Greatest Stories Ever Told

by Rick
Greatest Stories Ever Told

If you have received my messages for any amount of time, you would know that my primary gift is that of a teacher.  I enjoy allowing the Holy Spirit to teach God’s Word through me for His glory.  A lot of the series we deal with get into are pretty serious.  This series is a bit more light-hearted and it is designed to give you a general familiarity with some of the acts of God in the Bible.  Although these are actual events, we will call them ‘stories’ for the purposes of this series.  I hope you enjoy the greatest stories ever told:

  • Destiny’s Child – the Selection of David
  • David and Goliath (Part I)
  • David and Goliath (Part II)
  • Getting Egypt out of You!
  • Gideon’s Army (Part I)
  • Gideon’s Army (Part II)
  • Noah’s Ark
  • Jacob’s Wrestling Match
  • Isaiah’s Encounter with the King
  • Joseph, from a Pit to a Palace
  • The Potter and the Clay
  • Elijah and Ahab – A Declaration of Faith
  • Elijah and the Woman at Zarephath – Sowing a Significant Seed
  • Elijah and the 850 prophets – the Showdown on Mt. Carmel
  • Elijah and the end of the drought – An abundance of Rain!
  • David and His God-led Rescue Mission – Recover All!
  • Peter’s Big Catch – Obedience releases Overflow!
  • David and Saul – Jealousy can’t stop Favor!
  • Naaman – Getting past your But!
  • Naaman – Faith that extends beyond Foolishness!
  • Abram to Abraham – The name change that changed History!
  • King Jehoshaphat – What to do when you don’t know what to do!
  • Worship and Praise – Having a heart of Thanksgiving towards God!
  • The Preaching Donkey – God can use anybody!
  • Daniel and the Lion’s Den (part I) – Favor Ain’t Fair!
  • Daniel and the Lion’s Den (part II) – God honors faith!
  • The Three Hebrew Boys (part I) – Confidently Standing on Your Faith!
  • The Three Hebrew Boys (part II) – Persecution and Promotion!
  • Jacob blessing Joseph’s sons (part I) – God’s choice and not man’s!
  • Jacob blessing Joseph’s sons (part II) – Children of Destiny!
  • The birth of Moses (part I) – No weapon formed against us shall prosper!
  • The birth of Moses (part II) – God is still God!
  • The call of Moses (part I) – from Egyptian Prince to Israeli Deliverer!
  • Isaiah’s Description of Jesus’ Character – Wonderful!
  • Isaiah’s Description of Jesus’ Character – Counselor!
  • Isaiah’s Description of Jesus’ Character – The Mighty God!
  • Isaiah’s Description of Jesus’ Character – Everlasting Father!
  • Isaiah’s Description of Jesus’ Character – Prince of Peace!

The Selection of David – Destiny’s Child (top of page)

(1 Sam 16:13 MSG)  Samuel took his flask of oil and anointed him, with his brothers standing around watching. The Spirit of GOD entered David like a rush of wind, God vitally empowering him for the rest of his life. Samuel left and went home to Ramah.

This morning we start up a new series entitled “The Greatest Stories Ever Told.”  In this series, we will investigate some of the great stories of the Bible and how they apply to our lives.  Now, I call them stories for the sake of understanding, but these are not fictional accounts, but rather actual events.  I was going to start with David and Goliath, but the Lord had me to back up one chapter, to allow me to show you the selection of this child of destiny, before we see what he did.  There is a lot to deal with here, but I will attempt to summarize the story and my comments.

The Lord rejected Saul (1 Sam 15) as king and sent Samuel the prophet to Jesse’s house in Bethlehem because He had chosen one of his sons to be the next king.  Samuel had to make up a story of why he was going to Bethlehem, because he knew that Saul would want to kill him if he knew what he was doing.  So he said he was going to make a sacrifice and invited Jesse to come to the sacrifice with his sons.  Jesse showed up with his sons and Samuel thought his mission almost complete when he saw Eliab.  Eliab was Jesse’s eldest son and he was handsome, tall, and strong, but the Lord told Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him.  The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  So then Jesse called Abinadab, his second eldest, and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.”  And this went on with five other boys.  Seeing that the Lord had not chosen any of them, Samuel asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”  Reluctantly, Jesse admitted that he had one more son, but he was out tending the sheep.  Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”  So here comes David.  He walked in with his healthy complexion and a sparkle in his eyes.  He was a good looking young man, but more importantly, God told Samuel that he was the one.  This is where we pick up our text.  Samuel took his flask of oil and anointed him, with his brothers standing around watching.  The Spirit of GOD entered David like a rush of wind, God vitally empowering him for the rest of his life.

What bothered me about this story was that it seemed that David did not have one friend in the camp.  While he was out tending the sheep and fighting off lions, bears, and wolves; his brothers were with his Dad and he seemed to be the outsider.  When it came time for Jesse to line up his sons before the prophet, the thought never passed his mind that David might be the one.  Even if his father failed to mention David, at least one of his brothers could have brought his name up.  At least one of them must have been his friend.  Someone could have said, “Daddy, I know David is not going to get picked, but shouldn’t he at least be in the line up?”  David was omitted and overlooked, even overworked; but he was Destined!  He was Destiny’s Child!

So what does this mean to you today? A lot, but let me just share a few things:

1.       God is always looking and He honors faithfulness.

2.       Your Father knows what is done is secret and will reward you openly (Mat 6:4).

3.       God will make your oppressors stand by while you get promoted.

4.       What God has for you is for you and no one can stop it.

5.       You may be denied, derailed, and dismissed by others, but you are still destined by God!

6.       You are Destiny’s Child!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for seeing me when no one else would.  You know me and are acquainted with all my ways.  You know my thoughts before I think them, You know my desires before I have them, and You know my dreams before I dream them; because You have initiated them all and will bring them to pass in my life.  I am not controlled by others, I am controlled by You.  I may be overlooked and omitted by others, but I am destined my You.  I am a child of purpose.  I am a child of promise.  I am a child of power.  I am a child of God.  I am a child of Destiny!  I am Destiny’s Child and I enter this day with my Destiny in mind!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

David and Goliath (Part I) (top of page)

(1 Sam 17:26 CEV)  David asked some soldiers standing nearby, “What will a man get for killing this Philistine and stopping him from insulting our people? Who does that worthless Philistine think he is? He’s making fun of the army of the living God!”

This morning we continue our on the “The Greatest Stories Ever Told.”  No doubt you have heard about this story of overcoming insurmountable odds.  Every young man who was born without the blessing of a “large” stature has imagined himself as David against the Goliaths of life.  We saw yesterday how David was anointed by the prophet and we will now see how he operates in that anointing.  This story spans the entire chapter so I will not be able to finish it in one day.

The chapter opens with the Philistines having gathered their forces for war against Israel.  The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with a valley between them.  The Philistines had a champion in their camp named Goliath.  This man was a beast.  He was over nine feet tall, wore a bronze helmet, 125 lbs. of bronze armor, bronze greaves around his legs, and carried a bronze javelin on his back.  The head of the spear itself weighed 15 lbs.  His shield was so big that he had a shield bearer to carry it for him.  This monster stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle?  Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul?  Choose a man and have him come down to me.  If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.  This day I defy the ranks of Israel!  Give me a man and let us fight each other.”  King Saul and all the Israelites were terrified by this man, his stature, and his words.

Now remember that David was the eighth son of Jesse.  His three oldest brothers had followed Saul to war and were hearing the claims of this giant for 40 days.  Meanwhile, David was doing what he always did – tending sheep.  Jesse prepared some food for his three oldest sons and their comrades and asked David to take the food to them and to see how they were doing.  David loaded up and set out early in the morning.  He reached the camp as the army was going out to their battle positions.   David left his things with the supply sergeant and ran to the battle lines to greet his brothers.  As he was talking with them, Goliath stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual insolence and David heard it.  When the Israelites saw the man, they all ran from him in great fear.  They began to say between them, “Do you see how this man keeps coming out?  He comes out to defy Israel.  The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him.  He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his father’s family from taxes in Israel.”  David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel?  Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”  They repeated to him what Saul would do for that man that kills him.  David’s oldest brother got very upset when he heard him speaking with the men, called him conceited, and told him to go back to tending sheep.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.       Look at things spiritually:  David was not upset because Goliath was disgracing Saul, he was upset because Goliath was disgracing God and His people (Israel).  David looked at the situation through Godly eyes and so should we.  Don’t allow your flesh to rise up without being led of the Spirit.

2.       Do not operate in fear:  Fear moves satan, faith moves God.  Fear will stifle faith.  Everyone else was afraid, but David had confidence and peace.  No matter how big, nor how bad your situation may look this morning, do not allow fear to overtake you.  Stand in the Word and walk in confidence against your Goliath.

3.       Expect ‘haters’:  I use this modern term ‘haters’ for those people who will dislike you because God’s hand is upon you.  David’s brother got upset and called him conceited.  Why?  Because the oil was not poured on his head in the previous chapter.  There will always be people that will ‘hate’ you because of God’s hand on your life.  Don’t allow them to discourage you.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I walk in the Spirit and I do not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  I know that You have not given me the spirit of fear and I therefore choose not to operate in it.  I operate in love, power, and a sound mind.  I do not allow the comments of others to derail me from my destiny.  I walk in peace, power, protection, and prosperity this day and everyday.  No evil shall befall me and I am able to conquer every giant.  I walk in abundant blessings and Your favor.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

David and Goliath (Part II) (top of page)

(1 Sam 17:50 NIV)  So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.

This morning we continue our on the “The Greatest Stories Ever Told” and continue with the story of David and Goliath.  David was scolded by his brother for even showing interest in Goliath, but he did not let that stop him.  He ignored his brother’s comments and had the courage to stand before the King.  He told King Saul that no one should lose heart on account of the Philistine and that he would go and fight him.  Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth.”  Once again, he ignored the discouragement.  David explained to the King how he killed a lion and a bear with his bare hands while tending to and protecting his sheep.  He declared that he would kill this uncircumcised Philistine in like manner,because he has defied the armies of the living God.  He said that the same God who delivered him from the paw of the lion and the bear, would deliver him from Goliath.  King Saul was convinced and said, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”

Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic and put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head.  David put on all the gear and could barely move around.  He told Saul, “I cannot go in these, because I am not used to them.”  He took them all off.  He decided to go with what he knew.  He picked up five smooth stones from a nearby stream, put his shepherd’s staff in his hand, and grabbed his sling.  Once equipped with what he knew, he approached the giant.  The Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, started towards David and was ready to fight, after having taunted them for forty days.  He was angry when he realized that David was a boy and cursed David by his gods, but he did not know that David was anointed by the only one true God.  Goliath said, “Come here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”  David replied, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty… I’ll strike you down and cut off your head… the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel… the battle is the Lord’s.”  Goliath was furious and charged David.  David ran quickly towards him as well.  David reached into his bag, pulled out a stone, launched it with the sling, and knocked the giant square in the head.  The stone sank into his forehead and he fell facedown on the ground.  David then stood over him, took his sword, and cut his head off.

So what does this mean to you today? A lot, but let’s look at a few things:

1.       Discouragement does not derail destiny – David had to ignore the discouragement of his brother and King Saul.  You will have to get beyond the comments of others, if you want to be used of God for greatness.

2.       Look at things spiritually – David wanted to fight Goliath, but only because He defied the armies of the living God.  This was a spiritual fight for David.  His motives were pure and so should ours be.

3.       Establish some altars in your life – reminders of what God did in the past.  David reminded himself of how God used him to kill the lion and the bear with his bare hands and that was the encouragement he needed for this fight.  What has God already done for you?

4.       Don’t allow your past victories to keep you from future successes – Although David was reminded of his past, he did not limit himself to past methods.  He killed the lion and the bear with his hands, but used a sling shot and a stone for the giant.  Thank God for your past victories, but always be open to new strategies from God!

5.       With God, all things are possible – The entire army of Israel was afraid of this man.  King Saul was terrified.  But a little shepherd boy, anointed by God, did the seemingly impossible.  What giant is torturing you this morning?  If God gave you a stone, would you be ready to fight?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I do not allow discouragement to stifle my destiny.  I walk by faith and not by sight.  I look at life through the lens of the Holy Spirit and am led of Him in all things.  I rejoice in my past victories and thank You in advance for future successes.  My heart is open to new techniques and I receive them by faith.  I can do all things through Christ.  With You God, all things are possible.  I face with day with supernatural confidence.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

A Complaining Nation – Getting Egypt out of You! (top of page)

(Exo 17:3 CEV)  But the people were thirsty and kept on complaining, “Moses, did you bring us out of Egypt just to let us and our families and our animals die of thirst?”

This morning we continue our series on “The Greatest Stories Ever Told.”  Most people are familiar with the famous crossing of the Red Sea by the nation of Israel and the subsequent destruction of Pharaoh’s army in it.  What many don’t know is that the Israelites were pretty hard headed, even after such a manifestation of power.  They had been in bondage for 400 years and you would think that they would be glad to be free.  Moses led from the Red Sea to the Desert of Shur.  They traveled for three days without any water.  They arrived at Marah, which had plenty of water, but they could not drink it because it was bitter.  So the complaining began and the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”  Moses prayed and God showed him a piece of wood.  He threw the wood into the water and the water became sweet.  They continued their travels and arrived at the Desert of Sin (between Elim and Sinai) and there the people started complaining about food.  They said between themselves that it would have been better for them to die in Egypt, where at least they had meat and food to eat.  They murmured that Moses had brought them out to the desert to starve to death.  Moses prayed again and God promised – and provided – quail (meat) every evening and manna (bread) every morning for the Israelites.  From the Desert of Sin they traveled to Rephidim, which did not have any water.  Once again, the people complained.  They said, “Moses, did you bring us out of Egypt just to let us and our families and our animals die of thirst?”  Moses prayed again to the Lord and said, “What am I going to do with these people? They are about to stone me to death!”  The Lord answered and said, “Take some of the leaders with you and go ahead of the rest of the people.  Also take along the walking stick you used to strike the Nile River, and when you get to the rock at Mount Sinai, I will be there with you.  Strike the rock with the stick, and water will pour out for the people to drink.”  Moses did this while the leaders watched and water came out of the rock.  Moses named that place Massah, which means “testing” and Meribah, which means “complaining,” because there the complaining of the people tested God again.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.       Don’t take anything God does for you for granted – He had parted the Red Sea and they were still complaining.  Appreciate everything God does in your life and know that He has your best interests in mind.

2.       Don’t tell me that you moved (spiritually and mentally), but we keep finding you at your old address – they kept day dreaming about Egypt and it caused them to live in the past.  They were slaves for 400 years, but actually blinded to think that they had it good.  Don’t fool yourself into thinking that your years of sin were the ‘good old times.’  Life in Christ, even with the trails, is far better than life in sin.

3.       God is a God of Provision – God will provide all your need (Phil 4:19).  He turned the bitter waters sweet, provided meat and bread daily, and caused water to flow from a rock in a desert.  If God did all of that for the Israelites, then don’t think that He can’t help you pay your bills.

