Archive for August, 2014

God has a VISION for your life… do you?

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Where there is no vision, the people perish…

Proverbs 29:18 KJV 

The Lord IS good, He DOES good (Psalm 119:68), and all His plans for you are good, too: “I know the plans that I have for you… plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11 NASB).  He is not a manipulator of chance and circumstance, but rather the Author of order and design.  He has a plan for every one of His children, to use them for His glory in the “here and now,” and a vision for their future that spans into eternity. 

OK… SO WHY DON’T WE LIVE IN A PLACE OF VISION?

We’ve all been there:  We sometimes become immersed in just “getting by” – work, finances, family, schedule, even ministry involvement fill our lives until we lose perspective on the truth that God has a vision for our lives starting right where He’s placed us.  The cares of this world seek to choke out the seed of vision God placed in our hearts when our love for Him was fresh and new, and our ears were tender to His voice.    

But God doesn’t forget His promises, doesn’t fail His children, and doesn’t give up on us (thank God!)… “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29 NASB).  That doesn’t mean that there are no consequences for failing to obey – certain doors may close when we won’t follow His vision and step out in faith.  However, our God is the Redeemer who makes all things new, and He can open new doors of opportunity when we choose to follow.  

SO HOW DO WE GET THERE?

How do we move from mere “existence mode” back into the thrilling reality that God has a vision for every day of our lives – starting right where we are, here and now? 

  1. Eyes on the Prize.  We become like what we focus on (Ps. 115:8).  Fixing our focus on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) means turning our eyes away from some lesser things (even good things), so we can give Him our undivided attention.  Ask the Lord what needs to go, take the steps of devotion and sacrifice, and watch what God does in your life. 
  2. Back to Nineveh.  Our friend Jonah found renewed vision for His life when He obeyed the last thing God told him to do (go to Nineveh).  Although he didn’t like his calling, he would find no further word until he obeyed the last one.  If there’s something God’s told you to do – a step of faith, obedience, sacrifice, an apparent “risk” – do it!  Get out of the boat, and watch what God does in your life.  No one ever learned to swim while clinging to the side of the pool.
  3. “Here am I.”  Isaiah experienced God’s awesome, manifest presence in His throne room (see Isaiah 6), and it rocked his world – conviction of his sinfulness, awareness of his need, cleansing and purifying, a call from the Lord, and finally his response: “Here am I, send me!” 

Don’t be content with life in the outer courts, being merely saved but seldom seeking the Lord or experiencing His presence and power in your life.  Don’t be content with a visionless lifeGod wants better than that for you!  The way to His throne room is open to you and me – right now:

“Since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us… let us draw near to God”

Hebrews 10:19-20, 22 NIV 

God wants to change us in His presence like He did Isaiah, to convict and purify us, to strengthen and speak to us, and to renew our vision.  Just come before the Lord with an honest, humble, open heart, and tell Him:

“Lord, here am I – use me for Your glory again.  Do whatever you want in and through me, whatever it takes to get me ready.  I give You the keys, ownership, full authority and control of my life.  I only ask You this: write Your vision on the tablet of my heart, and teach me to walk closer to Jesus every day.  Let my life count for eternity… In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Start to seek Him, and watch what God does.

Much love in Christ,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2014
 

 

Faith for NOW

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Jesus said to her,

“YOUR BROTHER WILL RISE AGAIN.”

Martha said to Him,

“I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

(John 11:23-24) 

Put yourself in Martha’s sandals for a moment…   You prayed fervently and repeatedly, you asked God to heal, but Lazarus went from bad to worse… and then, death.  Your brother is dead, your heart is broken, and now you’re in a valley of grief. 

Now Jesus is offering you a miracle – at this very moment of your need.  But your heart has been educated in the school of disappointment, and it feels risky to believe that Jesus might yet do something in your situation nowAnd so Martha responds (in essence): “Yes, I believe that someday You’ll answer, Lord.” 

It’s easy to have faith for “someday” ~ believing that someday God will answer your prayers, someday He’ll save your wayward loved one, and someday He’ll fulfill His promise to you.  We’ve all been there – and some of us are camped out in the valley of “someday faith” right now. 

