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A Call To Greater Action From Isaiah
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A Call To Greater Action From Isaiah

Blog, It Is Happening

As you enter in to 2017, did you make resolutions concerning something you wanted to change for this new year? How many of them do you keep? Well, here is a word from the Lord spoken through Isaiah many centuries ago that is applicable to you today. This resolution can change your life!

Isaiah 61:1″The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

Jesus fulfilled this prophecy about Himself when He declared this in the temple in Luke 4:18. That is exactly what He did. He preached to the poor. He healed the brokenhearted. He has declared liberty to captive people. He restored sight to the blind. And He set free people who were oppressed.

He continues to fulfill that prophecy through you today. In John 14:20, He tells you that you will be in Him and He will be in you. Therefore, you are anointed just as Jesus is anointed. He is the Chosen One. You are His chosen ones. He is consecrated (the Holy One). You are His consecrated ones. You are holy, acceptable to the Lord. Because Jesus is anointed, you are anointed. You are anointed for the same purposes that Jesus is.

Isaiah 49:8-10 This is what the Lord says: “In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances, 9 to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!’ “They will feed beside the roads and find pasture on every barren hill. 10 They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat upon them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water.

You have God’s blessing. You have God’s help. You have God’s protection. You have God’s command. You are God’s covenant to people. A covenant is a commitment, a pledge, or a promise. Therefore, you can preach good news. You can declare freedom from bondage. You can heal the sick and the lame. You are God’s anointed! His power and anointing are in you.

Isaiah 40:9 O Zion, You who bring good tidings, Get up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, You who bring good tidings, Lift up your voice with strengthLift it up, be not afraid; Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!”

Declare to the people you meet, your God reigns!

Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

You are declaring peace and glad tidings as you do as Isaiah said in Isaiah 12:3:

Isaiah 12:3 Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation.

And from those wells, God will do things through you that you never thought possible:

Isaiah 41:18 I will open rivers in desolate heights, And fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, And the dry land springs of water.

Isaiah is not just speaking of ordinary rivers of water in this verse. In Holy Spirit, rivers of the Living Water will flow through you as you minister to people. You are anointed of the Lord. His Words, flowing through you, will bring salvation to people, break bondages, heal sick bodies and bring peace. Remember, you are His chosen ones. Resolve to let the rivers flow in 2017!

A LESSON IN SPIRITUAL FAITHFULNESS
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Ruth: A Lesson In Spritual Faithfulness

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We are about to embark on a brand-new year. Some of us worry and are afraid because we face uncertainty and overwhelming helplessness. But let’s look at the Book of Ruth in the Old Testament. Ruth was destitute. Her husband had died. She followed her mother-in-law to a foreign country. She was surrounded by people that were not her own. Yet let’s look at how she coped with this adversity.

We first see that Ruth made a commitment to her mother-in-law Naomi. She left her country, her family and her friends to follow Naomi.

Ruth 1:16 But Ruth said: “Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.

Ruth made a commitment to follow Naomi wherever she went. But even more importantly, she committed to make Naomi’s God her God. Because of that commitment, God protected Ruth.

Boaz, a relative of Naomi, in whose field she was gleaning, told her this:

Ruth 2:12 The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”

Boaz, a type or symbol of Jesus, provided for her safety. He fed her, and gave her water. She worked so hard the whole day gleaning the fields. For all that self-effort, she collected about an ephah of grain. An ephah has been said to be anywhere from 22 liters to about 35 liters. That was a lot more than most gleaners could gather. So, she felt good about her efforts.

Ruth 2:17 So she gleaned in the field until evening, and beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley.

But Naomi wanted a deeper relationship for Ruth with Boaz. She wanted her to be secure and cared for.

Ruth 3:1Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you?

According the standard custom of the day, Naomi proposed that Ruth uncover the feet of the sleeping Boaz and lay down at his feet. This was a symbolic way of telling Boaz Ruth desired to marry him to fulfill his role as a redeemer of the estate of Ruth’s deceased husband. This was a customary practice to demonstrate subjection and submission.

Ruth 3:7 And after Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was cheerful, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain; and she came softly, uncovered his feet, and lay down.

When she laid down at the feet of Boaz she was expressing her vulnerability to him and her desire for a closer relationship. Boaz accepted her offer.

Ruth 3:11 And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman.

