“Receive God’s Help!”

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“I will lift up my eyes to the hills – from whence comes my help?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth,” Psalm 121:1-2

“Me, myself and I,” a phrase commonly known to us all.  It usually comes on the heels of an aggravating event or from dealing with the frustration of a letdown because one depended on someone else to do something for them and they didn’t follow through.  Or, how about this one, “If you want something done right you have to do it yourself!”  Another frustrating sentiment spurned by the letdowns of others.

Here we just see them as phrases, just something we blurt out because of the emotions that stir within us when we feel we can’t get that help we need from someone.  The sad part of it all is the reality that this has become the prevailing attitude in the world today.  It is a mindset that has become detached from the cares of humanity; not in a good way.

Many people are wandering adrift in the world.  Day by day they go through their daily routines really believing that they are in this alone.  Wandering and questioning, “From whence comes my help?”  More often than not, that questioning person does not know that there is One who stands at the ready to appeal and work on behalf of those who call out to Him.  Not realizing this great truth causes them look to their own selves once again, reaffirming that self-sufficient attitude of “Me, myself and I.”

I believe God likes goal-setters.  I believe God loves to see His people be filled with the zeal of being a real go-getter.  I say that because God has never, ever promoted laziness.  God has equipped mankind with a mind to think and gifts to operate in and He wants to see the fulfilling of all of that to come to pass.  But, and here’s where the warning bells go off, when one tries to operate independently of God with an “I don’t need Him” attitude, buddy, that’s when we got a problem!

“Can I get some help around here?”  Oh, if that isn’t a familiar cry to us all.  When life feels at loose ends and everything just seems to be unraveling before us we often wonder where can we get help from?  The writer of this psalm found his help by lifting his eyes up.  The human eye tells one where to focus.  As I sit here on my couch writing this I keep peeping out of the window.  In line of my view are a bunch of beautiful trees that are gently swaying with the occasional breeze. Every time I look out at them I feel a certain little measure of restfulness and peace. Because this is what my eyes see it relaxes me.

How much more for the one who chooses to focus on that Sovereign, Omnipotent Presence and truly realize He’s there?  Not only is He there but He is ready to be our help.  “The righteous cry, and the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles,” Psalm 34:17.  Deliverance is there.  Help is here.  God loves a “can do” attitude, but not a “can do it without Him” attitude.  Especially, since He loves us so much as to be the offering for our much needed help.  I have to receive of His help daily.  Zeal, and even talent, will only get you so far.  I can’t be so high and mighty to think that I can do even the basic things without His help.  So, today I want to receive God’s help.  What about you?

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“God’s Got You Covered!”

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Do you ever feel opened and exposed during the trials of life?  Do you ever feel that the enemy has free pickings when it comes to your heart ache?  Well, he doesn’t!  The enemies of this life may chase you, hunt you down and all together seek to make your life miserable, but the enemies do not have the last say over anything.  God, in His complete sovereignty has you covered!

If anybody knew about being constantly chased by enemies seeking to take their life it was David.  Saul, in a jealous pursuit, saw something special in David, the favor of God, and wanted to destroy David.  There were days when David may have felt like giving up.  There were days of hiding in caves and pretending to be a mad-man to seek solitude in other countries.  But, through it all David dealt best with his enemies through prayer.  He declared who his God was and committed his trust to Him.  In Psalm 140:7, “O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle.”

To be covered means to be concealed and to be protected.  The battles of this life may at times make us feel that we are an open target to everyone who can’t stand the favor of God on us, but be of good cheer, God’s got us covered!  “As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever,” (Psalm 125:2).  And, if God is like a mountain surrounding us then there is no adversary that can break through the covering He has over us.  It may feel like we are on the run sometimes but God is still that protecting force that “covered my head in the day of battle.”  Commit your heart aches, your battle and your enemies to God and let Him be your covering today.

“Your Anointing is Dangerous, but it’s Worth It!”

