Cast Your Net

“4 And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” ”

(Luke 5:4 MSG)

“3-4 The rest of them replied, “We’re going with you.” They went out and got in the boat. They caught nothing that night. When the sun came up, Jesus was standing on the beach, but they didn’t recognize him.
5 Jesus spoke to them: “Good morning! Did you catch anything for breakfast?”
They answered, “No.”
6 He said, “Throw the net off the right side of the boat and see what happens.”
They did what he said. All of a sudden there were so many fish in it, they weren’t strong enough to pull it in.”

(John 21:6 MSG)

Mark 1:16-20  has a similar version of the same account.

Matthew 4:18-22 is another version of the same account from a different perspective.


Have you ever been in a place where you feel like you have tried everything and nothing seems to be coming to fruition?  You feel like you may be in a grey area.  It’s not necessarily a bad place but not the best place either, just somewhere in the middle.  This is the transition place.  This is the make or break point of the process.  How will you behave in the transition moment.  To God it is a moment because He does not function in our time or calendar, but to us it can seem like an eternity.  The transition can be a very frustrating place because you feel prepared to move forward but the timing is just not right to go into the “deep” yet.  When in the transition it is very important to remember the words God has spoken to you and adhere closely to them.  Those words will help you to prepare and mature to the appropriate level in order to be ready for casting your net and getting a great catch.

Jesus’ Test

The version in Matthew 4 is a scripture that gets highlighted to me often times when I am being tried.  Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness during his 40 day and 40 night fast after being baptized by John the Baptist (his cousin).  He was hungry and I’m sure his energy level was very low.  At this time Satan pounces and begins to Test him.  Jesus, being fully God and fully human was tempted by the Devil.  He was our ultimate example.  He showed us that we, just like he did, need to fast to be fully ready live out our destiny and for Satan’s onslaught.

“4 1-3 Next Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit for the Test. The Devil was ready to give it. Jesus prepared for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights. That left him, of course, in a state of extreme hunger, which the Devil took advantage of in the first test: “Since you are God’s Son, speak the word that will turn these stones into loaves of bread.”
4 Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.”
5-6 For the second test the Devil took him to the Holy City. He sat him on top of the Temple and said, “Since you are God’s Son, jump.” The Devil goaded him by quoting Psalm 91: “He has placed you in the care of angels. They will catch you so that you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone.”
7 Jesus countered with another citation from Deuteronomy: “Don’t you dare test the Lord your God.”
8-9 For the third test, the Devil took him to the peak of a huge mountain. He gestured expansively, pointing out all the earth’s kingdoms, how glorious they all were. Then he said, “They’re yours—lock, stock, and barrel. Just go down on your knees and worship me, and they’re yours.”
10 Jesus’ refusal was curt: “Beat it, Satan!” He backed his rebuke with a third quotation from Deuteronomy: “Worship the Lord your God, and only him. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.”  11 The Test was over. The Devil left. And in his place, angels! Angels came and took care of Jesus’ needs.”  (Matthew 4:1-11)

 

Just as we get tempted by Satan during vulnerable times we are able to get through those times just as Christ did through fasting and speaking the God’s word to fight off Satan’s attacks.

Christ fasted before he began his destiny.  He didn’t have any disciples or perform any miracles, he had to be prepared in the wilderness.  We are prepared in the wilderness when no one sees.  We get prepared in the darkest of times and in order to function at our best that prep time cannot be cut short.  Try not to get overwhelmed with what God has called you to do, easier said than done, right?  Understand that God did not give you the calling to fulfill on your own, it is his gift that he has given to you and only he is the key to fulfill it.  Don’t get caught up in the task.  Remain humble, flexible and teachable so that you can continue to move forward and not delay.

 

I tied the temptation of Christ in with when Christ met the first four disciples at lake of Gennesaret.

Luke 5 The Message (MSG)
“Push Out into Deep Water
5 1-3 Once when he was standing on the shore of Lake Gennesaret, the crowd was pushing in on him to better hear the Word of God. He noticed two boats tied up. The fishermen had just left them and were out scrubbing their nets. He climbed into the boat that was Simon’s and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Sitting there, using the boat for a pulpit, he taught the crowd.
4 When he finished teaching, he said to Simon, “Push out into deep water and let your nets out for a catch.”
5-7 Simon said, “Master, we’ve been fishing hard all night and haven’t caught even a minnow. But if you say so, I’ll let out the nets.” It was no sooner said than done—a huge haul of fish, straining the nets past capacity. They waved to their partners in the other boat to come help them. They filled both boats, nearly swamping them with the catch.
8-10 Simon Peter, when he saw it, fell to his knees before Jesus. “Master, leave. I’m a sinner and can’t handle this holiness. Leave me to myself.” When they pulled in that catch of fish, awe overwhelmed Simon and everyone with him. It was the same with James and John, Zebedee’s sons, coworkers with Simon.
10-11 Jesus said to Simon, “There is nothing to fear. From now on you’ll be fishing for men and women.” They pulled their boats up on the beach, left them, nets and all, and followed him.”

