Archive for March, 2014

Blessings for the Broken

Monday, March 24th, 2014

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;

He rescues those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18 NLT

Who likes the word “broken”?  It has bad connotations – broken cell phones, broken relationships, broken contracts, broken collarbones… you get the picture.

But God’s Word shows us that some broken things are precious to the Lord; crushed spirits are His opportunity to work something beautiful and powerful:

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,

A broken and contrite heart –

These, O God, You will not despise.

Psalm 51:17 NKJ

 I restore the crushed spirit of the humble

And revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.

Isaiah 57:15b NLT

In fact, God often handpicks “broken vessels” to use for special purposes and unique callings.  Consider:

  • Moses, trained in the wisdom of the Egyptians and raised in Pharaoh’s court, was called of God to lead the Hebrews out of slavery and to the Promised Land… But first came 40 years on “the backside of the desert” tending his father-in-law’s flocks.  Once self-assured and swift to act, this broken man asked God to choose someone else to deliver the Hebrews (see Exodus 3).  Now that he was broken, he was ready to fulfill his calling.
  • David, the shepherd with a sling who could sing, was a success at everything he did as a youth – and quickly became target practice for King Saul’s spears.  Though anointed to be king, he lived like a fugitiveseparated from friends and family, hiding in caves and the wilderness, betrayed by those he helped (1 Samuel 23:12), turned on by his own men (1 Samuel 30:6), even feigning madness to save his hide (1 Samuel 21).  It all appeared to have reached a bitter and dismal end at ZiklagAnd then he was readyThis broken man was ready to be Israel’s greatest (earthly) king. 

    [An aside:  So long as he stayed broken, David was safeBut success proved more perilous for David than his earthly foes.  Greatness must be a difficult thing to handle, then and now… SO: when God gives us opportunities to stay broken, it’s a tender mercy from our Father, and we should embrace it as such.]    

Doubtless, Scripture is filled with many others whom God used mightily once they were broken like Joseph and Nehemiah, Peter and Paul, and many more. 

My point: God delights in using broken things for special purposes, and the enemy knows it.  Our spiritual foe is pretty adept at lines like, “YOU?  How could God possibly use YOU?  Sure, maybe when you were younger, stronger, had more to give… But just look at you NOW!  You’re too broken, messed up, battle-scarred from life, and certainly not a candidate for being used by God now.” 

Please remember: God used broken bread to feed a multitude… A broken fisherman to preach the Church’s first sermon, drawing 3,000 Jews to the Messiah he had denied… And the brokenness you’ve experienced – when yielded to God with a surrendered and willing heart – opens the door for Him to use you in special ways.  The Lord spoke through Isaiah:

“But this is the man to whom I will look and have regard:

He who is humble and of a broken or wounded spirit,

And who trembles at My word and reveres My commands.”

Isaiah 66:2 AMP

Give Him all the brokenness of your past, and He will give you beauty for ashes.  Surrender to Him the broken places of your present, and He will adorn your life with His healing love.  And don’t be surprised if He uses your very areas of brokenness and apparent defeat as a platform for fruitfulness and bringing Him glory.   

Love and blessings in our Messiah,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2014

“I’ll be complete when…”

Monday, March 17th, 2014

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick…”

Proverbs 13:12

 “…and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”

Colossians 2:10 

Are you living in “hope-deferred status”?  Waiting for a situation to change, a problem to resolve, a dream to come true – and then you’ll feel complete?  Then you’ll feel worthy to really live and enjoy the life God’s given you? 

We’ve all done it before ~ “My life will be complete when I meet Mr. /Miss Right… When God finally gives us a baby… When I get that promotion… When this health situation is better… When my loved one comes back to Jesus… When I finally overcome this addiction… When my marriage is healed… When my ministry dream comes true… When my business is a success… When I can forgive myself for what I did…”

Those are all important issues, however… as wonderful as answered prayer is – whether in family, or health, or ministry, or some other area of life – none of those things will truly make you complete.  For if a positive turn of circumstances can make our lives seem complete, then a negative turn of circumstances will steal our sense of completeness once again. 

The fact is this: a complete life – one filled with God’s presence, love, peace, and joy – is available to us right now. 

It doesn’t depend on earthly success or favor, or on others making the right decisions in relationships.  It doesn’t even require your deeply-held heart’s desires being answered.  Rather:

A complete life depends upon believing what God has said about who you are in Him, and then walking in the light of that Truth.

Paul wrote that the Word of God “effectively works in you who believe it (1 Thessalonians 2:13).  Believing God’s Word and walking in the light of His promises is illimitably more powerful than mere human effort to change our circumstances, our relationships, or ourselves.  When you start to believe what God says about you, something amazing happens you start to live like who He says you are!    

