A Prayer for a Holy Pause this Christmas
By Julie Gillies
“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” (Psalm 46:10 NLT)
Every year, my precious Gram assured me, Christmas arrived faster and faster. At eight years of age, I looked up into her baby blue eyes and my eager heart could scarcely fathom her point. All kids knew Christmas took forever to arrive. We waited eons before it finally showed up.
Fast forward many years, and I seriously understand what she meant. The year zooms by at warp speed. First comes New Year’s Day. Five minutes later it’s Valentine’s Day, followed immediately by Good Friday and Easter. A week and a half later, I am sweeping up firecracker and sparkler debris from my driveway, and bam! It’s Thanksgiving.
And then it’s Christmas time. Again.
I hardly have time to catch my breath, let alone purchase gifts, find cute wrapping paper, and Christmas-tize my house. Or spend time with the One it’s all about.
If, like me, you’d love for life to slow down, particularly as the holiday season begins to ramp up, it’s important to understand that we can choose to still our hearts. It may not be easy, but if we desire the authentic, heart transforming experience of Christ’s presence in the midst of the Christmas crazy, we can choose a holy pause.
A holy pause is the opportunity to step out of the madness, the demands, and the haste of the season, and into His presence. It’s the decision to shut ourselves away from the endless noise and commotion and quietly engage our hearts with His. It’s the chance to trade His stillness for our rushing, His peace for our panic, and His joy for our irritability.
Life doesn’t stand still, but we can.
God desires for us to honor Him by spending the expensive currency of our time, even in the busyness of the season. To engage in the difficult but oh-so rewarding discipline of quieting our minds, bowing our hearts, and pausing before Him. It’s then that we can begin to experience the beauty of His awesome, all-sufficient presence.
What if we allowed our hearts to marvel at His unfathomable journey from eternity into an unassuming, most unroyal manger? What if we pondered the miracle of His birth and the reason behind it? What if we asked Him to fill our hearts to overflowing with the reality of the priceless gift of His presence?
Lord, I bow my heart before You and honor You. Help me to choose not one but many holy pauses this holiday season. Please nudge me by Your Spirit and remind me to step away from the Christmas crazy and get alone with you. In Jesus’s awesome name, Amen.
Verse of the Day
Thoughts on Today’s Verse…
I love the fact that I do each day what everyone will one day do: bow before the majesty and proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ to honor the Father’s glory. How wonderful it is to be able to make that proclamation because of grace rather than in fear at the end of a life that has been spent in what is rebellion, denial, and waste.
Father, I do praise you for the truth about Jesus that will one day be realized fully by everyone who has ever lived. May my life display that truth in the way I treat people today. May my lips suitably proclaim that truth so others can know Jesus as Lord today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
BIBLE STUDY BUDDY
Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-13…
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10. but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Remembering To Forget…
When people hurt us and then apologize, we may say that we forgive them. But like a dog that won’t give up its bone, we may let our mind continue to chew on past insults.
In 1 Corinthians 13:5, Paul declared that love ”thinks no evil.” He was using an accountant’s term that described the recording of figures in a book. Love does the opposite- it does not keep a record of wrongs. Instead, love forgives and refuses to keep it on the books.
If you want to remember something, you go over it again and again. The child reviews his spelling words; the actress rehearses her lines; you review people’s names that you want to remember. But love deliberately and consciously lets go of past hurts and gives them to God.
It was said of one religious leader, ”He never forgot slights done to him, which was his fundamental weakness. He might bury the hatchet for a time, but he gave the impression of always marking the spot.”
In contrast, when Methodist minister William Sangster was addressing Christmas cards, a friend noticed one name and remarked, ”Don’t you remember how he slighted you?” Sangster responded, ”Oh yes, I remember, but I have remembered to forget.” Let’s follow his example.
Ministries with Adrian Rogers
Friday, December 8, 2017
Does The Devil Make You Sin?
A little boy called his little sister a bad name. Then he hit her with a broomstick and spit on her. The mother said to the naughty child, “You shouldn’t have done that.” And the little boy said, “The devil made me call her a bad name. The devil made me hit her with a broomstick. But spitting on her was my idea.”
I think we would be surprised how much of our sin is our idea. It comes from that old Adamic nature that has a predisposition to sin. Galatians 5:17 says, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
Paul is saying that you and I have an inclination to do evil. So many times, we want to say the devil made us sin. The devil can’t make us sin. If the devil could make us sin, we would have a perfect alibi. Sin is an inside job; it comes from our flesh. The devil helps you to sin; tempts you to sin; encourages you to sin.
