The Lord Our Helper

Psalm 18 gives us insight into how we can achieve victory over all our troubles. The first part of the Psalm David declares that the Lord is the one who gives him help. The Lord is able to deliver him from trouble.

This proclamation assures us how mighty the Lord’s power is towards us. When we declare God’s sovereign power over all things then our faith level rises. We are reminded where our help comes from. Not in man or any other source but in the Lord our God.

The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. Psalm 18:1

David then declares, “I will call upon the Lord who is my strength, my deliverer, my power, my shield and my high tower.” 

From declaring who the source of our help is, David then proclaims that when we call on the Lord in our trouble he is able to save us. It is important to note that calling on the Lord to enter our situation is when he is able to intervene. The Lord will never intervene without our request or the request of an intercessor.

This spiritual principle is seen throughout scripture.

Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. Mark 11:24

Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:24

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. James 1:6

David gives the Lord praise. “I will praise the Lord who is worthy.” 

Praise is an important part of spiritual warfare. Praise is different than worship. Praise declares the Lord’s sovereign power over all things including the devil’s plans and schemes.

O Lord, thou art my God;
I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name;
for thou hast done wonderful things;
thy counsels of old
are faithfulness and truth.
Isaiah 25:1

And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. Acts 16:25

Why art thou cast down, O my soul?
and why art thou disquieted within me?
hope thou in God:
for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. Psalm 42:11

Next David declares what the Lord is able to do for him. How he is able to deliver! By faith David declares what God is going to do!

I shall be saved from my enemies. I shall be saved from the floods of adversity and sorrow. (depression) I shall be saved from snares and obstructions. The Lord shall silence my accusers. The Lord shall hear me when I cry for justice. He will take vengeance on my enemies and make them bow the knee under the authority of the Lord our God. 

David then sees with the eye of faith what is happening in the spiritual realm as he prays. David sees the angelic realm ushered in by the wind of the Spirit. He sees the darkness and waters of affliction flee before the Lord’s majesty. David hears the voice of the Lord speaking in the heavenlies with the fire of authority. 

David watches in the Spirit as the Lord sends forth his arrows against the enemy. He hears the Lord rebuke the enemy and expose the evil one’s strongholds. 

David declares the victory. “The Lord took me out of my trouble. He drew me out of affliction unto himself. The Lord is my rock. My security. He brought me from bondage to freedom. He delivered me because I belong to him and he loves me. The Lord sees me clothed in his righteousness and knows that I have put my trust in him. Therefore the Lord honours me and shows his mercy by becoming my light in the darkness. ” 

David’s faith is now raised to a new level. “With my God I can run right through an army of the evil one. I can by my God leap over all obstacles. The Lord gives me strength and victory. He sets me above all my enemies. ” 

David has learned the art of warfare. He is taught that the strongholds of the enemy have to come down when he trusts in the Lord to battle for him. David learns that God’s protection is given when he wears the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation. David is kept from falling and delivered from all the enemies attacks when he declares God’s greatness and majesty. The devil is put under the feet of the Lord’s righteous, David learns this because the Lord who is a mighty warrior has maintained his cause. 

Then David boasts in the Lord. He declares to everyone that the Lord girded him with strength in the battle. The Lord dealt with those who rose up against him. The Lord has destroyed the avenger and silenced the tongues of his accusers. David is now the head. He is the victor while the enemy is the tail.

David tells others that they too can have this victory. He says to all,  “Blessed is the Lord who does marvelous things ! The Lord will bring the lost out of darkness. He will deliver the captives. He will bring them from darkness to light. He will set the sinner free! The Lord will show mercy to all who call upon him.” 

We learn from Psalm 18 that when we call on the Lord in trouble he girds himself like a mighty warrior ready to fight on our behalf. When we declare the Lord’s greatness and declare what he will do for us then our faith is released and the Lord begins to battle on our behalf. 

As we see by faith what God is doing in the spiritual realm we will see those results in the natural realm. Our victory is sure. We are then able to declare to others what great things the Lord has done for us. When we give our testimony others can also be set free! They can be victorious over all the works of the evil one too. 

He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the Lord was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.” PSALM 18: 17-19 

For who is God save the Lord? Who is a rock save our God? It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. “He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places. He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms. Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.

Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip. I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again till they were consumed. I have wounded them that they were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet. For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me. PSALM 18: 31-39

Steps to victory

  1. Declare that the Lord is the one who can give you help. The Lord is able to deliver you from trouble.
  2. Call upon the Lord to intervene in your circumstance.
  3. Declare that he is able to deliver you!
  4. Praise the Lord. Declare his power, his ability, his greatness!
  5. Declare by faith what the Lord is going to do for you!
  6. Declare by faith what the Lord is doing for you!
  7. Declares your victory!
  8. Boast in the Lord! Tell others what great things the Lord has done for you!
  9. Tell others how they too can have victory in Jesus!

Persevering Prayer

The Bible tells us to keep on praying and never give up. For in the right season, we will reap a harvest.

We are told to persevere in prayer without fainting.

Let us not be weary. Don’t faint. (Galatians 6:9, Luke 18:1 )

The keys for receiving answers to prayer are; to have faith in God’s ability, trust in his word and also to persevere. That means to continue constantly in prayer until the answer comes.

Many times, our prayers are not answered because we faint or give up. There are some things that take time to be answered. Situations that God is working out. Hearts God is working on. Demons who need to be defeated.  

When some one becomes weary it is because they are exercising great exertion. The burden becomes so heavy it makes them want to drop the weight. They become tired, ready to faint.

To become faint is to to lose consciousness. To be so weary one wants to die or at least drop out of the battle.

God tells us in his word “DON’T GIVE UP!”

Keep on praying. Why? Because if we continue in prayer we will eventually reap a harvest. First the seed, then the sprout, then the plant, then the green fruit, and finally the ripe fruit. After that the fruit is ready to be picked. It’s a process.   

To gain a victory in every prayer battle and may I stress the word battle because Satan will fight you with many fiery darts,we must persevere in prayer.

The devil opposes anything that will bring the Lord any glory.

Not only is the devil a thief and a liar but he is also a challenger. An opponent of the kingdom of God. Resisting the devil is not only a strategy in the arena of temptation but also a strategy for receiving anything from God’s heavenly realm to the natural realm.

If what we pray for is according to God’s will, that is it lines up with scriptural protocol, then God hears us immediately. His answer is yes and amen. However, heaven must release the answer to us by going through the dark realm of the demonic world. The evil powers of darkness who rule over this present world system will put up a fight to try to get the answer to our prayer aborted.

The demonic realm will hinder, try to get us weary, plague our mind with all kinds of demonic assaults, get us to lose heart, lose faith or outright fall away.

What the demonic realm can not do however, is stop the answer to our prayer from coming in the right season. God knows what he is doing. He is always a step ahead of old slew foot. Not only are we going to get our answer if we keep on praying but we are going to get a greater increase of faith.

Many times, people ask for more faith to believe but what they don’t realize is that in order to have more faith we will need to go through more battles! Every time we preserve in prayer our faith in the Lord grows! We get better equipped for the next battle. Which will come, heads up on that one! The good news is that with our newly acquired faith muscles we will be able to handle that next battle!

 Prayer requires perseverance. That is persisting in a difficulty. Prayer requires supplication. That is entreating the Lord with humility. Prayer also requires watching. That means watching in the spirit to see what God tells us to do.

Many times, there is a work to do to get our prayer answered. A direction from the Lord, a strategy, an act of kindness, humbling oneself in a situation or spiritual warfare.

Whatever it is that the Lord tells us to do through watching in prayer can be accomplished by our co-laboring with the Holy Spirit to get our prayer fulfilled.  

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. Ephesians 6:18

With persistence in prayer there must also be a passion for the answer. We have to want that prayer to be manifested so much that we are willing to press through a crowd or even break down a roof, if need be! We must be willing to knock and keep on knocking! Ask and keep on asking! Seek until we find!

Jesus commended the people who were willing to go that far as having “great faith”. They knew Jesus was their only hope. They knew that if they could just get him to notice them, he would give them their request. If they kept on petitioning, they would get their answer!

Remember the blind guy who cried loud when he found out that Jesus was walking by him? Many told him to shut up! He was being obnoxious, making too much noise, but the guy cried even louder!

Jesus stopped right in his tracts when he heard that guy’s persistent cry. Jesus told the people to let him get through the crowd. Then Jesus asks the blind guy what it was he wanted!

