Hope through Flame or Flood

September 6th, 2017

But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,

And He who formed you, O Israel:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

I have called you by your name; You are Mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.

When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,

Nor shall the flame scorch you.”

 Isaiah 43:1-2 NKJV

Houston is recovering from an historic flood, Florida is bracing for possibly the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever, and the Western U.S. is on fire (over 1,200 fires west of the Rockies). Here in Portland, ash has been falling like snow as wildfires consume much of the Columbia Gorge scenic area, a natural wonder that tourists visit from around the world.

TO ARMS: People of God, we must pray. Many voices – including Rev. Billy Graham’s own daughter (Anne Graham Lotz) – have been warning of impending judgment coming to our nation due to America embracing evil and rejecting God.

Thus begins a debate amongst Christians: does God really still judge nations? And if so, can “natural disasters” be instruments of judgment? And if so, is THIS an example of such judgment? Or is it just a natural occurrence of an especially strong hurricane season and historically dry and hot August?

Those are complex questions worthy of thought and prayer, but my point is to help us be certain of what Scripture makes absolutely clear:

  1. God does not change – He’s the same “yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). He promises that both nations and individuals will “reap what they have sown,” and we as a nation have sown some seriously bad seed over the past decades (like 50 million+ unborn babies slaughtered since 1973). And Scripture shows us that at times He will use anything from invading armies to “natural disasters” to get a nation’s attention.

The Lord is slow to anger and great in power,

And will not at all acquit the wicked.

The Lord has His way in the whirlwind and in the storm…

Nahum 1:3

  1. God’s heart is slow to anger, but quick to forgive. He takes no delight in sending calamity or destruction – and when He does, it is with the desire that people would learn, repent, and return to Him.

The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,

Slow to anger and great in mercy.

Psalm 145:8

“I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways!”

Ezekiel 33:11

  1. Although God eventually judges evil, He desires to send mercy, not judgment.

 

“For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy.

Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

James 2:13

Even in the midst of calamity and storm, God is always seeking to work all things – including the hardest and darkest times – together for the good of those who love Him (Rom. 8:28) and for the salvation of all who will call on His name (Ps. 86:5, Rom. 10:12). Already there are literally hundreds of reports of God’s protection and power shown in the Houston flood, of racial unity and harmony as people help one another regardless of skin color or background, and of countless people turning back to Jesus in their time of need (praise God!)

  1. God has appointed His followers to be a “royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9), interceding for His mercy to come to lives, nations, and situations. And He’s appointed you and I to be instruments of mercy in our nation as we see the disaster and destruction affecting our land.

“So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall,

and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land,

that I should not destroy it;

but I found no one.

Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them…”

Ezekiel 22:30

According to this Scripture, God is looking to pour out mercy, to avert the judgment that a nation deserves – but He is looking for those who will “stand in the gap” in the form of praying for mercy.

My friends, it is time for us to take up that holy calling and pray daily for God’s mercy to triumph over judgment in our nation.

Let’s pray for a turning and softening of hearts, for people to feel the weight of their sin and their need for a Savior, for a mighty outpouring of God’s Spirit to spark the greatest revival our nation has ever known.

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord…

Acts 3:19

Praying for mercy,

Pastor Matthew (Casey) Langston

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2017

Your God is VERY Present

June 19th, 2017

God is our refuge and strength,

a very present help in trouble.

Psalm 46:1

For those in need of encouragement, remember: the awesome Creator, the High and Holy One, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Almighty God Himself is VERY present in your time of need! He’s not far off, careless, or unaware of your situation – He is closer than your next breath, nearer than the next beat of your heart, and He loves you beyond your ability to fathom it.

He’s numbered the hairs on your head, written your wanderings in His book, and inscribed you upon the palms of His hands (Matt. 10:30, Ps. 56:8, Isaiah 49:16). His love for you is awesome, His heart toward you is glad, and His plans for you are GOOD – not for harm and calamity.

