by Lawrence Powell
Nestled in the ancient text of 1 John 4 is a powerful principle for contemporary kingdom living. By this principle, we should live our lives, conduct our affairs and minister in the name of Jesus. It is found in verse 4: You are of God, little children, and have overcome them because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
This powerful verse begins with, You are of God, little children… That is emphatic: You are a child of God! It is very important that as a believer you know who you are. If you dont, then you will live far beneath your potential. Youll live like youre somebody else! When you do not know who you are in God, in Christ, Satan will try to keep you from accepting this kingdom principle. Hell work to convince you that youre weak, that youre a loser. Hell have you convinced theres no way out, that your situation is not redeemable. Hell tell you that the sickness attacking your body will be the end of you. But youre not powerless, friend — youre more than a conqueror. Youre a winner! Youre undefeatable!
The scripture goes on to say, You have overcome them. Who is them? This term actually refers to the Antichrist and the spirit of Antichrist, which is in the world. We know from words like antiperspirant that the prefix anti means that which is against, or that which is opposed to. So, antichrist means that which opposes Christ, that which is against Christ. So this spirit of Antichrist is Satan himself, the demonic realm, the demonic agenda, not just the Antichrist personified in End Times teachings.
The spirit of Antichrist will try to deceive you and lead you astray. It will invite you to accept human reason over godly reason, temporal evidence as the facts, but-Good News!-the real fact is you are an overcomer! You may have a treasure in an earthen vessel. Your outward man may be perishing, according to the Scriptures, but your inward man is being renewed day by day. Your body is not perfect: It ages (dont we know it!). But whats most important is who we are in the spirit. While you may stand bent over in pain before a mirror and shake your head at your frailty, God may look upon you as a powerhouse of prayer and faith in the midst of your storm!
John, in his epistle, makes it very clear why we are overcomers: Because greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. Without Jesus in us, there is no overcoming. Theres nothing we can do to save ourselves. We cannot redeem the time or make things new. Theres simply no reason for us to be self-focused or think of ourselves as self-sufficient! No, wisdom declares that we need to be God-focused. God is mighty. He is the One who can save. And He is greater than anything we will ever come against.
It is important to know who you are. Its also extremely important that you know who God is. How big is your God? How great is He? If you see Him as distant or distracted, how will His greatness reach you? If you see Him as too big for your problems, how will you cry out to Him for help? Likewise, if you see Him as a spiritual shadow, how will you have confidence that He can do anything for you? If Hes just a religious figure like Buddha or Muhammad, how can He do for you what you need to be done?
The Scriptures tell us many things about God: He is a Self-revealing God. From the opening statement in the book of Genesis, He reveals His nature to man: In the beginning, God… The Hebrew word is Elohim, the Creator God, the self-existent, eternal and righteous God. If we saw God for who He is, we wouldnt get so discouraged by the evil and godlessness of our culture. If we could keep the greatness of God before our eyes, wed be gripped by His awesome reality. Like the Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 3:18, if we saw the greatness of God, we would be changed from one degree of glory to the next.
God is omnipotent (all-powerful, almighty); He is omnipresent (everywhere present); He is omniscient (all-knowing). He is eternal, self-existent. God is self-sufficient. He doesnt need anybody else. He can actually do it all on His own!
God is transcendent, beyond our ability to describe or fully comprehend. But although He is transcendent, He is also imminent. He is God with us. God is sovereign. God is salvation. God is love. He is holy and just. He is righteous. Everything He does is pure and right. Everything He says is truth.
God is good, and His mercy endures forever. God is faithful even when we are unfaithful. God is our Helper, a very real and present help in times of trouble. He is Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals us. He is a deliverer, a miracle-worker. And He is immutable (He never changes).
God is still on the throne, my friend! The only way Satan can ever defeat you is if you become ignorant of who you are in Christ. When you know really knowthat the Greater One resides inside you, then defeat is not an option. You will laugh without fear of the future.
We are seated together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, and everything that is under His feet is under our feet as well. When we stand in this truth, we will see victory in our battles. When we stand unified with our other brothers and sisters in the faith, well see the kingdom of darkness pushed back and the glory of God released into our communities, our businesses, our schools, our nation, and our world!
I hope you will evict the lies of the enemy from your life today: discouragement, unbelief, poverty, sicknessyouve got to go in Jesus name! Be of good courage, believer. Lift up your head and get back to doing what God has called you to do. Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world!
by Lawrence Powell
I can do this! Those are four little words, but they carry a lot of weight when you choose to do what is right in God’s sight. For instance, Matthew 5:44 tells us to “love your enemies. Bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Those commands may seem hard, but 1 John 5:3 tells us, “His commandments are not burdensome.” Let that sink in a moment: His commandments are not burdensome! In other words they are not irksome, oppressive, or grievous!
