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.
|Keys to Fulfilling Your Vision
by Lawrence Powell
Sight is a function of the eyes; vision is a function of the heart. Some people have eyes to see, but they have no vision. Faith is the ability to see farther than your natural eyes can look. Vision makes the unseen visible and the unknown possible. It is the bridge between the present and the future; without it, we perish or go unrestrained. The vision includes perimeters. When you understand your calling, you will know that every good idea is not a God idea. There are some things and some people that you will need to avoid when you are clear on vision. If you want to be wise, you’ve got to walk with the wise. And you have to walk with the visionaries if you want to have a clear vision.
Vision is seeing the ultimate purpose of God for your life. Often were so determined to do our own thing we head down the wrong path; that will always bring us to a Damascus Road experience. Remember Paul, a man who thought he was doing the work of God, but in reality was opposing Gods work? What got him on track? His encounter with God on the Damascus Road.
God has a vision for each of us. He that hath begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6). Jeremiah 29:11 says, For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future. Vision gives us a clear sense of purpose and direction. What is it that you want to do with your life? As believers in Christ, we should have a vision beyond where we are right now. It doesn’t matter how old you are: you should have a vision for tomorrow.
Vision helps us to set meaningful goals and keep things in perspective. It helps us to avoid being defined by circumstances and people’s opinions. People will try to define and limit you. Don’t allow it. Stop believing the negative things people say. See yourself as God sees you as a citizen of the Kingdom, seated together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Stop seeing yourself as broken, busted and disgusted! If that’s all you can see in your future, then that’s all you will ever have.
There is much that we can learn from the prophet Habakkuk. He was discouraged with the nation of Israel. The people were double-minded, walking with God one day and turning their backs on Him the next. Habakkuk went to God about it, and the Lord gave him a vision. He needed that vision to bring him hope and purpose. Sometimes we need the same!
Let’s look at the principles involved in visions, as we consider Habakkuk’s experience in Habakkuk 2:1-4:
1) Pray: If you don’t know what your vision is, get in touch with God. Talk to your Creator. Proverbs 20:5 says, The purposes of a person heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out. Proverbs 19:20-21, says, Many is the plans and purposes of a person’s heart, but its the Lords purpose that prevails. You might think you’re headed in one direction, but God says, I’ve got a different plan for you. So get quiet before the Lord. God doesn’t want you to live aimlessly. He will teach you and show you the way to go if you let Him (Psalm 32:8).
2) Identify your passion: Habakkuk 2:1 says, I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart and watch and see what He will say to me. Vision is often birthed out of a burden God places on our hearts or from a personal experience or particular problem. Some people see a problem and discover they have a passion to resolve that problem. What are you passionate about? Godly passion is the key to discovering your vision. Standing watch has to do with being intensely attentive; it also involves separation from crowds, people, and distractions. Why is this necessary? Because your vision is uncommon. You are uncommon!
3) Write the vision: If it was important to God that Habakkuk write out the vision and make it plain (v.2), then you should do it as well. Remember, out of sight, out of mind. And if it’s out of mind, you’re not doing anything about it. At first, your vision might not make a lot of sense to you, but write down what you see and hear. A vision that is not written will be a vision that is soon forgotten. A written vision gives you something that you can look at, pray over and declare. Writing your vision is an expression of your faith.
4) Run with the vision: Habakkuk was told to run with the vision, not run from it (v.2). Some people get a vision, then get scared and back off. But if God has given you a vision, He wants you to run with it. Your vision must be your constant focus. You must wake up in the morning with it and dream about it at night. Your activities must be in line with the vision to which God has called you. But be aware: If God has called you in one direction and you’re moving in another, then you need to get on track with the vision. Live for it every day. Vision + Action = Realization.
5) Rest in Gods timing: This is the most difficult, yet most important thing to do! Though it tarries, wait for it, because it will surely come… (v.3). God’s timing and ways are rarely the same as ours. Waiting on God can be quite challenging because we’re impatient. We want things now; however, our lives must line up with Gods desires in His timing. We must be careful not to allow impatience to lead us astray like it did with Abraham and Sarah. Isaac was in the mind of God. But Abraham and Sarah, given the impatience that is often born out of delay, said, Maybe God wants us to help Him out. So they schemed and planned, and as a result, they produced Ishmael. Whenever we allow impatience to take the lead, it will produce Ishmaels in our lives, too.
6) Don’t give up: Wait for your vision to unfold. It will manifest. Wait without murmuring or complaining. While you wait, serve faithfully in the Kingdom. Often your vision will unfold in stages. Everything doesn’t happen overnight. One door leads to other open doors. Be sensitive, and you’ll be in the right place at the right time. Don’t hang out with people who aren’t going anywhere. If you do, you’ll end up in the same place nowhere! Instead, get with people who can speak into your life, encourage you, help you set the stage, and figure out some strategy they will help you to get where you need to go!
7) Live by faith: …but the just shall live by faith (v.4). We must live our faith and live by faith. That’s the Christian edict. We find in Scripture that we live, walk and stand by faith. When God gives you a vision, it will be God-sized! If it requires finances that you don’t have, God will supply them; wherever God guides you, He will provide for you. Faith without works is dead. Remember, the blessing is in the doing, according to James 1:25. Keep this in mind, my friend, as you go ahead in life to fulfill your vision.