I’ve got news for you, if there were no devil, you would go on sinning. You would do it all by yourself.
|Show Your Joy to the World
“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me.” Psalm 13:5-6 (NIV)
When you think of the phrase, “Christmas is coming!” … what sort of emotion does it evoke?
It might be any one of these:
Panic: I only have three more Saturdays of shopping before Christmas. I’m never going to get it all done!
Frustration: Ugh. There are so many activities this month. We are going to be running all over the place with very little time to just be together as a family at home, enjoying each other’s company.
Regret: Why did I say we’d host the family get-together? Now I have to straighten and scrub this place from top to bottom AND make the dessert I signed up to provide, as if I didn’t already have enough to do this month.
Envy: I noticed on Facebook the gorgeous holiday decorations my co-worker has in her home. They look like they are straight from an HGTV Christmas special. Our place looks like we bought ours from the clearance bin at the local secondhand store.
So many sentiments can invade our hearts and minds. But these emotions don’t stay there.
Often, they weasel their way into our behavior. We appear distracted when talking with a friend. Our frustration morphs into hurry as we frantically try to get it all done. Our regret makes us a grumpy and ungracious hostess. Our envy leads to ungratefulness and can prevent us from experiencing the joy that should come from the whole reason for the celebration of Christmas in the first place.
Are these the attitudes we want on display during the month of December? Or should we choose the attitude reflected in the old familiar hymn, Joy to the World?
The emotion that ought to be deeply experienced during the Christmas season — and, in turn, displayed in our behavior — should be joy. Today’s key verse states, “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me. ”
This verse declares that our reaction to the salvation God freely offers — which began when Jesus came into the world as a baby that very first Christmas — should be that rejoicing.
In this Old Testament verse, the word translated for rejoice actually means “to exult, to go about or to be excited to levity.” What a stark contrast to the emotions we usually display during the yuletide season!
But what if we tried to take our roller coaster of emotions to God, asking Him to replace them with joy instead? If we choose to consciously thank God for the indescribable gift of salvation through Jesus, perhaps we could learn to recapture the joy of Christmas. And not just to feel it in our hearts, but to go about during the season, excited to the point of levity, exulting God in the process.
The word exult means “to leap for joy,” and it’s usually connected with a triumph of some kind. Through Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection, He triumphed over death. We need not fear the future because of the miracle of Christmas. If we have responded to the gospel — the good news about Jesus offering us salvation — we too can experience a victory over the grave and dwell with God forever in heaven someday. What a reason to rejoice!
Today, let’s chase down some Christmas cheer. But not just keep it to ourselves. Parking our minds on the truth of salvation through Jesus helps us show joy to the world during the Christmas season. A spotless house and homemade fruitcake are optional.
Father, may my mind dwell this season on the incredible gift of salvation through Jesus that is the source of all joy in this life and the life to come. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 89:15-16, “Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, LORD. They rejoice in your name all day long; they celebrate your righteousness.” (NIV)
Put on as the elect of God, kindness (Colossians 3:12).
There is a story of an old man who carried a little can of oil with him everywhere he went, and if he passed through a door that squeaked, he poured a little oil on the hinges. If a gate was hard to open, he oiled the latch. And thus he passed through life lubricating all hard places and making it easier for those who came after him. People called him eccentric, queer, and cranky; but the old man went steadily on refilling his can of oil when it became empty, and oiled the hard places he found.
There are many lives that creak and grate harshly as they live day by day. Nothing goes right with them. They need lubricating with the oil of gladness, gentleness, or thoughtfulness.
Have you your own can of oil with you? Be ready with your oil of helpfulness in the early morning to the one nearest you. It may lubricate the whole day for him. The oil, of good cheer to the downhearted one–Oh, how much it may mean! The word of courage to the despairing. Speak it. Our lives touch others but once, perhaps, on the road of life; and then, mayhap, our ways diverge, never to meet again.
The oil of kindness has worn the sharp, hard edges off of many a sin-hardened life and left it soft and pliable and ready for the redeeming grace of the Saviour. A word spoken pleasantly is a large spot of sunshine on a sad heart. Therefore, “Give others the sunshine, tell Jesus the rest.”
We cannot know the grief
That men may borrow;
We cannot see the souls
Storm-swept by sorrow;
But love can shine upon the way
Let us be kind.
Upon the wheel of pain so many weary lives are broken,
We live in vain who give no tender token.
Let us be kind.
“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love” (Romans 12:10).
Key #4 to Effective Prayer – Consistent with God’s Will
By Janet Conley
In order for your prayers to be effective, they need to be in line with God’s Word and will. That is the fourth key to effective prayer.
