FOCUS ON JESUS
Luke 10:20 – “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”
We were never instructed to have a Ph.D. in demonology. However, some justify focusing on Satan and his activity to an inordinate degree. This will actually encourage demonic activity and become a device that Satan can use against us.
As Paul said, we should not be “ignorant” of Satan’s devices. We certainly need to know that the devil and demons exist, and we need to recognize when we are facing demonic activity. But we need to keep our focus on the Lord.
Some people who are excessive in “spiritual warfare” actually spend more time talking to the devil each day than they do talking to God. That’s not right.
The best defense against the devil is to be so “God-centered” that we give no place to Satan. People who are very sensitive to the devil’s presence usually do so at the expense of being sensitive to the Lord’s presence. David said, “If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there” (Ps. 139:8). Any time Satan’s oppression is there, God’s presence is present too (Heb. 13:5)! It’s just a matter of which one we focus on. Focusing on the devil is a trick of the devil.
Our total ability in the Christian life is found in Christ. It is not our ability that makes us strong, but our availability to Christ that enables us.
Paul said, “For when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Cor. 12:10). He was saying that when he recognized his inability and, therefore, relied on the Lord, then the Lord’s strength flowed through him. We can do all things THROUGH CHRIST.
REST AND RECEIVE YOUR MIRACLE
HEBREWS 4:9 – There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.
In the healing of the paralyzed man at the pool of Bethesda (John 5:1–16), Jesus knew that for 38 years, the man had been flat on his back, unable to do anything for himself or others, no matter how hard he struggled.
In the case of the woman oppressed with a spirit of infirmity (Luke13:10–13), Jesus knew that the woman had been bowed over for 18 years. And in that condition, she saw very little that was beautiful in life, only thedusty ground, dirty sandals and bruised feet.
What about the man with a withered hand? (Luke 6:6–10) Jesus knew from His carpenter days how a useless hand could have easily given the man a very poor sense of self-worth.
I believe that all three of them must have struggled for so long to get back on their feet, to try to lift themselves up, to attempt to do something about their situations, only to be disappointed each time they failed. In fact, they got so frustrated with striving to get better that by the time they met Jesus, they had probably given up trying to change their situations.
It was then that Jesus came and extended His offer to turn their situations around. And when they embraced His offer, they received the miracles that they had sought for so long.
You too may have been struggling to get back on your feet, or to lift yourself out of the problem that has sorely weighed you down. You have attempted to do whatever you could, hoping that it would amount to something, but you have been frustrated time and again. My friend, God wants you to cease from all your struggling and accept the offer He extends to turn your situation around.
It is no coincidence that all three of them received their miracles on the Sabbath, the day of rest for the Jews. God’s Word says, “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.” The day you cease from your own laboring and striving, and rest in the finished work of Christ, is the day you receive your miracle.
Jesus has done all the work. Whatever you need has been provided for at the cross. So just be at rest and receive your miracle!
UP IN SMOKE :
The tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. – James 3:5-6
Words. Use them right and they’ll move mountains. Use them wrong and they can cause your entire life to go up in smoke.
“Now, Brother,” you may say, “I find it hard to believe that major catastrophes can be caused by a few simple words. I just can’t see the connection.”
Look again at the phrase James used. “How great a matter a little fire kindleth!” Have you ever lit a few little pieces of kindling wood and set them in the fireplace beneath a stack of logs?
Most likely, the fire began to spread first to one log then to another until finally you had a great big blaze going. After it was over, you couldn’t go digging around in the ashes to find the kindling that started it all, could you? No! It would be burned. There would be no trace of it at all.
The tongue is like that. It first defiles the body, then sets on fire the whole course of nature with a blaze so great that it leaves no natural trace of its origin. The words that started it end up so deeply buried in the ashes that you would never even know they were there.
So, don’t ever underestimate the power of your words. I can assure you, Satan doesn’t. He works constantly to get you to turn them in a negative direction. He’ll fire darts of pain and sickness and discouragement at you just to get you to speak faithless words–words that will eventually send your life up in smoke.
Don’t let him succeed. Instead, put out that fire by following the instructions in Ephesians 6:16. Do as the Apostle Paul says and “above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”
Speak words of faith and stop the fire before it starts today!
