THE HEART OF AN INTERCESSOR…

Spiritual Blog - Pray

Exodus 33:12-16 – “Then Moses said to the LORD, “See, You say to me, ‘ Bring up this people!’ But You Yourself have not let me know whom You will send with me. Moreover, You have said, ‘I have known you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.’ 13 “Now, therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight. Consider too, that this nation is Your people.” 14 And He said, ” My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15 Then he said to Him, ” If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. 16 “For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?”  NASU

 

Every time I read this passage I am moved by the heart of Moses, the act of intercession, and the Promises of God.  The people had quickly moved into idolatry and the laughable excuse that Aaron made is indelibly imprinted on my mind.  “I just took the gold, threw it in the fire, and out came this golden calf.”  I wonder if he had been sniffing something stronger than incense when he said that?  But, that is another story for another time.  Moses realized the incredibly difficult task of keeping the entire nation focused on their purpose and committed to God.  He knew that he must have something more so that he could effectively lead the nation in the right path and reach the Place of Promise

Moses, in his intercession and appeal, reminded God of the process through which Israel was delivered from the bondage of Egypt.  Moses began, “LORD, you are the one responsible for them.  I didn’t do it on my own.  You said, bring this people out!”  Moses reminded God of his protests and that God has said, “I know you by name and you have found favor in my sight.”  Then he pleaded for mercy saying, “IF I have found favor in your sight, let me know your ways, so that I may find favor in your sight.”  He reminded God that Israel was His people because it was God who had redeemed them from bondage.  The heart of an intercessor always seeks more of God so that he/she can impart that to others and effectively pray from or with the heart of God.

God spoke to Moses and said, “My presence shall go with you and I will give you rest.”  That is the cry of my heart, GOD’S PRESENCE, and GOD’S REST.  It is only out of His presence and anointing that I can have any positive impact on others.  It is only out of His rest that I can walk in faith.  His rest brings peace and that peace allows my heart to focus on Him and His Promises without the turmoil of life blinding my upward vision.  Moses, I am sure was elated to hear that but his next statement drives home the importance of God’s Presence and Rest.  Moses said, “IF your presence does not go with us, don’t lead us from here.”  I love the old gospel song, “I won’t walk without Jesus, I won’t talk without Jesus; I refuse to live one day as before.  I won’t go without Jesus, Just ain’t so without Jesus; Everything that I would do, I just won’t do without the Lord.”  Without Him, we truly can do nothing.  Without Him, we surely fail.  But with Him, we are more than conquerors.

Moses was broken-hearted at the failure of his brother Aaron and the people.  He was filled with the fear and awe of God and knew that God’s anger, if not stayed, would consume the people.  Even with his disappointment over the sin of the people, Moses, the intercessor, went before the throne of heaven and pleaded for MORE of God.  More of God’s love.  More of God’s Person.  More of God’s Presence.  More of God’s Mercy.  He had the people on his heart and was so committed to interceding for them that He could say, “If you blot them out, blot me out too.”  That was a million miles from his desire but he was committed to standing in the gap and making up the hedge for those he had been charged with leading.  That kind of commitment is required in the effective and fervent prayers of intercession.

I am praying for the church, individuals within the church, and our nation.  The harvest is ripe and yet the laborers are too few.  There are many adversaries and I am praying for a great door to be open and a mighty move of the Holy Spirit bringing sweeping revival to the church and the nation.

Blessings as you enjoy this wonderful day in Jesus!

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HEARTBROKEN ENOUGH TO ACT….

Spiritual Blog - Heartbroken

Nehemiah 1:4 – “So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.”  NKJV

 

This verse is in reference to Nehemiah hearing the news about the disrepair of Jerusalem and it so broke his heart that it moved him to action.  In his situation it was action that could easily have cost him his life but he was so moved he could do nothing else.  That brings me to the thought that I want to address today.