God does not ask us to do hard things; He asks us to do impossible thingsthings that cannot be done outside of Jesus Christ. But whenever God asks us to do something that is impossible, He also anoints us to do it. He provides the will, the means, and the grace to do everything He commands us to do. His anointing will break through every obstacle we may encounter.
Wayne Stiles said this: “We won’t experience the joy of God’s power if we keep running from impossible situations.” If God asks impossible things of us, He plans to do the impossible for us. God will lead you and guide you in such a way that transformation is the end result. God may allow you to go into a fiery furnace, but you will come out with a testimony, fireproof and triumphant!
What happens when we avoid hard things? The answer is, hard things come to us. Have you ever tried to escape something that was difficult only to run right into it? There’s a class that you’ve got to take in the school of the Holy Spirit, and that is Hard Knocks. But look in the mirror and tell yourself, “I can do this!”
Difficulties arise because we need to learn to confront life from a different perspective that comes with a new set of values. When we walk contrary to the way of the world, there will be difficulties. Our friends won’t understand us. It’s as if we’re speaking a foreign language. We’re talking holiness; they’re talking ungodliness. We’re talking righteousness; they’re talking unrighteousness.
Difficulties also exist for our growth potential. God will stretch us: This can be painful at times, because it requires leaving our comfort zones.
Scripture is full of examples of people who didn’t want to do what God told them to do. Moses struggled with God’s command to confront Pharaoh about freeing the children of Israel. And Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh, so he purchased a ticket to somewhere else. He ended up in the belly of a big fish until he repented. Then God delivered him, and he went on to Nineveh.
Jesus said, “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls; for My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Note: “My yoke is easy”…but it’s still a yoke. “My burden is light”…but it’s still a burden. The good news is we don’t have to carry it alone.
Here are five things you can do through Christ, when faced with difficulties:
1. Be determined to do God’s will: When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:30-46), He struggled in regards to the bitter cup, wrestling with the purpose that the Father had set out before Him–so much so that blood, like drops of sweat, poured from Him. Yet He said, “Not My will, but Your will be done!”
2. Obey the Lord, no matter how silly or difficult it may appear: In 2 Kings 5:1-14 we read about Naaman, a valiant man, a champion among his people. The Bible says Naaman was a leper. He was also a proud man. He had heard about a prophet in Israel and decided to go to him for a healing. So he left with his entourage to see Elisha and when he arrived at the place where the prophet resided, Elisha didn’t even come out to greet him. Instead, he sent his servant who told him, “Go down and dunk yourself seven times in the Jordan River.” When Naaman heard those words, he was insulted! Dunk in the dirty Jordan? Are there not better, cleaner waters? He was doubly insulted that the Man of God had not come to him personally. But thank God, He always has someone with good sense in the midst! As Naaman turned to depart in his anger, some of his servants said to him, “This is a small thing that the Prophet asks of you, to go, dunk in the water. What have you got to lose?” So Naaman humbled himself and did as he had been instructed by Elisha…and he was healed!
3. Keep your eyes on Jesus: Hebrews 12:1-3 says, “Let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross…” Everything within you might be fighting to do the right thing, while everything that is wrong is pulling at you: Tell that person off! Lie to your brother! Cheat on your taxes! But just declare, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” When you keep your eyes on Jesus, you will never go astray!
4. Expect God’s grace to do what God requires: In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Paul speaks of his thorn in the flesh, a problem that troubled him night and day. He went before the Lord three times and asked, “Take this away from me!” But, instead, the Lord gave Paul a revelation. And that revelation is just as valid for you and me today. God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in your weakness.” God’s got grace for everything you and I might encounter in life. And that grace, my friend, is all sufficient!
5. Enjoy the blessings of faith and obedience: James 1:22-25 says, “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.” The blessing comes not just by hearing the Word, but by doing it. And when you do the Word, you will enjoy the blessings that come from the Lord!
These principles will help you live victoriously in whatever situation you face. When difficulties come–and they will–stand on the promises of God. Declare “I can do this!”
But For the Lord
by Lawrence Powell
‘If it had not been for the Lord on our side-let Israel say-If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, When men rose up against us, Then they would have swallowed us alive, When their wrath was kindled against us; Then the waters would have overwhelmed us, The stream would have gone over our soul; Then the swollen waters would have gone over our soul.’
Blessed be the Lord, Who has not given us as prey to their teeth. Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; The snare is broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth (Psalm 124, NKJV).
