Archive for March, 2012

Fuel for the Fire, #12: What Do You Seek?

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them,

“WHAT DO YOU SEEK?”

 John 1:38 NKJV

Whether we realize it or not, each of us is seeking something – placing top priority of time and thought, of desire and effort.  There is something (or someone) we are pursuing above all else in our lives.

Jesus put it this way:

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Luke 12:34 NKJV

Ask yourself:  What’s my treasure?  What do I seek?  Have I become passive in my walk with God, or am I seeking Him in loving pursuit?


One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple.

Psalm 27:4

Is Jesus your “one thing”? 

It’s all too easy for us to become distracted with the busyness of life, the cares of this world, the realities of taking care of a family or running a business, or simply trying to “make ends meet.”  And lost in the fray is the most important thing of all: time spent seeking the Lord and dwelling in His Presence. 

The Lord desires to be sought, to be wanted, to be given priority by His children.  He is looking for those with a heart like David’s:

When You said, “Seek My face,”

My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”

Psalm 27:4, 8 NKJV

And He holds special blessings for those who put Him first… The presence, the anointing, the touch of God is reserved for those who seek Him:

…He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Hebrews 11:6 NKJV

 

Too Busy for Joy?

If seeking the Lord seems like a chore, remember that the path of pursuing God is the pathway to a joyous life like no other.  Scripture promises that:

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 NKJV

For Prayer:  

For many decades the American Church has majored on salvation (which is good), but has largely forgotten to teach His children to seek Him. Those whose faith will stand strong in the storms to come will be those who learn to seek Him now:

Father, we join our hearts in prayer for the American Church, for Your people in this land.  We confess that we have failed to seek You as we should, and we have at times pursued earthly things that have left us empty and dry.  Forgive us, cleanse us, and fall on Your people again with Holy Fire.  Stir our hearts to seek You ~ raise up a remnant Bride all across our nation whose heart is passionately in love with and devoted to You.  Help us take the practical steps to seek You more this week – as a joy, not a chore.  In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Much love in Jesus,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2012

 As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.  

John 15:9 NKJV

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

Colossians 3:1, 2 NKJV

 

 

Fuel for the Fire, #11: You Can Trust Him

Monday, March 19th, 2012

It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.

It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.

Psalm 118:8-9 NKJV

Some of us reading this encouragement right now are in “dire straits,” a situation or predicament that is pressing down hard upon us.  The circumstances look grim, and our natural tendency is to turn to man – to an earthly source – in hopes of finding peace, provision, protection, and comfort.   
 
My dear friends in Jesus, I want to remind you of a most foundational truth, and yet one that we need refreshed every time a storm hits: You can trust the Man who died for you.  In fact, He is the only One who is constantly, unceasingly worthy of our absolute trust.  He has never failed one of His children before, and He’s not about to start with you.  His love is called unfailing for a reason:

Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in Him.

Psalm 32:10 NIV

Be it in your finances, your health, your marriage, your children, or another weighty area of need, putting your wholehearted trust in the love and wisdom of God is the wisest and most sensible move you can make.  God reserves special blessings for those who trust in Him in the midst of troubled times:

How great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men!

Psalm 31:19 NKJV

In fact, going anywhere but God for deliverance will eventually lead to failure:

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many, and in horsemen because they are very strong, but who do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the Lord!

Isaiah 31:1

But running to your heavenly Father will never fail you.  His ears are open to your cry, and His eye is upon you… His promise of old is still true for us today:

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.

Jeremiah 33:3

You will see your Father’s faithfulness once again.  He may use an earthly means as a tool of His provision – even Jesus and His disciples’ material needs at times were met this way (see Luke 8:1-3).  Or He may choose to meet your need in a manner as unlikely as turning 5 loaves and 2 fish into a feast for thousands of people. 

But know this: you will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, and your current TEST will result in a TESTIMONY of His faithfulness and power.  God will get MORE GLORY from your life because of what you’re going through right now – and because of how you’re going to TRUST in Him, no matter how things look. 

Remember: trust is a decision, a choice – not a feelingChoose to honor Him with your trust, and He will honor you with the strength and comfort you need.  Your Deliverer is standing nigh, and His answer is coming.  Keep your trust in Him, precious child of God. 

For Prayer:

In You our fathers put their trust; they trusted and You delivered them.

Psalm 22:4 NIV

“O Lord, we in the American Church need to return to the faith of our fathers!  Restore Your Church – raise up a people who trust in You, and whose lives are testimonies of Your faithfulness and unfailing love.  Stir our hearts to put ALL our trust in You – not running to Egypt, not leaning on man, but honoring You through the trials we’re facing right now.  Be exalted in Your Church once again, and may the lost see Your power through our lives.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.”   
  
May the Lord bless you richly as you seek Him this week,
 
Pastor Matthew Casey

 © Springs of Life Ministries, 2012

 

Fuel for the Fire, #10: FRESH Springs of Praise!

Monday, March 12th, 2012

How happy are those who can live in Your house, always singing Your praises… When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs, where pools of blessing collect after the rains!

