UPDATE: cancer healed

February 16th, 2018
UPDATE TIME:  First off, a deeply heartfelt “THANK YOU!” to all who have prayed for my wife Michelle (and me) during this challenging season.
 
As I mentioned in my last devotional email, Michelle was diagnosed with uterine cancer several weeks ago, following multiple biopsies and tests.  
 
The doctor/surgeon and oncologist both felt confident they had caught the cancer early, and that time was of the essence to keep it from spreading.  So less then two weeks after the initial diagnosis and after numerous scans/tests/Dr. consults/etc., Michelle underwent surgery (full hysterectomy).  
 
The initial surgery was rated a success, but the “moment of truth” is when one gets the pathology report back, which tells the extent of the cancer and if it appears to have spread into other parts of the body.  One very long week after the surgery, we received the call from Michelle’s surgeon.
 
And that’s where the story gets interesting… 
 
Her doctor is a seasoned physician, very experienced (about 30 years in practice) and excellent in her field – one of the best in the Portland area.  And when she called Michelle with the report, she said: 
 
“I don’t understand this… I’ve never seen anything like this before.  But the lab results show that the cancer is gone… It just wasn’t there – even with extensive pathology to locate the cancer, we found no cancerous cells whatsoever.”  
 
Her recommendation was: no chemo, no radiation, because there’s no cancer to kill.  HALLELUJAH!!!  
 
Michelle had felt a strong conviction the week leading up to the surgery that – although she was still suffering the symptoms that precipitated seeing the doctor in the first place – that the cancer itself was dead, because God had healed it.  She still needed the surgical procedure due to the severity of her symptoms, but she believed that there wouldn’t be any cancer growth evident on the pathologists’ report because it was dead.  
 
God did one better: not only was the cancer dormant or dead, it just wasn’t there at ALL!     
 
As I reflect on the whirlwind that the last few weeks has been, I’m struck by a couple of things:
 
1. Prayer changes things.  When we pray for one another as brothers and sisters in Jesus, it truly changes things in very tangible ways.  Specifically: we felt greater grace, peace, and ability to trust every outcome to Jesus than I thought possible in such a situation.  And I had numerous times where I could quite literally FEEL the prayer support, with a clear witness that the reason for all the grace we experienced (albeit through a very hard season) was due to the prayers that so many of you offered up for us.  GLORY TO GOD for His comfort and help, and THANK YOU for being instruments of His grace and healing through your prayers (and also through your words of encouragement and love to us).  
 
2. While God’s ways in healing can be a mystery to us at times, we shouldn’t let that deter us from simply asking our Heavenly Father for His healing power to come to our need.  We’ve probably all seen people we love have physical needs for which we prayed, believed, hoped – yet nothing miraculous happened.  Well-meaning Christians can sometimes run to one of two extremes following such ordeals: 1) trying to use “faith” as a formula to demand that God meet our desires for healing in our timing and way, or 2) becoming passive (even fatalistic) so that we fail to pray for healing at all. 
 
Both of those responses – formula and fatalism – are understandable in the face of human suffering, but they both send us astray of His Word.  I believe that David’s response at Ziklag (1 Samuel 30) is a good template for us even today: in the face of devastating need or loss, draw near to God, seek His face, ask for guidance in what to do and even in how to pray.  God often gives specific faith for a particular outcome, if we’ll ask Him (and that can be hard to do sometimes when we’re suffering!)    
 
Over the years in ministry, I’ve seen Believers who received specific faith for healing, and experienced miracles (some swiftly, others over long periods of trusting Him)… And I’ve also seen Believers receive the specific grace from God to go home and be with Jesus (as we all will, unless He comes to get us first!) – completing their journey here with joy and victory amid suffering.  
 
Both of these are miracles from the Lord… And as we seek Him (see Jer. 29:12-13), we can trust that He’ll guide us in how to pray, what to believe Him for, and what promises from His Word apply to our specific situation.  
 
SIGNING OFF… So Michelle is recovering from the surgery day by day, slowly regaining strength, and hoping to be at our next worship gathering this coming Sunday evening (5:30 pm, Stomping Grounds Coffee, 218th & Halsey).  
 
May God fill your life with His presence and power till you overflow with love to all those around you… Love and blessings in our Wonderful Savior,
 
Pastor Matthew

When the Storm Hits

February 16th, 2018

WHEN THE STORM HITS…

 And one phone call changes your life…

 “…and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.”

Matthew 7:25 NKJV

This past Friday my wife Michelle got a life-changing call from her doctor… It was one of those “worst case” calls you hope you’ll never get, where your physician regretfully has to inform you that the test results show you have…    

Cancer.

Stunned… shocked… bewildered… confused…

Reaching out to tested and true friends for prayer in our urgent time of need…

Riding a roller coaster of emotions as both mind and heart try to come to grips with a sudden new reality… What does this mean for the future? 20 years ago I watched my Mama suffer and die through a long and tortuous battle with cancer… O God, don’t let that suffering come here ~ don’t let my wife suffer like that!

Asking God for strength to lead my wife and son through these uncharted, swirling waters all around us; for wisdom to know how to answer the hard questions for which I simply don’t have answers, like, “Am I going to be OK?”, and “ I’m not going to die, am I?”

