Going Through a Tough Time

Going Through a Tough Time

This morning I was impacted by the words of Jesus to Peter, “And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren” [Luke 22:31-32]

Going through a tough time is not easy but there are some wonderful fruit that develop in these times.

God is with us in these times and is working for our good. Literally, “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those and are called according to His purpose” [Romans 8:28]. He makes no mistakes and is working in us a deeper work of His grace. Nothing can happen to me that God does not know about or will be to my harm. When we are walking in intimacy with God even Satan cannot touch us without God’s permission. Right now God is good and will not allow anything to harm me.

God is with us in these times to transform our character. To a great extent, despite God’s call on Peter’s life and the revelations that God had given him, he was still very self-confident and proud. From such an attitude he could say, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and death” [Luke 22:33], “I will never stumble” [Matthew 26:33], and “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” [Matthew 26:35]. Through the sifting that would take place Peter would be transformed.

Look at every character in the Bible whom God used and you will see God shaping them through pain, rejection and deep trials.

Job’s testimony was, “When He has tried me I shall come forth as gold” [Job 23:10]. Right now God is purifying me and making me more like His Son.

God is with us in these times and Jesus is praying for us. Jesus said to Peter, “I have prayed for you.” Similarly Jesus, as the Great High Priest, “always lives to make intercession” for us [Hebrews 7:25]. Elsewhere is called our Advocate [1 John 2:1] who stands before the Father on our behalf. Even the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us when we don’t know how to pray for ourselves. He is praying that our faith will not fail and that we might be strengthened. Right now all of heaven is on my side and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are interceding for me.

God is with us in these times to prepare us to be a blessing to others. Jesus knew that Peter would come though this trial and when he did so it would be a different Peter who has been commissioned to strengthen his brethren [Luke 22:32]. Whatever the end of the trial may be it will result in others being blessed and strengthened, as well as us being purified and transformed more into the likeness of Jesus.

Before his ordeal Job heard of God, knew the truth, sought to live righteously and honour God’s laws, but after the trial he said, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You.” [Job 42:5]

We may not understand why these times come, but God calls us to trust Him in tough times and to believe that He is at work. Let us not allow our enemy to pervert our perception of God’s character our question His loving care. He will never do anything to harm or destroy us, and whatever He does or does not do is in our best interest.

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THE EVIL DAY

The Evil Day

In Ephesians Paul writes that we are to stand in the evil day (Ephesians 6:13).

What exactly is the evil day? From the context of the passage it is something that all believers will experience, but what exactly is it?

Yesterday I experienced what seemed like an evil day. Four days earlier I had returned home from hospital, catheterized but so happy to be home. On Sunday, two days later, I went to God’s house to worship and enjoy Him. It was especially moving that people had been praying for me, and one lady in particular who had prayed through three nights for me. One of the pastoral staff approached me and said, “Be still.” She added that it says to “be” and not  “do.”

Then yesterday the day came. It began with an encouraging email message from a member of the church who wrote:

“Hello Michael

 I heard Simon refer to your situation yesterday. Fear not; stand still and see the salvation of the Lord which He will work for you today – EXODUS 14:13

You are on the brink of doing some of the greatest work for the Lord, and in our area. The devil doesn’t like it, but he will not be able to stop it.You are home with us now, just where God wants you. We are looking forward to seeing how the Lord intends to use you here.”

There was that word “still” again, but this time “stand still and see.” This word came as a great encouragement, and especially the confirmation that God still had things for me to do. Then came the attack!

First, there was intense pain from the catheter and lots of blood. Then came a call from the consultant’s secretary who said that I would need an examination of the bladder in nine days’ time. She seemed shocked when I told her that I had a catheter, and the enemy whispered, “They don’t really care.” Then came the shock of the cost of the medical care and procedures – way beyond anything that I could afford. Then came depression – and with it self-pity, being irritated and all that goes with depression and self-pity.

The evil day is when the enemy, for a season, throws everything that he has got at you and that is the time that we must stand.

