Monday, October 31, 2011

Double-Mouthed Sword


Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.


The Word of God is not simply a collection of words from God, a vehicle for communicating ideas; it is living, life-changing, and dynamic as it works in us. With the incisiveness of a surgeon's knife, God's Word reveals who we are and what we are not. It penetrates the core of our moral and spiritual life. It discerns what is within us, both good and evil. The demands of God's Word require decisions. We must not only listen to the Word; we must also let it shape our lives.


What is the significance of the “two-edged sword” referred to in Hebrews 4:12? If you start looking, you’ll find out this phrase regarding a “two-edged sword” appears all over the New Testament, so it must be pretty important. For instance, when the apostle John received his vision of Jesus on the isle of Patmos, he said, “And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength” (Revelation 1:16).

Notice that this “two-edged sword” came out of Jesus’ mouth! Why would Jesus have a sword in His mouth? Shouldn’t the sword have been in His hand? The phrase “two-edged” is taken from the Greek word distomos and is unquestionably one of the oddest words in the entire New Testament.

Why is it so odd? Because it is a compound of the word di, meaning two, and the word stomos, which is the Greek word for one’s mouth. Thus, when these two words are compounded into one (distomos), they describe something that is two-mouthed! Don’t you agree that this seems a little strange? So why would the Bible refer to the Word of God repeatedly as a “two-edged sword” or, literally, a “two-mouthed sword” ?

The Word of God is like a sword that has two edges, cutting both ways and doing terrible damage to an aggressor. Ephesians 6:17 calls it “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”. The term “word” is taken from the Greek word rhema, which describes something that is spoken clearly, vividly, in unmistakable terms and undeniable language. In the New Testament, the word rhema carries the idea of a quickened word.

Here’s an example of a rhema or a quickened word: You are praying about a situation, and suddenly a Bible verse rises up from inside your heart. At that moment, you are consciously aware that God has given you a verse to stand on and to claim for your situation. You’ve received a word that came right out of the mouth of God and dropped into your spirit! That word from God was so sharp that it cut right through your questions, intellect, and natural logic and lodged deep within your heart. After you meditated on that rhema, or that quickened word from God, it suddenly began to release its power inside you. Soon you couldn’t contain it any longer!

Everything within you wanted to declare what God had said to you. You wanted to say it. You want to release it out of your mouth! And when you did, those powerful words were sent forth like a mighty blade to drive back the forces of hell that had been marshaled against you, your family, your business, your ministry, your finances, your relationship, or your body.

First, that word came out of the mouth of God. Next, it came out of your mouth! When it came out of your mouth, it became a sharp, “two- edged” — or literally, a “two-mouthed” — sword. One edge of this sword came into existence when the Word initially proceeded out of God’s mouth. The second edge of this sword was added when the Word of God proceeded out of YOUR mouth!

The Word of God remains a one-bladed sword when it comes out of God’s mouth and drops into your heart but is never released from your own mouth by faith. That supernatural word simply lies dormant in your heart, never becoming the two- edged sword God designed it to be.

But something happens in the realm of the Spirit when you finally rise up and begin to speak forth that word. The moment it comes out of your mouth, a second edge is added to the blade! Nothing is more powerful than a word that comes first from God’s mouth and then from your mouth. You and God have come into agreement, and that agreement releases His mighty power into the situation at hand!

So begin to willfully take the Word into your spirit by meditating on it and giving it a place of top priority. This is how you take the first necessary step in giving the Word a “second edge” in your life. Then when you are confronted by a challenge from the demonic realm, the Holy Spirit will be able to reach down into the reservoir of God’s Word you have stored up on the inside of you and pull up the exact scripture you need for that moment. As that quickened rhema word from God begins to first fill your heart and mind and then come out of your mouth, it becomes that “two- mouthed sword” described in the Scriptures. That’s when demons start to tremble in terror!


"Lord, I am so thankful for your Word, that doulbe-edged sword that is powerful, quick and sharp. There is dunamis power in Your Word. As I read it, You are speaking it from Your mouth. When I speak it out loud from my mouth is when it becomes double-edged sword with great power. I want to read it, memorize it, believe it, and speak it. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Tuesday, October 25, 2011



Genesis 2:18 Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him."