There will always been adversity against God’s anointing, but if God anointed you choose today to walk in all that He has blessed you to be. Your anointing may seem dangerous at times, but in the end it is well worth it.

Word For Life Says...

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A shepherd boy who had been forgotten when Samuel came to call, David was treated as a “less than” by everyone who knew him the most, except God.

God, looking past his outer array saw something special in him. He instructed Samuel to, “Arise, anoint him: for this is he,” (1 Samuel 16:12). Following God’s lead, “Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward,” (1 Samuel 16:13).

Not only had he been empowered and anointed by God’s Spirit on that day, but ever since then his life has never been the same. Because of the anointing on his life David experienced ups and downs; he experienced victories, and he experienced times of loss. But, in the end, he is still known as one of Israel’s greatest kings; as the blood…

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Prayer: Where real problems meet my real GOD!

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Martin Luther is quoted as saying, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” Why is that? Because as breath is with the body, with each inhale and exhale one’s life is sustained; so is the prayer line that fosters that interpersonal relationship between God and man. It is not only life-sustaining, but it’s soul-sustaining keeping that glorious love connection betwixt the two opened and flowing.

Prayer is and of itself a discipline where one places themselves at the feet of the Almighty; to draw to Him; to get to know Him more. Yet, prayer is often as well a plea of desperation when the times and trials of this life are too hard to bear. When we are at the end of our rope; or, when we just don’t understand what is happening or the road we should take – we pray.

We pray because deep within ourselves we know that try as we might, we can find no better help. Nor, is there any higher intervention than that which comes from God. Therefore, through prayer we seek the release of His help and power into our problems, our lives, and the lives of those whom we intercede for.

Prayer is, and becomes, that connective key where God and man meet to converse on an intimate level, recognizing His greatness and sovereignty in the midst of our humanness and weaknesses.

Therefore, in prayer we declare, “Real problems meet my very real God!”  There is no better help for what you are facing right now; there is none other that rescue, restore, and redeem you out of any situation like my wonderful God can.  His power shows forth in great strength, in any situation, when we pray.

“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive,” Matthew 21:22.

“Ignoring God’s Clear Truth” Sunday School Lesson, Romans 1:18-23, 28-32; June 26, 2016

Here is this week’s lesson once again. Have a blessed weekend everyone!

“Made For Green”

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I love this time of the year when the trees are finally in full bloom.  Ahhh. . ., finally!  The green branches, with their beautiful blooms, sway in the breeze and they speak to my heart, “I was made for green.”

I feel renewed with the turning of the season.  There is a sense of this is how it was supposed to be.  The trees were made for green and so were we.  I could be wrong but when God placed man in the Garden of Eden I don’t think there were any winters there (just my opinion, but check out Adam and Eve’s clothing attire, or lack thereof).  I don’t think the trees were to ever be bare.  I don’t think the branches were to ever cease having fruit sprout from them.  I think paradise was just that, a never-ending green that sings to the symphony of one’s heart that they are where God placed them.

There’s a lot of ugliness we see in this world.  Once, it was not so.  Our original design was not to live in an environment of sin and decay.  It was not designed to exist with dead and dreary things.  It was designed to behold the beauty of God through His creation.  We were designed to live in God’s best!  We were made for so much more!

In this life we have to deal with what the world has become now.  But, oh, that day is coming where we shall once again know the pleasures of paradise.  Where we once again will enjoy the best of God’s design.  I personally can’t wait because I was made for green 🙂

“Don’t Be Trapped!”

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“Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me,

for You are my strength,” Psalm 31:4, NKJV.

 

I would venture to say that no one intentionally falls into a trap.  Or, at least, I hope not.  As our verse indicates traps, by nature, are devices designed to work secretly.  That’s their goal.

A few years ago we started having a critter issue.  You know, the kind that only looked cute on cartoons when outwitting cats, but in your house they are the scum of the earth.  Yeah, that kind!  Once they’re in, it’s hard to get them out.  I mean, really hard!

