Psalm 66:18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
Psalm 110:1 The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."
Our confession of sin must be continual because we continue to do wrong. But true confession requires us to listen to God and to want to stop doing what is wrong. David confessed his sin and prayed, "Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins" (Psalm 19:12-13). When we refuse to repent or when we harbor and cherish certain sins, we place a wall between us and God. We may not be able to remember every sin we have ever committed, but our attitude should be one of confession and obedience.
"Cherished" here means: to look at, perceive, see, recognize. So, if I know I have sin in my heart, but do nothing about it, the Lord will not hear my prayers. That is a sobering thought.
Too many Christians no longer look at sin as a foe, or enemy, but as a friend. We don't like to discuss sin. We don't like to admit sin. We can point out the wrongdoings of others, but not in ourselves. That is one of the major problems in the church today. We have made sin our friend, and God never promised to make our friends our footstools, but our enemies!
The Bible still says that the "wages of sin is death." Thank God for the gift of God, which is life through Jesus. But we must not skip over what sin pays. Death. Every time I sin something dies. It could be trust, integrity, testimony, reputation, relationship. Jesus paid the price for our sin, to remove the consequences of death from our life, but way too often, and too easily we sin, and allow sin to stay in our heart, then wonder WHY God hasn't heard or responded.
God wants desperately to give us victory. He promised to give us victory over our enemies...not our friends! Has sin become a friend of yours? Do you walk in fellowship with sin daily and not even realize it?
Read slowly the six things God hates...and notice the seventh thing that God detests:
Proverbs 6:16-19 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: (17) haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, (18) a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, (19) a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers (sower of seeds of discord).
It may be easier to understand in the Message version:
Proverbs 6:16-19 Here are six things GOD hates, and one more that he loathes with a passion: (17) eyes that are arrogant, a tongue that lies, hands that murder the innocent, (18) a heart that hatches evil plots, feet that race down a wicked track, (19) a mouth that lies under oath, a troublemaker in the family.
These are things that God hates. Our list of things God hates would probably be much different than this one: alcoholic, child molester, homosexual offender, adulterer. But this is GOD'S list, not mine, not yours. He mentions things that some of us may battle with daily. In fact, maybe we don't even battle with it any more. We have become friends with what God hates. And it is affecting the prayer life of God's children. He simply says "He will not listen" if we make sin our friend and not our foe.
The enemy is working overtime to destroy God's church. But he can't do it from without, because the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. However, he is trying to work from within. Trying to cause strife, disunity and he is using people who are more than willing to be used to gossip, back bite and tear down. My friends, please hear the voice of the Spirit. Stop allowing the enemy to use you. Make sin your enemy right now. Realize what it is doing to you, your family and your testimony. Ask God to forgive you, and He will.
God has called all of us to be SALT and LIGHT, not to swing the sword against each other. We are on the same team, we are all in the same family, the family of God. Whether you are a Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Church of God, Church of Christ, Assembly of God, United Pentecostal, Non-denominational...if we are going to be affective in these last days, we must show we are Jesus' disciples by having, and showing, love one for another.
"Lord, help this Word to get deep into my Spirit man. I do not want to be used of the devil to sow seeds of discord. I do not want to be used of the devil to attack Your church because I have become careless in my walk with You. Please forgive me for the times I have allowed sin to be my friend and not my foe. Today, I once again realize that sin causes death. I also realize the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy. Jesus you came to give life. So, if I want to find out who is using me, I need to look at my words, attitude and actions the past few days. Am I speaking death? Am I attacking people's reputation? Am I trying to destroy anyone with my words or actions? If so, then I am being used of the devil. On the other hand, am I speaking life? Does my attitude and actions show Jesus' life, grace and mercy? Then Jesus, you are using me. Today, I choose to be used of You to build Your church and Your kingdom. In Jesus' name, amen!"
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Posted by Rusty L. Blann at 6:35 AM
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
John 14:5-6 Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?" (6) Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Christ is "THE WAY" to the Father - "no man cometh unto the Father but by Me"; He is "THE TRUTH" of all we find in the Father when we get to Him, "For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Colossians 2:9), and He is all "THE LIFE" that shall ever flow to us and bless us from the Godhead thus approached and thus manifested in Him - "this is the true God and eternal life" (1 John 5:20).
This is one of the most basic and important passages in Scripture. How can we know the way to God? Only through Jesus. Jesus is the way because he is both God and man. By uniting our lives with his, we are united with God. Trust Jesus to take you to the Father, and all the benefits of being God's child will be yours.
Jesus says he is the only way to God the Father. Some people may argue that this way is too narrow. In reality, it is wide enough for the whole world, if the world chooses to accept it. Instead of worrying about how limited it sounds to have only one way, we should be saying, "Thank you, God, for providing a sure way to get to you!"
As the way, Jesus is our path to the Father. As the truth, he is the reality of all God's promises. As the life, he joins his divine life to ours, both now and eternally. Jesus is, in truth, the only living way to the Father.
Judaism sees salvation as a judgment day decision based on morality. Hindus anticipate multiple reincarnations in the soul's journey through the cosmos. Buddhism guides your life according to the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eight-fold Path. Muslims earn their way to Allah through the Five Pillars of Faith. Many philosophers deem life after death as hidden and unknown, 'a great leap in the dark.' Some people clump Christ with Moses, Mohammad, Confucius, and other spiritual leaders.
Jesus said… "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except "through me."' John 14:6 (NKJV).
