Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tripping over four little words...


Number 13:27-31 Then they told the story of their trip: "We went to the land to which you sent us and, oh! It does flow with milk and honey! Just look at this fruit! (28) The only thing is that the people who live there are fierce, their cities are huge and well fortified. Worse yet, we saw descendants of the giant Anak. (30) Caleb interrupted, called for silence before Moses and said, "Let's go up and take the land--now. We can do it." (31) But the others said, "We can't attack those people; they're way stronger than we are."


Moses sent the spies into the promised land to spy it out. Now think about what I just said. They went to spy out the "Promised Land." Who promised the land to them? God! If He promised the land to them, then they could certainly possess it, because God would go before them. Anyway, the ten spies reported back to Moses, and they all said it was GREAT land, flowing with milk and honey, and wonderful fruit. They seemed to be excited about the land God was giving them.

However, at the beginning of verse 28, the ten spies speak FOUR words that eventually brought them defeat. Because of these FOUR WORDS they wandered in the wilderness until they died, never seeing the Promised Land in their lifetimes. What were the words? THE ONLY THING IS. They processed the wrong data.

This was God’s promise to them that they would possess the land. It was God’s inheritance to them. God would MAKE IT HAPPEN. He would create a way where there seemed to be NO WAY. They limited what God wanted to do through them because of these four words.

Verse 30 shows that Caleb tried his best to get God’s people PAST these words, but he couldn’t do it. "THE ONLY THING IS" was like a cancer that began to spread throughout the faith of God’s people. Notice the difference between words of FEAR and words of FAITH. The ten fearful spies said, "THE ONLY THING IS…" and they went on to explain the reasons why God COULD NOT or WOULD NOT be faithful enough for them to possess the land. Wow!

However, listen to Caleb’s words of FAITH… "Let’s go up and take the land—NOW. We CAN DO IT." Caleb refused to allow the WRONG DATA to change his faith in God. As is the case so many times, FEAR won out. They didn’t possess the land until forty years later, AFTER they had wandered in the wilderness and everyone of that generation had died out. God wanted to bring them into this wonderful land but they couldn’t get past ‘THE ONLY THING IS…"


My friends, do you have a "THE ONLY THING IS" in your life? Do you have faith that God can do anything, except that one THING? Does it seem too big for God because you have been praying for some time and haven’t seen the answer yet? These four words are very dangerous and serious. God’s will and purpose for the Children of Israel was not accomplished for forty years because of FEAR.They forgot the miracles that God had very openly displayed before the world to see.

In fact, if you read this story to its completion, you will see that the world had more faith in God (they were fearful of what Jehovah God was doing to His enemies) than His own people did. That is why it is so important that when we are making decisions that we ask ourselves the question, "Am I walking in FEAR or FAITH?"

Many times we make decisions without properly consulting God. The Children of Israel failed to ask God what He thought. Obviously Caleb and Joshua did, but the others did not. So, again, do you have a "THE ONLY THING IS" in your life?

What about the situation with your family? What about your finances? What about your stubborn spouse? What about the problems at your job? Do you have more FAITH than FEAR? Do you truly believe that God can do ANYTHING? Or is there a "THE ONLY THING IS" that you can’t seem to have faith for. If you are being dominated by this ONLY THING, then you have processed the wrong data.

The ten spies said that the people of the promised land looked at the Israelites like they were grasshoppers. In other words, they had no fear of them or their God. That WRONG DATA kept the Children of Israel from going forward.

Listen to what Rahab, who lived in Jericho which was part of the Promised Land, told some Israelites spies: Joshua 2:8-11 Before the spies were down for the night, the woman came up to them on the roof (9) and said, "I know that GOD has given you the land. We're all afraid. Everyone in the country feels hopeless. (10) We heard how GOD dried up the waters of the Red Sea before you when you left Egypt, and what he did to the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you put under a holy curse and destroyed. (11) We heard it and our hearts sank. We all had the wind knocked out of us. And all because of you, you and GOD, your God, God of the heavens above and God of the earth below. She said, "I KNOW that God has given you the land (that was more faith than God's own people had) "We’re all afraid. Everyone in the country feels hopeless. We heard how God…"

This is what I was talking about earlier. The world that didn’t know God, had more faith in Him than the ones that He had performed miracles for. Why is that? Because of the FEAR that "THE ONLY THING IS" brought into their lives. My prayer for you today is that you will no longer be dominated by these four words. You know what God says about your ONLY THING that seems impossible? Mark 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

All THINGS are possible to him that believes. All things includes your, "THE ONLY THING IS." It is all about being very careful of the DATA that you allow to be processed in your mind. I would like to leave you with an acrostic that I pray will help you process the correct DATA in your mind today:

Daily place God’s Word in your mind to MEDITATE on

How do you meditate? You just simply dwell on or think on something until it becomes cemented in your mind. We do that with worries, frustrations and hurts to name only a few. If we would ever get to the point where we daily mediate on God’s goodness and faithfulness and His Word, then we would be able to get past FEAR and move over into the FAITH realm where all things are possible.

