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THE 8 TRAITS YOU NEED SO YOU CAN BEAT THE ENEMY IN LIFE

By on February 14, 2017

We all know the story of David and Goliath. The story in the Old Testament where a young shepherd boy kills a giant – using only a rock in a slingshot! But, did you ever think about what God is telling us through that true story? Did you ever wonder how it could possibly apply to YOU in modern days?

When you go into this story with the Spirit of God revealing His truths to you, you’re going to be blessed and supercharged in your faith. Plus, you’ll know just WHY it is that the enemy has been fighting you for so long and so hard. And, you’ll know how to handle him from now on.

In 1 Samuel 17, the Bible tells how the Philistines were coming against God’s people, Israel. Their leader was a big powerful, strong, brash loudmouth named Goliath. According to verses 4-6, Goliath was 13’4’’ tall and was well armored.

Instead of going directly to war with Israel, Goliath wanted to make a deal. Let one of God’s people come out and fight him singlehandedly. If the Israelite could beat Goliath, all the Philistines would be slaves for Israel. If Goliath beat the Israelite, then Israel would be slaves to the Philistines.

Every day for more than a month, Goliath would walk over towards the Israelites’ camp and strut back and forth, making fun of them. He’d be in his full armor, carrying a sword and a spear, and would call out to the terrified little puny Israelites, just daring one of them to come out and fight him! (Verse 9).

That’s just the way it is with Satan. He’s bigger than you, he comes every day, making fun of you, daring you to overcome him. Telling you that you might as well just give up and be his slave . . . without even a fight. He’s too strong for you to beat. He points out your weakness and your lack of power with God! He tells you it’s just a matter of time, so you might as well give up!

Day after day, the enemy of your soul comes out, ready for battle. He struts around, mouthing off, telling you he’ll crush you like a bug. And he won’t go away!

Even the strongest and most experienced of God’s people were scared of Goliath. In the churches today, even the strongest of God’s people seem have lost their authority and power. They speak well, and are great organizers. Like the generals in God’s army then, they get the people all set in battle array, but when the enemy comes and starts defying our God, they run in terror! Even the leaders have lost their power and ability to have victory over the devil! Almost every week, there is a news story about some Christian leader or another who has fallen into sin or hypocrisy.

Then, in verse 15, David, the teenaged shepherd came onto the scene. David wasn’t very impressive in the natural. He wasn’t well educated and wasn’t experienced in the ways of the professional armies and their leaders. He had no military or strategic training or experience. He was just a shepherd, whose father had asked him to take food to his brothers who were on the scene of the battle.

So, what are the eight traits that David possessed that enabled him to be used by God to destroy the giant that had come against him and God’s people?

First of all, David was able to be used by God because he had been “faithful in the small things,” like Jesus talks about in Luke 16:10. Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. He had been faithful in looking out for the wellbeing of his father’s sheep. Now he could be trusted with the wellbeing of God’s people.

Secondly, David was willing and obedient (Isaiah 1:19). God says, “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land…” When his father told him to go, David responded without delay. He didn’t lay down conditions and moan and gripe about it. He knew to do what his father commanded him to do. David was willing to do what his father asked him to do, and more importantly, he actually did it! A lot of Christians are neither willing nor obedient – and then they wonder why God isn’t blessing them like they want!

Third, David was spiritually minded. Ephesians 6:12 says, “We wrestle not with flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” In other words, David knew that the battle had to first be fought and won in the spirit realm!

Fourth, David knew that Goliath wasn’t just coming against God’s people – he was coming against God! In verse 26, David asked, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” Like when Saul, in the Book of Acts, Acts 9:4, was coming against God’s people, the resurrected Jesus appeared to him and said, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?” When the enemy comes against YOU, he is coming against Jesus! And Jesus takes it personally! That is your spiritual right to Holy Spirit protection!

Fifth. David was spiritually prepared. David had been obedient and faithful even when all he was given to do was watch sheep. He took his walk with God seriously, and didn’t wait until a crisis came to get close to Him. Many people miss it right here.

When things are going smoothly, they put the things of God on the back burner. Then when a problem comes, they suddenly start seeking God like it’s the end of the world! David knew that his strength, confidence and very life came from God. There is no “down time” in God! When things are going smoothly, or when it feels like nothing is happening, that is the time to be preparing for the next assignment from the Lord! David has used his time out there watching his father’s sheep to prepare himself for whatever God had prepared for him. In verse32, David could say, “Let no man’s heart fail because of the enemy. I will go and fight with him.”

Sixth, David openly testified about the power of God in his life. He had a history with God and made sure that people knew what God had done for him. Just like the saints in Revelation, David knew that you overcome the enemy by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony. Revelation 12:11 says. “They triumphed over the devil by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.”

You gain the victory over the traps that the enemy sets for you by first of all your legal right in the Kingdom of God, the fact the Jesus, called the Lamb of God, died on the cross for you. He spilled His blood for you. That is why you’re saved, forgiven, why you’re in the family of God, and that in itself, when you ACNOWLEDGE the blood of the Lamb in your life, overcomes the devil. It’s your ACKNOWLEDGING, what Jesus has done for you, your testimony, that drives the enemy away.

The devil wants to steal from you all the good that God has given you. Your family, your home, your health, your ministry in the Body of Christ, your love and even your faith. He especially wants to steal your faith, because that’s what you use to overcome the devil and his evil forces. 1 John 5:4 says, “This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.”

The devil also wants to destroy your testimony. If he can do that, he can wipe you out. Your testimony is the truth about what God has done in your life. It’s the facts of God’s power and faithfulness.

David gave his testimony to King Saul. In verses 34-36, “. . . David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock. I went out after him and smote him and delivered it out of his mouth. I killed both the lion and the bear. And this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.”

Seventh, David knew that God would fight for him. The battle is the Lord’s, not ours. He said in verse 37, “The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion and out of the paw of the bear, He will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.” You don’t have to fight your battles in your own strength. “The Lord is the strength of my life. I will not fear what man shall do to me (Psalm 27:1).”

Eighth, David acted boldly in faith. He approached Goliath and said in v. 45 – 47, “You come to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied . . . and all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.”

Then, David activated the Word of God he had hidden in his heart. He reached into his bag and pulled one of the five stones he had there and hurled it at the enemy! That Spirit-directed stone struck Goliath in the head and it sunk into his skull, dropping him on the spot! David came against the enemy in the strength and power of the Spirit of God! He assaulted the enemy in the authority of the Name! Man’s devices shall never be able to prevail against the Name of Jesus! No weapon that is formed against YOU, Christian, shall prosper!

