We spend close time with God and when we open up His word and just enjoy it, then He renews our mind. This cleansing, starts stripping away attitudes that grow up overnight. Weeds grow everywhere and anywhere. I remember being on a trip with a friend and we passed up McDonalds, and in everything I look for God. Well, sure enough even though we had passed up the place we were going to eat breakfast at, we turned around in a parking lot of a building that had weeds growing up on the roof. This just astounded me. If we had not passed it up I would not have seen those weeds. This shows you that no matter what weeds grow. No matter what the sinful nature is always present. You can uncover the earth and plant a garden, and weeds will find their way into it. You can walk down the street and see weeds coming up through cement. So, how can we not see that regardless of how strong we think that we are, we are prone to sin, we are prone to fall, and we are prone to be overcrowded with weeds.

Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 1 Timothy I4.14

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; Hebrews 2.3

Do not neglect the gifts that God has given you. There are so many blessings and great things that God has done for you, and there are so many more things that are ahead. We can allow distractions and life to stop us from weed eating, but the cost is greater later. Another thing that I discovered while working yesterday was that I was at a higher risk of falling off of my hill where I use the weed eater, because the hill is straight up and down. If I can see where I am stepping it is a lot safer. Because of high weeds I am at risk of being snake bitten, so I have to be really careful and more cautious than before. Here is a quote from an online website about keeping snakes away, “The real way to keep snakes away from you home is to keep your property from attracting snakes in the first place. Snakes like thick vegetation, buildings with gaps between the ground and the floor, ancient buildings that have fallen down, and so on. You need to make sure you are doing everything possible to keep your yard picked up and mowed. Un-mowed grass is one the worst offenders when you look at causes for snake infestations. It is a natural progression; the long grass breeds insects and the insects attract snakes.”[1]

If we read that quote, there is a lot in it that we can apply to our spiritual walk with God. The high weeds that grow in our lives, even when all the other plants are dying in the fall, can house some the most dangerous and harmful effects to our lives. Let’s look at how this is happening. First of all, we get busy with this and that and do not have time to spend with God and ask Him for guidance, help, and strength. So, as a result, weeds grow taller than before. We continue seeing that there are weeds, but we put it off, because we have so many other things to do. Before long the weeds attract insects which in turn attract snakes. When we do not run to God and spend time with Him, weeds grow and the enemy is attracted to weeds. The only way to truly stop satan from getting in, is to not make our heart a hospitable environment for him to move in on. This is not so much sin, by letting life get to us and we do not spend as much time with God, but it can be a dangerous set-up for snakes to take over.

Once the enemy moves in on your territory, it is harder to get him out. Why is this? First of all, satan always tempts us with something we want. You cannot tempt someone with something they do not have an appetite for. I used to not like Chinese food simply because I never developed an appetite for it. With the right restaurant, serving the right kind of tastes, I soon became addicted to the stuff! Satan will work and work and work until he gets the recipe just right to attract you. He wants you to fall and he wants to make you feel so unworthy when you do fall, that it takes a long time to recover. The length of time it takes from the moment you fall to the time that you repent and stand back up and continue walking is crucial.

 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. REV12.10-11

Satan is the accuser of the brethren. He is the one who cooks up the perfect recipe to suit your taste, tempts you with it, and then accuses you bringing up everything in front of you so that you will not turn back to God after falling. This is where it is harder to get the enemy out of the weeds. He will come to you and make you think, “What’s the use, I am just going to do wrong again. I am not worthy. After all that God has done for me and I mess up again. I give in to the temptation after all the mercy and love that He has shown me.” On and on the process goes, the accusations pound you. However, notice something: satan cannot tell the truth. These accusations are mixed with truth and untruth. He likes to mix it up because he wants to deceive you into thinking that there is no hope.

The way to remove satan from the weeds is to look to God, ask Him for forgiveness and have faith that the price paid at Calvary was for this very sin too, not just for your salvation when you first came to Him. You are submitting to God, you are humbly bowing before Him and are truly sorry for hurting His heart. Then resist satan. Resist the negative badgering thoughts of condemnation and guilt. If you do not resist them then you are lacking faith. Start reading God’s word to increase this faith. Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. You read God’s word long enough and you feel your faith rise again. You will see the promises in His word that say, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5),” and “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (1 John 2:1).”

