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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Dormant Power

Given May 25, 2006
The Bible says we have a certain amount of power that we can use against the devil and his outlaws. “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Luke 10:19”. Now, Jesus was telling this to His disciples but it applies to us too. So why aren’t we using more of this power?

Think about people you know who have “power”. Where do they get it? How do you know they have it? What do they do with it? Well, usually people get their power from some higher authority; a parent, a company, the government, the electorate; somebody or some entity higher up. We know they have power because they wield it! They’re confident with it and it shows. And, because of this, they use their power to exercise their place in life. They influence those around them and command respect.

But, as Christians, we have an awesome power in us that we usually don’t use. Most people don’t know we have it because we don’t do anything with it, it’s dormant. And the forces of darkness certainly don’t pay much attention to our “power” as evidenced by the constant troubles many of us experience.

I’d like to see it more in my fellow Christians, and myself, that we show off our power in such a way that demons will get out of our way when we come around instead of laughing at us and throwing stuff at us. When we realize we have this POWER in us and begin to use it against the enemy like Jesus and others did, we’ll see demons flee, James 4:7. And God will get the glory from it and be pleased with us, AND, we’ll be better able to be of service to others.

Realize today that YOU have this power, you can speak the Word of God into your situation, and see positive results! Wake up the power in you!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Praise Out Loud!

Given May 24, 2006
"And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed. Acts 16: 25 – 26"

I was reading this familiar passage and it happened again; I saw something I’d not realized before. Here were Paul and Silas, in prison, after being beaten for being bold and casting an evil spirit out of a girl and stirring up trouble in the town. It was the middle of the night, they were in the inner cell, and in leg irons with a bunch of other “criminals”. Not too good of circumstances, wouldn’t you say? And what do they do? Not complain and cry, “Woe is me!” like many of us would. No, they prayed and began to sing praises to God! And apparently, they didn’t do this quietly over in the corner but they prayed and sang out loud because the Word says, “…the prisoners heard them.”

Now, that’s a message right there. When we're in dire circumstances, PRAISE GOD ANYWAY! And don’t be ashamed to do it out loud! Let other people around you see that you still praise God even in your circumstances.

But look what happened. When the earthquake came and the doors were opened, EVERYONE’S bands were loosed! The guys who were just nearby and heard Paul and Silas’ praise & worship service got the favor of God too! Wow! And, they didn’t run off like you’d think criminals would. They stayed with the men of God. There must have been something powerful in that place.

This speaks two things to me: Be bold with my praise and don’t stop when trouble comes. You never know who’s listening and watching.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Jesus Believes In Us

Given May 16, 2006
"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" Matthew 14:28-31.

Who did Peter doubt here? It wasn't Jesus, He was still standing on the water. I believe he doubted himself. He was a fisherman and had stepped in the water many times and knew what would happen.

But Jesus believed in Peter. Peter was the only one bold enough to step out of the boat. I can imagine Jesus saying to himself, "Come on, Peter. You can do it! That's it, step on out!" And I can imagine Jesus' joy when peter did step out...and was successful! "Atta boy! Keep coming, come to me, son." But when he noticed the circumstances, that was it. Jesus might have said, "Oh man, you were doing it! Why did you doubt?"

What would Peter's ministry have been like if he had not doubted? What would OUR ministry be like if we didn't doubt? Oh but yes. We all have a ministry whether we know it or not. Jesus believes in us to do great and mighty things so why aren't we doing them? Just like Peter, we lose faith and doubt.

The next time you have a chance to, "step out", remember... Jesus is believing in you. Don't pay attention to the "circumstances", or the way it's always been done, or what people will think. Jesus will be saying, "Come on, you can do it! I know you can!" You want to be promoted? Step out of the boat!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Clean My Cup, Lord

Given June 15, 2001
I read a book during this time called, "" which painted a picture with words of the "highway" in Isaiah 35. I could clearly "see" every step of the way up to the highway and once on the highway, I saw the people there and the dangers which were hidden in the ditches.

As we all do sometimes, travelers would get off the road, realize their mistake, and come back up to the road to meet Jesus. Yes, He's traveling the road with us. When we come, repentant, back to Jesus, we're holding our "vessel", our cup, if you will, which has been contaminated and dirtied by sin. And it's empty! We offer the stained vessel up to the Lord and say, "Lord, I'm sorry. Here's my cup. Please cleanse it and fill it back up. And, He does.