I poured out my heart to a special friend in Singapore and was very lovingly but firmly rebuked. Get your eyes on Jesus. Start praising Him, and then an email with three Scriptures to stand on. Did Jesus also not use three Scriptures in His evil day in the wilderness? My wife, also struggling with what I was going through, stood by me and prayed and gradually peace came.

This morning in my quiet time I read about Joseph, who through a pit, pain and prison was being sifted and shaped by God. He is in control – nothing and nobody except myself can stop His will being done in my life.

Then came the words of an old hymn, by Francis Ridley Havergal, and I began to sing them out.

“Hidden in the hollow,  Of His blessed hand, Never foe can follow, Never traitor stand;

Not a surge of worry, Not a shade of care, Not a blast of hurry Touch the spirit there.

Stand upon Jehovah, Hearts are fully blest, Finding as He promised, Perfect peace and rest.”

The evil day is past and today is a new day to press forward.

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THE POTTER’S HANDS

A few days ago we listened in a meeting as someone spoke about Jesus and said that He is everything. In us HE is the hope of glory and the Father’s will is that we should be conformed to the image of His Son – that Christ should be formed in us. Today I have read this powerful message about the Potter and the clay by Kent Simpson. Let’s allow the Potter to mould us into the image of Jesus, by whatever means He sees fit, and rejoice constantly that He is at work as we are pliable and allow Him to have His way in us.

The Potter’s Hands

I have a little story that somewhat explains the process of being shaped and moulded by the Potter’s hands. Each of us is nothing more than a clay vessel cleansed of its impurities. God chooses unworthy and broken vessels of clay for His work.

“Pausing, the Potter picks up an abandoned and broken vessel of clay. His empathetic tears fall upon its sinful nature, baptizing it, washing away the years of neglect and abuse. His compassion melts the vessel, resurrecting a new pliable texture. His newfound love for it begins to knead out the lumpy, hard features of its coarse and worldly ways.

“Finally the clay sighs in relief as it is gently placed in the centre of the Master’s view. He ponders with great thought about what He will make of this re-born vessel. Suddenly, the clay experiences a troubling intrusion. Spinning the wooden wheel, the Master begins to form the clay into His heart’s delight.

As the clay feels the strong touch of the Master’s hands, he also experiences the swirling of circumstances that he cannot control. Faster and faster, the Potter’s wheel turns as He squeezes and shapes the clay, extending its faith and stature. Slowing the wheel, life’s problems seem to cease. The Potter sits back and observes His renewed vessel. Noticing a few weaknesses in the vessel, He compresses the clay once again into a shapeless form. Whirling the wheel around even faster than before, causing confusion in the clay.

“As the Potter works the clay, it rises higher and higher. Each finger of the Potter’s hand carves deep into the clay, creating deep paths of purpose and destiny. At last, the wheel comes to a halt and the Potter walks away. Standing all alone, the clay begins to cry out for the Master. To his surprise the Potter returns with a sharp, double-edge sword. “What could He possibly want to do with that?” stuttered the vessel. With one clean stroke of the sword of His Word, the clay vessel is freed from the wheel of calamity and confusion. Resting in the hands of its Master, the vessel experiences a great peace as he is handled delicately for a season.

“Having been placed in a small box, the vessel witnesses the closing of a door that only the Master can open. With great intensity a fire begins to breathe its fury all around the clay vessel. Sweating with fear, the vessel struggles to find faith in the midst of this seemingly cruel process. With every hour seeming like years, the vessel weeps every ounce of moisture from its being. Having no more strength of its own, the vessel begins to harden in the Refiner’s fire.

As the vessel sees a new glow from his Master’s flaming eyes, the vessel recounts its purpose for being created. It recalls the promise of the Potter’s return; the vessel begins to reflect. Yearning for deliverance, the smoking vessel cries out with a burning desire to serve His Creator. As the Potter begins to remove the vessel from the furnace, the vessel vows to serve the Master with every part of his being.

Still glowing with passion to tell others about the Potter, the vessel pleads to be used for the Master’s glory. Instead, the Potter places the vessel on a cold shelf, knowing that he could scorch another with his heated passion to share his experience. The vessel laments over this chilling experience, waiting impatiently to be called into the service of his Master.