No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the LORD (Isaiah 54:17, NKJV).
In Hebrew, weapon refers to anything that is used against a person. A weapon is anything that could be used against you for evil intent.
• If someone uses social media against you, it shall not prosper.
• If someone uses their position against you, it shall not prosper.
• If someone uses their money against you, it shall not prosper.
• If someone uses their friends against you, it shall not prosper.
The reason no weapon formed against you shall prosper is not because you are strong, mighty or powerful but because your God is. God says in Joshua 23:10, “One man of you puts to flight a thousand, since it is the LORD your God who fights for you, just as he promised you.” You couldn’t chase a thousand soldiers away, but God can—will chase away those enemy forces that come against you.
Not only will their weapons not be successful, neither will their words: “And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn.” Have you ever been a target for hateful people? Have you been held back on the job or made fun of at work because of your walk with God? Have you experienced ridicule in your workplace or home because of your loyalty to the Lord?
Romans 16:20 tells us that what the devil had planned for is, is what is going to happen to him! “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”

Goliath had boasted about what he was going to do to David. Instead of Goliath killing David, David killed Goliath, and chopped off the giant’s head with his own sword. “What you’ve planned for ME, devil, will be done unto YOU, for the glory of God!” “It’s a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you! 2 Thessalonians 1: 6 says that!

In the same way that David overcame the enemy by the power of God, YOU can overcome. God is no respecter of persons.

Maybe you feel defeated and downcast. But, even as you know the power of the enemy against you, you MUST acknowledge the greater power of GOD! If you love Him with all your heart, and come to Him in obedience, He’ll give you that same power from on high, and like David, what the devil planned for you shall be done unto HIM! Because “greater is He that is within you, then he that is in the world!

NOW YOU CAN BE FREE FOREVER FROM ANXIETY, BITTERNESS AND DEPRESSION

By on February 7, 2017

NOW YOU CAN BE FREE FOREVER FROM ANXIETY, BITTERNESS AND DEPRESSION God’s Simple Prescription for Your Mental and Emotional Health

Many things can upset us, if we let them. Many people DO let things of this life upset them. That’s why there are so many on antidepressants, sedatives and other psycho tropic drugs.

I need to tell you something: There’s not a pill in the world that can make you feel happy, while thinking upsetting, depressing, angry or other negative thoughts! On the other hand, there is no negative emotional state that can get a hold on you when you have a grip on, and practice just this ONE Bible verse:
“…Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just. Whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any praise, think on these things. – Philippians 4:8
You might not have ever given it much thought, think about THIS one: you and I have the ability to think about anything that we want. Anything! It’s one thing to have an ability and it’s something else to use it correctly.

It’s important WHAT you think about. Here’s why: the thoughts that you habitually think will eventually dictate and set the course of your life. The main thoughts that you think on will determine your feelings, choices and actions. They influence how you’ll feel and what you’ll do in any given circumstance. (The word, “influence” literally means in-flowing. Something that’s flowing in.)
THE THOUGHTS THAT YOU HOLD IN YOUR MIND DETERMINE WHAT FLOWS INTO YOUR SPIRIT MAN. YOUR EXPERIENCE OF THE WORLD IS LITERALLY SHAPED BY WHAT YOU THINK ON AND HOW YOU THINK.

Adam and Eve began to think that God didn’t really care about them and was trying to hold them back. That allowed the enemy’s thoughts to in-flow”, or influence them.

The Garden of Eden, instead of being paradise, began to be a place of limitation to them because of the thoughts that they were holding! All they could think about was what they COULDN’T do and couldn’t be and couldn’t have! And, that’s what led them to be bitter against God, taking their lives into their own hands.

Proverbs 23:7 says this about a person, “As he thinks in his heart, so is he.” This verse is literally true. It means that the main thoughts you hold will shape your life. You’ll become like what you think on habitually.

Since your main thoughts determine how you understand other people and things, they also interpret how you respond to these things. How you think, that’s the way you’ll be.

Change your thoughts and change your life. When your thinking lines up with the Word of God you’ll be seeing, thinking and interpreting in a way that will bring you the blessings of God on your life.

The Word is anointed with the Spirit of God, so that when your thoughts line up with it, you’ll attain happiness, holiness, more health, success and prosperity. God’s plan is for you to have a life of superior quality, or as Jesus said, abundant life.

How do we stay free from depression, anxiety and bitterness? Obey the Word. Think on these things ONLY:
Whatsoever things are Truthful; Things that line up with the Word. You can’t allow your thinking to be directed by how you feel, or by your emotions. Your emotions will misguide you-steer you wrong. They’ll lead you astray. That’s what Jonah 2:8 means what he says, “those that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.” When you listen to pay attention to take heed to how you FEEL, or feelings that get you to act contrary to the Word, you are literally exchanging or trading your deliverance for how you feel at the moment.

This is what it means in Ecclesiastes 2:14 when it says, “The wise man’s eyes are in his head…” His meditations, his thoughts aren’t on how he FEELS, but he’s looking at what he KNOWS to be true – God’s Word.

Paul prayed this same kind of thing for us. The Ephesians 1:18 prayer is that the EYES of your understanding would be open. As God’s thoughts, your ability to walk in wisdom will be increased.

A common cause of emotional problems and frustration is the habit of an idle mind. “Idle” means not occupied or unemployed…a mind just roaming around with disconnected or disorderly thoughts. Thoughts just racing and bringing all sorts of things to your mind. Prov. 19:15 – “The idle soul shall suffer hunger.”

You need to harness your mind, discipline it and MEDITATE on the Word night and day. Learn how to think on the things of God. To develop the ability to focus or concentrate. Even the ability to pray, to have a good prayer life depends on your ability to concentrate and stay in the presence of God.

Whatsoever things are just; Think on things that are fair. The enemy wants you to think of all the unfairness in your life. All the times that people have been unfair, or treated you unjustly. God says DON’T think on those things. He says think on all the times you HAVE been treated fairly, and all the people who DO treat you justly.

If you get into the rut of thinking on all the injustices in life, you’ll not only be disobeying God, you’ll heap miseries on yourself!
Whatsoever things are pure; If it doesn’t line up with the Word of God it isn’t pure. We can’t allow our hearts and spirits to become contaminated by thoughts and feelings that are delightful, harmonious to God’s Word.

Whatsoever things are of good report; You have to think positive, good things about yourself, other people and God’s dealings with you. Otherwise, you’ll grow bitter.

You can’t expect to feel on top of things if you’re thinking on bad reports and what’s NOT working out for you. We’re warned to be careful lest a root of bitterness spring up in us. It’s easy to look at someone else’s situation and feel like God hasn’t treated you fairly…that He’s cheated or withheld good things from you. The Word says “No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”

Whatsoever things are virtuous- “Virtue” in the Bible means “life-giving substance.” See Mark 5:30. Think on things that are full of life-giving substance; things that make you feel alive…things that PEP you up, supercharge you, give your life joy and meaning…That’s what you carry around in your heart. If it doesn’t have these things, discard it from your thinking. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

First Corinthians 10:5 tells us to be “casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

Releasing your faith brings good things into your life, and enables you to deal with your problems and challenges. Releasing fear, unbelief, or doubt attracts BAD things to you and squanders your abilities. It causes your situation to overwhelm you.

That problem will attach itself to you and keep you from seeing the solution. You have to cast down your unbelief! That means to uproot, call back those thoughts of bad things happening to you…so you can stop them dead in their tracks!