Each one of us will at some time or another feel our back against the wall. We will look all around and not see a way of escape. This doesnt have to stir fear within us. If we will but think back over past experiences we will see that we have become living testimonies of how God made a way out of no way. He saved us then, and He will surely save us now. God doesnt just help once; He IS our help! Its an ongoing thing.
In Psalm 124, the psalmist declares confidence in the Lord. The people of Israel had recently had their backs against the wall, and God had showed up mightily to deliver them. The psalmist acknowledges and gives thanks that God is not only the deliverer of the past and the now, but also of the future. Paul similarly said, God has delivered us, God is delivering us, and God will deliver us. Whatever youve gone through or are going through today, God is your deliverer. If you will simply learn to be still, as the Scriptures say, you will come to know that He is God.
God will sometimes let you get into a place where you have no one else to go to, no one else to talk to, and He will show up just in the nick of time. And when He shows up, He shows out! When it’s all said and done, He gets the glory-not you, not a prayer partner, not an elder, not a pastor, not even a bishop. He gets the glory for snatching you out of your dilemma. As the psalmist said, If it had not been for the Lord on our side…
The Almighty God, the Lord of Hosts, is your ally. How awesome is that?! He is on your side. He has surrounded you with favor as a shield. He has given His angels an assignment concerning you: You protect him, because he bears My name; he is My child! He loves you so much that He said, No weapon formed against you shall prosper. If someone touches the children of God, in essence, they are touching Him. Then God gets actively involved. He promises to take what’s working against you and make it work for you. Vengeance is Mine, says the Lord. My friend, He’s got you covered.
If it had not been for the Lord on our side-let Israel say… We need to speak it, not just in church, but also in our communities. People need to know about the deliverance of our God. Your family needs to know. Your co-workers need to know. You need not be silent when everybody else is coming out of the closet! You need to open up your mouth. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so (Psalm 107:2).
I love how the psalmist goes on to portray God’s deliverance from the intention of the enemy. The enemy wants very much to swallow you up, to devour you: The thief does not come but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy, John 10:10 tells us; but Jesus goes on to say in that verse, I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. The enemy may set traps with the intention of taking you out, but God Who is rich in mercy will not allow him to do it. Be glad about that today! Bless the Lord!
We should bless God for His deliverance. I don’t understand people who have been blessed by God, but who will not bless the Blesser for being a blessing. We have so much to be thankful for, so why is it that so many believers have to be persuaded to praise God? We’ve got to be convinced that He’s worthy to be praised. I learned a long time ago that there are two times to praise God: when you feel like it…and when you don’t! When I go to church, I come with a praise. When I think of all He’s done for me, I can’t help but bless the Lord!
The psalmist tells us that we should bless the Lord because He is our help. Take time right now to recall what He has done for you. Whatever it is that you are going through right now, let the past remind you that it is the path of His goodness. He’s got a great track record, so know that if He’s done it once, He will do it again.
I want to encourage you today that no matter what you are facing, God can do it again: He can deliver you! If He blessed you in 1980, He can bless you in 2016. If He made a way out of no way last year, He can do it again. Determine to give Him thanks today. Praise Him not only for what He’s doing right now, but for future deliverances, future breakthroughs, future healings, and future miracles.
God is good, my friend. He has saved and delivered us-and He will continue to do so. It is His promise to His children. It is His promise to YOU.
Dreams Really Come True
by Lawrence Powell
As a child of God, you can expect to have dreams and visions. I don’t care how old you are. God has you here on this planet for a reason, and its time you start speaking to the greatness inside of you, to the potential that is yet to be released. Its time to begin pulling it out and giving it expression.
Remember Joel 2:28? It was prophesied then that God would pour out His Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. Peter, by the unction of the Holy Spirit, announced on the Day of Pentecost that we are living in the time of fulfillment of that scripture he said the Spirit was being poured out, that we would begin having dreams and visions!
Never underestimate the power of dreams and visions. God speaks through them, revealing things to us that we would otherwise miss. Here are four types of dreams recorded around the time of Jesus’ birth that stood out to me:
1. Dreams of Assurance:
Matthew 1:20 says, But while [Joseph] thought about those things, and Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take unto you Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. This dream is what I call the Dream of Assurance. Imagine Joseph receiving the news that his bride-to-be is pregnant. Now imagine his emotional state: His world has just been turned upside down. But in the moment of his understandable despair, God gave him a Dream of Assurance. As a result, he went from despair to faith, and he took up the role as the earthly father of Jesus!
God will give us dreams that bring us assurance. He has shared with me on many occasions dreams that helped me identify with what He was doing. And He will do the same with you, and they will bring comfort and help so that you, too, can discover what He is doing in your life. Maybe you’re facing some challenges this year. Maybe you’re feeling shattered or rejected, due to prevailing circumstance in your life. Well, good news! Be encouraged! Just as God gave Joseph a dream, He will send you a Dream of Assurance to strengthen and encourage you!