It should have been obvious at least by our standards what the guy wanted but not from the Lord’s way of doing things. Jesus gets the blind guy to ask him again! When the guy says, “I want to see”, the Lord gives him his request. (Mark 10:48)  

 God tells us in Isaiah 64:7 that he wants his people to be so stirred up that they will take a hold of him! That is take hold of him and never let go!

Persevere in prayer! Be persistent! Be patient! Trust fully even if we don’t see any evidence of that prayer being answered. 

The Lord wants us to stir ourselves up to pray persistently! This is the type of prayer that moves the hand of God. It’s all through the scriptures.  

The parable of the persistent widow. Luke 18:1
David pleads in prayer every day! Psalm 88:13
Mother for her child Mark 7:25-26 Hannah cries for a child I Samuel 1:10 Jacob wrestles with God in Genesis 32:24-32 

Persevering, persistent, constant prayer is what gets results in the kingdom of God.

To be constant is to never stop! When one prayer is answered then we go on to the next prayer. We pray and keep on praying. We persevere, endure, grow in faith, grow some more until we reach the finish line, and our race is finally over! Only then can we say, “I have finished my race, I have run my course!”

 Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17  

Faith Obtained

Jesus said in his word that no one can come to him unless the Father draw him. To draw in this verse from John 6: 44 is the word helkuo which means to drag or haul to lead or compel.

The Holy Spirit must draw or compel a person to Jesus the Savior through convincing. He convinces them of their sin, their need for salvation and the judgement of sin on them in their fallen state. (John 16:8)

When this convincing by Grace or God’s mercy becomes compelling then faith must be obtained according to scriptures.     

“SIMON PETER, A SERVANT AND AN APOSTLE OF JESUS CHRIST, TO THEM THAT HAVE OBTAINED LIKE PRECIOUS FAITH WITH US THROUGH THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD AND OUR SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST.” 2 PETER 1:1

To obtain something is to get, acquire, or secure something.

The Greek word in this scripture is lagchanō which means to receive by divine allotment.

Faith is not earned by good deeds, intellectual prowess, or human ability. Faith is a divine attribute. Faith must be obtained or received.     

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” Eph 2:8

Scriptures tell us that Jesus obtained salvation for us.

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

Obtain in this verse is the Greek word heurisko which means acquired, find, to get,   

To obtain is to get or acquire something.

How is faith obtained?

Faith is obtained by divine providence.  

By Grace or God’s divine mercy which draws by the Holy Spirit to Jesus Christ for salvation or whatever the need is, faith comes or is brough forth.

Faith comes. Faith is brought forth.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10: 17

Faith is not a human attribute. It is divine or comes from God by hearing.   

Faith is obtained by hearing. Akoe To hear or incline the ear.

To what?

 The word (gospel message) being preached. (proclaimed)

It is through preaching the word is heard.

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 1 Corinthians 1:21

Faith is obtained by hearing God’s word preached. (proclaimed)  

Let me simplify this spiritual principle.  

The Father has sent the Holy Spirit to draw or compel by convincing of a need. (Whether salvation or deliverance or whatever)

Then when convinced of the need faith is obtained or acquired by grace or God’s mercy.

God’s mercy has inclined the ear to hear.

Faith is obtained or acquired in order to receive by hearing. (Having a hearing ear by the Holy Spirit’s work) through the preaching or proclaiming of God’s word. (Rhema living word of Christ)

Dear Father draw us by your Holy Spirit to recognize our need. Give us ears to hear your word being spoken to us by your Holy Spirit. Grant unto us by your grace the ability to receive what you are telling us and help us to apply it to our lives. In Jesus name. Amen.  

True Worshipers

Father God is waiting for your Return!

In Luke chapter 15 Jesus is ministering to people with backgrounds contrary to the social norm of the society in which he lived. The religious people were upset about it. They could not understand why Jesus would spend his time speaking to outcasts.

Jesus explains through three different parables how important a lost soul is to God. He likens the lost person to sheep having gone astray from the fold.

In shepherding societies the animals tended are very important. They represent a family’s whole livelihood.

Shepherds bond to their animals. They are very protective against predators. In fact when a shepherd is successful in defending his herd they are highly esteemed by the village. It takes great courage to defend the fold against a predator. Sometimes at the cost of the shepherd’s life.