4.       Get Egypt out of You – Getting the people out of Egypt was one thing, but getting Egypt out of them was something else altogether.  When we come to Christ, repent of our sin and receive Him as our Lord, we are saved.  We are covered by the blood of Jesus, anointed by the Holy Spirit, and made righteous through His righteousness; but that does not mean that our mind is renewed.  We can easily go to church on Sunday and day dream about sin on Monday.  We have to renew our minds through constantly reading and applying the Word of God.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for everything You have done, are doing, and will do in my life.  I never take Your presence, power, or peace for granted.  I know that You provide all my need according to Your riches in glory through Christ Jesus.  I receive Your provision and I walk in abundance.  My former life is not greater than my present life.  I walk forward ever, backward never!  I am out of my Egypt and I declare that my Egypt is constantly being taken out of me through the renewing of my mind.  I am a new creation in Christ and I will act like it all the days of my life!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Gideon’s Army (Part I) (top of page)

(Jud 6:15,16 CEV)  Gideon replied, “But how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest one in Manasseh, and everyone else in my family is more important than I am.”  “Gideon,” the LORD answered, “you can rescue Israel because I am going to help you! Defeating the Midianites will be as easy as beating up one man.”

This morning we continue our series on “The Greatest Stories Ever Told.”  Judges 6 opens with God giving the Israelites over the hands of the Midianites, because they had done evil in His sight.  Midian was very powerful and they terrified Israel for seven years.  Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country, set up camps on their land, and took everything they had.  They invaded Israel like swarms of locusts and left nothing but destruction and ruin with their departure.  Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they finally cried out to the Lord for help.  The Lord sent a prophet, who said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.  I snatched you from the power of Egypt and from the hand of all your oppressors. I drove them from before you and gave you their land. I said to you, ‘I am the LORD your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.”  Then one day an angel from the Lord went to the town of Ophrah and sat down under the big tree that belonged to Joash, a member of the Abiezer clan.  Joash’s son Gideon was nearby, threshing grain in a shallow pit, where he could not be seen by the Midianites.  The angel appeared to Gideon and said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”  Gideon replied, “Bur sir, if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.”  Then the LORD himself said, “Gideon, you will be strong, because I am giving you the power to rescue Israel from the Midianites.”  This is where we pick up our text.  Gideon replied, “But how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest one in Manasseh, and everyone else in my family is more important than I am.”  “Gideon,” the LORD answered, “you can rescue Israel because I am going to help you! Defeating the Midianites will be as easy as beating up one man.”

So what does this mean to you today? Let’s seek to glean a few golden nuggets:

1.  God wants to bless us, but He will judge sin.  You will reap what you sow – God gave Israel over to Midian.

2.  God is always willing and able to show up in your life, but He is waiting for You to activate His presence by coming to Him in prayer – The Israelites cried out to the Lord for help.

3.  God will meet you where you are – He sent the prophet to people and sent the angel to Gideon.

4.  God is in the business of doing extraordinary things with ordinary people – Gideon thought he was the weakest man in the weakest clan.

5.  God does not need our ability, but simply just our availability – He has all the ability required and is simply looking for people who will be available for His use.

6.  One Word from God can turn hopeless situations around – God said that defeating the Midianites would be as easy as beating up one man.  This Word would change everything!

What is facing you this morning that you feel inadequate to perform?  Whatever it is, you can accomplish it with God’s help.  God can turn weaklings into warriors!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I call upon You this morning and activate Your presence, power, and peace in my life.  I am available for Your use and surrender myself to Your hand.  You are bigger than anything that will come my way today.  You enable me to accomplish every task in excellence and victory.  You chose me when I would not choose myself.  You selected me for service and equipped me for greatness.  I am not a weakling, but a Warrior!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Gideon’s Army (Part II) (top of page)

(Jud 7:7 NIV)  The LORD said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place.”

This morning we continue our series on “The Greatest Stories Ever Told” and continue where we left off yesterday with Gideon’s story.  We saw yesterday how Gideon was selected for service, how he felt inadequate, and how God promised him the victory.  Gideon wanted to be sure that it was God talking to him, so he asked for a sign and got it.  Gideon then, at the command of God, destroyed his father’s altar to Baal, established an altar to God, and offered up a bull.  When the people of the town saw Baal’s altar destroyed, they wanted to kill Gideon, but Gideon’s father said, “If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.”  And so the people left.  After this incident, the winds of war were shifting.  The Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples joined forces and crossed over the Jordan and camped in the Valley of Jezreel, getting ready for the attack.  Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon and he blew a trumpet, summoning the Abiezrites to follow him and he also sent messengers throughout Manasseh, Zebulun, and Naphtali.  Gideon wanted to be sure again, so he asked God for another sign.  God was gracious and manifested Himself again to Gideon.  With two signs out of the way and the troops rallying, the battle was drawing near.

When it was all said and done, Gideon had 32,000 troops, still nothing in comparison to enemy.  But God told Gideon that he had too many and the first cut sent 22,000 home.  But even 10,000 was too many for God and the next cut sent 9,700 home.  So it left Gideon with 300 men vs. three nations of men.  Gideon did not know what to do and he sought the Lord again.  The Lord showed him what to do and he divided the 300 men into three companies.  He placed trumpets and jars with torches inside of them, in their hands.  He said, “Watch me, follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, ‘For the LORD and for Gideon.’ ”  The men did exactly as Gideon instructed and the forces of the enemy, who greatly outnumbered them, began to kill themselves and run at the sound of the trumpets.  And so Gideon’s army of 300 defeated three of troops.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.       It’s OK To be real with God:  Gideon asked for a sign twice.  I am not advocating asking God for signs, but God will deal with us according to our faith.  Gideon’s faith needed to be built up and God knew that.  Be open with God and He will meet you at the level of your faith.

2.       God’s ways are Unorthodox:  Who would think of sending 31,700 soldiers home and attempting to fight with only 300?  The only answer here is – God!  God’s ways are above our ways and His thoughts are above our thoughts.  God will often times tell you to do something that does not make sense.  The problem is that God does not have to make sense.  God is a Spirit.  He is Spiritual, not sensual.  His commands must be looked at through Spiritual, not carnal eyes.

3.       God wants Maximum Glory:  God is a jealous God.  He does not want anything or anyone to get his glory.  He did not want Gideon to think that his soldiers even stood a chance without Him, so He reduced them from 32,000 to 300.  And in our lives, He often times waits until a situation is so bad that our deliverance can only be attributed to God – ask Lazarus, who has dead for four days before Jesus showed up.

What situation has you outnumbered this morning?  If the odds are so bad that you know you cannot do it, then the circumstances are just right for God to show up!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You know what I face this morning and you know the concern and the fear.  I receive strength from You right now to overcome every fear, bind doubt, and cast away unbelief.  My victory is in Your hands.  Unless You show up, it will not get done.  I declare that You will manifest Your glory in my life, I am victorious in this situation, and I give You the praise for it in advance!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Noah’s Ark (top of page)

(Gen 6:8 AMP)  But Noah found grace (favor) in the eyes of the Lord.

This morning we continue our series on “The Greatest Stories Ever Told” with the story of Noah and his ark.  I will attempt to summarize the passage.  Genesis 6 opens with the Lord grieved with man and His heart was filled with pain.  The Lord said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth…”  But Noah found favorin the eyes of the Lord.  Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.  God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them.  I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.  So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with tar inside and out.  The ark will be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high.  Make a roof for it and finish the ark to within 18 inches of the top.  Put in a side door and make lower, middle and upper decks. I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it.  Everything on earth will perish.  But I will establish my covenant with you… your sons… your wife and your sons’ wives… bring into the ark two of all living creatures… two of every kind of bird and animal… every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them… I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.”  And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him.

So what does this mean to you today? Let’s seek to glean a few golden nuggets:

1.       The favor of God is invaluable:  God wanted to wipe out mankind, but Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.  Favor can do more in a minute than labor can do in a lifetime.

2.       Favor is a result of Fellowship and Obedience:  The bible says that Noah walked with God.  This is only said of one other person – Enoch; and Enoch never tasted death (Gen 5:24).  Walking with God requires both fellowship (spending time with Him) and obedience (doing what He says).  Many either like the fellowship (their worship), but fail to obey (their walk) or are very legalistic in their obedience, but fail to spend time with God in fellowship.  If you want God’s favor on your life you must both enjoy spending time with God in worship (fellowship) and also have the discipline to carry out His commands (obedience).

3.       Favor runs over to our family:  Noah’s wife, his three sons, and three daughters-in-law all benefited from the favor of God on Noah.  When we walk with God the anointing and favor on our lives will overflow over to our family.  That is why you have a right to pray that the same protection, peace, and prosperity that operates in your life will operate in the lives of your spouse and children.

4.       God’s plans always extend beyond our resources:  Noah was not a carpenter.  He did not have the convenience of a Home Depot to be able to take classes and purchase materials.  He did not have any power tools.  It had never rained before and God told him to build a boat.  Not to mention that this was no fishing boat.  This ark had to be 450 ft. long, 75 ft. wide, and 45 ft. high.  When God tells us to do something, it will always extend beyond our resources (physically and mentally), because that will require us to rely totally upon Him.  What has God told you that basically blew your mind?  If it seemed enormous, then it was probably God!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I love You with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength.  I spend time with You in worship and I enjoy Your presence.  Because I love You, I keep Your commandments.  My fellowship with You and obedience to Your Word results in divine favor in my life.  I walk in favor this day and declare that Your favor upon my life overflows to my family as well.  As I walk with You, You reveal unto me the plans that You have for my life.  I commit myself to accomplishing those plans, even when they far surpass my resources.  You are my source and You are my strength!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Jacob’s Wrestling Match – Just Don’t Let Go! (top of page)

(Gen 32:24-26 NIV)  So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.  When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.  Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”  But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

This morning we continue our series on “The Greatest Stories Ever Told” with the story of Jacob’s wrestling match with God’s Angel.  Many of us can identify with Jacob.  Jacob’s life was one of crisis after crisis.  At the point of the text he was in serious trouble.  He was stuck between a rock and a hard place.  His uncle Laban was chasing him and brother Esau had 400 men looking for him, both because of his conniving ways.  He had rough terrain to his left and right and he was boxed in, in more ways than one.  To make it even worse, the text says that he was “alone.”  He had trouble on every side and he was left all alone.  I think it is safe to say that he was struggling.  His greatest struggle, however, would not be external.  His greatest struggle and our greatest struggles are always an ‘inside job.’  The text says that there was a man that wrestled with him and he held on to the man until his blessing came.  This was on Angel from God and Jacob would not let go until he got his breakthrough.

So what does this mean to you today? Let’s seek to glean a few nuggets:

1.  Don’t Fight the Process:  The situation Jacob found himself in with his uncle and his brother were both his fault, but the wrestling match that seemed to go on forever was sent from God.  There are things that we reap because of what we have sown, but then there are things that God sends our way to develop us into the person He wants us to be.  We should not fight God’s process and allow it to work – no matter how tiring the match may seem – in our lives.  If you find yourself in a struggle this morning, it is not to destroy you, but to develop you.  Just Don’t let Go!

2.  You’ve Been Built to Last:  Jacob was not new to struggle, he had been in struggles all his life.  The key is that he was still alive.  I am not an advocate of struggles, nor struggling, but I understand that whatever struggles I have seen have not killed me.  The mere fact that I am still alive is evidence that I have been built to last and that my past victories are merely a testimony.  So no matter what how hard the struggle gets, Just Don’t let Go!

3.  He touched him in his Place of Strength:  Jacob was touched in the socket of his hip because that is a place of strength and stability.  We often times are attacked in our areas of strength to further develop us to be the men and women that God has destined us to be.  If you are struggling with your finances, your marriage, your children, your job, or etc.; then hold fast to God and His Word, confess the Word of God over your struggle daily and don’t lose heart, because you are being developed in that area – for the glory of God!  No matter what, Just Don’t let Go!

4.  Give it All you’ve Got:  Normally people relax when the see the breaking of day and the light at the end of the tunnel.  The man told Jacob to let him go because the day was about to break, but Jacob said that he would not let him go unless he blessed him!  You and I are going to get tired, frustrated, and maybe even disillusioned from time to time.  When we see the breaking of day we may want to give up and let go.  But no matter what, Don’t let Go until you get your breakthrough!

Learn from Jacob.  There’s a blessing in holding on and not giving up!  What’s your struggle this morning?  Hold on to God and His Word and Don’t Let Go!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I know that I have been created to bring You glory with my life and living.  The process that I am going through right now is working together for my good.  I will not lose heart and I hold fast to You and Your Word.  I continue to declare that I am blessed in the city, in the fields, going in, and coming out.  My household is blessed, my workplace is blessed, my children are blessed, my health is blessed, my finances are blessed, and everything I touch prospers.  I will continue to hold on to You and Your Word until my breakthrough comes!  I will never let go!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Isaiah’s Encounter with the King (top of page)

(Is 6:8 CEV)   After this, I heard the LORD ask, “Is there anyone I can send? Will someone go for us?” “I’ll go,” I answered. “Send me!”

This morning we continue our series on “The Greatest Stories Ever Told” with the story of Isaiah encounter with God in the temple.  Isaiah 6 opens with him seeing a vision of the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.  Above Him were seraphim (angelic hosts).  These angelic hosts praised the Lord by saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”  They praised so loudly and so powerfully that they temple literally shook.  Isaiah was caught up in this and awe-struck by the power and the presence of God.  He cried out, “Woe to me!  I am nothing!  I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”  Then one of the seraphim flew to him with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar and touched Isaiah’s mouth and cleansed him of his sin and guilt.  This is where we pick up our text.  The Lord needed someone to go and carry a message and Isaiah – after this life changing experience – said, “I’ll go, Send me!

I have said many times that the bible is a book about a King and His Kingdom.  The word Kingdom is a compound word that comes from King and domain.  Kings wore robes with trains; the larger their kingdom, the longer their train.  Whenever you saw a king enter a palace with a long train, you knew that he was a ruler over a large kingdom.  These kings had total rule and reign over their respective territory.  It is clear now why God’s train filled the temple.  He is the King of everything.  David said, “The earth and everything on it belong to the Lord. The world and its people belong to him” (Ps 24:1).  The mere privilege of coming into the presence of the King in His courts was an honor.  Citizens of the Kingdom that were afforded an opportunity to come in contact with their King would leave his presence in awe.

So what does this mean to you today?  Several things:

1.       There can only be one throne in our lives.  Either we sit on it and we are our own King or God sits on it and we bow before His presence.

2.       The Lord has the robe with the longest train because He has the largest Kingdom (He is ruler of all!)

3.       The Lord is worthy to be praised! (Holy, Holy, Holy).

4.       You can never come in contact with the Lord (the King) and still remain the same (Woe to me! I am nothing!).

5.       A true encounter with the Lord (the King) will cleanse us of sin and guilt (the coal on his mouth).

6.       We come into the temple (his courts – the church) to worship the Lord (the King), but we are supposed to leave the temple and serve Him (I’ll go. Send me!)

