Archive for September, 2013

Under His Watchful Care

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

But He knows the way that I take;

When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.

Job 23:10

Imagine having an all-powerful, all-knowing, perfectly loving Father watching over every moment and detail of your life… Imagine the peace, the confidence, the joy you would walk in daily, being convinced of an undefeatable God guarding your life and guiding your ways. 

Even “bad” things and difficulties would appear as rain clouds that promise a future harvest in your life… Today’s troubles would bring tomorrow’s blessings of character, strength, and increase. 

GUESS WHAT?  WE DO!!!!!!!  That’s the Father we have, the privilege we possess, and the life we should be enjoying – here and now. 

So why don’t we enjoy that more?  A few common culprits plague many of us from time to time, and each foe falls by the Sword of the Spirit.  Let’s review the problem, and the antidote:

·     Fear of Man ~ standing in awe of man rather than in awe of God:

“I, even I, am He who comforts you.

Who are you that you should be afraid

Of a man who will die,

And the son of a man who will be made like grass?”

Isaiah 51:12

 

·     Fear of Future ~ Believing that God’s love won’t sustain us in the seasons ahead:

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

All the days of my life;

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord

Forever.

Psalm 23:6

·     Worry/Anxiety ~ Believing that we are left to fend for ourselves and figure out our own solutions

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you;

Not as the world gives do I give to you.

Let not your heart be troubled,

Neither let it be afraid.”

John 14:27

Those are just a few of the common obstacles to God’s children living the life He always intended us to experience – filled with His presence, peace, joy, and victory.  Take a moment and ask the Lord: “What whispers of the enemy am I allowing to steal my experience of truly abundant life?” 

Next question: “What are the promises from Your Word that I can use to destroy those lies and replace them with Truth?” 

Dear Abba, I pray that each of us (myself included!) would experience an increase in the week ahead – that we would enjoy Your love, experience Your presence, and BELIEVE Your protection and care in every concern and situation.  Help us bring You glory as You lead us in overcoming faith!  In Jesus’ Name, amen. 

Many blessings to you,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2013

When Life Doesn’t Add Up

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears.  

2 Corinthians 7:5 NKJ 

Even the Apostle Paul had bad days Even a man of such great faith and deep communion with God, the author of Romans 8 and being “more than a conqueror,” the man who penned “thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ Jesus” – even he was entrusted at times with trials that seemed too hard, problems that looked too big, and battles that left his body ragged and his heart fearful. 

Following Jesus is not a mathematical formula, not an equation that always guarantees us a certain result if we simply input certain actions and behaviors. 

And when you find yourself in a trial you can’t figure out, you’ll find yourself in good company.  Scripture is filled with examples of men and women who didn’t have all the answers, who couldn’t solve their own problems, and whose circumstances would appear to raise serious doubts as to their wisdom and ability in following God.  Consider:

  •  Abraham – for many years, the “Father of many nations” only lacked one thing: children.  How do you father many nations when you can’t even father one son? 

 

  • Or Joseph, the one to whom his family would come and bow (see Gen. 37:7) suddenly found himself sold into slavery, then languishing in the Egyptian prison system – a forgotten, thrown away, useless life by all human measure.  Wronged by family, falsely accused by Mrs. Potiphar, suffering for something he never did.  BUMMER!!! 

 

  • How about John the Baptist, forerunner of the Messiah, the miraculous birth to aged parents and foretold by no less than the angel Gabriel ~ ministering faithfully, yielding his influence to One greater than himself, than ending his days in prison for preaching the truth. 

 

  • Or our ultimate example: the suffering Savior who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth (Is. 53:9)… And His life ended in shame and agony, hanging naked on a cross, dying the death of a common criminal. 

None of their lives seemed to “add up” at a certain point… But ALL of them made sense in the final equation.  Remember:

  • Abraham got his sonwhen he was 100 years old!  And through the waiting, he learned to love God more than even his own precious son of promise (see Gen. 22:2). 

 

  • Joseph served 13 years, a perennial choice for the “Dungeon All-Stars” team.  He served others (like a certain cupbearer), only to be forgotten again to pine away in the obscurity of the prison.  And then – in one day – he went from “Helper in the Dungeon” to “Second Most Powerful Man in the Most Powerful Kingdom on Earth.”  Talk about a promotion!

 

  • John the Baptist’s story doesn’t end so happily he goes from prison to the executioner’s block.  How does that one add up in the final equation?  The answer is: you and I haven’t seen the final equation yet We’re not Home yet, our vision still obscured by this temporal world with its false and fleeting values and appearances.  When you make it Home and you’re taking your place at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb (see Rev. 19:9), look waaaaaaaaay up front to the head table, and see the one of whom Jesus said, “Among those born of women there has not arisen one greater than John the Baptist.” 

 

God will not be in debt to anyone – and everyone who served Him faithfully shall be more than recompensed for their service and sacrifice.  One’s life is a small price to pay for an eternity in glory, reaping the reward of a life well-lived (or even, “well-died”). 

Jesus’ story ends pretty well, too, according to Revelation 22… And that’s good news, because you and I share in that story. 