Many object, "All roads lead to heaven." But how can they? Buddhists look toward Nirvana, achieved after no less than 547 reincarnations. Christians believe in one life, one death, and an eternity of enjoying God. Humanists don't acknowledge a creator of life. Jesus claims to be the source of life.
Spiritualists read your palms. Christians consult the Bible. Hindus perceive a plural and impersonal God. Christ-followers believe "there is only one God" (1 Corinthians 8:4 NLT).
Every non-Christian religion says, "You can save you." Jesus says: "My death on the cross saves you." All roads don't lead to London, all ships don't sail to Australia, and all flights don't land in Rome. Every path does not lead to God.
Jesus blazed a stand-alone trail void of self-salvation. He cleared a one-of-a-kind passageway uncluttered by human effort. He offers us a unique invitation in which He works and we trust, He dies and we live, He invites and we believe. "The work God wants you to do is this: Believe the One he sent" (John 6:29 NCV).
"Jesus, I am so glad that you are not just A way to the Father, and You aren't just A truth, nor just A life. You are so much more. The world increasingly can not stand our verse for today. But stand before it they must some day. Thank You Lord, that you THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life. There is not other way, no other truth and no other life that compares to what You offer to us. For that, I pause today and say 'thank you' from the bottom of my heart! In Jesus name, amen!"
Posted by Rusty L. Blann at 6:27 AM
Friday, May 20, 2011
2 Samuel 7:8 Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel.
In this message from Nathan, God is saying that he doesn't want David to build a temple for him. God told David that his job was to unify and lead Israel and to destroy its enemies. This huge task would require David to shed a great deal of blood. In 1 Chronicles 28:3, we learn that God did not want his Temple built by a warrior. Therefore, David made the plans and collected the materials so that his son Solomon could begin work on the Temple as soon as he became king (1 Kings 5-7). David accepted his part in God's plan and did not try to go beyond it. Sometimes God says no to our plans. When he does, we should utilize the other opportunities he gives us.
God reminded David that He "took you from the pasture..."
As I read those words last night, I got to thinking what God has taken me from. As I meditated on that, the list began to grow:
He took me from death and gave me life!
He took me from anger and gave me peace in my soul
He took me from a spirit of offense and gave me a more mature love for people
He took me from emotional wounds and gave me healing.
He took me from a purposeless way of living and gave me purpose
He took me from a doctor's report that said "can't have children" to having four beautiful children that I am so proud of
He took me from Children's hospital and certain death of my baby girl, to a healthy 12 year old young lady.
He took me from legalism to a wonderful relationship with God through Jesus!
He took me from feelings of rage, to a spirit of control
He took me from a spirit of fear, and gave me the Spirit of power, love and a self-disciplined mind.
He took me from a lust filled past to a Spirit-filled present and future
He took me from darkness and brought me into His marvelous light
He took me from the land of strife and brought me into the land of joy
He took me from an insecure little boy to a man who knows who I am in Christ!
He took me from a mouth filled with filth, to a mouth full of the promises of God
He took me from being unthankful to daily thanksgiving.
He took me from worrying about every day things to giving me daily bread
He took me from certain defeat and made me more than a conqueror
He took me from wondering aimlessly in life to being chosen of Him
He took me from a sin-filled life and made me righteous
He took me from a regret-filled life and made me hopeful
He took me from a scarred life and brought healing
He took me from feeling everyone was against me to understanding that if He is for me it doesn't matter who is against me!
He took me from constant worry and brought me to understand His provision
He took me from questioning who God was to reveal Himself to me daily as I walk with Him
He took me from the miry clay and set my feet on the solid Rock to stay
He took me from dreading each day to understanding "this is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice in it"
He took me from a negative attitude to a positive outlook on life
He took me from the road to hell and placed me on the road to heaven
I could go on and on! I am so thankful for what Jesus brought me from and to where He is taking me now.
Paul said something about that as well in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders (10) nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
That my friend, is truly "shoutin' ground!"
"Lord, as I go down through the list of what you have brought me from my heart is overwhelmed and my mouth wants to shout 'hallelujah!' There are so many things in my past that, at times, try to define me. But thank God, I am not defined by my past. I am not defined by what I 'used to be' I am defined by WHO you are making me to become. Thank you that you took me from darkness and brought me into your marvelous light. I am thankful that I have been 'washed', 'sanctified' and 'justified' in the name of Jesus and by Your Spirit. I just want to say thank You Lord for Your faithfulness to me! In Jesus name, amen!"
Posted by Rusty L. Blann at 12:01 AM
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Exodus 2:11-15 Time passed. Moses grew up. One day he went and saw his brothers, saw all that hard labor. Then he saw an Egyptian hit a Hebrew--one of his relatives! (12) He looked this way and then that; when he realized there was no one in sight, he killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand. (13) The next day he went out there again. Two Hebrew men were fighting. He spoke to the man who started it: "Why are you hitting your neighbor?" (14) The man shot back: "Who do you think you are, telling us what to do? Are you going to kill me the way you killed that Egyptian?" Then Moses panicked: "Word's gotten out--people know about this." (15) Pharaoh heard about it and tried to kill Moses, but Moses moved to the land of Midian. He sat down by a well.
Midian means strife, and is the fourth son of Abraham by Keturah, the father of the Midianites (Genesis 25:2; I Chronicles 1:32). It also means: judgment; covering; habit.