God can teach us anything out of everything if we just look and listen. Study to be quiet. (1 Thes. 4:11) We are prone to fall. We are a fall risk because we want to be more like Jesus. We want to walk like Him and talk like Him, so we are at risk of failing many times. If we did not want to be like Jesus then, life would be a lot easier to go with the flow. Not changing is easy, change is hard. Quitting is easy, picking ourselves back up and to continue walking, that can be hard.

An example that I would like to share with you; my daughter told me this morning on the way to school that one of the boys she has been in school with for the past five years quit school. My daughter’s class are seniors this year. The boy was asked, “Why did you quit?” He replied, “Because I am still in the ninth grade.” Something struck me when she told me this. Everyone else that he went to school with are graduating seniors this year, but he was still in ninth grade. His problem was not a lack of knowledge or a learning disability, his problem every year had been immaturity and not taking responsibility for his grades. Only you can take your grades seriously in order to pass and move on in growth.

This is the same way with Christians. Some of us are watching others graduate and pass tests, moving forward in their relationship with God. Meanwhile, we are still back in ninth grade. We should be farther long in our relationship with God, but somehow we have been held back. Are we being held back because we will not listen to God and take responsibility for our growth? Are we blaming everyone around us when we are the only ones who have the power to change? God gives each and everyone the same opportunity for growth. There are some limitations for some more than others, but He leads us and guides us. We are all on different levels of growth, some grow faster than others, but let us make sure that we are not giving excuses and let us not quit because everyone else is passing us up. In God there are no big I’s and little you’s. If we have the love of God in our hearts, then we will treat everyone with love and compassion, no matter how many times they fail and retake a test. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love is merciful and does not keep a record of wrongs. If you want mercy, show it and sow it into other people’s lives; even the mischievous teenager that keeps messing up on purpose.

Have you ever noticed that when you turn the porch light on at night, there is always a spider web close to the light? I never really recognized that maybe there was a significant reason why a spider would build a web there. I saw a web this morning and it dawned on me, “Spiders build their webs near the light, because moths and other insects are attracted to the light.” Did you know that satan will lay a snare right near the light? Did you know that satan goes to church every time the doors are open? Somewhere close to the light, you will find a web and a spider just patiently waiting for the naive moth to come by and get caught up in it. Oftentimes I do not leave a light on outside because it attracts so many bugs at night. I cannot open the door without several mosquitos and moths flying into my house. Moths are nocturnal and love the light. They love to dance around the light in the night.

We as children of God are attracted to the light of God’s word. We need something in this dark world to sustain us and keeping close to God provides this comfort from day to day struggles. So, when we examine the word of God, we can understand the analogy of a spider spinning a web near light to attract moths. In literature we can look at how writers use webs and spiders in metaphors and such, usually a web is something one can get caught up in. Also, I have read Walter Scott’s famous line from his poem Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave. When first we practice to deceive![2] Satan has only a few abilities. Because God has given us free will, to make our own decisions, satan’s power is limited.

We talked briefly about one of his tactics, which is accusing. He will accuse you and accuse, even when you have done nothing wrong. If he knows you have an overactive conscience, you will definitely be a target. The reasoning is simple, he does not have to do much to the person who has an overactive conscience, because he only has to plant a thought of guilt and that person who has a guilt complex, will torture themselves; thus doing his job for him. If you are one of these people, I will confess that I do struggle with it myself, satan can put a thought in your mind or a guilty feeling on you, and you may end up struggling for hours, days, weeks, or even months to be rid of a guilty conscience that God had nothing to do with.

God will instruct you so that you will no longer have that guilty conscience complex, feeling guilty and shameful over every little thing, or even things that are not even there. God fights fire with fire. Have you ever noticed that? You pray for patience and God makes a situation arise where you have to use your patience to get through it, therefore it yields more patience. You pray to be more like Him and then a trial comes and you end up seeing just how much of Him is not in your heart, thus leading you into a deeper relationship of dependence on Him. All things that God does is the absolute opposite of what we would probably do, but He knows what He is doing. It is like conquering a fear, sometimes the best way is to literally face it head on. That is not easy, but God will slowly and softly ease you into being ready for that.

Now, let’s get back to the spider. So, we said that spiders weave webs near the light and satan has weapons. One of those weapons is to lie. He cannot tell the truth. He can tell half-truths, he can speak the Word of God only to twist it into something it is not, but anything he does is a web to deceive you into believing something that is not true. Even the weapon of accusation, it is not truth. So, the next time you are under a weighty load of guilt and shame, you can guarantee that satan is lying to you. God convicts with love and compassion, drawing you back closer to Him than ever before. Satan lies and makes you feel like you are not even worth God’s time.