He won’t forsake you, He can’t fail you, and He’ll never strand or abandon you – au contraire, He’s promised that His goodness and mercy will follow you ALL the days of your life, and afterward you’ll dwell with Him forever! (Heb. 13:5, Ps. 23:6)

He’s working your every trial together for your good, refining you as gold through the fire, and purifying your heart after Him – and the very things that the enemy threatens will take you DOWN are actually taking you UP as you draw near to God. (Rom. 8:28, 1 Peter 1:6-7, James 4:8)

He knows your needs before you ask, He knows your next word before it’s on your tongue, and He knows the way you take – after He has tested you, you shall come forth as purest gold! (Matt. 6:8, Psalm 139:4, Job 23:10).

THEREFORE: let faith arise, child of God! As faith goes, so goes your battle – and God has appointed you for VICTORY! The sooner we believe, the sooner we praise, the sooner we rejoice in the face of trial or trouble – the sooner we triumph!

THEREFORE we will not fear,

even though the earth be removed,

And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea…

Psalm 46:2

He will not fail you. May fresh faith ARISE in your heart as you trust Him to bring you through this trouble, and may you be STRONG AND CONFIDENT in His unfailing love for you!

Blessings to you in our wonderful Messiah,

Pastor Matthew (Casey) Langston

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2017

Guidance through the Dark

March 21st, 2017

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,

Along unfamiliar paths I will guide them…

Isaiah 42:16a

God can lead us even when we don’t realize it… This is especially true when we find ourselves in situations and seasons of life that are unfamiliar, unexpected – even uncomfortable – and our hearts just cry out for “normal” and long for the familiar.

But growth always requires change – and following God into the high calling and depth of fellowship He desires for each of us will mean stepping into the “unknown” at times. Just as God led Abraham, Moses, Job, David, Paul, and so many others, we won’t always know why God is allowing the trials and transitions touching our lives – but we can know that He’s promised to make it ALL a blessing to us if we will stay yielded to Him.   

Maybe those “ways they have not known” in your life means the loss of a relationship or loved one, a change of role in work or family or ministry, or the death of a dream you’ve held dear that now looks impossible… And when we find ourselves on unfamiliar paths, it’s easy to wonder if God is still with us, still guiding, still good.

What to do? When a season of unexpected change touches our lives, we can take comfort in a few truths that are unchanging and rock solid: 

1.  “Adonai Roi” ~ He is the Lord our Shepherd. By definition, shepherds lead, feed, and protect those under their care. And if your heart is His, then you can KNOW that He is guiding you, though you may not understand, see, or feel it in the moment. He never ceases being who and what He is (not even for a moment) – and He is our Good Shepherd, “that great Shepherd of the sheep,” who cannot fail (see John 10:11, 14; Hebrews 13:20).

2. He’s not done leading you, He’s not through with you… He’s going somewhere with this, and His plans for you stretch into eternity. He’s never stranded a sheep in the valley yet, and He’s not going to start with you. Even if it feels like you’re in the valley of the shadow of death, He’s leading you THROUGH. 

The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me;

Your love, O Lord, endures forever…

Psalm 138:8

3. Trust is a choice (not a feeling), trust is powerful beyond what we realize, and trust is always rewarded.  Abraham could not understand the guidance of God when it called him to take Isaac up Mt. Moriah, but he chose to trust even if it cost him the most precious thing on earth.

Any good father knows that Abraham would have rather died a thousand deaths than offer up his “yachid” ~ literally, his “only one” son (Genesis 22:2). We can see it from this side, and we know how the story ended – that the blessings God promised to Abraham for his obedience are still flowing, both to Israel and to every follower of Jesus today:

“By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son – blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

Genesis 22:16-18

Your Father gave the life of His “yachid,” His very own Isaac (as it were) to purchase you. Remember that the next time you face the unfamiliar and unexpected – Your Father’s love will never fail.  

And as you trust and worship, rest assured that you’ll witness Him work the second part of Isaiah 42:16 in your life, in His perfect time and way:

I will turn the darkness into light before them

And make the rough places smooth.

These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.

Isaiah 42:16b

May you rest in the Good Shepherd’s guidance this week,

Pastor Matthew (Casey) Langston

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2017

 

My sure-fire recipe for JOY, contentment, & PROMOTION!