Everything in Creation was “very good” (Genesis 1:31) except the loneliness of Adam. “It is not good for man to be alone” points to the basis for marriage: (1) to provide companionship; (2) to carry on the race; (3) to help one another and bring out the best. The word “helpmeet” (Genesis 2:18) refers to helper: one that meets his needs. This companion was not found anywhere in animal creation, thus showing the great gulf that is fixed between brute creatures and human beings made in the image of God. God made the first woman out of the flesh and bone of the first man, and He “closed up the flesh in its place” (Genesis 2:21, NKJV). The verb “made” in Genesis 2:22 is actually the word “built,” as one would build a temple. The fact that Eve was made from Adam shows the unity of the human race and the dignity of woman. It has been remarked that Eve was made, not from the man’s feet to be trampled by him, or from his head to rule over him, but from his side, to be near his heart and loved by him.

Adam had named all the animals that God had brought him (Genesis 2:19), thus showing that the first man had intelligence, language, and speech. Now he names his bride “woman” (in the Heb. ishshah which is related to ish meaning “man”). Thus, in name and nature, man and woman belong to each other. How wonderful it would be if every wedding were performed by God. Then every home would be a paradise on earth.


A nationally syndicated columnist writes: "I'm lonely and it saddens me. How could I not have enough friends? It seems as though every woman's friendship quota is filled and she's no longer accepting new applicants. It's easy to fill your day with work, but it's not enough." And if you think it's bad for women, 90% of men report that they don't have one close friend! Mother Theresa said, "Loneliness is modern-day leprosy and people don't want others to know they're lepers."

Throughout Genesis we read, "and God saw that it was good." It's a recurring theme - that is, until God created Adam. Then He said: "It isn't good for… man to live alone." Think: even though the fall hadn't yet happened and Adam was enjoying uninterrupted communion with His Creator, because he was without human companionship God said it wasn't good.

Inside every one of us there's a void that only God can fill. But since the Bible says, "We're all connected to each other" (Ephesians 4:25 TM), there's also a people-shaped void that God won't fill. And nothing else can either - not jobs, houses, cars, or money. The One who created you for connection says, "Do not be interested only in your own life… be interested in… others" (Philippians 2:4 NCV).

So, the answer to loneliness can be found in reaching out: in finding an unmet need and pouring ourselves into it. Or as the jingle of one communication's company goes: "Reach out and touch someone." Go ahead, try it - you'll be glad you did!

Loneliness can make you do things you wouldn't ordinarily consider. And if you travel for a living you're particularly vulnerable. For example, a motel room far from home can become the breeding ground for affairs, pornography, drugs and alcohol. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time has caused many a man and woman to fall. David prayed, "Turn to me and be gracious… for I am lonely." (Psalm 25:16)

You can live beyond Satan's reach by:

(1) Staying close to God. When you're lonely, distancing yourself from Him doesn't make sense. Jesus said: "I am the vine… you are the branches… you cannot do anything without Me" (John 15:5 CEV). Jesus is your source of strength and wisdom; He's the One who can meet all your needs.

(2) Coming out of hiding. Get involved in some aspect of ministry. Be willing to be more transparent by getting to know others and letting them get to know you. When you spend time around people who care about you, loneliness ceases to be an issue.

(3) Reaching out. Focusing on yourself is a guaranteed way to feel isolated. Winston Churchill said, "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." Instead of throwing a pity-party for yourself, reach out to those in need by giving of yourself, praying for them and loving them unconditionally.

(4) Forgiving those who've hurt you. Feeling sorry for yourself and harbouring grudges leads to bitterness. Forgive, turn it over to God, let Him deal with the offender and get on with your life!

He will give you all you need from day to day if you live for Him. Matthew 6:33

Somewhere beyond loneliness there's a contentment that's born of necessity. It's when doors seem to close in the natural realm that they suddenly swing open in the spiritual realm and you begin to see the possibility of having the kind of relationship with God you never had before.