“With each new day the once fiery zeal of the vessel draws cold. Discovering the vessel is cool to the touch and cannot harm those who handle it, the Master takes him from the shelf. Knowing he is called to serve the Master, the vessel waits patiently for the anointed brush of the Potter.

With each unique and personal stroke of the Master’s brush, the vessel is gifted with a colourful destiny unlike any other. The vessel is complete, ready to be filled with the Master’s glory. It is willing to be filled and emptied again and again, delivering hope to those who thirst for the Master’s touch.”

But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand. Isaiah 64:8

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LEGAL PROTECTION

I read this article by Francis Frangipane this morning in the context of spiritual warfare and found it so helpful. Issues such as why God delays to answer, prevailing in prayer, and the real task of leaders are pin-pointed. 

Legal Protection

Approximately two thousand years ago a decree was issued at the judgment seat of Almighty God. It provided “legal” protection for the Church against the devil. Indeed, when Jesus died for our sins, the “ruler of this world” was judged (see John 16:11). Our debts were nailed to Christ’s Cross and canceled; principalities and powers were disarmed. In truth, because of Jesus, we have a legal right not only to be protected from our enemy but to triumph over him (see Colossians 2:13-15).

Having said that, we must also acknowledge that the Church has only rarely walked in such victory since the first century. Why? At least in part, the answer is this: to attain the protection of Christ, the Church must embrace the intercession of Christ. We must become a house of prayer.

Indeed, Church history began with its leadership devoted to the Word of God and to prayer (see Acts 2:42, 6:4). Every day the leaders gathered to pray and minister to the Lord (see Acts 3:1). In this clarity of vision and simplicity of purpose, the Church of Jesus Christ never had greater power or capacity to make true disciples.

Today, however, our qualifications for Church leadership include almost everything but devotion to God’s Word and prayer. Leaders are expected to be organizers, counselors, and individuals with winning personalities whose charms alone can draw people.

In Luke 18:8, Jesus challenges our modern traditions. He asks, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” His question is a warning to Christians who would limit the power of God at the end of the age. Jesus is calling us to resist the downward pull of our traditions; He is asking us individually, “Will I find faith in you?”

Before we respond, let us note that Jesus associates faith with “day and night” prayer (Luke 18:7). He is not asking, “Will I find correct doctrines in you?” The Lord’s question does not so much concern itself with our head as with our heart. What we believe is important, but how we believe is vital in securing the help of God.

Indeed, procuring the supernatural help of God is exactly the point of Jesus’ parable in Luke 18. His intent was to show that “at all times” we “ought to pray and not to lose heart” (verse 1). To illustrate the quality of faith He seeks, He followed His admonition with a parable about a certain widow who petitioned a hardened judge for “legal protection” (verse 3). Although the judge was initially unwilling, yet by her“continually coming” (verse 5) she gained what was legally hers.

Jesus concluded by asking, if an unrighteous judge will respond to a widow’s persistence, “will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?” Jesus said, “I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly” (verses 7-8).

Understanding God’s Delays

Our heavenly Judge will not “delay long” over His elect, but He will delay. In fact, God’s definition of “quickly” and ours are not always synonymous. The Lord incorporates delays into His overall plan: Delays work perseverance in us. So crucial is endurance to our character development that God is willing to delay even important answers to prayer to facilitate our transformation.

Thus, we should not interpret divine delays as signs of divine reluctance. Delays are tools to perfect our faith. Christ is looking to find a tenacity in our faith that prevails in spite of delays and setbacks. He seeks to create a perseverance within us that outlasts the test of time, a resolve that actually grows stronger during delays. When the Father sees this quality of persistence in our faith, it so touches His heart that He grants “legal protection” to His people.

Desperation Produces Change

It is significant that Jesus compared His elect to a widow harassed by an enemy. The image is actually liberating, for we tend to conceptualize the heroes of the faith as David or Joshua types – individuals whose successes obscure their humble beginnings. But each of God’s servants has, like the widow, a former life that is brimming with excuses and occasions to waver.