A valiant shepherd will gain prestige among his people by being a faithful and brave shepherd.

The people of Jesus’ day understood shepherding concepts. To find a lost sheep was a very rewarding experience.

Pastoral societies value their animals so much that they will defend them with their very lives.

When Jesus likened sinners to lost sheep this placed a value upon them that the religious people did not share.

The next story that Jesus tells reveal again his love for sinners. This is the story of a woman who having ten pieces of silver lost one of them. The woman discovering her loss lights a candle in order to see clearly. Then she sweeps the house looking diligently for the lost silver coin.

Silver was a currency commonly used in Jesus’ day. It was an international currency. A silver coin could be a day’s wages to some people back then and because silver was extracted using human labor, that made it even more valuable. To lose a days wages was to experience a grave hardship.

Jesus reveals to the religious people of his day that a lost soul was like a lost silver coin. In God’s kingdom a lost soul being found and restored to Father God has such value that it causes all heaven to rejoice.

I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who don’t need repentance. Luke 15:7

In order to hit home with his point Jesus gives to the religious people a third story. The number 3 according to Biblical application is the number of completion. In the Hebrew language the number 3 is shelos which means harmony, new life, and completeness.

His next story ties every thing together. Not only does Jesus love the individual lost sinner but Jesus reveals in this last story his love for all lost sinners of every nation.

Jesus talks about a man who had 2 sons. The elder son was the heir to his father’s estate and the younger while having no legitimate inheritance was provided for by means of the Father’s kindness.

The younger son not only represents a rebellious sinner wanting his own way instead of staying in his Father’s house but also represents the Gentiles who the Lord sees as being lost, in need of his salvation. Jesus called them his sheep of another fold.

And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they shall hear My voice; and they shall become one flock with one shepherd. John 10:16

Eating with sinners was a repulse thing to the religious people of Jesus’ day. Not only because they were participating in unlawful activities but because many of these outcasts were working for the Roman empire (Gentiles) and considered by the religious people to be unclean by association.

Jesus’ parable insulted the Pharisees’ concept of righteousness. To have contact with Gentiles was a taboo thing in their laws. To add insult to injury the religious people were told by Jesus that the elder son whom they knew represented the heir or Abrahamic covenant was not the only one loved by God.

The younger son represented the Gentile nations. He was loved so much that after his return the Father rejoiced by putting on a celebration. 

The prodigal story is really a twofold story about God’s love for individual sinners but also his desire to restore Gentiles to Father God.

The far country represents nations in lands far away who lived lifestyles in which the elder son would find offensive. That is why Jesus refers to the prodigal son as living among swine or those who are unclean.

Jesus made known to those religious elders that love for the sinner was extended by God to the Gentile nations. This is why they were so angry. To offer the Gentiles an inheritance in God’s kingdom was to oust the religious people out of their prestigious position. The religious leaders did not like that one bit.

To give a Gentile swine a robe was to give him a place of distinction along with the elder son or heir.
Only a man of honor was given a robe. A common man wore only simple clothing.

A ring was also a sign of honor or prestige. Servants or slaves never wore a ring. Neither did a common man.

The fact that the Father gave the prodigal swine dweller a robe and a ring meant that he was valued by the Father.

Then the 3rd thing the Father did in completion of his celebration was to kill the fatted calf. This was another indication that Jesus was referring to the Gentile nations. A calf represents idolatry. The repentant idolater was being received by Father God. Also, to feast on a fatted calf was a delicacy in Jesus’ day. In effect Jesus was saying that God would celebrate the return of the one who was once a sinner idol worshiper.

The religious people were totally insulted over these parables that Jesus told. Jesus referred to them as being angry like the elder son because God loves prodigal sinners and desires them to repent and become a part of his family.

Are you a prodigal far away from the Father’s house? Are you tired of your wayward life? Feeling desperate in your famine? Jesus wants you to come to him and be saved. He wants to restore you to Father God today!

Father God loves you so much that he is searching for you. Shining his light on your heart. Revealing to you your need for his love.

If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18 

Departing From The Faith

What does it mean to depart from the faith?
To ‘depart’ in the Greek is aphistēmi which means to revolt against, remove from, desert, depart or draw away from.