March 6th, 2017

OK, so it’s not really MY sure-fire recipe ~ it’s the Bible’s! And every Christian I know could use more joy, contentment, and promotion from Jesus, so allow me to explain:

1. THE ONLY place on earth with fullness of joy… And it’s not Disneyland, a cruise ship to the Bahamas, a serene mountain hideaway without cell phone coverage… No, the ONLY PLACE that delivers absolute fullness of true joy is found here:

You will show me the path of life;

In Your presence is fullness of joy;

At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16:11

We were made for His presence Moses cried out for it at Mount Horeb, King David sought after it in the Judean wilderness, even Jesus Himself often slipped away to enjoy quiet times of prayer and fellowship with His Father – and if the Son of God needed time in His Father’s presence, how much more do you and I!

Fullness of joy, refreshing for weary hearts, renewing of our minds, strength for the battles ahead – all this comes as we wait on the Lord, and enjoy His presence.

2. CONTENTMENT: a rare and priceless treasure that money cannot buy. In fact, surveys indicate that the wealthiest people are generally the least content. Fame and success don’t equal a contented heart either – the opposite is often true, as external notoriety and achievement only magnify the lack of internal peace, and the soul becomes empty and disillusioned.

Real contentment is only found in surrendering our rights and yielding to the Father’s will. And sometimes getting to that place of true surrender is painful… Our wills can die hard, especially when it involves deeply-held dreams, and goals that are precious to our hearts.

It proved most costly for Jesus; on the darkest night any human has ever seen, with the prospect of the unimaginable suffering immediately ahead, Jesus found contentment and strength as He utterly relinquished His rights to the will of His Father:

“O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me;

Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will

O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it,

Your will be done.”

Matthew 26:39, 42

We forfeit so much peace, provision, and contentment when we cling to our own wills, rights, and direction. Surrender can be painful and scary, but it’s always met with the grace and strength to do what He calls us to. Truly: the path to true contentment lies in relinquishing our rights and embracing our Father’s will. He knows best, and does best too.

3. PROMOTION: when the way up is down. It runs counter to our flesh, to everything this world says and seeks, and to the power structure in the typical American church ~ yet it’s true: Jesus promises promotion to those who choose the “lowest place,” who embrace a life of servanthood and putting others ahead of themselves:

“For whoever exalts himself will be humbled,

And he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Luke 14:11

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,

that He may exalt you in due time.

1 Peter 5:6

There are blessings – both for now, and for eternity – reserved only for those who choose the path of humility. In little ways and little decisions every day, God provides us opportunities to put Him first by putting others ahead of ourselves… to live like Jesus did, so He can be glorified through us.

I pray that you experience the joy of His presence, the contentment of surrendering your will and embracing His, and the favor of Jesus as you follow His path of servanthood and humility this week.

Your servant in our precious Savior and glorious King,

Pastor Matthew (Casey) Langston

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2017

 

The BLESSING in your BATTLE

February 20th, 2017

Wait on the Lord;

Be of good courage,

And He shall strengthen your heart;

Wait, I say, on the Lord!

Psalm 27:14 NKJV

We all love times of plenty, comfort, ease, and the proverbial smooth sailing on calm waters… But in reality, those seasons – enjoyable as they may be – don’t make for a very robust or reliable faith.

In fact, uninterrupted ease is death to a disciple… Just as our muscles atrophy without a certain amount of stretching and strain, so our faith fails to grow (and in fact melts away) without some tests and trials:

Dear brothers, is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete.

James 1:2-4, TLB

Thankfully, you and I probably have enough challenges to keep our faith stretching, nu? For those who are pressing through a hard season – or perhaps even feeling crushed by the weight of your difficulties and fierceness of your foes – take courage today as you realize:

  • God’s love is called “unfailing” for a reason. He’s never failed ANY of His children, and He’s not going to start with you:

The Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in Him.

Psalm 33:5 NIV

  • He is undaunted by your foes, He’s mighty to save, and at just the right moment, He will show His power in your area of need:

When the enemy comes in like a flood,

The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.

Isaiah 59:19 NKJV

  • Your battle is evidence of His blessing. That may sound crazy, but the very attacks of the enemy prove that your faith is worthy of being opposed, and that your Father has given you gifts and a calling to make an impact for His Kingdom. So don’t be discouraged at the battle before you; remember the words of a wise old saint:

To be left unmolested by Satan is no evidence of blessing.

  • Never is your Father nearer than when you feel broken. His Spirit’s presence is drawn to humility (see Isaiah 57:15). He won’t allow these trials to take you down or destroy your faith – but He has appointed you for VICTORY over them, to BUILD your faith and INCREASE your confidence in His unfailing love:

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,

And saves such as have a contrite spirit.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,

But the Lord delivers him out of them all.