Look at the widow: She has legitimate reasons to quit, but instead she prevails. Indeed, she refuses to exempt herself from her high potential simply because of her low estate. She makes no apologies for her lack of finances, knowledge, or charm. Giving herself no reason to fail, she unashamedly plants her case before the judge where she pleads for and receives what is hers: legal protection from her opponent.

How did a common widow gain such strength of character? We can imagine that there must have been a time when, under the relentless pressure of her adversary, she became desperate, and desperation worked to her advantage. Desperation is God’s hammer: it demolishes the stronghold of fear and shatters the chains of our excuses. When our desperation exceeds our fears, progress begins.

Today, the force prodding many Christians toward greater unity and prayer has not been the sweetness of fellowship; more often it has been the assault of the enemy. We are in desperate times. When it comes to touching God’s heart, other than for a few essential truths, unity of desperation is more crucial than unity of doctrine.

God’s Elect

Our nation is suffering from a deep social and moral collapse. If we have ever needed God’s anointing, it is now – but where are God’s elect? Where are the people whom Daniel says “know their God” and “will display strength and take action” (Daniel 11:32)?

Is there no one divinely empowered who can fell the Goliaths of our age? Perhaps we are looking in the wrong places. Perhaps we need only to look in our bathroom mirror.If you believe in Jesus and are desperate for God, you qualify as one of God’s elect. Remember, in the above parable the widow typifies Christ’s chosen.

We have erroneously held that God’s chosen will never be assaulted by the adversary, much less driven to desperation and “day and night” prayer. But this desperation is often the very crucible in which the elect of God are forged. Jesus portrays this characteristic metaphorically in the picture of the widow; He reveals the means through which His elect prevail in battle at the end of the age.

When all is said and done, it is also possible that this widow may not have been a singular person but a corporate people – a “widow church” – united in Christ in a singular, desperate prayer for protection against her adversary.

We need the “legal protection” that a national revival provides. But it will not come without unceasing prayer. You ask, “Where was the prayer behind the Charismatic movement?” The Lord spoke to my heart that the Charismatic movement was His answer to the cries of a million praying mothers – women who refused to surrender their children to drugs and the devil.

It is our turn to pray. We are the widow who cannot give herself a reason for failure; God will answer our day-and-night cry. Let us position ourselves at His throne on behalf of our cities and nationsCertainly, as we persevere in faith, the Lord will grant us legal protection from our enemy.

Heavenly Father, forgive us for our lack of prayer and for giving ourselves excuses to fail. Lord, we thank You for making us desperate. Help us now to prevail, to attain the “legal protection” You have provided us against our adversary. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This message was adapted from the book The Power of Covenant Prayer by Pastor Frangipane.

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BUMPS ON THE ROAD TO GLORY

I was very impacted this evening by this testimony from Bill Yount this evening. As we are getting older, not travelling quite so much, and experiencing some difficult bumps in life’s journey, this really spoke to me and blessed me. I trust that it will do the same for you.

The Bumps on the Road to Glory

“This Is My Little Preacher!”

I wish one of us five kids on one bike would have seen that bump sign before we started down that hill. But no one saw it. If just one of us would have seen it, I wouldn’t be wearing this bump on my head today. I was five years old and extra short for my age. I was in the basket up front. The impact to my head was so hard that doctors discovered it caused a bone to grow abnormally on the right side above my eye. With the bad news came another shocker. The x-ray also showed a brain tumor. I was sent to a brain specialist in Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA. Mercy Hospital is a Catholic Hospital. My mother got all the nuns and priests praying for me. All I can tell you is the morning of my tumor surgery, my mother came into my hospital room all excited. She said, “Bill, they just took another set of x-rays to make sure they know how to take the tumor out, but they can’t find it. It’s gone!”

I learned early in life to never tell God who He can’t use to bless us, for there are hungry hearts in every church and denomination who we will need more in the days to come. The final blow to that tumor came two years earlier when my mother began to tell everybody, “This is my little preacher!” Years later, the Lord showed me her spoken prophetic word over my life, “This is my little preacher!” ate the tumor alive like a spiritual pack man, for it had come to steal God’s purpose for my life. They then did surgery to scrape the bone away on my head as much as they could, but it still marks my life to this day. God Blessed the Bump In the Road.