While walking through a vast array of thoughts and emotions since last Friday, I was deeply impressed with something that I feel compelled to share with you:

It’s not IF a life encounters rain, winds, and flood ~ it’s WHEN.

It’s a guarantee nobody wants: Live long enough, and every one of us will experience some form of loss, storm, and suffering – whether you serve Jesus, or serve yourself.

But here’s the difference: the life built upon the Word of God, love of Christ, and power of the Spirit is really, truly, 100% prepared to face and overcome any storm that comes its way.

It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt or it’s not scary at times – but our Foundation is firm, and our Anchor holds. He’s stared down some storms before, and He’s not impressed or daunted with the one facing us now. Because He’s a MIGHTY Man of War, friend – a STRONGhold in the time of trouble – He’s never failed even ONE of His children before, and He’s not about to start with you or me.

When the enemy comes in like a flood,

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

Isaiah 59:19 NKJV

As I watched my wife wrestle through the emotions of the past few days, I was so impressed that this is the real deal – this is a child of God who’s spent her life making time for Jesus every day, to be in His Word, to worship Him, to ask for the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit – and now tragedy has struck, but she’s so grounded in God’s love for her, it’s like an unshakeable ROCK beneath her feet (see Eph. 3:17-19).

When my heart is overwhelmed;

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Psalm 61:2 NKJV

She’s facing all the normal human emotions – fears, hurts, questions – but she’s confessing God’s goodness, yielding to His will (whatever it may hold), choosing to praise Him, and trusting that He’s got her future in His hands and her days in His book.

I have to tell you: my wife is an awesome woman of God. This is grown up, mature, unshakeable faith I’m watching.

And yet: everything she possesses is available to every one of us – all the courage and trust, the hope and joy, the grace to keep giving love and comfort to others in spite of her personal pain – all these come from the One who ministered to others while nailed to a Cross (“Truly I say to you – this day you will be with Me in Paradise.”)

All it takes is planting seeds, and the Spirit of God will make them grow. Every time we seek God – in His Word, worship, prayer (speaking and listening to Him)it’s like planting a seed in our hearts. Over the years, these seeds grow into a fertile garden that wafts with the sweetness of His presence, provides spiritual refreshment to those in need, and offers the strength of oak trees amid life’s storms.

For the Lord has planted them like strong and graceful oaks

for His own glory.

Isaiah 61:3 NLT

My friends: please don’t wait until a storm hits your life to start planting those seeds. Believe me, I understand “busy” (I work 60+ hours most weeks), but every day has an opportunity to pull aside with Jesus if we look for it. And truly, it’s the wisest investment we’ll ever make.

Today we received a hopeful prognosis: the doctor believes that the cancer was caught early on in its growth, before it could metastasize (spread out) to other parts of the body, and that surgery alone may be sufficient to remove it (without use of chemo/radiation, and the dangers such therapy can bring). We should receive a call in a day or two to schedule her surgery.

If the Lord puts us on your heart, I would deeply appreciate your prayers for God’s healing and blessing on Michelle in the weeks and months ahead.

And whatever you are facing this week, I pray that it propels you closer to Jesus, where your faith can be strengthened by His Word and your soul restored in His presence.

May you find fullness of joy in Jesus’ wonderful presence,

Matthew

Pastor Matthew (Casey) Langston

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2018

Mushy Apples

January 17th, 2018

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory

2 Corinthians 4:17

Most people like apples, especially in the fall when they’re fresh picked and crisp.  They crunch when you bite into them, they burst with flavor – I’m making myself hungry!  🙂   

But have you ever heard anyone say, “Hey pick me up some apples at the store if you would, but make sure they’re mushy. I prefer them soft and squishy.”

Of course not! Nobody likes mushy, squishy, spongy apples.  That’s the type of apple that you throw out or leave to rot underneath the apple tree.

Why are we talking about apples? Because our spiritual lives are not unlike the apple: they’re meant to be crisp, fresh, and sharp in the Spirit.

But too much earthly ease and creature comfort makes a perfect environment for a squishy apple. J  It’s been said that uninterrupted sunshine is guaranteed to kill any tree or plant.  Nature needs night time and rain along with the sunshine to bear fruit, and so do we. 

In fact, the trials and battles of life are the very things that help us stay spiritually sharp if we respond to them right.  Consider: many of ancient Israel’s kings began their reigns well, but the vast majority ended poorly, even disastrously.  Why?  Too much prestige, power, and prosperity made for an easy environment to cease seeking the Lord

Contrast that with Israel’s prophets – instead of uninterrupted ease, they experienced their share of rejection and suffering for the sake of the Lord and his people.  But the vast majority of the prophets stayed faithful till the end, and their reward is eternal.

So don’t try to escape the battles before you in your own strength or wits ~ just yield to the Lord’s wisdom and ways through this trial, and you can trust that He’s making you stronger, richer in Him, and better able to be a blessing to those in need

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

May His comfort abound to you this week,

Matthew

Pastor Matthew (Casey) Langston

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2017

 

 

 

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