When was the last time you were ‘so moved’ by the condition of our world, the church, or a life that it so moved you that ‘prayer’ and ‘fasting’ was the immediate response and then you moved into action with the guidance of the Holy Spirit?  Sadly, I hear many talking about the NEED for ‘renewal’, ‘restoration’, and/or ‘revival’ but I do not see many that are so heartbroken over the condition and the dying souls of men that they are driven into intercessory prayer and fasting.  Honestly, if it does not move us to the point that it breaks our hearts I doubt that we will give it much serious thought and as a result will not be compelled to do that which is needed to change the circumstances or situation.

I am reminded of the biblical record when Jesus came to Mary and Martha at their brother, Lazarus’ tomb.  Mary ran to Jesus weeping and whether it was intentional or not, leveled an accusation toward Him saying, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”  It was both a statement of faith and frustration.  He asked where they had buried Lazarus and as she led Him to the tomb Jesus wept.  He then moved into action that restored the life to Lazarus who had been dead three days.  A significant miracle by any standards!

I know of a man who is so easily touched by the Spirit of God that we will be in a public place sharing a meal or a thought and something will catch his eye and he will be in tears brokenhearted over the condition, situation, or life that he is observing.  He will then excuse himself and there is no need to ask for he is going to his prayer closet to intercede over whatever it was.  I’m told that many times, days later he testifies of something God has done in that very situation.  He becomes so brokenhearted that he acts in the most powerful way that we humans can act he reaches out to the Throne of Heaven.

If we truly believe that the church or our world is in need of ‘renewal’, ‘restoration’, and/or ‘revival’ why does it not crush our hearts?  I am not trying to be accusatory for I ask myself the same question and do not always like the answers I receive within my heart and mind.  God help us to never become so entangled with the affairs of this life that we lose contact with the Throne of Heaven and experience such a desensitization of our hearts that we are not shattered by the condition of the world.  Lord, I pray that you make our hearts so tender that we actually mourn over sin.

            May God be with you as you go through your day!

SPIRITUAL SIGHT…

Spiritual Blog - Sight

John 5:19-21 – “Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.  20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.”  NKJV

 

Throughout the biblical record, we find case after case where a person of God did exploits and in each example, we find a linking thread in those cases of SEEING then DOING.  The idea presented by Jesus had been demonstrated in the Old Testament on numerous occasions and the emphasis of SPIRITUAL SIGHT cannot be overlooked.  Jesus SAW what the Father was doing and DID what He saw.  If Jesus is our example and through Him, we can do all things then we need to develop SPIRITUAL SIGHT and learn obedience in our doing.

We would do well to recall the words of our LORD in John 14:12, “…he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these will he do because I go to My Father.”   If we are to follow the pattern of our LORD then we will ONLY do what we SEE Him doing and ONLY say what we HEAR Him saying.  I won’t attempt to take the time to delve into a full discourse on either of those but suffice it to say that we must learn how to SEE with our spirits not just our natural eyes.  We must learn to LOOK THROUGH circumstances rather than at them.  We must learn to view life through the eyes of the Spirit of God not the eyes of flesh.  It is as we learn to SEE spiritually can we DO the exploits that God has designed and desired of us.

When I think back to the Twelve Spies Joshua sent into the Canaan and the Ten coming back having seen the bounty and beauty of the land were still bound by their natural sight and could only see the problem through the eyes of flesh.  Joshua and Caleb saw the same bounty and beauty but saw the problem as potential through the eyes of the Spirit or Faith.  The Ten saw GIANTS and themselves as GRASSHOPPERS, the Two saw through the eyes of the Spirit and saw VICTORY!  They all saw the Milk and Honey but the ten saw the PROBLEM and the two saw the PROVISION.  Joshua and Israel chose to believe the TWO, not the TEN.  Another indication that just because a majority wants something does not mean it is right or even desirable it just means they are a majority.  We either see with Spiritual Sight or Natural Sight and that is determined by the condition of our heart and relationship with God.  It is determined by our learned confidence in the Promises and Provisions of God and His Word.