Have you ever wished that you could go back one day in your life and live it over? You guessed it. That would be the one day for me. I would have done anything but take a bike ride. But as I am getting older, with years of wisdom from the school of hard knocks, I have learned to think different. I don’t think I would change a thing. For God blessed the bump in the road that led me straight to Jesus when I was five years old. Looking back, it wasn’t the easy road that blessed my life. It was the broken road that blessed me. What about you?

Before I get up to minister lately, I have found myself weeping at times. At a recent meeting I asked my wife if she had any more Kleenex. I’ve noticed the atmosphere is so different when this happens. God comes in on the wings of brokenness. He is healing our broken wings to fly again.

Big Leagues and Big Hits Go Together. During the recent Super Bowl game, the kick-off receiver caught the football deep in the end zone and ran like a deer, only to hit a brick wall of opposition at about the 20 yard line. Even the announcer sounded shaken at the sudden impact felt high above the stadium. The receiver held onto the football with a vengeance, and the opposing players’ frantic scramble to steal the ball was all in vain. Later in the game, unable to forget this play, I said to the Lord, “Why have I been in a season where I have been taking so many hard hits?” The Lord answered, “Son, I have put you into the big league. Big leagues and big hits go together!” His words were life to me. The enemy almost convinced me, “God has left you and He doesn’t care about you.” I thought it was God letting me down when He was actually raising me up. I could see where God was now. He was on the sideline as my coach. Could it be when we experience His awesome presence is when we are on the sidelines with Him receiving encouragement and instructions for the next game play? All of a sudden, I felt honoured by those hits and assaults from the opposition coming against me. They were now signs and confirmation of my promotion. Many others have been promoted into the big league of God’s Kingdom and are unaware of it. When the enemy hits you hard or life itself comes against you, hold onto the football with both hands. Hold onto God’s word that He has spoken to you. The enemy’s job is to strip the football or God’s word from you. And when you get knocked down, get up proudly, for you are in the big league and the game is not over.

In another play that same kick-off receiver caught the football eight yards deep in the end zone and ran all the way for a touchdown, tying a Super Bowl record of the longest kick-off return in Super Bowl history (click here). They first thought it was a record breaker of a hundred and nine yards, but they remeasured the field and found that it tied a previous record. Big leagues and big hits not only go together but also big leagues and big scoring runs go together!

Many reading this message are hitting major bumps in the road and taking some big hits in life. But your bumps have come to bless you and your hits have made you stronger to make history winning touchdowns in God’s Kingdom. God is measuring the field for you. It’s time to break the records!

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THE HUNGRY HEART – SEEKING THE SECRET PLACE

It is a while since I have put anything on the blog – almost a month. In that time Esther and I have been to Northern Iraq. I read this challenging word from Bobby Connor of Eagles View Ministry this morning and was deeply blessed by it and wanted to share it. I trust that it will bless you.

In my own quiet times I have been reading the Book of Daniel and have been deeply blessed. Perhaps in the weeks ahead I will write down on the blog some of the thoughts that the Lord has given me from each of the chapters of Daniel. In the meantime be blessed by Bobby Connor’s article. 

The Hungry Heart: Seeking the Secret Place

 Deep Calling unto Deep

 This is a season when the saints of God will discover that true intimacy is stirred in the secret place of the Most High, a desire not merely for power but for His living presence.

The first step toward the “secret place of the Most High” (Psalm 91:1) begins with a desperate, hungry heart. This longing draws us to seek true, deep intimacy with Christ. One can hear the cry of David’s longing heart in Psalm 42:7:

“Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me.”

Beloved, now is the time to go deeper into the Word of God in order to go higher with the Lord. The Spirit of God has stirred this desire! He has been fanning the flame of discontentment within the hearts of God’s people, resulting in a deep hunger for not merely the power of God but the presence of God. 