You can’t depart or leave something unless you once were in something. Now its debatable whether the one who departs was once really saved or not but they had some understanding. They were enlightened. Scriptures tell us that if one has been enlightened and tasted of heavenly things and falls away it is impossible for them to repent.

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. Hebrews 6:4,6

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. 1 Timothy 4:1

This “departing” is departing from the faith or pistis. That is the conviction of reliance upon Jesus Christ for salvation. Instead those who depart give heed to demonic doctrines which do not rely on Jesus Christ for salvation.

Some departing doctrines are obvious to most Christians but others are very subtle. That devil is a wily one.

The main theme to look for is if the teacher or preacher, prophet or apostle, pastor or evangelist moves away from trusting in Jesus Christ for salvation. Even a teeny weeny bit.

There is no specific day of the week, no ritual or rite, no performance, no other way, no other man made book, no self help principle, no personal preference, no successful endeavor, no  jot or tittle, no other name, no addition, no subtraction. NOTHING.

There is nothing that can give you salvation with eternal life but complete trust and reliance on Jesus Christ alone for salvation.

It is written.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:9,10

House of Grace

In Mark chapter 6 (after Jesus had fed the 5000) he told his disciples to get into the ship and go to to Bethsaidia, while he sent the people away.

When Jesus sent his disciples to Bethsaidia which in the Hebrew means house of grace he went into a mountain to pray.

In the evening (when the ship was in the middle of the sea) Jesus was watching his disciples from the shore. They were toiling to row the ship, because the wind was coming on really strong.

Around the fourth watch of the night Jesus came towards his disciples walking on the sea. He would have passed them by but the disciples saw him. They thought he was a ghost. They became troubled and cried out in fear.

Immediately Jesus reassures his disciples that it is him.

Then when Jesus gets into the ship with his disciples the wind calms down.

The disciples were amazed and wondered. They had forgotten about the last miracle Jesus did by multiplying the bread and fish.

It is interesting to note that on the 4th watch of the night Jesus looks out to the sea to find that his disciples are in trouble.

He had given them a word, “Go to Bethsaidia” but the enemy (who works in the darkness) tried to hinder their assignment.

Satan who is “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) caused a storm to rise up. It was so fierce that all the toiling the disciples were doing were getting them no where.

In Israel culture (as well as Roman and Greek) the night was divided into 4 watches. Each watch had a specific name and time frame.

The evening watch, was from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The midnight watch, from 9 p.m. to midnight. Cockcrowing from 12 am to 3 a.m., and the morning watch or 4th watch, was from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m.

Exodus 14:24 last watch of the night
Psalm 63:6 watches of the night
Judges 7:19 middle watch
Mark 13:35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning
Luke 12:38  And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.

The fourth watch is the last watch of the night. In scripture breakthrough events many times happen on the night watches.

Moses led the Israelites across the Red Sea. Exodus 14:25-46

Jacob wrestled with God. Genesis 32: 22-31
The angels appear to the shepherds in the field to announce the birth of the Savior.  Luke 2:8-14

Jesus is resurrected from the dead, Matthew 28:1

The bridegroom woos His bride in the night hours, Song of Solomon, Matthew 25:1-13

On this particular incident on the fourth watch of the night Jesus sees trouble occurring.

The prince of the power of the air is acting up. Trying to attack the Lord’s disciples.

Intercessors know that the fourth watch usually means warfare. It’s a time when the demonic powers are doing their oggie boogie through their human vessels. 

Notice that Jesus sees on the forth watch of prayer that his disciples are in trouble.

This is one reason the Lord exhorts us to watch and pray. The enemy is always looking for a place to attack. If we are in prayer the Holy Spirit will show us trouble coming our way or someone else’s way.

When trouble comes and we find we are toiling in our own strength, (getting no where, when the enemy attacks) Jesus is walking on the water right there in front of us!

Water or waters in scripture many times represent people. Jesus is always in front of people. Always available. Always willing to calm the storm. However, many times we are so freaked out over the battle that when the Lord comes walking towards us we don’t recognize him. All we see is what the enemy is doing.

Notice how Jesus was going to walk right on by his disciples. Seriously? That’s what the scriptures tell us! That’s what happens when we are afraid. As long as our eyes are on the battle instead of the Lord Jesus Christ we will miss him, even though he is right there in front of us.

