Archive for November, 2011

UNLESS I had believed…

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and such as breathe out violence. I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!

Psalm 27:12-14

A few important points to take to heart:

* Your foes are “FALSE witnesses” ~ The enemy may speak loud and speak often, but he never speaks truth.  Jesus called him the father of lies (John 8:44), and that’s all he’s speaking to you. 

Everything that has incited fear, dismay, panic, anxiety, worry, doubt, discouragement, and dread of the future is a LIE breathed out by FALSE witnesses.  Your Father’s report for you is GOOD ~ spend a few minutes meditating in Jeremiah 29:11-12, Matthew 10:28-30, and John 16:33, and remind yourself how perfectly God loves you and watches over your life. 

* “I would have lost heart unless I had believed…” ~ Some of God’s people have a bad case of “broken believer syndrome” lately.  The storms seek to snuff out the vibrancy of our faith – and we have to return to the promises God has made us, and CHOOSE to stand on them as if our life depended on it.

I ask you: what has God spoken to your heart?  What “word in due season” has He sent you?  What Scripture has jumped out at you, encouraging and blessing your heart as a special promise from your Father to you?  THAT is where you must stand, setting up a standard of faith in God’s goodness, and declaring that come hell or high water, you’re going to trust Him. 

Remember, it’s better to die in faith than live in unbelief and defeat.  Hebrews 11 is full of people who died to the glory of God – there’s no shame in that!  The only shame is in having such “great and precious promises” yet living in constant fear as if we had no Father in heaven.  ARISE! SHINE! Your light has come! And GREATER is He that is in you than your enemies in the world!  He gave His life for us ~ let’s live our lives for Him with renewed faith and passion. 

* “Wait on the LORD… and HE shall strengthen your heart.”  ~ In other words: we do our part, and God does His part.  He will do the impossible for you, dear child of God – He will move the mountains, part the sea, send the manna, pour out waters in desolate places and streams in the deserts… You just wait (wait on Him with hopeful expectancy, knowing that He will come in fullness of time), trust His love, and confess His goodness.  Your God will come through ~ He will come and save you!  Your Deliverer is nigh.  Be not afraid, precious child of God.

May the Lord bless you abundantly this Thanksgiving season… with much love in our precious Savior, Jesus the Messiah,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2011

www.matthewcasey.org

Purified through Fire, Strengthened through Adversity

Monday, November 7th, 2011

…That the genuineness of your faith,  being  much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 1:7

For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt.

Mark 9:49

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 43:2

Many of God’s people are in the midst of a fire right now – an intense trial, a valley deep and dark, a season of suffering that threatens to wear down your faith.  And while your circumstances offer no comfort and no answers, the enemy of our souls is whispering doubts and accusations – both against you, and against the faithfulness of God. 

He tells you that God has forgotten you, because you’ve grieved Him too deeply… that if you were more godly you wouldn’t be in this mess… that you’ve disappointed the Lord, and He’s given up on You.  And as the trial lingers on, he switches to accusing the Lord’s character and His love for you – “If your God is so good, why isn’t He helping you?  Are you sure He cares?  Are you sure He even exists?” 

Truly, the tempest is raging against some of God’s choicest servantsAnd although the battle is spiritual and the onslaught is from the enemy, it is ultimately of a divine purpose and plan – your Father sits as the refiner of silver (Malachi 3:3), carefully watching over the painful process of purging the dross and purifying that which is precious to HimThe enemy’s attempts to tear down and destroy will only serve to refine and strengthen your faith, as you stay surrendered to our Father’s will and trust His heart of love for you. 

You see, the days ahead are going to require a depth and strength of faith that most Western Christians simply do not possess.  We’ve been able to “skate by” with partial reliance on God and partial reliance on man. Past decades of ease and affluence have fostered an anemic type of faith that only survives when all is going relatively well.  But when the storm kicks up, you need some muscle at the oars – you need a faith that is tested, refined, and strengthened through adversity.

I believe a day is soon coming to our nation when trusting in man will no longer be an option for followers of Jesus, when trusting God for “our daily bread” becomes tangible, and when taking up our cross takes on real meaning in our daily lives.

Our Father loves us so much that He is willing to do whatever it takes to have His children be prepared for the coming storm.  Flame and flood, tests and trials – all are part of the school through which many of us are passing.  God will have sons and daughters with full-grown faith, ready to stand the storm and lead others to the Savior in the day of trouble.

For those of you in the fire right now, remember: we can’t choose the season we’re in, but we can choose how we respond.  Our place of peace and safety in the midst of the fire is in choosing to trust His unfailing loveChoose to trust His heart when you can’t make sense of His actions… Choose to praise Him when your circumstance seems to go from bad to worse… Choose to remember that He’s never failed nor forsaken one of His children, and He’s not going to start with you. Choose to confess with Job, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him,” because you WILL see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living once again!  You shall not die, but live; and proclaim the praises of the Lord. 

We really don’t know the end of our story, or even what the next page will bring. We must leave tomorrow in His hands, and choose to worship Him now.  As we do, we bring Him glory from the midst of the fire. 

May the Lord fill you with a fresh awareness of His nearness, a renewed passion for His glory, and greater grace to praise Him from the midst of the flames.  Remember how much He loves you, and that “when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned.”  You are so precious to Him.

Much love in Jesus our Messiah,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2011

Drawing Near

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

But it is good for me to draw near to God…
Psalm 73:28

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

James 4:8

My Brothers and Sisters,

Everything in this world will seek to pull you away from the most vital thing in life: time in the manifest presence of God.  That is where our souls are restored, our minds renewed, our hearts mended, our faith revitalized, and our vision revived. 

Only in His presence do you find grace to love the unlovable, find peace amid the tempest, and find fresh power to walk through this wilderness as an example of Jesus’ love and life.  Remember what Dr. Tozer said:

The world is perishing for lack of the knowledge of God and the Church is famishing for want of His Presence.

Do you hunger and thirst for His presence?  Does your heart yearn for His nearness, for time to be still and know He is God, to rest in His goodness and receive His love?  Or are you growing weary, heavy laden with the cares of this world?

Truly, lawlessness abounds in our day… is your love growing cold?

The door is open, and the Father is waiting… He delights in you, loves you, desires active friendship with you more that you do with Him.  But everything in this world – busyness, work, cares, obligations, temptations, hobbies, success, possessions – all will seek to choke out your active fellowship with Jesus. 

The devil would rather have you do anything other than spend regular time in God’s presence.  Even good things (like ministry) can serve to keep us from the best thing – time alone with Him.   

God’s Word promises “joy inexpressible and full of glory,” “peace…that surpasses understanding,” and a life “led by the Spirit” with “rivers of living water” as part of the normative experience of followers of Jesus.   ALL these promises (and many more) are ours, but NONE of them will be realized in our lives without time in His presence. 

Jesus called us ”disciples,” and disciples (by definition) spend time with their Master – this isn’t legalism or religion, it’s relationship.  You and I were not designed to walk through this wilderness on our own strength We need His presence, now more than ever. 

 The path is clear:

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:16

Let’s set aside every distraction, cease being run by the busyness of the world, and let’s make our first love our first priority once again.

 

Much love and many blessings to you in Jesus the Messiah,

Pastor Matthew Casey