To escape punishment for killing the Egyptian, Moses ran away to Midian. He became a stranger in a strange land, separated from his home and family. It took many years after this incident for Moses to be ready to serve God. But he trusted God instead of fearing the king (Hebrews 11:27). We may feel abandoned or isolated because of something we have done. But though we feel afraid and separated, we should not give up. Moses didn't. He trusted God to deliver him, no matter how dark his past or bleak his future.
It is so easy to end up in the land of strife! And, as Midian means, to form a habit of strife. There are times that I just find myself agitated, aggravated, frustrated, irritated...any "ted" you can think of, and I don't really know why. When I am like this, nothing or no one can make me happy. When I am hanging out in Midian, I don't really want to spend time in God's Word, nor do I desire to pray. I have to be disciplined enough to push through my "lack of desire" if I expect to leave Midian victoriously.
Sometimes, instead of pushing through, I linger in Midian longer than I should. This happened to me recently. I was mad at a situation, and it bled over into my relationships with my family. I seemed to be unhappy with my children and my precious wife. I couldn't understand it until my son-in-law mentioned in a sermon he was preaching about "Midian meaning strife." As he continued to preach, I continued to meditate on that one phrase. I have spent several hours this week studying the word Midian.
We must leave the land of strife if we expect God to use us, bless us, or prosper us. If I find myself getting mad very easily, or if I develop a tendency to become offended easily, or have a tougher time than usual to control my tongue, there is a good chance that I am hanging out in "Midian, the land of strife."
It is time God's people stop living and dwelling in disunity and strife. That is not pleasing to God, nor does it help build God's church. In fact, quite the contrary. It tears down His church. I am either a part of the construction team or the demolition team when it comes to building Christ's church. How about you? Are you building up or tearing down? How about at home? Do your kids respect or not respect someone because of your lack of self-control? Are you leading your kids to the Land of strife by your words and actions?
I have seen it happen too many times. Kids develop a dislike, or distrust of the church because parents would not leave the land of strife. In fact, the Word of God lets us know that the land of strife is very appealing and attractive to the flesh. Many are content to dwell there. But I must make up my mind to leave this land, if I ever want to be anything for God.
"Lord, I ask you to help me today to leave the land of strife. But before I make a decision to leave Midian, I have to recognize that I am dwelling there. I have been frustrated, irritated, aggravated, agitated for too long. I have become offended to easily. I have pointed my finger at others in contempt but turned a deaf ear to your Holy Spirit as you try to show me that the problem isn't always someone else, but it is me. I need your help today. I need your guidance today. I make the choice to leave the land of strife. I thank you that as I do that, you will give me the strength to make wiser decisions than I am right now. I love you Lord, and thank you for this Word. In Jesus name, amen!"
Posted by Rusty L. Blann at 7:08 AM
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Luke 4:3-4 The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread." (4) And Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone.'"
Satan may tempt us to doubt Christ's true identity. He knows that once we begin to question whether or not Jesus is God, it's far easier to get us to do what he wants. Times of questioning can help us sort out our beliefs and strengthen our faith, but those times can also be dangerous. If you are dealing with doubt, be aware that you are especially vulnerable to temptation. Even as you search for answers, protect yourself by meditating on the unshakable truths of God's Word.
Sometimes what we are tempted to do isn't wrong in itself. Turning a stone into bread wasn't necessarily bad. The sin was not in the act but in the reason behind it. The devil was trying to get Jesus to take a shortcut, to solve Jesus' immediate problem at the expense of his long-range goals, to seek comfort at the sacrifice of his discipline. Satan often works that way-persuading us to take action, even right action, for the wrong reason or at the wrong time. The fact that something is not wrong in itself does not mean that it is good for you at a given time. Many people sin by attempting to fulfill legitimate desires outside of God's will or ahead of his timetable. First ask: Is the Holy Spirit leading me to do this or is Satan trying to get me off the track?
Often we are tempted not through our weaknesses, but through our strengths. The devil tempted Jesus where he was strong. Jesus had power over stones, the kingdoms of the world, and even angels, and Satan wanted him to use that power without regard for his mission. When we give in to the devil and wrongly use our strengths, we become proud and self-reliant. Trusting in our own powers, we feel little need of God. To avoid this trap, we must realize that all our strengths are God's gifts to us, and we must dedicate those strengths to his service.
As I read this verse yesterday, then again today the phrase, "the devil said to Him" jumped off of the page at me. I am very much aware that the Holy Spirit is talking:
Revelation 2:7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.'
I know that Jesus is talking:
John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
But sometimes I forget that the devil is talking as well. The obvious question is "who am I listening and responding to?" Jesus responded with the Word of God, "It is written"
In our verse for today, the devil spoke to Jesus and tried to raise questions as to who Jesus really was. "If you are the really the Son of God..."
There are some today that the enemy whispers into their ears: if God loved you, you wouldn't be going through this battle; if you were special to God, things would be better in your life; if God cared, you would have already been through this storm in your life; if there really IS a God, He is too busy to worry Himself with someone like YOU.
And the lies and whispers of the devil go on and on. IF, IF, IF...
My friend, we need today to fine tune who we are listening to. We need to memorize God's Word, hide it in our heart and speak it forth when the enemy begins his speaking. I promise you he is speaking to you know. He will speak throughout today...but so will the Holy Spirit of God. Why not memorize Revelation 2:7 and John 10:27 then declare it out "it is writtten..." when the devil speaks into your life.