This means you must have knowledge of God’s Word. In John 15:7, Jesus says,
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”
If you abide in God and His words abide in you, your desires will line up with His will. How important it is for us to know the Word of God!
As Hebrews 4 reminds us, the Word of God is living and active and powerful. It is spirit; it is life. It’s not just pages on a piece of paper. And as you are in the Word of God, I believe the Holy Spirit will paint heaven‘s pictures, heaven’s thoughts, and heaven’s ideas on the canvas of your heart and your mind.
As you read the Word of God, you will have confidence in your prayers because you will have God’s heart. And when you have God’s heart, He is going to answer your prayers because that is what He desires.
I also want to point you to 1 John 5:14 which says,
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
His will, of course, is His Word. So if you ask anything according to His Word, He will hear you. And if you know that He hears whatever you ask, you know you have the petitions you have asked of Him.
This means you and I need to know what the Bible says so that our prayers will be answered. Effective prayers are those that are in line with God’s Word and will.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings.–EPH. i. 3.
As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing.–2 COR. vi. 10.
It is not happiness I seek,
Its name I hardly dare to speak;
It is not made for man or earth,
And Heaven alone can give it birth.
There is a something sweet and pure,
Through life, through death it may endure;
With steady foot I onward press,
And long to win that Blessedness.
LOUISA J. HALL.
The elements of _happiness_ in this present life no man can command, even if he could command himself, for they depend on the action of many wills, on the purity of many hearts, and by the highest law of God the holiest must ever bear the sins and sorrows of the rest; but over the blessedness of his own spirit circumstance need have no control; God has therein given an unlimited power to the means of preservation, of grace and growth, at every man’s command.
J. H. THOM.
There is in man a higher than love of happiness: he can do without happiness, and instead thereof find blessedness!
Are you serving the real Jesus or a Western version made in your own image? That’s quite a compelling question, isn’t it? It’s kind of like asking how much of Christ is in your Christianity. Take Christmas, as an example. I think many of us would agree that Christmas has become so commercialized that Christ is hardly noticed, much less celebrated and revered. Easter would be in the same category. How in the world a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ could have ever evolved into an affinity with Easter bunnies and Easter eggs, I’ll never know. Such is the tenuous nature of idolatry.
Is it possible for Jesus Christ to be lost in Christianity, the very religion whose name it bears and professes? We know that without a relationship with Christ, just another religion is all that remains. We also know from Scripture that someone can profess to know Christ but in works actually deny Him (Titus 1:16). But isn’t it also true that in works many may profess to know Him, but in authentic heart-knowledge, they do not?
Here’s a quick contrast:
The biblical Jesus warns us of sin, judgment and hell, but the Americanized Jesus never says anything negative.
The biblical Jesus gives you salvation, hope, peace and joy, but the Americanized Jesus gives you happiness, wealth and sentimental feelings.
The biblical Jesus brings division when necessary, but the Americanized Jesus promotes unity and tolerance at all costs.
Would you agree that Jesus was perfect in all His ways? Yet His perfect love made some people angry. It brought a strange kind of trauma into their lives. His words disturbed and unsettled many and even caused riots. That’s because His love was a holy love. And holiness always repels the carnal mind and makes people hostile. Jesus was perfect in love, and yet they killed Him for it. Such is the spirit that’s in the world and in religion. Holiness always provokes hatred and makes proud people mad while ministering life and a heavenly fragrance to the humble.
The Aroma of Christ
I’ve been around persecuted Christians and have received much from their spirits. When you are around someone who suffers, an aroma of Christ pervades the very atmosphere. The Western church must cultivate this holy quality, but it can’t be done until we understand meekness, brokenness and suffering—all qualities of the real Jesus, the Lamb of God. Sentimental love, so common in Western nations, rooted in the fear of man, will never possess those qualities. Listen to the words of Watchmen Nee describe the breaking of the alabaster box by the woman who anointed Jesus for burial (John 12:1-8).
The breaking of the alabaster box and the anointing of the Lord filled the house with the sweetest odor. Everyone could smell it. Whenever you meet someone who has really suffered—been limited, gone through things for the Lord, been imprisoned, and is satisfied with the Lord and nothing else—immediately you sense the fragrance. There is the savor of the Lord. Something has been crushed. Something has been broken. And there is a resulting odor of sweetness.”