The good news is that if we look to Jesus he will calm the storm in our life. He will get in the boat with us! Jesus will calm our fears! He will rescue us from the attack of the enemy!

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water they mistook him for a spirit. They cried out in fear.

Fear can do strange things to the mind. Sees and hears all kinds of crazy things.

Even then the Lord can’t help but be merciful. When fear gets a hold of us by the throat Jesus will turn in our direction if we call out to him.

Hearing his disciples cry out in fear Jesus walks on the water towards them. When the disciples see that it is Jesus they are not afraid anymore.

Our struggles in life (like the disciples who rowed in their own strength against the wind) can be demonically inspired some times.

Facing great difficulty can be scary when it looks like we are going to drown but remember the Lord is watching us in our struggle. He knows what’s going on.

Jesus is right there in the midst of our trouble. All we have to do is cry out. He will not pass us by! He will get right in the boat with us and comfort us!

Jesus will always lead us to safely because his grace is sufficient. His word to us is always, “Go to Bethsaidia, “the house of grace.”  

Our high priest ever lives to make intercession for us.

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16

Remember Lot’s Wife?

Remember Lot’s wife?

This is the admonition Jesus gave to his disciples concerning his coming again.

Let’s recollect about Lot’s wife.

Before Lot and his family left Sodom the angels gave the Lord’s command.

Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.”

Lot’s wife however disobeyed the word of the Lord and turned into a pillar of salt.

Now why do you suppose she would do that? Obviously it was more than just curiosity.

To “look back” in this scripture is the Hebrew word nâbaţ which means to look intently at, to regard with pleasure and care, to consider, to have respect for.

This means that Lot’s wife had an affinity to the place she was leaving. A sentiment for her home. An emotional attachment to the people she was leaving behind.

Jesus goes on after giving this admonition to say in Luke chapter 17,

Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall preserve it.

“Losing our life” is the key point that the Lord is telling us here.

According to scriptures our lives are not our own. We were bought with a price.

“To lose” in this scripture means to die. Apollumi in the Greek. Which means to put to death or consider non operative.

Paul says that he dies daily. Death to self and the world is an every day thing.

Did you know that if we love the world or the things of the world then God’s love does not reside in us?

A sure way to tell a true Christian from a false one is if they are accepted by the world and if they love the things of the world.

What are the things of the world? Anything that the world esteems highly!

What does the world esteem highly?

John (1John 2) tells us that the things of the world are whatever your flesh or carnal nature lust after. Whatever your eyes lust after and whatever outside of God makes you feel prideful or you boast about.

So let me put this in modern terms. Whatever the world is running after, craving, pursuing, seeking for, desiring, addicted to, loving, and is their heart’s desire.

If you love those things too then you are not one of the Lord’s disciples. Sure you may believe in Jesus Christ but even the devil believes in God.

Remember that Jesus gave this warning.

Another way to tell a true Christian from a false one is how much they brag about themselves. How worthy they are. How blessed they are. How many special qualities they have. How wonderful their position in life is. How awesome their works are. How great life is treating them. Basically whatever is all about them.

Paul said that he boasted only in the Lord. He put no confidence in his own abilities. He boasted in being weak so that God could demonstrate HIS power through him.

Galatians 6:14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Jesus told us as recorded by Luke(14) that if we desire to follow Jesus Christ and become one of his disciples then we must take up our cross. That is we must be willing to suffer like he did.

How did Jesus Christ suffer?

He was misunderstood, persecuted, judged, bullied, hated, ridiculed, beaten, and even put to death.

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12

Remember Lot’s wife? She turned into a pillar of salt for looking back to what God judged as evil. In the Hebrew pillar is netsîyb which means a post or garrison.

God made Lot’s wife into a sign post. For all with eyes to see. A reminder to “don’t look back.”

John 15:18-25

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep your’s also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also.

Have the Same Mind!

1 Peter 4:1,2 tells Christians that just as Jesus Christ suffered for us in the flesh, we should also have the same mind, for whoever suffers in the flesh ceases to live a life according to the desires of the carnal nature. Those living in the Spirit live according to the will of God. 

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Romans 8:14

What does Peter mean by suffering in the flesh?