"Lord, You understand lonliness. In the Garden of Gethsemane, in an extrememe of sorrow, your friends, disciples, left You. On the cross you asked Your Father 'why have you forsaken me?' You felt the emotion of lonliness. Because of this You sent the Holy Spirit who is our Comforter and You promised we would never be alone, or abandoned. Holy Spirit, You can also bring friends into our life as You direct our steps. I ask You to encourage and strengthen that one today who will read this blog and feel so very alone. Help them to know You have a plan still, for their life. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mary, Martha, Lazarus or Judas?


John 12:1-3 Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. (2) So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. (3) Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.


Essence of nard was a fragrant ointment imported from the mountains of India. Thus, it was very expensive. The amount Mary used was worth a year's wages.


Today I would like to share a devotion I read from author and pastor Max Lucado. It really spoke to my heart today:

If God has called you to be a Martha, then serve! Remind the rest of us that there is evangelism in feeding the poor and there is worship in nursing the sick.

If God has called you to be a Mary, then worship! Remind the rest of us that we don't have to be busy to be holy. Urge us with your example to put down our clipboards and megaphones and be quiet in worship.

If God has called you to be a Lazarus, then testify. Remind the rest of us that we, too, have a story to tell. We, too, have neighbors who are lost. We, too, have died and been resurrected.Each of us has our place at the table.

Except one. There was one at Martha's house who didn't find his place. Though he had been near Jesus longer than any of the others, he was furthest in his faith. His name was Judas. He was a thief. When Mary poured the perfume he feigned spirituality. "The perfume could have been sold and given to the poor," he said. But Jesus knew Judas's heart, and Jesus defended Mary's worship. Years later, John, too, knew Judas's heart, and John explained that Judas was a thief (John 12:6). And all these years he had been dipping his hand in the treasury. The reason he wanted the perfume to be sold and the money put in the treasury was so that he could get his hands on it.

What a sad ending to a beautiful story. But what an appropriate ending. For in every church there are those like Martha who take time to serve. There are those like Mary who take time to worship. There are those like Lazarus who take time to testify.

And there are those like Judas who take, take, take, and never give in return. Are you a Judas? I ask the question carefully, yet honestly. Are you near Christ but far from his heart? Are you at the dinner with a sour soul? Are you always criticizing the gifts of others yet seldom, if ever, giving your own? Are you benefiting from the church while never giving to it? Do others give sacrificially while you give miserly? Are you a Judas?

Do you take, take, take, and never give? If so, you are the Judas in this story.

If you are a Martha, be strengthened. God sees your service.
If you are a Mary, be encouraged. God receives your worship.
If you are a Lazarus, be strong. God honors your conviction.
But if you are a Judas, be warned. God sees your selfishness.


"Lord, turn on the searchlight of your Spirit into the deepest areas of my heart today. See if their be any wicked, selfishness within me. I want to serve, and worship you with conviction. Please help me to die to self today, and walk as the new creature You have created me to be. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Friday, October 21, 2011

Two questions for the Storms of life


Mark 4:37-40 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. (38) But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" (39) And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. (40) He said to them, "Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?"


The "lake" is the Sea of Galilee, a body of water 680 feet below sea level and surrounded by hills. Winds blowing across the land intensify close to the sea, often causing violent and unexpected storms. The disciples were seasoned fishermen, who had spent their lives fishing on this huge lake, but during this squall they panicked.

The Christian life may have more stormy weather than calm seas. The disciples needed rest, but they encountered a terrible storm. As Christ's follower, be prepared for the storms that will surely come. Do not surrender to the stress, but remain resilient and recover from setbacks. With faith in Christ, you can pray, trust, and move ahead. When a squall approaches, lean into the wind and trust God.


The Disciples are in the midst of a severe storm. There are two questions that I believe are asked during all of life's storms. One is asked by the disciples, the other by Jesus. Let's look at them:

"Don't you care?"
"And they awoke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" (Mark 4:38b NAS).

Have you ever been there? I have! "Don't you care about me?" "Why don't you do something?" "I thought you loved me." When we question if God cares, what we are really questioning is God's love. "God if you really loved me you would do something." "If you loved me you wouldn't have allowed this to happen." "If you loved me I wouldn't have any problems."

