Archive for June, 2014

Silencing satan’s Suggestions

Monday, June 30th, 2014

When he lies, he speaks his native language,

for he is a liar and the father of lies.

John 8:44 NIV

For the accuser of our brethren…has been cast down.

Revelation 12:10 NKJ

The enemy of our souls is purely a liarBut his lies can sound pretty reasonable at times if we fail to recognize them as the enemy’s report.  His most effective works against God’s children are his most subtle works – those suggestions that appear to be simply our own thoughts and musings.    

BITTER FRUIT = BAD TREE

Test the fruit of your thought life recently… Are your thoughts producing fruit such as trust, confidence in God’s love, peace, hope, thankfulness, and joy in your life?  Whenever our thoughts line up with God’s Word, it produces the fruit of God’s Spirit in our hearts (Galatians 5:22-23).  This is one way that we know we’re listening to God’s report, and not to the enemy’s report.

But when your thoughts bear a crop of things such as fear, worry, doubt, unbelief, shame, condemnation, self-pity, revenge, hopelessness, discouragement, and worthlessness, you can be certain: you’re eating the bitter fruit of a bad tree planted by the lying report of your spiritual foes. 

LEARN TO DISCERN

This is a familiar analogy, but it bears repeating: when agents are trained to spot counterfeit money, they are first exposed to real money – LOTS of it – until they are immersed in what the genuine article looks, feels, and smells like.  Then, their trainers occasionally slip in a counterfeit bill, and by having handled the genuine, they can discern the false. 

So it is with us – if we would discern the subtle suggestions of the enemy designed to drag us down into despair, we must run our thoughts through the infallible filter of God’s pure Word. 

The entrance of Your words gives light;

It gives understanding to the simple.

Psalm 119:130 NKJ

God’s Word instructs our hearts in the REAL to help us discern the FALSE report of the enemy.  And speaking God’s Word is like swinging a sword in the spiritual realms (Eph. 6:17, Heb. 4:12); it renews our minds, clears confusion, and rebukes the enemy. 

So when you discern bitter fruit in your heart, swing your sword!  Speak the Word – GOD’S report – over your situation.  For instance, when troubled by:

  • Worry about the future ~ “For I know the plans I have for you… plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • Condemnation ~ “There is therefore now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus… Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect?  It is God who justifies.” (Romans 8:1, 33)
  • Discouragement ~ “Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
  • Fear ~ “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) 

Those are four of the most common culprits, but God’s Word works against ANY AND EVERY FOE we’ll ever face.  Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to a truth in His Word that will silence the suggestions of the enemy, and will guide you in His will and ways. 

You are of greater worth to Jesus than you could possibly fathom… May the truth of how He loves you set you free this week.

Your servant in our Messiah,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2014

 

 

PS ~ Remember, sheep need a flock – and God put us in His family for a reason.  If you need prayer or guidance in God’s Word, ask an older brother or sister in Jesus whom you can trust.  And you can always email me with any questions regarding the Word, or with prayer requests. 

 

 

REAL Freedom

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

“And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.”

John 8:32 AMP

“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

John 8:36 NKJV

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is,

there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom). 

2 Corinthians 3:17 AMP

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,

Because He has anointed Me…

To heal the brokenhearted,

To proclaim liberty to the captives…

To set at liberty those who are oppressed…”

Luke 4:18 NKJV

God’s nature, heart, and mission is to set captives free, to deliver prisoners, and to rescue the oppressed.  From the Hebrews in Egypt to those oppressed by sickness in Jesus’ day, God’s heart is FREEDOM, DELIVERANCE, LIBERTY.  This is for YOU, even RIGHT NOW!

This means God wants you to be:

Free from fear and timidity (Luke 1:74-75; 2 Tim. 1:7; Isaiah 41:10)
Free from worry (Phil. 4:7-8; Matthew 6:25-34)
Free from condemnation (Romans 8:1, 33-34) 
Free from slavery to temptation and sin (Romans 6:6, 14; 8:14; 2 Cor. 5:21)
– Free from doubting God’s love for you (John 14:21, 23; 15:9; 1 Joh. 4:18-19)
Free from doubting your salvation (John 10:29)
Free from ANYTHING ELSE that would hinder your friendship with God, and your fruitfulness for Him (Romans 8:31-39). 

Our experience of the freedom that Jesus purchased for us on the Cross is a process ~ we grow in His freedom as we deepen in trust, believe His Word, and grow in our friendship with Him.

But perhaps the deepest expression of freedom in a Believer’s life is freedom from the subtlest foe of them all:

Freedom from the Slavery of Self-life.

Countless Christians have truly escaped hell, yet live miserable livesWhy?  Because they unwittingly continue to pursue happiness the way this world does: putting self first.  In relationships, purchases, use of time, career advancement, entertainment, recreation, even ministry endeavors – the underlying (and unexamined) premise is that basically everything and everyone (including God) exists to make one happy. 