Psalm 34:18-19 NKJV

  • His power comes when our striving ends, when we’re ready to abandon all our self-efforts to figure it out, fight off our foes, make ourselves pure, and keep ourselves peaceful, protected, and provided for. We seldom see His supply until we’re convinced of our need, seldom see His mighty hand move until we’ve grown weary of doing it our own way. So bring Him your need, weakness, lack – He will show Himself mighty again:

He gives power to the weak,

And to those who have no might He increases strength.

Isaiah 40:29 NKJV

“The poor and needy search for water, but there is none;

Their tongues are parched with thirst.

But I the Lord will answer them;

I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.

I will make rivers flow on barren heights,

And springs within the valleys.

I will turn the desert into pools of water,

And the parched ground into springs.”

Isaiah 41:17 NIV

Your Deliverer is coming, and He will be right on time… Your part is to praise Him, to lift your eyes above your circumstances and foes and bless your Father for His unfailing love. The more you celebrate His goodness and remember His faithfulness, the greater glory you bring Him – right here, right now, on the very battlefield before you.

And as you do, you receive the blessings in your battle: overcoming faith, unshakable confidence in His love, and the sweetness of His presence.  

May you remember, receive, and celebrate how greatly He loves you this week,

Pastor Matthew (Casey) Langston

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2017

Freedom from the Tyranny of Self

January 30th, 2017
“…and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves,
but for Him who died for them and rose again.”

2 Corinthians 5:15 NKJV

Ever felt miserable?  I believe we can trace much of the misery in our lives to areas of uncrucified self-life.  Wherever self is allowed to reside unchecked, the waters of our hearts will be muddied.  And wherever self is allowed to reign, the fruit will be misery.  Abundant life (which Jesus promised us – see John 10:10) is stolen, and in its place we find a meager existence that lives on diversions and passing pleasures, largely void of the presence of God.

The answer to this problem is simple, but costly:

I have been crucified with Christ;
it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;
and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Galatians 2:20 NKJV

Paul understood that to truly experience “the good life,” we must stop seeking “the good life” and start seeking to let Jesus live through us.  The sooner we humble ourselves, choose the place of servanthood, and cease striving to do or get for ourselves, the sooner we enter into His joy, peace, and rest.

We simply bring our entire lives to the Cross once more in full and unconditional surrender, abandoning every shred of “self” – like self-will, self-preservation, self-reliance, self-justification, self-promotion, self-love, and every other form of seeking our own good or glory, and invite Jesus to rule and reign anew in us.

He must increase, but I must decrease.

John 3:30 NKJV

Only in surrendering self and seeking Jesus will we ever be fulfilled.  Every earthly treasure or prize, ever award or accomplishment, every dream realized – all will be empty and void unless it comes in the path of loving and serving Jesus and others.  Self-life spoils everything it touches; seeking Jesus first brings meaning and joy to even the valleys and deserts of life.  You and I don’t need to seek “our best life now,” or a purpose-driven life, or any of the other self-focused fads that pop-church culture has sold us.  We just need to seek Jesus

Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it,

and whoever loses his life will preserve it.

Luke 17:33 NKJV

When Jesus is our treasure, all else finds its proper place and priority.  I believe that one hour in the manifest presence of the King of Kings is of more real spiritual value that many hours of man-centered religious activity.  For in His presence, we are transformed into His image.  We’re made more like Jesus, our minds are renewed, our hearts are healed, we’re better equipped to serve others with His love…And we’re set free from the tyranny of self.

For Prayer
:  “Abba, teach me to cease seeking self, and to simply seek You… Grant me grace to abandon every care and concern to You, to put aside the busyness of this life, and to focus on Your Word and will.  Refresh my heart with a hunger and thirst for Your Presence.  Teach me anew the joys of being a servant, of worship, and of walking humbly before You every day.  Fill my life afresh with Your love and Holy Spirit this week.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.”  

May the Lord bless you with His freedom this week,

Pastor Matthew (Casey) Langston

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2017

Simply Trust

January 24th, 2017

“Who among you fears the Lord?

Who obeys the voice of His Servant?

