Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Significance of Christ's Sacrifice

 As we approach Resurrection Day, we recognize that this season represents the very centerpiece of the Christian life. Christ the Lord, the resurrected Son of God, has enabled us to receive: forgiveness of sins, the promise of a present life lived in the glory of God’s power and the promise of an endless life in God’s presence!

We believe the Good Friday dimension of life that says, "Christ died for my sins." Many readily believe and receive the payment Christ made for our sins. Many also readily accept and receive the Resurrection Sunday dimension of life that says, “Because I live you will live also.”

But that does not teach the full measure of provision which God has made possible through the redeeming work of our Lord.

Christ’s suffering was both redemptive and substitutionary. Jesus suffered in our stead, and absorbed in Himself the horrible implications and effects of sin's impact on the human existence.Isaiah 53:4-5 powerfully illustrates this:

"Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."

This scripture, along with Matthew 8:17 and I Peter 2:24, shows how completely biblical it is to reach out to the Lord Jesus Christ for deliverance from suffering and sickness just as surely as we can reach to Him for salvation from our sins.

Many believe Christ died for our sins. Many find it easy to believe and receive forgiveness for your sins. What about when pressures mount?

What about when your marriage ruptures? What about when your business is on life support? What about when you face betrayal? What about when your co-workers are disloyal and setting you up for failure? What about when your children are floundering?

What about the periods when turnaround, deliverance or healing seems so remote—not because God is cruel, taunting or uncaring, but because it just seems to elude us?

At such a point, some people try to wax philosophical or become resentful or bitter. Some tend to rationalize the situation as "God's will." Others become angry with God, saying He doesn't care. But Christ, in going all the way through His sufferings, has provided an alternative.

You see, there is a force—a power—in Jesus' suffering to break the ability of pain, injury, or sorrow to dominate you, even when these things seem to persist even after you have prayed. Hebrews 2:18 tells us, "For since he himself has now been through suffering...when we suffer...he is wonderfully able to help us" (Hebrews 2:18, TLB). Christ's suffering has a power to absorb the most hellish attack, the most tragic or traumatic pain, or whatever it is that seems about to exceed your capacity to endure.

Without Christ, problems, crises, heartaches, embarrassments, stresses, upheavals, and all forms of suffering can overwhelm people until they're reduced to an emotional pulp. Without Christ people can feel resigned to give up. Some are driven to exhaustion or depression. Others just suffer breakdowns. Still others suffer heart attacks, seizures or strokes.

But the revitalizing truth is that in His suffering, Christ has caused the very eye of your storm to collapse: He has disabled the power of suffering to destroy you.

Jesus has broken the ability of suffering to reduce you to bitterness, foolishness, faithlessness, or disobedience. Jesus wants to fill you with the same life that brought Him through suffering. He wants to fill you with the same life that kept Him from shrinking before the fires of hell's worst workings. He wants to fill you with the same life that kept Him from being weary in well-doing. He wants to fill you with the same life that kept Him from becoming bitter or turning to animosity. He wants to fill you with the same life that caused Him to TRIUMPH!

You must recognize, acknowledge, believe, and receive that His life power belongs to you. Take it! That is part of your salvation that was purchased by Christ’s suffering! Yes, the Lord says, "Come to Me, I love you, I forgive you, and I understand." But also hear Him say: "I will invade your suffering with My life, and not only will you survive but you will triumph in the midst of it all!"

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Jordan Crossings

At pivotal times in life you may find yourself at a point of departure where you leave one place and enter into a new dimension in life. From student to employee.  From employee to employer.  From renter to home owner.  From pew sitter to missionary. Such places I like to call "Jordan crossings."

Jordan crossings represent a divide, where although you are in one place, you can see the other side. It is a place that challenges you to transition into a new dimension in your life. A new dimension in your relationship with the Lord. A new dimension in marriage. A new dimension in ministry. A new dimension in finances. A new dimension in your physical body. A new dimension in parenting. A new dimension in industry. A new dimension in business.

Jordan crossings are: where you walk into what others only looked at; where you experience what others have only dreamt about; where you go from hanging around the anointing to actively participating in the move of God. Jordan crossings are designed to take you from your present into your promise. You know you have come to a Jordan crossing when you recognize that you must move forward, but the way forward seems quite uncertain.