Psalm 84:4,6 NLT

Let’s face it: these are trying times in our nation.  Gas prices are up, real estate is down, and the society in which we live grows increasingly hostile to the things of God.  Some are blessed to find encouragement and comfort in a healthy local fellowship, while many others have given up on church, weary of man-centered religion that is void of the presence of God.

It’s easy for our faith to become drained in such times… and as our faith goes, so goes the battle against the enemy of our souls.   

What’s a follower of Jesus to do?  How do we see our heart refreshed, our soul restored, and the vitality of our faith renewed?

If you have been feeling at all weary, spiritually fatigued, or dry in your faith, I have a tried and tested word of exhortation for you: Open up a fresh spring of praise in your life! 

But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more.

Psalm 71:14 NKJV

Think back to the time when your trust and joy in Jesus were at their best ~ I bet His praise was often on your lips, no?  The truth is, praise is the voice of faithNothing else is simultaneously so glorifying to God, so refreshing to a weary heart, and so frustrating to the enemy as a child of God who chooses to praise instead of worry, fear, or complain.

If you Build it, He will come

King David wrote that the Lord “inhabits the praises of Israel” (Psalm 22:3).  The word for “inhabits” in Hebrew (ya-shab) literally means “to remain, to dwell, to sit down, to abide.”  God abides, remains, dwells within the praises of His children.  The message is clear: nothing so brings the manifest Presence of God to a Believer’s life like steadfast praise. 

Choose to keep praising Him – regardless of your circumstance – and you’ll experience His Presence in a fresh and renewed way

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

Isaiah 43:19 NIV

A word to the seasoned saints: take a sentimental journey with me back to the 1980’s and early 90’s… God was doing a “new thing” in the area of corporate worship.  Fresh worship songs were everywhere, people were excited to get to praise Jesus with their brothers and sisters, and lives were being transformed in the Lord’s manifest presence.  

Don’t you long for that again?  Don’t you desire to see a “new thing” in the American Church?  I know I do… I’m tired of so much church worship being commercialized and lacking anointing, of singing songs that emulate the latest style in the world, and of the celebrityism we’ve attached to worship leaders.  I want to see a fresh outpouring of the Lord’s Spirit in the Church, and I know that it requires fresh praises from His people – like you and me. 

As for me, I’ve turned off the radio news in my car and turned on some of those old worship CD’s that had such a touch of God on them.  I’m making my commute times a sanctuary of worship, and I’m making praise a greater priority in my daily life. I’m making room for a fresh spring of praise in my own life and I believe it’s going to invite a fresh move of God in my heart, my family, and my church… Will you join me? 

“Abba God, we cry out for the American Church to experience Your presence once again… Beautify Your house with Your presence, crown the humble with salvation, and purify Your people to offer up praises that are pleasing to You.  Visit us again, set Your house in order, and make the Church a loving, living witness to the King of Kings once more.  Let the World see that we resemble our Savior, for we have been sitting at the feet of Jesus.  Reignite the flame of our first love, and grant us fresh grace to praise You through the battle and worship You in Spirit and truth.  In Jesus’ Name, amen.” 

May you rejoice in His love this week,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2012

 

Fuel for the Fire, #9: On the Mountain with God

Monday, March 12th, 2012

And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray…

Matthew 14:23  

Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.

 Luke 6:12  

Even the Son of God needed to separate Himself from everyone and everything else, just to be alone with His Father and pray.

Amazing!  Even though Jesus prayed regularly (as shown in the Gospel accounts) and demonstrated a life of reliance on His Father, the Son of Man set aside special times of spiritual seeking in a special setting

Such times were a sacrifice for Jesus – He had to leave behind ministry opportunities, friends and family, and overwhelming needs of the countless people who sought Him out.  But the Son of God gave us an example that we must follow: a fruitful life will be borne from seasons of solitary fellowship with the Father.  “Much alone with God” equals “much power with man.”    

How about you?  When was the last time you “went up the mountain” to seek the Lord?  Perhaps you need to seek His guidance for a big decision in your life, or cry out for His mercy and help in an area of need or weakness.  Maybe you need healing, or victory over temptation, or the destruction of a stronghold… Or perhaps you just need to be alone with Him, sitting at His feet in holy reverence and worship, thanking Him for the Cross and for making you His own. 

Whatever the time looks like – you and I need it.  I urge you: make an appointment on the mountain with God.  It needn’t be a literal mountain – it can be anywhere that you can escape every possible distraction (including friends & family, radio & TV, cell phones & laptops, iPods & iPads… you get the picture). 

Get alone with your Father, worship and adore Him, and pour out your heart before Him in prayer… And watch how refreshed and refocused you become in the presence of the Holy One. 

For Prayer: The American Church is largely powerless due in part to us pastors failing to 1) seek God regularly and 2) teach our flocks to do the same.  Pray for God to stir the hearts of His people again, opening our ears to hear Him “call us up the mountain” like He did to Moses (Exodus 19).  Ask God to impart a renewed hunger and thirst for His presence, and to make us a people who seek Him with all their hearts. 

May the Lord infuse you with fresh grace to seek Him this week.

Much love in our Beautiful Savior,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2012