Simon Peter was told to go deeper into the water to catch fish after they had been fishing all day and caught nothing.  These very experienced fishermen had given up.  They were done for the day.  They had already began cleaning their nets and packing up their gear, but Jesus said try again, now with my help.  All they had was Christ’s word.  Being that Christ was the Word manifest that was all they needed; all they needed was his presence on the scene.  With Christ telling them to try again they caught a great catch; a catch large enough that they needed more help hauling it onto the boat; a catch large enough that their nets almost broke.

With preparation through prayer, fasting, and speaking the word of God you have authority to see great harvests.  Just as Christ was tempted then equipped through that trying time you will also be equipped.  Are you tired of trying and ready to give up?  Don’t!  Cast your net to the other side.  Every word that God has given you during the hard time of preparation was given for this moment.  Use your weapons and go deep.

 

“16-18 So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.”

(2 Corinthians 4:16-18 MSG)

“7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  (James 4:7 KJV)

“6 “Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.”” (Deuteronomy 31:6 MSG)

 

I wanted to share this with you today.  These words were given to me through prayer and fasting and I wanted to share to encourage you.

 

 

Friends and Allies

Proverbs 17:17 KJV
[17] A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 27:17 MSG
[17] You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 MSG
[9-10] It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, But if there’s no one to help, tough! [11] Two in a bed warm each other. Alone, you shiver all night. [12] By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.”

I wanted to present a few examples of healthy relationships that were instrumental in propelling a person or group of people into their purpose.  These relationships show that it is difficult to move through life to fulfill your God given design without the help of others helping you forward.  When we function in symbiotic relationships with others we mutually benefit and we are able to grow.  We are interdependent of one another.  Your growth also helps the growth of another.

Job and his friends:  Job went through major disasters which cost him his fortune, family, and health.  Unbeknownst to him, God was allowing him to go through a series of test and in the end he would gain back everything he had lost plus more.  His friends came to support him in his time of distress and they gave him advice.  At times the advice wasn’t the best but God was using them also to position Job for greater.

Job 2:11-13 MSG
[11-13] Three of Job’s friends heard of all the trouble that had fallen on him. Each traveled from his own country-Eliphaz from Teman, Bildad from Shuhah, Zophar from Naamath-and went together to Job to keep him company and comfort him. When they first caught sight of him, they couldn’t believe what they saw-they hardly recognized him! They cried out in lament, ripped their robes, and dumped dirt on their heads as a sign of their grief. Then they sat with him on the ground. Seven days and nights they sat there without saying a word. They could see how rotten he felt, how deeply he was suffering.

Ruth and Naomi, her mother-in-law:  Ruth chose to follow her mother in law, Naomi, to a her native land and live among her people after Naomi’s husband and two sons, one of whom was married to Ruth, died. Ruth gathered food and took care of Naomi.  Naomi coached Ruth on how to get Boaz’s attention, he was a close relative of Naomi’s deceased husband.  After a time Ruth married Boaz and gave birth to a son named Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse, who had David.  The lineage of Jesus.

Ruth 1:16-17 MSG
[16-17] But Ruth said, “Don’t force me to leave you; don’t make me go home. Where you go, I go; and where you live, I’ll live. Your people are my people, your God is my god; where you die, I’ll die, and that’s where I’ll be buried, so help me GOD-not even death itself is going to come between us!”

Ruth 2:11-12 MSG
[11-12] Boaz answered her, “I’ve heard all about you-heard about the way you treated your mother-in-law after the death of her husband, and how you left your father and mother and the land of your birth and have come to live among a bunch of total strangers. GOD reward you well for what you’ve done-and with a generous bonus besides from GOD, to whom you’ve come seeking protection under his wings.”

Ruth 3:1-2 MSG
[1-2] One day her mother-in-law Naomi said to Ruth, “My dear daughter, isn’t it about time I arranged a good home for you so you can have a happy life? And isn’t Boaz our close relative, the one with whose young women you’ve been working? Maybe it’s time to make our move. Tonight is the night of Boaz’s barley harvest at the threshing floor.

Ruth 4:13,18-22 MSG
[13] Boaz married Ruth. She became his wife. Boaz slept with her. By GOD’s gracious gift she conceived and had a son. [18-22] This is the family tree of Perez: Perez had Hezron, Hezron had Ram, Ram had Amminadab, Amminadab had Nahshon, Nahshon had Salmon, Salmon had Boaz, Boaz had Obed, Obed had Jesse, and Jesse had David.

Esther and Mordecai:  Mordecai protected and encouraged Esther to use wisdom and to keep her trust in God during very trying times for her people.  She could have been killed if people new she was a Jew, but Mordecai helped her to stay the course and save them.

Esther 4:12-14 MSG
[12-14] When Hathach told Mordecai what Esther had said, Mordecai sent her this message: “Don’t think that just because you live in the king’s house you’re the one Jew who will get out of this alive. If you persist in staying silent at a time like this, help and deliverance will arrive for the Jews from someplace else; but you and your family will be wiped out. Who knows? Maybe you were made queen for just such a time as this.”