Who walks in darkness and has no light?

Let him trust in the name of the Lord

And rely upon his God.”

Isaiah 50:10

When faced with problems, our normal human response is to think it through, figure it out, and come with a plan. That’s a God-given ability, and is not a bad thing in itself. And yet, life’s challenges can easily defy our ability to solve them with human reason. Some of us are facing problems so deep and questions so vexing that attacking them with mere reason only exacerbates the matter. Trying to “figure it out” at that point is like a stuck car spinning its wheels in mud: the harder we try, the deeper we sink into the mud of confusion. Sometimes the only answer is to simply trust. Cease striving to work it out, to figure it out, and to find a way out of the trial; just trust your Father in heaven. We must leave the matter in His hands, and choose to trust His heart of love for us. Trust can take us where trying cannot. It draws us into the presence of God.

There’s Healing in His Presence

“When I thought how to understand this,

It was too painful for me

Until I went into the sanctuary of God;

Then I understood…”

Psalm 73:16-17

The psalmist knew he needed to run to the “sanctuary” – the place of God’s presence – for help and healing. You and I are just the same: some things only become clear when we are resting in the presence of the Lord. There’s peace of mind and healing for our wounded hearts as we draw near to His heart of love for us.

It’s no surprise, then, that the enemy fights so hard to keep us from the Lord’s presence. He uses the very battles we’re facing to whisper accusations of God’s heart for us, such as “If God is so good to you, why did He allow ______ to happen to you? Why would He allow you so much pain? Why wouldn’t He bless you the way He’s blessed others? Look at how well things are going for them – what does He have against you?”

The accuser can be pretty effective sometimes, and such questions prove “too painful” for us to answer. That’s when we must be like the psalmist and run “into the sanctuary” – into the presence of the Lord. There His love answers our hearts more deeply than the questions troubling our minds. We may not come away understanding the “why” of our situation, but we find ourselves resting in His love and able to trust Him again.

Some questions won’t be answered until we see Jesus face to face. The One who died for me deserves my absolute and unreserved trust, including when His ways don’t appear to make sense. My brothers and sisters, let us simply trust Him… Trust His will, trust His ways, trust His wisdom, and trust the Man who died for us. The Day is coming when we will see, we will know, we will understand all things clearly (see 1 Corinthians 13:10, 12). Until then, let us choose to simply trust His heart of love.

Much love in Jesus,

Pastor Matthew (Casey) Langston

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2017

Focus leads to Victory

January 18th, 2017

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil.  He prowls about like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.  Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.

I Peter 5:8-9 NLT

An unfocused life is seldom a productive life; whether in work, school, or relationships, focus is vital to success in any endeavor.  Nowhere is this truer than in our walk with God – which impacts every area of our lives. 

And nothing saps spiritual energy and focus like distractions.  To survive and thrive spiritually and emotionally amid the crazy, hectic world in which we live, we need undistracted time in God’s Word and presence every day. 

So as we begin a new year, Let’s clean out the temple… We are God’s very own temple which He bought with Jesus’ sinless Blood, and in which He desires to dwell constantly

Do you now know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you,

whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

I Corinthians 6:19 NKJV

In 2017, let your highest calling and purpose become your first focus and top prioritybeing a temple for the presence the Lord, dwelling daily with Him, and growing in the love and power of God

Practical steps toward a more focused 2017:

  1. Do one thing at a time. Generally speaking, “multi-tasking” is a myth that leads to distracted driving and diminishing returns – but being “all there” and giving our full attention to the task before us (in any area of life) leads to a more focused mind and peaceful heart, and makes it easier to stay tuned into the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit.
  1. Don’t skip breakfast and leave the house unarmed. God’s Word is our spiritual bread and meat, and much of our spiritual weakness and defeat can be traced to failing to invest focused, intentional time in God’s Word (no, the “30 second devotional” readings don’t substitute for getting in the Word, and letting the Word get in you). If you want a more successful and fruitful year in 2017, then follow God’s pathway for success:

“…but you shall meditate in it (God’s Word) day and night,

 that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.

For then you will make your way prosperous,

and then you will have good success.” 

