Monday, December 12, 2016

Heavenly Purpose When Things Go "Wrong"

One of the Most Important Questions You Can Ask During a Crisis: WHY, GOD?

How can you trust that God has got you and that He is working in your life when everything goes wrong and there is no visible reason to have any hope? God is bigger than your senses. God is stronger than your feelings. God is more real than your circumstances. In fact, God is your REALITY – not your circumstances! This is what Job lived by, when he said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” 

You can trust God that much, too! And when you find yourself smack-dab in the middle of the greatest adversity, you are presented with a major opportunity to do so.
Instead of shaking your fist at the devil, who has unleashed curses in your life – look higher. You don’t belong to the devil. You belong to your Heavenly Father. He has allowed you to be placed in the heart of a very dark situation. Have you stopped to ask (prayerfully) – WHY? 

And no- don’t go there with the devil who accuses the brethren and points to your past sins as a reason…  The past is washed away, in God’s Eyes – for you have confessed and repented for all of that…  So WHY? When you can answer this question, your most trying "prison" will be transformed into the Throne Room of God – for you will be living in His Presence. Your despair and sense of waste will be replaced with a mission – for God has a reason and purpose for you right there, in the middle of that trying situation.

I have always loved the story of Corrie Ten Boom. She was taken to Ravensbruk, which was a terrible concentration camp. There seemed to be no reason to hope, as most who went in those gates were exterminated. And while there, apparently waiting for death, the misery of their existence was worsened by a lack of food, lice in the barracks, cruelty from the guards, not enough clothing for warmth, and many other causes for suffering. At first, Corrie could only see as high as her difficult circumstances. She was miserable. 

Then, one day, God helped her to look higher. He was still in charge in her life. He hadn’t forgotten her! God was calling Corrie to bloom in that dark and terrible place where He had allowed her to be planted. Finally, Corrie asked WHY! And when she could answer that question, precious ladies – many of whom would later be sent to the gas chamber – were comforted by Corrie and led to Christ. There was truly a beautiful reason WHY God had allowed Corrie to be placed in Ravensbruck!

Consider the inspiring of the missionary, Otto Koning, a Dutch missionary to Papua, New Guinea. About 40 years ago, Otto and his wife helped to establish a small mission station in New Guinea. They set up a medical clinic and began teaching the natives about God. The work was difficult, but rewarding. Then, one day while Otto was out, he saw a half-naked, spike-through-the-nose, scary-looking warrior blocking his path. The man had a spear, which he brandished threateningly at Otto. The native spoke sharply to Otto in his own language, which Otto couldn’t yet speak.

Discerning that he was unable to communicate with Otto verbally, the man resorted to using his sharp spear to herd Otto, driving him into the jungle. Otto was terrified! He was certain that he was the captive of a cannibalistic tribesman and would soon be served up for supper!

“Hey, God! Where are You?” Otto prayed, mentally. “Are you busy? I need You to notice what’s going on here with me! I’m in big trouble!”

By this time the native had taken Otto all the way through the jungle to the river, where the man’s canoe awaited. The man forced Otto to get into the canoe by again prodding him with the trip of his spear. The man climbed in after Otto and rowed them several hours upriver.

When they stopped, Otto was taken into a strange village where the people spoke a language he could not understand. Otto was tired, hungry, miserable, and terrified. It seemed that God’s protection must have been withdrawn from his life.

The man took Otto to the center of the village and stood him before an imposing man, whom Otto guessed must be the chief – because of his more elaborate body-decorations, piercings and paint. The chief spoke to Otto and grew obviously upset as he realized Otto couldn’t understand him. Otto closed his eyes and prayed quietly.

Suddenly, the warrior who had captured him herded him back to the canoe, returned to the place where he’d found him and dropped him off again! It was now late into the night, but Otto was free! As abruptly as the terrifying ordeal had started, it had come to an end. Otto hurried home were his worried wife was so grateful to see him still in one piece. They had quite a prayer session thanking God for His Protection, but unsure why God had allowed the whole experience in the first place.

It wasn’t until a couple of years passed that Otto learned WHY he had been taken that day. Again, Otto was out on mission business, when the same terrifying warrior once again blocked his path, brandishing a spear.

“Oh no! You again!” Otto blurted, speaking under his breath in English.

Then the warrior began to speak to him again – only this time, Otto could understand his words having had time to learn the native language!

“My great chief has heard that you have finally gotten smart enough to speak,” the man said, bluntly. “You will come with me.”

There was no room for argument. And Otto was taken to the same village as before. Once again he stood before the chief.

“Long ago,” the chief began, “the Great Spirit gave me a dream. He told me that a white man would come to these parts. He would help people with healing. And this man would teach people how to die. Finally, you came. And when you did, I knew you were the man from my dream. But when I sent my warrior to bring you here, I was disappointed to learn that you were too stupid to speak. We sent you home. Many from my village have died, without your teaching. I, too, nearly died from a sickness waiting for you to learn to speak. Finally, now you can tell me how to die, as the Great Spirit said you would.”