We tried every conceivable thing from poison to sticky traps to snap traps.  While some snap traps seemed to work it never eliminated the problem while in that residence.

There was even times when the little critters would amaze me.  One little smart guy did everything possible to avoid the traps that were laid for him.  I even watched it climb over a snap trap without it shutting because he used the baseboards.  Genius little guy!

Eventually, we acquired cats.  A lot of good they did, but that’s a whole new story.

Traps are no more fun for us than they are for those critters we try to catch in them.  No matter the cause or the reason, traps are designed to steal, kill and destroy.

Now, where have we heard that before? O yeah, when Jesus warns us that, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy . . .” (John 10:10a, NKJV).  And, a thief is a master at being sly enough to set those unforeseeable traps so that he can obtain what does not belong to him.

It is so easy in the day to day scurrying about to become victim to the many insidious traps that are laid to snare the unaware.  With technology the way it is one would never have to even see the thief or the trap set in order to be robbed.

That’s why, we as a people, go through great lengths of installing anti-virus’ and firewall protection.  We try all sorts of password protected ways to keep what is ours.  We can now even hire a service to watch over and safeguard our valuables because we realize that we don’t have eyes in the back of our heads.  We realize we are not omniscient (all-knowing).  And, we realize we can’t be omnipresent (everywhere at the same time).

Because we are so limited in capacity and strength, we outsource the responsibility to others to help keep us from the snares.  Our spiritual life should be no less protected.

How often do we go through our days completely oblivious to the spiritual dangers that have been laid in our pathway?  And, before we know it, our feet are in a “net” of trouble and we don’t know how to get out.

That’s when the reality sets in that we don’t know everything and our own personal strength is very limited in trying to pull us out and keep us out of those nets.  That’s why the psalmist recognized the only escape from the net was by the strength of God.  He who knows all and who has never floundered in anything can keep our feet on solid ground.

How many traps in life could have been avoided if we had gone in His strength first?  How many times would our eyes have been opened to the devices of the enemy, (2 Cor. 2:11), if our spiritual eyes had looked first to Him who is able to “pluck my feet out of the net,” (Ps. 25:15b, NKJV)?

Spiritually speaking, I don’t want to see those traps rob us of life like it does for those little critters.  Especially, when Jesus, after giving the warning of the thief, admonishes us to believe, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly,” (John 10:10b, NKJV).

I like that thought better.  How about you?

“My eyes are ever toward the Lord . . .” (Ps. 25:15a, NKJV).   That’s how we have abundant life and avoid the traps!

“When they speak against your possibilities . . .”

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Numbers 13:26-33

I don’t know what you think about when you think about the idea of a Promised Land, but I can tell you what I think about. I think about a place of hope. I think about the word destiny. I think about stepping into something new and embracing the opportunity to leave the old behind.

The Promised Land was, for the children of Israel, exactly as its name describes. It was told hundreds of years before that this land would belong to them. This was going to be a place of ownership. This was going to be a place of heritage. Their inheritance, blessings, and promise for a pleasant, abundant and happy life would be in this land.

After being freed from bondage, God was now ready for them to finally take hold of all that He had in store for them. So, He instructed Moses to gather a delegation of men to go and spy out the land. He specifically said in Numbers 14:2 “Send thou men, that they may search out the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel . . .”

God already had it made up in His mind that this land; this promise was theirs. “I’m giving it to them,” He said.

He’s telling them, “I have a place for you. I have a destiny for you to walk into; place where you belong.”

So, with great joy, I’m assuming, these men marched forward, chosen to be the first to view the promise of God. They would be the first to walk on its soil; the first to see the land; the first to see the people; and, the first to see the rewards of the fruit.

The Bible says they went up and searched the land and they returned from searching after 40 days and they brought back a little show and tell segment. They brought back proof of the promise.

They had evidence of their future blessing right in their hands and it was HUGE! A cluster, not many clusters, but a cluster (one cluster, one branch) that was so big it took two men to carry it on a staff between their shoulders. What God had in store for them was phenomenal.

