Have You Got It?

<strong>Have You Got It?</strong>

Have you received the thing for which you most recently and fervently prayed?  The answer should always be YES!  Why?  Because the Bible says so!Let’s read these Scriptures:Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.  (Mk 11:24 NIV)  Believe that you have already received what you need and faith operating in you will bring it to you!  And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.  (Mt 21:22 KJV)  When we pray and ask the Lord to give us something based upon His Word, we must always mix our prayer with the faith that we have received at salvation.  If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  (Joh 15:7 NASB)  Keeping God’s Word (the Bible) ‘before you’ means reading it regularly—daily—and memorizing and meditating upon it.  As we make these habits a part of our Christian lives, we may ask WHATEVER we need, and it will be done.  Hallelujah!Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.  (1 Joh 5:14-15 NKJV)  Note first of all that this Scripture passage mentions our CONFIDENCE in God; this is crucial.  Once, we have that confidence and we pray according to God’s Word—which is His will—then we are positive that we have received our prayer requests.  Praise the Lord!But those who seek the Lord lack no good thing..  (Ps 34:10b CEB, emphasis added)Our Lord and our God, you are like the sun and also like a shield.  You treat us with kindness and with honor, never denying any good thing to those who live right.  (Ps 84:11 CEV, emphasis added)

Both of the verses above from Psalms say that we, as followers and disciples of Jesus Christ, will never be denied any good thing.  What a joyous and blessed security our Savior has given to His children.  God bless you!

Being Strengthened & Established

<strong>Being Strengthened & Established</strong>

As we live our daily lives as believers and followers of Jesus, there should come times when we are strengthened and established, or recognized, in our faith.  Let’s take a look at some Scriptures concerning this topic:

For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established—that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.  (Rom 1:11-12 NKJV)

Paul was writing to believers in Rome, saying that he wished to see them in order that he could impart [pass on] a spiritual gift to a number of them, and that he could encourage them in their faith—and be encouraged himself by them. 

First of all, do you realize that praying for each other is encouraging? 

And do you also realize that by praying for one another, we may reveal our own spiritual gifts and may even pass them on?  Well, it’s absolutely true! 

But I know that when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.  (Rom 15:29 NKJV)

Paul was confident that when he saw the believers in person, that he would be operating in the FULLNESS of the blessing of Christ’s gospel.  What faith!  This demonstrates the confidence of a man who relies completely upon the Word, and lives his life accordingly.  Glory to God!

So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.  (Ac 16:5 NIV)

When we are strengthened in our faith, we can’t help but share our experiences and testimonies with others.  When we do that, other people visit our churches in order to discover what is happening.  Their curiosity is provoked, and they want to investigate for themselves.

When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.  (Ac 19:6 NIV)

Praying for people, as you touch them, is a biblical and correct form of prayer.  This verse tells us that when Paul did this, the people that Paul touched came under the influence and presence of the Holy Spirit.  As a result these same people actually spoke in tongues and prophesied.  Hallelujah!  These are biblical results and we should be encouraged by them, and use them as our example.

A key tactic we can use to strengthen our faith is to read the Bible, and to the meditate upon it daily.  God bless you.

Discouraged Versus Encouraged

Discouraged Versus Encouraged

Look, the Lord your God has set the land before you; go up and possess it, as the Lord God of your fathers has spoken to you; do not fear or be discouraged.’  (Deu 1:21)

Discourage means to dishearten; to dash someone’s hopes; to hinder or to restrain.  When you discourage someone, you hinder them from a plan or a project that they intended to complete.

When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.  (Act 11:23, underscoring added)

. . . that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ . . .  (Col 2:2)

Encourage means to embolden; to inspire; to support or assist someone.  When you encourage someone, you inspire them.  You assist them by expressing your confidence in their ability and their resolve to complete their mission.

As followers of Jesus and children of the living God, let us be channels of blessing on the earth to encourage fellow believers in their faith, and to encourage non-believers to accept the precious gift of salvation offered to them by God, our Father.