2. Dreams of Warning:
In Matthew 2:12-13, we read, Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way. Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, ‘Arise, take the young child and his mother, flee to Egypt and stay there until I bring you word, for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
Sometimes God communicates with us through Dreams of Warning. But you’ve got to understand that there’s a dream language, that things in dreams may be symbolic: colors, persons, and occupations; if you’re on a plane or bus, in a car, house or bathtub. These dream images often represent entirely different things in the waking world. If you are going to do a Google search to try to figure out your dream, let me caution you to do a proper search for dream interpretations or symbols: type Christian in there, because there is a lot of New Age stuff on the internet, and that will take you somewhere you don’t need to go.
The Lord gave me a dream years ago. In it, I was in my parents’ home, and as I made my way through the kitchen toward the living room, I noticed a stranger sitting in the living room, as if he were at home in my house. There was eeriness about that character. Immediately I felt that I had to warn my mother and sister. I went back to the kitchen door and saw them coming up the sidewalk, so I warned them about the strange man in our house. When I awoke and shared the dream with my Mom, she told me she had had a similar dream about a stranger in the house. God was warning us, showing us a satanic attack that we had to pray againstand thank God, we got victory over it.
Years later, my daughter had a Dream of Warning all her own. She said, Daddy, I had a dream I was driving by the church. It was about midnight and the parking lot was packed. They were having a party at the church! I went to look, but, Daddy, it wasn’t like a church party; it was like a club party! God had warned my daughter in a dream and when she shared that dream with me, immediately a passage of scripture came to mind in which the enemy was rejoicing, celebrating, having a party over the people of God…But I couldn’t remember the verse. That was on a Monday. By Friday, it dawned on me. It was the passage about David and Ziklag. When the Israelites got to where the enemy was camped, they found them eating, drinking, and celebrating, because the enemy thought they had the victory over the people of God. I explained to my daughter that her dream represented the devil’s way of thinking that he’s going to get the victory over God’s people. It was a warning to us to be on our guard against the wiles of the devil. That is why my daughter saw the ungodly party in the house of God. When God gives you aDream of Warning, it might be that He is trying to re-route you, so pay attention to the voice of the Holy Spirit, amen?
3. Dreams of Guidance:
Theres a powerful dream-example in Matthew 2:19: Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, ‘Arise, take the young child and his mother and get to the land of Israel. For those who sought the young child’s life are dead.’ And then he rose, took the young child and his mother and went into the land of Israel. When they got to Israel, they were led by dreams to Nazareth to fulfill the prophecy, And He shall be called a Nazarene. This kind of dream is a Dream of Guidance. God orders our steps. He will show you dreams and visions that signify where He is leading you. We all need guidance from the Lord, don’t we? Dont insist upon doing things your own way. Please save yourself some heartache, some money, and some pain: Trust the Lord. The Bible says, Acknowledge the Lord in all your ways. He will give you dreams and visions as you face this new year. He will guide you into your destiny and His abundance, if you will let Him!
4. Dreams of the Miraculous:
Another miracle happened around the time of Jesus’ birth: the announcement of the pregnancy of Elizabeth, who was barren and old, and the birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1). In this story, an angelic visitation leads to the birth of John. These scriptures show us Dreams and Visions of the Miraculous. So many people are in need of miracles today. Are you one of them? God reminds us through the birth of John and more so the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ that miracles do happen. Let us not forget that the birth of Jesus was a miraculous gift from God to the entire world. I want you to understand that: Jesus was not just a gift to you or to me; He was a miracle gift to the world. This signifies to us that God has miracles for every one of us, and I personally believe that He has a miracle for you this year! Ask big, expect big, and receive big, in Jesus’ name!
The day of miracles is not past, because the God of miracles is still present! Whatever you need, my friendif it’s a Dream of Assurance, Warning, Guidance or Miracle, just keep your eyes on Jesus! He will direct your path!
|Don’t Be Deceived
by Lawrence Powell
I want to talk to you today about the important topic of deception. There is so much going on in our world. Things have changed – a lot! We must recognize that, today, there is an intense opposition to truth as God defines it. There is a demonic agenda attempting to force its way on us and certainly intent on leading people, and, yes, even the church, astray.