Suffering is experiencing discomfort and even pain. Peter is referring to suffering in the body or physical pain. The body is still in an unredeemed state and if allowed to will sin like the dickens! Peter is telling Christians that the body needs to be crucified or put down so that the life of Christ in our spirit can live for God according to God’s will.

Putting the body or carnal nature down (not allowing it to rule ) is not something we can do in our own power.

Romans 8:13 tells us that if we live according to the flesh or sin nature we will die. The flesh wants all kinds of things that can kill us. Junk food, addictions, entertainment, laziness and much more! The bible says that those who live in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:8)

Living for self is harmful. The desires of the flesh and the carnal mind will lead to spiritual dysfunction, physical ailments, and emotional sickness.

God gives us his remedy for putting down the flesh. He tells us that if we mortify or put to death the desires of the flesh by the Spirit that dwells in us then we will live or have an abundant life as promised by Jesus in the gospels.

Let’s take a look at the suffering of Jesus Christ according to Isaiah 53.

Peter tells us to have this same mind concerning suffering.

According to this prophecy Jesus Christ was despised.

To be despised means to not be valued. To be seen as worthless. Our flesh wants to be valued and praised and adored but sometimes in order to do God’s will we my have to be despised. Not everyone will like us and in fact they may even hate us. Preaching the gospel for another’s benefit or serving someone who does not like us may actually be bringing them a benefit. 

Our flesh does not like to suffer shame and humiliation but sometimes it is necessary in order to accomplish God’s will in certain situations.

Jesus Christ gave his life for his enemies. He loved those who did not love him back. Are we armed with this mindset?

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. John 15:18-20

Jesus was rejected because his values are not appreciated by some people. We may not be liked or valued or accepted ether by those who are not disciples of Jesus Christ. Are we armed with this mindset?

 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Luke 6:22

Jesus was afflicted. That means he had to endure pain, abuse, bullying and scoffing. Are we armed with this mindset?

How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. Jude 1:18

Jesus bore our sorrows, he endured shame, he bore our griefs, and he carried our burdens.

Galatians 6: 2 tells us to bear one another’s burdens. This means that when we are armed with the mindset of Jesus Christ, we come alongside another and help them carry their burden. Whether it’s in prayer, giving, ministering, helping, or serving. Even if it is not appreciated.

Paul tells us that we are to consider our sufferings in this world to be unworthy of the glory that will be revealed in us. Jesus suffered for us and as his children we are to have the same mindset.

Our flesh wants pleasure not suffering. We want recognition, respect and rewards for our good deeds, but Jesus tells us to love like he does, unconditionally. That means no strings.  

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Jesus bore sorrow, pain, and grief for our sake so that through his affliction he could bring us healing. Jesus was wounded so that through his stripes we could receive forgiveness, healing, and restoration.

Jesus endured the cross and the shame so that he could bring many out of darkness and make them his children. When we are armed with this mindset, we can endure our sufferings for the benefit of others.

Jesus Christ’s suffering brought us not only salvation but righteousness and justification. He suffered in patience and endurance because he knew what the outcome would be. Armed with Jesus Christ’s mindset we can patiently wait for a good outcome too.

No suffering in this life is pleasant scriptures tell us BUT it is working out for us a far greater work of glory.  

Think about that! When we patiently endure and pray then God will walk through our suffering with us. He will help us carry our burdens so that we can bear up under it.

The outcome of our suffering will come in God’s perfect timing. Just trust him for faithful is he who has promised.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you in your weakness to keep your flesh down so it doesn’t react to injustice.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. Psalm 34:19

The Battle is the Lord’s

In 2 Chronicles 20 an army of Moabites, Ammonites, Meunites and Edomites came out to make war with Jehoshaphat King of Israel. These nations were enemies of YHWY’s people. They served other gods or the demonic realm.  

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12   

Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast and began to seek the Lord for his help. He cried to the Lord in his distress. “If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.” 2 Chronicles 20:9

Then the Lord’s Holy Spirit gave a word to those seekers.  The LORD says this to you: ‘Don’t be afraid or worry about this large army, because the battle is not your battle. It is God’s battle!”

God gave instructions to the Israelites. Do not be afraid, go battle against them. You are not alone in this battle. Stand firm. Be still and see the Lord bring you deliverance. Then they thanked the Lord and worshipped him.

Then Jehoshaphat got up in the morning and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.”