WHEN YOUR LIFE SEEMS TO BE DRY AND EMPTY…

By on January 31, 2017

Christians are always supposed to be “up” and “happy” all the time. It’s “politically incorrect” to admit to other believers that sometimes you feel bored and empty. Or that sometimes you lose interest in life. Especially at church. When we’re at church and people greet each other it’s usually something like, “Hi! Praise the Lord! How’s it going?” and the answer is a predictable variation of “I’m just praising God, thank the Lord!” but sometimes, just sometimes, we’re NOT “just praising the Lord.” We might not be in the depths of despair, or suicidal, but there ARE times when we just feel nothing.

When we’ve been dealing with fear, guilt, anxiety, stress, resentment and disappointment, we get a point where we just “turn off” and feel nothing. We’re not made to handle major loads of these kinds of emotional blockages. So, after a while, we get all clogged up spiritually.
When we’re blocked up on the inside, our praying doesn’t seem to really flow. We don’t sense the hand of God operating in our lives like we used to. Our normal ways of functioning emotionally, intellectually and even socially just don’t flow like they used to.

So we get all bogged down and feel empty, dry and dead. That’s when we want to just stop existing.

Sometimes the sense of being blocked up comes from sins that we’ve been committing, and trying to cover up. The pressure of living two different lives, coupled with the fear of exposure can choke a lot of the good that God has been doing in our lives.

Mental health professionals have been telling us for years that anger, bitterness, hatred, jealousy, envy, depression and other negative emotions can seriously block good health in our bodies. Any of these emotions affect our biochemistry, and dump harsh chemicals into our bloodstreams. If we keep experiencing the same negative emotions for a long period of time, they can do untold damage to our bodies. They stop up our ability to think and respond clearly.

One time, in the land of Gerar (in Book of Genesis), the land wasn’t producing crops like it should. It was good land. There was plenty of good seed around. But the land was hard and barren. Seeds that were planted just wouldn’t grow. So there was a famine in the land.

One reason for the famine was that there was a drought. The OTHER reason was this: The wells of the land had been stopped up with dirt. So nobody could get anything to grow.

Nobody that is, until Isaac, the son of Abraham came along. Years before, Abraham had dug a great number of wells in this same area. Enemies of his, the Philistines, came along later and clogged them all up with dirt. Most of the local people didn’t remember where the wells were. Others didn’t know there had ever been wells.

When Isaac got to Gerar, the Bible says that he sent out his servants to unstop the wells. Soon, the land around him was blossoming and producing like never before. The OUTSIDE circumstances hadn’t changed; it was still a drought. What had changed is what took place on the INSIDE; the wells of water beneath the earth had been unstopped.

That’s what WE need, when we’re feeling blocked up and barren: not so much rain from Heaven, but an idea from Heaven that will help us to unstop the well on the inside. There’s power at the bottom of the well.

The Bible gives us the greatest wisdom on earth for how to keep our personal well-being. It lets us know not just what is wrong with us, but also how to go about making things right.

When our “inner well” is stopped up, we experience the blah’s, the blues and the “bads.” Nothing seems right. Everything seems out of sorts.
To get your well unstopped, so you can be happy, healthy and vibrant once again, you’ll want to fill your spirit with the life-changing wisdom of the Bible. Get stopped up in the first place. That way we can be on I want to share with you some of the ways our wells get.

The alert and not let it happen to us. (In Book of James, it describes a well that is about half clogged with dirt: “Does the same fountain send forth at the same place both sweet water and bitter?) Since the mouth speaks out of the fullness of the heart (Mt 12:34 – 36), we know that if we let bitterness get in our hearts and stay there, it will surely stop our wells.

There are other ways too. You’ll want to avoid them. Then, I’ll be sharing some specific procedures for unstopping your well and keeping it flowing, so you can enjoy drinking “from a well that never runs dry.”

You’ll be fruitful as never before. Like Isaac in the land of Gerar, you’ll find that you’ll once again start prospering at what you put your hand to. People who have been coming against you will want to be your friends. Your walk with God will take on a new clarity and perspective.

USING YOUR BIBLE TO MAKE WISE DECISIONS

By on January 24, 2017

USING YOUR BIBLE TO MAKE WISE DECISIONS, GOOD FRIENDS & AVOID THE PAIN OF GOOFING UP YOUR LIFE.

You know, it’s all too easy to find yourself a stranger to happiness and fulfillment in life. You can be sincere, and totally mean well, but still find yourself let down instead of ecstatic. Jesus said that He came so we could have life and have it more abundantly. But for some reason, so many well-meaning Christians are nearly as empty and as disappointed as they were BEFORE they knew the Lord. According to statistics, divorce among Bible-believing Christians is nearly as high as it is for non-believers. So are the teenage pregnancy and v.d. rate. Child abuse statistics are IDENTICAL between Christians and non-Christian families. It’s not uncommon for Christians to be drug and alcohol dependent, either. Most of these problem areas are an “acting out” of internal frustrations and conflicts. So, where’s the abundant life?

When Jesus comes into our lives, our spirit gets saved, but our mind still needs to be renewed. So, we have years’ worth of the old patterns, thoughts and “stinking thinking” to have to contend with. Our SOUL can be in good shape, but our thinking can be backwards, counterproductive, self-sabotaging and incredibly painful.

And, if we lack the ability to see things as they REALLY are, we interpret things incorrectly. We call the shots wrong. That’s where we come to problems. The Bible says “Woe (that’s an old word for “problems”) to those who call evil good; and to those who call good evil.”
In other words, if we think something is right when it isn’t, we’ll DEFINITLY run into problems. And, if we come against something that COULD have been a solution, we’re likewise going to have problems.

The person who doesn’t know what’s REALLY going on will be a stranger to happiness. And to fulfillment. Not to mention never achieving long-term success at anything positive.

The reason for this is simple: If we aren’t seeing clearly, or are relying on false understanding, we’re going to make wrong decisions. And, we’ll never be able to be happy if we’re consistently making wrong decisions!

And, if our minds aren’t renewed to the truth, we’ll lack the ability to confidently know the difference between facts and myths; between what is true and what is just a popular idea; between what works and what DOESN’T work.

That’s why God gives us principles renewing our minds and our thinking. Using these principle from Heaven enables us to see things from Heaven’s viewpoint instead of from our own limited and earthly understanding of things.

See, our understanding of how things work directs our entire lives. We are affected by our understanding of how GOD works and deals with people; How other people work and how to get along with them; How our own minds and spirits work.

There are FIXED or PERMANENT laws that cover how things work. For example: God doesn’t run a disorganized, haphazard universe. He has rules and principles that cover every area of our lives on earth. He has set up rules in nature that are unshakable and unchanging. Whether a person BELIEVES in them or not doesn’t matter. The principles operate just the same.

You might not BELIEVE that consuming large quantities of “adult beverages” affects your driving skills. You might not believe that seatbelts save lives. You might not even believe that it’s dangerous to pass an eighteen-wheeler on a curvy two-lane road. But, no matter what you believe, the laws of nature will win out over your beliefs (as you find yourself soaring through the windshield, with a steering wheel affixed to your ribcage.
The most basic principle of God and nature is this: The Law of Cause and Effect. The law of sowing and reaping. The Law of Paybacks. We all try to delude ourselves at times that this law doesn’t apply to us, but, it will still break us before we can break it.