Joshua and the Israelites faced a Jordan crossing -- the distance between wilderness living and promise living. The Jordan parted for Joshua and the children of Israel. The Jordan also parted for Elijah.  He walked across the Jordan on dry ground and was caught up to be with God. Talk about entering a new dimension! The Jordan parted for the prophet Elisha. Elisha crossed the Jordan and went from serving the head prophet to being the head prophet. He entered a completely new dimension in ministry.

The new dimension can only be achieved God’s way. That’s why you will never find a boat at a Jordan crossing! You enter the place where you fully trust God to take you over and bring you through.  You learn that there are absolutely no limits to what God can and will do.

To cross Jordan successfully, you must: (1) Acknowledge that it is God speaking to you, challenging you to move forward even though the way seems uncertain (Prov. 3:5-6); (2) Be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:6,7,9); (3) Speak the end result as God has revealed it to you (Joshua 3:9-13); (4) Get in position to cross/get ready (Joshua 3:14); (5) Carry God's presence (Joshua 3:13); (6) Step into Jordan/move out under the power of God (Joshua 3:15); and (7) Give God praise/testify to the goodness of God (Johua 4:19-24)!

These points are dealt with in depth in the CD and DVD entitled “Crossing Jordan.”

You can obtain it here.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Dangers of Lethargy

“Lethargy” is defined as “A deficiency in mental and physical alertness and activity; a lack of emotion or interest.” Lethargy is not laziness. Lethargy is a state of unresponsiveness, dullness, disinterest, impassivity, and indifference. It is dangerous to be lethargic when it is time to fight.

Consider David. David, we know, was a mighty man of valor. Even as a youth, he stood while others trembled. Yet, the Bible describes a time in David’s life when he fell prey to the influence of lethargy. Look at 2 Samuel 11:1-2:

And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.

And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.

It seems David allowed a spirit of lethargy to enter and permeate his thinking such that his soul was rendered immobile. Pay particular attention to verse 2. It says that David arose out of bed in the EVENING! Why was he in bed all day? We know David was hardly lazy, and there is no evidence that he was depressed at that time. But the scripture shows us that David had no fight in him. He was immobilized mentally and lethargy manifested itself physically. Though he was to be at war, it’s as if his mindset was, “whatever; so what.” It’s not laziness. It’s not depression. It’s indifference. It’s lethargy.

Operating from a spirit of lethargy is dangerous. That spirit will point you in the direction of sin! It will lure even a spiritual Superman to his Kryptonite – the area of weakness. When you find yourself saying, “What’s the use?” or “whatever,” look out! A temptation consistent with an area of weakness typically follows a lethargic believer. Once David embraced the spirit of lethargy and became indifferent about war he suddenly became so consumed with lust that he went on the rooftop right where Bathsheba could be seen. That led to an illicit affair and the death of an innocent man.  You may not succumb to a spirit of lust, but the spirit of lethargy will try to lure you to your own Kryptonite. It could be anger, overeating, uncontrolled shopping, addictive behaviors – you get the point.

Refuse to allow the enemy of your soul to disarm you with a spirit of lethargy. Keep a holy fight on the inside of you. You don’t have to pick up a machine gun or grenade. Our battle involves bringing contrary thoughts into captivity. 2 Cor. 10:4-6. Our battle involves truly believing in our hearts the Word of the Lord despite what things look like. Acts 27:25. Our battle involves opening our mouths and decreeing the Word despite what we see! Job 22:28; Romans 4:16-17; Mark 11:24. The Lord God enforces the defeat of the enemy when we cooperate with Him. Isaiah 42:13 says, “The Lord shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies.”

In this hour we cannot afford to be lethargic. It is time to fight!  Fight for your finances!  Fight for your dreams and visions!  Fight for your family!  Fight for your health!  Don't give in to lethargy.  Fight!

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Saturday, January 8, 2011 - Ted Williams: From Homeless To Oprah Winfrey - In One Week

Year 2011 is the year of swift transition and acceleration. This is just one example. If you have fallen down, you can and must get back up again! There is grace for rescue, revival, and reaping! - Ted Williams: From Homeless To Oprah Winfrey - In One Week

Monday, December 6, 2010

Give Worry the Boot!

“And He was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake Him, and say unto Him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?” Mark 4:38.