The Bible demonstrates in many passages that believers encourage one another in their faith, and it strengthens them.  (See Ac 11:23; 16:40; 20:2; Rom 1:12; Eph 6:22; Col 2:2; 4:8; 1 Thes 3:2)

The Word pleads with us in this verse:

And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.  (1 Thes 5:14 ESV, emphasis added)

Here is another Scripture passage that demonstrates a way to encourage one another:

Then you will recite to one another psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; you will sing and make music to the Lord with your hearts . . .  (Eph 5:19 ISV)  If we sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to the Lord—even alone in our quiet time with the Lord—we will encourage and embolden ourselves in our faith.  God bless you.

An Everlasting Throne

An Everlasting Throne

Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, has been promised an everlasting throne according to the Scriptures.  Let’s consider this truth today.

You, O Lord, remain forever; Your throne from generation to generation.  (Lam 5:19)

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.  (Ps 45:6)

But You, O Lord, shall endure forever, and the remembrance of Your name to all generations.  (Ps 102:12)

This truth from the Bible is information designed to strengthen and to sustain our faith, and give us confidence in the Lord.  Our Savior is the Prince of Peace and the King of Kings.  (Isa 9:6; 1 Tim 6:14-16) 

Here is some additional insight into the Lord’s everlasting throne:

When the angel was announcing to Mary the conception of the Messiah, these promises were reiterated. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end (Lk 1:31-33). These promises will be eternally fulfilled some day. “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!'” (Rev 11:15).   Source:  https://www.blueletterbible.org/devotionals/dbdbg/view.cfm?Date=0630

One day ALL of the nations of the earth will worship and glorify our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!  (Ps 22:27; 72:11; 86:9; 102:15; Isa 2:2; 40:5; 45:23; 66:23; Jer 3:17; 33:9) 

As God’s own people and joint heirs with Jesus Christ (Rom 8:17), let us be faithful and obedient to acknowledge and praise our Sovereign God and King now!  May we be continuously aware that we serve the God whose reign will never end.  We will spend eternity with the Lord in sweet fellowship and harmony with Him.  Glory to God!

To Whom Should We Pray?

To Whom Should We Pray?

Give heed to the voice of my cry, my King and my God, for to You I will pray.  (Ps 5:2)

We all know that we direct our prayers to God.  Let’s see what else the Bible says about prayer.

I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill.  (Ps 3:4)

When we pray, the Lord hears our prayers. 

In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.  (Mt 6:9)

Jesus taught us to pray to our Father God, and to honor His name.

. . . that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.  (Joh 15:16d)

Whenever we pray to the Father in heaven, Jesus tells us to pray in His name, so that we will receive the request.  (See Joh 14:13)

. . . giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ . . .  (Eph 5:20)  The book of Ephesians shows prayer to the Father in Jesus’ name with thanksgiving.  The Lord loves a thankful heart.

As Stephen was being stoned to death, he called out, “Lord Jesus, please welcome me!” 60 He knelt down and shouted, “Lord, don’t blame them for what they have done.” Then he died.  (Ac 7:59-60)

This passage demonstrates that Stephen prayed directly to Jesus as Stephen was being stoned to death. 

We should pray in the Spirit, and we should pray in His power.  The Spirit helps us to pray, even when we don’t know WHAT or HOW to pray for a situation or a need.  (Rom 8:26; Jude 20)

In general, when we pray, we pray to “our Father” or even to “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  We always pray to the Father in the name of Jesus (through His mediation) by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Paul said:  For through Him [Christ] we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.  (Eph 2:18 – bracketed word added)  We all have access [admission] to the presence of the Father through Jesus, our Savior.

Pray daily and continuously for the Bible tells us “men ought always to pray.”  (Lk 18:1)  Pray always, whether vocally or silently, because the Bible instructs us to do so.  Pray with confidence, knowing that the Lord hears our prayers and faithfully answers them.

A Steadfast Heart

A Steadfast Heart

Steadfast means committed, unwavering, reliable and trustworthy.