What the disciples didn't understand was that it was God's love that allowed them to be in this trial.
In love God wanted them to see His power. In love God wanted them to increase their faith. In love God wanted them to his faithfulness to them. So, does God care about you? We know He does! "Casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7 NAS). God wants us to know that He cares. Now we can answer the first unanswered question. Does God care about me? Yes, He cares for me because He loves me!

"Why are you afraid?" This time it is Jesus asking the question. "He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, 'Why are you so afraid?'" (Mark 4:39-40a NIV).

The disciples asked Jesus a question and now he asks them a question. Jesus often answers questions with questions. Let's ask ourselves this question. Why are we afraid?

There are three basic fear reactions.

1. Anxiety over our helplessness

The disciples weren't able to do anything about the storm. I'm sure they tried bailing out the boat before waking Jesus. They were helpless to do anything. When we are helpless to do any thing (not in control) then we become anxious and that produces fear.

2. Anxiety over failure

We have failed before and therefore we fearful of failing again. The next failure might be terminal. When we fail we think of ourselves as failures. We don't understand that God's plan for our lives involves some failures. We have to come to the end of ourselves before we can begin to trust him. For the Christian failure doesn't have to be terminal.

2. Anxiety over the future

This is the fear of the unknown. Like, fearful of getting older. Fearful of leaving the predictable life behind for the unpredictability of following God. These things bring us fear. But most of all we are fearful because we forget God. God tells us, "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand" (Isaiah 41:10 NAS).

There are five promises found in Isaiah 41:10:

I am with you.
I am your God.
I will strengthen you.
I will help you.
I will uphold you.


"Lord we all face storms in this life. During each storm the enemy will try to convince us that You no longer care for us. He will whisper lies into our spirit man. We must know that we know that You are a GOOD God, and that You truly care for us. When I am rock solid on that fact, then my faith will flourish even in the midst of a test. Today, I declare my faith in You and Your Word, and I am persuaded that You do care for me very much. Thank You for this. In Jesus name, amen!"

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What is "pouring out" of my mouth?


Hebrews 13:15 Let's take our place outside with Jesus, no longer pouring out the sacrificial blood of animals but pouring out sacrificial praises from our lips to God in Jesus' name.


Since these Jewish Christians, because of their witness to the Messiah, no longer worshiped with other Jews, they should consider praise and acts of service their sacrifices—ones they could offer anywhere, anytime. This must have reminded them of the prophet Hosea's words, "Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you our praises" (Hos_14:2). A "sacrifice of praise" today would include thanking Christ for his sacrifice on the cross and telling others about it. Acts of kindness and sharing are particularly pleasing to God, even when they go unnoticed by others.

Our lips should confess God's name in praise. Yet, in your typical day, how many times do you hear God's name used profanely? Christians should turn their frequency toward praise! Praise God early in the day before the rush, then again in the hurried middle, and at the end as business winds down. Offer Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise.


Billy Graham wrote, "Ingratitude is a sin, just as surely as is lying or stealing or immorality or any other sin condemned by the Bible." He then quoted Romans 1:21, one of the Bible's indictments against rebellious humanity. Then Dr. Graham added, "Nothing turns us into bitter, selfish, dissatisfied people more quickly than an ungrateful heart. And nothing will do more to restore contentment and the joy of our salvation than a true spirit of thankfulness."

We can read much about thanksgiving in the book of Colossians. The apostle Paul had never been to the church in Colosse, but he had heard all about it from Epaphras. He knew it was a church under attack by false teachers, so he prayed fervently for this congregation (Colossians 1:9-14; 2:4-7).

Among his requests, Paul asked that they would give joyful thanks to the Father because He had rescued them, moving them from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of His Son (1:12-13).

Then he told them to make sure and: Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, . . . and be thankful. —Colossians 3:15

We too need to be thankful for what Christ has done for us.

Thankfulness seems to be a lost art today. Warren Wiersbe illustrated this problem in his commentary on Colossians. He told about a ministerial student in Evanston, Illinois, who was part of a life-saving squad. In 1860, a ship went aground on the shore of Lake Michigan near Evanston, and Edward Spencer waded again and again into the frigid waters to rescue 17 passengers. In the process, his health was permanently damaged. Some years later at his funeral, it was noted that not one of the people he rescued ever thanked him.

