Victorious Living

Have you ever wanted something but didn’t know how to go about getting it? We all have. I have as well.  It’s natural for us to desire material things and I believe God wants us to have nice things. But we can’t make things more valuable above His plan and purpose for our lives.

Today we want to quickly break down Psalm 37:4-5 so we can understand the proper steps of asking and receiving from the Lord.

Delight yourself in the Lord;

And He will give you the desires of your heart. 

 Commit your way to the Lord,

Trust also in Him, and He will do it.

Psalm 37:4-5

The three words we want to look at are: Delight, Commit, Trust.

Delight means to take great pleasure in something. The biblical word for delight literally translates being soft, delicate, or dainty. So when you delight yourself in the Lord, you should take great pleasure by humbly approaching His throne, carefully and fearfully.

Next is commit. Commit means to pledge, bind, or agree on something. Biblically, to commit is the same as to seek occasion with someone. When we commit our ways to the Lord, we are saying, “I want what you want, Lord. I’ll go where you go, and do what you want.” Commitment takes faith and courage. It means letting go of self and being a part of something bigger.  

Last, we have trust…or do we? Trust is the reliance on the strength, integrity, and ability of someone or thing. Trust is being confident and secure in knowing two important things about God: (1) He is good, and (2) you can trust Him. He has all strength, integrity, and ability to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us (Ephesians 3:20). We must trust that He will do all that we ask! Jesus said it this way: 

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8
So when seeking the Lord for anything, humble yourself, commit to Him, and have faith, trusting that He will see it through!

Blessings, Michael

A few weeks back I received a word from the Lord that was very encouraging and empowering.  As always, God shows up at the right time with exactly what we need to hear. It was simple yet profound.  I want to share it with you because most of us have been at a place of questioning the plans God has for us.

The word goes like this:

“I’ll take your insecurities and turn them into opportunities which will become possibilities.  I did not create you to fail, but to flourish. I’m calling you higher. As long as you have a mind like Christ, I’ll activate Kingdom possibilities within you.  A new dynamic in the realm of the spirit prophetically will come to you.  You will be able to quickly change the atmosphere with My Spirit says the Lord.”

I grabbed my bible and immediately went to Philippians 4:13:

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” 

The word Apostle Paul uses here in the Greek for strengthen means “empower”.

We all have things that hold us back and keep us from walking in the fullness of the Lord’s Spirit.  I know I do!  Insecurity is one of the most powerful tools the enemy uses against the children of God. He knows he can literally help us talk our way out of things through our minds.

There is another word Paul used in the text that must be addressed. That’s the word “through”.  In the Greek, the word through denotes position.  In other words, as long as you are in the right position with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, you can do all things! You become Empowered!

The next time you’re feeling down and less than, just remember, through your position as a child of God, you have access to unlimited Kingdom power! Remove that spirit of insecurity and throw it out!

Allow the Holy Spirit to turn those Insecurities into Opportunities and watch them become Possibilities! 

Blessings, Michael

insecurity

 

Have you ever noticed that distractions come at the most inconvenient times? That’s because they’re designed to do just that.

Recently I was praying and got sidetracked by a distraction. It wasn’t a thought to distract me or something like tiredness, it was a physical kind in the form of a rude, loud, boisterous neighbor. At 6:45 am on a Sunday morning, this joe is screaming at his dog who had wondered off the property (We live in a very quiet wooded area).

Of course, I allowed the distraction to get the best of me by stopping what I was doing to see what was going on. Mistake! I was praying that the Spirit of God would open up doors of opportunity to minister and speak. I should’ve known that when it comes to speaking into existence those things that are not as they they should be, that something would take place to derail my intentions.

Do you think distractions come from God or from the enemy? I think both. Scripture tells us that “Every time I try to do good evil is always present.” In the process of maturing as a Christian, God grades us and measures us according to the reaction. He looks more closely at our initial reaction to the distraction to see how we handle the situation (I quickly realized that I had failed miserably).

Remember the story in the bible when Martha was working so hard on preparing for dinner and cleaning, but Mary was hanging with Jesus?

But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” Luke 10:40
Jesus simply replied by saying that she worries too much about the little things, that Mary picked the good part. (Heavily paraphrased…)

Distractions, as we learn from this verse, can be good and bad.  Both draw us away from the Master. Distractions are tests. It’s up to us to discern this and to properly put them away.  Keep your spiritual eyes and ears tuned in to the Spirit of God and recognize distractions for what they are.  Focus on Him and let go of everything else when praying, meditating, and seeking wisdom from the Lord.

