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.
|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!
Keep It Real
by Lawrence Powell
There is a spirit of skepticism in the world. People are not sure we are who we say we are as Christians. And may I say, that’s not all the world’s fault. Sometimes we’ve presented an off-brand Christianity that is so contradictory to what God has established that they can’t be blamed for their skepticism! Men and women today go so far with certain elements of the Gospel and completely ignore other themes. For instance, surely we’re called to prosper, but Jesus did not hang on Calvary to get you a Maserati!
The world is hungry to see what authentic Christianity looks like. People are watching us. They may not say a word, but they’re observing how we conduct our lives. They’re watching to see if we say one thing and do another. They know there is power in God, but their minds are not often convinced of it when they look at His children. In a sense, you could say they are hoping to see authenticity in us!
The late Ray Steadman wrote a book I think every believer should read: Authentic Christianity. In it, he discussed five marks of the authentic Christian. I’d like to share them with you, along with my thoughts, today.
Satan looks for those who are up to something good. He knows if he leaves you alone, you’ll mess up his plans big time. This is why he sends distractions and hindrances against you. But you need to keep your eyes on Jesus. Keep focused! He wouldn’t be fighting you this hard if you didn’t have something great to offer. Wherever you are – in the world of education, the world of medicine, or the world of business – make a difference!