Another way of deceiving, we look at the spider that is so close to the light, satan gets so close to the word of God in imitation. He knows the word more than most Christians, because it is his sole purpose to make you believe lies, so that you will go to hell or live a horrible Christian life. The Bible says, “…to deceive the very elect if possible.” He can mix lies within the truth and people fall for it, those who know not the truth of God’s word. If you do not know the truth of God’s word, you are not a threat to satan. People by the thousands even millions have followed after cults and manmade doctrines throughout all of history, but satan did not have to worry about them. It was the ones who sought God, and determined that they wanted to find God, and hear from Him more than anything else in their lives. These were the threats.

He has to struggle with the ones who have come to know who they are in Christ. He wakes up before them, so to speak, to figure out how can overthrow them today. God has allowed them to know the truth, the truth has set them free, and I can no longer use my guilt and shame on them anymore. The truth of the Word of God exposes the enemy’s lies and overthrows his plans for us. He can no longer sit back and use the remote control to push our buttons. Before, he could push fear and we would run around, until we found someone or something that could substitute God. He could push the guilt button, and we would be wound up like a toy car, running around making ourselves feel miserable. Now, God has brought us into some truth, and satan has to get up and find another way. “That lie didn’t work.” We used to believe lies, but God enlightened our understanding and told us the truth, allowed us to see the truth exercised in our lives, and now we are susceptible to that web anymore.

When we sit in church or go through the motions of worship, we do not want to step out of the boat of complacency simply for fear of being a fall risk, satan has already won. We may be a fall risk, but I would rather be a fall risk than a bed sore risk. I would rather fall and learn to get back up every time and heal, than to be one who just refuses to even try. One who lays up in bed until infection has set in, that it is seeping out of every aspect of my life; my relationships, my words, my attitudes, etc. The victorious life lived is one that though we fall, we cry out to God and get back up. We do not live a victorious life laying around getting bed sores and blood clots, because we are too afraid to get back up.

If we never have any struggle, then are we actually changing? When I feel peace and love of God’s Spirit in my life, I feel a little nervous, because I am used to struggle. I am used to fighting. When I have experienced just having days of peace and joy, I am not used to it, I get bored. Those times are yet another season of the walk we have with Him. We know various seasons, such as waiting on God, when God is silent, the mountaintop experiences, the valley of the shadow of death, but do we know about the shadow days? What I mean by shadow days, is those days where Psalms 91:1 says, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” We live on guard and that is exactly what God said to do and how to be, but aren’t you glad that there are days when God wisps us away into the comfort of His love and allows us rest in Him?

[1] http://www.wildlife-removal.com/snakemothballs.html

[2] Scott, Walter. Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field (Edinburgh: Printed by J. Ballantyne and Co. For Archibald Constable and Company, Edinburgh; and William Miller, and John Murray, London, 1808).

Jericho

photo credits: http://wels.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/711×400-FiC-BibleStories