Joshua and Caleb:  Both Joshua and Caleb were able to take the Promised Land because they whole heartedly followed God and had the same vision going forward.

Numbers 14:6-9,24 MSG
[6-9] Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, members of the scouting party, ripped their clothes and addressed the assembled People of Israel: “The land we walked through and scouted out is a very good land-very good indeed. If GOD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land that flows, as they say, with milk and honey. And he’ll give it to us. Just don’t rebel against GOD! And don’t be afraid of those people. Why, we’ll have them for lunch! They have no protection and GOD is on our side. Don’t be afraid of them!”

Fast forward:  [24] “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.

Solomon and those who helped him in completing the temple:  God tasked Solomon, King David’s son to build the temple.  In order to carry out the construction Solomon needed friends and allies.  One of the allies God sent was named King Hiram (1Kings 5).  King Hiram loved Solomon’s father and wanted to support Solomon’s endeavors.  Hiram supplied lumber and workers.  Another man named Hiram was an artist and did all the bronze work in the temple.

 

I’m sharing this to express how important it is to not do life alone. We need friends and allies to get us to the next step in our journey.  As children of God we become allies with those we do life with and to those we pray with.  We are helping them to build the temple of their lives and applying kingdom building principles.

 

Galatians 6:9-10 KJV
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. [10] As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men , especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

God has given each of us a task and He will provide everyone and everything needed to build us uniquely individually and the body of Christ.

The Story of Samson: Vision/Promise/Purpose

Recently I was watching the movie “Samson” and even though there were some biblical inaccuracies (I’m sure to make it more dramatic) there were some things that the Lord began to show me.  He wanted me to go deeper into study on Samson’s story and I wanted to share that message with you.

 

Story of Samson Judges 13-16

And then the People of Israel were back at it again, doing what was evil in God’s sight. God put them under the domination of the Philistines for forty years.  At that time there was a man named Manoah from Zorah from the tribe of Dan. His wife was barren and childless. The angel of God appeared to her and told her, “I know that you are barren and childless, but you’re going to become pregnant and bear a son. But take much care: Drink no wine or beer; eat nothing ritually unclean. You are, in fact, pregnant right now, carrying a son. No razor will touch his head—the boy will be God’s Nazirite from the moment of his birth. He will launch the deliverance from Philistine oppression.”  (Judges 13:1-5)

****Manoah means “place of rest”.  God was bringing a place of rest for the people through Manoah’s seed, Samson.****

Samson was a Nazirite from the womb.  He could drink no wine, touch no unclean thing or cut his hair; consecrated (set apart for God’s use) for God’s service.  Manoah’s wife was told by the angel that she would prepare and bear the promise for her people’s deliverance.  When she received news that she was pregnant the angel also gave her and her husband instruction on how to allow their son to be born properly.  The mother had to prepare before the promise could come out of her.

Side Note:

Some of us have been given a promise and the Word of God (Bible) gives us instruction on how to live in order to prepare and see the promise come to manifest.  Just think if Samson’s mother had not obeyed the messenger from God (angel) the promise would have been deformed and inactive.  God would have chosen someone else or chosen another route of some kind to carry out His mission.

We should use this story as an example for ourselves.  We cannot allow other voices, temptations, or circumstances to rob us of our destinies.  It is very important that we stay the course and finish strong.  Stay sensitive to the voice of God by reading the Bible, having a healthy prayer life and applying the scripture to your everyday activities.

Back to Samson:

During the course of Samson’s adult life there were vows that he broke which put him in dangerous positions. It seemed like he enjoyed the company of women and it also seemed like he wasn’t totally committed to God’s vision for his life, he wanted to do his own thing at times.

He decided that he would marry a Philistine woman, which put him at odds with his parents but the Word of God says:

Judges 14:4 KJV
“But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the Lord , that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.”

So God was positioning Samson to provoke the Philistines (the enemy) with every encounter with them.  Instead he became destracted with the company of women at times, which lead to the cutting of his hair.

As time went on and as we fast forward through Samson’s story we see his vision and purpose becomes diluted of delivering the Israelites out from under Philistine rule. At the end Judges 16:21-30 he totally loses his eyes and is put into a position where he has to solely rely on God’s vision and power to have a great victory, the greatest he was ever able to achieve.

Judges 16:30 KJV
“And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.”

My point: When his parents first received promise that Samson would be set apart and he would help the Israelites become free of philistine rule I don’t think that they thought that their son would end up losing his eyes and dying along with many other Philistines at the end but God knows the end of his own promises and He’ll make sure that his promises stand. It is our job to hold onto our promise and our vision whole-heartedly so that way we can see it through and live victoriously.

As we live out our lives let’s carry the vision God has set before us and speak with clarity and authority knowing that God will see His own promises through. God called Samson to provoke the enemy and destroy him in his own backyard. Sometimes the journey to the promise isn’t pretty but we need to hold onto it with strong conviction and take our authority over the enemy in his backyard.

