I think if we could literally see into the spiritual realm we’d actually be shocked by what we saw. Some Christians think they’re a “Hulk-of-a-Christian”, but in reality they’re nothing but a “Pee-Wee-Herman-Christian”.
And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” [Acts 19:15 NKJV]
My Pastor here in Chicago, Ray Berryhill, has a little saying, “Tell the truth – shame the Devil!” Because, as long as you’re faking it, you’ll never make it! Who are you? So many Christians today are like “Spiritual Quadriplegics”, and they don’t even know it. The Devil has you bound. He’s gently combing your hair as you sit in front of “the mirror of poor self image”. All you’ve got is a blank stare. Everyday he laughs and mocks at you as you drool through your “straw of procrastination”.
Who will be bold enough to get out of this “wheelchair”? You can’t be a warrior when the enemy has you bound! Listen and respond to the Master’s voice as He says to you today, “Rise and be Healed!!”
21 days of “non-pleasant food”, and seeking God were what the Doctor ordered for me, my leaders, and the UNITED YOUTH in Chicago. So proud of them all.
UNITED YOUTH CHICAGO
Have you ever had someone give you one of those “looks”? You know what I’m talking about, because when they do you feel their eyes piercing through into your heart.
“All that pass by clap their hands at thee; they hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying, Is this the city that men call The perfection of beauty, The joy of the whole earth?” Lamentations 2:15 KJV
As the Children of Israel are being invaded by the barbaric Babylonian forces Jeremiah’s tears begin to fall. Although this mighty prophet told them this judgment of God would take place still his heart breaks over their blatant disobedience. Jeremiah isn’t one of these, “I-told-you-so kind of Christians”. His heart is genuine – it’s the very heart of God. Remember Peter after denying the Lord? You would have thought that Jesus would have given him the cold stare of death, but His eyes conveyed an understanding that crushed the heart of this rugged fisherman [Luke 22:61]. Through all his mistakes Peter still remained one of His favorite disciples. How do we know? After Jesus rose from the dead He singled Peter out as He spoke those grace-drenched words, “…and Peter” [Mark 16:7].
Have you ever been so convicted by the Lord, that you just buried your face in the palm of your hands? Have you ever been so embarrassed by your friends who caught you in the very act of rebellion against the Lord as they said, “but… I thought you were a Christian…”? If they didn’t say the words, they sure did give you “the look”. It’s the look that will either cause you to give up and go back to the world, or give up and go back to carrying your cross.
The bottom line is that God has called us His own. Are we going to make mistakes? Yes. Are we going to do stupid things that the world will point their fingers at us, and mock us because we haven’t been faithful to our Lord? Probably so. But in it all I want to see the look of grace from the Lord, and remember that there’s always mercy and forgiveness with Lord. As Peter was crushed with “the look” it was the very thing that caused him to rise up like never before and formed him into the man of God that was so mightily used of God in the early Church. We, too, can be changed and renewed if we allow the Lord to look into our hearts today.
So many today are not prepared for spiritual battle. Worse yet, those who are suppossed to be used of God to set others on fire are wasting their life.
Daily Bible Reading: 1 Cor. 12-14
“For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself for battle?” 1 Cor. 14:8
Though in the context Paul is talking about speaking in tongues it is a very interesting analogy that he uses. Here’s the deal. We have been called to fight the good fight of faith [1 Tim. 6:12, 2 Tim. 4:7]. We are not only called to be ready and prepared for battle, but we are commanded to prepare others! “Go through, Go through the gates! Prepare the way for the people; Build up, Build up the highway! Take out the stones, Lift up a banner for the peoples!” [Isaiah 62:10]. Isaiah 58:1 declares, “Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet…” So, I am called to be ready and prepared for battle – fighting the good fight of faith as well as training others to do the same. My voice is actually to be like a trumpet. Think of that! Here’s the question. How clear is the sound coming forth from my mouth, and my life? How clean is that sound? Or is there any sound at all? A good way to gauge these questions is to ask myself, “are others around me desiring to fight the good fight of faith because of my life? If not, I need to see what kind of sound is coming forth from my life. Is it uncertain? If so, why? Is there insecurity? Is there sin? Does my trumpet need a little adjustment? Or do I just need to go back and learn to “play the trumpet” in the privacy of my own prayer closet?