7.       Either He is Lord (King) of All, or He is not Lord (King) at all!

God is Lord and Sovereign King.  He is not a President or Prime Minister.  Presidents and Prime Ministers are elected, Kings are born.  Presidents and Prime Ministers have checks and balances, Kings are have Sovereign Authority.  Presidents and Prime Ministers are respected, Kings are obeyed.  God is the King of everything.  Isaiah was changed forever when He came in the presence of the King.  When you recognize Him as King, you too will be changed.

And one last and very important nugget – Kings get the glory, but their citizens get the benefits!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You are the Lord and King of all in my life.  You sit one the throne and not me.  You are worthy to be praised.  I am cleansed from sin and guilt by your touch and your blood.  I serve You today with a clean heart and a pure spirit.  I bow before Your presence and submit myself to Your service.  Here I am Lord.  I’ll go!  Send Me!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Joseph, from a Pit to a Palace – God is Always in Control (top of page)

(Gen 45:8,9 CEV)  After all, you weren’t really the ones who sent me here – it was God. He made me the highest official in the king’s court and placed me over all Egypt.  Now hurry back and tell my father that his son Joseph says, “God has made me ruler of Egypt. Come here as quickly as you can.

This morning we continue our series on “The Greatest Stories Ever Told” with the story of Joseph.  Now I could really do an entire series on the life of Joseph and its similarities to the life of Jesus, but on the eve of what many tout as the most important election of our generation, I felt led to share a message about the will of God and His use of people.  Joseph was Jacob’s 11th son and he loved him more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age (37:3).  Jacob gave Joseph a coat of many colors and his brothers hated him for it (v.4).  To make things even worse, Joseph dreamed a dream that he would be above all his other brothers and even his parents.  This dream would be the driving force behind his life.  He made the crucial mistake of telling the dream to his brothers and they wound up hating him even more.  One day his brothers went out to feed the flock and did not take Joseph.  His father later sent Joseph out to check on them (v.13) and his brothers seized the opportunity to get rid of him.  They thought of killing him, but decided to throw him into a pit and then later sold him as a slave for 20 pieces of silver.  His owners later sold him to an officer in Pharaoh’s court named Potiphar (37:36).  Since the favor of God was upon Joseph, everything he touched was blessed.  Potiphar enjoyed that and put him over all the crops.  Unfortunately, Potiphar wife also took a liking to Joseph, attempted to sleep with him, and after Joseph refused, she accused him of attempted rape.  So Joseph was thrown into prison (39:1).  Incidentally, Pharaoh’s butler and baker were also thrown into the same prison.  While there, Joseph interpreted a dream for each of them, as he was led of God.  Later on Pharaoh would have a dream that none of his advisors could interpret.  The butler, who had had been released from prison and reinstated, suggested that they give Joseph a try.  Sure enough, God used Joseph to interpret the dream and Pharaoh placed him over all of Egypt.  The only person that Joseph was not over was Pharaoh himself.

The dream Joseph interpreted had to do with an impending famine and how Egypt could store up grain to endure it.  Joseph’s dream was a success and when the famine hit, no country but Egypt was prepared.  This caused people from all over to come to Egypt for food and help.  Part of those who came were Joseph’s brothers.  They did not recognize Joseph because he looked like an Egyptian and the 2nd in command at that.  In Genesis 45 Joseph revealed himself to his brothers and they were afraid.  Under the circumstances, you could understand how they could think that Joseph would have them killed, but Joseph said, “do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you” (v.5).  He went on to say, in our text, that it was God that made him the highest official in the King’s court and placed him over all of Egypt.

So what does this mean to you today? A great deal.  God did place Joseph over all over Egypt.  The dream came true when He sat above his brothers and even his parents.  But God used people along the way.  His brothers had to sell him as a slave so that he could wind up in Potiphar’s house, who had to elevate him for his wife to notice, who had to accuse him for him to wind up in prison, for him to meet butler who would recommend him to Pharaoh, who would make him second in command of all of Egypt.  All these people were instrumental in the plan of God.  God used people to get His man in position.  Will you allow God to use you tomorrow?  Allow the Holy Spirit to lead to when casting your vote and we too will have God’s elect as leader of our great nation!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people mourn.  Lead us Father in the voting process, that Your righteous people, all over this nation, would be in authority.  That every elected official at every level would be the person who have ordained.  Keep those that are righteous in position and uproot the wicked.  Like You did with Joseph, use people to set Your men and women in positions of authority from sea to shining sea!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Potter and the Clay – Damaged, But Still Destined! (top of page)

(Jer 18:1-4 KJV) The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.  Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.  And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

This morning we continue our series on “The Greatest Stories Ever Told” with the story of the Potter and the Clay.  There is a lot I could say about this story and I have shared messages from it in the past, but I am led to share from this story this morning with the current state of our nation in mind.  The verdict is still not out on the Presidential race, but the verdict has long been out on the condition of our country.  This election has exposed a polarized nation.  We have been through a great deal in the last four years.  From Anthrax and terrorist attacks, to several wars on several fronts, to fighting a faceless and nationless enemy, to tearing down regimes, to a roller coaster economy, to importing medicine from Canada – this nation has been like the clay on the potter’s wheel.  Which leads me to our story.

God told Jeremiah to go down to the potter’s house and that he would receive a Word (message) there from what he saw.  He saw a potter working a work on his wheel with some clay.  He then saw something significant.  The potter looked down and did not like what he saw, because the vessel he was working on was marred (damaged).  This caused the potter to make it all over again, something that pleased him.  The good news is, however, that the clay was still on the wheel.  The vessel might have been marred, but the potter was not through with it.  It might have been damaged, but it was still destined.

So what does this mean to you and to our country this today? A few things:

1.       The Potter did not start the work until He finished it in his mind:  God knows what plans He has for us individually and as a nation (Jer 29:11).  He declares the end from the beginning (Is 46:10).  Just like a contractor does not start on a house until the plans are completed, God already has the plan – that is our Destiny!

2.       The Potter selects the clay and begins the process:  Clay on a potter’s wheel endures shaping, molding, making, bending, and etc.  As people and as a nation, we have been through this molding process in the hands of God.  Sometimes painful, but always productive – the potter knows what He is doing.

3.       The Potter periodically checks the progress:  The unique part of this story is that the clay (us) has a choice in the outcome of the vessel.  So the potter periodically checks to see that His work is not in vain, that what He planned for the vessel to look like is actually coming to fruition.  The potter is displeased when he looks down to a marred (damaged) vessel.  At this point he knows that the damage came from the decisions of the clay.

4.       The only true way to fix marred clay is to SMASH IT and start again:  No doubt we have parts of our clay that are democrat and republican, liberal and conservative, independent and frustrated.  Whatever the outcome of the presidential race, my prayer is that God smashes us all together and continues His work on our great nation.

5.       The Good News is that the Clay, although SMASHED, is still on the wheel:  We can find hope in knowing that God loves us enough to SMASH us, but not throw us away!  If the potter were to remove the clay from the wheel, then he would have given up hope altogether.  We – individually and collectively – are still on the wheel.  Polarized, but still pressing!  Frustrated, but still faithful!  Heated, but still hopeful!  Damaged, but Still Destined!

We are still on the wheel.  The Best is Yet to Come!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  Votes are still being counted and I declare that the person elected by the people will win and that we have a fair count.  I come up against deceit, deception, and dismay.  I bind the schemes of the enemy that would come to further damage our country.  I declare that the hands of the terrorists will be destroyed and pray that You would expose their locations, so that they may be brought to justice.  I pray a hedge of protection round about our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Civilians.  From the outcome of this election to the next four years, we will move full steam ahead.  Forward ever, backward never!  The best is yet to come!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Elijah and Ahab – A Declaration of Faith (top of page)

(1 Kings 17:1 CEV)  Elijah was a prophet from Tishbe in Gilead. One day he went to King Ahab and said, “I’m a servant of the living Lord, the God of Israel. And I declare in his name that it won’t rain until I say so. There won’t even be any dew on the ground.”

This morning we continue our series on “The Greatest Stories Ever Told” with the story of the Elijah and Ahab.  It is going to take me a few days to deal with the different parts of this story.  We will start out with the ascension of Ahab to King of Israel.  The book of Kings documents the roller coaster ride of righteous and unrighteous Kings.  In first Kings 16 alone, five Kings are mentioned, the last being Ahab.  Ahab became King of Israel and he reigned in Samaria over Israel for 22 years.  He did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any other King.  He married Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal King and then began to worship and serve Baal.  He had a temple built in Samaria and setup an altar in it to worship Baal.  He did more to provoke the the Lord than all the Kings of Israel before him.  First Kings 17 opens with our text.  Elijah the prophet went to King Ahab and said, “I’m a servant of the living Lord, the God of Israel. And I declare in his name that it won’t rain until I say so. There won’t even be any dew on the ground.” Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah and saying, “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan.  You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there.”  So he did what the LORD had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there.  The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.

Think about this for a minute.  Elijah put a lot on the line.  First of all, he had to have the courage to go and stand before the King of Israel.  He then spoke a Word in faith that could absolutely not happen, unless God did it.  It is interesting to note that Baal was the god of nature and fertility.  As the god of nature, he would be the provider of rain.  Elijah’s declaration of faith was a slap in the face to the worshippers of Baal.  He was saying that his declaration, spoken in the faith of the only true God, could cut of the power of their false god.  Not only would the rain stop, but he declared that there would not even be dew on the ground.  What a declaration of faith!  God then backed the Word He led His prophet to speak and sent ravens to make him breakfast and dinner daily.

So what does this mean to you and to our country this today? A few things:

1.       God was and always will be a jealous God – have no other gods before Him.

2.       When we are led of God and do things God’s way, we will always get God’s results.

3.       One Word, spoken in faith, can turn hopeless situations around.  Note:  Elijah was a prophet and knew that He was speaking God’s Word.  If you want to be sure that you are declaring God’s Word over your situation, then simply declare what the Bible says (God’s Word) about your situation – in faith – and trust God to bring it to pass.

If God could stop rain and dew for three years with one Word and then have ravens to fix breakfast and dinner for His servant; can He not help you pay your bills, protect your children, heal your illness, and meet your need?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  My body is Your temple: redeemed, cleansed, and sanctified, by the blood of Jesus.  My members, the parts of my body, are instruments of righteousness, yielded to You for Your service.  The devil has no place in me, no power over me, and no unsettled claims against me.  All has been settled by the blood of Jesus.  Jesus is preeminent in my life.  Therefore, all grace is abounding toward me.  So I can have a sufficient supply in every area of my life to give into every good work for You.  I rejoice in Your victory, my Lord, over sickness, disease, and poverty; and principalities, powers, and spiritual wickedness in high places.  In faith I stand in Your victory and walk victoriously into this day.  This is my declaration of faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Elijah and the Woman at Zarephath – Sowing a Significant Seed (top of page)

(I Kings 17:13 MSG)  Elijah said to her, “Don’t worry about a thing. Go ahead and do what you’ve said. But first make a small biscuit for me and bring it back here. Then go ahead and make a meal from what’s left for you and your son.

This morning we continue our series on “The Greatest Stories Ever Told” with the story of the Elijah and the woman at Zarephath.  We know from yesterday’s message that Elijah hid down at the Kerith ravine where raven fixed him breakfast and dinner and he drank from the brook daily.  Some time later the brook dried up because of the lack of rain.  Then the word of the LORD came to him and instructed him to go to Zarephath, because He had commanded a widow there to supply him with food.  Based solely on this information, you would think that this widow was rich, but when he got there, he found a different picture.  He found this widow gathering sticks.  He asked her for some water – remember that water was scarce – and she went to get it for him.  This woman was obedient to what God told her to do, even though water was a precious commodity.  Further complicating things, Elijah said, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”  That’s when the true story came out.  The widow explained that all she had left was a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug.  She explained that she was gathering the sticks to take home and make a final meal for her and her son.  They planned on eating it and dying.  This is where we pick up our text.  Elijah told her to keep doing what she planned, but to make him a small biscuit first, from what she had left.  He promised in the name of the Lord that if she did this, her jar of flour and jug of oil would not run out until the drought was over.  So she did as Elijah said and blessed him first and there was food every day for Elijah, the woman, and her son.  Some time later the widow’s son became ill and died.  Elijah was used of God to bring the boy back to life.

So what does this mean to you today? Let’s see:

1.             We always have something left.  The widow was obedient to God with what she had left and God multiplied her flour and oil.  God can do miraculous things with our leftovers.  What is at the point of death in your life?  Your marriage, career, relationships, finances, etc.  No matter what it is, God can work with what you have left!

2.             There is a difference between a seed and a harvest.  What the widow had left was a seed and not a harvest.  If she would have prepared the flour and the oil just for her and her son, she would have eaten all her seed and they would have died.  Since she sowed a part of that seed to the prophet, she was able to reap the harvest and eat for many days.

3.             If it is not Significant to you, it is not Significant to God:  Think about the seed that this woman sowed.  The drought was so bad that the Kerith brook dried up, but she was still willing to give the man of God some water.  She then planned on eating her last meal and dying, but she still prepared a part of the meal for the man of God first.  God has blessed you to be a blessing to others and what He wants you to give is a Significant seed.  If it does not move you while doing it, it will not move God while receiving it.

4.             Obedience unlocks Favor and Favor affects everything:  The promise of God was for the flour and the oil.  The prophet did not promise anything else to the widow for sowing that seed in his life.  When the boy died, the Lord brought him back to life through the prophet.  This is all tied to the small biscuit she made for the man of God.  When we are obedient, He blesses us in all areas of our lives.  Bishop T.D. Jakes said, “Favor Ain’t Fair!” God’s favor will turn all types of dead situations around in our lives.  All of this was tied to her seed (that biscuit).

When you sow a Significant Seed you will reap a Significant Harvest!  What are you holding on to (love, forgiveness, kind words, money, etc.) that is hindering your harvest?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am a giver and a sower in Your Kingdom.  Therefore I am a reaper also.  I have seed in the ground and it brings forth an abundant harvest.  You Father, are the Lord of the Harvest.  Harvest day has arrived.  You bless my faithfulness, cause my way to be prosperous, and make me to walk in increase.  My seed looses Your Favor upon my life.  I walk in that favor today and every day.  Favor is not fair and causes me to receive preferential treatment everywhere I go!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Elijah and the 850 prophets – the Showdown on Mt. Carmel (top of page)

(I Kings 18:37 NIV)  “… Answer me, O LORD , answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD , are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

This morning we continue our series on “The Greatest Stories Ever Told” with the story of the showdown at Mt. Carmel.  The drought was now in the 3rd year and the Lord told Elijah to present himself to Ahab.  When Ahab saw him, he said, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”  Elijah went on to explain that he was not the cause of the trouble, but rather Ahab himself and his wicked ways.  He had left the teachings of the true God and was following Baal.  He instructed Ahab to have people from all over Israel to meet on Mt. Carmel and to also bring the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah.  So the stage was set and everybody showed up.  Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions?  If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”  But the people said nothing.  Then Elijah laid it all out on the line.  He setup a showdown between his God and the god of the 450 prophets.  He had them to get two bulls.  They would both cut up their bulls and place them on their respective altars.  They could not set fire to them.  They were both to call upon their respective Gods and said that the God that answered by fire – He is God!