Jesus, the Express Image of God and the Brightness of the Father’s Glory
Many other people only know God as a Creator and a Judge. They have a crooked perspective of Him and see Him as a sort of policeman or traffic cop, who only springs into action when they are caught in a wrongdoing. Without the Lord Jesus coming into our world as God Incarnate, living among us, and revealing the deepest profundity of the fatherly heart of God, this is the conclusion many mere humans will formulate of Him. This perception of God does not draw me close. It does not pull on my heartstrings. It does not stir up any faith and praise or desire to know Him. This demeaning view of God is not enough. Unless we come to know Him as a loving Father, we will have a crippling walk with God and be at a grave disadvantage in relation to Him. We will never function aright until we see Him aright.
This is the God Jesus reflected. This is the loving Father He came to reveal to us. This is the real Jesus.
These are some highlights and key excerpts from my latest book, The Real Jesus.
Bert M. Farias, revivalist and founder of Holy Fire Ministries, has authored several books with an emphasis on helping to restore the true spirit of Christianity in the Church today, including the newly released, Passing on The Move of God to The Next Generation and the highly sacred book, The Journal Of A Journey To His Holiness. An anointing of fire marks his ministry with frequent demonstrations of the Spirit and power of God. He ministers interdenominationally and cross-culturally in nations, churches, conferences, on the streets and in homes. He and his wife Carolyn also host The Holy Ghost Forum – a school of the Spirit. Follow him at Bert Farias and Holy Fire Ministries on Facebook and @Bertfarias1 on Twitter.
The Message and the Messenger: In Sync with the Heartbeat of God
[The following is an excerpt from A Walk Thru the Book of Jonah: Experiencing God’s Relentless Grace a small group study guide from Walk Thru the Bible and Baker Books. © 2009 by Walk Thru the Bible]
Long ago, one king wrote a message to send to the ruler of an offensive enemy kingdom. He sealed the message and gave it to one of his trusted couriers, who immediately began the dangerous ten-day journey to deliver it. Along the way, however, the messenger, who had long hoped his king would finally have the nerve to declare war on the enemy, became overwhelmed with curiosity and decided to unseal the letter. When he read it, he was stunned. Instead of the declaration of war he expected, it was a proposal for peace. He felt betrayed and even ashamed to deliver such an embarrassing token of weakness. He and his people would become a laughing stock, simply because an old king didn’t have a backbone. After much thought, he decided to act in the best interests of the kingdom. He would bury the letter and return home with a well-crafted lie.
His plan was interrupted, however, when a group of scouts from the enemy kingdom discovered him burying the missive. They seized him—and the letter—and carried both back to their ruler’s palace. Surprisingly the message delighted the rival king, and a peace treaty was soon forged. And with the kingdoms now being on friendly terms, the messenger was released unharmed. But he remained bitterly disappointed, disillusioned, and reluctant to call anyplace his home.
This is the basic story of Jonah, the prophet who fled God’s call to preach repentance to an enemy city. It’s recast in a different setting without the assumptions we normally read into Jonah’s story in order to focus on an important question: Who owns the message—the messenger or the author? Jonah obviously felt a certain right to refuse to deliver the message he was called to preach, even though it was never his message to begin with. He didn’t approve of it and wanted no part in it. His own King was essentially issuing an invitation to make peace with Israel’s dreaded enemy—the same enemy that had periodically wreaked havoc on Israel’s borders and committed crimes against its people. This didn’t seem at all like the God he thought he knew.
Most preachers are elated when people respond to their message. But Jonah wasn’t like most preachers, and the people he addressed were not like any he had ever preached to. Assyrians were not, and would never be, friends of Israel. He had lived his entire life in a culture that bred animosity against its hostile enemies—and not without reason. Israel had experienced Assyria’s raids in the past. The prophet’s righteous indignation was hard to reconcile with the mercy of God.
Jonah’s indignation was not much different than that of another prophet. Habakkuk relentlessly questioned God over the seeming injustice of punishing his own people by using a far more corrupt nation: Babylon. But the similarities between the two prophets ended when God explained his intentions to each. Habakkuk praised God for his righteousness, even though he didn’t completely understand it. Jonah was eaten up with bitterness—so much so that he asked God to take his life.
How did God respond? By giving Jonah an object lesson in a helpful vine he hadn’t asked for. As the prophet fumed over the repentant city and this travesty of justice, God gave him extra shade to shelter him from the sun. The next morning, a worm ate away at the vine and caused it to wither, and a scorching wind beat against Jonah. This stirred up further anger, but God had made his point. The “man of God”—a frequent designation for a prophet—valued his own immediate comfort much more than he valued thousands of enemy lives. His ethnocentric focus had blinded him to the heart of his Lord.