But would you believe:

GOD IS HEARING, USING, AND MOVING UPON YOUR PRAYERS IN WAYS YOU CANNOT SEE RIGHT NOW. 

(And by the way, the devil would love for you to believe that your prayers are accomplishing absolutely nothing).

So how do we leave the campground of “someday faith” and get back to faith that takes God at His word?  Here are some simple but potent steps:    

1. Rise up and shake off the dust of your disappointments (because every heart has known disappointment and pain, but camping out there guarantees a joyless life). 

2. Cast off the grave clothes of unbelief (for the Man who died for you deserves your trust ~ we may not understand all His dealings with us, but we have no right or reason to doubt the love of a Father who gave His own Son to die a death that we deserved). 

3. Ask Him to refresh your faith and revive your heart by the power of His Holy Spirit (allow the Comforter to do what only He can ~ healing, strengthening, and restoring your soul in Jesus’ love). 

4. Give voice to faith by thanking Him now for answering you at the perfect time and in the perfect way (remember: praise is the voice of faith).   

“Abba, though my heart may feel weary from the weight of disappointment, I choose to confess the truth: You have never been anything but good to me.  I fix my heart upon Your sacrifice on the Cross, and I stand in awe of Your fathomless love.  I cast off my grave clothes of unbelief, and exchange them for garments of praise… Cause my heart to overflow with true joy and fresh faith by Your Spirit’s power.  Grant me grace to surrender the past – with every unanswered question and broken dream – and to move on in expectant faith that You are hearing and using my prayers.  Revive me according to Your Word.  In Jesus, name, Amen.” 

Much love to you in Jesus,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2014
 

Unshakable Peace

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

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 NKJ

 Jesus spoke these words just hours before His horrific anguish in Gethsemane and crucifixion on Golgotha…

How does a Man who is about to willingly march into the darkest night, endure an onslaught of demonic fury, bear the weight of the world’s sin and shame on His sinless soul, suffer the deepest betrayal earth has ever seen – how does He move in such peace And how does He so selflessly comfort and reassure His friends, rather than looking for personal comfort in the face of such unthinkable suffering? 

Jesus’ peace was unshakable, because it was founded upon those things which cannot be shaken:

1) An unshakable Throne.  Jesus knew that all the powers of hell were powerless to contend with His Father authority.  The One who sat enthroned at the Flood was reigning that dark night of Jesus’ passion, and He reigns RIGHT NOW – regardless of what you or I are facing in our lives.  This is the rock beneath our feet, the shelter from howling storm, the promise that never fails: Adonai melech, Adonai malach, Adonai yimloch l’olam va-ed ~ the Lord reigns, the Lord has reigned, the Lord shall reign forevermore; amen. 

2) An unshakable surrender.  Jesus was surrendered to His Father’s will, regardless the cost.  Obeying His Father was more important to Jesus than preserving His own life – and that meant FREEDOM though surrounded by trials, PEACE through the fiercest storm. 

The door to abundant life is shut to us – by us – until we cease seeking to save our own life But surrender brings freedom (the deeper the surrender, the greater the freedom).  Only those things we surrender to Him are truly safe, anyway.  Jesus was FULLY surrendered to His Father; thus, He possessed unshakable strength and resolve.   

And thus, Jesus had:

3) Unshakable confidence.  Being thus surrendered to His Father’s perfect will, Jesus’ was truly untouchable.  Only His Father’s plan would be accomplished in His life, period.  In fact, the hellish scheme of crucifying the Messiah would itself only serve to fulfill Christ’s ultimate mission. 

It is the same for you, precious child of God.  Jesus wants you to enjoy the very same peace He did – unshakable, unchanging, dauntless even before the very devil himself – by being surrendered to His will and growing in His love.  And it’s not something we earn, work up, or work our way into… It’s a gift; and gifts must be received:

“Abba God, I humbly, wholly surrender my life – all I am, all I have – to You alone.  Have Your way, do Your will, and be glorified through me. Jesus, I thank You for the promise of Your peace, and I receive it by faith right now, in Your most holy and awesome name.  I thank You, and I love You… in Jesus’ name, Amen.”

May the Lord cause you to overflow with His peace this week,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2014