Take, for instance, what we see in the media and entertainment. Things that used to grieve the people of God no longer grieve them. We see all kinds of ungodliness paraded before us and we wink at it. Nudity, cussing and swearing on TV and in the movies—not to mention all of the violence! “Well, it’s just the way the world is.” And that’s precisely the problem: the things that grieve the Spirit of God no longer grieve us. It’s as if we’ve been lulled to sleep. We need to come to grips with the fact that, sadly, this blinding effect has found its way into the church. You heard me! The spirit of this age, seated in church pews, seeks to conform believers to the evils of the day, when believers should be making a difference. You and I should be making an impact that brings about transformation in our culture and our world. Paul warned us ‘not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.’(Romans 12:2). God’s got a plan, a purpose in Heaven that He wants fulfilled on earth. We should be praying and cooperating with Him that His will be done – not the will of the enemy, but the will of God. So why are we sitting back and letting the enemy have his way?
Remember years ago we were horrified and grieved to hear that the courts legitimized abortion. But how many times do we think about it now? It’s just become a part of our culture. It’s become a part of what we do. Well, my Friend, you can legalize and legislate it, but sin is still sin. The problem is people want to redefine sin. People want to redefine the Bible. They’re deceived into thinking that’s okay; it’s progressive!
I came across a quote from evangelist Billy Graham that is so very powerful. He said, “Our society serves to avoid any possibility of offending anyone except God.” Today we’re consumed by political correctness at the expense of God’s Word. Christians are so afraid of speaking out against sin and deception that it’s got Satan dancing! These Last Days are tough…and they’re only going to get tougher. Remember Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 4 that the time would come when people wouldn’t be able to stand sound doctrine and teaching, but, instead would run around like a group of chickens frantically chasing this way and that, trying to find teachers who taught what they wanted to hear. And Paul warns that “they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables.” That’s deception…and that’s what we, as Christians, need to avoid.
I want you to understand this, because, as believers faced with deception, we must be prepared to respond. What happens when you’re on the job and people begin to talk about racism or issues of sexuality or crime — what are you going to say? Here’s a little something for you to think about; a cat doesn’t bark. A dog doesn’t meow. A dog barks; a cat meows. It’s according to their nature, right? So sinners are going to act like sinners-liars will lie, cheaters will cheat, thieves will steal. When you are faced with all of that, how will you respond?
I’m going to share a personal story with you about what happened one day when I told a lie. Me, Pastor Larry, lying! I know that’s a shocker, isn’t it? I got in trouble about something and I figured, “Let me lie my way out of this.” So I kept a straight face and I lied. Everything in me was lying. And my mother said, “Alright now, I’m going to go in the room and I’m going to pray, and I’m going to ask God about it. And God’s going to tell me if you’re lying or not.” Now I knew she was tight with God, so I cried out, “Oh, Mama, I’m lying! Do what you’re going to do now, because I’m lying!” I knew my mother walked with God, so I was sure God was going to tell on me!
You know every April we’re confronted with this same choice: Do I lie…or do I tell the truth? You know April…Tax time! Whether you like it or not, if you choose to lie on your taxes, then you’re a liar! Hey, don’t shoot the preacher now! God said it – I’m just relaying the message!
When I was a child, Christians used to say, “We’re in the world, but we’re not a part of the world.” And yet, you and I have to live among people. We see each other daily at work, at school, in the supermarket. What makes us different is that we have a divine call to be a light in the darkness ; to be the salt of the earth. That means we have to keep ourselves from being deceived, so we can help others avoid deception as well.
How do we avoid deception? By staying close to Jesus. By reading the Word of God and meditating on it daily. By prayer, and fasting, if necessary. It’s not always going to be easy. There’s always going to be challenges. Life is full of them. But you can live clear-headed in God’s truth.
We all came out of sin and deception of one form or another. Paul explained this to the Corinthian church in I Corinthians 6, when he mentioned a long list of their former sins. But he said in verse 11, “And such were some of you.” You, too, my friend, have sinned and fallen short of the glory. But note that little word “were.” That means that’s who you used to be. That’s who I used to be. But we’re not those people anymore. We’ve been washed, cleansed, delivered, sanctified, and set apart unto God. Amen? We’ve been justified. Now you and I can live in newness of life, free from deception. And that’s something to shout about!
|If God Can Use A Donkey
by Lawrence Powell
God wants to use you! You might have difficulty receiving it because, “You don’t know where I’ve been, Pastor; you don’t know what I’ve done.” God does. He knows everything about you. God, Who is omniscient, already knowing everything you’d ever do, was never taken by surprise that when He told you to go right, you still went left. He knows when you’ve been abused, when others have taken from you what they could get and then cast you to the curb. That’s not how He will use you. God is waiting for you to make yourself available to Him, allowing Him to be glorified in and through you–through your talents, skills, abilities and more. It doesn’t matter if you feel like you have anything to offer!