So, when the Bible says, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him,” oh, honey, you better believe it.

But, here’s the kicker. They had the evidence in their hands but still didn’t believe the promise was for them. The world says, “Seeing is believing.” Right here is proof that the world is lying to you. They saw and still didn’t believe. On the other hand the Bible says, “The just shall walk by faith and not by sight,” (2 Cor. 5:7) and here’s why because it is always better for you to believe in what God said than what you can see with you natural eyes.

With their natural eyes they could see the promise, but they could also see a problem. They said, “We came into the land and surely it flows with milk and honey and fruit,” (Num. 13:27). Surely means without a doubt it’s there. Without a doubt everything that God described it to be for us, it’s there.

“Nevertheless!”

How did they move from “surely” to “nevertheless?” Immediate doubt moved in. Doubt is a robber of dreams and a drainer of possibilities. Doubt causes you to be uncertain when God already said it is certain. Doubt causes you to hesitate when God already said to move forward. Doubt causes you to give up when God says you can do this.

Who are you going to listen to: doubt or God?

Unfortunately many of us are making the same mistake as the children of Israel and they listen to the voice of doubt; they listen to those who speak against their possibilities instead of God.

In verse 28, their doubt turned into excuses. It doesn’t take long for your doubt to convince you that it’s right and you have a legitimate excuse not to pursue that passion; that dream; that promise.

“The people” became their excuse to keep them from their possibilities. When push comes to shove, more often than not, it’s always more about “people” than it is about God. That’s why many of us don’t see the results of Promised Land living because of the “people.” Usually it’s their criticism or fear of rejection or dealing with their jealously that lets people get in the way.

For them, their excuse was they “are strong.” We see the land but we can’t have it because they are bigger than us; they are better than us; they are stronger than us; they are greater than us, and we can’t match up to that expectation.

Who told you to match up to man’s expectation when God who created you and gifted you and said, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light,” (1 Pet. 2:9). When God said at other times, “This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise,” (Is. 43:21).

But there was one who refused to get in line with that loser mentality; one who shunned the thought of being defeated by an enemy when he knew God was on their side. There was one who took a stand against this destructive thinking and said, “Let us go up at once!”

He stuck with the word “surely” and threw off the “nevertheless!” Get a Caleb mentality and refuse to let a bad report rob you of your destiny. Don’t let anybody speak a “nevertheless” into your situation. Don’t let anybody get away with putting “buts” and “what ifs” in your mind. Don’t let anybody speak negative about your promise. Take a Caleb stand and protect your possibilities.

He made his mouth match up with the message of God. He got into agreement with what God said and not man and said, “Let us go up at once!” And, not just “go up,” but when we get there we’re going to do something about it; we are going to “possess it!”

“For we are well able to overcome it!” Confidence begins first in getting into agreement with God (which Caleb did). Then, you have to believe in the gift He put in you. You have to have the confidence of Caleb and say, “we are well able.”

He could have just said, “we are able,” but he went a step further in his faith and declared, “we are well able.” Adding that word “well” to the equation means we’ve more than got this.

Doesn’t our Bible tells us that we are “more than conquerors?” (Ro. 8:37). What Caleb was saying is the destiny of reaching and claiming the Promised Land is for us.

Our promise is for us. It fits us. It looks good on us. “What God has for me it is for me!”

The problem is we need to take it out of the song and apply it to our lives. Start thinking like Caleb and refuse nothing less than your promise. Take a stand against negative people speaking about your possibilities!

After Caleb said, “We are well able,” here come the naysayers again, saying, “we be not able.”

They couldn’t see themselves overcoming. They couldn’t see themselves walking in victory. They didn’t mention anything about having faith in God or His ability to see them through. They just said, “No! It looks good but I’ll never have it.”

“I wish I may, I wish I might, but it’s not a wish I’ll have tonight.” They couldn’t see themselves in it. “Without a vision the people perish!” (Pro. 29:18).