In other words, believe that the Lord is with you in the battle, don’t be afraid, believe his word, and you will have the victory!    

By faith, the Israelites began to sing praise to the Lord as they went out to war. Praise is an important factor in spiritual warfare. Important to note is that they praised God because of his great mercy. When they did this the Lord set ambushments (a surprise attack by people lying in wait in a concealed position) against the enemy and they were defeated.

In Joshua 6, we see another battle take place where the Lord gives his directive.   

Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. Joshua 6:17,

The walls of Jericho were designed to be a defence or an evil stronghold. The Lord told Joshua that he had given the city into his hands. Jericho means a place of concealment. A stronghold where the enemy is hiding or sets up camp. In other words, the Lord will show us where the enemy is hiding. He will expose him and lead us by his Holy Spirit in bringing down the stronghold.  

Once the stronghold was revealed then the Lord said to Joshua that he would give him the victory. His directive was to march around Jericho seven times with the ark of the covenant and then shout the victory.

In military warfare an army marches because it builds confidence. In other words, it raises your level of faith. Marching is a training discipline for warfare. To march is to prepare, be ready, get positioned for battle.

On the seventh march the Israelites blew the trumpets. This was a signal of military strength. “We are coming in to take the land!”

Then Joshua told the army of Israelites to “shout for the Lord has given you the city!”

The military shout or battle cry is a direct confrontation to the enemy. We are coming to take you down!  Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. Zechariah 4:6

After the victory shout the walls of the city fell down. The Lord broke through and the city was taken.

In 2 Samuel 5:18,19, when the Philistines came against David in the valley of Rephaim, David sought the Lord. “Shall I go up to the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into mine hand? And the Lord said unto David, Go up: for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into thine hand.”

Again, we see that seeking the Lord is the first principle of spiritual warfare. Fasting usually accompanies it. Then David went to war after the Lord gave him instruction. The Lord gave him the victory! The Lord broke through for him!

To breakthrough is a military strategy. To move through or beyond an obstacle.

“A breakthrough occurs when an offensive force has broken or penetrated an opponent’s defensive line, and rapidly exploits the gap.” https://military.wikia.org/wiki/Breakthrough_(military)

Once there is a breakthrough then the gap can be widened to completely eradicate the enemy’s stronghold.  

 And David came to Baalperazim, and David smote them there, and said, The Lord hath broken forth upon mine enemies before me, as the breach of waters. Therefore, he called the name of that place Baalperazim. 2 Samuel 5:20

Our God is the God of the breakthrough! It is he who causes us to triumph through Jesus Christ the Lord!

Seek for the Lord’s strategy, have faith, trust, pray, declare the word of God, praise and stand and see the salvation of our God!

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The God of All Grace

Sometimes the trials of life can be so difficult we don’t know how we can possibly make it through, but the Lord never breaks a promise. He tells us that if we put our hope in him, we will never be disappointed. The God of all grace will comfort, strengthen, restore, and establish us after we have suffered for a while. In his kindness God has called us to share in his eternal glory by the mercies of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

The key to endurance in a trial is prayer. Through prayer the supply of the spirit is given. God gives us strength to hold on. To be patient and trust in him.

because I know that through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, my distress will turn out for my deliverance. Philippians 1:19

Through prayer we cling to Jesus and he will come through for us in our affliction.

And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak; for she was saying to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I will get well.” But Jesus turning and seeing her said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.” At once the woman was made well.”

Through prayer faith enters our heart. Faith is trust in God’s provision and deliverance.

“when you pray believe you receive,” Mark 11:24

Prayer will give us our miracle!

Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit. James 5:17-18

For with God nothing shall be impossible! James 5:17-18

After having done all the Bible says, we stand. Ephesian 6:13

Stand and see the salvation of our God! He is working all things together for our good! Romans 8:28

What seems grievous now is working a far greater eternal weight of glory! 2 Corinthians 4:17

In other words, the trial will lead to an eternal benefit!

The Lord always has our eternal life in mind. He sees what we do not see. He knows what we do not know. Sorrow lasts for only a night. Only a small fraction of time on this earth but joy comes in the morning!

Joy unspeakable and full of glory!

For the mountains shall depart And the hills be removed, But My kindness shall not depart from you, Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,” Says the LORD, who has mercy on you. Isaiah 54:10