Joshua 1:8 NKJV

Keeping the Word before us – whether that’s a sticky on our desk at work or dashboard of the car, listening to the Bible app during commute time, etc. – is an investment that yields great rewards in our hearts, minds, health, and labors

  1. Set your pace & silence your distractions. Carve out times in which you shut out the distractions of life – don’t react to every call, text, or email as they come. You set the pace at which you live, and where your mind will focus.  The greater focus you enjoy in your time with Jesus, the more focus you’ll see amid the busyness of lifeMake staying in touch with Jesus your top priority – and in doing so, all else will become more balanced and blessed. 

Let’s face it: every time we leave our home, we’re like a fish swimming upstream against the current of this world. And the more spiritually hostile your environment, the more it’s like little fishy is swimming in toxic waters, too! 

As the day grows darker and the distinction between light and darkness in our nation becomes more stark, the world is demanding “Christians” and churches that are willing to compromise God’s Word for the sake of being accepted and liked by the World.  Remember Jesus’ words:

“If you were of the world, the world would love its own. 

Yet because you are not of the world,

but I chose you out of the world,

therefore the world hates you.” 

John 15:19

The watered-down gospel message offered by many American churches today is useless to save lost souls and powerless to make true disciples of Jesus.  Jesus said that following Him means carrying a cross – dying to self-interest and self-rule, so Jesus can live and be glorified through us.  Only such a life will possess the true power, love, and presence of Christ that lost souls are dying to know. 

Let’s choose now to be temples set apart for His presence, to be disciples willing to deny ourselves and carry our cross, and to be followers of Jesus that make the wisest investment in the whole world: investing daily time alone with Him. 

May the Holy Spirit fall upon your life with fresh anointing and holy fire this week,

 

Pastor Matthew (Casey) Langston

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2017

Jerusalem, according to Jesus

January 10th, 2017

Satan spins a narrative of half-truths and outright lies about Israel, broadcast by mainstream media outlets every day. So let’s briefly look at WHO owns Jerusalem, WHY it’s so special, and WHAT it means to us as Christians today

1. Jesus claims Jerusalem for His Father

“Jerusalem… is the city of the great King.”

Jesus, speaking in Matthew 5:35

The Arab world insists that Jerusalem (and indeed, all of Israel) belongs to the Arab world… The United Nations considers Jerusalem an “international city,” belonging to the United Nations… But JESUS put it plainly: “Jerusalem is the city of the great King.

That’s “KING” with a capital “K” ~ His Father, the Creator, the One who chose that city to be the heart of Israel, of Jewish history, and of the prophetic future. According to Jesus Christ, Jerusalem belongs to God Almighty; it’s the only city which Jesus claimed for His Father.

I realize that there are pastors/teachers today (some very well known) who say Jerusalem, Israel, and the Jewish people have no significance to God… Though they know it not, their teachings flow from the anti-Semitism that began in ancient Catholicism and has trickled down to many Protestant denominations even today (particularly common among Calvinist/Reformed traditions).

With all due respect, any Bible teacher who teaches that Jerusalem/Israel/the Jewish people have no place in God’s heart and plans is flatly teaching against Jesus and against Scripture – regardless of how revered or well-known a teacher they may be.

2. Jesus prophesied Jerusalem’s recapture by the Jews

“And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles

until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”

Jesus, speaking in Luke 21:24

With perfect accuracy, Jesus prophesied what Jerusalem’s future would hold: she was “trampled by Gentiles” as different nations (the Romans, Turks, and Brits) ruled the area for centuries.

Then in 1917 England promised to create a Jewish homeland in Israel; but in 1922, the UK took 80% of that land and created a homeland for Palestinian Arabs instead: Jordan. (That’s why the “Two State Solution” is bogus – they’ve already had a state, since 1922).

In 1948, Israel was reborn in one day (Isaiah 66:8) – the only nation in human history EVER to vanish for over 2,000 years, and reappear.

And then in 1967, Israel was attacked (unprovoked) by Jordan, who thought Israel was vulnerable since Egypt had also just attacked, and that it was an opportune moment for Jordan to take more land from Israel.

Jordan forgot one pesky detail: they were attacking the apple of God’s eye, a nation destined by God (who ordains and oversees the nations and their borders – Acts 17:26). It’s never a good idea to fight God. J

And they were playing right into prophetic destiny: Israel defended herself and was victorious despite overwhelming odds. In the process, Israel reclaimed the Old City of Jerusalem and Temple Mount area.

