Archive for March, 2013

Preparing the Way for VICTORY!

Monday, March 18th, 2013

He who sacrifices thank offerings honors Me,

And he prepares the way so that

I may show him the salvation of God.

 Psalm 50:23 NIV 

This is a word for those who NEED an answer, who have been pressing through the discouragement and holding onto faith.  (If your skies are all blue and your problems are few, this week’s word may not apply to you… So tuck it away for the future):

The greater sacrifice your praise is,

the more precious it is to the Lord –

and the more mighty of a response

the King of Heaven will send on your behalf.

When you have every earthly reason to moan and mourn or whine and whimper, you have a priceless opportunity to offer up a precious sacrifice of thanksgiving to the One who saved you.  Only when your circumstances tell you to “Curse God and die!” can you speak Job’s confession with full authority: 

Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.

 Job 13:15 NKJ

Singin’ in the enemy’s face:

Remember the story of King Jehoshaphat and Judah in 2 Chronicles 20?  They were a small people, being attacked by a HUGE army of warriors from Moab, Ammon, and Mount Seir.  Their situation looked hopeless…they were toast! 

Scripture tells us that when he heard about the mighty army coming to kill them, Jehoshaphat “feared(2 Chron. 20:3).  Yes, he got downright afraid.  Skeered, as we used to say down south. 

It’s OK to be afraid when hit with bad news – just don’t camp out there!  Let your dire situation drive you into your Father’s presence ~ that’s what Jehoshaphat did.  He “sought the Lord” for guidance, he fasted and prayed, and then he trusted the Lord to do what only He could.  

The enemy army drew near, and it was time to face them… And here’s what they did:

…the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army,

singing to the Lord and praising Him for His holy splendor.

This is what they sang:

Give thanks to the Lord; His faithful love endures forever!”

2 Chronicles 20:21 NLT

Would YOU like to be one of those singers?  I’ve always wondered what the singers were thinking when they heard the battle plan…

“So, let me make sure I’ve got this straight: basically, we’re going to leave protection of the walled city, and go in front of the guys with swords and shields, and charge the massive, angry, gnarly army assembled out there… And sing at them?  Can we vote on this?”

Imagine the faith it took for those singers to PRAISE and GIVE THANKS in the face of such a foe!  And then apply that SAME FAITH to your situation today: lay down your burdens, lift up a song, and put the praises of God on your lips.  The result is always – sooner or later – victorious:

Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.

2 Chronicles 20:22 NKJ

Sometimes the only way out is to praise right through… I encourage you: give Jesus praise, confess His goodness, thank Him for the Cross, and then sing in the face of those foes coming against you. 

Remember: that “great dog of hell” (as Spurgeon called the devil) is on a choker collar – and Jesus holds the chainLet’s show Him our trust as we glorify Him with praise this week. 

 

Much love to you in our Messiah,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2013

 

 

IT SHALL BE WELL

Monday, March 11th, 2013

“Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them,

For they shall eat the fruit of their doings.”

 Isaiah 3:10 

In Isaiah chapter 3, the prophet foretells a terrible judgment coming upon Judah and Jerusalem.  His warnings include:

  • Lack of food and water
  • The “removal” (death or expulsion) of good men – wise leaders, brave soldiers, and skilled workers
  • The rise of inexperienced and incompetent political leaders
  • An oppressed populace
  • Disrespect toward elders; a dishonoring society
  • Judgment on the worldliness among His people
  • Arrogance toward and disregard for God

In the midst of this terrible scene, God interrupts the proclamation of doom with one statement of reassurance – “Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds” (Isaiah 3:10 NIV).  Then He returns to foretelling judgment. 

Their society was crumbling, their national politics were rife with corruption and personal agendas, their economy was tanking (with worse to come), and wickedness was running rampant across their land… but even in the midst of such mayhem God promised that He had a plan for those whose hearts were truly set after Him, and who didn’t walk in the ways of the wicked. 

Is that relevant to us today, or what?

GOOD NEWS: Our Father is just as mighty, just as loving, and just as watchful over His children today as He was then.  And those who invest their lives in loving and obeying Jesus will “eat the fruit of their doings” ~ we shall reap what we have sown. 

However, the Lord’s promise to the righteous wasn’t, “Say to the righteous that it shall be EASY”, or “Say to the righteous it shall be PAINLESS.”  It wasn’t a promise of a big screen TV in every room and three weeks’ vacation in Hawaii every year.  But it WAS a promise of sustenance and life for those who trust Him, even in the midst of devastation, famine, and chaos.  Remember: 

The Lord is good,

A stronghold in the day of trouble;

And He knows those who trust in Him.

Nahum 1:7

PEACEFUL, NOT PASSIVE

Our Father has a plan… But that doesn’t mean we are to be passive and fail to prepare.  Quite the contrary, Scripture instructs us to take intentional, proactive steps to make ready for a day of trouble.   

What should we do, then – worry?  NEVER!  Fret or scheme?  Absolutely not!  Store up some food, water, and supplies for a rainy day?  Might be a good idea (sure can’t hurt).  Purchase LOTS OF GOLD?  Many are advocating doing that very thing as a plan of safety for the day of famine (and they’re happy to sell you their “Gold Buying Guide” for a gift to their ministry). 

Personally, most of the gold I own is on my back molars, and I don’t have earthly means to buy more anytime soon.  However, I WILL share with you the MOST important thing we can do to prepare for the storms headed for our nation (and you don’t have to watch an infomercial or buy a Secret End Times Survival Guide to get it): 

The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed,

A refuge in times of trouble. 

And those who know Your name will put their trust in You;

For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.

Psalm 9:9-10

“Those who seek You…” THAT is the single most vital thing each of us MUST do in this season: make seeking the Lord a habit, a regular part of every day life.  Like brushing your teeth (especially those back molars – keep the gold shiny!)    

More time enjoying His Word, pouring out our hearts to Him, asking for His help and guidance, telling Jesus we love Him, asking for wisdom – THAT is the sort of seeking that keeps us in tune with His will, aligned with His heart, and under the shadow of His wings.

“And you will seek Me and find Me,

when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:13 

“He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Hebrews 11:6

 

God’s presence is promised to those who seek Him, regardless how great of storms they may face.  I pray that your week is blessed with a deep awareness of His love for you, a fresh hunger and thirst for His presence, and a new joy in seeking Him and spending time with Him. 

Much love in Jesus,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2013