The prophets of Baal went first, prepared their bull, and called upon their god from morning till noon.  For hours they cried out and danced around the altar, but nothing happened.  At noon Elijah began to taunt them.  He said, “Shout louder!  Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or sleeping.”  They did shout louder and even began to cut themselves, until their blood was flowing, but still nothing happened.  They continued their craziness until the evening, but still, nothing happened.  Then Elijah had the people repair the altar of the Lord and prepare their bull.  Once the altar was ready, he raised the stakes.  He had the people fill four barrels of water and pour them out over the bull.  They repeated this two more times.  So they poured 12 barrels of water on the sacrifice.  Elijah then prayed, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command.  Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”  Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water.  When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord – He is God!  The Lord – He is God!

So what does this mean to you today? Let’s glean a few nuggets:

1.       Confidence and Courage:  When we know that we have heard from God – through His Word, His Spirit, His people, etc. – we can operate in confidence and courage.

2.       Pure Motives:  We will not receive a move of God with simple and selfish motives.  Elijah’s prayer shows that his motive was for God to be glorified and for the people to be revived.

3.       Maximum Glory:  When the odds are stacked against us, we have to totally depend on God.  When we totally depend on God and He shows up, He gets all the glory.

4.       God’s Way:  When we do things God’s way, we will get God’s results – in the end, the people cried, “The Lord – He is God!  The Lord – He is God!

What insurmountable obstacle in standing in your way this morning?  No matter what it is, have faith in God!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I enter this day with boldness, confidence, and courage.  I seek to please You and to bring You glory in everything I do.  I was created to make Your name glorious and that is my motivation today.  Every project, every task, every phone call, every email, every conversation – I surrender them all to You.  Use me this day as an instrument of Your righteousness.  No matter what the odds are against me – since You are on my side – I win!  I am a winner this day and every day!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Elijah and the end of the drought – An abundance of Rain! (top of page)

(I Kings 18:45 MSG)  Things happened fast. The sky grew black with wind-driven clouds, and then a huge cloudburst of rain, with Ahab hightailing it in his chariot for Jezreel.

This morning we continue our series on “The Greatest Stories Ever Told” with the story of the abundance of rain.  We have been dealing with Elijah since last week.  We know that this all started when he declared, by faith, that it would not rain until he said so.  After a three year drought, the Lord said to Elijah, “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.”  We can see then that the purpose of his meeting with Ahab was for the rain to come.  We also learned yesterday that there was a showdown on Mt. Carmel between Elijah and the prophets of Baal.  It is important to note that Elijah had the people to dig a trench around their altar and then pour out 12 barrels of water over their sacrifice (bull).  Many believe that this was a sort of sign, to show that God could ignite wet wood, but I believe that it goes much deeper than that.  The bible says that when the fire of the Lord fell, it burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water.  The key here is that it licked up the water.  Water was a very precious commodity since it had not rained in three years.  When Elijah instructed the people to pour 12 barrels of water over the offering, he made the water as much a part of the offering as the bull itself.  Remember that the purpose of his coming was for God to send the rain.

I did a series on the Biblical Principles of Sowing and Reaping (see the website) and how we often times tap into God’s harvest through the vehicle of a seed and how we normally posses the seed that can meet our every need.  The woman at Zarephath had the seed (flour and oil) that she needed to sow to meet her need.  The hungry crowd of 5,000 had the seed (two fish and five loaves) that they needed to sow to meet their need.  And we see here that the nation of Israel had the seed (12 barrels of water) that they needed to sow to meet their need.  They obeyed the man of God, poured out the valuable water over the offering, and the fire came and licked up that seed (water).  That water evaporated into the sky.  Later on in the chapter we see that the seed produced a small cloud and then very quickly, the sky grew black with wind-driven clouds, and then a huge cloudburst of rain was released!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should trust God to sow whatever seed He tells you to sow, no matter how valuable it may seem to you.  You will always reap a harvest greater than the seed!

You have a seed (love, forgiveness, patience, peace, money, etc.) that can meet your every need!  You have to be willing to release your seed – in faith – and you too will experience an abundance of rain!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am a citizen of Your Kingdom and operate in Kingdom principles daily.  I know that while the earth remains, there will be seedtime and harvest.  There will be time to sow and time to reap, time to plant and time to pluck up that which was planted.  I sow love, compassion, mercy, peace, money, and Your Word into the lives of others and into Your Kingdom.  I trust that You receive the seed that I sow into the Kingdom by faith and multiply it as the Lord of the harvest.  I loose a seed for every need and expect a correspondent return and an overflowing harvest.  I walk by faith and not by sight.  I trust that the harvest will always outweigh the seed!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

David and His God-led Rescue Mission – Recover All! (top of page)

(I Sam 30:8 NIV)  David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?”  “Pursue them,” he answered. “You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue.”

This morning we continue our series on “The Greatest Stories Ever Told” with the story of the David and His movie-like rescue mission.  In 1 Sam 29 we see David and his army marching with Achish and the Philistines.  They were heading to battle when the other Philistine rulers complained to Achish about David and the Israelites.  They did not trust him and wanted David and his soldiers to go home.  So Achish called David and told him that although he had been very reliable, the other rulers did not approve of him and he needed to leave and take his soldiers with him.  David was very upset, but he did as Achish requested.  The next morning they headed back to Ziklag and arrived there on the third day.  When they got there, the found the camp destroyed.  The Amalekites had come in and burned the camp and taken all the women, children, and elderly.  When David’s men realized that their wives and children were gone, they wept and wept, ‘till they no strength left to weep.  David’s two wives were part of the hostages.  David’s men talked about having him stoned for allowing this happen, but David found strength in the Lord his God.  David asked Abiathar the priest to bring him the ephod (holy garment), he put it on and prayed to God.  David asked the Lord, “Shall I pursue this raiding party?  Will I overtake them?”  “Pursue them,” He answered.  “You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue.” God’s promise of victory gave him the confidence and courage he needed.  He gathered together 600 men and took off.  200 of the men were two exhausted too continue when they got to the Besor Ravine, so David left them behind and continued with 400.  They found and Egyptian slave that had been left for dead and ministered to him.  After he got better, he led them to the enemy’s camp.  David watched as the Amalekites partied all over the countryside and enjoyed everything they had taken.  David and the 400 attacked at dusk and fought until the evening of the next day.  The enemy was destroyed and David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives.  Nothing was missing: young or old, boy or girl, plunder or anything else they had taken.  David brought everything back.

So what does this mean to you today? Let’s glean a few golden nuggets:

1.       Everything happens for a reason – the Philistines sent David home.

2.       When you feel all alone, encourage yourself in the Lord – David found strength in God.

3.       When the pressure is on, pray and seek God’s wisdom – David prayed to the Lord.

4.       One Word from God can turn hopeless situations around – God said Pursue!

5.       Don’t allow slip-ups to keep you from moving forward – David left 200 behind.

6.       Operate in Courage, Confidence, and Diligence – David fought for a full day.

7.       Know that God cannot lie – David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken.

What has been taken from you?  What has you down?  Whatever it is, seek a Word from God and pursue until you recover all – by faith!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I encourage myself in You this morning.  I declare that Your peace, courage, and confidence overtake me right now in Jesus’ name.  I can do what You say I can do.  I can have what You say I can have.  I can go where You say I can go.  I can overcome everything You say I can overcome.  I will not allow any slip-ups, nor hang-ups to keep me from pursuing Your best.  Forward ever, backward never!  No matter what I face today, I declare that I WIN!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Peter’s Big Catch – Obedience releases Overflow! (top of page)

(Luke 5:5 KJV)  And Simon answering said unto him, “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.”

This morning we continue our series on “The Greatest Stories Ever Told.”  We have been in a Faith Conference at our church and the Lord has been moving mightily.  The Word has been so good that I can hardly contain myself.  Yesterday the Holy Spirit through Bishop Kenneth Fuller shared a powerful Word entitled “Activating Your Faith for a Breakthrough!”  I could probably share an entire series just from my notes, but I will confine my remarks to one passage he mentioned in Luke 5.  Let’s see what happened:

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret and a crowd stood around him listening to the Word.  He noticed that there were two boats at the water’s edge and that the owners were washing their nets.  Jesus got into one of the boats – which ‘just so happened’ to belong to Simon (later known as Peter) – and He asked Simon to pull the boat out a little from the shore.  He then sat down in the boat and preached a stable message from a rocky platform.  When He was done He told Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”  Simon, who barely knew Jesus at this point, answered, “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.”  When he had done so, they caught so much fish that the net began to break.  So they signaled for their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

So what does this mean to you today? Let’s glean a few golden nuggets:

1.       Nothing just so happens – Jesus could have easily gotten into the other guy’s boat and we might have never heard of Peter, but this divine appointment was part of his destiny.

2.       Let God use what you have for His glory:  Peter did not know much about Jesus at this point and did not have much, but he let Jesus use what he had (the boat) for His glory!

3.       Be willing to launch out into the deep – Jesus sent Peter out into the deep when He wanted to bless him and He often times does the same with us.

4.       Don’t let past experiences hinder future successes:  Peter was a professional fisherman and Jesus was a carpenter.  Peter knew what he was doing and knew that he had not caught anything all night long, but he did not try to reason his way out of his blessing.  He simply obeyed and was blessed!

5.       The Word is final authority:  Peter said, “nevertheless, at thy word…”  No matter how we feel, we must live the same way.  We must accept what the Word of God has to say about our situation and be willing to activate our faith (with action) for our Breakthrough!

6.       Follow instructions carefully:  Jesus told him to let down nets (plural), but Peter let down a net (singular).  That is why the net was breaking and he could not handle the catch.

7.       Obedience releases Overflow:  God blessed Peter so much that he had to call for his partners and they filled both boats to the point where they were sinking.  God is a God of abundance and overflow and our obedience to His Word releases His overflow in our lives!

What has God told you to do that you are reasoning over?  Just let it go, obey Him, and release your overflow!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You that You prepared Your plans for me before the foundations of the world.  I am a child of destiny and purpose.  I surrender everything I have to You and desire that You use it for Your glory.  I will not reason my way out of my breakthrough, I launch out into the deep, operate by faith, and experience Your overflow today.  Your Word is final authority and I obey Your Word in every area of my life.  I meditate on it daily and I observe to do all that is written therein.  My obedience to Your Word makes my way prosperous and I have good success!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

David and Saul – Jealousy can’t stop Favor! (top of page)

(I Kings 18:9,14 NIV)  And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David. (v.14) In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him

This morning we continue our series on “The Greatest Stories Ever Told” with the story of Saul and David.  I already shared how David killed Goliath with a sling shot and a stone.  King Saul was very happy that his nemesis was destroyed, kept David with him from that day forward, and did not let him return to his father’s house.  David accomplished every assignment from Saul in such a successful manner that Saul made him a high ranking officer in his army and everything seemed to be going great.  King Saul and his men were greeted with a hero’s welcome when they made their entrance back home.  The women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with tambourines and lutes.  As they danced, they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.”  Saul was furious when he heard this.  “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands.  What more can he get but the kingdom?”  And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.  The next day the Lord let an evil spirit take control of Saul, and he began acting like a crazy man inside his house.  David came to play the harp for Saul as usual, but this time Saul had a spear in his hand.  Saul thought, “I’ll pin David to the wall.”  He threw the spear at David twice, but David dodged and got away both times.  Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was helping David and was no longer helping him.  So he sent David away from him and gave him command over a thousand men, and David led the troops in their campaigns.  In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.       God establishes favor on His anointed:  David was anointed in chapter 16 and his life would never be the same.  The killed a giant in chapter 17 and had people singing about him in chapter 18.  When’s God’s hand is upon your life, His favor will cause you to prosper!

2.       Jealousy hates Favor:  Saul was appalled that David was getting some of the attention that he used to get.  He jealous eye on David and never let it go.  Likewise, when God is blessing us, there will be people that cannot stand us, even without us doing anything to them.  Just pray for them and move on.

3.       Jealousy can’t stop Favor:  Saul tried twice to kill David with a spear, but David dodged the spear both times.  There will be people that throw spears (rumors, lies, hateful words, emails, etc.) at you, simply because God’s hand is upon your life.  The good news is that God is not affected by their schemes and His Favor cannot be stopped by jealousy.

4.       Favor ain’t Fair:  Bishop T. D. Jakes preached a message with this title some years ago and I know from experience that this is true.  I often times say that Favor can do more in a minute than labor can do in a lifetime.  No matter what Saul did, David had great success in everything he put his hands to do.  Why?  Because the Lord (Favor) was with him!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  Jesus is the Apostle and High Priest over my confession, and what I confess is the Word of God concerning favor over my life (Heb 3:1).  You help me to guard the door of my mouth and train me not to speak against Your work in my life (Ps 141:3).  I do not allow any corrupt communication to proceed out of my mouth, but only that which is good, that it may minister grace to the hearers (Eph 4:29).  I declare that I am favorable in Your sight.  I, like David and Joseph, have great success and prosper in everything I do and everywhere I go, because You are with me (1 King 18:14) (Gen 39:1-6, 21).  I am blessed and highly favored (Luke 1:28) and I associate with those who are blessed and highly favored so that I may increase in every area of my life (Gen 30:27).  Your favor can do more in a minute than labor can do in a lifetime, and I declare that I walk in Your favor every day!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Naaman – Getting past your But! (top of page)

(2 Kings 5:1 KJV)  Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper.

This morning we continue our series on “The Greatest Stories Ever Told” with the story of Naaman.  2 Kings 5 tells the interesting story of this Syrian commander who commanded the army of the king of Aram.  He was a great man in the sight of his king and his soldiers and a masterful military commander.  He was a valiant soldier that had been used by God to lead his men into and win several battles.  The text says that he was a mighty man of valor, but behind the armor, behind the façade, and behind the image; this man had serious problem.  After the accolades listed in the text we find the word that plagued Naaman and plagued many of us today – the word BUT.  Yes, he was a great commander; yes, he was a great military tactician; yes, he honorable and respected; but he was a leper.  His armor covered up his leprosy.  Leprosy was a terrible disease that started in one area and gradually spread all over the body, crusting the skin with white scales, causing terrible sores and swellings.  From the skin the disease would then eat inward to the bones, rotting the whole body piecemeal.  This was a terrible condition, especially for someone so highly regarded.

One day while the Syrian troops were raiding Israel, they captured a young girl who later became a servant of Naaman’s wife.  This girl must have seen Naaman exposed, without his armor, because she approached Naaman’s wife and said, “If your husband Naaman would go to the prophet in Samaria, he would be cured of his leprosy.”  Naaman was a man of stature and prominence.  Naaman was a man of position and power.  Naaman took orders only from the king and could have had the young girl killed for meddling in matters that she had no right to meddle in, but Naaman looked beyond his position, realized his problem, and jumped on this glimpse of hope.  He then approached his king about it and the king replied, “Go ahead! I will give you a letter to take to the king of Israel.”  The story has too much to address in one day.  We will stop here and pick it up tomorrow.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.       People love to put a ‘but’ behind your name:  Naaman was this, Naaman was that, but he was a leper.  The word but cancels out everything stated before it.  People state what they really feel behind the word but.  The key is to not allow people to label you and confine you into their box.