Joshua Chapter 6

  1. Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.
    1. Sometimes the enemy will lock everything up. Sometimes we feel at a standstill, like we cannot breakthrough. God used his people to launch an offensive attack. Here is the enemy in defense mode. Jericho was straitly shut because of the children of Israel.
  2. And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.
    1. God made the promise right here. See, observe, understand, take heed, realize that it is already yours. Jericho is yours. The siege of the walls facing you is already yours.
  3. And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.
    1. For six days God wanted these men of war, men trained to fight, be on guard, these who were trained to ruthlessly take out enemies, were asked to walk around, compass, encircle the walls of a city.
    2. Let’s take a look from the inside of the walls of Jericho a minute. If I were inside a safe fortified city and I saw an army circling me, that would intimidate me. How would you feel if you looked out your window and an army is marching around your home?
    3. Enclose your obstacle, the hindrance that is blocking your victory. These walls were locked up tight and not showing any signs of breakage. We pray and pray and ready to fight and rebuke, but the walls are locked up tight.
  4. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.
    1. God is asking Joshua to be consistent. No matter how strange it looks do it. No matter how it looks to the world, obey Him. They would walk around one time each day for six days and remain silent.
    2. Remaining silent before God. By shutting our mouths and listening consistently to God, we are working on the offensive attack.
    3. Breakthrough- an offensive thrust that penetrates and carries beyond a defensive line in warfare.
    4. God wants to prepare us for an offensive attack. We live in defense mode where we remain vigilant and sober-minded and sometimes that is the absolute best offensive measure, but sometimes God says, “Ok let’s break through the strong defensive, fortified barrier that holds inside what I have given you. Let me show you how to launch an attack that will cause walls to fall and bands of wickedness to be broken. You have some situations in your life that cannot just be broken by might. Walk, remain silent, and listen to me for the space of time that I give you, then you will know when to shout the battle cry.”
    5. We do not always know how to pray or what to pray, so God puts us into a position of listening and instruction.
    6. God will work but who will let him. Get into position and wait on God’s wind to blow.
    7. Getting into a place of listening is where these men were. Imagine how God told them to walk around these walls quietly, one time a day for six days. Through not saying a word, God fashions us into listening to Him and waiting on Him. He will bring the walls down.
    8. I wonder as they walked around the walls, did they think of strategies in their own mind to move these walls down? How many times are we faced with something that will not budge, God wants us to listen, but we are still contemplating how we can handle the situation, control things, do something so that we can feel like we are achieving something? No, walk around the walls.
    9. Compass the walls. Cirlce the walls. Walk around them. Know with confidence that they are coming down in a way that is not even humanly possible.
  5. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.
    1. Let’s look at the priests in verse 4. We see God wants seven priests placed before the ark of the covenant with seven trumpets and on the seventh day they walk around these walls seven times.
    2. Why all the sevens? The number seven is God’s “perfect” number, any time we see the word “perfect” in the Word of God, it means complete. This is God’s complete timing, His perfect moment. At that moment when you feel that the night has grown darker and the air thick with fear, keep walking around your walls.
    3. The priests represent the Spirit of God. The priesthood was a sanctified calling, you were separated from common work and placed in a life of service. When Jesus came and he prepared himself as our sacrifice, He became our High Priest. He is the one that goes before us. We follow his lead.
    4. Breakthrough requires force. In order to push through something, past the enemy lines, there must be a force propelling us through. God said that it is not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit saith the Lord. His Spirit is the force that can cause breakthrough and utter demolition of walls.
    5. We think that there has to be this huge shaking for walls this massive to come down. We think that we have to build a weapon to take it out. We feel inadequate standing beside it, looking at it, but God… But God… God is wanting us to be still, listen, walk around your problem and do not say a word. Wait for His cue!
      1. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. John 3:8
      2. Listeth- G2309- thelo- To will, have in mind, intend, to be resolved or determined, to purpose, to desire, to wish, to determine
      3. The wind of God’s Spirit will blow when and where He determines. He must have a willing instrument, a willing vessel, that He can use.
      4. You cannot tell when it is coming, you cannot discern it like you can the rain or storms. You cannot tell where it will go. You cannot control the wind. The wind, the Spirit of God.
  6. And Joshua the son of Nun called the priests, and said unto them, Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD.
    1. A Ram’s Horn takes much time and work to form into an instrument of sound.
  7. And he said unto the people, Pass on, and compass the city, and let him that is armed pass on before the ark of the LORD.
  8. And it came to pass, when Joshua had spoken unto the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns passed on before the LORD, and blew with the trumpets: and the ark of the covenant of the LORD followed them.
  9. And the armed men went before the priests that blew with the trumpets, and the rereward came after the ark, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets.
  10. And Joshua had commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout.
    1. Do not shout until I tell you to. Do not make a sound until I tell you to. Do not speak one word. What does this mean in regards to us today? God wants us to walk around these walls and listen. When we are not allowed to talk, it is so that we can hear. We must put away our abilities and desires to do and say what we want. This is a time of sacrifice. Remove yourself from noise. Remove yourself from relying on the faculties of your senses and be still. Listen to God, he will sharpen your hearing and your sight. What is God trying to say, we must listen in order to be able to hear and understand, and know.
    2. In order to be in God’s will, we have to be quiet enough to hear His voice. Walking around the walls without talking gives us a chance to actually learn the voice of God. Study to be quiet.
    3. When we wait upon God, He renews our strength, meaning we do not rely upon our strength to complete it.
    4. Pushing aside what we want, like leisure activities, entertainment, food, and things that our flesh desires for a short period of time, will be worth so much more.
    5. Driven by God to find Him above all else, to hear Him above all else, this is the offensive plan of attack on the walls that we cannot seem to break with what we have.
  11. So the ark of the LORD compassed the city, going about it once: and they came into the camp, and lodged in the camp.
  12. And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD.