And we’ve been fed a steady stream of Christian self-help books the last decade or so that preach that same message: it’s all about you.  Be your best you, have your best life now, pursue your purpose, etc.  Is there any truth or any right principles in such books?  Of course!  In fact, there are MANY true principles and statements in some of them, which is what makes the underlying false premise so dangerous and subtle. 

Remember: even the devil himself (mis)used Scripture when it fit his purposes (see Matthew 4:1-11), but his underlying message to Jesus was, “Save yourself… Serve yourself… You don’t have to sacrifice, you can have it all now.” 

And we in the 21st century are bombarded with that same message all the time, just on a smaller scale: put yourself first, don’t serve others, don’t sacrifice, don’t worry about spending so much time with Jesus (hey, you don’t want to be TOO spiritual so people can’t relate to you), just relax and take care of yourself.

What’s wrong with this thinking?  Let us count the ways:

1. It’s antithetical to how Jesus lived – He never put Himself first, and found deep joy in serving His Father and others, even when it meant great sacrifice.

2. It’s contrary to everything God tells us in His Word.

3. It’s a recipe for a miserable life.

Since the Author of life is the Authority on how to really enjoy life, and since Jesus came to give us life (and life more abundantly), what does He say about living life to its fullest?

Love God with all you are; then love others (Matthew 22:37-39)

Deny self, take up cross daily (sacrifice/serve); then follow (Luke 9:23)  

Obey everything He’s told us to do (Matthew 28:20)

 – Seek Him with all our heart – for He rewards the wholehearted (Jeremiah 29:11-13; Hebrews 11:6)

Such a life isn’t glamorous, impressive (in earthly terms), or self-satisfying.  It’s a road of humility, putting oneself last, and serving. 

But let’s face it: no one ever found one whit of real satisfaction or genuine meaning while putting self first.  Money, vacations, stuff, entertainment, earthly pursuits – they’re all like drinking saltwater.  They cannot satisfy the soul’s deep thirst for the unfailing love of a perfect Father.   

But a life of servanthood is a life close to Jesus.  I encourage you this week: celebrate the freedom Jesus purchased for you.  Believe His Word, accept it as truth, memorize His promises and speak them over your life.  But let’s grow in that deeper freedom which we all desperately need: freedom FROM self, so we can be free TO walk closely with Him, growing in friendship and fruitfulness for His glory. 

May the Lord stir and strengthen you this week,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2014

When Ducks Fly…

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened,

And I will give you rest.”

Matthew 11:28 NIV

I love ducks, and not just because I’m from Oregon.  Ducks have spunk!  They fly, they swim, they quack, and they seem very intelligent.  And they just might be the inspiration behind float planes. 🙂 

But spend a little time watching them fly, and one notices: ducks look like they’re working MIGHTY HARD to stay aloft.  Their wings are strong, but fairly short – and it takes a whole lot of flapping to keep altitude.  For that reason, ducks burn a huge amount of calories during sustained flight, and are really best suited for hopping from pond to pond. 

Why Are You Telling Me About Ducks?

Glad you asked!  Because Scripture never says, “You will rise up with wings like ducks… On ducks’ wings shalt thou soar.”  Ducks don’t soar, they don’t glide, they don’t float on air currents and updrafts – THEY FLAP!  Lots. 

And THAT, my friends, is a good picture of how many Christians often live: flapping, not soaring.  Lots of effort, hopping from pond to pond… But seldom experiencing the glorious, powerful updrafts of the Spirit ~ the “Ruach” in Hebrew, which literally means “breath” or “wind.” 

Here’s why this is so important:

1. You and I NEED God’s strength to live pure and fruitful lives down here.  When Jesus said, “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5), He meant it.  Without His Spirit’s help, life = “lots of effort with no fruit.” 

2. God’s power begins where ours ceasesHe doesn’t send those fresh winds of His Spirit until we’ve decided to quit flapping, and instead to spread our wings of faith like the eagle, trusting His Spirit to be strong in our weakness:

He gives power to the weak,

And to those who have no might He increases strength…

Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,

says the Lord…

My grace is sufficient for you,

for My strength is made perfect in weakness.
Isaiah 40:29;  Zechariah 4:6;  2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV

Been feeling weary lately?  Maybe it’s time to trade in your ducky wings for a set of eagle wings.  The process is simple yet potent: surrender it all to your Father again, repent of self-effort instead of leaning on Him, and CHOOSE to entrust every need to Him (it’s a decision, not a feeling). 

Then when life tries to get you flapping again, go swiftly and boldly to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16) and tell Him, “Lord, I need you now!  Help me spread wings of faith and trust You, instead of flapping my way through this problem.  Please be strong in my weakness.”  HE WILL ANSWER YOU, every time.

May the Lord refresh and bless you this week,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2014