Archive for March, 2015

Little Foxes

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Catch all the foxes,

Those little foxes,

Before they ruin the vineyard of love…

 Song of Solomon 2:15, NLT

Joshua, chapter 22:  Israel was in the land God promised them, and all was going pretty well… when suddenly something BIG happened:

The tribes on the east of the Jordan River had made a BIG altar…

And the tribes west of the Jordan thought it was for the purpose of idolatry…

So they prepared to go to war against their very own kinsmen

Q: GO TO WAR against their own flesh and blood?  HOW could they do that? 

A: They had already seen God’s judgment on idolatry come down since leaving Egypt, and they weren’t about to let it happen again – idolatry could not be tolerated!:

 “What treachery is this that you have committed against the God of Israel, to turn away this day from following the Lord, in that you have built for yourselves an altar, that you might rebel this day against the Lord?”

 Joshua22:16 NKJV

 Joshua, chapter 23:  Joshua begins his farewell speech to the nation, and a major theme of his message is this: PUT AWAY YOUR IDOLS.

“Now therefore,” he said, “put away the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to the Lord God of Israel.”

Joshua24:23 NKJV

AMAZING!  Some of the very same men who were diligent in dealing with the (presumed) BIG idolatry at the River Jordan in chapter 22 still possessed “little idols” in their tents and homes in chapter 23…

The people had left Egypt, but Egypt hadn’t fully left the people. They had seen the Red Sea split, eaten manna from heaven, drank water from the rock, watched God win wars for them…

Yet some of them still clung to the remnants of past idolatry.

But you and I could NEVER be like that… Right?

 Wisdom speaks thusly:

 Search me, O God, and know my heart;

Try me, and know my anxieties;

And see if there is any wicked way in me,

And lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:23-24

 You and I would never intend to let any idol have any place in our lives… And yet, sometimes those “little foxes” can hide undetected in the midst of the vineyard of our hearts.  I encourage you to pray something like this:

Father, would You please show me any “little foxes” spoiling my vine, any “little idols” residing in my heart, anything I’m holding back from You – whether from fear, or selfishness, or any other motive – and give me the grace to yield every area of my life to You… I want to want You, to delight in You, to have You be the highest joy and deepest pursuit of my whole life.  Thank You for answering this prayer… In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

May the Lord bless you powerfully this week,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2015

 

“The heart is deceitful above all things,

And desperately wicked;

Who can know it? 

I, the Lord, search the heart,

I test the mind,

Even to give every man according to his ways,

According to the fruit of his doings.”

 Jeremiah 17:9-10

A Light in the Darkness

Monday, March 30th, 2015

For You will light my lamp;

The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.

 Psalm 18:28 NKJV

Here is a promise for every dark valley and gloomy night you’ll ever encounter: GOD will light your lamp, HE will enlighten your darkness.  I like how the NIV puts it:

…my God turns my darkness into light.

 Psalm 18:28 NIV

 Everyone in the world faces times of darkness ~ but only followers of Jesus have the guarantee of light, hope, and help in such times. 

Whatever “dark place” you may be facing – a big decision before you, a confusing problem,  discouragement or depression trying to cloud your soul, fear trying to intimidate you into  a corner, or whatever else – your God promises to “light your lamp” as you seek Him:

Then you will call upon Me

and go and pray to Me,

and I will listen to you. 

And you will seek Me and find Me,

when you search for Me with all your heart. 

 Jeremiah 29:12-13 NKJV 

Our part in this process isn’t exactly “rocket science,” but it is vital that we do it:

  • Call upon Him
    • Go and pray to Him
      • Seek Him
        • Search for Him with all our hearts.

How often do Christians seek help in friends, counselors, doctors, lawyers, self-help books, TV advice gurus, Oprah ~ EVERYTHING but the help of the ONLY ONE who really knows, sees, cares, and has unlimited wisdom, love, and power to help? 

But our God has promised to answer His children when they cry to Him:

In the day when I cried out, You answered me,

And made me bold with strength in my soul. 