NOT A HITCHING POST
Ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls. —Jeremiah 6:16
You may have heard the saying, “The past is supposed to be a guidepost, not a hitching post.” It’s easy to become tied to memories of “the good old days” instead of using our experiences to find direction for the road ahead. We are all susceptible to the paralyzing effects of nostalgia—a longing for what used to be.
Jeremiah was a priest from a small town near Jerusalem when God called him to be “a prophet to the nations” (Jer. 1:5). He was given the very difficult job of pronouncing God’s judgment primarily on the people of Judah, who had turned away from the Lord. Jeremiah made it clear that he was delivering God’s message, not his own (7:1-2).
The Lord said, “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it’” (6:16).
God urged His people to look back so they could move ahead. The purpose of considering the ancient paths was to find “the good way” marked by God’s faithfulness, His forgiveness, and His forward call.
God can teach us from our past that the best road is the one we walk with Him.
Though I know not what awaits me—
What the future has in store,
Yet I know that God is faithful,
For I’ve proved Him oft before.
God’s guidance in the past gives courage for the future.
Freedom from Disease and Poverty
Galatians 3:13 says, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law.” But what does it mean to be redeemed from the curse of the law?
By the death and resurrection of Jesus, He paid the price for you and for me. He became the sacrifice for our sins. He died so that we could live. He bore our sicknesses so we could have health. He redeemed us from the curse of the law of sin and death.
The law as described in the New Testament is usually considered to be the Pentateuch, or more clearly the first five books of the Bible. In these first five books — Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy — the curse or punishment for breaking God’s law is broken down into three basic categories.
1) The curse of spiritual death
2) The curse of sickness and disease
3) The curse of poverty
In Deuteronomy 28:15, the Bible tells us about these curses, saying, “It shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you.”
Then it lists curses all the way to verse 60 — forty-five verses of sicknesses and financial disasters that would happen if the law was not kept. In verse 61, the list concludes by saying that not only would these things that were listed happen, but any sickness, disease, or catastrophe that was not listed would happen also.
In other words, not keeping the law was disastrous. But even worse, it was nearly impossible to keep the law. So, poverty, sickness, and spiritual death were virtually assured.
But today, I have good news. When it seemed like there was no hope, God made a way. And that’s just like God. He always makes a way of escape for those who seek Him.
Jesus became our Redeemer. He made a way of escape from poverty, sickness, and spiritual death. However, some Christians do not understand that we have been redeemed from the curse of the law. They accept sickness and poverty as part of the Christian lifestyle. This should not be. We have been set free from the curse of the law. We need to start acting like it.
When you take a coupon to the grocery store, you use it instead of using money. In other words, you redeem the coupon. It takes the place of your money. Your money becomes redeemed because the coupon was the redeemer. Well, that’s what Jesus did.
We had a debt. That debt was the curse of the law. But the problem was that we could not pay the debt. It required a perfect sacrifice. It required a sacrifice that was pure before God. We were not pure. Our debt was impossible to pay.
But then Jesus came to earth as a man and died in our place. He took stripes on His body for our sicknesses. He redeemed us. He paid the debt we could not pay.
When we become a Christian, we have health and prosperity available. We don’t have to be diseased and in poverty. Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law.
I AM THE LORD
I AM THE LORD IS MORE THAN JUST A PHRASE. IT IS A DIVINE REVELATION OF WHO GOD IS AND WHO HE WANTS TO BE TO HIS PEOPLE INCLUDING SAVIOR, HEALER, DELIVERER, REDEEMER AND KING
7 Then He said to him, “I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.”
13 And behold, the LORD stood above it and said: “I am the LORD God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants.
1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand he will let them go, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.”
2 And God spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the LORD.
3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name LORD I was not known to them.
4 I have also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, in which they were strangers.
5 And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant.
6 Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the LORD; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.
7 I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
8 And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the LORD.’ “”
29 that the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “I am the LORD. Speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say to you.”
5 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them.”
17 Thus says the LORD: “By this you shall know that I am the LORD. Behold, I will strike the waters which are in the river with the rod that is in my hand, and they shall be turned to blood.
Exodus 8:22 And in that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there, in order that you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the land.
Exodus 10:2 and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and your son’s son the mighty things I have done in Egypt, and My signs which I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD.”
Exodus 12 12 ‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.
4 Then I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, so that he will pursue them; and I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD.” And they did so.
18 Then the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gained honor for Myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”
Exodus 15 26 and said, “If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you.”