  13. And seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD went on continually, and blew with the trumpets: and the armed men went before them; but the rereward came after the ark of the LORD, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets.
    1. Rereward- rear guard (defense)
    2. Why would they need a rear guard now? Now, you are getting somewhere. God said he would be your rereward.
  14. And the second day they compassed the city once, and returned into the camp: so they did six days.
  15. And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times.
    1. Were they marching around the walls, becoming familiar with how strong and fortified these walls were? The more you are exposed to your walls, the more you see how big these walls are. Then ultimately when God causes them to fall, you see how great your God is. If you never the extent of the problem or the magnitude of its impact, you may not truly appreciate God’s power to be awesome.
    2. Monday, keep quiet and walk. Tuesday, keep quiet and walk. Wednesday, keep quiet and walk. Thursday, keep quiet and walk. Friday, keep quiet and walk. Saturday, keep quiet and walk.
    3. One of the greatest fears that satan has is a child of God who closes their mouth to listen. There is a time to shout, but there is a time to keep still and wait for instruction. A child of God that is just blasting off at the mouth about this and that may not be a threat if that child is not led by God to pray exactly what God wants.
    4. A child of God who is quiet and just keeps marching. Marching around your walls, marching around your territory, marching in silence, marching while listening. Obeying God. Keeping silence before God. That is a child to be afraid of.
    5. God is preparing you to open your mouth and He will fill it. The wind of God is going to blow through the trumpet with a sound that no devil in hell can stop. That no manmade institution can silence.
    6. Walking and not speaking, is submitting your will to God. God I am gonna march, I am gonna keep still, I am going to listen. The moment of completeness, when Your Spirit is ready to blow through me, these walls are gonna come down. It’s mine, but there is a way to watch walls fall flat. Wait, listen, walk, and watch God. Keep your eyes on the ark of the covenant, that promise that God knows exactly what He is doing.
  16. And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city.
    1. Mighty men of war are going for a walk. They were probably used to going in and wiping enemies out. Used to taking a knife to the throat. Used to shooting blazing arrows. Precision and detail in their battle plans. But God comes along and says, “This city is locked up tight. You couldn’t get in if you tried.” What do you do when what you were promised is locked up tight? Everything that you have always used to gain victory is useless now. All of their training by their fathers before them, their guerilla warfare tactics and skills, theirs understanding on how to use the territory for your advantage, such as if there are trees and rocks, you know how to position yourself to hide and prepare to fight. All of that is useless. God is sending you on a hike.
    2. You learned things one way and were strengthened and instructed to fight, now God is putting you on path. By the time you get finished walking around your walls, that path will be beaten. You may get a little dizzy. Walking around the same walls everyday. Patience is acquired. “God, if we are going to do this let’s do this, why do we have to keep walking around for six days. If you have all the power, if this enemy is literally scared to death of us, then why can’t we just go on in and bust a move. If you have already given us the city, then why are we walking?
      1. In the previous chapter, God tells Joshua to circumcise the children of Israel. These were the descendants of the children of Israel that complained in the wilderness. So, this is a new generation.
      2. Then, we read how they were sent to their camp and that they abode in their places until they were whole.
      3. We see after this that they are residing in the plains of Jericho, just in sight of Jericho, living their lives, and doing what they always do.
      4. We may be living just in sight of our promise, our victory. We look right at it every day. God will move us to the right direction at the right time.
      5. God did not want these men fighting, they had healed up, but they were regaining their strength. Walking and listening, obeying God’s voice, learning to recognize God’s voice. These are all a part of the victorious process of walls falling flat.
      6. You know that the promise is yours, you know God has already showed you that He has prepared this for you. Yet, it is locked up tight, but God has a plan completely out of the ordinary attack methods.
    3. Now, let’s look at something. Under the law everything was exact and precise all the way down to the intricate detail of how many priests and trumpets and days. When we study the tabernacle we can see God was exact and descriptive and He wanted things a certain way. On the other hand, if we read in the New Testament a transformation happened, mostly everything done is by God’s leading, by His spirit. When and where He wants it to happen. He gives people instructions, but under the new dispensation it is all about His leadership. He will determine the time, the circumstances, and we do not see people dipping in the river seven times or laying a fleece out before God. I may be mistaken, but something changes when Jesus comes. Somehow, now it is as your faith is be it unto you.
    4. Faith is the surrender, the trusting, not in mannerisms or details, but in fully trusting God. If we have a set of rules and formulas to go by, then we trust the formula. We trust the process of diagnosis, the medicine, and the healing. However, now under the grace dispensation we learn to solely rely upon a Healer. There is no set formula for forgiveness with tedious productions. There is simply relationship and faith in a Savior not a saving procedure.
  17. And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.
    1. Rahab and her family was the only ones saved from the city. Sometimes God will break things just to carry one family out. He will destroy a whole host of bondage and fears, just to get you out of generational curses and ties to a broken and shameful past.
    2. Because of her honesty and her ability to hide the Israelite spies from the men of Jericho, she and her household were saved. In the middle of commotion, do the right thing. In the middle of chaos, always do what is morally right and good. Do good unto others. Overcome evil with good.
    3. God may use you to help someone, meanwhile because of your obedience, He is setting up your future for destiny, health, prosperity, and strength.
  18. And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it.
  19. But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD.
  20. So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.
    1. Is there something that you are facing that it seems that it is locked up tight? That even though pray, you do not feel anything budging?
    2. Maybe God is calling you to come closer to Him, so that you can hear His voice more clearly. Maybe He is calling you to fast and set aside some distractions in your life, so that you can know exactly how He will work for the breakthrough.
    3. There is no set formula for fasting, but the scriptures in the Bible. Believe me, God will tell you exactly how long you should fast, and He will draw you into a place of greater understanding of His word. He may use your silence as a means of holding a conversation with you. Listen and wait for His cue, the city is already yours, the breakthrough is already planned by God, just ask Him what you need to do. Be still and see the salvation of the Lord. He is all about teaching you, leading you, and better equipping you for the journey ahead.