This is why there are so many people who are hurting and failing in their lives. It’s why there are drug and alcohol addicts. It’s why our prisons are full of hapless and misguided souls. It’s the reason that there are so many hypocrites in the churches.

It’s all because people have refused to believe that actions have consequences. This is the Number One area that the “god” of this world, satan blinds peoples’ minds. He gets them to not believe it. Then, he shafts them with the consequences! It’s crucial to our spiritual and natural well-being that we become able to realize the true consequences of our actions. There are no exceptions to the Sowing and Reaping principle. There will ALWAYS be a payback, and to delude ourselves to the contrary will only lead to disaster.

Another principle: God doesn’t pour out abundant rewards to ANYBODY just for being alive. He’s GOOD to everybody. He lets everybody breathe His air, eat His food and drink His water. He gives EVERYBODY the opportunity to CHOOSE how to live. And, He has set up the Law of Sowing and Reaping principle. There will ALWAYS be a payback, and to delude ourselves to the contrary will only lead to disaster.

But, MOST people, don’t want to face the reality that doing well at ANYTHING requires sacrafices and sowing of the seeds of excellence. So, when somebody else does well, we invariably like to think that the other person is “lucky” or just very, very smart.

We like to think that a lucky break came their way, or maybe they were just “chosen by God” to have satisfying and rewarding lives. So we just keep on doing like we’ve BEEN doing and HOPE that something great will happen in our lives.

This is EXACTLY what the enemy WANTS us to believe. Here’s why: 1) it’s the surest way to never grow, improve or do anything for God. We’ll spend our entire lives envying the “fortunate” ones while growing bitter against God – for not being as good to us as He is to others. 2) since our whole understanding of things is out of whack, we’ll continue to frustrate ourselves and those around us with harebrained schemes and plans that keep on falling through. We’ll spend our short little lives playing footsie with fantasies while opportunities to make a difference slip right through our fingers.

WHAT ABOUT THE 10 COMMANDMENTS? WHERE DO THEY FIT IN? WHAT GOOD ARE THEY NOWADAYS?

By on January 17, 2017

The Bible tells us that when Moses came down from the mountain with the 10 Commandments fresh from God, he heard something that made his blood boil. He heard the Israelites wanton partying and debauchery…and he threw down the tablets in exasperation and disgust. The people of Israel were having a rowdy, drunken orgy. So, Moses was the very first person to break the Ten Commandments.

Moses broke the 10 commandments out of exasperation, anger and disgust. He broke them for the opposite reason people break them today. Moses was exasperated, angry and disgusted because of the behavior of the children of Israel. People today break the 10 commandments because they want to act like the children of Israel.

It’s easy to think of the 10 commandments as binding, negative and stifling. It’s easy to think that God was just using them to show people how bad they are. But, when we understand them, we’ll discover that they are God’s 10 Principles of Empowerment and Freedom.

God put together a list of 10 principles that can enable us to enjoy our lives as well as stay free from the hassles and pressures that would otherwise mar our time on earth. God knew that, if we could just put into practice these 10 Principles, the enemy would never be able to wipe us out or wreck our lives.

First of all, you want to remember that these Israelites had been slaves for more than four hundred years. They had been enslaved, held back; had stinky lives and no hope. Then, God had set them free, so they could become everything He had designed for humans to become. Now, He’s wanting them to be able to STAY free so they COULD grow and move forward in life.

God never wants us to go backwards, into the same old ruts and the same old pains and failures. He knows that, unless we DO something, though, we WILL naturally backslide. Man is a natural backslider.

God knows how easily we’re gotten off track. Plus, He knows how we get discouraged easily. And, how the first thing that most of us do is get mad at HIM when we’re having problems. We tend to accuse Him of holding us back and of not wanting us to have any fun in life.

So, as a way of introduction, before even the very first commandment, He reminds us that HE is the one who sets us free from the forces that would enslave us. He reminds us that He’s already proven that He has our best interests at heart.

He says, “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the Land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” He’s saying, “ I KNOW how to break limitations off of people. I KNOW how to free people from the forces that would hold them back. I KNOW how to break bondages off people. I’ve already proven Myself to you. And YOU know it!”

Now, He gives us 10 principles for keeping free from the limitations, negative forces and bondages that will try to get a stranglehold on us again. He wants His people to be able to stay free not just from Egypt, but from ANYTHING that seems to offer freedom, but really will ultimately wipe us out.

That’s where He gives us the first commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.”

God has set HIS people free, and right off the bat wants us to know how to stay free from false gods and twisted religions that promise freedom, but ultimately enslave people and hold them back. Only the God of Heaven frees people and brings us to our full potential. All others hold people under and take away the joy of being alive.

Then he moves on to, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in Heaven above or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down to them, nor serve them.”

Sometimes people ask, “why are the commandments so negative?” “Thou shalt not…” The things that God says not to do are simply markers that mark off small areas that we want to stay away from if we want to stay free and keep on moving into the place that God has prepared for us in life.
He gives us a few areas to stay away from. We can go anywhere else in life that we want to.

It’s like, if you go to King’s Dominion and they have a sign telling you to not go into any of the doors marked “Employees Only.” You can go anywhere else in the park that you like. By telling us the few places NOT to go, we have a whole lot more freedom and potential for enjoyment.
God goes on to tell us that when we start cutting Him out of our lives, to follow other gods and religions, it will cause problems not only in OUR lives, but in the lives of our kids and even our grandchildren.

See, if WE try to break spiritual laws, and never figure out how to get a grip on our desires, habits, moods, and drives…we’ll never be able to teach our kids how to do any better. So, our kids will have to live under the burden of messed up parents as well as their own inadequacies. Think what kind of parents our kids will become, since they won’t know how control their emotions, desires or drives. Our grandchildren will have such messed up lives that it will be hard to comprehend how savage they will become. All because we didn’t want to think that God had our best interests at heart. (Do you think that this could be an explanation of why American society is in such a predicament?)

“Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vein.”
God’s talking here about more than just taking His name as a cuss word. You wouldn’t have caught the children of Israel using God’s name like that, or actually praying that God would burn other men and women in the fires of Hell. No way.

No, He’s dealing with something a lot more common: Using His name flippantly as just an exclamation. Or saying that God told us something when He said nothing of the kind.

When a person does this, he or she is showing a disbelief in a God who really listens to us. It lets us know that the person doing it doesn’t really take it seriously that God truly cares how we act or feel toward Him.

And, when we use His name casually or for our own purposes, it’s a sign of contempt not just for God, but for those who actually DO love Him and want to please Him and want to please Him. We can’t be loving God and our neighbor while using His name to manipulate other people!

Christians can be guilty of taking God’s name in vain in another way: When we do what we want to do, and then ask God to bless it – so it looks like it’s God’s will we’re concerned about. When all along, it’s really just doing whatever we feel like at the moment. This is the original sense of taking God’s Name in vain.