Let's take time often to recall how God has rescued us from eternal death and has given us eternal life through His Son. May we "continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name."


"Lord, this question really challenges me today. 'What is pouring out of my mouth?' Is it thanksgiving? Crankiness? Praise? Complaining? Your Word says that 'out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.' So what is pouring out of my mouth will tell me a lot about my heart. You have blessed me in so many ways. Please forgive me for the times that complaints have spewed from my mouth more than praises. Thank You that You have come to my RESCUE! I too often take that for granted. Today, my heart is full of praise, now I want it to 'pour out of' my lips! In Jesus' name, amen!"

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Don't lose your SONG!


Ephesians 5:20 Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ.


When you feel down, you may find it difficult to give thanks. Take heart—in all things God works for our good if we love him and are called by him (Rom_8:28). Thank God for the strength he is building in you through the difficult experiences of your life. You can be sure that God's perfect love will see you through.


Chippie the parakeet never saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage. The next he was sucked in, washed up, and blown over.

The problems began when Chippie's owner decided to clean Chippie's cage with a vacuum cleaner. She removed the attachment from the end of the hose and stuck it in the cage. The phone rang, and she turned to pick it up. She'd barely said "hello" when "ssssopp!" Chippie got sucked in.

The bird owner gasped, put down the phone, turned off the vacuum, and opened the bag. There was Chippie -- still alive, but stunned.

Since the bird was covered with dust and soot, she grabbed him and raced to the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and held Chippie under the running water. Then, realizing that Chippie was soaked and shivering, she did what any compassionate bird owner would do . . . she reached for the hair dryer and blasted the pet with hot air.

Poor Chippie never knew what hit him.

A few days after the trauma, the reporter who'd initially written about the event contacted Chippie's owner to see how the bird was recovering. "Well," she replied, "Chippie doesn't sing much anymore -- he just sits and stares."

It's hard not to see why. Sucked in, washed up, and blown over . . . That's enough to steal the song from the stoutest heart.

When we develop the habit of complaining instead of doing what God's Word tells us to do in Ephesians 5:20, we will lose our song. My challenge to all of us today is to develop the habit of praising God, IN SPITE OF the situation. He is deserving of our praise.

Louis Albert Banks tells of an elderly Christian man, a fine singer, who learned that he had cancer of the tongue and that surgery was required. In the hospital after everything was ready for the operation, the man said to the doctor, "Are you sure I will never sing again?" The surgeon found it difficult to answer his question. He simply shook his head no. The patient then asked if he could sit up for a moment. "I've had many good times singing the praises of God," he said. "And now you tell me I can never sing again. I have one song that will be my last. It will be of gratitude and praise to God." There in the doctor's presence the man sang softly the words of Isaac Watts' hymn, "I'll praise my Maker while I've breath,/ And when my voice is lost in death,/ Praise shall employ my nobler power;/ My days of praise shall ne'er be past,/ While life, and thought, and being last,/ Or immortality endures." He refused to LOSE HIS SONG!

Wow! What an attitude of gratitude! That is the way that I want to be. It all comes down to a matter of faith. How much do I trust God

William Carey had much faith in God. Listen to a little bit of his story:

After William Carey was well established in his pioneer missionary work in India, his supporters in England sent a printer to assist him. Soon the two men were turning out portions of the Bible for distribution. Carey had spent many years learning the language so that he could produce the scriptures in the local dialect. He had also prepared dictionaries and grammars for the use of his successors.

One day while Carey was away, a fire broke out and completely destroyed the building, the presses, many Bibles, and the precious manuscripts, dictionaries, and grammars. When he returned and was told of the tragic loss, he showed no sign of despair or impatience. Instead, he knelt and thanked God that he still had the strength to do the work over again. He started immediately, not wasting a moment in self-pity. Before his death, he had duplicated and even improved on his earlier achievements. He refused to LOSE HIS SONG!

Joe Scriven was a missionary from Ireland to Canada, working among the Iroquois Indians. He was joined by his fiancé who was also from Ireland. Just before the wedding, she was killed in an ice accident. Joe buried her with his own hands, and a broken heart. A year later, in a letter to his mother, he reflected, "What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged. Take it to the Lord in prayer." Joe was on the road to triumph, even though there were times when the road was rough. He refused to LOSE HIS SONG!