 

****Proverbs 29:18 KJV
“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”

You could look at it either way. Samson was punished because of his discretions and that’s why he lost his sight. Big, strong, able body but no vision to carry him to the next level. He could go no further than where he was.

God brought him to the point where he was forced to solely rely on God’s power to destroy the enemy. We shouldn’t get to that point. Stay committed to the vision and promise all the way through, so you can be used in the next chapter.

 

 

 

Explanation about the Nazarite:

“The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If a man or woman wants to make a special vow, a vow of dedication to the Lord as a Nazirite, they must abstain from wine and other fermented drink and must not drink vinegar made from wine or other fermented drink. They must not drink grape juice or eat grapes or raisins. As long as they remain under their Nazirite vow, they must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, not even the seeds or skins.

‘During the entire period of their Nazirite vow, no razor may be used on their head. They must be holy until the period of their dedication to the Lord is over; they must let their hair grow long.

“‘Throughout the period of their dedication to the Lord, the Nazirite must not go near a dead body. Even if their own father or mother or brother or sister dies, they must not make themselves ceremonially unclean on account of them, because the symbol of their dedication to God is on their head. Throughout the period of their dedication, they are consecrated to the Lord.” (Numbers 6:2-7)

Pressure And The Faith To Get Through It

James chapter 1:2-8 in the message and the the King James Version.

The Message Bible titles this scripture

Faith Under Pressure

James 1:2-8 MSG
[2-4] Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. [5-8] If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.

So no plan b c d e f g, trust God!

James 1:2-8 KJV
[2] My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; [3] Knowing this , that the trying of your faith worketh patience. [4] But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. [5] If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. [6] But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. [7] For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. [8] A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

This entire passage is showing us that we should be diligent and devoted to having faith and that we should not be moved when pressures come. We should allow those pressures to develop our spiritual muscles. The pressures tend to draw out the things that need to be corrected in our own mindsets. We learn God’s character and statutes during times of crisis. We also learn ourselves pretty well too.

I’m going to give some clear definitions of words that are highlighted in this passage of scripture.

Diligent-   constant in effort to accomplish something; attentive and persistent in doing anything:

Devotion- Profound dedication; consecration.  Earnest attachment to a cause, person, etc.

Disciple-  a person who is a pupil or an adherent of the doctrines of another; follower:

Hebrews 11:6 KJV
[6] But without faith it is impossible to please him : for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

We must seek his will and not our own, he knows what’s best. I’ve learned in my own life that if I pray for God’s best, many things in my own mind that I thought were correct began to fall away and room was made for God to work his work. This prayer calls for you to surrender to his will; relinquish the control you think you may have. It’s difficult to do, it’s an everyday decision because we are always faced with distractions. You start to see your spiritual growth when those distractions the enemy throws at you don’t effect you the same way and don’t shake the very foundations of your faith. Don’t be so quick to throw up your hands at the first sign of resistance, press through, your faith will grow and you will stop circling the same mountains, so to speak. The goal is to have unwavering faith.

Psalm 119:71 KJV
[71] It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.

Another scripture comes to mind: You can’t put new wine in old wine skins. You need to be prepared for the new. Have a new heart and way of operating at all times. Mark 2:22

Application: When you want to have good results you are diligent at working on them. You keep working at things you desire and that capture your attention, like things that you see need improvement.  When it comes to working out even, for example, building yourself up in some way or learning a new skill (whatever is important to you) we tend to focus on those things until we get the desired result. We should be like that with the word of God working in our lives and seeing His desires for our lives and His kingdom.  We should be diligently seeking Him to be equipped to further His purposes.  We should drop anything that would burden us and keep us from doing His will.  Don’t let you get in the way of fulfilling God’s plan.

Side note:  Sometimes we wonder why things go awry in our lives and we get discouraged, but at that point (before you open your mouth to speak negatively, remember life and death is in the power of the tongue Proverbs 18:21, don’t give the enemy a foothold) do a quick evaluation of your position, ask God to search you and bring things to your mind that may need to be addressed so that way you stay on track or get back on track for that matter, it’s never too late.You may be praying for something in your life, don’t give up or be double minded as the scripture says. Stay the course even if hard times come, even if what you have prayed for doesn’t happen on your timetable. God didn’t promise that it would be easy but he has given us guidelines and promises to apply and base our lives upon. Have unmovable faith and watch God move, he is always available. He is concerned with the impossible and also with what we may believe to be the unremarkable hustle and bustle of life. Allow him into all areas of your being so you can be a fully equipped warrior in his kingdom. Never lose sight.

Galatians 6:9 KJV says, “[9] And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.Be a devoted and diligent disciple of Christ. You are God’s child and coheirs with Christ, stay in position and stay in faith.”

The Favored Life

Ephesians 2:8-10 The Message (MSG)

“7-10 Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.”