Some of the major things we do are based on the feeling that, if we go through the right motions and say the right things, then God will have to respond in a certain way.

God gives us the fourth principle of excelling in life by saying, “Remember the Sabbath say, to keep it holy.” This is the first positive command. One day a week to set aside a party for our God. A day to take off work, not to be doing the same things we do on the weekdays. It’s a day to spend enjoying the presence and fellowship of God. A weekly God party.

God says, “Take off work and let’s have a family day. A day of the Father with His children.”

We want to have a fun day. But we think that the way to have fun is by forgetting God, not by remembering Him. And, it’s our own fault for not knowing Him well enough to discover that He’s great fun to be with.

EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT “SUPER-SPIRITUAL”, YOU CAN USE THE POWER OF PRAYER…AND GET RESULTS!

By on January 3, 2017

I’ve had it! I think if I run across ONE more complicated book or cassette tape series on “How to Pray,” it’ll make me want to pray and ask God to get these people to stop making it so hard for us to pray! I’ve got books that tell you that you have to get up early in the morning to pray, if you really want God to listen to you. Another book says that you should also get on your knees – that’s the only way that’s really honoring to God. While one writer wants you to pray like Jesus did, that is, lifting your eyes towards Heaven, and talking out loud. Another well known teacher on prayer and faith says that the key is that the first sentence of your prayer should always be something like “Father, I come to you in the Name of Jesus and through the blood of Jesus.” Then, there’s the tape series that teaches that the REAL way to effective prayer is to end each prayer with “In the Name of Christ Jesus.” (Instead of Jesus Christ)

Like you, I want to know that God is listening when I pray. That’s why I bought so many books and tapes on prayer and having an effective devotional life. In fact, one evening, I was reading a book on how to pray better, and it dawned on me: I had been so busy reading BOOKS on prayer, that I hadn’t been doing any real praying!

Prayer isn’t meant to be hard work. It isn’t something that you should have to get in a certain physical position, or something you should have to do in a special room or place.

Prayer also isn’t just for “spiritual” problems and situations. Prayer is for business problems. It’s also for school problems. And social problems as well as household problems. And financial problems. Prayer is for any and every problem that you and I face.

Another area we can miss out is that we can think that we should only pray about “important” things. That God doesn’t really want to be involved with the “unimportant” things in our lives. If something’s important enough to need YOUR attention, it’s important enough to get God’s attention.
I’ve noticed one thing in common in all of the people I’ve met who have particularly satisfying prayer lives. They all talk to God like He’s a close friend, and is right there with them. They talk to Him like they would a neighbor, or a business associate or an old and close friend. (I heard it said that a lot of Christians when in church talk to God like He’s right there in the building with them…and He’s hard of hearing!)
No, we don’t have to shout, or use a “spiritual” sounding voice or special vocabulary…

When a problem comes up, we can just simply talk it over directly with God, no matter WHERE we are. We can talk to Him in the car, as we walk, do the dishes or study. He’s always with us and ready to help us. (That’s why it’s absurd to talk about prayer being banned in the public schools…that’s impossible! God’s at school every day, and my kids talk to Him there!)

They just talk to Him about the everyday questions that come up and they need help with. If we do that, it doesn’t take long for us to be able to continually sense the presence of God with us. It’s what the old monk called “practicing the presence of God.”

Just like when asking a friend for advice, when you ask the Lord, you need to be quiet and give Him a chance to answer. You don’t have to pray a long or complex prayer for guidance. Just a simple, “What should I do next, God?” is enough – as long as you get quiet afterwards so He can impress on your mind what the best thing is for you to do. Sometimes I just say, “Lord, I need an idea…quick!” and then I wait quietly, and one comes within a matter of seconds.

It’s not any harder than that, really. It’s a matter of asking, believing and receiving. Sometimes, you might want to keep a little notebook to write down the insights that come to you. I find this helps tremendously.

When you get an insight or direction from the Lord, what do you do next? First, you want to compare it to what you can find in the Bible. God will never give you insight or ideas that don’t go along with what He’s given us in the Bible.

A second reason for this is that more often than not, what you get from talking with God will get you started along a particular line of thought on the Bible. Then, when you find the Bible verses or story that goes along with the thoughts that God gave you, it will give you even more complete understanding and direction.

A third reason is that it IS possible for us to “miss” God. To think we’re hearing from Him when we’re not. Or to think it’s just us, when it’s Him. Using your Bible can help you to tune in better to what He’s saying to you and can help you to recognize His voice more accurately.
After talking it over with God, hearing an answer and checking your Bible, you want to begin to “see” it as it will be when God’s answer has been acted on. If it’s a situation that you’ve been praying about, you want to begin to use your faith to see the situation as already done.
Keep meditating and thinking on the situation as being in God’s hands. Keep reminding yourself that He’s working on it and will keep on working on your behalf. Meanwhile, you want to keep doing YOUR part.

See, we have to do what only WE can do, and then God will do what only HE can do.

Keep thinking on God’s answer, rather than your problem. As you keep counting the situation as being taken care of by God, and doing your best to work with Him and be led by Him, things will start changing fast.

Keep applying God’s power to your situation as you follow the guidance He gives you. It’s sensational the ways that God will work things together to bring the answer to pass in your life.

For example: You’re almost sure you’re going to lose your job. You don’t feel very confident in your abilities and you know there are going to be layoffs.

So, first you pray and ask God for guidance and direction. Then you read the Word, and you discover that there are several passages that let you know it’s God’s will for you to work and make a living. Also there are verses that say that He wants you to have enough to be able to give to the poor.

So, you commit your job situation to Him and begin to hold a “faith picture” of yourself continuing to work and continuing to be paid well. Picture yourself giving money to those with needs. See yourself paying off your bills…early!

Now that God is in charge of managing your career, you want to keep that idea in your head and heart. Know that He NEVER will let you down. Let His power in your life keep you confident.

On the job, be as energetic and as positive as a person SHOULD be who has God managing their life…Plus, go out of your way to talk to people and also skim the Want ads. A person with God working in their career will have LOTS of opportunities.

Should an attractive position open up through the Want ads, apply for it. If they want to hire you, it gives you leverage on your current job. If not, you haven’t lost anything. Being currently employed gives you an edge with prospective employers. Being in demand by other employers gives you an edge with your current employers.

The fact that you’re “changing” your entire job situation with the power of prayer and the guidance of the spirit of God will make a very real difference in every encounter you make. Believe me, this stuff works!

HOW TO STOP WORRYING AND FRUSTRATING YOURSELF…

By on December 29, 2016

If I could tell you how to cut your worrying, frustration and anguish in half, would you be interested? What if you would be able to not only cut out most of your worries, but would in it’s place find a super abundance of energy? Would that catch your interest? What if, ON TOP of being able to wipe out worry and anguish, and having more energy to do what you wanted, you could discover how to find MORE ENJOYMENT in your life? If that gets your attention, you’ll thrill to what you’ll get.

We all know people who make life harder than it needs to be, because they worry…they fume…they get depressed. Nothing seem to please them. Nothing’s ever good enough for them…They whine. And fuss. And cry. And are full of the woes and problems. (You probably have heard PREACHERS like that, too!)