In Matthew 21, we read of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry before the crucifixion. At the beginning of this passage, Jesus sends His two disciples into the village to retrieve for him a donkey, tied to a fence, and her colt with her. Their instruction was to tell anyone who says anything to them, “The Lord has need of them.” Please notice that when Jesus was arranging transportation for this most important moment, He did not choose a white stallion or a black stallion, a gray mare or even a brown camel; He chose a donkey! Jesus chose a donkey to use on His very public, triumphant entry into Jerusalem.
It is interesting that this wasn’t the first time He used a donkey. In Numbers 22, we read that God opened a donkey’s mouth to speak to a wayward prophet named Balaam. Balaam was entertaining the idea that he could, for a price, curse the people of God even though they had been blessed by God! This aroused God’s anger against him. God sent an angel to block Balaam’s path. Three times the donkey saw the angel blocking the path and halted, and three times Balaam whipped the donkey. The third time, the beast opened its mouth and said, “Why do you keep on striking me? For years I have served you faithfully and have not caused you any anger. Why are you now striking me? Can you not clearly see the angel blocking our path?” The Lord then opened Balaam’s eyes, and it says in verse 31 that “he saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His sword drawn in His hand; and he bowed his head and fell on his face.” God used a donkey to get a prophet’s attention.
Move forward to Judges 15, and you’ll find another account of God using a donkey – or what was left behind of one! Here, the Philistines were coming with shouts toward Samson. Verse 14 tells us, “The Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon Samson… And he found a still moist jawbone of a donkey and reached out and took it and slew 1,000 men with it.” We often think of Samson as being buff, someone naturally intimidating. But he wasn’t really. He was an average Joe, a natural guy with a supernatural anointing. Just about anybody can sing, anybody can talk, anybody can preach, but it’s another thing to have the anointing of God upon you. The anointing brings distinction. It causes burdens to be removed and yokes to be destroyed, and whenever you have an anointing, God will allow you to get your hand on some things – even some things you think are useless. They’ll be useful in the hands of the right person! God used the fresh jawbone of a donkey in the hands of an anointed judge, Samson, to bring deliverance to His people. If God can use a donkey, certainly He can use you!
When I think back to Jesus’ triumphal entry, I discover these three things are essential:
The donkey was SELECTED. It was chosen. In John 15:16, Jesus said, “You didn’t choose Me; I chose you and have appointed you to go bear fruit.” He prearranged your selection before your grandmother ever met your grandfather. “Long before He laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love. Long, long ago He decided to adopt us into His family through Jesus Christ. What pleasure He took in planning this! (Ephesians 1:3-6, MSG).” You are not His second choice; you are His first choice! Don’t allow the enemy to convince you otherwise. Despite flaws, imperfections and issues, you’re chosen. Isn’t that wonderful?! You’re here today, not because of your goodness or what you’ve done, but because of what He’s done. He sees something in you and says, “That individual, that one, has something I can use.” God says, “I choose you.” Accept your calling today!
The donkey was SANCTIFIED. Mark 11:2 tells us that no one had sat upon the colt. It was sanctified. Sanctification is not just about being set apart from sin. It is also means to be set apart to God. When God calls you out of this world’s sin and bondage, He also calls you into His light. Sanctification is more than the way you dress. I remember how that was such a focal point in times past when women had to wear peanut butter colored stockings that were so thick Superman couldn’t see through them just to be considered sanctified. Now our culture has swung the other way, acting as if sanctification and your dress code have no connection. Our eyes are supposed to be on Jesus, not on you! Be truly sanctified, observing the Lord’s instructions, and be careful that you don’t allow the world’s system to have such an influence on you.
The donkey was SATISFIED. Please notice that this donkey said nothing. It was content to be used of the Lord and had no issue with all the praise and glory going to Jesus. If you’re going to truly be used of the Lord, then settle it in your mind today. May it be your resolve that when He uses you to bless someone in song, you’re satisfied that He gets the glory and not you. When He uses you to pray for the sick and the sick recover, be clear on this: to God be the glory. When He uses you to sow and water a seed, and yet someone else brings in the harvest, be sure to give Him the glory, praise and honor. It’s not about fame or fortune. It’s not about you; it’s about Jesus. Let your prayer be, “Lord if you can use a donkey, you can use me today. I will be faithful to give you the praise and the honor.”
Remember that there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor in the Master’s house. If you cleanse yourself, you will be “a vessel of honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work (2 Timothy 2:20-21).” Do you want to be used of the Lord today? Tell Him you’re available!
The Lord Will Make a Way
by Lawrence Powell
I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. ~Isaiah 43:19
At the time of Isaiah’s ministry, Judah was going through periods of revival and periods of rebellion. Because of Judah’s rebellion, they were threatened with destruction by enemy forces. Yet, each time they were spared because of God’s rich mercies.