Having lost in a fire virtually everything they owned, the Spafford family made new plans, including a move from Chicago to France. Horatio Spafford planned the trip for his wife and four daughters to be as trouble-free as possible. To transport them from America to France, he booked passage on a huge ship, and made sure they had Christians with whom to fellowship in route. He planned to join them a few weeks later. In spite of much careful preparation, Mr. Spafford's plans suddenly dissolved when the ship carrying his loved ones was rammed by another vessel and sank, carrying his four beloved daughters to the bottom. Anyone who has ever had their plans disrupted by the hand of God can understand Spafford's plight. The next time you are in church,turn to the words of the great hymn, "It Is Well With My Soul"--words he penned as his ship passed over the watery grave of his four daughters! He refused to LOSE HIS SONG!

Vance Havner told a story about an elderly lady who was greatly disturbed by her many troubles--both real and imaginary. Finally, someone in her family tactfully told her, "Grandma, we've done all we can for you. You'll just have to trust God for the rest." A look of absolute despair spread over her face as she replied, "Oh dear, has it come to that?" Havner commented, "It always comes to that, so we might as well begin with that!"


"Lord, help me to continue to put my trust, faith, and hope in You. Situations will try to steal my joy, but I must keep on singing, over everyting. Help me to choose to give thanks instead of complaining. There is power in the attitude of gratitude. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pulling down STRONGHOLDS


2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. (4) For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. (5) We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

I want to share verse 5 in several translations:

(BBE) Putting an end to reasonings, and every high thing which is lifted up against the knowledge of God, and causing every thought to come under the authority of Christ;

(ESV) We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

(GNB) we pull down every proud obstacle that is raised against the knowledge of God; we take every thought captive and make it obey Christ.

(KJVR) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

(MSG) We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.


We, like Paul, are merely weak humans, but we don't need to use human plans and methods to win our battles. God's mighty weapons are available to us as we fight against the devil's "strongholds." The Christian must choose whose methods to use—God's or the world's. Paul assures us that God's mighty weapons—prayer, faith, hope, love, God's Word, the Holy Spirit—are powerful and effective (see Ephesians 6:13-18)! These weapons can break down the proud human arguments against God and the walls that Satan builds to keep people from finding God. When dealing with people's proud arguments that keep them from a relationship with Christ, we may be tempted to use our own methods. But nothing can break down these barriers like God's weapons.


What a powerful Word from God. You may be reading this blog, and you have been under attack from satan. Maybe you are battling depression, despair, discouragement, worry, fear, doubt, etc. What makes it worse, is that the enemy attacks many times through our MINDS using our imaginations, and other peace-attacking distractions to keep our mind from being in PERFECT PEACE with and on God.

In fact, listen to what Isaiah 26:3 says, (AMP) You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.

God reminds us that we will walk in PERFECT PEACE if and when our minds are set and fixed on Jesus. That is why all of hell attempts daily to get our minds on imaginations (what if's), that lead to worry and other faith destroying, peace-attacking issues of the mind.

A couple of "take aways" from these verses:

The world is unprincipled. It's dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn't fight fair. But we don't live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will." (2 Corinthians 10:3, MSG)

God has provided the tools we need to live a God-life. "We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5, MSG) What tools? The Word of God, prayer, the name of Jesus, the Blood of Jesus, praise and worship, just to name a few.

Using God's tools moves us to maturity. "Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity." (2 Corinthians 10:6, MSG)

I found the following prayer some time back on the internet. Why don't you take the following prayer and add it to your arsenal of attacks against the enemy, and pray it DAILY:


"Father, teach me to wage spiritual war in your manner, and not according to the world. Guide me to live, and to fight, argue, deal with conflict, with weapons of the Spirit and not weapons of the flesh.

Be my strength, Lord, when I am up against the wall – and I decide, by faith, to respond with weapons of the Spirit and not react with weapons of the flesh. Bring me, Father, to a point where I no longer have any confidence in the flesh, but my confidence is only in you.