He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.  (Ps 112:7, underscoring added)

But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.  (Pro 1:33)  Wisdom is speaking in the passage.  When we obey wisdom, we obey God.

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.  Trust in the Lord forever, for in Yahweh, the Lord, is everlasting strength.  (Isa 26:3-4)  When we are focused upon the Lord, with absolute trust, our hearts will be filled with the peace that passes all understanding.

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  (Joh 14:1) Jesus is speaking in this verse, and He’s encouraging us to believe in Him.  He’s inviting us to rely upon Him and to have confidence in Him.

The point of these verses that I’ve shared is that under all circumstances, even in the midst of challenges and painful trials, a believer knows the beautiful character of Jesus, and is able to trust Him effortlessly.  Why?  Because Jesus is a good and loving Savior.

The Lord’s plans for us are good plans intended to give us a good future.  We can see the only person who can prevent those plans from coming to pass when we look into the mirror! 

If we don’t cooperate with the Lord, if we don’t trust Him and place all of our faith in Him, then we cannot blame God for whatever mess in which we eventually find ourselves.

Place all of your hope, faith and trust in the Lord.  Yield to God’s plans and His ways, and you will be blessed.  Hallelujah!

Encourage & Build

Encourage & Build

Have you ever heard this saying?  “Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody.”  Such a person is an ENCOURAGER!

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.  (1 Thes 5:11 NIV)

There are at least thirteen passages in the New Testament alone about encouragement.  Encouragement means inspiration, reassurance, and support.  Encouragement is a combination of all three.  It has great potential for fostering and advancing critical moments in a person’s, a church’s, and or a nation’s history. 

But command Joshua, and encourage him and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which you will see.  (Deu 3:28 NKJV)  As this verse in the Bible demonstrates, encouragement is able to strengthen a person’s soul (mind, will, and emotions) and help them to push ahead to accomplish their goal.  Thanks to encouragement and God’s grace, Joshua accomplished great things for God.

When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.  (Acts 11:23)  This is when Barnabas visited the church at Antioch:  He supported them in their faith in God and emboldened them to continue in it.

Here is something interesting to know about Barnabas

“Barnabas” wasn’t his birth name (it was Joseph); Barnabas was his nickname meaning “Son of Encouragement” (Acts 4:36). This rather obscure Bible character was so encouraging that it became his name.” ~ Source:  https://www.leadershipresources.org/who-is-barnabas-in-the-bible-10-things-to-know.

. . . that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ . . .  (Col 2:2)  These words of the Apostle Paul’s are inspiration to the church of his day—as well as to us.  He is nurturing our unity, our faith in and understanding of the Gospel, and our perseverance in faith.

. . . and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith . . .  (1 Thes 3:2)  The Apostle Paul is writing from Antioch about sending Timothy to confirm, reassure and to strengthen the faith of the Thessalonian church during persecution.

As these passages reveal to us, encouragement is powerful!  It has the potential to build (develop, shape, and foster) a person’s faith in God as well as a confidence in their calling to such an extent that they are enabled to accomplish mighty deeds and to produce pivotal moments in history. 

Boldly encourage someone that you care about today.  Blessings upon you!

SPECIAL ARTICLE: Hope in the Midst of Crisis

SPECIAL ARTICLE:  Hope in the Midst of Crisis

In the midst of this worldwide health crisis known as the Corona virus, it’s important that we recognize that we believers have a hope that the world does not know.  It’s at times like these that we must hold onto our faith, and be a light in the midst of darkness.

Let’s consider some Biblical truths:

. . . according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.  (Eph 3:11-12)

Our Father God accomplished His eternal purpose through Jesus Christ by giving mankind the gift of salvation.  In Jesus, through Him and by Him, all who have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, have been given access to our Father God; and as a result, we may have full confidence in our relationship with Him.  Hallelujah!

Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.  (Heb 10:35)

So do not abandon your assurance and faith in Jesus Christ and in His salvation.  Hold onto your faith; take a firm grasp of your salvation and never let it go!