We receive God’s grace when we accept Christ into our hearts.  The grace of God is beautiful! When we accept Him as our personal savior, His grace comes and covers our sins and brings us back into right relationship with God, but that is not all God has for us.   His grace is boundless, but He wants to give you an abundant life, a life of full favor and blessing.  When you live outside of the will of God and do not follow Him wholeheartedly you diminish the favor and blessing that He is able to extend to you personally.

Psalm 5:12 English Standard Version (ESV)

“12 For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield.”

Definition of Righteous- living a life pleasing to God.

A scripture that is one of my favorites is Deuteronomy 28:1-15 ESV.  It outlines the many blessings that God will command to come on your life if you follow His statutes (commands/rules).

28 “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.

“The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. The Lord will command the blessing on you in your barns and in all that you undertake. And he will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. The Lord will establish you as a people holy to himself, as he has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in his ways. 10 And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you. 11 And the Lord will make you abound in prosperity, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your livestock and in the fruit of your ground, within the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. 12 The Lord will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. 13 And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall only go up and not down, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, being careful to do them, 14 and if you do not turn aside from any of the words that I command you today, to the right hand or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.”

On the other side of that starting at verse 15 there are consequences to not obeying or following His commands.  Those verses show what not living in God’s favor looks like.  I haven’t heard of too many people quoting the second half of this chapter because it touches a nerve.  No one is perfect, I certainly am not and there are many things I had to fight through and overcome to grow but it is always good and part of our job as Christians to read, learn (study) and accept the full Bible.

Hebrews 4:12-13 The Message (MSG)

“12-13 God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.”

These are just a few examples of scripture that tell us of the wonderful blessings that are in-store for us if we really love the Lord and serve Him with our whole hearts, not for show, and not just because we want His hand of blessing but because we are thankful for who He is and the sacrifice He has made for us!

He wants the very best for us and He knows us better than we knows ourselves.

John 10:10 The Message (MSG)

6-10 Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

Take full advantage of every gift God has for you.  Live the FAVORED life.

God’s Favor

Psalm 30:5 English Standard Version (ESV)

For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime.[aWeeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Ephesians 2:8-10 The Message (MSG)

7-10 Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.

 

What does the favor of God look like?  First of all God’s favor lasts for a lifetime.  Once you made that decision to accept Christ the gifts of God’s grace and favor were yours.  As the scripture says Christ did all the work through His sacrifice on the cross.  There is nothing more for us to do, other than live for Him, believe that those gifts belong to us and function in them.

Everything that we will ever need is ours for the asking.  God wants the very best for all of us and His intention is never to harm us.  God’s favor will put you in front when you should have been in the back.  It will cover you when you should have certainly been harmed and it allows your gifts to be magnified when circumstances should dim them.  God makes underdogs end up being rulers.  When people talk about you and slander your name, He’ll prepare your victory in front of them.”You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies.  You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing” (Psalm 23:5 MSG). 

The story of Esther is a great example of favor.  She was favored even though people in high places would want her and her people murdered, but God favored her!  Also when Joshua was in battle God held the sun and the moon in place so he would complete the victory over his enemies (Joshua 10:10-13).  God will stop time for you, that’s how much He loves you.

God accepts you for who you are and there is nothing bad enough that He cannot forgive you for.  You can return to Him and He loves you just the same.  God can use anything or anyone.  Even if you feel like you are too far behind or there is nothing more to life, God is able.  “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people” (Genesis 50:20 NLT).  God uses bad situations to put you in position, just remember your place of favor as you go through; keep your head!  Don’t allow the enemy (Satan) to knock you out of position by the words that come out of your mouth.  Make sure you accept the gift of favor God has given by believing and speaking His Word over your life.

Psalm 84:11 English Standard Version (ESV)

11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor.  No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.

God will not hold anything back from you that is yours.  Declare His promises over your life and remember that you belong to Him.  Stand strong and firmly in your place of favor and watch the hand of God move strongly on your behalf.  Your life may be in turmoil right now but God’s hand is still covering you and He has not walked away from you, He will defend you and give you double for your trouble.  Isaiah 61:7 says, “Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy.”  Let that scripture saturate your mind, think about it, recite it.  Every time our adversary (Satan) comes at you with a negative thought, instead of speaking negatively, speak this scripture.  Make speaking the Word of God a habit in your daily life, so that you will experience God’s movement in your life to a greater degree.  Instead of running to your friends when something happens, run to the Rock, God first!

God wants you to experience His very best, so stick close to Him in good and bad times.  Stay in your position of favor!

 

Jeremiah 29:11 English Standard Version (ESV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

 

Isaiah 14: 24-27 (MSG)

24-27 God-of-the-Angel-Armies speaks: “Exactly as I planned, it will happen.  Following my blueprints, it will take shape.  I will shatter the Assyrian who trespasses my land and stomp him into the dirt on my mountains.  I will ban his taking and making of slaves and lift the weight of oppression from all shoulders.”  This is the plan planned for the whole earth, And this is the hand that will do it, reaching into every nation.  God-of-the-Angel-Armies has planned it.  Who could ever cancel such plans?  His is the hand that’s reached out.  Who could brush it aside?