2.       Be willing to receive from anyone:  Naaman had to swallow his pride and receive a word from his servant.  This girl was his slave, but he was willing to accept the fact that she had seen him exposed and was willing to help.  Don’t ever get too big that you cannot learn from someone you are positioned over.

3.       You are who you are when no one else is around:  It is great to get accolades from others.  It’s an ego boost to be recognized for your efforts.  It is wonderful to be regarded as one of the best in your field.  But who people say you are and the person you really are, are seldom the same person.  You are who you are when no one else is around.  When you take off your armor and are stripped down to your inner-self, do you like what you see?

4.       Realize your weakness and make a decision to get past your ‘but’:  Naaman realized his problem and determined to get past it.  He accepted the opportunity for a breakthrough, submitted himself to receive help from his king, and then resolved to move forward.  Realizing your weakness is only the beginning, you must determine to take steps to get past it!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare that I am not defined by the perceptions of others, but am rather defined by the Word of God.  I am who the Word says that I am and I can do what the Word says that I can do.  I will not allow pride to keep me from Your best.  I strip myself of pride and allow you to show me my areas of weakness and I resolve to get past them today and every day.  Forward ever, backward never!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Naaman – Faith that extends beyond Foolishness! (top of page)

(2 Kings 5:10 CEV)  Elisha sent someone outside to say to him, “Go wash seven times in the Jordan River. Then you’ll be completely cured.”

This morning we continue our series on “The Greatest Stories Ever Told.”  We pick up the story of Naaman.  Yesterday we left off with Naaman heading for the King of Israel with a letter from his king.  Naaman also took along 750 lbs. of silver, 150 lbs. of gold, and ten new outfits as offerings.  He was determined to get his breakthrough.  He carried the letter to the king of Israel and the letter said, “I am sending my servant Naaman to you. Would you cure him of his leprosy?”  The king read the letter, tore his clothes, and got very upset.  He knew that he could not cure leprosy and he thought that the Syrian king was trying to start a war.  But Elisha the prophet heard what happened and sent a message to his king saying, “Why are you so afraid? Send the man to me, so that he will know there is a prophet in Israel.”  So Naaman left with his horses, chariots, and gifts and headed towards Elisha’s house.  He got to the door and Elisha sent out a messenger to say, “Go wash seven times in the Jordan River. Then you’ll be completely cured.”  But Naaman stormed off, grumbling, “Why couldn’t he come out and talk to me? I thought for sure he would stand in front of me and pray to the Lord his God, then wave his hand over my skin and cure me. What about the Abana River or the Pharpar River? Those rivers in Damascus are just as good as any river in Israel. I could have washed in them and been cured.”  One of his servants heard his grumblings and had the guts to say, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something difficult, you would have done it. So why don’t you do what he said? Go wash and be cured.”  So Naaman walked down to the Jordan; got into the muddy water, and dipped himself seven times, just as Elisha had instructed.  Right away, he was cured, and his skin became as smooth as a child’s.

So what does this mean to you today? A lot, but let’s seek to glean a few nuggets:

1.       God does not have to make sense:  God is a Spirit and therefore Spiritual, not sensual.  He does not operate in senses, although we like to.  As a Spirit, He communicates with us in the Spirit.  Paul said, “For the natural man is not able to take in the things of the Spirit of God: for they seem foolish to him, and he is not able to have knowledge of them, because such knowledge comes only through the Spirit” (I Cor 2:14 BBE).

2.       We often times want God to make sense:  Naaman had a truck load of gifts and was expecting to negotiate himself to his breakthrough.  After all, he was a man of prominence, position, and power.  God did not meet him, however, the way the he expected and He often does the same with us.  We fail every time we attempt to rationalize our way to a breakthrough.  If you can figure it out, then it does not require faith and faith is required to please God (Heb 11:6).

3.       Faith releases our breakthrough:  Jesus put mud on a bind man’s eyes and told him to go wash it off; the guy did and he came back seeing (Jn 9:7).  Jesus told a man who was hiding his withered hand in the temple on the Sabbath to expose his hand to the Pharisees, when he did as Jesus said, his hand was healed (Mat 12:13).  In our text the prophet Elisha told the Syrian Commander to dip in the muddy waters of Jordan seven times.  As Naaman stripped himself of his armor and outer garments, exposed his disease, and dipped down in the water seven times (as instructed), his skin became as smooth as a child’s.  The breakthroughs listed here had nothing to do with mud, Pharisees, or a river; but they all had to do with faith!

Faith extends beyond what the world calls foolish and unlocks your breakthrough!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You are a Spirit and I communicate with Your through the Holy Spirit and through Your Word.  What the world calls foolish, You call faith.  I operate in faith in every area of my life.  I was saved through faith (Eph 2:8,9).  I live by faith (Ro 1:17).  I walk by faith (2 Cor 5:7).  I pray the prayer of faith (Jas 5:15).  I fight by faith (1 Tim 6:12).  And I overcome the world by faith (1 Jn 5:4).  My faith extends beyond what the world calls foolish and unlocks my breakthrough this day!  I am a faith warrior who serves a faith God – by faith!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Abram to Abraham – The name change that changed History! (top of page)

(Gen 17:5 KJV)  “Your name will no longer be Abram, but Abraham, meaning that ‘I’m making you the father of many nations.”

This morning we continue our series on “The Greatest Stories Ever Told” with God’s name change of Abram.  We know that Adam’s sin caused a separation between God and man, but we also know that God’s desire to dwell with man remained.  God visited a man named Abram when he was about 75 yrs. old and told him to depart his country (Gen 12:1) to go to a land that He would show him.  God also promised to make out of Abram a great nation, that He would bless him, make his name great, and that he would be a blessing to all the earth (12:2,3).  So Abram left (12:4), as the Lord told him to, and he began his journey of faith.  Many things happened between chapters 12-16 as Abram developed his relationship with God.  By chapter 17 Abram was 90 yrs. old.  The Lord appeared to him and again and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless.  I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”  Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations.”  This is where we pick up our text.  God went on to say, “Your name will no longer be Abram, but Abraham, meaning that ‘I’m making you the father of many nations.”  It is interesting that God changed his name.  Why?  Because in biblical times, your name was indicative of your character, attributes, and nature.  When a person introduced themselves by their name, people immediately correlated the meaning of the name with the character of the person.  It was almost as if people were speaking their character into existence every time you declared their name.  So when God made Abram’s name Abraham He transformed him (by faith) into the “father of many nations.”  Every time he introduced himself as ‘Abraham,’ he was literally telling the person he was coming in contact with, and himself for that matter, that he was the father of many nations.  He spoke this for years without anything happening and about 10 years later, Isaac was born (see Gen 21).

So what does this mean to you today? Several things:

1.             God expects our conversation to change when come in contact with Him – God changed his name, therefore making him change his introduction and opinion of himself.

2.             God expects our character to change after we come in contact with Him – God changed his name, therefore helping him to develop into the person that He desired for him to be.

3.             God expects our conduct to change after we come in contact with Him – Abraham declared that he was the father of many nations (by faith) for 10 yrs. before he had his first child by Sarah.

4. God expects our life to change after we come in contact with Him – Abraham’s name change changed his destiny and the course of history.  Likewise, when we come in contact with God we can never remain the same.  God wants us to accept our change (by faith) and declare His opinion of us and not our own.  Abraham never went back to calling himself Abram, not even once, and we should never go back to accepting our old opinion and expectations of ourselves.  When we come to God, everything changes.  Forward Ever, Backward Never!  The Best is Yet to Come!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am not the same person that I used to be.  Your Word says that I am a new creation.  Your Word says that You made Jesus to be sin for me that I might be made the righteousness of God in Him.  I receive that righteousness and I receive that change.  My mind is renewed through the Word of God.  I walk by faith and not by sight.  I enter this day with Your love in me and permeating through me.  I am an example of Your love in the earth.  I receive my change by faith!  Like Abraham, I will keep speaking it, until I see it come to pass in my life.  The Best is Yet to come.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

King Jehoshaphat – What to do when you don’t know what to do! (top of page)

(2 Chro 20:12 NIV)  “O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”

This morning we continue our series on “The Greatest Stories Ever Told” with the story of Judah and King Jehoshaphat.  If you read the book of Chronicles you will see the rise and fall of righteous and unrighteous kings in both Israel and Judah.  In chapter 17, Asa (an unrighteous king) died in his 41st year of ruling and his son Jehoshaphat succeeded him.  Jehoshaphat attempted to restore Judah to its rightful place.  He had the Asherah poles (symbols of goddess worship) removed form all over Judah, appointed judges in each of the fortified cities, and appointed some of the Levites as priests and heads of Israelite families to administer the law of the Lord and to settle disputes.  It seems as though he was doing the right thing and re-establishing the order of God in Judah.  But then chapter 20 opens with these words: “After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to make war on Jehoshaphat.”  It is just like the devil to attempt to destroy those that are doing right in the eyes of God.  So what did Jehoshaphat do?  He resolved to inquire of the Lord and proclaimed a fast for all Judah.  All the people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord.  After they came from every town and assembled themselves together, Jehoshaphat stood up prayed.  He reminded God (and themselves for that matter) that He was the God that had established covenant with their father Abraham, that He rules over all the kingdoms and nations of the earth, and that He was able to save them from any attack.  He closed his prayer with the words found in our text, “O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” We will pick up this message tomorrow.  We will see what God did and how it ties in with Thanksgiving.

So what does this mean to you today? There are several nuggets we can glean from the story thus far:

1.  We reap what we sow – the unrighteous kings were judged and the righteous kings were blessed.

2.  The enemy will always attempt to stifle God’s plan – as soon as Jehoshaphat started putting things in order, three nations rose up against Judah.

3.  Lead righteously in all things – Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.  He wanted all his people to stop and recognize God in this time of trouble.  Likewise, we must be willing to lead our family in the way of the Lord.  When we are in a tough situation and we need to hear from God, we ought to have the courage to address our family and lead them in a fast, in prayer, or in both.  The people saw Godly leadership in Jehoshaphat and our family should see the same in us.

4.  What to do when you don’t know what to do – Jehoshaphat prayed to God before the people and acknowledged that they had no power to face the vast army.  He openly recognized the gravity of the situation.  He also said what leaders hate to acknowledge, “We do not know what to do…”  The key is found in the following words, “but our eyes are upon you.”  This is the key to our breakthrough.  When you don’t know what to do – Seek God!  One Word from God can turn hopeless situations around!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I acknowledge that whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.  I declare that I sow righteousness and I reap righteousness daily.  I seek You first, Your kingdom and Your righteous.  I seek Your wisdom and Your direction in all things.  I seek Your counsel and Your might.  I seek Your power and Your protection.  My eyes are upon You continually.  I do not wait until I do not know what to do, I seek You daily and You lead me in the way that I should go.  Lead me today as I seek to be used of You for Your glory!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Worship and Praise – Having a heart of Thanksgiving towards God! (top of page)

(2 Chro 20:15 NIV)  He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s…”

This morning we continue our series on “The Greatest Stories Ever Told” and we pick up where we left off on yesterday.  After Jehoshaphat prayed, the Spirit of the Lord came upon one of the Levites and he began to prophesy.  This is where we find our text.  He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s…” He went on to say, “Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.”  Then Jehoshaphat and all the people bowed down with their faces to the ground and worshipped the Lord and some began to praise the Lord with the very loud voice.  Early the next morning Jehoshaphat said to the people, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.”  He then appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise Him for His splendor and His holiness as they went out before the army.

This is where it gets interesting.  As they began to sing and praise God, the Lord confused the attackers and they began to fight themselves.  Judah kept praising and the enemy kept fighting themselves, until every attacker was dead.  Not even one escaped.  Jehoshaphat then had the men of Judah to go and to collect the spoils of war (swords, shields, gold, etc.) and it took them three days to collect it all.  On the forth day they assembled in the Valley of Beracah and they praised the Lord again.  Beracah means praise and that valley is still called Beracah or praise to this day.

So what does this mean to you today? Several nuggets:

1.  One Word from God can turn any situation around.

2.  Listen to God’s directions clearly, do exactly what He says, and you will get His results.

3.  God can speak to us by the Holy Spirit, but He also speaks to us by His Word.  If we obey His Word, we will also get His results.

4.  God will often times make us do things that make no sense at all – like sending out a praise team to deal with three nations of angry men – but God is not sensual, He is Spiritual!

5.  Receive the peace that comes from knowing that God is a God that fights for us!

6.  God can transfer the wealth of the wicked (swords, shields, gold, etc.) to His people.

7.  Like the people in this text, we should Worship and Praise God before, during, and after our breakthrough!

Tomorrow is the day that we recognize as a day of Thanksgiving in the United States of America.  I pray that this passage ministered to you about having a thankful heart towards God daily.  Please remember our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Civilians that find themselves in harms way.  Pray for protection and peace over them and their families.  I will close with the words of Paul, (1 Thes 5:16-18 CEV)  Always be joyful and never stop praying.  Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for Your Word.  I worship You for Your splendor and holiness.  You alone are God.  You alone are King.  You alone sit on the circle of the earth.  You alone have all things in and under control.  You alone are Lord and I worship You, just for who You are!  I give You praise at all times, in all places, and for everything.  I will always be joyful.  I will never stop praying.  And I will today and every day, give You Glory, Honor, and Praise!  Thank You Father for being You!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Preaching Donkey – God can use anybody! (top of page)

(Num 22:28 NIV)  Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”

I trust you enjoyed this past Thanksgiving weekend with some good food, fellowship, and fun.  This morning we continue our series on “The Greatest Stories Ever Told” with an interesting story of Balaam and his donkey.  I won’t be able to deal with the entire story, read chapters 22 and 23 when you get a chance.  Balaam was a highly sought after man of God and Balak, the son of Zippor and leader of Moab, summoned Balaam.  Balak was afraid that Israel, who had recently defeated the Amorites, would come after Moab next.  So Balak sent messengers, with money, to ask Balaam to come and pronounce a curse over Israel.  Balaam prayed about it and God told him, “Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed.”  And so he sent the messengers away.  Balak was persistent and he sent more numerous and more distinguished messengers back to Balaam and this time they offered a very handsome reward.  So Balaam prayed about it again and God told him to go with them, but to only speak the Words that He would tell him to say.  They left the next morning and the angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose Balaam.  When Balaam’s donkey saw the angel of the Lord with a sword in his hand he turned off of the road and into a field, so Balaam beat her back on the road.  Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between two vineyards with walls on both sides.  When the donkey saw the angel again she pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it, so he beat her again.  Then the angel of the Lord moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn.  When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she laid down and Balaam was angry and beat her with his staff.  Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?” And after holding a conversation with the donkey, the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes and he finally saw the angel of the Lord.  So he bowed low and fell facedown.