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.  (1 Joh 5:14-15)

This is a precious promise from God for us TODAY.  We know that when we ask for something that agrees with the will of God, He hears us AND He gives us the specific answer for which we have asked.

You may ask, “How do I know if it’s God will for me to be healthy and well?”  Here is how you may KNOW:

  • Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. (3 Joh 2)  This passage would not be in the Bible if God did not want us to be healthy.
  • My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands; for length of days and long life and peace they will add to you. (Pro 3:1-2)  God shares His wisdom with us that as we hide His Word in our hearts, it will add long life and peace to us.
  • It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones. (Pro 3:8)  God is again telling us that His Word, sown into our hearts and minds, will give health to our physical bodies and strength to our very bones.
  • For I am the Lord who heals you. (Ex 15:26c)  The Lord declares that He is our Healer!  If it was not His will for us to be healthy, He would not declare Himself to be the Mighty One who heals us.

Believe in and rely upon these supernatural words of power from God.  Place your faith in Him and in His Word.  Be unshakeable and stubborn in your faith in God, dear brothers and sisters!  Hope in Christ who is our health, our strength, our life.

Feet of a Deer: Hind’s Feet

Feet of a Deer: Hind’s Feet

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights.  (Hab 3:19 NIV)

The Lord God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places.  (Hab 3:19 KJV)

In Habakkuk 3:17-18, the prophet says:

17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

Verses 17 and 18 show us that Habakkuk chooses to praise the Lord and to be joyful in Him in spite of life’s challenging circumstances. 

He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places.  (2 Sam 22:34 & Ps 18:33 KJV)

So what is the significance of hind’s feet?  A hind is a female deer (or a gazelle) who is able to place her back feet unerringly where her front feet have walked.  Because of this, a hind is able to run unreservedly on the roughest terrain.  In times of peril, the hind can run securely and stay on course.  Because the hind can scale high places, it can elude predators.

The spiritual lesson for us is that, despite our circumstances, when we are truly anchored by faith in Jesus, we’ll be able to run with joy the race that is set before us.  The Word reminds us that God Himself is our strength, and in Him our spiritual feet have become as sure-footed, nimble, and fast as the hind. 

The strength that God gives to us is an inward strength—confidence and assurance and courageousness in the face of all external afflictions and trials.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  (Phil 4:13 NKJV) 

. . . that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man . . .  (Eph 3:16 NKJV)

We are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19), and the strength of the Lord is within each one of us.  Glory to God!

We Are His Offspring: His Children

We Are His Offspring: His Children

All who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord are children of God.  Here is what the Bible says.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name . . .  (Joh 1:12 NKJV)

For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, for we are also His offspring.  (Act 17:28 KJV)

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith . . . (Gal 3:26 NIV)

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.  (Rom 8:14 NIV)

The Father has loved us so much that we are called children of God. And we really are His children.  (1 Joh 3:1 NIV)

Characteristics of Children

  • In Christ, we are children of God through faith. As such, we are able to feel an affectionate, devoted, and respectful confidence in our Father God.
  • We know that we are greatly loved by our Father. We recognize that we are precious to Him.
  • We have a spirit of ready obedience to our Heavenly Father—because of our love for Him and His love for us. We have an earnest desire to obey Him because we trust that His plans for us are totally good and always in our best interests.

Advantages that Children Receive

  • We are in a loving relationship with our Father, and are continuously surrounded by His supernatural and miraculous favor.
  • We are forgiven, cleansed, and free from bondage.
  • We are entitled to fellowship and communion with our Father.
  • Our Father gives us wise counsel and teaching by the Holy Spirit.
  • Exceeding great and precious promises have been given to us by our Heavenly Dad. We are encouraged to “ask and receive so that our joy may be full.”

Trust God to pour out the benefits of salvation in Jesus Christ upon you.  Because we are His children, He invites us to turn to Him and ask Him for everything that we need.  Put away any timidity, and with loving trust and assurance, ask Abba Father to meet your needs right now.  God bless you.