You ARE more than a conqueror. You ARE the apple of His eye. You WERE chosen by Him. You ARE His possession. You ARE declared righteous, sanctified and justified if you have accepted the blood of Jesus to cover your sins and past. You WILL make it through this valley victoriously. You CAN know the voice of Jesus. You WILL know the voice of the Holy Spirit as you develop and fine tune your ear towards Him. You ARE dead unto sin. Your life IS hidden with Christ. You ARE a new creation in Christ. You are the Sheep of HIS pasture. He WILL walk with you through whatever deep, dark valley you are in. You ARE NEVER alone, for Jesus promised to never leave you nor forsake you. You ARE NOT forgotten by the Lord. You ARE enscribed on the palms of His hands. You ARE protected against any weapon that is formed against you. You ARE more than a conqueror. God IS FOR YOU! And since God is for you, who or what can be against you?
I could go on and, but suffice it to say, the devil is talking...but so is the Spirit of God. Remember the devil always gets you to question God and His goodness and leads you FROM worship of God. The Spirit of God always reminds you of God's goodness and leads you TOWARDS worship of Him.
"Lord, thank you for reminding me that You are speaking to me. But so is the devil. I must make up my mind to hear the voice of the Spirit and rebuke and fight off the voice of the enemy. He is a liar and the father of lies. Help me to distinguish between truth and deception today. In Jesus name, amen!"
Posted by Rusty L. Blann at 9:13 AM
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Genesis 41:16 "I cannot do it," Joseph replied to Pharaoh, "but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires."
Joseph made sure that he gave the credit to God. We should be careful to do the same. To take the honor for ourselves is a form of stealing God's honor. Don't be silent when you know you should be giving glory and credit to God.
Also, we all face situations where we have to declare "I cannot do it" whether it is relational, emotional, spiritual, physical...we understood the answer is beyond the realm of possibility of what we can do. Then by faith we must declare "but God will!"
We need to ANCHOR our souls to the Word of God...NOT our feelings. We get tired, we get wore out, we make mistakes....CONSTANT is God's Word.
Isa 40:7-8 The grass withers (dries up, loses moisture) and the flowers fall (sinks, drops down, fades away and forgotten), because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass. (8) The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands (rises to the occasion, is established, confirmed, endures, persists, raises up, valid, set, fixed) forever."
Your emotions, like the grass and the flower, will sink, drop, rise, fade, become dry, crack, change, up and down…but GOD'S WORD is fixed, established, confirmed, endures, persists, raises up, valid, set, fixed…FOREVER.
Through the ups and downs of life. God's Word remains solid! You can COUNT ON IT. So today, bring your "I cannot" to God, and declare out loud:
I cannot fix my finances…but God will
I cannot heal my sickness…BUT GOD
I cannot restore this relationship…BUT GOD
I cannot make it through this storm…BUT GOD
I cannot understand why I'm going through this…BUT GOD
I cannot make my children live for Jesus…BUT GOD
I cannot bring revival to my church and this area…BUT GOD
I cannot figure out a way that we can make it…BUT GOD
I cannot get past this offense…BUT GOD
I cannot stop the pain…BUT GOD
I cannot afford to pay tithes…BUT GOD
I cannot give to the new land fund…BUT GOD
I cannot change my attitude…BUT GOD
I cannot get past my anger…BUT GOD
I cannot forgive…BUT GOD
I cannot move past this thing…BUT GOD
I cannot stop worrying…BUT GOD
I cannot let it go…BUT GOD
I cannot get my mind off of this…BUT GOD
I cannot shake this lust…BUT GOD
I cannot overcome this habit…BUT GOD
I cannot stand the sight of that person…BUT GOD
I cannot change my husband…BUT GOD
I cannot change my wife…BUT GOD
I cannot decide which way to go with this decision…BUT GOD
I cannot get rid of the shame…BUT GOD
I cannot get rid of condemnation…BUT GOD
I cannot forgive myself…BUT GOD
I cannot…BUT GOD!!!!!
Isa 54:10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
1 Peter 1:23-25 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. (24) For, "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall (remember context…men are like grass and flowers…fade away, forgotten), (25) but the word of the Lord stands forever (never dies, never put in a grave, never stops influencing, never lies, never quits working, never ineffective, always sharper than any two-edged sword)."
"Lord, this morning I realize that I face something's that I Cannot do anything about. However, I am so thankful for the faith and confidence I have in You Lord that I can declare BUT GOD WILL! You are in control of each situation I face. You are in control of life's "cannot's' So many times you have made a way where there seemed to be no way. You are the Creator who can bring order out of chaos, and confusion. Thank You for that today. In Jesus' name, amen!"
Posted by Rusty L. Blann at 7:18 AM
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Posted by Rusty L. Blann at 9:28 AM
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Posted by Rusty L. Blann at 7:51 AM
Sunday, May 8, 2011
1 Samuel 17:40 Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.
And he took his staff in his hand, His shepherd's staff, which he used in keeping his father's sheep, and chose rather to appear in the habit of a shepherd than of a soldier. He then
chose him five smooth stones out of the brook; which ran in the valley, which became smooth by lying in the water running over them; and which being smooth were more fit for his purpose, being the more easily cast out of the sling.
He then put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; in which he had been wont to put things he needed for the good of the flock, and was such as travellers put their food in; and this might also be the use of it with shepherds. His sling was in his hand; which he intended to use in slinging the stone or stones he had in his scrip; and which was an exercise he had been accustomed to in all likelihood, and for which the Benjaminites his neighbours, of the next tribe, were very famous.
He then drew near to the Philistine; marched towards him, thereby signifying that he accepted his challenge.