Remember: The distracting spirit will come, that’s a guarantee. It’s how you respond that dictates the time you’re distracted. When the spirit of distraction breaks in, pray against it. Bind it. Take control and treat it with contempt. Route that demon back to hell.

God Bless You and Keep You,

Michael.


This is part 2 in a 3 part series.

 

There’s a rising trend among churches today.  It’s not multi-colored flashing lights or fog machines during worship. Nor is it small groups meeting at someones home for food and fellowship. It’s the coddling of sin. Whether you attend a small church of a few hundred people or go to a mega-church with two services on Saturday and three services on Sunday-willful sinning is running a muck among the church masses.

There are a few reasons why I think the abusiveness of grace seems to have taken top-shelf in the lives of some Christians today.  They are:

  •  The lack of discipleship in the local church body
  • Holiness isn’t preached or practiced
  • The fear or reverence of God is gone

For the purpose of keeping the article short, the list is limited to what I believe to be the most important. Let’s look at each one individually.

The Lack of Discipleship: Discipleship takes time. It takes giving of yourself as a leader getting to know someone and building a relationship. Allowing someone into your life so they can shadow you and learning how to become a Christ-follower involves sacrifice.  Leaders don’t want to make the sacrifices anymore because they’ve been burned in the past or they’re too busy, so they shuffle new converts off to someone less qualified to mentor them. Current discipleship programs, not all, but many are broken.

Holiness isn’t Practiced or Preached:  A dear friend of mine, Rodney Bayer, puts it best when it comes to the idea of holiness vs. grace:

     “We’ve picked up grace as a license to sin, thus laying down holiness, because someone said that the real problem is legalism.” 

Holiness has to be exemplified in the life of leaders in order for it to be carried out by you and I. Often, the mindset of “Do as I say, not as I do” scenario takes center stage, blowing the door wide open for legalism to march in.  

     “The lack of repentance as a lifestyle falls short among Christians today”, says Chad Dickens, another good friend of mind, hungry for the true development of discipleship programs infused in today’s church culture.

     “Holiness should be all about God and nothing about us, which is hard in a culture that makes everything about individuality”, said CJ Songer, a friend who takes the complexities of God’s wisdom and makes them understandable.

The Fear of God is Gone:  Reverence for the Almighty has dissipated to new level lows because of the relaxed attitude towards sin.  “I’ll just cover it with grace later” seems to be the justified reasoning for running back to the same old sins. Scripture warns us of the dangers associated with reoccurring sins.

“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never          be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for               obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?  Romans 6:15-16

Sin leads to death-it’s just that simple. But more importantly, we need to understand that God loves us so much and we need to rely more on His love if we’re going to make in this world until it’s time for eternity’s call.

Living a lifestyle of repentance suggests that you are very much aware of the awesome power of God, that the closer you get to Jesus, the more you know how delicate and short life really is.

God bless you and keep you,

Michael

 

This is part 1 in a 3 part series

How often do you see someone new in the faith fail? Many times I’m sure. We all have.  And there is on occasion, those of us that have been in the faith for years who stumble and lose sight of the call on our lives. I can give ample testimony of my own failures.

So today, I want us to look at grace.  Not just grace alone, but how Christians seem to be confused about what it is, and its purpose.  I know some will arguably stop reading from this point on, stating that God’s grace is immeasurable.  I agree.  But to what end?

Scripture tells us in Hebrews 10:26 that:

“For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth,  there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.” 

Grace is simply unmerrited favor.  You can’t buy it, work for it, sell or trade it. It’s freely given to us by God, through the Holy Spirit, by the most loving act of kindness ever produced through Jesus Christ our Lord. His sacrifice on the cross, spending three days in Hell, and resurrecting out of the tomb paid the way for you and I to live free from sin and shame!

As the author of Hebrews so eloquently penned the words in the above scripture, if we continue to sin and rely most heavily on grace as we often do, the sacrifice made would seem to be in vain.

The old timers used to say it like this:

“Willful sinning makes a mockery of the Cross.” 

In another scripture, the Apostle Paul attempts to persuade the reader to examine the hyper-extended use of grace by saying “Shall we keep sinning so grace may continue? Absolutely not!” (Romans 6:1)

The message that needs to be taught about grace today isn’t addressed because pastors fear a mass exodus of faithful followers. Being confronted with the truth is what the church needs. We need to understand that the more we combat sin and become victorious through the Cross, the less we will need to lean on slippery grace. Grace will always be there for us, but if we continue to rely on grace alone instead of faith for the same old sins day in and day out, we’ll never be set free from the bondage of it. Because the wages of sin is death, the Cross brought life through our Savior!

Blessings,

Michael