Stability

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.  

 1 Peter 5:10

Foundations

When a construction company decides to build a new skyscraper in the city, they begin by examining the measurements. The height of a skyscraper is determined by the depth of a skyscraper. In order for a building that so tall and massive to stand without falling, the builders must dig deep into the ground to lay the foundation. Sometimes we may not see things working in our lives the way we think it should. It seems as though God has been telling us to, “Be still and know that I am God.” Maybe you are in a waiting season, you have planted the word of God in your heart and you don’t see anything sprouting up. The good news is, the deeper God is working in your life, the sturdier your foundation to remain stable in your walk with God.

It seems as though when we ask God to change us to be more like Him, He immediately gets the dozers and jack hammers out. We start to see some things within ourselves that we didn’t even know was there. All of a sudden dirt is flying out of the heart, rocks and roots are being dug out of our soul. This is a process of elimination, so that our hearts will be emptied out of the negative, the bad, and the sinful things we may not even realize we hold.

We remember the parable that Jesus told about the wise man who built his house upon a rock and the foolish man who built his house upon the sand. He was illustrating the importance of foundation. The foundation of house determines the length of time that the house will stand, it affects the structure of the house, and it even determines how the house settles throughout the years. Have you ever noticed that in the summer a door in your house may not stay closed all the while, that same door, in the winter it may take all your strength to close? The reason why is that the house is settling. This is an illustration of something that may be happening in our spiritual lives. Sometimes doors won’t open because we are settling, sometimes there are uncertainties, because we are settling. God will settle you. This means he will secure you in the base of his word and holy spirit. He will anchor you down to the truth that will keep you strong during the adversities of life. You may not see what God is doing, but have faith that He is settling you.

God wants us to understand that it is the trying of our faith that works patience. It is the tests and the trials that can shape us into a firm believer. The way we handle it is so important. When we realize that we are going through a test, we need to pray to God to show us His purpose. He will guide you through it and because we cling to Him, He will increase our faith in Him.

Why does it say we will suffer a while? In this life we will have suffering and it is ultimately because we need to be rid of false securities and crutches in order to be filled with more of God. That is the suffering, the warring of the flesh and the spirit. So many times when storms or trials come, we want to try to escape that reality. We want to turn to other things or people. However, God will lead us into a maturity in Him that is literally a place of breakthrough. How do we know that we are growing in God’s grace? It is when we see ourselves running towards God when trouble comes, instead of away from it all. When we run to God, He has the opportunity to teach us and lead us through the battle. I like to read that God is going to make you perfect. What does that mean? The word perfect in the Bible means complete, mature, and whole. When we start growing up in God then He starts establishing us, and strengthening us, and settling us. That makes all the difference. If every time something bad happens, a child who is getting older still keeps running to find a crutch, like a pacifier or a blanket, and the parent is nurturing the child; how will that child ever grow up? If we as grown adults, when faced with life’s struggles, run to escape reality instead of running to God, we will never grow in Him. What do we do in the hard times? It is easy to worship and love God during the happy times. It is easy to praise Him when the payday is good and the children are healthy, but what about when things are going wrong and bills are stacking up? In those fiery trials, if we run to God instead of away from our problems, we will grow. We will be strengthened by His might.

