Priorities

Priorities; what comes first in your life? No, don’t answer just think about how much TV you have watched this week? How much YOU time have you had this week? Did you spend time in the word? Doesn’t that sound passive spending time in the word. Did you at anytime in the past week open a bible and read God’s word? Did you just read it? Did you gloss over it or did you have to fight to stay awake reading it? If so are you counting this as your quality time with the Lord. During the Old Testament only the best livestock was acceptable for sacrifices’. Do we give the best of ourselves to the Lord or just what we have left? When was the last time you hungered for God’s word? When was the last time you looked forward to studying His Word?

​Yeah life isn’t easy, and it is that much harder if we are to be a Christ Follower. And why is that? Well we have to recognize that the world is so very contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ you could say backwards. Christ turned the status quo upside down. Have we let Christ turn us upside down, have we let him hold us there and shake everything that we hold onto right out of us? What sin or secrets are we keeping hidden? Not only does this keep healing from happening it destroys intimacy with Christ as well as with others. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Mathew 7: 21-23 Is it in anyway shape or form possible that God does not know us. He created us so of course he knows us, the very hairs on our head are numbered. What is being said is “You and I have never been intimate.” The word knew in greek is Ginosko which is better translated as intimacy. Are we being intimate with Christ? So are we letting God shake out all that we were, are we letting Him work in us. I say we’re because most of us listen to the world that says our past shapes us, we are a product of our environment. And that is all true without Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, but when Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior we have to look to Him to tell us who we are, we have to let Him shape us. Are you letting Him shape you?

​As Christians we are forgiven, we are saved. How have you responded to your salvation? The only proper response to our salvation is obedience. God so loved the world that he sent His Son to die for us. It’s by God’s Grace alone that we are saved. But why? So we will tell others what Christ has done for us, so we will spread the Gospel and bring Glory to God’s name. Sharing the Gospel and living in obedience is what others who do not know Christ see in us that they wonder about and causes them to seek themselves. When we do not respond in obedience we can do a lot more harm than good. When we do not live in obedience we are not being intimate with Christ. Now obedience does not mean perfect, we are sinners and we will continue to sin, but the Holy Spirit will convict us when we do sin. Our response should be to repent and ask for forgiveness from God and of those we sin against.

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Counter Cultural

Some of you recently watched the State of the Union address; to be honest I was not one of those people. They have become very predictable and not since President Bush’s axis of evil speech have there been any surprises. Our President’s do a great job during these speeches and that is expected, they have the best speech writers available to them and more than enough time to prepare.

The very first State of the Union speech was given by George Washington in 1790 and they have taken place every year since. The media certainly does attempt to build these events up but what do we remember if anything from these speeches. I can mention the one speech that President Bush gave because it was somewhat different from the others during my lifetime. Other people might mention President Johnson’s speech when he introduced the War on Poverty or when President Roosevelt proposed the Four Freedoms. And for those of you who are students of history you might mention President Monroe and the Monroe Doctrine which became the cornerstone of foreign policy for this country for a time.

The STU in my opinion is the political and cultural viewpoint of our President. At one time I might have said; the viewpoint of our country but our country is so divided in its views that it has in the very least become the President’s view and his supporter’s views. The STU speech seems to be more of a laundry list of things that need to happen in order for peace and harmony and fairness to be achieved.

In either case those of us who identify ourselves with Christ, have to ask ourselves what is the biblical view of our culture?

In spite of all the increases in technology, medicine, education and all the other areas we deem important, we have not changed from our own basic nature and if we haven’t fundamentally changed then it can be said that neither has society. Our confidence grows as a society mainly because of the increase in accomplishments. But this confidence or faith is not in the One that truly matters. It seems that what people would call progress, has had the effect of diminishing things like peace of mind and purpose in life. But what this progress has given us are new ways to indulge ourselves in sinful lifestyles, new ways to corrupt and destroy ourselves. Society is not spiraling out of control; it seems to me to have a pretty consistent downward spiral. This should not surprise us; the bible teaches us that things will get worse.

What do we base our actions and the actions of society against? The answer would boil down to morals no matter how we slice it. A problem that we have is, as a society our morals are what society deems right or wrong or what the law might say. Because of this our Morals change with what is normal or even what is acceptable in society. The fact is our morals should be based on the Ethics of God and His word.

I joked around with a friend of mine saying that we need to start our own commune. Which is exactly what some Christians try to do by isolating themselves from the world around them. I think most of us have attempted this at one time or another, and most of us have also found it doesn’t work. You may remove yourself and your children from the culture, or at least attempt to, but the culture will find you. Jesus prayed this for us: “I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one” (John 17:15).

The objective of believers is not to isolate, but to infiltrate; not to evade, but to invade. We are to impact our culture without being compromised by it. And what does God say about our culture?

We see unseen things (2 Cor. 4:18)
We conquer by yielding (Rom. 6:16-18)
We find rest under a yoke (Mt. 11:28-30)
We reign by serving (Mark 10:42-44)
We are made great by becoming little (Luke 9:48)
We are exalted by being humble (Mt. 23:12)
We become wise by being fools for Christ’s sake (1 Cor. 1:20, 21)
We are made free by becoming His bond servants (Rom. 6:10)
We are strong by being weak (2 Cor. 12:7-10)
We find victory by boasting in our infirmities (2 Cor.12:5)
And we live by dying (John 12:24-25; 2 Cor. 4:10-11)
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8)

Spiritual Warfare

We are involved with a wonderful ministry, Discovery Weekends, and right now we are going through a teaming process to prepare for the upcoming weekends. We are leading the perspective support teams for this ministry, women’s support team and men’s support team. There seems to be an over abundance of Spiritual Warfare happening in our lives and in the lives of those we are doing life with.