Jesus said, "Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean". Matthew 23:26. I do this often when I realize I've gotten off the road and my cup is empty and dirty. You can feel when you need a refilling, can't you? As I hold my cup up to Jesus, He washes it out and fills it to the brim. I realize I've been forgiven and have the infilling to go on with Him and do His work. I wanna stay on the road!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A Great Crowd Of Witnesses

Given May 10, 2006
On Wednesday nights at church, we've been watching different DVD series from Ray VanderLaan and John Bevere. Tonight, we began the second series by VanderLaan which is produced by Focus On The Family and I highly recommend it. He is a teacher and historian who takes you to places in the Bible and teaches Faith Lessons on the area. Powerful stuff!

Tonight, he took his group to a "stadium" where athletic contests once took place and suggested that we, as Christians, were God's olympians. We are as Paul said "running a race" 2 Timothy 4:7, performing for our God and he showed us the stands where the fans would have been seated, cheering for their favorite.

It's like in Hebrews 12:1-2, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." As I run the race set before me, all the heros of the faith from Hebrews 11 are there in the stands cheering me on to the finish. And they aren't the only ones. My Dad is there, my grandparents are there, some uncles, aunts and cousins are there. And my God is there! The Bible says we're not all gonna win, 1 Corinthians 9:24, but we should run like we want to win. And that means when we cross the finish line and God says, "Did you give it your all?" I can say, "Yes, Father, I did!"

This also made me think, "Am I giving my Christian race everything I've got?" I don't think so, not every day. I need to do better. I don't wanna let the fans down. But, most of all, I don't want to let My God down! Pick up the pace, Bill! Make 'em cheer!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

In The Presence Of My Enemies, Part 2

Given May 4, 2006
"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. Psalm 23:5." I wrote about this topic a couple of months ago and the fact that this scene is on earth and not in Heaven. But I got a different view of this scripture the other day.

Picture this: Here I am, in trouble and my enemies are all around me. They're in a circle around me and closing in. I call out to God and He appears outside the circle and says, "Back off thugs! I've got something for my son Bill." Well, of course my enemies step aside trembling and let God into the circle. He sets up a table and chair, puts food and every good thing for me to enjoy, (1 Timothy 6:17) on it, and says, "Have a seat son."

Don't you know my fears are gone and I sit down to feast at the Father's table. But the good part is that my enemies are still around me but all they can do is stand and watch me be blessed by God! He didn't chase them away or destroy them. He just put a hedge of protection around me and made them stand there and watch!

If you're in the middle of "trouble" and you feel like your enemies are closing in on you, cry out to your Father in Heaven and He'll come and set a table for you. "...I shall fear no evil for Thou art with me." Psalm 23:4.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Invite Him In

Given May 7, 2006
It was an overwelming time during Praise & Worship this morning at our church, at least for me. I do the morning prayer right after Praise & Worship time and I was having some difficulty even walking and talking because of two things.

One, God had directed me to pray for peace and read the scripture in Phillipians 4 that speaks about joy, worry and peace. Well, don't you know, our pastor, (who leads Praise & Worship), said he was led to sing, "Peace, peace, wonderful peace. Coming down from the Father above...". That confirmed that peace is what the people needed to hear that day. What an awesome God!

Two, what really brought the tears was a vision I received during that time. I was thinking about how the Holy Spirit is a gentleman and won't force Himself in where He's not invited, even in churches. But when we invite Him in through praise, worship, or prayer, He comes in readily.

The vision I got was of Jesus coming into the church with a big smile on His face and leading a crowd of people and they were all very happy. These people represented the answers to our needs. Salvation was there, along with Healing, Wisdom, Deliverance, Provision, and all the other needs we have. We would run up to Jesus and He knew us! He greeted each of us like He really knew us and was happy to see us, (and He does and is). Then He, knowing our need, would turn and introduce us to Healing or Deliverance, or whoever and say, "Go with him, he'll help you out." And the point was that we ran to Jesus first then He introduced us to the answer to our need.

If we invite Jesus in, He will come and bring with Him everything that we need. "God inhabits the praises of His people, Psalms 22:3". "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Phillipians 4:19" What a beautiful picture!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Things Aren't Always As They Seem

Given September 2005
We all know that, down through history, Satan has been deceiving God's people. He began with Eve and is doing it to us today. He'll make things look really good and tempt us to, "take a bite", then we see the ugliness of it all. "And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 11:14".

At this time of high gas prices, (and it's worse now than it was in September), this sign beside the road looked pretty good. It might make you want to say, "Wow, what a good price. I'm going over there!" But what was beyond told the rest of the story. If you didn't take a closer look, you would have gotten off the road to where you were going and gotten into a place where fire had been. "But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:3".

This place had been burnt out and vacant for months! God has us going somewhere but Satan is constantly trying to get us off the highway to Heaven and into his messed up, burnt out places. Take a closer look and don't be deceived.