Archive for February, 2012

Fuel for the Fire, #8: Guard Your Heart

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life. 

Proverbs 4:23 NASB

Recently I received a call from a dear friend with whom I ministered years ago… Heartbroken, he shared the news that his wife had been caught in an adulterous relationship.  After several years of living in adultery her sin had been exposed, as inevitably happens with our “secret” sins – God’s Word tells us that, “be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23 NASB). 

It makes one ask the question: How did this happen?  How did she go from being a loving pastor’s wife and faithful minister to being someone living a double life and cherishing sin?

The answer: one small step at a time. Compromise is subtle, and often begins with carelessness in a “little” thing, neglecting to watch over our hearts in some seemingly small or insignificant area.  The “little foxes spoil the vines” (Song of Solomon 2:15), and the little areas of compromise can cause us grief.  In other words: Give the devil an inch, and he’ll take a mile. 

“And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”

Matthew 24:12 NKJV

The ultimate answer to “how could she?” is this: she let her love grow cold.  And that’s a danger that each of us must watch out for – we can’t afford to let the flame of our first love grow dim (see Revelation 2:4) by neglecting our time with the Lord.  Doing so may not always end in adultery, but it always results in bad fruit.

So let’s ask ourselves: “How’s my heart?” Are you watching over it diligently, and being careful what influences you put in your heart and mind?  Most importantly, are you prioritizing your time with Jesus?  The only place of safety is close to the Shepherd… Stray sheep make easy prey for the wolves. 

FOR PRAYER: In our nation, the world often scoffs at the powerlessness and compromise of the Church.  Let’s ask God to send conviction, cleansing, and comfort to His people, reviving our love and purifying a people for Himself that He may be glorified in America once again.

 Much love to you in our Messiah Jesus,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2012

 

 

Fuel for the Fire, #7: NOT ASHAMED!

Monday, February 20th, 2012

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” 

Romans 1:16    

 “…the righteous are bold as a lion.” 

 Proverbs 28:1   

Dear Friends, 

The enemies of the Gospel are very bold, very loud, and very intentional in our country.  Proponents of false religions, false worldviews, and fallen lifestyles feel it is their right to impose their agenda and silence anyone who dares to differ with them.  From homosexuality to atheism to Islam, you’re free to proclaim ANYTHING you want in America today: except Jesus Christ.   

The devil’s plot behind all this is very clear: intimidate those who know the truth into such a state of timidity and fear that they will shrink from sharing it with othersThat way, even though you and I avoid hell personally, we’ll fail to do any damage to the enemy’s kingdom.  Satan has convinced many in the Church that “Jesus” is a bad word, a taboo subject, and is offensive 

Satan’s goal?  Depopulate Heaven, steal souls, and keep the lost and hurting ones in the darkness by making God’s people ashamed to share the light.  

So here’s the question you and I must ask ourselves: have we believed the lie?  Have we accepted the command of the “father of lies” (John 8:44) to bow down to this corrupt culture’s norms?  Or are we willing to stand up, speak out, and let our lives bear witness to the Savior who died for us?    

“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” 

2 Timothy 1:7   

Unashamed of the Name 

Secular culture was in an absolute tizzy this past NFL football season, all due to one young man who refused to be silent about Jesus.  One lefty, marginally-accurate quarterback named Tim Tebow changed the face of the season and opened a grand discussion across our country, from tavern to talk-radio.  

Millions who would normally ignore pro sports found themselves glued to the story of a Christian who had the audacity to (gasp!) live out his love for Jesus in the public arena, and consistently express his devotion to his Savior on national TV.  He was derided and ridiculed by many unbelievers, which is to be expected.   

What’s tragic is that some who claim to be Believers also made statements in the media that Tebow needed to tone it down, be more sensitive, and not offend by using Jesus’ name so boldly.  Yes, they bought the devil’s lie that we need to be ashamed of Jesus.  

How about You? 

Have you believed the lie that Jesus is a bad word?  That people are welcome to speak false beliefs in public, but you’re not allowed to speak the truth?  That neighbors and coworkers can speak boldly about their sin, but you need to be timid in speaking about the One who forgave our sins?  

FOR PRAYER:  Please join me in crying out for God’s Spirit to fall on the American Church once more, filling us with holy boldness as in days of old:  

“Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word.” …And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. 

Acts 4:29, 31 

May the Lord stir, strengthen, and speak to you this week. 

Much love in our Worthy Savior, 

Pastor Matthew Casey 

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2012

Fuel for the Fire, #6: GREAT Power!

Monday, February 13th, 2012

…and what  is  the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead…

Ephesians 1:19-20 NKJV

Paul taught the Believers in Ephesus that the same power which God used to raise Christ from the dead is available to and intended for us – the “exceeding greatness of His power toward us” as the NKJ version puts it.

Listen to how some other versions translate that same phrase from Ephesians 1:19 ~

 

“… the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him”  (NLT)

“…the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe” (NASB)

“…his incomparably great power for us who believe” (NIV)

“…the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe” ( HCSB)

“And [so that you can know and understand] what is the
                immeasurable  and  unlimited  and
                surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe” (AMP)

“…the overwhelming greatness of God’s power that is working among us believers” (CEB)

God power is for us who believe – every day, every need, every moment.  God knows that daily life needs daily power from God’s Spirit – our problems will be bigger than our ability to solve them, and we need His help!  And His Word tells us to EXPECT His help in the power of His Spirit.