Before I preach to others I must first preach to myself. Before I prepare a message for people I need to prepare my heart before God. After I have does the necessary “heart maintenance” then (and only then) can the Holy Spirit begin to use my life for His glory. Once I have sincerely prepared my heart I had better use the trumpet of my life! There’s too many “silent witnesses” these days who sit around on Church chairs doing a whole lot of nothing. The Apostle Paul said with heart-wrenching tears… “woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.” [1 Cor. 9:16]. Wrench-out your heart here, or wrench it out on Judgment Day, but we must awaken ourselves to the signs of the times and rise up like never before to declare this glorious good news of the gospel of our precious Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It’s all or nothing. Are you ready to start preparing for battle?
“Lord, I feel a sense of urgency. Too long I have been sitting around polishing the trumpet, but not blowing the trumpet. I’ve been “blowing it” in the flesh, but haven’t yet understood just how crucial my role is in your Kingdom. Help me today to be re-awakened to be prepared for the battle – to fight the good fight of faith. Today I take hold of Eternal Life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
Look out… the Devil is looking for somebody. Who is it though? Could it be you? Could it be me?
Daily Bible Reading: Deu. 14-26
“Remember what Amalek did to you on the way when you had come forth from Egypt, How he did not fear God, but when you were faint and weary he attacked you along the way and cut off all the stragglers at your rear. Deu. 25:17-18 AMP
Amalek is a type of the Enemy in the Old Testament, and he’s looking for stragglers! What are “stragglers”? The dictionary defines them as:
Those who stray from the road or course; those who wander from marching in line; those who roam about in a scattered fashion.
I think this is why God said, “Remember…”. When I forget how sneaky the Devil is I begin to slack off in my spiritual disciplines. When I forget how good God has been to me I inadvertently put my spiritual-walk into “cruise control”, and I end up as “Devil’s Food”!
Then the Devil says, “Ah, that was a piece of cake! Who’s next?”
To me, this is why my personal devotional life is so important. If I neglect to spend time with the Lord each day I am inadvertently becoming a straggler. But when I set aside time and allow God’s Word to fill me up each day, and when I have given Him an opportunity to surround me with His Presence, it’s then that I find that I have a greater desire to “run the race” [Hebrews 12:1], and not lag behind where the enemy can pick me off.
“Lord, it’s my desire today to not get behind You, nor try to get ahead of You, but help me to remember how the enemy operates and how great Your ability is to keep me in the race. Thank You for this time with You today, In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
Have you ever tripped and then played it off like you meant to do it? It’s embarrassing…
Daily Bible reading: Num. 18-21
“And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto them.” Num. 20:6
Have you ever tripped and then played it off like you meant to do it? It’s embarrassing. Your friends laugh their heads off as they point at you while covering their mouths in joyful glee. In the Book of Numbers, it already appears four times, where it says of both Moses and Aaron that they, “fell on their faces.” But it wasn’t an embarrassing situation. They actually meant to fall on their faces. Why? The people around them were getting angry at them as leaders and were angry with the Lord. If it were me I would have put my meanest, most ugliest face on and would have let ‘em have it! Oh, they would have gotten a good piece of my mind! But not Moses and Aaron – they handled the situation in the right way – they prayed. How often do we react to people’s carnality by getting in the ring with them and going a few rounds until someone gets hurt. Afterwards we feel miserable. We’re not in the Spirit and we ended up being a very poor example of Christ. Our initial reaction to the situation proves that we haven’t grown in the Lord.
The Lord speaks of certain people as “stiff necked”. But here in Numbers we see Moses and Aaron as those who bowed the head. They could have yelled at somebody, but they chose to humble themselves before God and allow God to intervene. In certain situations when the flesh wants to get ugly it’s important to not REACT in the flesh, but to RESPOND to the promptings of the Lord by humbling ourselves and bowing down our egos, and to give it to the Lord in prayer. Instead of falling on our face in defeat let’s intentionally “fall on our faces” like Moses and Aaron here that we might see a great personal victory, as well as the preservation of relationships that God has placed within our lives.
“Jesus, this is where the rubber meets the road. Personalities, egos, carnality… it all stinks before You, but You have a right way to handle every situation. Enable You servant today to live in such a way that demonstrates the grace and forgiveness that You have even showed unto me. Holy Spirit I ask you to fill me afresh this morning that I might walk in the Spirit today. In Jesus’ precious Name, Amen.”