Exodus 16 12 “I have heard the complaints of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the LORD your God.’ ”
Exodus 20 2 ” I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Exodus 29 46 And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them up out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them. I am the LORD their God.
Exodus 31 13 “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.
The Invisible Barrier of Faith
When the apostle James was writing to the church, he said to consider it all joy when you encounter various trials. We are in a time when many people are experiencing various types of trials in their lives. But as you experience problems in life, whether they are physical, financial, or emotional, you must know this- your problem is not the issue. It’s how you react to your problem that will determine your destiny.
Psalm 34:19 says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.” This verse clearly tells us that there will be afflictions and that the righteous will be the ones who get them. But I’m so glad the verse doesn’t stop there! It goes on to say that these righteous people who are being attacked by the enemy will be delivered out of all their trials.
If you are born again, you are righteous. Righteousness is not something that you earn, develop, or grow in. You are made righteous in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, when you gave your heart to Jesus. When you received Him as your Lord and Savior, you became as righteous as you will ever be.
Yes, we grow in holiness. As we develop our understanding of God’s Word and as we walk in our belief of what He has spoken, our holiness moves to a higher level. You might say that when you become a Christian, you are made righteous and you start becoming holy, and you spend your life working out your salvation and developing holiness.
Being righteous does not shield you from the attacks of the enemy. It is your shield of faith that does that. According to Ephesians 6:16, your shield of faith quenches “all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” Your faith does not make the enemy quit shooting at you; however, your faith will be like a bullet proof vest that will keep his bullets from killing you.
Since the Bible tells us that faith is the barrier between us and the weapons of the enemy, common sense would say that we want this barrier to be as strong as possible. If someone is shooting at me with a powerful weapon, I want that barrier to be thick and strong because the greater the barrier, the more secure I am against an attack. Faith is simply believing God and developing a complete lifestyle of words and actions wrapped around that belief. When we believe in our heart that He heals and align all of our words and actions with that belief, then that strengthens the faith barrier for healing. When we believe He redeemed us from the curse of poverty and wrap all of our words and actions around that belief, then we strengthen the faith barrier against the attack of poverty.
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1.)
One reason the fight of faith is so difficult for some Christians is that the substance of faith is invisible in this realm, but the enemy’s attack can be seen clearly. The enemy stands plainly in the open for us to see and struts around like Goliath, knowing that if he can cause us to focus on his visible attack instead of focusing on the invisible barrier of faith between us and him, then he can defeat us.
His attack is visible in the physical realm, but our faith is in the spiritual realm. God wants us to focus on what we can’t see in the natural because we walk by faith and not by sight. “…We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18).
So your Goliath may be strutting around on the hill claiming that he will destroy you. He could be your physical Goliath, your financial Goliath, or your emotional Goliath, but with the sword of the Spirit and faith in your heart, you can sever his head and he will “Go-lieth” down, dead with no chance of survival! It’s just like when you cut off a snake’s head. Its body may wiggle for a while without its head, but have no fear, it is dead and can no longer hurt you.
So, when the enemy (illness, debt, and hurt) gets in your face, put your faith in God and His protective promise. Use the sword of the Spirit while holding your shield of faith, and your adversary will fall before you.
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Cor. 5:7.)
“…We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:18.)
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.” (Ps. 34:19.)
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” (Eph. 6:10-18.)
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” (James 1:2-3.)
“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” (Rom. 5:19.)
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1.)
DON’T LET FEAR ROB YOU OF YOUR INHERITANCE
ISAIAH 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
Moses sent 12 spies into the promised land that God wanted the Israelites to inherit. Two of them, Joshua and Caleb, came back with a good report of the land, saying, “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land…‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’ Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them” (Numbers 14:7–9).
However, the other 10 spies gave a bad report, saying, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we…There we saw the giants…and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight” (Numbers 13:31–33).
All 12 of them saw the same land, the same giants, but what a stark contrast in their reports! Joshua and Caleb had a different spirit—a spirit of faith (Numbers 14:24). They focused on the promises and goodness of God. But the rest cowered in fear and saw only the giants. And the fear paralyzed them!
My friend, today, no matter how dire your circumstances may appear, choose to focus on God’s goodness. Choose to meditate on how Christ has paid the price for you to enjoy God’s unmerited favor, peace, protection and provision. That’s how fear will not paralyze you. That’s how you experience God’s faithfulness and walk in His blessings!
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