Another example is seen in the life of Elisha, one of the most, if not the most powerful prophets of the Old Testament.  He was a thorn in the side of opposing kings and armies and would hear in his spirit what they planned then report it to his king and thwart their efforts.  This so disturbed the enemy kings they developed a plan to capture and eliminate Elisha.  As the enemy armies surrounded Elisha’s position his servant was terrified and ran to Elisha with the report, “Alas, my master!  What shall we do?”  Elisha was unmoved by the situation and said, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  The servant no doubt thought, “He has totally lost it now.  Can’t he see this massive host arrayed against us?”  Then Elisha prayed a unique prayer saying, “LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.”  God removed the spiritual blindness of the servant and he looked around and the mountain was filled with horses and chariots of fire.  It did not become full it was full!  They did not just show up as a result of Elisha’s prayer they were already there.  Elisha could see them and had calm confidence because of what he could see.

If we learn to SEE what God sees we will be able to DO what God does and become the instruments He desires to use in this present world!  Remember the words of 1 John 4:17, “…as He is, so are we in this world…”  How is he?  Where are we as He is?  He is Victor and we are to be as He is HERE AND NOW not in the sweet bye and bye.

So, I pray that God would open your eyes that you could begin to see what He sees and then do what He does, says what He says and be what He is in this present world.  God bless you as you go through this day!

WHAT AM I LIVING FOR???

Spiritual Blog - Living For

Philippians 1:21 – “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”  NASU

There is a song “What Am I Living For” that comes to mind and the questions the singer asks are: “What Am I Living for if not for you?”  It then declares that nobody else will do and the object of affection is the total focus and desire.  I ask that regarding our spiritual lives?  What are we living for if not for Christ?  What are we long for if not for Christ?  If anything else will do then I would suggest that our lives come up short of the prize that God has set before us.

Steven J. Cole wrote in a blog post in 2013 asking my question and related a story from English history and lore.  It seems that a young man came to W.E. Gladstone when he was Prime Minister of England and said, “Mr. Gladstone, I would appreciate your giving me a few minutes in which I might lay before you my plans for the future.  I would like to study law.”  “Yes,” said the great statesman, “and then what?”  “Then, sir, I would like to gain entrance to the Bar of England.” “Yes, young man, and what then?”  “Then, sir, I hope to have a place in Parliament, in the House of Lords.”  “Yes, young man, what then?” pressed Gladstone.  “Then I hope to do great things for Britain.”  “Yes, young man, and what then?”  “Then, sir, I hope to retire and take life easy.”  “Yes, young man, and what then?” he tenaciously asked.  “Well, then, Mr. Gladstone, I suppose I will die.”  “Yes, young man, and what then?”  The young man hesitated and then said, “I never thought any further than that, sir.”  Looking at the young man sternly and steadily, Gladstone said, “Young man, you are a fool.  Go home and think life through!”  (Told by Leonard Griffith, This is Living [Abingdon Press], pp. 48, 49.)

What are we living for?  How much thought have you given to your life?  The past, present, future, and eternity must be brought into focus.  Paul addresses this issue in the text above saying, “to live is Christ…”  I am living to LIVE CHRIST!  I am living to MANIFEST CHRIST!  I am living to be an EPISTLE KNOWN AND READ OF MEN!  My focus is Christ!  My hope is Christ!  My life is Christ!  For in Him I live and move and have being!

If I am living primarily for me my focus is wrong.  If I am living primarily to have financial success my focus is wrong.  If I am living to advance a particular cause my focus is wrong.  Jesus instructed us in Matthew 6:33 – “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” NASU If I have God first in my life and am actively and diligently seeking Him then He will care for all else in my life.  I am LIVING TO LIVE CHRIST!

I do not want to be remembered for my activism, my speaking or writing, my accomplishments in life (whatever they might be).  I want to be remembered for LIVING CHRIST!  I want to be remembered as one who manifested and demonstrated Christ in my words and deeds.  I do not care if anyone remembers my name so long as they remember the Christ of and in my life.