Have you ever been spared from something because of God’s mercy? Aren’t you grateful for it? You and I know very well where we’ve blown it, sinned, and found ourselves in great suffering from the consequence of our sin and the judgment we received. But even when we sin, God does not give up on us.
I want to encourage you today that if you’re struggling in sin, God has not given up on you. God will not give up on you. He’s begun a good work in you and that work will be completed even to the day of Jesus Christ. I’m glad that, even though God has given us the gift of choice, He is still a sovereign God and can intervene. God can step in and do whatever He wants to do so that His will is accomplished. I’m grateful today that when I was trying to go left, God said, “Not so!” and turned me back right again.
God’s got a word of promise that’s tailor-made for you today! As a principal, what He revealed to the prophet Isaiah then is still relevant, alive and powerful today: The Lord WILL make a way for you!
I want to give you six words from the Lord, as revealed in Isaiah 43:
Don’t be afraid: But now, says the Lord who created you, O Jacob, and He who has formed you, O Israel, ‘Fear not! For I have redeemed you and I have called you by name” (Isaiah 43:1). I don’t know what you’re afraid of, but God says “Fear not!” Don’t fear! Fear is a controller. It intimidates and manipulates. Fear is a crippler. It keeps us focused on the past, anxious about today and worried about tomorrow. Remember what Paul said to Timothy: “God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
You belong to God: It says in Zechariah 2:8, “…he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.” The “apple of the eye” refers to the tenderest part of the pupil. Imagine getting poked in the eye. When people touch you, God feels it! When they mess with you, God takes it personally. If you’re a parent you know that, if somebody messes with your child, you’ll do everything in your power to make sure that child is protected! How much more so will our Heavenly Father protect us? When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord lifts up a standard against him. God’s not a deadbeat dad; He takes care of His children!
Test and trials will not destroy you: Isaiah 43:15 tells us, “When you pass through the waters, I’ll be with you. And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned.” There’s a lie circulating that when you accept Jesus into your life, you are exempted from trials and tribulations. Jesus said in this world you will have tribulation and persecution. But those who suffer with Him shall reign with Him, according to Scripture. You’ll go through, but you’re going to come out victoriously, amen? God always brings His children out of their troubles into triumphs. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers them out of them all” (Psalm 34:19). Take your eyes off the drama; get your eyes off the pain; stop focusing on the trauma. You’re coming out of trouble, and the other side is way better than what you’re experiencing now!
You are not alone: “Fear not, for I am with you” (Isaiah 43:5). True, you can be in a room full of people or in a crowd someplace and still feel alone. You can reason to yourself, “Well, if I just get married, I won’t be alone.” But you can be with your spouse, your seven kids, your gerbil, your dogs, your cats and your goldfish—and have TVs on in every room–and still feel alone. I want you to know that even in times when it feels like God is a million miles away, He is right there—and you are actually never alone! He said to Joshua, “Be strong and of good courage, don’t be afraid nor dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Friend, you’ve got to get this: The Lord your God is with you! Jesus said, “Lo, I will be with you always, even to the end of the world.” And He meant it!
You’re going to be a living witness: You’re going to know for yourself that the Lord is with you. It’s not what you heard from your mom or other people. Thank God for your mother’s experiences and for all the experiences that others have had and shared, but you’ve got to have your own experience. God says you’re going to have a personaltestimony to share on the witness stand—an experience of His Power and Glory all your own! He says, “You’re going to see this with your own eyes. You will go through trials, but you will experience victory …and tell others about it!
God’s got your back: The Lord is the Redeemer, the Holy One, who “makes a way in the sea and a path through the mighty waters” (Isaiah 43:14-17). You know the people who think you’re down and out and won’t make it out of your current hardship? The ones who didn’t think you’d be able to live for God five days, let alone five years? The people who smile in your face and then stab you in the back? God says, “I’m going to handle this for you.” Remember: “’Vengeance is mine,’ saith the Lord.” Isaiah 43:19 says, “I will make a way in the wilderness and make streams in the desert.”Whenever God wills a thing, that thing, in fact, is already done!