Psalm 138:3 NKJV

I sought the Lord, and He heard me,

And delivered me from all my fears…

This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him,

And saved him out of all his troubles.

Psalm 34:4, 6 NKJV

 God will be 100% faithful to do His part!  Let us not neglect to do our part, and that right speedily: ask Him, call on Him, seek Him… and BELIEVE that the answer is on the way. 

Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness

Psalm 112:4 NKJV

 This very moment, the High and Holy One is with you, for you, and WITHIN you.  He loves you with a strong, faithful, unending love – and He will “turn your darkness to light” as you call on Him. 

The Lord bless you this week,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2015

 

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,”

says the Lord,

“thoughts of peace and not of evil,

to give you a future and a hope.” 

Jeremiah 29:11 NKJ

 

 

Anybody Thirsty?

Monday, March 30th, 2015

For I will pour water on him who is thirsty,
And floods on the dry ground;
I will pour My Spirit on your descendants,
And My blessing on your offspring… 

Isaiah 44:3 NKJV

Q: Are you thirsty?

A: YES, you are thirsty.  So am I.

But the real question is: do we KNOW we’re thirsty?

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

When shall I come and appear before God?

Psalm 42:2

With so many tragic headlines in the news, so much hostility toward the Gospel in our country, so much suffering around the world… It’s easy to become spiritually dry, worn down, and burnt out. 

My friend, where are you going to find refreshment and healing for your soul? 

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 

John 7:37-38 

Jesus offers us the real refreshment of His Spirit… The comfort, strength, wisdom, peace, and anointing that we so desperately need to walk in God’s holy love amid this dirty and confused world. 

Now, perhaps more than ever before, you and I need to enjoy unhurried time in the presence of Jesus. 

O God, You are my God; early will I seek You;

My soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You

In a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.

Psalm 63:1

We live in that “dry and thirsty land,” and people are parched all around us.  The world is turning to broken cisterns of earthly pursuits and pleasures that can never satisfy… and many are longing for real love, real life, real hope in this desperate world. 

So then, last question: are we drinking deeply from the pure, living waters of God’s presence, or are we trying to draw some delight from the cisterns of this world?

 “For My people have committed two evils:

They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters,

And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

Jeremiah 2:13

The Father has plans to use YOU AND ME to reach this hurting, dying world.  His plans require His power… which requires time in His Presence. 

It’s been said before, and it’s true:

If you’re too busy to spend time with Jesus, then you’re too busy.

May your time with Jesus be a sanctuary from the storm and a delight to your soul this week.

Blessings to you in Jesus,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2015

 

 

God’s Ways Work

Monday, March 30th, 2015

His works are perfect, and all His ways are just.

 Deuteronomy 32:4

This world has much to say about how to get ahead, but not a whisper about where the path leads – for the end of the world’s ways is always destruction, sooner or later (or both).

On the other hand, God’s way can seem hard to us at times – a path of sacrifice, service, and self-denial – but it leads to glory, for Jesus told us:

…he who humbles himself will be exalted.

Matthew 23:12

You’ll not be the loser for having loved and served the One who loved and served you.  Every bit of suffering, every step of self-denial, every choice to decrease so Jesus can increase through your life will result in certain glory.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory…

2 Corinthians 4:17

When Christ who is our life appears,

then you also will appear with Him in glory.

Colossians 3:4

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Romans 8:18

Don’t be deceived by the siren call of this age… Though the world’s prizes appear good, seem fulfilling, promise love and excitement – remember that the one making such promises earned himself the title “father of lies” by Jesus (John 8:44).

Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it,

And whoever loses his life shall preserve it.

Luke 17:33

Those who find “success” by this world’s ways end up tormented by the very god they have worshiped, enslaved by the tyranny of self.

But every sacrifice made, every cost counted, every choice to seek His glory (and not our own) leads to true freedom now, and glory forever.