Contrary to what we might expect, Jonah was the most effective prophet in the Bible. He ran from God, and sailors were converted. He went reluctantly to Nineveh with a five-word sermon (in Hebrew), and an evil city repented. He bitterly pouted over a withered vine, and the compassion of God was revealed in a prophetic book to a chosen but apostate nation. The irony is that Isaiah and Jeremiah spilled their lives out with many words over unhearing, unrepentant people and would have rejoiced to see even a hint of fruitfulness. Jonah saw fruitfulness in spite of himself, and he hated it.
Even then, God’s compassion toward his prophet was relentless. He didn’t disown his disgruntled servant. He patiently and persistently absorbed Jonah’s anger, heard his questions, and even answered them. He did with Jonah what he had already done with Nineveh. He revealed his heart.
In fact, that’s how the book concludes. “Should I not be concerned about that great city?” the Lord asks. It’s a rhetorical question that leaves readers with a decision to make. Are we in sync with our creator’s desires? Can we get on board with the big picture of his purposes? Will we align our hearts with the missionary heart of God?
Those are questions we all have to ask. God cares about our personal issues and desires, but he also has a bigger picture in front of him. When we focus intensely on our personal issues and give relatively little thought to that bigger picture, we tend to end up a lot like Jonah—out of sync with God and resentful that he is blessing others more than we think he is blessing us. It’s a distorted picture, but that’s what introspection often does; it distorts our perspective. It causes us to miss the heart of God.
God calls us to bring our hearts into alignment with his—to lift our eyes above our own agenda, to have his compassion, and to seek his agenda. When we do that, we find ourselves part of an enormous plan that will bring joy to both him and to us. We find a fruitfulness we wouldn’t otherwise experience. We share God’s heartbeat in deeper and deeper ways.
Adapted from A Walk Thru the Book of Jonah: Experiencing God’s Relentless Grace, a small group study guide from Walk Thru the Bible and Baker Books. This small group study and others can be found at www.walkthruguides.org.
From Good Morning, Lord by Sheila Walsh
Today I will keep praying about the matter that you seem to be saying “no” to . . . because “Be with me” is more important than “Why?”
I’m sure it’s a mystery you’ve bumped up against more often than you would have liked. I’m talking about the great mystery and challenge of living with unanswered prayer when we know that God is both all-loving and all-powerful. After all, if God were just loving, then when our prayers went unanswered, we’d make peace with it by telling ourselves that if he were powerful, he would have intervened. Or if God were powerful but not loving, we would not be surprised that he didn’t respond to our pain. But God loves us with a passion that exceeds our understanding, and he is powerful enough to intervene in any situation, at any moment, and change our circumstances. Sometimes he does do that, but more often he does not.
Jesus Christ himself lived through his Father saying “no.” Remember Gethsemane? I reject with everything that is in me the argument that Jesus, fully God and fully man, knew the great joy and victory ahead and so didn’t mind knowing he would soon die an excruciatingly painful death on the cross. Jesus was fully man, and he suffered as a man would (although without sinning). He knew that his Father would not deliver him in this situation. But Jesus knew that even when God was telling him no, God was still with him. You and I learn that, too, when we keep praying despite God’s no. And as we keep praying, we move beyond “Why?” to “Be with me, Lord.” Confronting God with our why becomes being with God in our need.
©Good Morning Lord 2010 by Sheila Walsh
Living a Positive Legacy
And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. – >2 Timothy 2:2
Did you know the Nobel Peace Prize is named after Alfred Nobel, the Swedish industrialist who invented dynamite? How did this come to be?
When Alfred’s brother died, a newspaper mistook him for Alfred. It printed his obituary with the headline, “The Merchant of Death Is Dead,” describing Alfred as a man who made his fortune helping people kill one another.
He was cut to the heart and vowed to change his legacy. When Alfred really died eight years later, he left $9 million to fund awards for people whose work benefited humanity–thus, the birth of Nobel Peace Prizes.
Alfred Nobel was given a rare gift: the opportunity to read his own obituary, and make changes before it was too late. What might you do if given the same opportunity?
“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else. – Booker T. Washington (1856-1915)
The Daily Word of Hope Devotional
Bible Fun Fact: Noah was also used for a girls name (Joshua 17:3).
The Garment of Praise
to provide for those who mourn in Zion, to give to them a garland for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of Yahweh, that he may be glorified. Isaiah 61:3 WEB
Have you ever felt so down, so lethargic, that you begin to ask yourself, ‘What is the point of it all?’ There are many things in this verse but the one that I want to mention today is the ‘spirit of heaviness’, better known by its bona fide name: ‘Depression.’