May God be with you as you go through your day!  I encourage you to begin LIVING CHRIST!  Blessings!

THE TOOL OF TEMPTATION – – Part 2…

Spiritual Blog - Temptation

James 1:1-8 – “James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.  2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”  NASU

 1 Corinthians 10:13 –No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” NASU

 

Picking up where we left off yesterday I must repeat something that many have heard me say, God’s ultimate desire for His children is ‘conformity’ with the Person & Image of Jesus Christ.  He wants us to have ‘full salvation’ and ‘complete deliverance’.  He wants us to enjoy and manifest His abundant provisions and to walk in victory PULLING DOWN STRONGHOLDS!

LIFE is a process from infancy, to adolescence, to adulthood.  Our spiritual life and walk involves numerous tests and various encounters which help to shape and develop our character.  They also provide a barometer by which we can identify where we are on the thermometer of life.   Hosea 4:6 – “My people perish for a lack of knowledge…”

That is applicable today even in the face of the expansion of knowledge exponentially almost daily on so many fronts.  If we do not know God’s will, we are incredibly unlikely to do God’s will.  If we do not understand what He is doing we may and likely will resist and even rebel rather than resting and learning.  BUT, if we understand the principles, then we know not only what to look for but what to do.  Victory comes in ‘understanding’ and ‘obedience’.

In the text above James tells us to ‘count it all joy when you encounter various trials (temptations)…’  Frankly, that is not only difficult it is impossible WITHOUT some understanding of the Purpose of Temptation in our lives.   Have you been tempted?  Have you or are you now facing a temptation?  Have you succumbed to temptation?  If you have you know the sense of guilt that frequently accompanies that stumble although some just shrug it off and declare ‘I’m only human.’

TEMPTATION is something that is ‘common to man.’  It does not matter how old or how young, how spiritual or carnal IT COMES!  I am reminded of a story I heard on this about a young man and the keys to the family car.

“Dad, while you were away I came very close to breaking my promise to you about not driving the car during your absence.  You left the keys on the kitchen counter and I carried them in my pocket for 3 days fighting temptation.  The father replied, “Son, there is nothing like temptation to show you what you WILL DO if you are given the opportunity.”

Temptation can be viewed from three standpoints!

SATAN’S – – He sees it as an opportunity to defeat God’s Purpose.  He can only succeed in tempting us in those areas in which we have something in common with him.  Jesus said in John 14:30 that the devil had NO CLAIM on Him or on us. 

MAN’S – – We see it as a severe test and an attempt to destroy our faith and commitment.  We view it as a totally BAD THING.  James 1:13-14 is inspirational if we will allow it to be and explains this perfectly.

 GOD’S – – It serves a valuable and vital service in the lives of men/women.  It reveals at least three things about us – – What we are.  Where we stand.  What we will be.

             TEMPTATION is a factor in both the psychological and spiritual growth process and each of us MUST go through the mountains and valleys of life if we are to become mature individuals capable of living a full, meaningful, and victorious life.  Therefore TEMPTATION’S real purpose is ‘always’ to trigger a choice and prove a definitive stand or action.  What is your choice?

            May God be with you as you go through your day and may your choices be inspired of the Holy Spirit.  BLESSINGS!

THE TOOL OF TEMPTATION……

Spiritual Blog - Temptation

James 1:1-8 – “James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings. 

2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”  NASU 

1 Corinthians 10:13 –No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” NASU

 

As believers we have some clear promises in Scripture that we can expect to be realities in our lives:

  • GUIDANCE – – The Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth.
  • INSTRUCTION – – The Holy Spirit will Teach and we have All Scripture.
  • PROVISION – – But my God shall supply all your need.
  • COMFORT – – He will never leave you nor forsake you.
  • DEFENSE – – The battle is not yours, it is the Lord’s. We know not how to pray as we ought but God….