There was one father in the Bible who had a vision to see his son made whole again. His son was demon-possessed and came to Jesus seeking deliverance, declaring, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief,” (Mark 9:24).

He knew if given the opportunity, his flesh would get in the way of seeing a great miracle happening for his family. “I see myself, Lord; I see my family; I see my son restored and walking in the promises of God.” “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!”

He was not going to let a seed of doubt get planted into his spirit and erase his blessings because that’s what doubt does; it cancels out blessings.

But, the men in today’s text couldn’t see through the lens of belief. God can do it for this one and that one, but not for me.

They relied more on the flesh; more on their own strength, saying, “They are stronger than we,” than the God who brought them through thus far. Psalms 118:8 tells us, “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.”

Man will fail you. Your own strength will fail you. Somebody said, “But God . . .”

Not only did they not see that God’s blessing was for them, but they brought themselves low with their speech. They talked about how “great” they are, and at the same time said they themselves were nothing.

“We were in our own sight as grasshoppers.” They didn’t say this is how the enemy saw them, but this is how they saw their own selves. The battle they fought before ever coming against anybody else was the battle in their mind: “we were in our own sight as grasshoppers.”

Listen, God doesn’t bring you to the edge of the promise just to turn you around and say, “Sike! I was just playing. Go back.” If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.

God’s intention was for them to go in, take the land, and possess it. But, they lost the battle in their mind before they ever set foot in the land.

They didn’t give God a chance! This is only the same God, who delivered the 10 plagues; who divided the Red Sea; who did miracle after miracle. But, when it came to their promise they wouldn’t give Him a chance, for if they did they would have gotten in line with Caleb’s way of thinking and say, “we are well able.”

Too many of us feel too small for where God wants to take us. God has big plans but we don’t see ourselves as big enough. We feel outsized by what lies ahead. We can’t get past what others are speaking about our possibilities, and so, we close up the door of faith; we slam shut the way to victory never fully realizing the greatness of His promise for your life.

Yes, there are always going to be barriers (real or imagined). Yes, there will always be giants. But, you and I have to have enough faith not to be overwhelmed by what we see with our natural eyes. We have to have enough in us to look past how we view ourselves; how they view us, and see something bigger!

1 John 4:4 says, “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.”

The promise may seem too big for us, but it’s never too big for the God in you. “Greater is He that is in you!” God is never outsized by anything. God dwarfs to nobody, and He’s working in you!

Stop listening to the negativity about your promise. Stop paying attention to the naysayers. You are NOBODY’S GRASSHOPPER!

As a matter of fact, we need to say that to ourselves, “I AM NOBODY’S GRASSHOPPER!”

Therefore, stop listening when they speak against your possibilities.

Why do you believe?

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“Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he raised from the dead. But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.” John 12:9-11

What is your personal testimony that draws you to Jesus?  How, when, and what circumstances did He touch your heart to convince you He is Lord?

We all have a beginning of our faith.  Even if you were raised in church from the cradle there has to be a time when you interacted with Jesus on a personal level and welcomed Him into your life as Savior.

As days go by and hardships intrude upon the peace that drew us to believe in Him, space opens up and that initial faith that was once strong may take a blow, making one feel disparaged and weaker than before.  What then?

If you will allow me, let me draw your mind back to that beginning faith.  There’s an old song that says,

“Take me back, Take me back dear Lord

To the place where I first received You

Take me back, Take me back dear Lord where I

first believed” (Andrae Crouch/Take Me Back Lyrics/Lyricsmode.com)

Every once in a while our faith needs a spiritual tune-up.  We need to remember why we believe.  We need our personal revelation of heart to center us anew on our Savior.

Lazarus’ raising from the dead may have encouraged some to embrace the way of this faith in his day, but what swayed you?  Through the trials and storms remember why you believe.  Remember what He has done for you before and let those sweet memories pick your heart up and carry you closer to Jesus today.

Blessings.

Words To Live By: Your resources matter to your victory – TRUST GOD!

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