Archive for June, 2012

F4F, #24: DESPERATE for REAL CHANGE

Monday, June 25th, 2012

“Change” is a common buzz word in our nation… Everyone talks about it, but few deliver.  Politicians of every persuasion promise “change,” but an honest assessment is that our nation has changed drastically for the worse over the past 50 years.  And today, we live in the most spiritually hostile, anti-Christian, godless and immoral time of our nation’s history.

The only hope for our nation is revival.  And there will be no revival in our nation without first a “cleansing of the temple,” a purifying and reviving of God’s people.  Revival doesn’t start with the lost, but with the saved – the cleansing must begin with us:

For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God…

1 Peter 4:17

The American Church has tried every other means –crusades and concerts, purpose-driven programs and seminars, bringing in big-name evangelists and Christian celebrities – and for all our efforts, America is in worse shape than when we began.  We’ve changed the American Church to more closely resemble the culture, but that hasn’t brought any revival either – in fact, it’s only served to lead us farther from God’s Word, Spirit, and Presence.

REVIVAL – the Change America really needs

Let us recognize a few vital points about revival:

  • The only path to corporate revival in God’s Church is personal revival in our lives.
  • Revival begins with simple, heartfelt repentance, followed by seeking God as if our lives depended on it.
  • Revival must begin with you and me ~ with each of us being honest with God, forsaking our idols (especially the subtle idol called “self”), and asking the Holy Spirit to cleanse, renew, and transform our lives. 

God is looking for a remnant in this nation who realize that Jesus is their only hope, their only strength, their only holiness, and their daily bread.  God wants to touch this nation and save souls – and He’s looking to use those whose hearts are desperate to know and love Him more:

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him

2 Chronicles 16:9 (emphasis mine) 

True change begins with our HEARTS, not our efforts…

We’ve all done this before: we hear a challenging message, get motivated, and then feverishly pursue “behavior modification” ~ trying harder to obey external standards in an attempt to change and improve ourselves.  And the whole time, our focus is on self rather than on the Lord.

While well-intentioned, we find only short-lived progress (at best) because it all depends on our effort rather than God’s power:

“…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;

for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

Philippians 2:12-13 NKJV (emphasis mine)

In other words:

  • You and I do what we CAN = spend time with the Lord, talk to Him, meditate on His Word, worship Him, cultivate your friendship.
  • The Holy Spirit will do what we CAN’T = this means that both the power to want what’s right and to do what’s right must come from the Lord. We cooperate with His Spirit, but He changes our hearts.

Let God be God – allow Him to do the good work He’s promised in your heart:

“He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…”

Philippians 1:6

Your part is simply to seek Him, cry out to Him, confess your tremendous need and genuine desire for His help and power, asking Him to be glorified in and through your life like never before.

My friend, let us seek Him again.  Let’s cast off the discouragement and lies of the enemy, renouncing all shame and condemnation, and instead choose to receive His love for us.  Let’s believe that He has a plan and divine purpose for us – and let’s ask Him to guide us into His vision for our lives.

Let’s take these simple but powerful steps that can transform our lives from “flapping like a duck” to “soaring on eagles wings” in the power of His Spirit.  I encourage you to:

1. Set aside time (today, if possible) to get alone with God

2. Ask His Spirit to search your heart (see Psalm 139:23-24, Jeremiah 17:9-10)

3. Repent of all sin He shows you (see 1 John 1:7-10), and ask Him to purify your heart & renew your mind

4. Ask Him to guide you in a path of deeper friendship and daily victory by the power of His Spirit.  Ask Him for revival in your life, then to touch others through you.

There is so much at stake, and He loves you so, so much… Let’s believe Him for revival in our lives this week.  Surely, your God will come to meet, help, save, and deliver you in a mighty way.  He loves and delights in you more than you can imagine.

For Prayer:  “Father, I ask You to do a great, merciful, and miraculous work in my life and in the lives of my brothers and sisters this week: the work of revival.  I ask for a deep and powerful cleansing to begin in Your Church, bearing the fruit of repentance and brokenness.  I ask for a turning of the tide in the battle for this nation as Your people humble themselves, pray, repent of their sins, and seek Your face.  Lord, help me love and pursue You like never before.  Be glorified in me, and fill me again with Your precious Spirit.  In Jesus’ worthy and beautiful Name, Amen.”

Much love and blessings in our glorious Savior,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2012

Fuel for the Fire, #23: LIGHTER FLUID!

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Following Jesus isn’t for the faint of heart Cross-carrying is hard, self-denial hurts, the devil prowls about like a roaring lion, and the world constantly seeks to dull us spiritually.  At times, it can feel like the flame of your love for Jesus is becoming weak, and your faith growing weary.   

What’s a follower of Jesus to do?  Two words: LIGHTER FLUID!!!

But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith

and pray in the Holy Spirit…

Jude 1:20 NIV

OK, so maybe I’m not a cook – in fact, the only thing I can consistently make in the kitchen is a mess.  J But I do know my way around an outdoor grill, and I realize that a weak flame needs some help.  When the coals are dim and there’s still cooking left to do, it’s time to reach for the lighter fluid, grab the matches and coals, and re-fire up that grill.