May the love Jesus has for you make your sacrifices for Him a true delight this week…

Blessings to you,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2015

 

Experiencing True Freedom

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Now the Lord is the Spirit,

and where the Spirit of the Lord is,

there is freedom. 

2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV

FREEDOM… The Greek word used by Paul here is “eleutheria,” which means:

Freedom from slavery… a negation of control or domination…”  

THAT is the sort of freedom God desires us to enjoy in our lives, because:

your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you,

whom you have from God…

1 Corinthians 6:19 NKJV

CONNECTING THE DOTS:

1. The Holy Spirit’s presence = Freedom!

2. YOU are a temple of the Holy Spirit!

3. Therefore: YOU are FREE! 

But truly: many Christians don’t feel free, don’t enjoy the reality of that freedom in one or more areas of their lives. 

It may be hurts from the past that keep them bound in bitterness or unforgiveness… Or fears and anxieties that seem to overwhelm their ability to trust the Father’s love… It could be an addiction; something they know is wrong but feel powerless to overcome… Whatever the area, the question is the same:

How does FREEDOM go from PROMISE to REALITY in our lives?

  • First, ADMIT the reality of your need.  Pretending you’re not hurting, or afraid, or tempted doesn’t help – it only delays the Spirit’s work in you!  So bring your brokenness straight to the Throne of Grace (Hebrews 4:15-16), being totally honest with Jesus and yourself.  No excuses, no minimizing your need, and no shame – because He loves you, and He has a plan to set you free in His mighty power.
  • SURRENDER your self-help schemes, your good intentions to fix yourself, and your best efforts… For God’s freedom never comes while we’re trying to secure our own.  Lay down the shield of self, and get out of God’s way.
  • EMBRACE the truth that apart from Him you’re powerless (John 15:5):  

“God, I’ve tried a thousand times, and I’ve failed a thousand times…

ONLY YOU can win this battle for me!” 

  • Then EXPECT HIS POWER to be mighty in your weakness ~ for He has PROMISED us:

    “…My strength is made perfect in your weakness.”

    2 Corinthians 12:9 

    “…I will strengthen you;

    Yes, I will help you;

    I will uphold you

    with my righteous right hand.”

    Isaiah 41:10

The Holy Spirit will show up and show off EVERY SINGLE TIME you call on Him, in EVERY moment of fear or anxiety, at EVERY POINT of temptation and weakness, and EVERY SINGLE TIME the cloud of depression or doubt tries to block out the light of His love from your heart.  YOU CALL, AND HE COMES to help His child… The Sheepie cries out, and the Good Shepherd delivers His precious one for whom He shed His sinless blood – EVERY TIME you call! 

I know that’s hard to believe for the heart that has known much defeat and despair in an area, but YOUR GOD IS ALWAYS TRUE, and your enemy is always a liar (John 8:44).  So then…

  • CHOOSE to BELIEVE His promises again.  This means confessing God’s Word – out loud – over your area of need.  The “sword of the Spirit” to which Paul refers in Ephesians 6:17 is the “rhema” ~ literally, the SPOKEN Word of God.  And then we confess aloud God’s TRUTH over our lives, it exposes, erodes, and destroys the lies, accusations, threats, and schemes of the enemy

Get into God’s Word, and ask the Spirit to guide you to specific promises that address your area(s) of need.  Then, start speaking out these Scripture promises each and every day.  The Holy Spirit will use your confession of God’s Word like spiritual dynamite to demolish the enemy’s lies, and like a healing balm to restore your soul and refresh your faith. 

And if you need help finding Scriptures that apply, just contact me via email, and I would be happy to help you find some promises to get you started.   

God’s desire and plan for you is perfectly clear in Scripture: FREEDOM from the enemy’s lies and bondage.  If we do the simple things, He will do the great and mighty things IN and THROUGH our lives – and He’ll make us instruments of His freedom to those who are bound.  AMEN! 

May the Lord fall with fresh fire on your life this week,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2015

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

John 8:36 NKJV