David’s Burning Desire

Many in our day can relate with the hungry heart of David as he pens the Psalms. These love poems to God are filled with the heart-cry of a man seeking for a deep, personal relationship with the Lord Himself. Again and again, David expresses a burning desire to intimately know the Lord on several levels of experience. First, he desires to know the Lord face to face. In this regard, I so appreciate The Message Bible Psalm 63:1-4: 

“God–You’re my God! I can’t get enough of You! I’ve worked up such hunger and thirst for God, traveling across dry and weary deserts. So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in Your strength and glory. In Your generous love I am really living at last! My lips brim praises like fountains. I bless You every time I take a breath; My arms wave like banners of praise to You.”

And from Psalm 42:1-2: “As the heart pants after the water brooks, so pants my soul after You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” 

David’s Repentance 

David has gained the knowledge that he cannot find the soul satisfaction and fulfillment that he deeply desires from other relationships. He now desires to know the Lord as a Person with whom he can share times of intimate fellowship. When he fell short of this experience, David repented before the Lord.

“I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord, and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.” Psalm 32:5 NKJ

Now, after coming clean with God, David is free from all guilt and condemnation and he can say from within the depth of his being:

“You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:7 NKJ

David has come to understand that only the Lord can satisfy the longing of his soul. He has completely abandoned himself to the Lord as his “hiding place.” 

David’s Trust 

As a result of this deep heart rending repentance, David then desires to know the Lord as one in whom he can place infinite trust. In Psalm 56:11, David the Psalmist writes:

“In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do to me.”

There is a bold clarity in the expression of David’s trust and expectancy in these words as they flow out from a heart of love, appreciation, and worship. With clean hands and a pure heart David discovers he has been brought into a new level of intimacy with God, the Lord spoke to him and imparted this very encouraging promise:

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you.” Psalm 32:8-9 NKJ

David’s repentance has brought him into such an intimate closeness to the Lord (“I will guide you with My eye”), that David is able to sense the desire of the Lord concerning him, apart from words being spoken. Seeking to take David even further into true intimacy, the Lord exhorts him to be both responsive and obedient: “Do not be like the horse or like the mule.” As followers of Christ we should not be self-willed, like a horse, nor should we be stubborn like the mule. Our goal is to become easy to lead, swift to obey. Desiring to fully follow the Lamb wherever He will lead. 

Unwavering Desire and Focus 

We also desperately need this same clarity of Spirit-led protection and guidance that David experienced. As world pressures and religious confusion increase, we must heed this exhortation in the Word to unconditionally make the Lord our portion; He alone is our impenetrable rock, and refuge (see Psalm 59:16-17)!

Psalm 91 promises deliverance and victory in the time of trouble to those abiding in God’s presence. “He that dwells in the secret place of The Most High.” This “secret place” is a place “set apart” where we can withdraw from the activities of our everyday life experience. Here, we will be able to clearly hear with our spiritual ears, and then appropriate His Words into our spirit and digest them until they become a personal reality within us. Only as we learn to act upon the Word of God does our life start to transform and true change occurs (see James 1:22). 

There are many distracting influences that seek to draw us away from a sincere devotion to the Lord. These forces have absolutely no power or control over us, unless we allow them to do so. There must be within each of us an active resistance to anything that will hinder our times of fellowship with the Lord. It is when we resist the devil that he takes flight from us (see James 4:7).

The Lord will not over-ride our will; He will urge us and prompt and provoke us but the choice must be from our heart. He will guide us, but we are given the freedom to choose our level of response to Him in every area of our life encounter. We must abide continually in an attitude of choosing to respond to His wooing our hearts into this place of “a secret abode of intimacy with Him.”

The foe of our soul will do all he can to distract us away from our quest for the secret place. The enemy’s strategies that pull away from this secret place are many and manifold: there continually lurks in the shadows the desire for success, recognition and earthly security against what might happen. If allowed, these things will step forward to obscure Jesus. Our goal is to truly seek first the Kingdom of God (see Matthew 6:33). As this becomes our quest then everything else will find its proper place in our life.

We easily forget His promise in John 16:33, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Here, Jesus is saying, “Do not fear, in Me you will have peace.” He has promised to care for us, for He is our Good Shepherd. As we have need, we can freely partake of all that He won on the Cross in our behalf (see Romans 8:32-37)! 