One thing I dislike more than being around someone who’s upset, worrying and frustrated is this: I hate to BE the person who’s worrying, upset and frustrated!

Did you know that the Bible has some powerful keys to cutting your problems in half? If it didn’t, I would probably have an ulcer by now. As it is, I rarely find myself upset. Or worried. Or frustrated. And, it’s all because of discovering and using a handful of Bible principles.

In the Bible, there’s a story that illustrates perfectly what I mean. One time when David and his army were out fighting a battle, ANOTHER enemy attacked David’s hometown. This enemy kidnapped the wives and children of David and his men. They stole all the valuables in town. Then, to make matters worse, they burned the whole town down to the ground.

When David and his troops returned, can you imagine how heartbroken they were? Their homes and everything they owned had been destroyed or stolen! Their wives and sons and daughters, their entire families had been kidnapped, and who knows what would happen to their loved ones?

Well, David and the people who were with him cried until they couldn’t cry anymore. Then, to make it worse the people with David turned on him! They blamed him for leading them in a battle, and leaving their town unguarded. Some of them were so upset, they tried to stir up the rest of the people to stone David – they wanted to kill him!

Can you imagine how you would feel if YOU lost everything you owned AND your family had been kidnapped? (As well as the families of most of your neighbors.) then, what if the few friends you had left decided to blame YOU for their problems…and wanted to murder you? How would you deal with it? After you cried until you could cry no more, THEN what would you do?

You probably have never been in the exact same situation that David was in that day. But I bet you’ve hurt almost as bad. I bet you’ve been almost as worried as David was. And, I bet you’ve probably been as scared as he was that day. What did David do? Did God come down and encourage David? NO!

First of all, the Bible is very clear that David DIDN’T wait for God to take away his sorrows. He didn’t even ask God to make him feel better. The Bible says that, “David encouraged HIMSELF in the Lord his God.”

Do you get the impact of that? David DIDN’T wait for God to encourage him and make him feel better. He encouraged HIMSELF in the Lord his God.”
Some people spend years trying to cope with hurts, pains, grievances and disappointments. Some turn to drugs, alcohol and tranquilizers. Others go from church to church, from crusade, from retreat to retreat, hoping God will do something to dull their pain.

And, all along, God is waiting for THEM to do something! Isn’t that something? We’re waiting for GOD to do something and He’s waiting for US to do something!

One of the first things we learn in the Bible about our feelings, worries and frustrations is that they DON’T come from other people, other things or the events that happen to us. They come from INSIDE of us. That’s what the Bible teaches.

Seriously! The problem ISN’T that our kid (or our boss, or teacher, spouse or friend) ISN’T BEHAVING THE WAY WE WANT THEM.

So, we FIRST have to take care of our OWN feelings, so we’ll be free to deal with how the other person’s behavior. That’s why the Bible says the things it does about managing our emotions.

For example, in Psalm 37:1, it says, “Fret not thyself…” Notice, it tells US not to “fret” our SELVES because of how other people behave. THEY don’t make us fret. WE do. (We’ll talk about it in detail)

Or, in John 14:1, where Jesus says, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” See where tells US not to let our hearts be troubled? It’s something that WE do or don’t do.

I want to share with you some terrific tips and techniques from the Bible for stopping the worry, frustration and anger habits. In the story of David we started out with, there are some clues as to how David was able to go from being afraid, worried and frustrated to being able to rise up, pursue his enemy and even beat his enemy…and getting back EVERY thing and every one who had been taken!

We’ll explore together some of the empowering words in the Bible that will help you to beat the deadly habits or worry, anguish and frustration. I say “deadly” because these negative emotions produce toxic poisons in our bodies and create emotional illness.

When we are upset about our lives, our families, the problems our nation faces and world conditions, it drains us of our energy and leaves us fatigued. If we watch the news everyday, and listen to the complaints and problems of those around us all week, and then go to a church where we hear sermons about how awful everything is in our country, is it any wonder that we feel drained and tired?

I believe that church is a place to worship God, to praise Him, to get our batteries recharged, to get filled with hope, faith and power! It should be like Jesus said to His disciples in Mark 16:31, “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place and rest awhile.” The House of God is the place where we get revitalized and filled with joy. Otherwise, like Jesus said, the cares of this life will choke the Word in our hearts and make the Word unfruitful.

Some of the things you can do NOW to break the power of worry and anguish in your life are:
-make a specific practice of thinking peaceful and empowering thoughts several times each day. I try to program it into my day at various interludes. Like with each cup of coffee. And after each time I’m on the phone. When I’m driving, I practice peaceful and empowering thoughts whenever I’m at a traffic light.

-create a 15 minute “mini-vacation” at least once every day. Absolutely stop all activity and literally do nothing, but sit and be peaceful. It won’t just happen by itself. You need to literally “grab” the time by the throat and take it. And then, just do nothing, but be calm, peaceful and serene.

-once you’re calm and quieted on the inside, read a passage or two from the Book of Psalms (in the center of your Bible). After reading from the Psalms, have a you some helpful and positive verses that will help you get started.

After David “encouraged himself in the Lord,” he was able to hear God. When he heard from God, he knew what to do next. His faith level rose. And he got the energy to DO SOMETHING about his situation instead of just worrying and being frustrated and discouraged. I’ll explain more about HOW to do this.

Principles of Wisdom from the 3 Wise Men

By on December 20, 2016

Matthew 2:1-9

1 – After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem

2 – and asked, Where is the One Who has been born King of the Jews? We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.

3 – When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.

4 – When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born.

5 – In Bethlehem in Judea, they replied, For this is what the prophet has written:

6 – ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a Ruler Who will be the Shepherd of My people Israel.’

7 – Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.

8 – He sent them to Bethlehem and said, Go and make a careful search for the Child. As soon as you find Him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship Him.

9 – After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the East went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.

10 – When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.

11 – On coming to the house, they saw the child with His mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.

What are some things we can learn about being wise and about God through this passage?

1. VISION – Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” First of all, you need to have vision. A vision is a goal; an inspiration, a motivation to ACT and DO something that will direct and affect your future in the will of God. The wise men had vision.

2. They saw the star that God was using to speak to them and they ACTED on what He was showing them. It’s not enough to have vision, even godly vision. If you have vision, but don’t act on it, that vision will never come to pass in your life. The Bible says that faith without works is dead. The wise men ACTED on that vision. They DID something that demonstrated their FAITH.

3. TIMING. There is a time for planting and a time for harvesting. If you miss your time of planting, you’ll miss your time of harvesting. These men were wise, and responsive to the leading of God as He was showing them it was the right time to move. If they had come sooner, they wouldn’t have found Jesus. The vision would not have come to pass, even though they had acted on it. You have to not only have vision, and you have to not only ACT on it, but you have to act on it at the right time. God has MANY BLESSINGS that people miss because they put it off, they procrastinate; they miss their time of planting.

Look, listen and sense the hand of God, the power of God and the leading of God, and be sensitive to His timing. Too many people live “woulda been, coulda been” lives.