Boaz gave her six ephahs of grain to take home to Naomi. By submitting herself to Boaz, she was rewarded greater than all her long hours of toil in gleaning the fields.

Ruth 3:15 Also he said, “Bring the shawl that is on you and hold it.” And when she held it, he measured six ephahs of barley, and laid it on her. Then she went into the city.

Ruth went home to Naomi and Boaz went to work for her cause while she rested. Naomi told Ruth to wait on Boaz.

Ruth 3:18 Then she said, “Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day.”

The near kinsmen-redeemer that Boaz went to talk with could not or would not redeem the inheritance from Naomi and Ruth. But Boaz did. He did all he said he would and more. Ruth became his wife and now she was no longer a beneficiary of Boaz, but she was now a co-owner of all his riches.

And further, she eventually became the grandmother of King David, who had a heart after God. The Bible does not tell us, but do you suppose the boy David, as he was growing up, learned something from his grandmother? Look what he wrote many years later:

Psalm 37:7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.

So, what is the significance to us of these verses we just looked at?

We started out with Ruth working hard to glean the grain. She had made a commitment to her mother-in-law and to her mother-in-law’s God. And God protected her and allowed her to find favor with Boaz and all of Bethlehem. Through her self-effort, she was able to collect an ephah of grain. And she thought that was good.

That is just like us. When we make a commitment to follow Jesus, He will guide and protect us. And we will find favor with men, even though we work largely through our own self-effort.

Next we saw Ruth submitting fully to Boaz and lying at his feet. Boaz’s response was ready acceptance and a reward of six ephahs that she did not have to work hard for. She just had to accept them.

As it applies to us, when we progress in our commitment to Jesus, we desire more of Him. We come to sit at the feet of Jesus to learn from Him. We read and study His Word. We submit our will to Him and give the control of our lives to Him. We start seeing wonderful things happen in our lives as He works through us to accomplish His will. We just have to thank Him for working in us and through us.

And lastly, we saw that Ruth followed the advice of Naomi and rested. She was confident that Boaz would do all he had promised. His word to her was golden. He did just what he said he would do. He redeemed the debt that Ruth could not pay. And Ruth became his wife. Now she owned not only all the grain, but all of the grain fields as well. She was an owner of all his riches.

And for us, when we come to understand fully what it means to rest in Jesus’ finished work, we stop our self-effort. We realize God is in charge of our lives and we do not have to strive to be good. It is then that God goes to work for us. He positions people and things in our lives to accomplish His will and purpose. That is according to His riches, not according to our work. We respond by putting our trust fully in Him and do not rely on ourselves any more. We begin to understand and appreciate the love He has for us and how He shows it to us over and over again and again.

Ephesians 1:3-5 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

We have every blessing because He chose us as His sons and daughters. We are rich in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

So, let’s consider how we can apply this lesson about Ruth and how her obedience and submission led to security and riches without all the sweat and labor. She triumphed amid poverty and uncertainty. As long as we are resting in Jesus Christ, we are secure and blessed. There is no safer place to be.

And one day, when Jesus comes for His church, we will be taken home as the bride of Christ!

Born to Die
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Born To Die

Blog, It Is Happening

This is the time of the year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. For many, the Christmas season is a celebration all about giving and getting gifts. But for those that believe that Jesus is our personal savior, we celebrate the gift that God gave to man.

God, the creator of the universe, loved us so much that He gave us the gift of His own Son.

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

As proof of just how much He really loved us, He sent His Son into this world to satisfy His holy law. No man had been able to keep the law. But Jesus, the perfect man, met the demands of that law. Then He died in our place for our sins. Now, God can generously forgive those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 John 4:10, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

This is the miracle of the Christmas story. God gave us His Son to die for our sins that we may live with Him forever.

During this Christmas season in the Himalayas, native believers place a special focus on sharing the good news of Jesus’ birth with their neighbors and relatives. When they hear the good news, many people come to believe in Jesus. Where there was hopelessness, now there is hopefulness. Where there was despair, now there is assurance that the Lord is watching over them. Where there was turmoil and fear, now there is peace, love and joy.

When people meet Jesus, their lives are changed. In the Gospel of Luke, chapter 19, we see just how completely He can change a person when they believe in Him.