Just like "David selected five stones from the brook," here are five stones you can use to defeat the enemy, put in the acrostic STONE:
Successes from the past. Recalling his earlier victories David declared, "God, who delivered me from the... lion and... bear, will deliver me from this Philistine" (1 Samuel 17:37 TM). Write your defeats in sand, but carve your victories in stone by keeping track of God's faithfulness and the "marvellous works... He has done" (1 Chronicles 16:12). Has He ever failed you? No, and He won't now!
Total dependence upon God through prayer! The stone of total dependence prayer. "Prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare" (Ephesians 6:18 TM); you can't win without it. David "strengthened himself in the Lord" (1 Samuel 30:6). When Saul came after him he called on God, his "defence and refuge" (Psalm 59:16).
Opportunity to showcase God's reputation! God's priority is His reputation, and David's objective was to defend it by proving "There is a God in Israel" (1 Samuel 17:46). Involving God in your situation gives Him an opportunity to showcase His grace and power.
Never give up! The stone of perseverance. Solomon said, "The diligent make use of everything they find" (Proverbs 12:27 NLT).
Energetic passion! The stone of energetic passion. You can't stare at your giant forever. Rehearsing your hurts won't heal them and cataloguing your problems won't solve them. You must go out and face the enemy, knowing "the battle is the Lord's" (v. 47).
David picked five stones because he didn't know how many he'd need to do the job. Like Yogi Berra said, "It ain't over till it's over," so be prepared to go the distance. It may take more than a day, a month, or even a year to see results, but with God's help you'll win.
"Lord, thank You once again, that the battle is not mine, but it is Yours. Help me to walk by faith and do my part. I will use Successes from my past, Total dependence upon You through prayer, Opportunity to showcase Your reputation, Never give up, and go forward with Energetic passion. I believe with my heart, that victory over the giant I am facing is on the way. In Jesus' name, amen!"
Posted by Rusty L. Blann at 12:01 AM
Saturday, May 7, 2011
1 Samuel 17:45-47 (TM) David answered, "You come at me with sword and spear and battle-ax. I come at you in the name of GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel's troops, whom you curse and mock. (46) This very day GOD is handing you over to me. I'm about to kill you, cut off your head, and serve up your body and the bodies of your Philistine buddies to the crows and coyotes. The whole earth will know that there's an extraordinary God in Israel. (47) And everyone gathered here will learn that GOD doesn't save by means of sword or spear. The battle belongs to GOD--he's handing you to us on a platter!"
1 Samuel 17:45 (NIV) David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
The practical lesson here is that God gives victory in response to our faith. God had tested David privately with a lion and a bear; now he was to test him openly with a giant. If we are faithful in the private battles, God will see us through the public testings. Too often God's people faint at the smallest test that comes their way, little realizing that the "little tests" are but preparation for the bigger battles that are sure to come. David used simple, humble weapons: a sling and five stones. Neither his brothers' criticism nor Saul's unbelief kept David from trusting God for victory. David declared that "the battle is the Lord's, and HE will give all of you into our hands!"
Too often, in a battle, I have a tendency to see the need to take the battle from God, and make the battle MINE instead of His. That is where we get into trouble. David declares that his confidence isn't in sword, or a spear, or a sling, or stones. His confidence was in the NAME of the Lord God Almighty!
One day a soldier, charged with fleeing from the enemy was brought before Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great asked him, "What's your name?" Dropping his head, he replied, "Alexander." Alexander the Great grabbed him by the shoulders and said, "Soldier, change your conduct or change your name!"
You have been called to live a life worthy of the One whose name you carry. Regardless of whether the giant you face is addiction, resentment, fear, lust, pride, envy or anger, you must realise:
1) You're not unique. Your temptations "are no different from what others experience" (1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT). Goliath wasn't always a giant; he was fed and nurtured until he became one. Our giants are usually little sins we overlook and indulge until they assume a life of their own and come back to haunt us.
2) You can't do it alone. Your giant will defeat you anytime you tackle him in your own strength. David told Goliath, "This is the Lord's battle, and he will give you to us" (1 Samuel 17:47 NLT). You need divine help to overcome old habits and establish new behaviours. So, declare with Paul, "Christ... gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13 NLT). Stop taking the battle from God! Let Him fight for you.
3) You must confront your giant head-on. The Bible says: "As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran... to meet him" (1 Samuel 17:48 NLT). Don't run away, don't try to negotiate, don't compromise and don't excuse. Force your giant out into the light and don't let him back into your life. Establish boundaries and make yourself accountable. Stay out of the wrong company. Above all, don't look at God in the light of your giant, look at your giant in the light of God.
"Lord, today I recognize that I am facing a giant that is bigger than I am, and is way out of my league. That is why I come to You and declare 'the battle is YOURS, not mine'. Please forgive me for the many times I have taken it out of Your hands and tried to fight it myself. When I do that, fear overtakes me. Too often I come not with sword and a spear, but with words and jeers, and I need to, like David, come in the name of the Lord. Your name is Jehovah-Jireh, my Provider. Jehovah-Shalom, my Peace. Jehovah-Nissi, my Banner. Jehovah-Rapha, my Healer. Jehovah-Shammah, my Lord who is Everywhere for You are Omnipresent. Jehovah-Tsidkenu, my Righteousness. Jehovah-Sabaoth, my Protector. Jehovah-Rohi, my Shepherd. Jehovah-Bara, my Creator. Jehovah-Go'el, my Redeemer. Jehovah-Ma'oz, my Fortress. Jehovah-Sel'i, my Rock. Jehovah-'Ori, my Light. Help me to put down the sword, spear, words, other things that I have confidently used in battle. Like David, I come to this battle in the mighty Name of the Lord Almighty! In Jesus' name, amen!"