4. CREDIBILITY; A track record of doing things right. YOU need to to do things right, to establish credibility; to have a reputation for wisdom. Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”

Their wisdom and reputation opened doors for them. They had a name for being wise, and they acted in wisdom, and God moved to bring them to not only WHERE they needed to be, but He directed them into the PRESENCE of who they needed to speak to. That is why you and I need to develop a reputation for walking in wisdom, of being dependable, of being honest, trustworthy and godly.

God says in Proverbs 4:7, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” God will open doors for you. When the wise men came to Jerusalem looking for the One Who had been born King of the Jews, they had no trouble getting inside the palace of the King! Not only that, the doors were open for them to immediately meet with the king himself. God tells us in Proverbs 22:29 that being diligent, or working hard and wisely will elevate us in life. He says, “See a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before low and insignificant men.”

5. RESTRAINT IN SPEECH. They didn’t speak ALL that they knew. Use wisdom in what you say and in what you talk about! It is not wisdom to share everything you know with everyone. They didn’t tell Herod all that they knew about Jesus. If they had, Herod would have killed Jesus. And they could have said, “but we were just being honest! God says in Proverbs 29:11, “A fool utters all his mind: but a wise man keeps it in till afterwards.” God said in Ecclesiastes 3:7, that there is .. “a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.” They knew some things that were TRUE, and that God had made known to them, but they did not feel compelled to talk about it. That is a mark of wisdom!

6. PREPARATION. I want to tell you that there is NEVER “down time” in the Lord. He tells us to be “redeeming the time, making the most of your time, because the days are evil,” in Ephesians 5:16. A lot of Christians miss out on God’s best because they have not learned how to VALUE their time. They think there is time that doesn’t count, doesn’t matter and can be wasted. Those times are times that God has GIVEN you for PREPARATION. Are you PREPARING for your next step in the Lord?

These wise men PREPARED and that made it possible for them to GO wherever God lead them. The wise men knew that they had to be WILLING to go wherever God sends them, whenever He sends them. They had to KNOW it was God, and not just their own desires, or feelings.

When you KNOW it’s God, you’ll be able to make the journey, no matter what the price is, or how inconvenient it is. A lot of people think it’s unspiritual to plan, to prepare, to discipline themselves for what God is calling them to prepare for. It takes WISDOM from God to understand that He is wanting you to PREPARE for what He has for you.

These men didn’t leave their homes unprepared for the journey. They had the provisions they needed, the plans they needed and the principles they needed to be able to complete what they had started. They had enough money, and had made enough time, and when they got to their destination, they presented the newborn King with very expensive gifts; the gold, the frankincense and myrrh. They had INVESTED in the ministry that God had called them to. Whatever He calls you to will require investment on your end. There is always a PRICE to pay for walking with the Lord and fulfilling His calling on your life.

7. WORSHIP. As much as we think of these men as being men of wisdom, preparation and action, they were men who were WORSHIPERS. God wants you to be a WORSHIPER. The first priority is to worship the Lord. Before they settled in or conducted any other business in Bethlehem, their priority was to get to the place of worship. A lot of Believers lose out because they don’t value the importance of getting into the place of worship, and offering worship with the other Believers. That was their purpose in the whole journey, to obediently worship Jesus! So they found the place of worship, and then they brought their gifts to Him!

8. BE A GIVER. God put it in their hearts what they needed to give. That is also a sign of wisdom, to seek God in your giving. VALUABLE, it COST them a LOT of money. And they were obedient. That is part of their wisdom. To listen to God in their giving and then be obedient. God still speaks to people to give very specific things, for a very specific purpose in the Kingdom of God. What would a baby need with gold, frankincense and myrrh? It didn’t matter! It is what God told them to give, and they gave it!

9. FLEXIBILITY is another mark of being wise. They had their own plans all set as to when they would be arriving and when they would return home. They even had their route all planned. But God warned them to change their course, and they did! That is wisdom!

Many times, we get it in our heads that we are going to do something, and we will do it no matter what! That isn’t wisdom; that is stubbornness and pride, and inflexibility. “I always go to the theme park on the third weekend in March so that is when I am going! But God sends a thunderstorm and high winds, and you decide to go anyway! That isn’t wisdom – that is folly!

10. HAVING A LISTENING HEART. Wisdom knows that God can and will speak through more than one means. He speaks through the Bible. He speaks by His Spirit. He speaks through Godly men and women who are doing well in the area that we need more wisdom in. He speaks through circumstances. Like I said earlier, you may FEEL like keeping your plans to go to the theme park, but the thunderstorms and high winds are God trying to get your attention and make you more flexible! When God makes His will clear, we need to listen and pay attention to Him. Otherwise He may stop speaking to us, if we refuse to take His council.

God’s ways are higher than our ways. He says that in Isaiah 55:9: “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

We might be well trained and highly educated or we may be proud of our street smarts, but God has higher ways and thoughts. These magi were wise and knew more than most people! That is why we refer to them as the three WISE men. They came from what is now Iran and were noted for their knowledge of religious documents, healing arts, and astronomy. They were the brainiacs of their time.

They were the experts on the law, and on justice. Our word Magistrate comes from the word magi. These men were the scientists, mathematicians, doctors and legal authorities of their culture. They had a working knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures and prophecies regarding the coming Messiah. They would have been familiar with passages like Numbers 24:17 which says, “…a star shall come forth from Jacob, and a scepter shall rise from Israel.” They would have known that their own journey was prophesied in Isaiah 60:3 where it said, “Nations will come to your light and KINGS to the brightness of Your dawn.” They were ready, they prepared and when the Messiah’s star appeared, they saw it and understood its meaning.

God is looking for worshippers and will bring them from wherever He needs to! He is bringing people here to worship Him and even now is preparing people who are right now far away to come here and to worship Him here!

In Matthew 2:11 it says that the Magi bowed down and worshiped Jesus as soon as they saw Him. They told Herod that the purpose of their long journey was to worship the new King. God cherishes worshippers and will lead them, guide them and provide for them, no matter where He has to bring them in from!

God expects us to follow His leading and guiding. God’s invitation was for them to come and be among the first to worship Jesus, His only Son. It’s interesting that the wise men were NOT lead by some sort of inner feeling, but by an amazingly bright star in the East. Something that was beyond their abilities and outside of their control or influence, and it was the leading of God. Many times, God leads us by the things that are beyond our control or influence! That way we KNOW it is God and not ourselves!

Some people talk about it as though it was a star up in the sky that “just happened” to show up at that time. But, I believe that this special light was God’s Shekinah glory, a manifestation of the glory of God, because it led them to travel in the right direction, which a star could do, but it also directed them to the very house where Christ was living as a toddler with Mary and Joseph. Stars don’t shine that precisely!

The Star was a manifestation of the Glory of God to them, just like the Pillar of Fire by night and the Cloud of Glory by day had led the Israelites. The Star was the presence of the Holy Spirit manifesting Himself, like the tongues of fire over the heads of the hundred and twenty in the Upper Room on the day of Pentecost, that hovered ahead and above the three wise men and guided them to Jesus Christ.