Passions- Where Do They Lie?

Psalm 27:4 MSG
[4] I’m asking God for one thing, only one thing: To live with him in his house my whole life long. I’ll contemplate his beauty; I’ll study at his feet.

 

What is it to be passionate about something?  It means to have deep desire, fervency, fieriness, or vigor towards something or an activity.

Colossians 3:23-24 ESV
[23] Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, [24] knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

What are you passionate about?  We all have some sort of passion and I believe the gifts that God has given us help us to fulfill those passions.  Something that God showed me is that He will provide for me to be participate in my passions, also that my passions should be life giving and not draining.  My passion is that insatiable drive to function in my gifting.  Since I’m functioning within my own gift and not anyone else’s I’m not draining myself.  Both my healthy passion and my gift come from the Lord.

Proverbs 18:16 ASV
[16] A man’s gift maketh room for him, And bringeth him before great men.

Having a relationship with the Lord helps us to be successful in our passions.  When I write successful I do not mean necessarily fame or money, not saying that could not come from it, but being successful means, “Did you accomplish your goal and was it worth it?  What was your end result?”  It’s always great to do some introspection and think on your motives as you are pursuing anything you are passionate about.  A prayer that I pray over myself is that God not allow me to twist the things he’s given me into something grotesque and void of Him.  I also ask Him to keep me in the place (physically, mentally and spiritually) that He wants me so that I can be used to make the greatest impact.

Stay humble and teachable.  Stay at the feet of Jesus to keep your passions and desires in check.  God knows the end of a thing so we need to be positioned at His feet to know where to follow, don’t get ahead of Him.

This year we are expecting many things and have many declarations.  Stay close to God, closer than you’ve been.  Make His relationship the most important.  Keep your focus and allow God to fuel your passions.

 

1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV
[31] So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Gauging Relationships

Proverbs 18:24 MSG
[24] Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.

Ephesians 4:2-3 ESV
[2] with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, [3] eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

What do you want your relationships to look like?  I have experienced unhealthy relationships and I do not care to revisit, so I am very choosy about the type of people I allow close access to my life.  Experiencing the bad really helps you to grow and helps you to know what to avoid (if you learn your lesson well enough).  If you find yourself still involving yourself with bad relationships and you vowed that you would never do it again, you should pray and really seek God about the condition of your heart.  Ask him for what is necessary for your healing, so that you can move forward and know what healthy looks like.  I know when I think of a good and healthy relationship I think of being like-minded (Proverbs 13:20-21 MSG
[20] Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces. [21] Disaster entraps sinners, but God-loyal people get a good life.  1 Corinthians 15:33 ESV
[33] Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”). I also think of the words  respect, communication, honoring or validating someone’s feelings, quality time, selfless boundaries, not being jealous, loving someone where they are (emotionally, spiritually, mentally, etc.) and having the patience to help them through with love to the next level in life.

John 15:13 ESV [13] Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

Proverbs 17:17 MSG [17] Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.

Matthew 7:12 MSG
[12] “Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get.

There are many types of relationships.  There are marriages, friendships, partnerships (i.e. business), etc.  These relationships need care and tending.  You cannot function in auto pilot, you have to engage with the people you are in relationship with and show them that you are available.  You know that a person is not truly engaged when you talk until you are blue in the face and they make no effort to change what you just spoke about.  Honoring each other’s feelings goes a long way.  It is natural to get upset but if you feel that you can’t control yourself, it’s best to leave the situation and come back to it, but before you do it communicate in a calm way that, that is what you are doing, don’t just walk away.  What I am writing is ideal and something many, many of us are not perfect at but we still should make every effort to go into everyday looking for God’s best in our own actions, what we say to others, how we view ourselves and respective relationships, etc.

In relationships, if you want the best possible there will sacrifice.  Examples of sacrifice are spending quality time and effective communication.  I say that these are examples of sacrifice because in order to do these things effectively you would need to sacrifice your time and efforts to perform them.  You may not naturally be a great communicator or you feel like love can be shown by just buying that person something, but that other person may not feel that way.  Since this other person that you are in relationship with needs those things and you deeply care, you will make the necessary sacrifices to meet them where they are and make them feel like you want to keep them in your life.  God is a great example for sacrifice and through communication with him we can further learn on an individual level how to get better.

