Archive for August, 2013

Preparing for a MIRACLE

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

“Woe is me, for I am undone!

Because I am a man of unclean lips,

And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;

For my eyes have seen the King,

The Lord of hosts.”

Isaiah 6:5

A righteous man gets a glimpse of the awesome holiness of the Most High, and cries out things like “Woe is me, for I am undone!”  In the original Hebrew, Isaiah was pronouncing his own destruction in the strongest terms possible. 

  • Q: What was that about?  Isaiah was an upright man – why was he suddenly cut to the quick over his sinfulness, and the sinfulness of his people?
  • A: God had an increase for His friend Isaiah, a fresh focus of life and ministry.  But getting there would require a fresh cleansing of heart, refining of motive, and empowering by God’s Spirit.  And to receive these blessings, Isaiah first had to see the depth of his need

WHEN REVIVAL IS ON THE HORIZON 

And so it is with us today ~ when God is planning a fresh work in our lives, it is very often preceded by a season of His Spirit shining a spotlight on our sins, especially those of which we’re unaware – the subtle sin that often lurks undetected in our attitudes, motives, mindsets and desires.  He shows us the hidden places of our hearts (see Psalm 139:23-24), and that can be a painful experience.    

GOOD NEWS: when God is searching your heart with His spotlight and showing you your desperate need of His cleansing and holiness, you’re on the verge of a breakthrough, a miracle, a fresh calling and INCREASE in Him:

Then one of the seraphim flew to me,

having in his hand a live coal which he had

taken with the tongs from the altar. 

And he touched my mouth with it, and said:

“Behold, this has touched your lips;

Your iniquity is taken away,

And your sin is purged.”

Isaiah 6:7

Isaiah received a deep cleansing, opening the door to deeper fellowship with the Lord ~ and that alone is reward enough!  But then he received something more: a fresh calling to serve Him:

Also I heard the voice of the Lord saying:

“Whom shall I send,

And who will go for Us?”

Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

Isaiah 6:8

Some of us are in such a season… It’s painful right now, but don’t give up on the Lord’s good work in you.  True conviction is always followed by true cleansing and true comfort, if we keep our heart open and humble to Him. 

Remember: God knows what He’s doing He has a plan for you – He’s going somewhere with all this.  And like Isaiah’s plan, it requires depth of fellowship and closeness of communion.  He’ll shape you into a vessel that can hear His voice more clearly and minister His love and truth more powerfully.  Breakthrough is ahead; keep trusting and pressing on.  

May the Lord bless and refresh you,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2013

VICTORY vs. Sin-Avoidance

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

I have the desire to do what is good,

but I cannot carry it out.

For what I do is not the good I want to do;

No, the evil I do not want to do– this I keep on doing.

Romans 7:18-19   

We all know that sin is bad… God’s Word tells us that it’s bad, our hearts tell us it’s bad, the painful consequences tell us it’s bad, and besides all that, our consciences feel yucky when we sin.  CASE CLOSED!  SIN is BAD!!! 🙂

OK, we’re all on the same page.  So what do we do about sin, then?  Quite often, we do what comes naturally to us: we TRY HARDER in the form of SIN-AVOIDANCEWe simply try to avoid sinning – we exert more effort, and we flex our spiritual muscles when our troublesome area(s) of sin rear their ugly head.  I call this the “Stuck in Romans 7 Method,” and we’ve all done it.  Good intentions, bad fruit. 

PROBLEM: sin-avoidance always leads (sooner or later) to sin, whether in the very form of sin we’re trying to avoid, or (perhaps even worse) a more subtle form that flies beneath our sin-avoidance radar. 

WHY?  Because focusing on sin – even with the goal of avoiding it – leads to sin.  People tend to DO what they THINK about most.  So focusing on sin-avoidance is still focusing on sin, and is a fatally flawed method of trying to overcome sin.

SO WHAT TO DO, THEN?  If self-effort is insufficient to overcome sin (as Romans 7 describes), where do we go for victory?  We run to ROMANS 8, and to the power of the Spirit.

My years as a pastor have taught me: EVERYBODY struggles with something sometimes – maybe your struggle is with pride, or jealousy, or impure thoughts, or addictive behaviors, or self-pity, or a subtle form of idolatry.  Whatever it is, there is a straight path for each of us when the fight is on:

1. RUN TOnot from – your Father’s presence:

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:16

2.  ASK for the SPIRIT’S HELP instead of flexing your spiritual musclesQuick prayers in the moment are still powerful! 

…by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body…

Romans 8:13

3.  SPEAK the WORD!  Jesus responded to temptation with one weapon: Scripture.  We’ll be wise to do the same! 

Jesus said to him (the devil), “It is written…”

Matthew 4:7

Here’s what it looks like… When tempted with fear, try this:

A. “Father, I need Your perfect love to cast out my fear!  Please help me.”

B. “Holy Spirit, please be STRONG in my weakness right now!”

C. Proclaim: “God has not given me a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, and love, and a sound mind!(2 Timothy 1:7). 

Or when tempted with lust, try responding this way:

A. “Father, I run to You, and I receive Your love and Your righteousness!”

B. “Holy Spirit, I trust You to give me power to crucify the misdeeds of my flesh – please strengthen me now!”

C. Proclaim: “I’m not overcome by evil, but I overcome evil with good… No weapon formed against me shall prosper, and every tongue rising in accusation I condemn!” (Romans 12:21, Isaiah 54:17). 

Learning to respond this way takes some prayer and practice, but the result is real, consistent victory over sin, because rather than merely trying to avoid sin, we’re allowing the temptations to drive us right into our Father’s presence.  And the fruit is deeper friendship with Him. 

Much love to you in our victorious and soon-returning King! 

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2013