It can settle on anyone given the right circumstances and none of us are immune to it. We all like to think that we have it together, but really we are just one phone call away from crying at any given moment.
Once when we were overworked and nearly burned out, we went to an exhilarating praise and worship conference that lasted for three days. After the first night, I began to feel lighter, and brighter. Each hour that we spent there seemed to bring renewal, a refreshing of our spirit, like standing under a waterfall.
When I had arrived, I was pretty down and cynical, but afterwards, I was as light as a feather and cheerful. By the time I left the conference, I felt like I was walking on air and didn’t have a care in the world. I would not have cared if the world were ending. That time soaking in praise and worship brought immediate change in our life. We had exchanged the spirit of heaviness for the garment of praise.
Praise and depression are polar opposites and repel each other. If you are down, depressed, heavy, you will not feel like praising the Lord. If you are praising the Lord, then you will not feel like being depressed. If you are feeling ‘heavy’ today, find some good praise and worship music and soak in it for an hour. Listen to it while working. Begin to praise the Lord along with it, and that spirit of heaviness will flee out of hearing range.
Prayer: Heavenly Father I praise You today, please deliver me from the spirit of heaviness. Fill my life with Your presence, bring the right people, the right music, and the right opportunities into my life, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray.
Note: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
“But we must keep going in the direction that we are now headed.” Philippians 3:16 CEV
Thoughts for Today
This week we’ve looked at the importance of acknowledging any life-controlling problem in your life, admitting it to God and to yourself, asking him for forgiveness and help, accepting responsibility, sharing your struggle with a friend and preparing to move on. Then begins the process of walking out the changes–to keep going in the direction that you are now headed.
These changes may involve steps like stopping the use of alcohol or drugs or pornography, ending an unhealthy relationship, reordering priorities, becoming accountable to a support group, and going to church regularly. The negative behavior caused by your problem may have destroyed your self-esteem. You might still be dealing with anger, fear and shame.
Consider this …
As you begin to walk out the changes in your life and to see yourself as God’s special creation, it is vital that you walk in agreement with God. Agreement that he has forgiven you. Agreement that he will give you the strength you need. Agreement that he created you for a positive purpose and will help you accomplish that purpose. Agreement that you will submit to him and put him first in all you do. Agreement that he loves you and will be with you through every trial, through every circumstance, through every difficult step–and that with his help, you can do it. “Christ gives me the strength to face anything.” (Philippians 4:13)
Father, thank you for helping me get turned around. Help me keep going in the right direction. Thank you for the promise that you will give me the strength to face anything. In Jesus’ name …
Jentezen Franklin: The Biblical Significance of Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital
On Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, there was a significant spiritual shift in the universe as the US President Donald Trump reaffirmed and formally declared that the U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This is the first and most necessary step toward another major milestone, moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
While it has been the practice of some to insist on international determination over this topic, it is Israel’s right to decide the location of her capital as was spiritually declared by King David and then legally documented in 1950 when the Israeli Knesset passed the Jerusalem Law, and declared Jerusalem to be the eternal, undivided capital of the state of Israel. Declaring Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital would not itself mark a change in American law. In 1995, Democrat President Bill Clinton signed a statute declaring, “Since 1950, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the state of Israel.”
Naming the city of Jerusalem the capital of Israel is not just a political right of Israel, it is also of great theological importance to Christians world-wide, and certainly to the churches I pastor. Christianity begins in Jerusalem serving as the context for Jesus’ life and earthly ministry. Jerusalem is the city where Jesus was crucified on a cross, laid in a tomb, rose from the grave and showed Himself to many others over a 40-day period. It is the city where many believe Abraham brought Isaac up Mt. Moriah and passed God’s test of faith and the city where King Solomon built the magnificent temple, declaring it a house of prayer for all nations. It is also the city Isaiah envisioned as the world’s center where the nations would beat their swords into plowshares and learn war no more. It is the city where Jesus wept.
The significance of Jerusalem to Christians, however, cannot be separated from the significance of Jerusalem to the Jewish people. Their history is our history. We are intertwined through our Old Testament Scriptures and spiritual legacy. Their biblical examples are our biblical examples and we share this heritage in Jerusalem as our spiritual capital while Israel also legally proclaims it as her national capital. Their national history has become our spiritual history.
We pray for the peace of Jerusalem, as Scripture implores us to do, and we trust her peace and prosperity, not to man-made institutions and international efforts, but to the God of all Peace, and to the greatest Jew to have ever lived, Jesus Christ.