Lord, teach me, guide me, compel me, train me – fill me with Your grace – so that when I face conflict, when I face discouragement and temptation, when I collide with an obstacle - I rely upon you and your way. I acknowledge you have given me the power and authority to demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of You.

So, rather than getting into arguments, I can point to the truth - and I can state the truth. Help me to state the truth in my own life - and work on those areas where I am out-of-sync, where I am in sin, winking at that which is wrong.

Lord, I commit to taking captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. Show me how that works; show me how to do that, and develop within me the discipline and the habit of doing this.

Please prompt me and guide me to fit every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. No stray thoughts, no wandering thoughts, not allowing emotions to rule my thoughts or actions or moods - even taking my impulses and subjecting them to you.

Lord, make me ready to use the tools you provide to clear the ground of every obstruction, so that you may build my life as an obedient life - matured into the Father of the Faith that you want me to be. I trust that, despite my sin you will build me into a mature believer who is obedient to you, serves you and constantly looks for your work in others. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Monday, October 17, 2011

50/20 Vision


Genesis 50:20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.


Now that Jacob (or Israel) was dead, the brothers feared revenge from Joseph. Could he really have forgiven them for selling him into slavery? But to their surprise, Joseph not only forgave them but reassured them, offering to care for them and their families. Joseph's forgiveness was complete. He demonstrated how God graciously accepts us even though we don't deserve it. Because God forgives us even when we have ignored or rejected him, we should graciously forgive others.

God brought good from the brothers' evil deed, Potiphar's wife's false accusation, the cup-bearer's neglect, and seven years of famine. The experiences in Joseph's life taught him that God brings good from evil for those who trust him. Do you trust God enough to wait patiently for him to bring good out of bad situations? You can trust him because, as Joseph learned, God can overrule people's evil intentions to bring about his intended results.


The life of Joseph was anything but peaceful. It was filled with youthful folly, broken dreams, and the mean-spirited actions of others. Yet he remained a man remarkable for his lack of bitterness or regret, always seeing God as the "Great Engineer" behind even the worst of circumstances. Genesis 50 and verse 20 shows us how we should view our struggles…through 50/20 vision.

What is 50/20 vision? The understanding that Joseph had concerning what he was going through. He knew that it was meant for evil, but God meant it for good in order to bring about a lasting victory. Regardless what you go through, ask God to help you see the struggle in light of Genesis 50:20, 50/20 vision.

In a final confrontation with his brothers, Joseph graciously noted, "You meant it for bad; God meant it for good."

The theology packed in that statement is astounding. 'God meant it for good means:

You can accept the past -- No sin, no action, no choice on your part is too big for God to handle – or too big to be worked for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His name. Just ask Joseph; Better yet, ask his fearful and famished brothers, who were forced to rely on him for survival.

You can embrace the present -- There's no need to play the 'what if' game. The past is gone, and no energy you expend will ever change it. The future is in God's omnipotent hands, so you're free to focus on the present. Your job is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, trusting Him to forgive the past and transform the future. Martyred missionary Jim Eliot once wrote, "Wherever you are, be all there," not living in the past and not fantasizing about the future. God wants you in the present because that's where His grace will flow.

You can look expectantly toward the future -- Even if you make mistakes today, God still controls your future. Walking in the Spirit, you can live life to the fullest, unafraid of making mistakes and unconcerned you may stumble into some terrible circumstance that takes you out of God's control. Even when things appear to be terrible, you can trust that God is working out some divine plan through you.

Always remember…

· No matter how bad things get -- God is still able to bring good out of it. Today, thank God that nothing – no disaster, no delay – is bigger that his ability to turn it into something good and godly.

· Thank God and let go - Thank God that He is sovereign over your past, your present, and your future.

· Give God the circumstances, disasters, hindrances, hurts, and sins from your past;
· Give God your current situation, your disasters, hindrances, hurts, and sins of today;
· Praise God that he can work anything in your future for godly good, that you can walk in confidence that there is nothing anyone can do to you, or anything you can do that will be beyond the reach of God's Grace and redemption.