Then a new chapter in God’s prophetic plans began to unfold: the spiritual rebirth prophesied by the Apostle Paul in Romans 11 began, and Jews began to come to faith in Jesus as the Messiah.

And thus, the “times of the Gentiles” to which Jesus referred (that season in which God’s focus and emphasis was primarily upon taking the Gospel to the “goyim,” the Gentile nations) began to draw to a close.

3. The Last Battle… And Jesus’ return… Jerusalem!

“Behold, the day of the Lord is coming…

For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem

Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations…

And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives,

which faces Jerusalem on the east.”

Zechariah 14:1-4

“This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven,

will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into Heaven.”

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives.

Acts 1:11-12

Jesus’ departure point from earth was the Mount of Olives, on the outskirts of Jerusalem. And according to God’s Word, that’s where He’s returning!

WHICH explains why the whole World stews against this tiny strip of land smaller than New Jersey, whose land mass is around 1/600th of the Arab nations around her…

It’s not ultimately about politics or religion at the heart of the matter: it’s about Jesus’ return, prophetic history fulfilled, God’s Kingdom come, and satan utterly defeated. THAT is why he fights so hard against Israel, and why Israel matters so much to the Lord (and should matter to you as well!)

4. Wanna be blessed? Love Jerusalem

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

May all who love this city prosper.”

Psalm 122:6 NLT

There is a special blessing for those who love and pray for Jerusalem. Do YOU pray for Jerusalem, for Israel, and for God’s work among the Jewish people worldwide?

Furthermore: Do you go to a church that loves Israel? You should! As Jesus’ return draws nearer, any church that fails to understand and embrace God’s heart for Israel is basically blinding themselves to the prophetic signs of the times, and will be ill-prepared to recognize and cooperate with His move on the earth.

Love and blessings to you in our Messiah,

Pastor Matthew (Casey) Langston

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2017 www.matthewcasey.org

Seeking What Satisfies

October 24th, 2016

Why do you spend money for what is not bread,

And your wages for what does not satisfy?

Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,

And let your soul delight itself in abundance. 

Incline your ear, and come to Me.

Hear, and your soul shall live…”

 Isaiah 55:2-3 NKJV

 The perfectly-loving Father who created you has also created a perfect plan, unique calling, and God-ordained vision for your life… and in His will is the only place your soul will ever know satisfaction

 The whole world seeks satisfaction, but so few find itA recent survey suggests that as many as 50% of Americans age 14 and over are suffering from significant depression or anxiety (or both).  It’s not your imagination: this world has become a tremendously stressful place for many of us, and man’s solutions (from vacations to prescriptions to shopping to chocolate and many more) may help ease symptoms, but cannot heal the source of our need. 

 With all the turmoil in our nation, all the violence in our streets, all the corruption in our political processes, all the strife being stirred up by the race-baiters and others who seek to divide and incite us… Now more than ever, we need to “Listen carefully” for the Lord’s voice, to “incline our ears and come to Him” as Isaiah 55 says, to be refreshed in His presence and surrendered to His will: 

 In Your presence is fullness of joy;

At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

 Psalm 16:11 NKJV

 The Lord alone can heal your heart and restore your soul…

Only in His presence will you find the refreshing and strength you long for…

Solely by surrendering to His will can you find the satisfaction that you so deeply need. 

It is all in His will, His presence, His love… and nowhere else.

The Father doesn’t need us to struggle or strive or strain in order to know His will… Simply to seek Him, and to say “Lord, I surrender… Thy Kingdom come – not mine… Thy will be done – not mine.  I surrender my rights, my dreams, my life itself – so that you can be glorified in me.” 

If you ask and seek, He will come… He will move on your life in power – with cleansing and refining fire, stirring up spiritual hunger, a longing to walk more closely to Him, renewed joy in reading His Word, more care and thoughtfulness for others, and much more – and He will make you ready for whatever the season ahead holds in our nation and this world. 

Let us not be like the foolish virgins Jesus described (see Matthew 25) who went into the night without oil in their lamps… Now is the time to seek Him, so the oil of His Spirit can overflow from our lives and be a mighty blessing to those around us

May the Lord fill and refresh you as you seek Him this week,

Pastor Matthew (Casey) Langston

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2016