Ask yourself 2 simple but vital questions:

1. How long since you really experienced God’s power?
2. What is your life running on today ~ your effort, or God’s power?

Ducks flap, Eagles Soar

Isaiah 40 promises that as we wait on Him we will rise in the power of His Spirit, as if “on eagles’ wings.”  However, the picture of the heavily-burdened, striving Christian is more like watching a duck fly – flapping like mad to stay aloft, and looking for the nearest spot to land. 

So I ask you: are you flapping or soaring?

GOD HAS MORE love, joy, peace, and POWER for us! But how do we get there? How do we experience a fresh manifestation of His power in our lives?

1. Simply ASK HIM (right now!) for a fresh anointing, outpouring, experience of His power.  “You have not because you ask not,” James wrote.

2. SET ASIDE SELF-EFFORT to change yourself and solve your problems.  We only get in God’s way with all our striving and straining ~ trusting beats trying!  And God’s Word says we’re to be like eagles, not ducks.  Quit flapping, start soaring! 

Let God be Godallow Him to do the hard part and be the power source.  You do your part: love Him, delight in Him, spend time with Him.  As Keith Green wrote years ago, “He’ll take care of the rest!” 

FOR PRAYER: God’s Church in America is in desperate need of His power once again!  Let’s pray this week for a fresh outpouring and anointing of His power to touch, heal, convict, cleanse, renew, and restore His people. 

Love & blessings to each of you in our Mighty Savior,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2012

Fuel for the Fire #5: MOVING FORWARD!

Monday, February 6th, 2012

No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: FORGETTING THE PAST AND LOOKING FORWARD to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.

Philippians 3:13-14  NLT 

The enemy of our souls commonly speaks this false report to God’s children:

You are defined by the mistakes and sins of your past

Yes, you’re forgiven as it pertains to eternity, but your life here must be  lived under the constant shadow of your previous sins.”

Satan’s goal?  To cause you to live under a dark could of accusation, condemnation, and fruitless introspection – thus stealing your enjoyment of God’s love for you, sapping the life out of your fellowship with Him, and keeping you from standing in your authority in Christ and walking in the ministry God has for you. 

 And yet many of God’s greatest servants – like Peter, David, Paul, Abraham, and many others – had terrible sins in their pasts, including pride, lying, adultery, murder, and even denying Jesus.  

But when they repented with their whole heart, they found abundant forgiveness, mercy, and restoration.  And in spite of their past sins, they went on to know God deeply, to be used by Him mightily, and to become a powerful witness of God’s power to change and fill a life. 

These men all found that God’s report is very different from the enemy’s report.  Here is a snapshot of what your Father has said about your past, your present, and your future in Him:

  • You who the Son has set free are FREE INDEED! (John 8:36)
  • The Father has REMOVED YOUR SINS from you as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12), choosing NOT TO remember them anymore (Micah 7:19). 
  • Because of the Blood of Jesus on your life, there is NO CONDEMNATION for you (Romans 8:1) as you love and follow Him. 
  • As you choose to be honest and humble before Him, openly confessing your sins (for ALL have sinned – 1 John 1:8, 10), then He promises to FORGIVE and to CLEANSE you of ALL unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).  In fact, your humility and brokenness before Him are more than just repentance – they are like a sweet sacrifice before Him (see Psalm 51:17). 

It is time for God’s people to STAND UP and SHAKE OFF the lies, accusations, and false reports of the enemy.  Truly, he is the “accuser of the brethren(Revelation 12:10) and the father of all lies (John 8:44).  And we’ve listened to his evil reports too long! 

If you’ve repented, then YOUR FATHER DOES NOT HOLD YOUR PAST AGAINST YOU.  My friend, forgiveness is a giftand as such it must be received, not earned.  If this word is hitting home with you, then you need to simply: 

  • RETURN to His throne of grace (Hebrews 4:14-16), thanking Him for the Blood of His Son, the promises of His Word, and the presence of His Spirit within you. Choose to believe that all your sins are forgiven – just as He promised – as you have repented before Him. 
  • RECEIVE His freedom from guilt and condemnation about your past!  RECEIVE the gift of His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:17, 21), His promise to give you victory over sin by His Spirit (Romans 8:13) and to be strong where you are weak (2 Corinthians 12:9; Isaiah 40:29-31).
  • RUN into His arms of love, receiving His report about you, and asking Him to renew your mind by His Word. 

The day has come for God’s people to arise in the authority and love of Christ!  Stand up, shake off all accusation, and ask God for a fresh anointing and vision to see and walk in the ministry He has for you.  God has appointed lives for you and I to touch – let’s not miss doing our Father’s will because we were distracted by the lies and accusations of satan.  

May the Lord REFRESH and RENEW your heart and mind as you seek Him this week, may He IMMERSE you afresh in His love and Holy Spirit, and may He use you MIGHTILY for His glory.  Amen! 

Much love in our matchless Savior,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2012