It seems that since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, the enemy has worked to indoctrinate mankind to believe that if you aren’t worried about something you don’t really care. The truth is lack of worry does not mean lack of care. For the believer, refusal to worry means you have more trustworthy, superior knowledge. You have inside information which gives you no cause to worry. When Jesus rested in repose on the boat asleep during the storm, it wasn’t that He didn’t care about the conditions around him or the people with him – He knew the winds and the waves had to obey His will.

Worry is emotional muck; it is emotional quicksand that sucks down anyone who perches upon it. The more we worry, the more it pulls us down. "Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up" Prov. 12:25 (NLT).

So what do you do when you are tempted to worry?

First, identify the nature of the worry. Sometimes you are walking around with a feeling of anxiety but you can’t really put your finger on what it is. Take time to stop and pray. Ask God for wisdom, and don’t try to deny what you know to be true. If an area is worrying you, the first step is to identify it.

Second, give the worry to the Lord. Psalm 55:22 says, “Turn your burdens over to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will never let the righteous person stumble” (God's Word Translation). 

How do you give the worry to the Lord?  Through prayer. Philippians 4:6-7 says, " Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God's peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Amplified Version).

Kick worry out through prayer. Transform your worries into prayer. Not just one time. Whenever the feeling and weight of anxiety attempts to attach itself to you, take the worry and formulate it into a prayer! God promises in His Word that when you do, He releases His peace which mends frayed nerves and settles you down. You won’t even understand fully how it happens, but that’s okay. You will experience the peace of God that goes beyond your understanding. Uproot worry from your life through prayer and experience God’s wholeness. Smile. Sleep well. It is well.

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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lord of the Breakthrough!

“And David came to Baal-perazim, and he smote them there, and said, The Lord has broken through my enemies before me, like the bursting out of great waters. So he called the name of that place Baal-perazim [Lord of breaking through]. “2 Samuel 5:20 [Amplified].

Biblically, water frequently symbolizes the Spirit of God at work in the life of a believer. Isaiah 12:3 tells us that with joy we draw waters out of the wells of salvation. John (7:38-39) tells us that for anyone who believes on Jesus out of his/her belly shall flow rivers of living water. According to verse 39, the rivers of living water refer to the operation of the Spirit of God in the believer.

In 2 Samuel 5:20 we see that David likened his enemy's defeat to torrents of water breaking forth. This represents another instance where the Spirit of God moved, overwhelmed the situation with the deluge of His mighty power and defeated David’s enemies. While David and his men physically showed up and fought the Philistines, David made it clear that his conquest was really a supernatural operation of the power of God.  David and his men showed up, but they were overtaken by the power and might and Spirit of God.  Similarly, in our lives, the Spirit of God will break through the circumstances of our lives like the bursting of great waters to defeat our enemies and secure our victory.

Our God is Lord of the breakthrough! When we pray we converse with the Lord of the breakthrough who has already defeated every enemy. This includes the enemies of bondage, guilt, perversion, depression, suppression, regression, oppression, lack, confusion, and every other enemy attempting to prevent God’s people from being all they were created to be!

We invite God by His Spirit to burst through and inundate every enemy causing the people of God to remain paralyzed, stagnant, defeated and unproductive. In the name of Jesus, we enforce the defeat of every enemy!  By the authority of the name of Jesus we decree and declare forward advancement, creativity, new expressions, witty inventions, healing, peace, prosperity and salvation in all of its dimensions in the lives of the people of God!  We ask the Lord to cause the people of God to advance!

For those who are angry, confused, hurting, or discouraged, we thank God that because we are alive and breathing, there is still opportunity. We receive new mercies every morning. Great is God’s faithfulness. God is faithful to work --- to break through in every situation. Refuse to wallow in the midst of challenging situations as if they are unconquerable. Appeal to and cooperate with the Lord of the breakthrough!

We thank God for setting the precedent and providing us with innumerable examples of instances when the Spirit of God broke through enemies like the bursting out of great waters. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8.  He did it before and He will do it again!

Lord, we ask You by Your Spirit to burst through like a raging flood; cause deliverance, miracles and tremendous triumphs to burst forth in the lives of Your people. By the faith of God we call it done. In Jesus’ name we pray with thanksgiving. Amen!

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