So what does this mean to you today? There is a lot here, but let’s glean a few nuggets:

1.  No one can curse what God has blessed.

2.  If God’s hand is upon your life, you are protected from even unseen and unknown enemies.

3.  God does not change His mind (Num 23:19).  He means what He says and He says what He means.

4.  No one has the market on God’s blessings.  Balaam was highly sought after for speaking God’s Words and God proved to him that he was nothing but an instrument.  If God could speak through a donkey, then He could speak through anybody!

5.  You are a candidate to be used of God today.  If God used a donkey to preach to a prophet, rest assured that He can use you to get done what He needs you to get done today!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am Your child and therefore protected by Your blessing.  No evil shall befall me; neither shall any plague come near my dwelling.  You give Your angels charge over me, to keep me in all my ways.  I am God’s protected vessel and I am also God’s anointed vessel.  Use me this day for Your service.  I am willing and obedient.  I am submitted and surrendered.  I am able and available.  I am ready and receptive.  Speak through my vocal cords, think through my mind, and operate through my limbs.  That Your glory would be made manifest through me today.  None of me and all of You, Father.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Daniel and the Lion’s Den (part I) – Favor Ain’t Fair! (top of page)

(Dan 6:5 CEV)  Finally, they said to one another, “We will never be able to bring any charge against Daniel, unless it has to do with his religion.”

This morning we pick back up with our series on the ‘Greatest Stories Ever Told’ with the story of Daniel and the lion’s den.  The book of Daniel opens with mention of Daniel and three other Hebrew boys (Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah).  Although the chief official (chapter 1) changed their names to Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the Lord still gave them favor with this man; to the point where he allowed them to keep their diet and not to defile their bodies with the rituals of Babylon.  In chapters 2 through 5 Daniel is used of God mightily in this new kingdom and he moves up quickly through the ranks.  In chapter 6 king Darius divided his kingdom into a hundred and twenty states and placed a governor in charge of each one.  He then designated three administrators over the governors and Daniel was one of them.  Daniel did his work so much better than the other governors and officials that the king decided to let him govern the entire kingdom.  The other men tried hard to find something wrong with the way the Daniel did his work for the king, but they could not accuse him of anything wrong, because he was honest and faithful and did everything he was supposed to do.  This is where we pick up our text.  Those that were jealous of Daniel said to one another, “We will never be able to bring any charge against Daniel, unless it has to do with his religion.” So they came up with a plot.  They all went to the king and said: Your Majesty, we hope you live forever!  All of your officials, leaders, advisors, and governors agree that you should make a law forbidding anyone to pray to any god or human except you for the next thirty days.  Everyone who disobeys this law must be thrown into the lion’s den.  King Darius agreed and ordered that it be written and signed into law.  Under the law of the Medes and Persians, written laws could not be changed.  We will pick this up tomorrow.

So what does this mean to you today? Several things:

1.       God’s favor is invaluable.  It all started with the favor of God (chapter 1).

2.       God’s favor can cause you to prosper anywhere and everywhere.  Babylon had captured Jerusalem.  Daniel and the others were literally captives, but still prospered.

3.       God’s honors faith and faithfulness.  Daniel did the best that he could in every situation.

4.       God’s favor does not exonerate us from hard work.  Daniel worked harder than the others, was honest, and always did was he was supposed to do.

5.       God’s favor does not exonerate us from haters.  There will always be people that cannot stand you when you are walking in the favor of God.  Just ignore them and continue to move forward!

6.       The enemy’s scheme’s cannot stop God’s favor.  We will see this tomorrow.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare that I walk in favor like Daniel and Jospeh.  I prosper in every place and in every situation, because You are with me Lord.  I experience preferential treatment today and everyday (Genesis 39:1-6, 21).  I am blessed and highly favored (Luke 1:28).  I associate with those who are blessed and highly favored so that I may increase in every area of my life (Genesis 30:27).  I, like Daniel, operate in integrity and it causes favor to flow in my life (Prov 11:27; 12:2).  I actively seek and live by Your wisdom; therefore I am highly favored and esteemed in Your sight and in the sight of men (Prov 3:1-4; 8:33-35).  I work hard, I am honest, I am diligent, I am dedicated, and I am faithful to You, Your Word, and Your ways!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Daniel and the Lion’s Den (part II) – God honors faith! (top of page)

(Dan 6:22 CEV)  “My God knew that I was innocent, and he sent an angel to keep the lions from eating me. Your Majesty, I have never done anything to hurt you.”

This morning we continue our series on the ‘Greatest Stories Ever Told’ with the second part of the story of Daniel and the lion’s den.  Yesterday we left off with king Darius signing the decree that no one in his kingdom could worship any other human, nor god for 30 days and how this was an irreversible decree.  When Daniel found out about this he went into his house, kneeled towards Jerusalem, prayed and praised God; just like he had done before (three times a day).  He would not compromise his faith, even under the threat of death.  His accusers were watching him and as soon as he prayed to his God, they rushed to tell the king.  They said to the king, “Didn’t you make a law that forbids anyone to pray to any god or human except you for the next thirty days? And doesn’t the law say that everyone who disobeys it will be thrown into the den of lions?”  “Yes, that’s the law I made,” the king agreed.  Then the men said, “That Jew named Daniel, who was brought here as a captive, refuses to obey you or the law and he still prays to his God three times a day.”  The king was very upset when he heard about this, because Daniel was very close to him and second in command.  He spent all day thinking about how to save him, but he realized that he could not change the law.  So Darius ordered Daniel to be thrown into the lion’s den, but he did say to Daniel, “You have been faithful to your God, and I pray that He will rescue you.”  They then rolled a stone in front of the lion’s den and the king stamped a seal on it to ensure that no one could let Daniel out.  The king could not eat nor sleep that night and would not talk to anyone.  At daybreak the king got up and ran to the den.  He shouted, “Daniel, you were faithful and served your God. Was he able to save you from the lions?”  Daniel answered, “Your Majesty, live forever!”  The king was relieved to hear Daniel’s voice, and he gave orders for him to be taken out of the den.  Daniel’s faith in his God had kept him from danger.  Then the king ordered the men who had brought charges against Daniel to be thrown into the den, together with their wives and children; but before they even reached the bottom, the lions ripped them to pieces.

So what does this mean to you today? Let’s seek to glean a few golden nuggets:

1.       No weapon formed against us shall prosper (Is 54:17).  The men accused Daniel and many will accuse us.  Satan is the accuser of the brethren (Rev 12:10), but every attack (accusation, slander, insult, scheme, etc.) is cut off by the power of the protection of God.  The weapon may be formed against you, but it will not prosper.

2.       God honors faith.  Daniel understood the decree, but he would not let any worldly document keep him from praying to His God.  He stood – by faith – and kept his prayer routine; even with the possible penalty of death.  God honored His faith and He will honor ours as well.

3.       Leave vengeance to God:  Deuteronomy 32:35 (MSG) says, “I’m in charge of vengeance and payback, just waiting for them to slip up; and the day of their doom is just around the corner, sudden and swift and sure.”  God handled Daniel’s accusers and He will handle ours.  It is not our place to go after them, but rather to pray for them and leave them in the hands of God.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I operate in faith in every area of my life.  I was saved through faith (Eph 2:8,9).  I live by faith (Hab 2:4, Ro 1:17).  I walk by faith (2 Cor 5:7).  I stand by faith (2 Cor 1:24).  I pray the prayer of faith (Jas 5:15).  I fight by faith (1 Tim 6:12).  I am the righteousness of God by faith (Ro 3:22).  And I overcome the world by faith (1 Jn 5:4).  You honor my faith and keep me from every attack and accusation.  Your protection is greater than my attackers.  My life is in Your hands – by faith!  I receive a blessed and prosperous day – by faith!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Three Hebrew Boys (part I) – Confidently Standing on Your Faith! (top of page)

(Dan 3:15 CEV)  “Now I am going to give you one more chance. If you bow down and worship the statue when you hear the music, everything will be all right. But if you don’t, you will at once be thrown into a flaming furnace. No god can save you from me.”

This morning we back up a few chapters to Dan 3 to continue our series on the ‘Greatest Stories Ever Told’ with the story of Daniel’s friends: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  In chapter 3, king Nebuchadnezzar ordered a gold statue to be built ninety feet high and nine feet wide and had it setup in the Dura Valley near Babylon.  He commanded his governors, advisors, treasurers, judges, and his other officials to come from everywhere in his kingdom to the dedication of the statue.  It was a huge event.  When all were present, an official stood up and announced that music would soon start playing and that when they heard the music, everyone was required to bow down and worship the statue.  Anyone who refused would be immediately thrown into a flaming furnace.  As soon as the people heard the music, they bowed down and worshiped as commanded.  Now, just like what happened to Daniel, there were some Babylonians that were looking for an opportunity to accuse the three Hebrew boys.  They approached the king and said, “Your Majesty, we hope you live forever!  You commanded everyone to bow down and worship the gold statue when the music played.  And you said that anyone who did not bow down and worship it would be thrown into a flaming furnace.  Sir, you have appointed three men to high positions in Babylon Province, but they have disobeyed you. Those Jews, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, refuse to worship your gods and the statue you have set up.”  King Nebuchadnezzar was furious and confronted the three boys.  He said, “I hear that you refuse to worship my gods and the gold statue I have set up.  I am going to give you one more chance.  If you bow down and worship the statue when you hear the music, everything will be all right.  But if you don’t, you will at once be thrown into a flaming furnace.  No god can save you from me.”  That last statement made by Nebuchadnezzar must have stirred up their faith, because they said, “Your Majesty, we don’t need to defend ourselves.  The God we worship can save us from you and your flaming furnace.  But even if he doesn’t, we still won’t worship your gods and the gold statue you have set up.”  We will pick up this story tomorrow.

So what does this mean to you today? Let’s seek to glean a few golden nuggets:

1.       In this world we will face difficult situations (Jn 16:33) – they were facing death.

2.       The world will not like to see you prosper – they were promoted to high positions.

3.       Even when given several chances, refuse to compromise your faith – they stood strong.

4.       Don’t allow anyone to dishonor your faith or your God – Nebuchadnezzar said that no god could save them from him, basically placing himself over their God.

5.       Face every attack head on – being a Christian does not mean that you need to be a wimp.  The Holy Spirit can give you Godly confidence and boldness to face every attack and overcome every hindrance.

6.       Know that God fights for us – they said that they did not need to defend themselves.  In other words, they did not need to fight this battle, God would do it for them.

7.       Know that God is able to handle your situation – they said, “the God we worship can, and that’s the bottom-line.  He was more than capable of handling their situation and is more than capable to handle ours!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I operate in faith in every area of my life.  I stand confidently on the fact that You have already overcome the world and that I overcome the world by faith.  I am prosperous and ignore those that covet Your favor upon my life.  I will never compromise my faith, regardless of the situation I find myself in.  I face every attack head on.  I am covered by Your blood, anointed by Your Spirit, and called according to Your purpose for my life.  Nothing can stop me.  I am a child of the Most High God and I know that My God is able to handle every situation that comes my way this day and every day.  I confidently stand on my faith!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Three Hebrew Boys (part II) – Persecution and Promotion! (top of page)

(Dan 3:30 CEV)  After this happened, the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to even higher positions in Babylon Province.

This morning we continue our series on the ‘Greatest Stories Ever Told’ with the second part of the story of the three Hebrew boys.  Yesterday we left off with the boys telling king Nebuchadnezzar that they would not worship the statue he had set up.  This made Nebuchadnezzar furious.  He commanded the furnace to be turned up seven times hotter than normal and for his best soldiers to cast Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the fiery furnace.  The three boys were then bound cast into the midst of the furnace.  But because the command was urgent and the furnace was so hot, the king’s soldiers were consumed by the fire as they were attempting to kill the boys.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound in the midst of the burning fiery furnace.  Then Nebuchadnezzar was amazed.  He leaped up and asked his advisors, “Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?”  They agreed.  He answered and said, “Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”  So Nebuchadnezzar went closer to the flaming furnace and said to the three young men, “You servants of the Most High God, come out at once!” They came out, and the king’s high officials, governors, and advisors all crowded around them.  The men were not burned, their hair wasn’t scorched, and their clothes didn’t even smell like smoke.  King Nebuchadnezzar said: “Praise their God for sending an angel to rescue his servants!  They trusted their God and refused to obey my commands.  Yes, they chose to die rather than to worship or serve any god except their own.  And I won’t allow people of any nation or race to say anything against their God.  Anyone who does will be chopped up and their houses will be torn down, because no other god has such great power to save.”  After this happened, the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to even higher positions in Babylon Province.

So what does this mean to you today? Let’s seek to glean a few golden nuggets:

1.       God can make the enemy’s attacks backfire on him – the king’s best soldiers were killed in the fire.  So no matter what you are going through, remember that God is still God!

2.       God will meet you where you are – the angel of the Lord came into the fiery furnace with the three Hebrew boys and God is our very present help in the time of trouble (Ps 46:1).

3.       God will deliver you internally before He delivers you externally – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were loosed and were walking around free, in the fire, before God delivered them and allowed them to be free outside of the fire.  This is important because God will deliver us internally (in our heart and our mind), before He delivers us externally (in our situation).  Meaning that God can speak a Word to us and tell us that everything will be alright, before He actually manifests His hand in our situation.  Once you hear from God, walk around loose in the fire, just like the three Hebrew boys!

4.       God can bring you out unharmed – they did not even smell like smoke.  Likewise, God can protect us in the midst of any fire and bring us out unharmed.

5.       Godly persecution leads to Godly promotion – I am not an advocate of going through trouble.  But I do realize that if we are attacked, simply because of our stand for God and Godly principles, like the boys were in the text; we will come out victorious and God will give us double for our trouble.  The chapter ends with the boys being promoted to a higher level and the same thing happens with us!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare that you make every attack of the enemy turn on him.  You are my very present help in the time of trouble.  You deliver me from the hand of the enemy and bring me out unharmed.  I receive my breakthrough – by faith – even before it manifests itself in my life.  I praise You for it in advance.  I am assured that the trial and proving of my faith bring out endurance, steadfastness and patience.  When endurance, steadfastness and patience are done, I will be perfectly and fully developed in you.  What the devil meant for evil, you will turn for my good.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Jacob blessing Joseph’s sons (part I) – God’s choice and not man’s! (top of page)

(Gen 48:14 CEV)   But before Jacob gave them his blessing, he crossed his arms, putting his right hand on the head of Ephraim and his left hand on the head of Manasseh.