If you would like more information about this amazing ministry please visit their website at: http://www.discoveryweekends.org

Do you believe in Spiritual Warfare? Have you ever experienced it? I came across this devotional this morning and found it very fitting considering all the Spiritual Warfare that is happening right now. It’s from the devotional book by Rick Renner called: Sparkling Gems from the Greek.

He’s Still the Lord Of the Wind and the Waves!

And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full…. And He [Jesus] arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
— Mark 4:37,39

Anytime you are on the front lines of battle doing something significant for the Kingdom of God, the enemy’s attacks against your life will escalate. I’m not telling you this to scare you, but to mentally equip you. That way when the attacks come, you won’t be taken by surprise!

Being mentally prepared for a spiritual attack is very important. If you are familiar with the devil’s tactics, his assaults won’t take you off guard or by surprise when they intensify against you. You’ll be able to recognize and resist every demonic attack, rejoicing in the Lord because you know what’s happening.

Jesus came under this kind of intense attack when He was crossing the Sea of Galilee with His disciples on His way to cast a legion of demons out of the demoniac of Gadara. This demon-possessed man was an important weapon in Satan’s arsenal. Through the actions of the demoniac of Gadara, the devil had held the countryside hostage with fear for a very long time. The demoniac was so legendary that people throughout the entire coastland region knew of him.

The devil knew that if Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee that night and reached the other side, He would cast the demons out of that man. When that happened, Satan would lose the weapon he had long used to terrorize the whole countryside.

So as Jesus and His disciples crossed the Sea of Galilee that night, violent and destructive winds seemed to come from out of nowhere to capsize Jesus’ boat and drown Him and His disciples in the middle of the sea. Mark 4:37 says, “And there arose a great storm of wind….”

The phrase “there arose” is taken from the Greek word ginomai, which in this case describes something that happens unexpectedly or something that catches one off-guard. This plainly tells us that Jesus and His disciples did not expect bad weather that night. The Greek word ginomai emphatically means that this event completely took the disciples by surprise.

To let us know the size of this storm, Mark uses the Greek word mega, which denotes something of massive proportions. It is where we get the idea of mega-bills, mega-work, and megaphone. Because Mark uses the word mega, it alerts us to the fact that this was a mega-storm with mega-winds!

The word “wind” is the Greek word lalaipsi, which means this was a turbulent or terribly violent wind. This word can also be translated hurricane, cyclone, tempest, gale, windstorm, a furious tempest, or a fierce squall. Therefore, we know the storm that came against Jesus that night was no small breeze. It was a formidable, crushing, overpowering type of storm.

One very important fact must be pointed out: This was a windstorm. There is no mention of rain at all because this was a storm of wind. Jesus and His disciples could feel its effects as the wind blew against them and their boat. They could see the raging waves that were tossed to and fro by this violent wind. However, the windstorm that had come to overturn their boat in the middle of Sea of Galilee and to kill them before they reached the other side was invisible.

The Greek words in Mark 4:37 gives this idea:

“And suddenly and unexpectantly – as if it came from out of nowhere – there arose a gale of wind. It was a ferocious tempest with winds that were terribly violent, turbulent, and overpowering….”

Here was Jesus – on the brink of one of the greatest miracles of His ministry. At the same time, there was the devil, fearing that he was about to lose one of his most highly prized weapons of terrorism. It was at this exact moment that this violent, destructive turbulence came down upon Jesus and His disciples.

The occurrence of the storm at this exact moment was no accident. The devil didn’t want Jesus to reclaim one of his most prized captives. This was a preemptive strike of the devil to undo the work of God.

But that night in the midst of the storm, Jesus arose and took authority over the situation. The Bible says that when He exercised His authority over this unseen turbulence, “…the wind ceased, and there was a great calm” (Mark 4:39). In doing this, Jesus demonstrated that He was the Lord of the wind and the waves. This potentially deadly situation provided a great opportunity for the disciples to learn that Jesus Christ is truly Lord over all!

Rest assured – Satan will certainly try to attack you with unexpected turbulence from time to time. His attacks against you will probably escalate whenever you’re right on the edge of a breakthrough, as was the case with Jesus that night. But just as that event provided an opportunity for Jesus to demonstrate His power and authority, you need to see each demonic attack against you as an opportunity to rise up, take authority, and demonstrate who you are in Jesus Christ!

Mentally and spiritually prepare yourself to deal with the devil’s attacks. Put on the whole armor of God. Rise up and take authority in Jesus’ name over the wind and the waves that come against you and your family. Never forget that this is your golden opportunity to see a demonstration of God’s power in your life!

My Prayer for Today:

Lord, thank You for teaching me that Satan often attacks right when I’m on the verge of a major breakthrough. This knowledge helps me so much because it causes me to recognize that Satan loves to make all hell break loose in my life just before a big victory. Now that I know this, please help me keep this in mind when a turbulent wind blows into my life. Help me to look at that storm and say, “I know that the devil must be upset; otherwise, he wouldn’t be messing with me right now. I must be right on track with God!” With this understanding, I will keep pressing ahead, regardless of what I see, feel, or hear.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!

My Confession for Today:

I declare that every attack of the devil is my opportunity to see a demonstration of the power of God. What the devil meant for my harm, God will turn for my good. This is my opportunity to rise up, speak the name of Jesus, use my God-given authority, and declare to the spiritual realm that the Lord of lords whom I serve is by far the One with the most spiritual power!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!