Posted by Rusty L. Blann at 1:29 PM
Friday, May 6, 2011
Luke 23:11-12 Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. (12) That day Herod and Pilate became friends-before this they had been enemies.
Herod was the part-Jewish ruler of Galilee and Perea. Pilate was the Roman governor of Judea and Samaria. Those four provinces, together with several others, had been united under Herod the Great. But when Herod died in 4 B.C., the kingdom was divided among his sons. Archelaus, the son who had received Judea and Samaria, was removed from office within 10 years, and his provinces were then ruled by a succession of Roman governors, of whom Pilate was the fifth.
Herod Antipas had two advantages over Pilate: He came from a hereditary part-Jewish monarchy and he had held his position much longer. But Pilate had two advantages over Herod: He was a Roman citizen and an envoy of the emperor, and his position was created to replace that of Herod's ineffective half brother. It is not surprising that the two men were uneasy around each other. Jesus' trial, however, brought them together. Because Pilate recognized Herod's authority over Galilee, Herod stopped feeling threatened by the Roman politician. And because neither man knew what to do in this predicament, their common problem united them.
It is amazing to me that Jesus, even while being tortured and falsely accused, brought reconciliation between Herod and Pilate. That is a supernatural outflow of Jesus' life and anointing. He takes people who have hurt one another, who have decided to not like one another, and brings them together. Herod and Pilate had felt betrayed by one another, and that betrayal had turned into bitterness. But Jesus' life, and torture, somehow brings reconciliation to theses two rulers. That is not natural...it is supernatural! What happened in our verse today is an amazing work of the Spirit that I have missed the many times I have read this story. A wonderful testimony of reconciliation!
As I was meditating on this verse, I received my daily devotion from Pastor Richard Exley. It goes perfectly with what God's Spirit is speaking to me today, I would like to share it:
"Most abusers were victims before they became perpetrators. Because they could not, or would not, make peace with their past they condemned themselves to repeat it. And unless you choose to forgive those who have wronged you, you too will become the very thing you hate. But you don't have too. With God's help you can break the cycle of betrayal, make peace with your past and forgive those who have wronged you.
"...they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind..." (Mark 5:15)."
God wants to bring about Reconciliation in your life, but too often bitterness and resentment keep this from happening.
Betrayal is something others do to you; bitterness is something you do to yourself! Look past the hurt and you'll see that your resentment is just a roadblock to your own success.
Eliminate words of bitterness from your conversation. Don't remind others of your experience, unless it's to teach and encourage them to rise above their own.
Lloyd Ogilvie says, "The hardest time to be gentle is when we know we're right and somebody else is wrong. It's when someone has failed us, admitted it, and their destiny or happiness is in our hands. Recently a friend hurt me in both word and action. Each time we met, I enjoyed the leverage of being the offended one. At first I rejected all his attempts at reconciliation because I'd already pronounced judgment on him. My most difficult challenge now was to surrender my anger and work through the hurt.
"Finally, the Lord said; 'Lloyd, why is it so important to you who gets the credit, just so long as My work gets done?' Right then I gave up my right to be what only God could be - this man's Judge and Saviour. Immediately my heart tenderized and my attitude toward him changed."
When you withhold forgiveness, you hurt the other person, but you hurt yourself more - much more! You lose the joy of living. It hangs over you like a cloud, affecting everything you do. But when you forgive, you release peace and restoration to the forgiven - and also to yourself, and God will bring reconciliation.
If He can do it for Pilate and Herod, who had become enemies, He can do it for you! Decide today to let Him do it for you! Because bitterness really is more devastating, in the long run, than betrayal.
"Lord, thank You for showing me today that Bitterness is more devastating than Betrayal. I can't do anything about betrayal, because it is what someone does to me. But I can do something about bitterness, because it is what I do to myself. Betrayal becomes Bitterness when I allow it to "percolate" in my mind and spirit man because of self-pity, a martyr syndrome, or just plain unforgiveness. Holy Spirit today, I ask You to help me release this bitterness into Your hands. Bitterness can become a root that defiles many people, and cause many to trip over, or miss out on Your grace. I love You, people, and the eternity of my family and kids more than I love this bitterness that is building within me. Please help me Lord, to release this hurt into Your hands, and by doing that I drop the desire and plan to get even. I am free from this poison of bitterness today, In Jesus' name, amen!"
Posted by Rusty L. Blann at 6:35 AM
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Luke 22:31-32 (ESV) Jesus said, "Simon, listen to me! Satan has demanded the right to test each one of you, as a farmer does when he separates wheat from the husks. (32) But Simon, I have prayed that your faith will be strong. And when you have come back to me, help the others."
Luke 22:31-32 (NIV) "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. (32) But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."
The word "sift" in the Greek means "to shake excessively, to agitate, to crush"
Satan wanted to shake, agitate and crush Simon Peter and the other disciples like grains of wheat. He hoped to find only chaff and blow it away. But Jesus assured Peter that his faith, although it would falter, would not be destroyed. It would be renewed, and Peter would become a powerful leader.
Satan also wants to shake, agitate and crush you. How you respond to this time of shaking will give you a good look into the depth of your relationship with Jesus!