Wisdom is not in a hurry, but it is right on time. The wise men did not get there for the weekend of Jesus’ birth. It was about two years later, and Mary and Joseph already had left the stable and were living in a house with their young son, according to verse 11. That is why when Herod asked when they had seen the star, he slaughtered all the boys two years and under. It took them about two years to make this journey, and it was right on time. Always be sensitive that God’s timing is not our timing!

God always has a blessing waiting for us at the end of our journey when we follow His leading and guiding. God reveals Himself to all those who are looking for Him. People who aren’t hungry for Him miss the blessing. God never forces Himself on anyone. But He WILL reveal Himself to all who hunger and thirst after Him! Anyone who seeks Jesus, will find Him.
I think of God’s promise in Deuteronomy 4:29 where He said, “If you seek Me with all your heart, you will find Me.” If we truly want to know Jesus, and if we seek for Him, we will find Him. We are seeking Him, and He is seeking you. Jesus said in Luke 19:10 that He came to earth “…to SEEK and to save that which was lost.” God isn’t lost, WE are lost in life. The Bible says that all of us, like sheep have gone astray. And the glorious news of Christmas is that Jesus -the Good Shepherd- has come to bring us back to God. All we have to do is call on Him and He will come to us.

The wise men showed their wisdom by responding to God’s leading. This is a good time to be wise like that. Where is God leading you today? Perhaps you are a Christian and feel God leading you to join this church or to a deeper walk with Him? Maybe you have a lot of bible knowledge but you haven’t been acting on it. You haven’t been serving Him in your daily life.
Maybe you’ve been raised in a Christian home but are not following Jesus as your Savior and Lord. God is guiding you as He did those wise men to worship Jesus as Your new King! You can’t really celebrate Christmas until you decide to accept God’s gift of salvation through His Son. The truest form of worship is when we decide to make Jesus the Lord and King of our lives.

HOW TO GET PEOPLE TO LIKE YOU…

By on December 13, 2016

HOW TO GET PEOPLE TO LIKE YOU…USING THE SAME BIBLE PRINCIPLES THAT JESUS USED.
BY STEVE DAVIS

The Bible calls it “having Favor.” Jesus had it. So did the virgin Mary. Abraham had it. Moses had it. So did Joseph, Ruth, Esther, David and a slew of other people in the Bible. You can have it, too. This week, you’ll get at least the basics of what it means to have Favor. You’ll understand how it can make your life more pleasant and a whole lot easier. You’ll learn at least 2 ways to get Favor operating in your life.
Since the Bible talks so much about Favor, and since so many of my heroes in the Bible were people who enjoyed having Favor, I thought I’d do well to find out just what “Favor” is and how to go about getting it.

So, the first thing I did was to get out of my dictionary. I looked up “Favor”. According to the dictionary says: it’s “something helpful…; the condition of being looked up with liking or approval…; special treatment prompted by friendliness, liking or approval…; to increase the chances of success.

That’s something that ALL of us want, isn’t it? We all want people to like us and treat us well. We all want our chances of success to be increased; none of us wants to fail at what we do. And the Bible tells us that Favor is something that every major character had. That’s what enabled them to do as much as they did in such a short time. It’s what enabled them to help and influence so many people. It’s what enabled them to accomplish what normally would seem impossible. It added “go power” to their faith and undertakings.

Even if we sometimes say we don’t care whether we’re liked or not, the truth is that we really DO want to be liked, cared for and appreciated by other people. And by God.

We’ve all known people who were not well liked, and who wanted desperately to be popular. And, sad as it is, popularity avoided them. Then, there are other people who just seem to be well liked, highly regarded and sought after.

That’s what we mean by having Favor: To be held in esteem; to be well thought of; to have the affection of friends and colleagues; to have people WANT to be around us and to wish us well.

The God who made us knows that few things are as depressing as to feel unwanted and unneeded. It’s devastating to feel alone and isolated. There are few miseries that can equal a sense of aloneness. One of the most dreaded ways of punishing someone is to put them into solitary confinement.
In the book of Genesis in the Bible, we read about a teenager named Joseph. He was talented and smart. Be he was almost totally lacking people skills. In fact, his brothers got to where they just couldn’t stand to have him around…so they threw him a pit and sold him to some slave traders.

During the next few years, Joseph worked for the most powerful man in the country. One day, when the boss was out of town, the bigwig’s wife wanted to have an affair with him. When he turned her down, she accused him of trying to come on to her and had him arrested.

When Joseph landed in jail, the Bible says that God gave Joseph Favor. Before long, he was put in charge of everything in the prison. Favor kept working in Joseph’s life. It enabled him to get out of jail. Then, as an ex-con, to soar to the highest civilization post in the whole nation!
Other Bible heroes experienced similar meteoric rises from poverty and obscurity to positions of influence and power. And the Bible says that each one did it by operating in “Favor” with the other people in their realm of influence.

The Bible tells us that God is willing to GIVE us “FAVOR”. Even Jesus used “Favor” to operate His ministry. The Bible, when describing Jesus as a young man, says that, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52)
This means that Jesus didn’t just naturally HAVE Favor. It was something that He had to grow in. there were specific formulas and procedures that He had to follow. If we follow these same procedures faithfully, they will make you and me into the kinds of people whom other people like and want to be around.

And, boy did people like to be around Jesus. They hung around Him day and night! They loved being around Him day and night. They loved being around Him so much, that the Bible tells how some people wanted to get closer and couldn’t because of the crowds. One tax gatherer had to climb a tree to see Jesus, because the crowds were so thick around him. Another man, who needed a touch from Jesus had his friends let him down through the roof of the house where Jesus was visiting; so many people were trying to see Jesus that it was the only way the man could get in!

Jesus used the very same procedures to gain Favor that the other men and women in the Bible used. That’s why the religious people were so jealous of Him: He was more well-liked and sought after than they were. That’s it! They said so themselves!

And, like I said before, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Ruth, Esther, David, Daniel and others all knew how to operate in divine Favor. It’s the power tool they used to be able to help and influence thousands of people…Yet these heroes usually began life in humble and disadvantage circumstances.
Even if you’re normally shy and not very outgoing, with Favor, you’ll be able to enjoy satisfying and close personal relationships with other people. You CAN become someone who enjoys easy and pleasing friendships with high quality people.

Here’s what you can experience when you start operating in Favor:
 You’ll attract and win many, many true friends.
 Your enemies will be at peace with you…some of them will even become new and close friends with you.
 People will respect and admire you – holding you in high regard.
 People will WANT you to notice them and like them…so much so that they will want to do you Favors, cooperate with you or just don’t WANT to.

Sure, there will still be a rare few people who just make up their minds to not like you. But you can be sure that they’ll be VERY few. A very few stubborn, obstinate and unreasonable people…ones who either won’t bother to get to know you or just don’t want to.
But, with divine favor, you’ll be gaining so many true and loyal and QUALITY friends that those who choose to NOT like you will be aware that it’s exactly that: their CHOICE.

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