Archive for June, 2013

Fuel for the Fire, #77: TWO MILLION MUSLIMS

Monday, June 24th, 2013

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.”

Colossians 4:2 NLT 

This morning I was guest worship leader at a church where a missionary leader/trainer shared about an amazing work God is doing in the Muslim world. He told of thousands upon thousands of Muslims coming to faith in Jesus Christ – in fact, he shared a Muslim-produced video lamenting the fact that each year 2 million Muslims are becoming Christians in Indonesia alone!

“AMAZING!” we in the Western Church might say. “What’s the secret to their success – what strategy did they use, what evangelistic program, what social media tools were the catalyst for all these salvations?”

While the ministry with whom this brother serves certainly received strategy from the Lord, the real secret of their success was plainly revealed when he stated this fact:

All their missionaries spend at least 25% of their ministry time devoted to prayer. 

WOW! That’s a lot of prayer. But to use C.H. Spurgeon’s analogy:

  • · Ministry is like sowing seed.
  • · Prayer is like watering the soil.
  • · Sow all the seed you like – if you fail to sufficiently water, you’ll not have a crop.

In fact, Spurgeon also put it this way:

“Prayer is POWER!”

That’s great for missionaries, but… 

OK, you’re not a missionary to the Muslim world (and neither am I). You likely have a busy life (as do I), a schedule that’s sometimes hectic, and many things that demand time and attention.

And yet, if we’re honest… you and I could both devote more attention to watering the soil, couldn’t we?

  • · How about turning the radio off during your commute, and investing that time in prayer for salvation in your city?
  • · Or making your lunch break a prayer time for revival in your church?
  • · Or foregoing the nightly news this week to free up time to pray for needs such as the deliverance of the young people caught in sex trafficking in your area? (This is a huge concern in Portland, where I live).
  • · Or getting up 10 minutes early each day this week to have 10 solid minutes of prayer for our brothers and sisters in the Suffering Church?

Paul told us to be

“…continuing steadfastly in prayer…”

Romans 12:12 NKJ

The more prayer, the more power. I want and need more power in my life, family, and ministry. And so I’m going to devote more time this week to praying for God’s Kingdom to advance in my city, nation, and the world

Will you join me?

Much love in Jesus,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2013

Times of Refreshing…

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place

and get some rest.”

Mark 6:31 NIV

           

How I long to be…

Where broken hearts are mended, and weary faith refreshed

Where wounded souls are restored, and shattered lives made whole

Where troubled minds are set at ease, where fears and strivings cease

Where the flame of first love is rekindled, burning bright and clear by the Spirit’s power…

All this blessing, all this refreshing ~ all in the Presence of the Lord. 

 

Do you long for that too?  God’s Word tells us that Jesus Himself longs for that nearness to us:

“Look!  Here I stand at the door and knock.  If you hear Me calling and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal as friends.”

Revelation 3:20 NLT

May the joy of being a friend of Jesus fill our thoughts, captivate our hearts, and reshape our dreams and desires this week… He is the Treasure of greatest price, and His friendship is the loftiest goal and ultimate attainment.  May you be richly blessed with His nearness and joy as you seek Him first. 

Much love in Jesus,

Pastor Matthew Casey

 © Springs of Life Ministries, 2013

 

 

What has GOD said?

Monday, June 10th, 2013

…Faith comes by hearing,

and hearing by the word of God. 

Romans 10:17

 

Here’s a word for those who are “pressing through”:

“What has GOD said?”

Sometimes we face storms that exceed our coping abilities – intensity and duration of the battle surpass our strength, and exhaustion (spiritual, emotional, and even physical) starts to set in. 

In such times it is vital that we get a fresh word from the Lord, a quickened word from the Word of God that speaks the Lord’s report into our circumstances and enables us to walk by faith in the midst of what would otherwise look hopeless.  Here are a few examples of what I mean:

  • David at Ziklag:  Homes set on fire, wives and children carried off by raiders, and his own troops discussing stoning him to death – yet he chooses to “strengthen himself in the Lord” and seek God for direction (see 1 Samuel 30).

 

  • Reformer & Bible translator John Wycliffe lying on his deathbed, surrounded by enemies who had come to watch him die – when suddenly he declares, “I shall not die, but live!” (Psalm 118:17).  And live he did!  He got off his deathbed and continued serving Jesus and translating the Bible. 

 

  • Charles Spurgeon as a young pastor, returning home from the funeral of yet another victim of the cholera epidemic in 1854, and understandably concerned that this disease would claim his life also.  Just then he saw a piece of paper pasted in a shoemaker’s window that stated,Because thou has made the Lord… thy habitation, there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come high thy dwelling (Psalm 91:9-10). 

Spurgeon believed this was a “quickened” word just for him.  He later wrote: “The effect upon my heart was immediate.  Faith appropriated the passage as her own.  I felt secure, refreshed, girt with immortality.  I went on with my visitation of the dying in a calm and peaceful spirit; I felt no fear of evil, and I suffered no harm.”  And he served the Lord powerfully for decades to come. 

We could review thousands of other examples – including in our own walks with God!  Think back to those times when you lacked strength, direction, provision, or wisdom in some situation – then the word of the Lord came at just the right moment, and your faith revived. 

So the question for you and me in the time of severe storm is this: What has God said?  Has He already given a word of direction and hope that we need to remember, hold on to, and proclaim by faith?  If so, let’s put on our garment of praise and proclaim Jesus’ victory according to the word we’ve been given.

But if the honest answer is, “I don’t know what the Lord is saying,” then it’s time to press in and seek Him.  God may speak through a devotional, a Scripture you hear on the radio, a word shared through a friend, or your Bible may just “fall open” to the very word you need at that moment. 