There is a strong possibility that many in our congregations will have seen this story as breaking news and be left to themselves to try to understand what it means to the evangelical church. Below is a brief, easy to understand fact sheet that you can use to help your congregation understand the significance of this major announcement.
Naming Jerusalem the Capital of Israel Fact Sheet:
- The history of Israel dates back to Genesis and the story of Abram who would become Abraham.
- Abraham was promised a land by God (the promised land), and that land was Canaan and would later become Israel (Genesis 12—fulfilled when descendant Joshua takes the land in Joshua 6 when the walls come down).
- David declared Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel (City of David- 2 Sam. 5).
- Political Significance:
- Legally documented in 1950, the Jerusalem Law was passed by the Israel Knesset, declaring Jerusalem to be the eternal, undivided capital of the state of Israel.
- In 1995, Democrat President Bill Clinton signed a statute stating, “Since 1950, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the state of Israel.”
- Christianity begins in Jerusalem serving as the context for Jesus’ life and earthly ministry
- The city where Jesus was crucified on a cross
- The city where He was laid in a tomb
- The city where He rose from the grave
- The city where He showed Himself to many others over a forty-day period
- The city where many believe Abraham brought Isaac up Mt. Moriah and passed God’s test of faith
- The city where King Solomon built the magnificent Temple, declaring it a house of prayer for all nations
- The city Isaiah envisioned as the world’s center where the nations would beat their swords into plowshares, and learn war no more
- The city where Jesus wept
Shared Significance with Orthodox Jews:
- The significance of Jerusalem to Christians cannot be separated from the significance of Jerusalem to the Jewish people
- Their history is our history
- We are intertwined through our Old Testament scriptures and spiritual legacy. Their biblical examples are our biblical examples and we share this heritage in Jerusalem as our spiritual capital while Israel also legally proclaims it as her national capital. Their national history has become our spiritual history
Naming the city of Jerusalem the capital of Israel is not just a political right of Israel, it is the right of all nations. It is also of great theological importance to Christians world-wide, and certainly to the churches I pastor. Please join me in praying for the peace of Jerusalem, as Scripture implores us to do, and we trust her peace and prosperity, not to man-made institutions and international efforts, but to the God of all Peace, and to the greatest Jew to have ever lived, Jesus Christ.
Jentezen Franklin is the senior pastor of Free Chapel in Gainesville, Georgia, with five campuses nationwide. He is the author of New York Times best-sellers Right People, Right Place, Right Plan and Fasting. His ministry extends internationally through the televised broadcast, Kingdom Connection, which is seen on multiple television networks
No Manna Stores
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
December 08, 2017
Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow My instructions.” – Exodus 16:4
When God took the nation of Israel through the desert, there was one thing the people simply could not do outside of God alone: They could not provide for themselves. They could not plant. They could not harvest. They could not manufacture. It was a place and time where nothing but complete dependence was the rule. God gave manna one day at a time. The manna spoiled the day after, so they could never store it. They could not go to the manna store to get more. They couldn’t start a manna business to capitalize on all the free manna. I can tell you from personal experience that when God takes you to the desert, there is nothing you can do to change it until He wants to change it, so do not strive against God in the desert place.
Has God taken you into the desert? Is He forcing you to depend wholly on His provision? Pray that you will learn the lessons God desires you to learn in the desert place. He will bring you out when He has accomplished all He wants to build in your life. Remember that it is a season; you will not be there forever. He understands that no one can stay in a desolate place forever.
I was awakened at 3:00 am as the Lord began to speak to me. He said, “December is a month to receive sudden, supernatural deployments.” These supernatural deployments may not be instant or happening in the same month, but the revelation of them is coming forth now! He also said, “Don’t be shocked by the suddenness of these deployments.”
The definition for the word “deploy” is to extend (a military unit) especially in width, to place in battle formation or appropriate positions deploying troops to the region, to spread out, utilize or arrange for a deliberate purpose.
Many of you have been on assignment, but I see the Father changing your orders. In the days to come, there will be seemingly sudden re-directs. Many will be caught off guard, but it is the Lord’s doing. He is positioning those who have stayed the course into new commissions, new assignments, battlefield promotions. Macedonian call experiences will be routine at the end of this year as the Lord positions people in the right places and the right assignments.