· Look for God's hand -- Walking by faith means you see God's hand even in the most difficult of circumstances. You trust in his ability and his willingness to transform the bad into godly good. God is not limited by people's motives; in other words, it does not matter why someone hurt you, God can still transform a deliberate, mean-spirited situation into something for his good. So today, why don't you purposely look for and recognize the Divine Presence of God. Regardless how you FEEL, know that God is in the middle of the FIRE with you, just like He was in the Old Testament story of the Three Hebrew Children.

· What will you allow God to change? – There it is: some situation, or event, or person in your life who, as far as you can tell, 'meant it for bad.' How do you think God meant it for good? Ask God what he wants you to do with this situation (event or person). When he answers, do it. God used Joseph's pain from his family to save his family from pain and starvation. God will use your current pain to help someone who is in pain. That you can count on.

I pray today that we will begin to look at our current situation with 50/20 vision. Yes, it might have been meant for evil…BUT GOD isn't finished working yet! He is the AUTHOR and the FINISHER of our faith. He is the ALPHA and OMEGA, the BEGINNING and the END.

Philippians 1:6 says that we can be CONFIDENT of this, that He that BEGAN a good work in you will COMPLETE it until the day of Jesus Christ. God always FINISHES what He starts! He's still working in you and for you!


"Lord there are things that we all face that the enemy brings along to try to destroy us. His purpose is to stop us in our tracks, and to give up all hope of completing God's plan in our life. Joseph faced attack after attack, but he kept his faith in You, AND his HOPE remained constant. Why? Because he had 50/20 vision, 'this thing was meant for evil, but God will turn it around for good. I choose to live that way today. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Friday, October 14, 2011

Worry is a Joy sapper!


Philippians 4:6-7 Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. (7) Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.


Imagine never worrying about anything! It seems like an impossibility; we all have worries on the job, in our homes, at school. But Paul's advice is to turn our worries into prayers. Do you want to worry less? Then pray more! Whenever you start to worry, stop and pray.


When worry comes knocking at your door, stop it on the porch, otherwise it'll move in and take up residence. The Word of God says that we can, "Throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon him, for you are His personal concern" (1 Peter 5:7).

Isn't that wonderful; God really does care, about the things that worry you and prey on your thoughts. He cares about them more than you do. Not a single nagging, aching, worrisome, gut-wrenching, blood-pressure-raising thought escapes His notice. Because you are His personal concern, you never disappear from His screen.

Worry is like a rocking chair; it uses up all your energy, but where does it get you? Leo Buscaglia writes, "Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy."

Dr Charles Mayo of the famous Mayo Clinic says, "There's a growing mountain of evidence to suggest that worry is the chief contributor to depression, nervous breakdowns, high blood pressure, heart attacks and early death. Stress kills. I've never known a man to die from hard work, but I've known a lot who died from worry."

Author Bob Gass says, "Mathematically speaking, it doesn't make sense to worry. Psychologists tell us that roughly 30 percent of what we worry about never happens; another 30 percent has already happened; 12 percent is about unfounded health concerns, and an additional 20 percent involves 'sweating the small stuff'. That leaves only 8 percent. Think about that! We worry 92 percent of the time for no good reason at all, and if Dr Mayo is right, it's killing us."

What qualifies as a worry? Anything that drains your tank of joy… anything you can't change… anything you're not responsible for… anything you're unable to control… anything that frightens and torments you… anything that keeps you awake when you should be asleep. All of that 'stuff' needs to be transformed from your worry list to your prayer list!

What's the answer? "Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks. And God's peace, which is so great we cannot understand it, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Brothers and sisters, think about the things that are good and worthy of praise. Think about the things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected… and the God who gives peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:1-8). That's God's answer to worry!

Give each worry, one-by-one, to God! The more you practice doing this, the more exciting your walk with Him will become. You'll be amazed at how easily He handles things that overwhelm you. Always keep these three things in mind: (1) He's able to handle it. (2) He's willing to handle it. (3) He's waiting for you to give it to Him.


"Lord, I have a tendency to worry about things that I know You have covered. I give it to in prayer, but then take it back so I can worry some more. Worry saps so much of the Joy that You want to give to Your people. It hinders peace, it attacks faith. It raises blood pressure. And it really doesn't change a thing, it only makes it worse in our minds. So today, I am turning my worry list into a prayer list. In Jesus name, amen!"