Luke 19:1-10 describes the meeting of Zacchaeus and Jesus. Zacchaeus was a tax collector for the Roman conquerors. He was also a Hebrew. He was a rich man. But as a tax collector, he was a cheat, he was dishonest, and considered a traitor by his own countrymen. He had lived only for himself without regard to how he got his riches.

Then he meant Jesus. And his life was completely turned around. Jesus filled Zacchaeus with mercy and kindness and love. Luke tells us about Zacchaeus’ change of heart in Luke 19:8.

Luke 19:8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.”

What a change that was! It highlighted the whole purpose of why Jesus was born as a little baby here on earth. He said it of Himself in Luke 19:10:

Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

And He is still in that business today. During this season of celebrating Jesus’ birth, let us give thanks for what He has done for us. Thank Him for giving us the gift of eternal life.  Thank the Father for sending His Son to die for our sins.

And if you do not know him personally, that Man that came over two thousand years ago, loves you and wants you to get to know Him. He wants to give you that hope, peace, love and joy right now. Tell Jesus that you believe He is the Son of God. Thank Him for taking your sins away over 2000 years ago, on that cross at Calvary. Ask Him to fill you with that peace, joy, love and hope that so many have come to know. He will change you completely.

Being Like Jesus
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Being Like Jesus: Can Others See Him In Us?

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Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 11 to emulate him as he copies Christ.

1 Corinthians 11:1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.

So, what does that mean, to imitate Christ? Let’s look at all the interactions with people that Jesus had just in Matthew 9. Is this what He meant when we are told to imitate Him?

In Matthew 9 verses 2 through 7 He healed a person whose was paralyzed.

Matthew 9:8 Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such power to men.

Many people wanted to be with Him to see the wonderful things He was doing. Verse 10 says tax collectors and sinners sat with Him to eat. In verse 18 a ruler interrupted Jesus while He was talking to ask Him to come raise his daughter from the dead. On His way to the ruler’s house, as the crowd pressed in on Him, a sick woman touched Him. He took time to talk with her and heal her of her infirmity.

After He raised the ruler’s daughter from the dead, two blind men followed Him. He touched them and gave them their sight. Then people brought a mute who was demon possessed to Him. He cast out the demon and the person spoke for the first time.

Matthew 9:35-36 sums up how Jesus felt for people.

Matthew 9:35-36 35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villagesteaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.  36 But when He saw the multitudesHe was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.

Jesus was very popular. People wanted to be around Him. They wanted to hear His teachings and preaching. They wanted to experience His miracles and healings. We see in verse 36 how He felt about those people. He was moved with compassion for them. He saw them as sheep needing a shepherd. This is why He gave His disciples a new commandment.

John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one anotheras I have loved you, that you also love one another.

We are told that as we serve Christ in expressing peace and joy to our fellow man, God accepts us and men approve of our actions. Romans 14 tells us to chase after or hunt for things that make for peace and build others up.

Romans 14:17-19 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who serves Christ in these     things is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.

Remember, He is in us and His Spirit flows through us. People always reacted to Him. Do others want to be around us because the peace and joy of Jesus is so apparent in our lives?

Acts 3:6-8 6 Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” 7 And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 8 So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them — walking, leaping, and praising God.

Let me ask you something. Do people leap for joy when we meet them? Or do they leap up to run in another direction? People should notice a difference in us. They should notice something within us that makes them want to be around us.

Jesus is in us. Letting Him work through our lives as we rest in Him will bring His fruit out in us. The more we understand that His grace is a free gift to us for our benefit, the more we will want to submit to Him, the more we will want to commune with Him, the more we will want to worship Him, and the more we will be like Him.  The more we let Him fill us with His love, His mercy and His grace, the more we will reflect those characteristics to the people around us.

Focus on Jesus today!

Hand of God
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Who Guards Your Heart?

Blog, It Is Happening

In Proverb 4, we are told to keep our heart. The word “to keep” in this verse means to guard, so we are instructed to guard our heart.

Proverbs 4:23-27 23 (NKJV) Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life. 24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth, And put perverse lips far from you. 25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, And your eyelids look right before you. 26 Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established. 27 Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil.

