Hey You! Wake Up!

September 3, 2012

1 Peter 5:9-10
8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Hey You! Wake Up!

Isn’t it amazing how there can be a time when we are so in love, so on fire, so excited, full of joy and anticipation about someone or something, but as time goes on that which was extraordinary, can become ordinary, neglected and taken for granted.  It has often happened with our spouse, our children, our careers, but most unfortunate is that it also happens with our relationship with the Lord.  The things, events, people and especially our God, how do they fall off the radar of intensity, love and excitement?  Other things keep coming in and little by little diverting our attention, draining our excitement and distracting us from that which was once the most important thing in our lives.  Sometimes opposition, trials, frustrations tend to exhaust us and we get tired and want to give up.  So we tend to quit trying, we just want to take a sabbatical from all of our problems and challenges in life.  Often when we come to this place we let go of our self-control.   Instead of alert we be become apathetic, complacent and uncaring.  Now we are ripe for the adversary to come in.  We are like the sheep separated from the flock, vulnerable and easy prey.  You are not alone when this happens.  It happens to most of us at one time or another.  That is why we so often see our brothers or sisters that were so strong in the Lord and then we find out they have fallen into sin, or a couple that seemed to have such a strong family and marriage has come to divorce and separation.  The enemy is looking for our places of weakness and vulnerability.  This is one reason we need to be strong in our relationship with the body and have close fellowship.  We need accountability with one another, we need to be able to share our weaknesses and struggles praying and lifting up one another rather than condemning, judging and gossiping about each other.
Brothers and sisters you have precious seed within you.  You have the life and promise of Christ within.  You have an enemy that hates that seed.  He will do whatever will rob, steal or destroy it out of your life.  He will do whatever will make you fall or others to fall because of you.  This why the Holy Spirit is saying here, “Wake up!  Pay attention!  Come out of your slumber, your apathy and complacency.  The destroyer is near and seeking opportunity.
A pastor shared a scripture out of Proverbs 24:10-12, “If you falter in times of trouble,
how small is your strength! 11 Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. 12 If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?”  We have a responsibility not only to stay awake for ourselves, but also to rescue one another when we are getting weak or faltering in our walk.   We are all going to have trials, difficulties, troubles, heartaches and temptations.  That is a part of our destiny and heritage.  While none of us look forward to going through these they are the birth pains of the kingdom of God within us.  These are the places where God is able to help us to find the riches of gold tried in the fire, When we overcome and prevail through them in the faith of Christ, this is what makes it ours because we possess a victory through experience.  It is great to read the testimonies of others, but there is nothing more precious than when the testimony becomes our own.  We all have testimonies and experiences, but in the midst of the heat of our trials we tend to forget what God has already done for us.  I find that I am often brought to tears as I begin to remember and recount the many blessings and faithfulness of God in my life.  It is always good to keep a journal of all the answered prayers and the ways that God is moving and doing in your life, because we have short memories and we tend to forget.  We only see what God hasn’t done for us yet, rather than all that He has already done.  Recounting the blessing and faithfulness of God will build faith, reassurance, new hope and confidence as you are facing your trials and tribulations.  Ask David.  Much of Psalms is David writing about the faithfulness of God in His life and the attributes of His character and nature.  That was building faith in Him to continue to stand in His trials, putting His faith in the Lord in the midst of great adversity.
This is a day when the tempo of the spirit world is changing.  It is going to become much more intense both in light and in darkness.  God is going to begin moving through His people again in a much more powerful way.  As He does the spirit of opposition will also become stronger.  It is not a day to run and hide or be fearful.   It is a day to rise up in the authority you have in Christ Jesus and come forth in a new boldness of faith.   As I prayed this morning there was a fresh anointing of power and authority as I prayed and prophesied over loved ones and those that God would have me pray for.
Let us wake up out of our apathy and complacency of spirit.  Get excited again about the mighty Christ who has called you out of darkness and into His marvelous light.  Open your ears and eyes to the things of the Spirit, stepping into what God shows you with authority and purpose.  Remember what can happen through you isn’t dependent upon your ability, but upon your willingness to allow Him to be mighty in and through you.  Together, as one man, let us lift up holy hands and say, “Here am I God, send me.”  Let us stir up one another to good works and ministry.  Let us edify, build up one another and magnify the name of the Lord in our midst.  Hey you! Wake up!  This is a day for us to walk in victory and to be filled with the joy and excitement of what our God wants to do in and through each of us.



Patient in Tribulation

April 27, 2012

Romans 12:12
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Patient in Tribulation

Sometimes we get discouraged, our faith may begin to wane and doubt looks for opportunity to enter in.  We’ve all been there and we’ve all fought those battles from time to time.  Our natural mind starts to take over and we may begin to think, “Am I crazy, is there really a God and if so, does He really care about me?”  If He did, would I be going through all of these problems and issues in my life right now?
These are all legitimate questions and ones I would imagine all of us have wrestled with at times in our lives.  There is a reason that God didn’t take tribulations, trials, testing, persecutions and afflictions out of our life.  Nothing will test the metal of your faith like these fires will.  Nothing will solidify your confidence and commitment like these things will.
Have you watched kids who grew up having everything and having parents that took care of all of their problems and messes.  They are generally quite weak in their character.  They’ve never endured the hardships and disciplines that developed that character.  Often the strongest people we know may have grown up in the worst of circumstances and had the most challenges in life.
Listen to what Paul says about tribulation in Romans 5:1-5.  “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”
Are you crazy Paul?   Why would you rejoice in suffering?  Who would want that?
He rejoices in it, because of the fruit that it produces in patience, character and hope that does not disappoint.  It is our opportunity to lay hold of the love that God has poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.  In your weakness, who makes you strong?  In your poverty, who makes you rich?  In your foolishness, who makes you wise?  It is in our deficiency, that we must find His sufficiency.  Psalms 105:19 says, “The LORD’s promise tested him through fiery trials until his prediction came true.”  In order to receive the promise you have to prove the promise.  The proof is in your faith to stand through the fiery testing till it comes to pass.
1 Peter 4:12-14 exhorts us, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”
Listen again at what Peter says in 1 Peter 1:3-9.  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”  Suffering and trials are the refining fires of your faith, not to destroy, but to perfect you in the character of who you were called to be in Christ.  Those fires may touch everything around you; they may touch your very person, health, wealth and well-being, but they can only purify your faith that is “shielded by God’s power”.
Consider how the book of James starts out in James 1:2-4, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
What is with these  apostles telling us to count our tribulation and trials joy.  Don’t they know that because of them I have been tempted to give up.  I’ve doubted God and myself?
Metal is tempered through the fire.  God’s purifying His divine gold nature in you.  Through our suffering and trials we have to deal with the dross of our doubts, fears and unbelief.  The way up into Him is through the fire.  As God’s loving arms draws you closer into Him, His consuming fire is burning up more and more all that is not of Him.  Romans 8:17 encourages us with this truth, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
Finally Jesus encourages us with these words from John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  The good news is that the Overcomer of the world now resides in you.  As we allow His life to live and flow through us we rest from our own abilities and efforts to confidently trust that no matter what we face, we don’t face it alone.   Jesus is the author and the finisher of our faith and in Him we shall prevail.


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