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!
|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!
|God Always Has A Strategy
by Lawrence Powell
The word is out concerning you, my friend. You are anointed! Your anointing is powerful, conspicuous, attractive. It’s not mystical, but the manifest presence and power of God that is particularly evident in and upon your life as a believer.
As far as the anointing is concerned, you either have it or you don’t. Until David was anointed king over Israel, he had no Philistine enemies. Once he was anointed, they began to plan attacks against him (2 Samuel 5:17-25). David discovered not only his calling, but also his enemies.
The Philistines spread themselves across the Valley of Rephaim, which means, “the valley of giants.” We all will face giants at some point. Giants are anything that distract our focus from God, deter us from our service to God, and drain us of our driving passion for God. There are many giants. You may have met the giants of fear, anxiety, worry, loneliness, guilt, shame, pride, jealousy, selfishness, lust, and greed already on your journey. Giants can be intimidating, but there’s no need for you to be afraid or to bow to them. If God allows a giant in your life, He allows it with purpose. That may be to test your faith so you can experience victory. No trials, no triumphs. You can’t have a testimony, without a test!
O. S. Hawkins said, “A problem is the platform upon which God desires to show how wonderful He can provide.” Our God has never performed a miracle that did not begin at the platform of a problem. If you have a problem, you’re in the right place for God to show up and show out on your behalf!
David, upon hearing that his enemies had come out in full force against him, inquired of the Lord. Please note that. In critical times, be sure to get a word from the Lord! Don’t ever become presumptuous in your anointed self. David didn’t assume to act; he prayed about it. Prayer requires humility.
God gave David a strategy that day that delivered the Philistines into his hands. He named the spot of their defeat Baal Perazim, or “Lord of the Breakthrough.” My friend, your breakthrough is in the strategy. And God always has a strategy.
Isn’t it amazing that as you’re celebrating victory over one thing, along comes something else to test your faith? While David was still rejoicing over his victory in the valley, the Bible says the Philistines came out in full force once more against David. Don’t think you’re just going to have one attack in your anointed life. The attacks will be relentless. The good news is that your victory is also relentless!
Bishop T.D. Jakes said, “For every struggle in your life, there is a strategy.” God has a strategy for your family, your habit, your money, your attitude – for everything! Sometimes, however, those strategies sound ridiculous. Consider Moses in front of the Red Sea, and God said, “Stretch out your hand.” Or Joshua outside the fortified walls of Jericho, who was told to march around the wall for six days, and on the seventh day of marching, the wall would fall down. How about Samson, who was inspired to use the jawbone of a dead donkey to defend himself? Then there was Jesus, Who told the disciples to feed over 5,000 people with five small fish and two loaves of bread. There is always a strategy from God, but it often will sound crazy. However, if you submit to it, it will work!
Here, the Philistines had spread themselves once again across the Valley of Giants, and David inquired of the Lord a second time (verse 23). This was true humility, because David could have simply gone off the word given to him by God previously. He could have assumed he knew how to handle his own affairs. Instead, he inquired of the Lord a second time! Please do not assume that God will always duplicate deliverance methods. God is not that predictable! Don’t limit His methods. And don’t get cocky. You’re sure to fail if you think you’ve got this on your own.
God desires cooperation! He already knows everything about your enemy, the giant, the problem. Trust Him enough to submit to His purpose and plan. Don’t allow your relationship with Him to grow stale. Keep it fresh every morning. I’ve discovered that whenever we truly minister to the Lord, as described in Acts 13, the Holy Spirit will speak. The problem we often have is that we give God no time, so we cannot hear Him speaking. We insist on doing things our own way, and we come up empty-handed every time. When will you pause for a moment, shut it down, and spend time with God until you hear from Him?
If God’s ever done it before, He can do it again. He can bring you victory over your enemies. You just have to trust Him. Acknowledge Him with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. This time, it’s going to be big, just like it was last time, and God’s name will be glorified through your trust in Him!
The anointing removes burdens and destroys yokes (Isaiah 10:27). Anything that’s broken may likely be repaired, but when it’s destroyed, that’s it! It cannot be repaired. It cannot hold you captive or hold you back any more! That’s the anointing of the power of the living Christ at work within us!
When purpose and destiny converge, things can get a little turbulent. Your anointing will be celebrated by some, but it will be intimidating to others. It will cause some people to treat you like you are far more important than you could ever be. It will attract every kind of hater – even ones who don’t know you! Keep this in mind: the anointing of God is not about you; it’s all about Jesus!
The touch of God will make a difference. The enemy knows the touch of God on you is dangerous, and that’s why he wants to shut down what you’re doing. He knows if he leaves you alone, anointed people will do what anointed people do: remove burdens, set captives free, and frustrate his plans!
Like David, you have been anointed, graced of the Lord, fully resourced, called and selected. Yes, there are attacks and, yes, there are giants you must face. I pray you take seriously this word I’ve shared with you today and implement it immediately. I want you to see victory in every area of your life! My hope is that you will have such a hunger and thirst for God that you do not just inquire of Him often, but always! Never allow presumption to take the place of genuine faith in God. Doing so is foolishness. Doing so is dangerous! Do not be just a hearer of the Word, but a doer also. Only in Christ will you see giants die and find lasting victory today and in the days to come!
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