Quickly getting over the offensiveness of the chief’s words, Otto prayed to understand what he meant by “teach people how to die.” Suddenly it dawned on him that the man was referring to what happens after you die. In other words, the man was waiting to hear how to find Eternal Life! Otto was stunned! That terrible day, long ago, when Otto had thought God finally protected him from being eaten – the truth was that Otto was on a mission assignment! But in all the intervening time from then to now, Otto had never once thought to pray and ask God WHY He had allowed this “crisis” to come to him. Otto now realized that if only he had thought to pray to know why God had allowed it, God might have been able to reveal His deeper purpose sooner – and lives might have been saved!

Otto spent several days teaching the chief and his villagers about God. A message was dispatched to his wife to let her know that he was safe and was on a Heavenly assignment. During his time with them, the whole tribe was converted. It was a powerful experience – and it could have happened sooner, if only Otto had understood WHY!

Think about it! WHY has God allowed you to be in the particularly trying situation in which you find yourself? Why THAT situation, specifically? Why YOU, specifically? Have you prayed to know? Can you answer that question yet? This should be a focus in your turmoil. Pray to bloom where you’re planted. Pray to be submitted into the Father's Hands - able to be used of Him. Pray that God will be glorified in you and in the trying circumstance. Pray! And seek to know why He has brought you into this place in your life. One thing is certain. You’re not forgotten! Rather, your Heavenly King has brought you into a circumstance, like queen Esther of old, "for such a time as this".

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Key to Unlocking True Spiritual Power in Your Life

Spiritual Potency in Spiritual Disciplines

Each follower of Christ is called into His discipleship. In other words, being Christian means that we are the disciples of Christ:

"Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples," John 15:8

The word "disciple" is the root word of "discipline". This connection makes it clear that being a true disciple requires discipline. 

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to have such a close connection with God? For these "special" people, their prayers are answered with such regularity that many seek them out, asking to be remembered in their prayers. Just why is it that there are "special" people, who have more spiritual potency? Does God have favorites? Or could it be that these prayer warriors have discovered the key to unlocking true spiritual power in their lives?

Actually, there is a key. And God doesn't have favorites. Every child of God - every believer - is intended by God to be a person with spiritual potency. 

"And these signs shall follow them that believe; In My Name shall they cast out devils... They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover," Mark 16:17-18. 

The reason only some Christians have true spiritual power - as opposed to every believer demonstrating spiritual potency - is that many believers haven't discovered the key to true discipleship. That key is spiritual discipline. When we prayerfully practice the ten spiritual disciplines, we will live a life with true spiritual power. God has promised to bless us with this, and many other blessings as well, if we practice the spiritual disciplines. So, what are they and what does the Bible tell us will be the fruit of practicing each spiritual discipline?

 The Ten Spiritual Disciplines

1.  Reading the Bible Daily    

Daily Bible reading produces SPIRITUAL GROWTH    

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby,”1 Peter 2:2

2. Memorizing Scripture    

Memorizing Scripture increases our STRENGTH to RESIST TEMPTATION    

“Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not (have strength not to) sin against Thee,” Psalm 119:11

3. Meditating upon His Word   

Meditating upon the Word of God yields TRUE SUCCESS     

“But his delight is in the Law of the LORD; and in His Law doth he meditate day and night... Whatsoever he doeth shall prosper,” Psalm 1:1-3

4. Obeying God’s Word    

Applying the principles of God’s Word to your life, through obedience, is the key to ANSWERED PRAYER   
“If ye abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you,” John 15:7
5. Have set times of Fasting    

Fasting gives your prayers GREATER POTENCY. When we do it, God promises DISCERNMENT and HEALING
“Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness... Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily...” Isaiah 58:6-8
6. Praying fervently for that which is God's Will.   

Praying fervently and effectively gives us PRAYERS THAT AVAIL MUCH 
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,” James 5:16
7. Giving tithes and offerings back to God.   

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine House, and prove Me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it," Malachi 3:10 
8. Rising Early to start your day with God.   

Like the manna which fell in the early morning, providing food for the Children of Israel in the Wilderness, the Heavenly "Bread" of the Word is to be gathered early in the morning. The blessing of early morning worship is  SPIRITUAL STRENGTH and PRODUCTIVITY
“Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early," Psalm 57:8

"O God, thou art my God; early will I seek Thee: my soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is," Psalm 63:1

9. Reading Revelation  

Reading in the Book of Revelation comes with special  BLESSINGS ON YOUR LIFE
"Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the Words of this Prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand," Revelation 1:3
10. Witnessing 

Laboring to reach souls with the blessing of Salvation produces ETERNAL FRUIT
"The fruit of the righteous is a Tree of Life; and he that winneth souls is wise," Proverbs 11:30
 So, if you have ever admired someone who lived with spiritual power in his/her life, I encourage you to put these spiritual disciplines into your life. Practicing the ten spiritual disciplines will change your life! It will make you the spiritually potent, true disciple of Christ, which God intends for you to be (in Him).