We may not understand why things look so rough today, but I tell you the truth: He’s coming back on a milk-white steed, and He’s about to split the Eastern sky with the sound of a shofar blast and a host of awesome angelic beings flanking Him… He returns to rule and reign, no longer a Lamb silent before its shearers, but now a Lion of Judah delivering His friends and trampling down His foes.  Every knee will bow in homage, every tongue shout His praise, every score will be settled, and every story will be written in the halls of eternity. 

And know this: our every equation will add up on that Day.  We’ll see that in every problem, every tragedy, every loss, every grief, every question – He was loving, He was faithful, He was good.  He always loved, always cared, and worked all things together for our good… even when we had to wait till Glory to see it. 

I pray that the Spirit of our risen and soon-returning King strengthens you this week, that His love is your delight, and that you find fresh grace to trust Him – just because He’s good, and faithful, and worthy. 

Much love and many blessings to you in Jesus,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2013

Living Close to the Throne

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Blessed are those who dwell in Your house…  

Psalm 84:4  

But it is good for me to draw near to God…

Psalm 73:28

Dear Friend,

Change is ahead, both in our lives and in our nation, and God is preparing those whose hearts are after Him.  His heart is toward you, His delight is in you, and His plans for you are good – and thus, He is pruning and refining so that you can be strong in the difficult day and share His glory on that wonderful Day.  It may be painful now, but the result will be more than worth it (see Hebrews 12:5-11). 

He calls us to living dead to self by living close to His Throne, forsaking self-glory by seeking only the glory of Jesus, surrendering even our gifts and blessings so we can be FREE to love and serve Him with all we are. 

FREEDOM… What a blessed word.  Here’s some of the freedom He intends for us as we learn to live close to His Throne:

  • Freedom from the heavy burdens of self-life (e.g., self-promotion, self-vindication, self-seeking, self-justification, self-interest, and many more).

 

  • Freedom from serving the opinions and seeking the approval of others.

 

  • Freedom from fear, worry, and weights – because His love and acceptance become our delight, and they are continually ours.

Self-life is a thief – it steals much joy and contentment from many a saint, even those engaged in much ministry.  Our hearts are tricky (see Jeremiah 17:9); we’re capable of doing the right things (like serving) for the wrong reasons.  And in the process, we open the door to the thief of discontentment and to a joyless existence. 

Living close to the Throne is a sure antidote for such thievery, because it places our focus, attention, and affection on the One who died for us – and nothing less is worthy of our full rapture, highest effort and deepest devotion.  It is in His presence that we’re made glad, made clean, and made aware of how mightily He can use even the likes of us.  We begin to see ourselves as He sees us – holy, accepted, loved, approved of, strong in Him, and walking in His authority and might.  Living close to the Throne is the bridge from a mediocre Christian existence to a Biblical experience of His power, daily mercies, and amazing grace

I pray that this week you gain fresh revelation in how awesome your Father’s love is for you, how personally and deeply He desires to have you dwell in His courts, and how graciously He longs to lead and teach you a life of living close to His Throne.  The veil is torn asunder, the way is made open for you, and your Father calls you near.  Run to Him!    

In His great love,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2013

Change of Seasons

Monday, September 16th, 2013

  

You have set all the borders of the earth;

You have made summer and winter.

Psalm 74:17

As our Father ordains the change of seasons in the earth, so too does He ordain the seasons and orders the steps in the lives of His children.  Here are a few themes I believe are timely for some of us in our present season:

Season of Harvest: 

But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,

And he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

2 Corinthians 9:6

 Some of us have been sowing much – in serving, in finances, in love, in prayer – and yet the harvest has seemed long in coming… or even late.  Let us remember two principles about the Lord’s work:

  • He’s seldom early, but He’s never late.
  • He often waits so long to fulfill His promises that we think He’s forgotten… Then when He moves His hand, it’s so swift we have to run to keep up with Him

His hand will move – right on time – and He’ll keep His every promise to you.  The harvest for all you’ve sown is coming, and it will be in the “due season” that He knows is best. 

Season of Provision:  

The Lord has been quickening this passage from Isaiah to me this past week:

 

“The poor and needy seek water, but there is none.

Their tongues fail for thirst.

I, the Lord, will hear them;

I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.

I will open rivers in desolate heights,

And fountains in the midst of valleys…”

Isaiah 41:17-18

 

God is going to meet your need, right in the place of your trial (“in desolate heights… in the midst of valleys”).  This is an extra important season to be faithful in giving, and to steer clear of stinginess with God (failing to give really means, “I’m not trusting God to provide for my needs”).  Show Him your trust by giving with joy, and expect Him to supply your needs (see 2 Corinthians 9:7, Philippians 4:13).      

Season of Replacing the Faulty with the Unfailing

Some of our lives have felt shaken to the core recently – and though it’s painful and sometimes scary, it’s for our good!  God is in this season of shaking – because He’s allowing the faulty places in our foundations to be exposed and destroyed, that they may be replaced with unshakeable trust in His unfailing love:

Now this… indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken,

as of things that are made,

 that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.

Hebrews 12:27

Don’t forget His promise:

He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion

 until the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:6 NIV

 

God is for you, with you, and watching over you.  Let’s ask Him for fresh grace to trust without reservation this week – abandoning ourselves to His will, giving Him all our cares, and delighting much in Jesus’ love and presence. 

The Lord bless and keep you,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2013