Walking with God

But He knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.                                                           Job 23.10

We know the many hardships of Job and there is one scripture that just astounded me for the longest time. Job says, “When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Gold is a precious metal and in order to remove the dross or impurities from the metal, it must be melted and heated to extreme temperatures. God will allow you to go through things. The problem here is that we don’t recognize things the way that we should. If you are like me, then you have questioned God and yourself. When trouble comes all of a sudden we are in the pit of despair, or we end up losing faith, running our mouths, or complaining. Then we look at ourselves and think, “Where in the world is all this stuff coming from? I am supposed to be a Christian who is speaking faith.” On an on we tear ourselves down because we did not respond or react in the right way. We are relying on our own righteousness. When the fiery trials come, the dross floats to the top. The top of us is our words, our thoughts, and our actions. You are being purged and cleansed of some things that have been in your heart for a long time. All of a sudden you go into a rage or yell at someone, and that was not even in your character. Why? The reason is the impurities are coming up out of your heart. The infection that has been housed inside of your heart has to come out. Then, you realize your need for a Savior. “Well, God I have been reading Your word, praying, and trying to walk closely with You, what is going on?” God allows us to see that even on our best day, we need a Savior. We can dot the I’s and cross the T’s, but without Him we can do nothing right.

Stability is gained in maturity. Maturity is gained through trials. When God allows the temperature to heat up, expect that things are going to surface. Feelings of anger that you have held in too long. Hurts from the past that you thought you have pushed down to never be found again. Tears that you cry that you have no idea where they are coming from. He is bringing it all out. He is removing the impurities; the dross is being purged out of a precious metal. A heart to be like God is one that will ultimately go through turmoil, because in order to have more of God, we must have less of ourselves and the environment that we grew up in: a sinful world.

Be anxious for nothing, because God is working everything out for your good. Every painful memory that arises and every negative emotion that you simply do not understand, give it to God. Ask Him to cleanse you. Ask Him to instruct you and teach you His ways. Do not run from trials, but run to God who is the author and the finisher of your faith. These trials make us more like God, they make us rely upon Him more, and they fashion us into a vessel of honor. A vessel of honor is one that can be used. An instrument is useless without a musician. Without the wind of a musician, the flute will never sound. If there is all kinds of junk inside the flute, then the musician can blow into it and nothing is actually going to sound. God does the cleaning, He purifies, and He beautifies. Prepare our hearts O God that we may be pure, mature, and steadfastly reliant upon You.

The definition of refine is to reduce to a pure state; purify. To free from coarse, unsuitable, or immoral characteristics. That sounds beautiful, but the process is truly painful. If we want to be less like us and more like Him, we are will endure the pain of change. We want to be changed, but we do not necessarily want the process. We want the beautiful birth of a child, but we do not want the pain. We want a promotion, but we do not want to go through the extensive training and study required. All the while, the same applies to wanting more of God. We want to pray for the sick and watch their sickness leave, but do we want the walk of faith that comes before that, which is required in order for faith to grow to that level. There will be a price for everything that we want in God, simply because we will be fashioned for His use. “Beloved think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:” 1 Peter 4:12 Yes, the way that God tries is quite strange or unsual, but it is always in His perfect timing. We ask God to increase His love in our heart and let us have more compassion on people. All of a sudden we find ourselves dealing with a loved one who absolutely tries our patience. We find that for some reason we are learning to be patient and loving more than ever. We find ourselves having to forgive someone for wronging us and learning to merciful.

God refines us through adversity and testing. We pray for patience and suddenly it seems like chaos breaks out. God uses the opposite to sharpen us and strengthen us. You want more love, then prepare to find someone that may be full of hatred or the hardest person to get along with. You want more peace in your life, chaos might just break out and you will learn to find a way to escape into a quiet place with God. The things you desire ends up being the thing that you fight for.