I saw marching orders being given from heaven. Many will be surprised by where they are being dispatched and what is unfolding, but these are eternal plans. Many will be supernaturally extended in their assigned place and in their anointing, vision, purpose and calling. The Father has ordained these movements. The Lord is saying, “I am putting you in appropriate positions.” There is coming sudden adjustments as He is directing those who have been out of position into their appropriate places. This is eternal strategy, sudden positioning. Hearts are being aligned with heavenly intent and purpose. We cannot be bound by or let the fear of man hold us back. God is literally arranging His people for deliberate purposes. The revelation and recalibration may seem sudden, but the plan is eternal.
Marching orders and deployment orders are coming through dreams and visions. Increased commissioning in dreams will be the norm as this is a high level apostolic-prophetic leading. A commission is a formal written warrant granting the power to perform various acts or duties, a certificate conferring military rank and authority, an authorization or command to act in a prescribed manner or to perform prescribed acts.
He said, “Hear now My word. If there is a prophet among you, I the Lord will make Myself known to him in a vision, and I will speak to him in a dream” (Num. 12:6).
The Lord says, “Pay attention to dreams and visions in the month of December. I am releasing a dream and vision mantle upon My people. They will begin to receive a supernatural GPS through these realms.”
There are 4 Types of Prophetic Dream Encounters:
- Warning Dreams.
These contain critical prophetic warnings. This is a Shamar dimension of the prophetic anointing. “But being warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they returned to their own country by another route” (Matt. 2:12).
- Daybreak Dreams.
Prophetic imprints as you awaken. These are vivid prophetic encounters with vital messages.
“The seven thin ears devoured the seven plump and full ears. Then Pharaoh awoke and realized it was a dream. In the morning his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was no one who could interpret them to Pharaoh” (Gen. 41:7-8).
- Predictive Dreams.Dreams that point to future events or a kairos moment. These hold instructions for something that is ahead. They are prophetic roadmaps for what is coming. One of the common mistakes with these is assuming it is for right now. In Genesis 37:2-5, Joseph was 17 when he shared his first dream.
He began serving Pharaoh at the age of 30. This was 13 years of waiting and many storms in between. The dream was still true. It had timings attached to it: “until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him” (Ps. 105:19).
- Directional Dreams.
These are dreams that contain the wisdom of God. They contain a word of wisdom and the “how to” instructions. God is giving supernatural instruction through dreams. Wisdom is the ability to apply knowledge; these dreams contain key pieces of vital information: “In a dream, a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, in slumber on their bed, then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction” (Job 33:15-16).
God said, “2018 will be a year of glory storms and a year of the apostolos, the apostolic anointing, coming into fullness and a greater measure.”
This will be a year of apostolic expression, apostolic authority and apostolic sending. The church is being recalibrated and moving away from the Western mindset into a new wineskin of supernatural bases, hubs and headquarters. Many will shut down what they’ve been doing and birth something new. Many will relaunch and renovate their language and expression. Many worship leaders are going to renovate and relaunch their sound. As they relaunch, their sound will usher in a new era, a new dimension of the Spirit. We are coming back to the authority and power of the Book of Acts.. We are coming into the revelation of sending and sent.
The apostolic spirit is a sending spirit:
- Apostles go.
- Apostolic people go.
- Apostolic ministries are on the go.
The dreams and encounters in this hour are the catalysts for movement. We are receiving orders from heaven for movement. As we begin to move in the Spirit, the Spirit of God will move through us. The authority of the Lord will move through us. The apostolic anointing will decree through us. The prophetic anointing will declare through us. The evangelistic anointing will demonstrate through us. The teaching anointing will explain through us. The pastoral anointing will shepherd through us. The travail anointing will pray through us. The helps anointing will serve through us. The government anointing will govern through us and the seven mountains of culture will be influenced by this apostolic generation.
We must heed the call and begin to move!
“After he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them” (Acts 16:10).
Ryan LeStrangeis an apostolic leader and prophetic voice. The apostolic call on his life has led him to build multiple ministries in various geographical locations, the foremost being Ryan LeStrange Ministries. Ryan moves strongly in the power of God as he travels the globe igniting revival fires and his conferences & gatherings are alive with prophetic declaration, miracles, healings and powerful preaching. Ryan is the founder of TRIBE Network, a global network of ministries and AwakeningTV.com. Ryan has authored several books Overcoming Spiritual Attack and Releasing the Prophetic and Revival Hubs Rising, co-authored with Jennifer LeClaire. Ryan and his wife Joy have one son, Joshua, and currently reside in Virginia.
Passion for Praise: ‘Is there Any as Mighty as You?’
Friday, December 8, 2017
O God, your ways are holy. Is there any god as mighty as you? You are the God of great wonders! You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations. By your strong arm, you redeemed your people…