This morning we continue our series on the ‘Greatest Stories Ever Told’ with the story of Jacob blessing Joseph’s sons.  This story is very long and I will attempt to summarize it into two messages.  Genesis 48 opens with Joseph gong to see his father (Jacob) who was very old and sick.  Joseph wanted his father to meet his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, before he died, so he took them to him.  Jacob told Joseph that although his two sons were born in Egypt, he accepted them as his own.  Now Jacob was very old, almost blind, and could barely recognize they boys when he saw them.  But he said, “Bring them to me, I want to give them my blessing.”  Joseph positioned his sons in front of his father.  He was careful to put the younger son (Ephraim) on Jacob’s left side and the older son (Manasseh) on his right.  Jacob then reached out to bless the boys, but before he did so, he crossed his arms, putting his right hand on the head of Ephraim and his left hand on the head of Manasseh.  He then pronounced the blessing by saying, “My grandfather Abraham and my father Isaac worshiped the Lord God.  He has been with me all my life, and his angel has kept me safe.  Now I pray that he will bless these boys and that my name and the names of Abraham and Isaac will live on because of them.  I ask God to give them many children and many descendants as well.”  Joseph did not like it when he saw his father place his right hand on the head of the younger son and he tried to move his father’s right hand from Ephraim’s head and place it on Manasseh.  Joseph said, “Father, you have made a mistake.  This is the older boy. Put your right hand on him.”  But his father said, “Son, I know what I am doing.  It’s true that Manasseh’s family will someday become a great nation. But Ephraim will be even greater than Manasseh, because his descendants will become many great nations.”

We will only cover one principle today and pick this up tomorrow.  The principle of the latter being greater than the former: the pattern we see here in Genesis 48 was not a new thing.  We know that Abraham was the ‘Father of Faith.’  He was promised a son of Sarah.  He did have a son, however, with Hagar first; and his name was Ishmael.  He later had the promised son and his name was Isaac.  The tradition of the time dictated that the blessing of the father would have to go to the ‘first born’ son.  Abraham broke tradition and followed God.  He was led of God to pass the blessing he received from God to his second born son.  We see there that the latter (Isaac) was greater than the former (Ishmael).  Isaac then had two sons: Esau and Jacob.  Although they were twins, Esau came out first and was considered the ‘first born’ son; therefore having a right to the blessing.  Jacob, however, tricked his brother and his father into getting the blessing.  Although it was through conniving ways, we see that the latter (Jacob) was greater than the former (Esau).  Jacob then was a bit different.  He was the father of the twelve sons that became the twelve tribes.  His blessing went to all twelve sons, but we do see here in the text that when it was time to bless his grandsons, the same pattern remained.  The latter (Ephraim) was greater than the former (Manasseh).  Also see Haggai 2:9.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God’s providential will, will often times go against the traditions of men.  Age, race, gender, denomination, etc.; are not factors to God.  He has a plan for your life and is willing to bring it to pass if you are willing to submit to it.  God can do extraordinary things with ordinary people.  Are you the latter, the one is was not supposed to be picked, the one who was not supposed to succeed, the one who was not supposed to excel?  If so, then you are the right one for the job.  You + God = Victory!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You have a plan for my life.  I submit and surrender to that plan today.  I am who You say that I am.  I can have what You say that I can have.  I can do what You say that I can do.  I can go where You say that I can go.  I can be what You say that I can be.  I am called, appointed, anointed, destined, blessed, covered, protected, equipped, enabled, and empowered.  I may not have been the world’s choice, but I am Your choice and I am successful in every area of my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Jacob blessing Joseph’s sons (part II) – Children of Destiny! (top of page)

(Gen 48:14 CEV)   But before Jacob gave them his blessing, he crossed his arms, putting his right hand on the head of Ephraim and his left hand on the head of Manasseh.

This morning we continue our series on the ‘Greatest Stories Ever Told’ with the second part of the story of Jacob blessing Joseph’s sons.  We saw yesterday how Jacob crossed his arms when it was time to bless the boys, switching the higher blessing (the right hand) to the younger son.  We also talked about how this pattern was seen in Abraham, Isaac, and their sons.  The greatest example of this, however, is Jesus Christ Himself.  God’s first son was Adam and Jesus is God’s second and last (1 Cor 15:45) son.  It is very clear to see here that the latter (Jesus) is greater than the former (Adam).  But we did not have the time to finish our thoughts yesterday, so let’s seek to glean a few golden nuggets from this story that apply to our lives today:

1.       God does not make mistakes:  Joseph thought that his father was making a mistake because of his old age; but his father told him that he knew what he was doing.  He even went on to declare that the younger, Ephraim, would be much greater than the older, Manasseh.  Jacob knew what He was doing when he blessed whom he blessed and so does God.  He does not make mistakes and He has purpose wrapped up in everything He does.  You may not like it when He blesses someone you don’t think deserves it, but that is not your choice to make.  Likewise, others may not like it when you are blessed, but God’s blessings are reserved for God’s wisdom.

2.       No one can stop God’s plan:  The text says that Joseph tried to move his father’s right hand from Ephraim’s head and place it on Manasseh, but Jacob did not let him.  That’s great news for us.  When we find ourselves as the underdog, the second choice, the runner-up; and God decides to shift His favor upon our lives, other’s cannot stop God’s blessing (favor), no matter how hard they try.  Favor ain’t fair and once God’s favor for increase in upon your life, no one can stop you!

3.       The power of the ‘right-hand man’:  The reason that Joseph was making such a big deal about this was because the greater blessing was tied to the right hand.  The right hand is the position of authority, stature, and power.  That is why the bible says in several places (Heb 1:3, 8:1, 10:12, 12:2, 1 Pet 3:22 are just a few) that Jesus died, was raised to life, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father, pleading and interceding for us (Ro 8:34).

So no matter what position you find yourself in this morning, you can find comfort in knowing that: (1) God has not made a mistake and knows what he is doing in your life, (2) no one, no matter how hard they try, can stop God’s destiny for you, and (3) Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father pleading and interceding on your behalf!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You know what You are doing in my life.  Every hair on my head is numbered and every day of my life is destined.  I am exactly where You knew I would be.  I accept that and move forward by faith.  No weapon formed against me shall prosper.  Every attack of the enemy will turn on him.  All things are working together for my good.  Your plans for me will come to pass in my life.  Jesus is seated at Your right-hand and is my advocate with You.  He pleads and intercedes for me.  I am covered by His blood, anointed by His Spirit, and called according to Your purpose for my life.  Thank you for Your grace.  I am a child of Destiny!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The birth of Moses (part I) – No weapon formed against us shall prosper! (top of page)

(Ex 1:22 CEV)  Until finally, the king gave a command to everyone in the nation, “As soon as a Hebrew boy is born, throw him into the Nile River! But you can let the girls live.”

This morning we continue our series on the ‘Greatest Stories Ever Told’ with the story of the birth of Moses.  Exodus 1 opens with Joseph and his brothers (the leaders of the 12 tribes) dying off and their generation with them.  The Israelites were growing increasingly in number by this point, but they were still living in Egypt.  A few years later a new king (Pharoah) took over that did not know what Joseph had done for Egypt and did not have any regard for the Hebrews.  He was afraid that they would revolt if they kept growing, so he commanded that they become slaves in Egypt; hence the prophecy of a four hundred year enslavement began (Gen 15:13).  But even with mistreatment and terrible conditions, the Israelites kept growing.  Finally, the king called for the midwives that helped the Hebrew women give birth (Shiphrah and Puah).  He told them to continue to assist the women in child bearing, but to immediately kill every male baby born of a Hebrew woman.  The two women were faithful to God and did not kill the boys.  The king called them in again and asked, “Why are you letting those baby boys live?”  They answered, “Hebrew women have their babies much quicker than Egyptian women.  By the time we arrive, their babies are already born.”  That was a weak excuse, but the king let them slide and the Hebrews kept increasing.  Finally, the king gave a command to everyone in the nation to throw every male born Hebrew child into the Nile river, but to let the girls live.  Chapter 2 opens with the birth of Moses to two Levitical parents.  We will continue this story tomorrow.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.       People can forget about you, but God never will – the new Egyptian king did not know anything about what Joseph had done for Egypt, but God still honored His people.  Likewise, people may attempt to disregard, dismiss, or discount everything you have done; but God will never forget your labor of love (Heb 6:10) and how you have submitted to Him, to be used for His glory.  You labor is not in vain, in the Lord (1 Cor 15:58).  So keep moving forward and know that God is still God.

2.       God is faithful to His people – the new Egyptian king tried and tried to slow down the growth of the Hebrew nation, but the faithfulness of God outweighed the attacks of men.  The Hebrew writer made it clear when he proclaimed, “The Lord helps me!  Why should I be afraid of what people can do to me?” (Heb 13:6).  Once we know that God is with us, in us, on us, and for us; we can face any enemy, obstacle, hindrance, and challenge head on!  Forward ever, backward never!  God is faithful to His people.

3.       God can turn the attack of the enemy on him – it is interesting to know that the Egyptian king ordered every male Hebrew boy to be thrown into the Nile river to die, because we will see tomorrow that it was this same Nile river that became the vehicle by which Moses was delivered from death.  Often times, God uses the same weapon that satan uses to attempt to destroy us, for our good.  So no matter weapon is formed against you today, rest assured that God is still in control and that He can turn the same thing that was meant to destroy you, into the blessing that you need for your breakthrough.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I stand in Your peace and Your power this morning.  I rest in the fact that You will never leave me, nor forsake me.  You will never forget my labor of love and I know that my labor, for You, is not in vain.  You are faithful to Your people and I am one of Yours.  I am Your child and I declare that I walk in Your favor this morning.  Your favor goes before me and establishes a table for me in the presence of my enemies.  You turn every attack of my enemies against them.  Everything works together for my good.  I am victorious in every area of my life.  I am in the head and not the tail.  Above only and not beneath.  I am the conqueror and not the conquered.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The birth of Moses (part II) – God is still God! (top of page)

(Ex 2:9 CEV)  The king’s daughter told her, “Take care of this child, and I will pay you.” The baby’s mother carried him home and took care of him.

This morning we continue our series on the ‘Greatest Stories Ever Told’ with the second part of the story of the birth of Moses.  Exodus 2 opens with two Levites getting married and having a beautiful baby boy shortly thereafter.  They hid the boy for three months, but when she could hide him no longer, she made a basket out of reeds and covered it with tar.  She put him in the basket and placed it in the tall grass along the edge of the Nile.  The baby’s older sister stood off at a distance to see what would happen to him.  About that time one of Pharaoh’s daughters came down to take a bath in the river.  She then saw the basket and sent one of her servants to pull it out of the water.  When Pharaoh’s daughter opened the basket, she saw the baby and felt sorry for him because he was crying.  She said, “This must be one of the Hebrew babies.”  This is when the baby’s older sister seized the opportunity.  She jumped in and said, “Do you want me to get a Hebrew woman to take care of the baby for you?”  Pharaoh’s daughter said, “Yes!”  So the girl went and got her and the baby’s mother.  Pharaoh’s daughter then told the baby’s mother that she would pay her to take care of the baby.  The baby’s mother then took him home to take care of him, with a contract to get paid for taking care of her own child, which was doomed to be killed.  When he was old enough, she took him to the king’s daughter, who adopted him.  She named him Moses because she said, “I pulled him out of the water.”

So what does this mean to you today? There is a lot here.  Let’s glean a few golden nuggets:

1.       The enemy cannot derail your Destiny – even though he was up against incredible odds, baby Moses escaped the schemes of satan (through Pharaoh) and came out unharmed.  He was Destined by God to deliver the people out of Egypt and nothing could stop that destiny.

2.       The enemy does not want you for who you are – I firmly believe that the decree by Pharaoh was an attempt to kill Moses before he ever got started.  The same thing happened with Jesus.  The enemy attempted to kill Jesus while he was still a baby, so that he could not get to the cross.  The enemy attempted to derail Peter while he was still at his ‘Simon’ stage, before he would start the New Testament church.  The enemy does not want you for who you are, but rather for who you are going to be!

3.       There will come a time where you can no longer be hid – Moses’ parents hid him as long as they could, but there came a time where they could hide him no longer.  You may feel like you have much more to offer (your job, family, church, etc.) than you are currently being used for, but just remain faithful to what you are doing.  When the time comes that you can no longer be hid, God will expose you and increase you greatly!

4.       God can make the enemy finance the ministry – Pharaoh wanted to destroy the Hebrew nation, but he wound up raising the man that would lead to Egypt’s destruction.  Moses lived in his house, wore his clothes, ate his food, and learned from his teachers.  This education was critical because Moses would later write the first five books of the Bible.  God used Pharaoh’s wealth to finance his own demise and God can transfer the wealth of the sinner to just (Prov 13:22).

5.       God can turn every attack for our good – Moses’ mother, not only got to spend more time with her son and ensure that he was not killed, but she got paid to do it!  No matter what, remember that God is still God!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I walk with boldness and confidence in my destiny today, knowing that no one can derail me from Your plan for me.  My future is bigger than my present and I know that you will expose me and elevate me when I can no longer be hid.  I will continue to humble myself and I know that you will exalt me in due season.  The wealth of the sinner is laid up for me and I accept supernatural wealth transfer, as you see fit.  You are always in control and I rest in Your sovereignty this morning.  No matter what it looks like, You are still God and You are still sitting on the circle of the earth!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The call of Moses (part I) – from Egyptian Prince to Israeli Deliverer! (top of page)

(Ex 3:5 CEV)  God replied, “Don’t come any closer. Take off your sandals–the ground where you are standing is holy.

This morning we continue our series on the ‘Greatest Stories Ever Told’ with a continuation of the story of Moses.  After Moses was an adult, he went out to where his own people were hard at work, and he saw an Egyptian beating one of them.  He looked around to see if anyone was watching, then he killed the Egyptian and hid his body in the sand.  When Moses went out the next day he saw two Hebrews fighting and asked the one who started the fight why he was beating up one of his own people.  The man answered, “Who put you in charge of us and made you our judge?  Are you planning to kill me, just as you killed that Egyptian?”  Moses then realized that the word had gotten out and escaped before Pharaoh would have him killed.  He went to the land of Midian and started a life there with Zipporah, the daughter of Jethro.  One day (after several years) Moses led sheep and goats that he was taking care of across the desert to the holy mountain (Sinai).  The angel of the Lord appeared to him there from a burning bush.  Moses saw that the bush was on fire, but it was not burning up.  He thought it was strange and went over to investigate.  The Lord then called him by name and Moses answered, “Here I am.”  God said, “Don’t come any closer.  Take off your sandals – the ground where you are standing is holy ground.  I am the God who was worshiped by your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”  Moses was afraid to look at God, so he hid his face.  The lord went on to explain that He heard the cry of his people and that He was ready to deliver them from the hand of the Egyptians and into the land of milk and honey.  God then instructed Moses to go to Pharaoh, because he was sending him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.  But Moses said, “Who am I to go to Pharaoh and lead your people out of Egypt?”  God replied, “I will be with you.  And you will know that I am the one who sent you, when you worship me on this mountain after you have led my people out of Egypt.”  We will pick this up tomorrow.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.       Allow God to lead your decisions – Moses killed an Egyptian man, causing him to have to leave and live in exile for many years.  If Moses had attempted to deliver the Israelites his way, there would have been a slaughter, but we will later see that God delivered His people without one Hebrew person dying.  When you allow God to lead your decisions, you get His results.