Set Our Affections Above 

If we are not receiving His care and protection, we have either chosen the wrong dwelling place or we have set our affection on something or someone other than Christ Jesus, our King. When this happens, He patiently waits, ready to help us when we finally turn to Him.His “Word” to us is that we enter into “the secret place” where He dwells and then make this our real, experienced home.

David erected a tent on Mount Zion for God to dwell in, but David’s heart became the Lord’s abode. The Lord promises to reward those who seek Him. This reward is God Himself. Nothing can compare to this eternal treasure!

In Romans 8, we are presented with exhortations, promises, and the marvelous Word that “all things work together for good to them that love God” (to those who make Him their secret abode). Then comes the encouraging word, “If God be for us, who can be against us?”

Victory is guaranteed, as we put our trust completely in Christ Jesus and seek this place of rest in His presence (see Psalm 16:11). As we do this, we will be eternally grateful and satisfied! Abiding in Christ’s presence produces the peace that surpasses all understanding.

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THE POWER OF THE BLOOD OF JESUS TO PROTECT US

This morning I was reading this powerful message from John Belt about the blood of Jesus and wanted to share it with you. There is tremendous power in the blood of Jesus.
 
The Power of the Blood of Christ is Sufficient to Cover and Protect

“When I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you…”

Storms & Passover

As we pursue God’s Kingdom agenda for our lives, there are spiritual storms that come our way. No matter how you see that storm – allowed by God or sent by the devil or both – the power of the Blood of Christ is sufficient to cover and protect. We overcome by His Blood. God is pleased with us when we respond in faith, knowing that we are overcomers and that He is for us.

Exodus 12:12-14 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite 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. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.

When we look at the event of Passover in the Book of Exodus, we see when they put the blood on the doorposts they were protected from that which God was bringing to judge the Egyptians. Through this blood applied to the doorposts, God made a distinction between the Egyptians and the Jewish people. While the Egyptians were getting hit by the destruction, God kept His people safe. In the same way, the Blood of Christ covers and protects us from all destruction that would try to come our way.

The Secret Place

There are times that we speak to the storm, but there are also times where we ask the Lord to cover us and cause the storm to “pass over” us – maybe both. One thing is for sure…intimately knowing God is prerequisite for us to have both protection and authority. We have one of the greatest promises in Scripture in Psalm 91.

Psalm 91:1-2 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of Jehovah, He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in whom I trust.

This is one of my favorite chapters in the entire Bible because it is all centered around “dwelling in Him,” knowing God through intimacy with Him. In this passage, we are told that when we dwell in the “secret place” of the Most High, we will dwell in His shadow. In this place we can confidently declare that He is our refuge and fortress. In this chapter we also have a multitude of protections – blessings given to us by the Lord because we have set our love upon Him.

Led By the Spirit

I’m thankful for the different avenues that God has provided for us in our approach to things, whether it be a trial, test, or moving into new territory for God’s Kingdom (or all of the above). I believe in the decree, speaking to things to see them shifted. I also believe in the power of the Blood of Christ that is sufficient to cover and protect. I believe in the power of simplicity in worship that can shift atmospheres with His manifested Presence. I also believe the joyful heart, laughter, and dancing are all weapons.

Even just “letting go of things” can be a huge weapon. I believe there is power in the name of JESUS, the name that is above every name. I believe in all kinds of prayer and petitions to God, because God will use any and all of these avenues as He sees fit. Why? HE IS GOD. The point is that there is no formula. The sons of God are led by the Spirit of God (see Romans 8:14).

Filling In the Blanks

God always leaves blanks so we cannot “formulize” everything. He always wants us to remember that “ultimately” He has all the answers and we don’t, leaving us seeking His face for the solutions. He does leave blank spaces for us to fill in. Not concerning His will and desires, but in exactly how it will come about. Isn’t that what “faith” is about? Faith is not about having everything figured out but about “stepping out.”

Romans 8:31-32 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not also with Him freely give us all things?

There is no weapon that is formed against us that will prosper. God is for us. If He is for us then it does not matter who is against us. The bottom line is that the weapons that He has provided for us are more than sufficient for us to overcome. With God on our side, we have the majority and the victory

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