When communicating with God He teaches us.  He is very good at communicating with us how we understand.  Me for example:  I am a quieter person (at times) and I process things differently than others because of course we are all unique.  The type of relationships we build with God mirror the relationships we have here on earth.  God speaks to me in a direct firm voice, but quiet and stern.  I get clear, step by step instructions because that is the way I think and pray.  Naturally I am a very black and white thinker, but I am also optimistic.  He helps me to be more flexible with those same step by step instructions.  I am genuine and I seek that, so small talk is not my thing.  God knows my ticks as well as He knows yours.  I think of James 4:8 because when we draw close to God, He will in turn draw close to us.  He desires a deep and intimate relationship with you; He’s not into the small talk.  He was willing to sacrifice His only son Jesus for us give us the opportunity to come back into relationship with him, would you make that sacrifice for someone?  Think about how much you love your children or family members.  God was willing to do that for us and that shows us how important our interpersonal relationships should be.  What is important to God should be important to us, since relationship is so important to Him, it should be important to us in our everyday lives.  Relationships are important to God and the way that he communicates with you and how you process it helps you to understand yourself and what you require on a deeper level.  When you pray and God talks back, really take it in.  Take in how He sounds, how He gives you instruction and in the manner He says it.  He knows you as an individual and what you will respond to, so take notice because He is showing you what is necessary in how to communicate effectively.  In God’s character I realize that He is slow to anger, there isn’t confusion, He is true love and He is structured.  Those are huge things that we should implement into our other relationships.

God’s relationship is the first relationship you should focus on.  Focusing on a relationship with Him first will order the rest.  If you want the very best to come out of your 2018 God should be your focus.  This year could set you up for even more greatness for the rest of your life, but make sure your relationships are in order and that God is the first priority.  God’s deepest desire is for a closer walk with you, He wouldn’t have sent Jesus if He didn’t care about you.  We have to make every effort to get closer to him through reading our Bibles and prayer.  Personally I can say that reading my Bible really helped me in learning more about His character and His voice, so if these are things you struggle with pray for understanding, then open your Bible and read, then pray for help in application of what you read.   Set a time in your day where you commit to sitting down, praying and reading your Bible, give God your sacrifice.

 

John 3:16-18 MSG
[16-18] “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.

 

There Is Preparation Before Manifestation

 

Habakkuk 2:2-4 MSG
[2-3] And then God answered: “Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run. This vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming. It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time. [4] “Look at that man, bloated by self-importance— full of himself but soul-empty. But the person in right standing before God through loyal and steady believing is fully alive, really alive.

Habakkuk was given instruction to write down the word/promises that he was given from the Lord and to have faith in what he was shown. God gave him instruction and first he needed to be obedient and wait so that the promise would materialize here on earth. In Habakkuk’s waiting period I wonder what it looked like, how did he wait, what did his process of preparation for manifestation look like? I’m sure he didn’t just sit around and do nothing. I’m sure he actively sought God in every area of his life. I’m sure he clung to every word God gave him and every step he took was God ordered.

We must go through the process and learn to be obedient while living by God’s principles in order to experience manifestation of promises. Also we must understand that when we go through our processes of pulling and stretching of our faith while being obedient and when promises manifest these things have to do with kingdom building and should not be seen as a purely selfish gain. Make sure your principles are Godly principles and not self serving.

Matthew 6:30-33 MSG
[30-33] “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting , so you can respond to God’s giving . People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

The scripture we are familiar with:
Matthew 6:33 KJV
[33] But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

We are seeking the things (ie precepts) of God in preparation for when He returns and His Kingdom is realized.

Position is vital to manifestation because you don’t want to miss your moment. Preparation moves you to where you should be mentally, spiritually, and if necessary; physically to a position ready to hold your manifested promise. You need make sure that you are following His principles in order to have His promises.

Do some self evaluating and make sure you are following the process steps appropriately in the way God has set out before you. Spend time in prayer and align yourself with His word and precepts for living.

Pay close attention to your habits. Are you following God’s principles? Will you be ready for your divine appointment for things to manifest. Don’t miss your moment due to a lack of preparation.

Preparation and manifestation go hand in hand. According to James 2:17 KJV,
“[17] Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” Your works need to be actions carried out in obedience to God, not something you made up and have selfish ambitions as the motive.

God wants to build His kingdom based on His promises of giving us an abundant life.

John 10:10-11 KJV
[10] The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. [11] I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

Our Iives need to reflect the way the Kingdom of God looks. We should be whole, living in peace and rest with our needs met, so that way we can meet the needs of others and advance other “kingdom building” activities. It is not God’s desire for us not to reflect Him and His ways here on earth. Remember everything that we do here should bring others closer to Him. By you having a promise that has manifested in your life is a testimony of His goodness. When you share His goodness with others that draws others closer to Him, that is a kingdom building activity.

Another note: don’t be so wrapped up in the promise you neglect the preparation process. Stay focused and alert, keeping God first while building your spiritual muscle; your anointing.

Isaiah 10:27 KJV
[27] And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.

Since your muscle is growing the yoke has to break, that will free you to move into your breakthrough and further God’s cause. You will no longer have anything binding you from doing the work of the Lord or from living in abundance.

Whatever your personal breakthrough is God desires that and more for you. We are His vessels and He desires for us to be healthy in every way.

Don’t allow the enemy to rob you of your preparation time by putting doubt your heart. Don’t believe his lies. Be like Habakkuk. Write down the vision God has given you and stand firm in your faith. Work your faith out, no matter how difficult your process; it is all for your good.

The Glory

“[2] Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” Psalm 29:2 KJV.