God will be faithful to speak as you seek Him, and you’ll feel faith revive when the Spirit makes application to your heart.  Then it’s time to hold onto that promise, speak and pray the promise, and thank God for strengthening your faith to make it through the storm. 

Let me remind you:

  • You’re going THROUGH the storm, going OVER the sea you’re on, and you’re going to arrive SAFELY on the other side.  Jesus didn’t call you out on the lake to watch you drown. 

 

  • You are PRECIOUS to your Father in Heaven – even the very hairs on your head are numbered – and you’re as safe in this present crisis as Daniel in the Lions’ Den and the three Hebrew youths in the Fiery Furnace.  You just keep putting your trust in Jesus, and He’s gonna bring you out without the smell of smoke on your garment or a claw mark on your body. 

 

  • Your prayers are powerful!  God’s people pray, and God sends angels (see Daniel 10).  Keep praying for that lost and straying loved one – don’t give up!  Don’t believe the enemy’s lies that it’s a lost cause, and your prayers are useless.  Ask God for a fresh word from Scripture, and pray along the lines of the promise He gives.  “All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children” (Isaiah 54:13). 

 

  • Keep seeking (Matthew 7:7), and the answer will come.  “Though it tarries, wait for it” (Habakkuk 2:3).  God’s direction will be made clear, His provision will be seen, and the Red Sea will part in His perfect timing.  Just keep seeking and praising Him – He won’t fail you. 

 

I pray that the Lord will speak a word in due season to your heart this week, and that you’ll be an instrument of His encouragement and hope to others. 

Much love and blessings in Jesus,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© 2013, Springs of Life Ministries

When Jesus is Everything

Monday, June 10th, 2013

 

“I am your shield, and your exceedingly great reward.”

Genesis 15:1 NKJV

“Lord, You alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing.”

Psalm 16:5 NLT

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

Luke 12:34 NKJV  

The most content people I’ve ever known were people to whom Jesus meant everything… Their hearts were captivated by the Son of God, and there was no contest for their affections or competition for their devotion.  Even in times of sorrow or trial, their lives expressed a sweetness and joy that reflected a heart delighted with Jesus.  They had true riches ~ and nothing on earth could steal their reward. 

Such a life is available to you and me!  The question is simply, “Is my desire for more of Jesus’ presence great enough to persuade me to forsake anything that would distract my mind, divert my heart, and dilute my devotion?”  Because if you seek Jesus – and keep seeking – you will find Him. 

“And you will seek Me and find Me,

When you search for Me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:13 NLT

I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit this question: “What things in my life are distractions from Jesus?”  Many times we find the answer to be good things that nevertheless keep us from the best things God has for us. 

I want to quote from a message David Wilkerson gave some years ago.  It expresses succinctly the heart of one who knew great success in ministry, many financial blessings, tremendous notoriety, and countless other achievements – but who found that none of them could fill the heart.  Only when Jesus became his “everything” did David Wilkerson find contentment:

“Christ is the treasure… In Him, I have found all that I’ll ever need.  To me, that means the following:

No more trying to find purpose in ministry.  No more looking for fulfillment in people.  No more need to build something for God of be a success to be useful.  No more keeping up with the crowd or proving something.  No more searching for ways to please people.  No more trying to think or reason my way out of difficulties. 

I have found what I’m looking for.  My treasure is Christ.”

That treasure is available to you and me… Jesus desires a people who delight in Him, who draw close to Him, who love Him above all else.  Will you seek Him this week?  Will you make Jesus your treasure?

Much love in Jesus our Savior,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2013

 

 

 

Multiple Choice

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

I liked multiple choice quizzes in grade school… I figured I always had a 1 in 4 chance of getting the answer right, even if I hadn’t studied!    

So let’s do a little (tongue in cheek) multiple choice to see how smart we’re feeling today:

 

1. In John 15, Jesus told His disciples that “apart from Me, you can do _______”

a. Less than you could do with Me

b. Whatever you want

c. Some pretty cool stuff

d. Nothing

 

2. After His resurrection, Jesus told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until _____

a. They had put their heads together and come up with a plan

b. They had formed a committee

c. They had received mail

d. They had received POWER from the Holy Spirit

 

3. In Romans chapter 8, Paul wrote that “by the _____________ “ we can put to death the deeds of the flesh. 

a. sweat of our brow

b. best of intentions

c. hair of our chinny-chin-chins

d. Holy Spirit

 

4. In Zechariah 4, God says that the victory would come neither by might nor power, but by _________________

a. Trying harder next time!

b. Meaning well!

c. The time I get to Phoenix

d. His Spirit 

 

All right, I’m being silly.  But my point is simply this: each day this week you and I will wake up, get out of bed, and go face the world (whether work, school, caring for family, or whatever your days entail).  And each day we have a choice:

 

WHOSE POWER WILL YOU AND I RELY UPON TO STRENGTHEN US,

WHOSE WISDOM TO GUIDE US,

WHOSE HOLINESS TO KEEP US

AND WHOSE LOVE TO COMFORT US?

 

Very often, we Christians rely on ourselves for all these (and we don’t even mean to). 

This devotional is a simple encouragement for each of us to start every day leaning on Jesus this week, asking for the Spirit’s power, and counting on Him to help and guide you.  If you ask for the Spirit to guide, guard, and empower you every day this week, you will find that you:

a. Walk more closely to your Father and enjoy His love

b. Have an easier yoke and lighter burden

c. Are more sensitive to His leading and used for His purposes

d. ALL OF THE ABOVE!    

 

If you answered “D” to the questions, you’re right! 

May you have a blessed week of leaning wholly on the Lord, trusting Him alone, and expecting His Spirit to help, comfort, guard and guide you.

Much love in Jesus,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2013