So what HAS God said about you?  Let’s recount just a few of the countless, exceedingly great and precious promises He’s spoken over our lives  

1. You are complete in Jesus Christ, who is the head (ruler) over all principality and power, and who has disarmed all your spiritual foes.  (Col. 2:10, 15)

2. You are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (Eph. 1:3)

3. You are a brand new creation in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:17)

4. You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. (2 Cor. 5:21)

5. You are more than a conqueror in the midst of every test and trial because of Jesus’ love for you. (Rom. 8:37-39)

6. You are adopted into His family, a chosen and precious son or daughter to Him. (Rom. 8:15-16)

7. You are strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.  (Eph. 6:10)

8. You are seated in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, far above all powers, principalities, might, dominion, and every name that can be named in this age and the age to come. (Eph. 1:21, 2:6)

9. You are filled with His Spirit, led by His Spirit, and empowered by His Spirit in your inner man. (Eph. 5:18; Rom. 8:14; Eph. 3:16)

10. You are NOT bound by fear, but are filled with His Spirit of wisdom, power, and love. (2 Tim. 1:7)

11. You are NOT under the dominion of sin, but are under grace – and are therefore FREE to obey Jesus by the power of His Spirit. (Rom. 6:14, 8:1-2, 14)

12. You are delivered from the power/dominion/control of darkness and are transferred into Jesus’ Kingdom.  (Col. 1:13)

Scripture holds thousands more proclamations about who you are in Jesus… I encourage you to dig into God’s Word this week, and start defining your life by what your Father has said about you.  Remember: when you start believing His report about you, it changes you from the inside out.

Love and blessings to you this week,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2014
 

 

 

Keys to Victory

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

As goes our faith, so goes the battle and believing the truth about WHO you are in Christ and WHERE He has positioned you will empower you to live victoriously in the evil day (Ephesians 6:13). 

He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love…

Colossians 1:13 NKJV

…and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power

Colossians 2:10 NKJV

GOOD NEWS: you and I are already delivered, already set free, already victorious in Christ.  Do we ever have battles or struggles?  Only as long as we have a pulse.

But when we approach the battle as those who are ALREADY victorious through Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, it makes a HUGE impact on how we wage war!   

Having disarmed principalities and power, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it [the cross]. 

Colossians 2:15 NKJV

GOOD NEWS: Jesus has already won the war, disarmed our foes, snatched the keys of hell and death away from the devil (Revelation 1:18), set us free from slavery to sin (Romans 6:14, 8:2), and seated us in the heavenly places with Him (Ephesians 2:6) far above all principality, power, might, dominion, and every name that can be named – both in this age and in the age to come (Ephesians 1:20-21).   HALLELUJAH!!!

So how do we access this victory in the midst of our struggles, trials, and temptations?  Every Christian knows the feeling of trying not to give in (whether to fear, lust, anger, depression, etc.), seeing short-term success, and then WHAM – falling on their face again.  How do we break that cycle and experience the REAL VICTORY Jesus bought for us on the Cross? 

Here are 3 steps that will change the nature of your battle, and can change your entire life, if you practice these daily. 

When the Battle Hits: 

1. Cease trying to fight your own war, and instead simply CRY OUT for the help of the Holy Spirit when the battle hits!  

It’s simple, it’s counterintuitive, and it cuts against the grain of our flesh (which wants to just try harder).  But I promise you: it is immeasurably more powerful in a spiritual war to cry out to God than to just try harder to defeat your foes. 

2. Fight Like Jesus Fought: “IT IS WRITTEN.”  If the very Son of God found speaking Scripture to be the weapon of choice against temptation and the devil (see Matthew 4), might we not be wise to do the same?  Your efforts don’t daunt the devil or demons… But swinging the Sword of the Spirit scares him spitless

But you can’t quote what you don’t know… So load your chamber with the bullets of God’s Word, then next time the devil messes with you, RETURN FIRE! 

3. Get your PRAISE ON.  Firstly, it honors God.  Secondly, it strengthens our spirits and builds our faith.  Thirdly, it confounds our foes when he attacks us and we PRAISE as a response. 

And lastly, Isaiah gives us a picture of God smashing His children’s enemies as they praise Him: 

Every stroke the Lord lays on them (the enemy) with His punishing rod will be to the music of tambourines and harps, as He fights them in battle with the blows of His arm. 

Isaiah 30:32 NIV

I like that!  When God jumps in the fight, the tide turns in a hurry… And He comes in power when His people bring Him a sacrifice of praise

The Lord bless you this week,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2014