Notice in this passage, it is you who are told to keep or guard your heart. Also notice the commands in verses 24 through 27. They tell you to “Put away, keep from, look straight ahead, fix gaze, make level, take only, do not swerve, and again, keep from.” We are told: do this, or don’t do that, do, don’t do, do, don’t do; it is all about working to keep from sinning! We are constantly thinking about the sins so that we won’t commit them. These commands are good things. There is nothing wrong with these commands. But all these commands keep us thinking about not doing those wrong things. As Isaiah said in Isaiah 28:

Isaiah 28:13 (NIV) So then, the word of the Lord to them will become: Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule; a little here, a little there —so that they will go and fall backward, be injured and snared and captured.

Verse 25 of Proverbs 4 says, “Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.” Keep your eyes straight ahead. You do not want to step in the wrong place or go in the wrong direction. Notice you are constantly looking down, focused on the path before you.

But in Hebrews we are told to look up; to fix our eyes on Jesus.

Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV) looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

So, what is the difference between Proverbs 4 and Hebrews 12? Calvary is the difference. Jesus endured the cross. He put away our sins that we might live in victory! Now, we are encouraged to focus on Him. We are encouraged to follow in His steps.

1 Peter 2:21 (NKJV) For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:

When we look up to Jesus, we will find the peace of God guarding our hearts AND our minds.

Philippians 4:6-7 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 

We don’t need to worry or be anxious. We just take our requests to God. Then, through Christ Jesus, the peace of God guards not only our heart but our mind as well.

As we do as Paul instructed in Philippians 4, we are resting in Jesus. We are thinking about Jesus. Our focus, our gaze is now on Jesus and His goodness. Now, our attention is totally changed from the works of sin consciousness to thinking on the goodness of Jesus. That is being Christ consciousness. Then our hearts will overflow with His goodness:

Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

And what is the effect of Christ consciousness? Look at what James had to say about it:

James 3:18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. 

When we believe on Jesus, when we think on Him, when we rest in Him, when we trust in Him, we have a right relationship with Abba, our Father. No longer do we have to guard our own heart. Our Father’s peace, that is the peace that is beyond our understanding, now guards our hearts, guards our minds and we are at rest in Him.

Reaping the harvest
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The Blessings Of PSALM 91 Are Yours Today

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Psalm 91 has long been known as the Psalm of Protection because of the many protections the Lord has promised. Every one of the verses of Psalm 91 carry a wonderful promise to us as believers. But today let’s focus on verses 14 through 16. Let’s read:

Psalms 91:14-16 (NKJV)14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. 15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.”

If we had time to read all the verses of Psalm 91 you would notice that in the first 13 verses of this Psalm the promises of protection are told by the author to someone. But notice in the last three verses it is God speaking to His people. Now notice the subject matter of these three verses. It is all about a deep relationship between God and us. He is content to let the author tell someone about His promises of safety and security. But when the subject of love and relationships is brought up, He desires to speak directly to us.

From the very beginning in Genesis, we are told the story of God wanting to commune with His people. He still demonstrates that intense desire to be in a relationship with us today. Actually you could say that His love affair with us started even earlier than Genesis.

Ephesians 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,

He loves us so much that He raised us up with him. The Lord says, “I will lift him out of reach of his enemies and honor him.” God has lifted us above the reach of our enemies. He has set us in a place of honor with Jesus at the right hand of the Father. We are told that in Ephesians:

Ephesians 2:6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

Ephesians 1:20-21 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

Now look at all these “I wills” that the Lord gives us in verses 14 through 16:

I will deliver him; I will set him on high; I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him; I will honor him; I will satisfy him; (with long life), and I will show him My salvation.

These blessings are all promised to the one who loves God and acknowledges His Name. All of these blessings, these “I wills” will follow us. This is an ironclad guarantee from the Lord, Jehovah. “I will do this,” He says. Look at Numbers 23:19:

Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

God has spoken these promises. He will do them!

One final word we need to look at before we close. That is the final word in Psalm 91: salvation.
God will show us His salvation. The Hebrew meaning goes beyond just salvation, which is to be rescued from punishment. It also means deliverance from distress and/or danger. It also means help and security in time of need. It also carries the meaning of victory and of prosperity. All of those meanings, wrapped up in just one word. In Old Testament Hebrew that word is pronounced “yeshuwah.” In New Testament Greek, that word is pronounced “Jesus.”

Jesus provides us with all of those things. We just keep our eyes focused on Jesus. We follow the Great Shepherd and these blessings of Psalm 91 follow us.