Attack FEAR with PRAISE

When fear attacks your faith, and that is what fear does, then you re-focus on God by praising Him. When the enemy speaks to you through FEAR, then you turn the table on him by allowing that to be a reminder to stop whatever you are doing and just begin to give God thanksgiving and praise. Name the blessings of God in your life, and just begin to thank God for them. Begin to think about God’s goodness and mercy and verbalize them, either through the spoken word, or by typing them into a journal.

Train your mind to think within the boundaries of Philippians 4:8

Philippians 4:8 (MSG) Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious--the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.

If what you are dwelling on doesn’t fit within the boundaries mentined in this verse, then get it out of your mind immediately. Do like David did, and what Caleb tried to do, and that is get your FOCUS off of "THE ONLY THING IS" which represents your storm, giant, or problem, and re-focus your thoughts on God and His faithfulness.

Attach yourself to some godly people with the Spirit of Caleb

Numbers 14:24 (MSG) "But my servant Caleb--this is a different story. He has a different spirit; he follows me passionately. I'll bring him into the land that he scouted and his children will inherit it.

I Corinthians 15:33 (NLT) Don't be fooled by those who say such things, for "bad company corrupts good character."


"Lord, like Caleb, I want to develop a 'different spirit' than what I have. For too long I have had the attitude of 'the only thing is' and it has hindered my faith walk with You. Today, I trust You completely in every area of my life. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Are you really ALIVE?


John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.


All who ever come before Jesus claiming to announce life apart from faith in Him cannot make themselves the door of the sheep. Actually they are thieves and robbers—whether they are priestly rulers, religious politicians whose hands have been dirtied ever since the time of the Maccabees, or those eager for power and recognition, claiming to be "the Messiah," leading the people astray with false promises, selfishly preying on them, dividing and robbing them. But the sheep have not heard these confusing, alien voices.

So when Jesus says, "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy," He is speaking to those who are standing before Him at this very moment. They have betrayed their calling to be spiritual leaders in the very way they have thrown out this one who has been healed, and in so doing have rejected the One who has healed him. Their motives to steal and destroy have been unmasked.

The church in every age has had to deal with those who try to crawl over the fence to take over the flock, claiming to be the door. In our day of anxiety and confusion, we confront everything from Eastern mysticism and "thought control" to the Unification Church and the Bahais; they are false prophets promising life, but in the end bringing death.

But with Jesus, there is life abundant. Those who enter by Him "will be saved" (John 10:9). They are given wholeness as they join the other sheep in the fold. Here they live in liberty, freely going "in and out," led by the One to whom they belong. They have heard the Shepherd call their names. And they are satisfied, for He provides "pasture." He shares with them the abundance of His own life.


In contrast to the thief who takes life, Jesus gives life. The life he gives right now is abundantly rich and full. It is eternal, yet it begins immediately. Life in Christ is lived on a higher plane because of his overflowing forgiveness, love, and guidance.

A couple of years ago Captain Sullenberger successfully landed a jet airplane in the Hudson River. All 155 passengers survived. It’s known as “The Miracle on the Hudson.” A reporter asked one passenger what he thought about it all. He was soaking wet, freezing cold, a little bit frazzled, but he had this incredible glow about him, an excitement in his voice as he said “I was alive before, but now I’m really alive.”

My question today is, “Are you really alive?” Are you passionate about the life God has given you? Do you get up every morning with enthusiasm, pursuing your dreams? God doesn’t want you to just “be alive” or just exist or endure. He wants you to be really alive! There is something more for you to accomplish. Get excited about what God is doing! Lift up your eyes of faith to Him. Keep praying, keep hoping, keep dreaming, keep believing, keep trusting and keep living because God has a wonderful plan in store for you!


"Lord, I want to thank You for making me alive in Christ! I declare that Jesus is my Lord and Savior, and because He died for me, I can live the abundant life here on earth. Help me stay focused on You this day and live with the enthusiasm that comes from knowing You in Jesus’ name. Help me to be aware that the enemy of my soul comes to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus You have come to make me ALIVE. Help me live the life You planned for me. In Jesus' name, amen."

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ways. Work. Walk.


Leviticus 14:13-18 He is to slaughter the lamb in the holy place where the sin offering and the burnt offering are slaughtered. Like the sin offering, the guilt offering belongs to the priest; it is most holy. (14) The priest is to take some of the blood of the guilt offering and put it on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. (15) The priest shall then take some of the log of oil, pour it in the palm of his own left hand, (16) dip his right forefinger into the oil in his palm, and with his finger sprinkle some of it before the LORD seven times. (17) The priest is to put some of the oil remaining in his palm on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot, on top of the blood of the guilt offering. (18) The rest of the oil in his palm the priest shall put on the head of the one to be cleansed and make atonement for him before the LORD.


Why did Aaron and his sons need to be cleansed and set apart? Although all the men from the tribe of Levi were dedicated for service to God, only Aaron's descendants could be priests. They alone had the honor and responsibility of performing the sacrifices. These priests had to cleanse and dedicate themselves before they could help the people do the same.