Hebrews 12:26-29 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." (27) The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken-that is, created things-so that what cannot be shaken may remain. (28) Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, (29) for our "God is a consuming fire."
Tests and trials locate us; they determine where we are spiritually! Under pressure you get to meet - the real you. Jesus said to Peter, "Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat" (Luke 22:31). Another meaning for the the word sift is "to shake as in a sieve, to inwardly try one's faith to the verge of overthrow."
Some of us would have said Satan was attacking Peter, and that we needed to pray and rebuke him. But Jesus told Peter, "I have prayed for you that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to me, strengthen your brethren" (Luke 22:32).
Jesus did not pray that Peter would escape his intense shaking. No, he prayed that his faith wouldn't fail in the process. The Master knew that out of this trial would emerge new character, the type Simon Peter needed to fulfil his destiny and strengthen others.
There are five reasons for shaking anything: (1) To awaken it. (2) To remove what's dead. (3) To thoroughly mix together so that it can't be separated. (4) To bring it closer to its foundation. (5) To harvest what's ready.
If God's permitting your life to be shaken today, then take a closer look. He may be doing it because He wants to awaken you... remove the dead things of the past that are still clinging to you... draw you closer to Him... place you on a strong foundation... or make you more fruitful.
Think about it...meditate on it...pray about it...act upon it!
"Lord, just as satan asked for permission to "sift" Simon Peter, He has asked for permission to sift me. My faith, my confidence in You, my trust in You, my dependence on You, can not grow beyond what is right now until I am sifted. The enemy will try everything in his power to shake my faith. He will try to use people that I love, and trust, to hurt me, to gossip about me, to cowardly back bite me. He will try to use situations and circumstances to attack my character, integrity and reputation. He will USE Your people, Lord, to carry lies, and sow seeds of discord to try and tear down YOUR Church. These things must happen for my faith to grow. I declare that my faith and confidence will continue to be in You, Lord regardless of what satan puts in my way. Regardless of who satan tries to use. Help my confidence, faith, and hope to be in you. Then during the time of shaking, agitation, and crushing I will not be destroyed but strengthened. In Jesus' name, amen!"
Posted by Rusty L. Blann at 9:07 AM
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Luke 22:42-45 "Father, remove this cup from me. But please, not what I want. What do you want?" (43) At once an angel from heaven was at his side, strengthening him. (44) He prayed on all the harder. Sweat, wrung from him like drops of blood, poured off his face. (45) He got up from prayer, went back to the disciples and found them asleep, drugged by grief.
Was Jesus trying to get out of his mission? It is never wrong to express our true feelings to God. Jesus exposed his dread of the coming trials, but he also reaffirmed his commitment to do what God wanted. The cup he spoke of meant the terrible agony he knew he would endure-not only the horror of the crucifixion but, even worse, the total separation from God that he would have to experience in order to die for the world's sins.
Only Luke tells us that Jesus' sweat resembled drops of blood. Jesus was in extreme agony, but he did not give up or give in. He went ahead with the mission for which he had come.
Jesus poured out His heart to His Father in prayer. The Garden of Gethsemane represents the battle of the flesh and the Spirit. The flesh is weak, but the Spirit is willing and strong. The flesh says "I can't do this", "Has God forsaken me", "Will it ever get any better", "the pain is overwhelming me".
The Spirit says, "Father, I need you", "I submit to Your authority", "I trust Your will and way".
As Jesus is wrestling with his flesh, dying to it, it was such a struggle that Jesus prayed until His sweat became great drops of blood. He agonized in this battle.
The writer of Hebrews said in Hebrews 12:4 "In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through--all that bloodshed!"
Fighting the flesh is "an all-out match against sin" and if we intend to win this battle today, we must pray to the Father in an open, transparent way. We must admit our struggles and remember and recognize who we are fighting against...the devil, diabolical one, the accuser of man, the liar. He will try everything in his arsenal to get you to sin today. If you do not have a Gethsemane moment, where you say YES to the Spirit, and NO to your flesh, then you will be much more likely to fail.
Jesus asked the disciples to pray with him, he knew they needed to experience Gethsemane, but they slept instead of praying, because they were drugged by grief. What grief were they facing? They knew that Jesus was broken hearted and burdened. They didn't know all of the details, but they knew there was a battle going on. They could have fought with Jesus in this battle, but they allowed themselves to lose their focus...and they became drugged by grief.
Some of you may be reading this today, and you are drugged as well. You may be drugged by grief, habitual sin, disappointment, depression, hurt, betrayal, rejection, and the list could go on and on. My friend, others have gone through the same thing you are going through right now. You really do have a choice to make. Will you fight through Gethsemane, the struggle between the spirit and the flesh, like Jesus did? Or will you allow your struggle to drug you to sleep? Jesus ultimately was victorious because He fought through it by praying through it. The disciples failed, albeit temporarily, because they slept through Gethsemane, drugged by grief.
This blog today is for those who are at Gethsemane in your life. A time of pain, struggle, questions, direction, disappointment, distress, hurt, betrayal...Jesus our example has already been there. He showed us how to be victorious. Now, you are there, what example will you follow? Jesus' or the disciples? Will your Spirit man win, or your flesh?
That is truly the question, and it depends upon whether you allow yourself to be drugged by grief or come face to face with your Maker, Your Father...who truly loves and cares for you. You will leave Gethsemene stronger and ready for any task, or you will leave it more confused and full of grief. How you respond determines whether you are being led by your Spirit or by your flesh! Help us Jesus to follow Your example.