With these precious promises, you can be sure that no matter what obstacles or hardships you face, the Lord will indeed make a way for you! What an awesome God we serve!
|Five Things You Should Know on Your Way Up
by Lawrence Powell
I want to talk to you about 5 Things You Should Know On Your Way Up. Each one of us is on a journey up FROM somewhere GOING somewhere. I’m going to share some helpful insights regarding things to consider while you’re on your trip. These things will–if you’ll pardon the pun–keep you from tripping, so that you may finish your journey victoriously. The five truths are found in Luke 19:28-40, which details Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
Number 1: The way up is costly. Jesus was heading to Jerusalem, fully aware that this trip would end in his death at Calvary. You and I aren’t headed toward that kind of cross, but we each have our own cross to bear. And our experience on this journey called Life will have its own sacrifices as well. Jesus got on the cross willingly, and it cost Him everything He had. If you are to walk this road and fulfill your purpose and destiny, it’s going to be costly. It’s going to cost you some so-called friends. You’ll be lied to. And if you’re doing something worthwhile on your way up, people are going to talk about you. Some people will stab you in the back. Betrayal is on this road, my Friend! People will smile in your face and then, when your back is turned, they will criticize you or hate on you. I’m just being real here; cost comes with territory. If Jesus went through it, then you’re going to go through it. Keep your eyes on Jesus and be willing to have your own Garden of Gethsemane proclamation, Nevertheless not my will, but Your will be done. The rewards far outweigh the price of sacrifice many times over. In the Kingdom, understand that the way UP is DOWN. If you want to go up in Life, then you’re going to have to come down. He who exalts himself will be abased, but he who humbles himself will be exalted. That’s the Word of the Lord.
Number 2: God loves to use ordinary things and ordinary people. This second truth is found in the selection of the donkey. Jesus requested a donkey– a symbol of humility and servanthood–to ride during His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. So, what’s the point? Friend, if He could find a donkey and use that lowly animal, surely He can find you and me…and use us! You may think you’re too ordinary, that you have nothing to offerCongratulations – You’re just the one He’s been looking for! God wants somebody who’s not stuck on himself. He’s looking for somebody who’ll say, Lord, here I am: use me! Let Him use you, then give Him the glory for the job done.
Number 3: On your way up, expect revelations of Jesus Christ. You are journeying in the School of the Holy Spirit. God will take you to certain places and through certain classes. You’ve got to attend those classes, my Friend. You can’t tell God, No, thanks, I’m opting out! There are no electives! God will usher you into environments and circumstances to teach you what you need to knowabout Himself…and about yourself. If you hunger and thirst for the Lord (and I hope you do!) eventually you’re going to see something of Him that you’ve never seen before. He’s going to reveal things to youabout life, about people, about yourself. You’ll learn you’re not flawless; you’ve got imperfections. I’ve had to learn that about myself. Honestly, I’ve got a lot of flaws. Now that doesn’t mean I’m out there practicing sin. I’m just saying that if you catch me on the wrong day, tired and hungry, I may not be as pleasant as I am right now. God will allow certain experiences in your life to show you that if you’re not mindful to keep your flesh down, you can say some things that you might regret later. Or do some things that will be shameful–and you don’t want to go there! Whatever God allows in your life is not meant to bring you down, but to show you that you still have room to grow. And, along the way, Jesus will reveal Himself to you as your: Comforter, Counselor, Deliverer, Healerand so much more!
Number 4: Everybody shouting your praises is not your friend. People started spreading their cloaks on the road as Jesus drew near, and the multitudes began shouting and rejoicing, praising God. People took palm branches, threw them in the streets and waved them. But some of the people shouting Jesus’ praises that day were later that week shouting, Crucify him! So, when people are talking about you and saying how wonderful you are, don’t take it seriously! Because people can celebrate you one day and hate you the next. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Don’t be fooled by the praise of men.
Number 5: If you’re going to make this journey and come out victoriously, then you’ve got to do so with praise. The Pharisees disapproved of the praises to Jesus. They said, You need to rebuke those people! They’re calling you ‘Messiah!’ Tell them to shut up! Jesus replied, If these were to be silent, the very rocks would cry out! Your journey must be one of praise. Along the way, you’re going to meet some people who won’t like your praising self. Keep on praising! I’m grateful I had the privilege of being taught about praising and magnifying God. There have been times in the supermarket when I’ve been so overwhelmed by the presence of God that I found myself leaning over the shopping cart; and people thought I was just trying to decide what can of Pork ‘n Beans to buy that day. But I was really just thinking about the goodness of Jesus and all that He’s done for me. And something just starts welling up on the inside of me that says, You’ve got to praise Him! Maybe for you it’s optional, but for me it’s mandatory! I’ve got to praise Him! It was praising God that got me this far. It was praising God in the good times and in the bad times. It was praising Him when I felt like it and when I didn’t. I don’t want the rocks to cry out for me! I’m going to give Him the praise! We were created to make His praise glorious. Something happens when you and I praise the Lord: When the praises go up, the glory blessings come down! And for this we should praise our God for now and forevermore!