The ceremony described in Leviticus 8 and 9 was their ordination ceremony. Aaron and his sons were washed with water (Leviticus 8:6), clothed with special garments (Leviticus 8:7-9, 13), and anointed with oil (Leviticus 8:12). They placed their hands on a young bull as it was killed (Leviticus 8:14-15), and on two rams as they were killed (Leviticus 8:18-19, 22, 23). This showed that holiness came from God alone, not from the priestly role. Similarly, we are not spiritually cleansed because we have a religious position, reputation, or title. Spiritual cleansing comes only from God. No matter how high our position or how long we have held it, we must depend on God for spiritual vitality.


How does this apply to me? We see the practice of placing some of the blood of the sacrificial animal "on the tip of Aaron's right ear, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot" in Leviticus 14:14 and 14:25 in the cleansing ritual of one who has experienced healing of a skin disease. Though the situations calling for this ritual are dramatically different, the symbolism is intriguing in both. If one considers the ear a symbol of hearing, the thumb a symbol of working, and the toe a symbol of walking, one can regard this action as indicating that priests (and later cured "lepers") are now commissioned and established to listen to God, to work for God, and to walk with God.

Every morning and evening, I pray over my wife and kids and I plead the blood over their right ear, right thumb and right toe. This is believing God to protect their WAYS (ear, mind), their WORK (thumb, what they do this day), and their WALK (toe).

Moses would then apply anointing oil, which is symbolic of the Holy Spirit, over the blood on the priests right ear, right thumb, and right toe. This is symbolic of the Holy Spirit responding to the blood and giving us the strength to keep our ways (minds) pure, our work holy, and our walk righteous.

I believe strongly in the importance of pleading the blood of Jesus over our loved one's: body, soul and spirit as well as over their mind, work and walk. There is power in the blood of Jesus, and the person of the Holy Spirit. Remember, the Holy Spirit always honors the blood of Jesus!

Some have tried to teach AGAINST pleading the blood saying it is begging God for this. I couldn't disagree more. If I am in court and I "plead the 5th amendment" I am not begging. I am claiming my legal right; a right that a great price was paid for me to have. The same is true when you "plead the blood of Jesus". It is a legal right that Jesus paid for you to have by His death on the cross! Use that right today!


"Lord, help me to understand the importance of the blood of Jesus in my every day life. I recognize the need to apply the blood to my body, soul and spirit. Help me also to be reminded to apply the blood to my right ear, right thumb and right toe. I want to be everything that you want me to be. Right now, I plead the blood of Jesus over my children's (call them by name) body, soul (emotions) and spirit (where they commune with God). Also, I plead the blood of Jesus his/her mind, work and walk. The following prayer is something I want to learn to pray daily:

God be in our minds and in our understanding.
God be in our eyes and in our seeing.
God be in our mouths and in our speaking.
God be in our hearts and in our living.
God be in our ears and in our hearing.
God be in our hands and in our doing.
God be in our feet and in our walking.
God be with us now in our departing.

I ask this in Jesus' name, amen!"

Monday, February 6, 2012



Exodus 20:23-24 Remember, you must not make any idols of silver or gold to rival Me. (24) "Build for Me an altar made of earth, and offer your sacrifices to Me—your burnt offerings and peace offerings, your sheep and goats, and your cattle. Build My altar wherever I cause My name to be remembered, and I will come to you and bless you.


Why were specific directions given for building altars? God's people had no Bible and few religious traditions to learn from. God had to start from scratch and teach them how to worship him. God gave specific instructions about building altars because he wanted to control the way sacrifices were offered. To prevent idolatry from creeping into worship, God did not allow the altar stones to be cut or shaped into any form. Nor did God let the people build an altar just anywhere. This was designed to prevent them from starting their own religions or making changes in the way God wanted things done. God is not against creativity, but he is against us creating our own religion.


As I read this text, v. 23 jumped off of the page at me, and challenged me. "You must not make any idols of silver or gold to RIVAL Me."

What do I have in my life that challenges God for my heart? What fights to sit on the throne of my life? What am I unwilling to die to? What do I continue to make excuses for? What keeps me from completely, wholeheartedly serving the Lord?

These are legitmate questions that must be answered for the man or woman of God. God is a jealous God and does not want us to allow rivals to His Lordship in our life.

Money, lust, power, greed, bitterness, unforgiveness, hatred, anger, relationships...are of these are things that can attempt to move Jesus off of the seat of autority in our life. Today, my hearts desire is to listen to the Holy Spirit of God as He points out God's rivals in my life!


"Lord, I am so thankful for Your Word and the challenges that Your Spirit brings into my life every day. As I read and meditate on these verses today, I am aware of RIVALS that I have allowed in my heart. Today I confess of them, and make efforts to remove these from my life completely. I want You to be on the throne of my life. I do not want anything that will block the flow of Your Spirit in my life. In Jesus' name, amen!"