          The Word of God firmly and emphatically declares that it is due to a lack of knowledge that people are defeated and destroyed.  We have the promise that IF we walk in the light as He is in the light we can ask what we will.  The motive and the request are to be wholesome and pure.  If we ASK anything according to His will IT IS DONE! 

Therefore, it is of significant importance to know: 

  • The Will of God.
  • The Principles by which He Works.
  • What God is trying to do in and through us.

That is a colossal undertaking and not one to be considered lightly or frivolously.   One principle which affects us greatly in our walk and warfare spiritually and upon which much of our success hinges is – God’s Tool of Temptation!  I do not want you to think I’m saying that ‘God tempts’ for that would violate scripture but He uses temptation for our good.  There is a Principle that I like to call ‘The Wilderness Principle’ that could be beneficial in our consideration of this matter.  It is important to be aware of:

  • Temptation’s Purpose.
  • How to Receive God’s Promises.
  • How to Stand Steadfast when Facing the Problem.
  • How to Enter Into God’s Provisions.

Realizing the need for brevity I am going to press the pause button here and pick this up again next post.  I truly hope that your appetite for considering the work and effect of temptation is whetted.  May God be with you as you go through this day!  BLESSINGS!

 

DEFENDING GOD…. (He Needs No Defense)

Spiritual Blog - Defend God

Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning God…”  NASU

             I was challenged recently by a person telling me that I needed to DEFEND GOD.  I won’t go into the entire conversation or situation but this individual felt it was incumbent upon believers to DEFEND GOD.  That set me to thinking and examining my theology and core beliefs regarding God, my relationship with Him, and my responsibility as a believer.  I did not and have not finalized my thoughts on that front but let me share something that did come to mind as I examined this thought.

I AM HUMAN…

Therefore, for me to presume that I can or even need to ‘defend God’ causes some problems in my thinking.  God is infinite, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent and infinite.  How am I a finite human being to defend God?  I may well need to ‘defend’ my faith or the reason for my faith.  I may well need to ‘give answer’ for the reason of hope, that is in me.  I may well need to ‘defend’ my right to believe and worship according to the dictates of my heart following the biblical directives but DEFEND GOD?   He is all powerful and I am mortal with limited might.  He is all knowing and I see in part and know in part.

Please understand, I am not saying that there is not a need or time to ‘stand up’ for our faith but I am saying that God needs no defense.  The entire question caused me to reflect on God’s encounter with Job and the questions asked of God by the INFINITE GOD of all creation.  It became a comedy and my feeble attempt to ‘defend God’ would likely result in the same.  Defend Him, no!  Stand for Him, yes!  Declare my devotion, my faith, my understanding of Scripture, and my hope in Christ, absolutely!  To try to do a clinical defense of God would, in my mind, attempt to elevate me to His status and I would never presume to do that.

GOD NEEDS NO DEFENSE…

Creation speaks for itself for design implies a designer.  For me just a casual glance at the creation of God in the universe is so staggering I can have no response but to believe HE IS.  Having experienced the ‘new birth’ spiritually and witnessed the transformation of my life and the testimony of others about the transformation of my life I can only say HE IS.  Having experienced and witnessed His miraculous work in my own body, circumstances, and in the lives of others, I can only respond HE IS.  When I open my Bible the first words I read are, “In the beginning God…”  When I go to the last book of the Bible I read the statement of Jesus, “I am the Alpha and the Omega… who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”  HE IS.

I do not need to defend electricity for it to be useful I just need to allow it to function.  I do not need to defend aerodynamics to benefit from air travel I just need to get on the plane. I do not need to defend oxygen to breathe I just need to inhale and exhale.  I know I’m going beyond what some would deem necessary but instead of trying to DEFEND GOD why not just respond to Him and allow Him to demonstrate His existence, power, and love through our lives?  That would be the best defense of God I can think of.

            God bless you as you go through your day!