Our faith is the same way – when weary and worn, we need some fresh fuel tossed on the coals.  As goes our faith, so goes the battle, therefore it’s vital that we take 2 steps that are like lighter fluid on the fire of our faith:

1. Swing your Sword: “…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God… (Ephesians 6:17). 

I don’t mean just owning a Bible, or giving mental ascent to its truth.  I mean that when the battle is on, you start speaking out the promises He’s made you in His Word.

In fact, sometimes when the spiritual battle is intense – with fear or discouragement, for instance – the only way to victory is to start speaking out God’s Word.  I encourage you to personalize His promises, like this:

  • God has not given me a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, and love, and a sound mind!  (2 Timothy 1:7)
  • NO weapon formed against me shall prosper, and EVERY tongue rising in judgment I refute!  (Isaiah 54:17)
  • I submit to God, I resist the devil, and he will flee from me!  (James 4:7)
  • GREATER is He that’s in me than my enemies in the world!  (2 Timothy 1:7)
  • I trample on snakes, scorpions, and over ALL the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means harm me!  (Luke 10:19) 
  • NOTHING shall separate me from the love of God, which is in Messiah Jesus my Lord!  (Romans 8:39) 

Having a Bible is like owning a sword.  The devil is like a wild boar coming to bite your ankles off.  What to do?  SWING YOUR SWORD!!!  Don’t be passive in the battle!   Smack that ugly boar on the head!  Paul called it a “sword” for a reason – he had found it swift and sharp in his own time of need. 

2. Practice Praise:  “But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more.” (Psalm 71:14) 

Whether we’re in a spiritual fight or just under a spiritual funk, nothing confounds our foes and focuses our hearts like praising God.  It reminds us how great our God is, and keeps us from making matters worse through complaining and murmuring. 

FOR PRAYER:  “Lord, I thank you for the victory promised us in Your Word.  Teach me to cease being passive in the battle, to start swinging the Sword of Your Word, and to practice praise when I’m feeling hurt and fearful.  Father, let Your Spirit fall on my life with fresh fire – strengthen my faith, and help me bring Jesus great glory.  Be exalted in me this week.  I love You Lord ~ in Jesus’ name, Amen.” 

May the Lord anoint and strengthen you in a mighty way this week.

Much love in our victorious King,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2012

 

F4F #22: ALL!

Monday, June 4th, 2012

“ALL” ~ one little word with big meaning.  The Bible has much to say about how our Father watches and cares for us ALL the time.  Here are just a few promises to remember and claim this week:

ALL His ways are just and fair (Deuteronomy 32:4)

ALL His ways toward you are loving and faithful (Psalm 25:10)

ALL His ways toward us are right, and all His works are full of grace (Psalm 145:17)

I realize that we don’t always see it now, and we don’t always understand His ways… but my friend, the Day will dawn when we see clearly that He was always loving, always good, always caring toward us.  For now, we must choose to trust the One who gave His own Son’s life to forgive our sins and purchase our souls. 

Furthermore, He promises to deliver you from:

ALL fears (Psalm 34:4),

ALL troubles (Psalm34:7),

And ALL afflictions (Psalm 34:19).

He’s promised to forgive ALL our sin and cleanse us of ALL unrighteousness (1 John 1:9) as we are humble and honest about our sin. 

He is – right now, this very moment – working ALL things together for your good (Romans 8:28) as you love and seek Him.

Last but not least: His goodness, mercy, and unfailing love will follow you ALL the days of your life.  And then, you’ll dwell with Him forever (Psalm 23:6). THAT is the type of God we serve.

So what shall my response be?

To LOVE Him with ALL I am (Matthew 22:37), and allow no rivals to possess the throne of my heart.

To TRUST Him with all my heart & mind, and SUBMIT to Him in all my ways (Proverbs. 3:5-6), forsaking the urge to do things my way.

To SEEK Him with ALL my heart (Jeremiah 29:12-13), giving Him priority in my thoughts, affections, and schedule.

To GIVE THANKS to Him in ALL things (1 Thessalonians 5:18), including the challenges and sorrows before me today.

He loves you and I with “such a great love” (Ephesians 2:4) that we cannot really fathom it… for instance:

The very hairs on our heads are numbered (Matthew 10:30),

The days of our lives are written in His book (Psalm 139:16),

Our every wandering and every tear are recorded before Him (Psalm 56:8)…

We are that precious to Him.

For Prayer:  God already has your situations taken care of… You haven’t seen the answer yet, but it’s on its way (if you doubt that, just meditate on the promises I shared from Scripture).  Now then: who can YOU be a blessing to this week?  Let’s you and I pray less for our own needs, and focus more prayer this week for our friends in need, for the Church, and for the lost. 

May the Lord bless you with an overwhelming sense and fresh awareness of the greatness of His love for you.  And may your life be set ablaze with passionate devotion for Him.

Much love in Jesus our Savior and King,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2012