2.       Worship is required for intimacy with God – God did not instruct Moses to do anything until he took of his sandals and hid his face, acknowledging and reverencing the holy place that God established.  What holy place you may ask?  The presence of God.  Wherever God’s manifest presence is, is a holy and sanctified place where we should do nothing without first worshipping God.  If you want God to speak to you and show Himself to you like the people in the stories that we have been sharing, then you must be willing to take of your sandals and bow before the king of glory in worship and praise.  Worship unlocks His glory!

3.       Whatever God instructs you to do, He expects you to do and whatever He expects you to do, He equips you to do – Moses tried to make excuses.  Who am I to go to Pharaoh?  Who am I to lead your people out of Egypt?  It is normal to feel inadequate when God calls you to do something, but that part of the evidence that it is God.  God will never call you to do something that will not require His help and He will never withhold His help from His assignment!  So stop making excuses, accept what God has instructed you to do, and step out on faith!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I allow You to lead, guide, and direct me today and every day.  I will not make decisions without first seeking Your wisdom.  Your wisdom and your guidance ensure my success.  I worship and praise you daily.  I extol and exalt Your name.  You alone are worthy.  You alone are the Most High.  You alone are the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  You sit on the circle of the earth and have all things in and under control.  I accept Your call, Your instruction, Your assignment.  I step out on faith and know that You will assist me in accomplishing Your will in my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Isaiah’s Description of Jesus’ Character – Wonderful! (top of page)

(Is 9:6 KJV)  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

This is the last week before Christmas and although we will continue our series on the ‘Greatest Stories Ever Told,’ we will do so with a little twist.  Instead of dealing with the story of the birth of Jesus – the manger, the wise men, the star, etc. – we will deal with a prophecy about the purpose of His coming.  Some 700 years before baby Jesus was born, the Holy Spirit through Isaiah penned a prophecy that described Jesus’ purpose, destiny, and character.  I say His character, but Isaiah literally describes some of His names.  But just like I taught in the series on the names of God (on the website), in biblical times your name was indicative of your character, attributes, and nature.  So when Isaiah penned these five names of Jesus, He was literally describing the characteristics of His ministry.  We will investigate these names this week and see how they apply to our lives today.

The first name that Isaiah mentions is the name “Wonderful.”  This Hebrew word means to separate, distinguish, or to make great.  Jesus was distinguished and clearly different from the rulers and teachers of the time.  He was not average, to say the least.

1.       Jesus did not speak like the average man:  (Mat 13:10-13 KJV)  And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

a.       Jesus did not speak like the average teacher.  He taught in parables, speaking mysteries, and seemingly spoke in riddles.  These mysteries confused the scholars of the time, but were understood by His followers.  Jesus was wonderful, distinguished, and peculiar in His speech.

2.       Jesus did not act like the average person:  (Mat 7:29 AMP)  For He was teaching as One Who had [and was] authority, and not as [did] the scribes.  Now let’s look at how the Message Bible translates this same verse.  It says, “It was apparent that he was living everything he was saying – quite a contrast to their religion teachers! This was the best teaching they had ever heard.”

a.       Jesus did not act like the average teacher either.  He was not confused in what he was saying.  He was confident in His speech and His actions.  He acted like one with authority and He lived everything He was teaching.  Jesus was not a hypocrite.  He did not attempt to live what He was preaching, but He rather preached what He was living.  His audio matched His video.  He was a man of integrity.  He was a man of dignity.  He far surpassed average and Isaiah called Him wonderful!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that we should emulate Jesus’ characteristics.  If you look like a sinner, walk like a sinner, talk like a sinner, and act like a sinner; then you might just be a sinner!  Jesus did not come so that we could remain sinners and He did not come so that we could remain average.  He spoke and acted like He was separate, distinguished, and set apart from the world; and so should we!  People could seesomething in Jesus that they did not have and they wanted it!  What can people see in you that will cause them to pursue your anointing?  Wonderful is the enemy of average!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for allowing Jesus to come and fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah.  He was wonderful in His speech and wonderful in His actions.  As we draw close to Christmas and the celebration of the birth of my Savior, I declare that I will emulate Jesus today and everyday.  I will seek to be distinguished and set apart in my words and my actions.  My audio will match my video and they will both bring glory to Your name.  Wonderful is the enemy of average and I declare that I will rise above mediocrity and pursue excellence in every area of my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Isaiah’s Description of Jesus’ Character – Counselor! (top of page)

(Is 9:6 KJV)  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

This morning we continue our series on the ‘Greatest Stories Ever Told’ with the second name of Jesus mentioned in our text – Counselor.  Remember that in biblical times, your name was indicative of your character, attributes, and nature.  So when Isaiah named Jesus “Counselor,” some 700 years before His birth, He was prophesying to us a characteristic of His life and ministry.

Let me start off by making it clear that although Jesus was fully God, He was born fully man.  He was born as a baby, hence not born with eternal wisdom and knowledge.  He had to both grow and study, if He would become the man He was intended to be.  Let’s take a closer look:

1.  Luke chapter two opens with Jesus as a child.  The Bible says that He grew, became strong and wise, and God blessed him.  This gives us to know that He was not born knowing, but rather had to grow mentally, spiritually, and physically.  His parents took Him to Jerusalem every year for the feast of Passover.  When He was 12 yrs. old, they visited Jerusalem as usual.  After Passover, however, his parents left with the usual crowd, not realizing that Jesus had stayed behind.  It took them a full day to figure this out.  They returned to Jerusalem and did not find Jesus for another three days.  When they finally found Him, He was sitting in the temple, listening to the scholars, asking and responding to questions.  Everyone there was astonished and overwhelmed at the intelligence of His answers.  This kid was 12 yrs. Old and He went toe-to-toe with the scholars of the time for four days straight.  He could have never done that, without much time in prayer and study.

2.  Later on (in John 7), after Jesus was older and began His ministry, people were arguing about His teaching.  Some thought He was the real deal and others argued that He was a phony.  It was during the Feast of the Tabernacles and Jesus decided to go into the temple and He started teaching.  The scholars again were surprised, amazed, and dumbfounded.  They asked, “How does this man know so much?  He has never been taught!”  Or in other words, “He has never been to Seminary, or any institution of higher learning.”  Although Jesus may not have been to their Universities or Schools of Theology, He spent time in prayer and study.  He became a counselor to counselors.  He became a leader to leaders.  He was wise, perceptive, and astute; and this all came from spending time in prayer and study.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that we should emulate Jesus’ characteristics.  Jesus clearly had to grow mentally and spiritually.  He had to spend time in prayer and in study to be the man He was destined to be.  He had to make an investment in His destiny by getting up early and spending time with the Father.  If Jesus had to do all of this to become the “Counselor” He was destined to be, then how can we think that we can get by without spending time in prayer and study?  If you want to be sought out for counsel, if you want to be considered wise, if you want to be like Jesus; then you must spend time in prayer and in the Word of God!  God’s Word flowing from you can make a High School dropout amaze the greatest educators of our time!  Allow the Holy Spirit to make you operate like the “Counselor!”

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I take time in prayer and in the ministry of Your Word.  I seek Your wisdom, Your counsel, and Your might.  The more Word I pour into me, the more You can pull out of me.  Your Words are Spirit and they are life.  Your Word gives me direction and guidance.  I meditate on Your Word day and night and I declare that I am like a tree, planted by the rivers of water.  I bring forth my fruit in my season.  My leaf does not wither and everything I do – prospers!  May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight.  Lord, You are my strength, my rock, and my redeemer.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Isaiah’s Description of Jesus’ Character – The Mighty God! (top of page)

(Is 9:6 KJV)  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

This morning we continue our series on the ‘Greatest Stories Ever Told’ with the third name of Jesus mentioned in our text – The Mighty God.  Remember that in biblical times, your name was indicative of your character, attributes, and nature.  So when Isaiah named Jesus “The Mighty God,” some 700 years before His birth, He was prophesying to us a characteristic of His life and ministry.

It is interesting that Isaiah would call Jesus ‘The Mighty God,’ because this was a name given to God the Father by David.  David asked, “Who is this King of glory?  The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle” (Ps 24:8 KJV).  The actual name given to God in this Psalm was ‘El-Gibhor,’ or in other words ‘The Mighty God.’  David depicted a God that not only reigned as a King, but also had the power to rule with a strong arm and exercise His might in battle.  This then takes us back to our text.  We have been dealing with verse 6 for a few days, but if continue on to verse 7; we will discover that Isaiah also prophesies that Jesus would rule over His kingdom.  Now, the only person that possesses a kingdom and the right to rule over one is a King.  We can now tie in both texts.  In the 24th Psalm we see God the Father ruling as a King with mighty power and in Isaiah 9 we see the prophecy of God the Son doing the same.  If we fast forward 700 years to the New Testament, we can actually see Jesus fulfilling this prophecy:

1.       The child was born (Mat 2:1).

2.       He ruled over nature: water into wine (John 2:1-11), peace to a storm (Mat 8:23-27).

3.       He ruled over diseases and physical maladies: fever (Mat 8:14,15), blindness (John 9:1-41), paralysis (Luke 5:17-46), leprosy (Luke 17:11-19), and many more.

4.       He ruled over evil spirits (Mat 9:32,33); (Mat 12:22,23); (Mat 15:22-28); (Mat 17:14-23); and many more.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that we should emulate Jesus’ characteristics.  Jesus was born human, just like us.  Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit, just like us (all Born-Again believers).  Jesus operated like ‘the Mighty God’ in the earth; with spiritual power, wisdom, and might.  I submit unto you that He wants us to operate the same way today.  Even while He was still in the earth, He called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases (Luk 9:1).  You might be thinking, ‘well, those were the disciples.  I did not walk with Jesus, so I do not have that kind of power.’  But that is a defeated mentality.  Jesus Himself said, “I tell you for certain that if you have faith in me, you will do the same things that I am doing.  You will do even greater things, now that I am going back to the Father” (John 14:12 CEV).

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You are the Mighty God.  You rule and reign over every devil, demon, and demonic influence and You have given me the power to do the same.  I rejoice in Your victory, my Lord, over all principalities, powers, and spiritual wickedness.  I know that it is Your will that I should stand firm and resist all of the enemy’s work against me.  Help me to discern the attacks upon my thoughts and emotions.  Enable me to stand upon Your Word and resist all the accusations, distortions and condemnations that are hurled against me.  I am transformed by the renewing of my mind and I do not compromise the way of the Word with the way of the world.  I am victorious, through the Blood of Your dear Son, over every attack, plan, scheme, and stronghold placed against me.  I declare that I am healed, delivered, and set free; emotionally, physically, spiritually, and completely!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Isaiah’s Description of Jesus’ Character – Everlasting Father! (top of page)

(Is 9:6 KJV)  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

This morning we continue our series on the ‘Greatest Stories Ever Told’ with the third name of Jesus mentioned in our text – Everlasting Father.  Remember that in biblical times, your name was indicative of your character, attributes, and nature.  So when Isaiah named Jesus “Everlasting Father,” some 700 years before His birth, He was prophesying to us a characteristic of His life and ministry.

What is interesting about this name is that Jesus is known to be the ‘Son,’ as it relates to the Godhead or the Trinity and Isaiah calls Him the Everlasting Father in this text.  This is not a conflict with His position towards the Father and is rather a reference to His position over time.  This portion of the text has also been translated: “The man abiding forever,” “The Father of the everlasting age,” and “The Father of eternity.”  So Isaiah was painting a picture of a human who would be born into time, but not bound by it.  He paints the picture of an eternal God, who would step from eternity into time, while still maintaining His rule over it.  We see Jesus’ eternality explained in several texts.  Let’s take a look at a couple:

1.  In John 8 Jesus encountered great opposition to His ministry by the religious rulers of the time.  They accused Him of working for the devil, especially when He made a claim to posses eternal life and offer eternal life to all those who would follow and obey Him.  They told Him that even Abraham died and who was He to think that He could live forever.  Jesus then claimed to have seen Abraham.  They said, “You are not yet fifty years old, and you have seen Abraham!”  Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”  Meaning that He was around before Abraham and therefore eternal in nature.

2.  John opens His gospel with these words, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (verses 1-3).  The Word referenced here is Jesus and John clearly states that Jesus was around at creation and was part of the process.  Yes, Jesus was the Everlasting Father!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that Jesus was not bound by time, but rather ruled over it.  It also means that He offered us the same.  We can have eternal life through Jesus Christ.  Jesus said, referring to Himself, (John 6:50) This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.  He also said, addressing Martha and her dead brother, (John 11:25,26 NIV)  “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?”  I will close this morning with the same question, “Do you believe this?”  Do you believe that you have eternal and everlasting life?  Do you believe that through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross you can live forever?  If you do, then you know that you have already received the greatest Christmas ever given! Everlasting life with the Everlasting Father!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I have repented of my sin, turned from my wicked ways, and acknowledged that Jesus suffered, bled, died, and was risen from the dead with all power in His hand.  I have acknowledged that He died for my sin and have accepted Him as both my Lord and Savior.  According to Your Word, I have everlasting life with the Everlasting Father.  I give you glory, honor, and praise for the greatest gift ever given.  I will honor You ever day and never take my ‘so great salvation’ for granted.  I am a Christian.  I am a believer.  I am a child of the Most High God and I declare that I will act like it!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Isaiah’s Description of Jesus’ Character – Prince of Peace! (top of page)

(Is 9:6 KJV)  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

This morning we continue our series on the ‘Greatest Stories Ever Told’ with the fifth and final name of Jesus mentioned in our text – Prince of Peace.  Tomorrow is Christmas day and I pray that you have received a few nuggets about the names of Jesus that will be a blessing to you in your walk with Christ.  We wrap up this portion of the series with a very important characteristic of Jesus the Christ, the power of His peace.  This title (the Prince of Peace) literally means “One who would reign with and administer peace.”  We know that he came to give us peace from sin, but He also came to give us peace from :

1.  Fear:  Jesus said, (John 14:27 KJV)  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  Fear moves satan, but Faith moves God.  Jesus came so that we – through the power of the Holy Spirit – could operate in faith and not fear.  Don’t be afraid of what 2005 has in store for you, step into 2005 as the “Year of the Overflow,” by faith!

2.  Worry:  Jesus said, (Mat 6:31 KJV)  “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?”  When we worry we simply do not trust God.  Worry is the fruit, but unbelief is the root.  Jesus came to give us peace from worry, doubt, and unbelief.

3.  Death:  Jesus said, (John 11:26 KJV)  “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”  We discussed this yesterday and we know that Jesus came to give us peace from death.  Most people are afraid of death, but for Christians, death is merely a transition from time to eternity, from corruption to incorruptible.  Jesus paid the penalty for sin, so that we could be at peace with death and dying.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that as you celebrate Christmas, know that Jesus came as much more than a baby in a manger and for much more than gifts under a tree.  While you are unwrapping the gifts under the tree, please don’t forget the man who died on the tree for you and me!  After all, it’s His birthday anyway.  We should not celebrate His birthday without acknowledging Him!  He came as the Prince of Peace and His peace and presence are the greatest Christmas gifts you could ever receive!

From the Piña family to yours:  Have a blessed and Merry Christmas!  May the Peace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ dwell in you richly this day and every day!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!