"Father, I need You this morning. The battle between my flesh and my Spirit is raging and intensifying. I am at Gethsemane, the crossroads of my faith, and my flesh is so weak. When my flesh leads me, I say things that aren't uplifting to Your kingdom. When my flesh leads, my attitude is so unlike You. When my flesh leads, I have a tendency to tear down and not build up. When my flesh leads, I find myself disappointed, depressed, despondent and in despair. When my flesh leads, I find that I have made sin my friend and not my enemy. When my flesh leads, I worry and fret over every matter. When my flesh leads, I find myself wallowing in self-pity and making every situation about ME and not YOU. So today Lord, I once again die to my flesh. I realize this is an all-out match against sin. But it is an important match to win. Because when Your Spirit leads, I am used to build up Your Kingdom. When Your Spirit leads, my attitude is so much better. When Your Spirit leads, I find myself refusing to tear anyone down for any reason. When Your Spirit leads, I find myself hopeful, joyful, peaceful, and walking in love. When Your Spirit leads, I make sin my enemy, and you make that enemy my footstool. When Your Spirit leads, I cast all of my worries and concerns on you and give thanksgiving that it is in Your hands. When Your Spirit leads, I refuse to have self-pity, and I realize that I am going through this struggle so that I can have opportunities to talk about YOU and how YOU brought me through. So today Lord, I choose to walk in the Spirit. I choose to kick the drug habit. I will not be drugged to sleep by grief, or any other concerns. Like Christ, I come running to You, my loving Father! In Jesus' name, amen!"
Posted by Rusty L. Blann at 7:50 AM
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
1 Samuel 8:5-8 They presented their case: "Look, you're an old man, and your sons aren't following in your footsteps. Here's what we want you to do: Appoint a king to rule us, just like everybody else." (6) When Samuel heard their demand--"Give us a king to rule us!"--he was crushed. How awful! Samuel prayed to GOD. (7) GOD answered Samuel, "Go ahead and do what they're asking. They are not rejecting you. They've rejected me as their King. (8) From the day I brought them out of Egypt until this very day they've been behaving like this, leaving me for other gods. And now they're doing it to you.
Israel wanted a king for several reasons: (1) Samuel's sons were not fit to lead Israel. (2) The 12 tribes of Israel continually had problems working together because each tribe had its own leader and territory. It was hoped that a king would unite the tribes into one nation and one army. (3) The people wanted to be like the neighboring nations. This is exactly what God didn't want. Having a king would make it easy to forget that God was their real leader.
It was not wrong for Israel to want a king; God had mentioned the possibility in Deuteronomy 17:14-20. Yet, in reality, the people were rejecting God as their leader. The Israelites wanted laws, an army, and a human monarch in the place of God. They wanted to run the nation through human strength, even though only God's strength could make them flourish in the hostile land of Canaan.
The people clamored for a king, thinking that a new system of government would bring about a change in the nation. But because their basic problem was disobedience to God, their other problems would only continue under the new administration. What they needed was a unified faith, not a uniform ruleOur obedience is weak if we ask God to lead our family or personal life but continue to live by the world's standards and values. Faith in God must touch all the practical areas of life.
Samuel had to deal with rejection, which can be very painful. God reminded him that they were not rejecting him (Samuel) but God. He told Samuel, "They are not rejecting you. They've rejected me as their King. (8) From the day I brought them out of Egypt until this very day they've been behaving like this, leaving me for other gods. And now they're doing it to you." Even after hearing those words, the rejection was still painful.
When you've been abused you not only carry with you the memories, but also anger over the fact that nobody stepped in to help you. "No one looked on you with pity... you were thrown into the open field" (Ezekiel 16:5 NIV).
Never allow somebody else's opinion of you determine how you see yourself! That's too much power to give to anybody. If others don't value your worth, that's their problem - unless you make it yours!
When people reject you, it's because they don't have the ability to see inside you, or hear the meaning behind your words, or feel the quality of your touch. They've bought into a lie; make sure you don't buy into it also!
Until you learn to care for yourself, you won't be able to properly care for anybody else. You can only give to others out of the well of your own self-worth. Most physical abusers don't hate their families, they hate themselves. It just overflows to those nearest. Paul says, "He who loves his wife loves himself" (Ephesians 5:28 NIV).
But what if he doesn't love himself? "What's the answer?" you ask. "Then I passed by and saw you" (Ezekiel 16:6 NIV). God sees you, He loves you, and He has a wonderful plan for your life. When you can accept that, your healing has begun.
"Lord, I am so thankful for Your acceptance. Like Samuel, I have faced rejection at times from those who I love, and who have said they loved me. When friendship with me benefited them, then they acted friendly. When treating me badly benefited them, they acted anything but friendly. Today you have helped me to see that the real person being rejected is YOU. Please forgive me for the times I have acted like a martyr and wallowed around in self-pity. Self-pity has never, and never will, helped Your cause and Kingdom. It draws attention away from You onto myself. Forgive me Lord for responding in that way. Today, I refuse to allow anyone a vote in who I am. Today, I will not let anyone determine my self-worth. You are my king. You are my hope. You are my joy. You are my peace. You are my encouragement. You are my friend that is closer than a brother. You are my daily bread. You are my light. You are my shepherd. You are my defender. You are my conquering king. You love, know, and accept me as Your friend. I am so thankful for that. In Jesus' name, amen!"
Posted by Rusty L. Blann at 7:17 AM