 

When I think on the glory of the Lord I think about the radiance and beauty of His excellence, but as I think longer and a little deeper about it; His glory is so much than just that.  God’s glory is used to describe the manifestation of God’s presence as perceived by humans.  His glory is tangible and visible (Isaiah 40:5) (Exodus 16:7) (Exodus 24:17) (Revelation 21:23). In my mind the hugeness and vastness of God is awe inspiring.  As humans we could never fully put our minds totally around it.  Anything we could ever need spiritually, emotionally, physically, financially, etc. lies in Him.  Of course He is not a genie but He is our Father and He loves to dote on His children.  As His children we should always give him glory (honoring) (Psalm 105:3).

To be more thorough in explaining my thoughts I looked at Strong’s Concordance and NAS Exhaustive Concordance.  According to what I have read it can be used as a noun or a verb, so it is an action word and an object.  We give God glory,  “[3] Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord” (Psalm 105:3 KJV). God’s glory is doing something and it is His “clothing”, “ [10] Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty” (Job 40:10 KJV).  When we are glorifying Him we are honoring Him with what He has given us, but He Himself is in Glory; clothed in it.
It’s showing off the many aspects His essence.  According to NAS Exhaustive Concordance glory is to be heavy, weighty, burdensome.  These words used to describe what God’s Glory is doing and what it is are not negative.  We need God’s Glory to be great in any way, all good and perfect things come from God (James 1:17) and exhibit His glory.  When we enter Heaven we will be surrounded by His Glory, the glory of His presence, His being; and it will never fade.

Everything bows at the weight of God’s Glory.  Everything is transformed in some shape or form when exposed to the glory of God.  When we are soaking and in deep praise and worship with the Lord we slightly touch His glory; He gets close to us.  Since He gets close to us and He is leaning in, we are transformed because we are in communion with Him; we are entering His realm and dimension.  Your mindset, circumstances, physical ailments become subject to His glory and are changed in order to exhibit and reflect His Glory because of the heaviness of it.

There are two examples of God’s glory/goodness being seen that I want to share.  The first one was with Moses where God’s Glory appears as a cloud as He gives Moses instruction and the transformation of Saul into Paul by the brightness of His glory.  Both instances God was able to bring people into deeper understanding of His character and drawing them into a deeper fellowship with Him.  Also He was able to transform difficult circumstances and use the most unlikely of candidates to carry out heavy assignments in a dramatic way.

MOSES

Exodus 33:7-11 MSG
[7-10] Moses used to take the Tent and set it up outside the camp, some distance away. He called it the Tent of Meeting. Anyone who sought God would go to the Tent of Meeting outside the camp. It went like this: When Moses would go to the Tent, all the people would stand at attention; each man would take his position at the entrance to his tent with his eyes on Moses until he entered the Tent; whenever Moses entered the Tent, the Pillar of Cloud descended to the entrance to the Tent and God spoke with Moses. All the people would see the Pillar of Cloud at the entrance to the Tent, stand at attention, and then bow down in worship, each man at the entrance to his tent. [11] And God spoke with Moses face-to-face, as neighbors speak to one another. When he would return to the camp, his attendant, the young man Joshua, stayed—he didn’t leave the Tent.

Exodus 33:12-23 MSG
[12-13] Moses said to God , “Look, you tell me, ‘Lead this people,’ but you don’t let me know whom you’re going to send with me. You tell me, ‘I know you well and you are special to me.’ If I am so special to you, let me in on your plans. That way, I will continue being special to you. Don’t forget, this is your people, your responsibility.” [14] God said, “My presence will go with you. I’ll see the journey to the end.” [15-16] Moses said, “If your presence doesn’t take the lead here, call this trip off right now. How else will it be known that you’re with me in this, with me and your people? Are you traveling with us or not? How else will we know that we’re special, I and your people, among all other people on this planet Earth?” [17] God said to Moses: “All right. Just as you say; this also I will do, for I know you well and you are special to me. I know you by name.” [18] Moses said, “Please. Let me see your Glory.” [19] God said, “I will make my Goodness pass right in front of you; I’ll call out the name, God , right before you. I’ll treat well whomever I want to treat well and I’ll be kind to whomever I want to be kind.” [20] God continued, “But you may not see my face. No one can see me and live.” [21-23] God said, “Look, here is a place right beside me. Put yourself on this rock. When my Glory passes by, I’ll put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with my hand until I’ve passed by. Then I’ll take my hand away and you’ll see my back. But you won’t see my face.”

PAUL

Acts 9:3-16 MSG
[3-4] He set off. When he got to the outskirts of Damascus, he was suddenly dazed by a blinding flash of light. As he fell to the ground, he heard a voice: “Saul, Saul, why are you out to get me?” [5-6] He said, “Who are you, Master?” “I am Jesus, the One you’re hunting down. I want you to get up and enter the city. In the city you’ll be told what to do next.” [7-9] His companions stood there dumbstruck—they could hear the sound, but couldn’t see anyone—while Saul, picking himself up off the ground, found himself stone-blind. They had to take him by the hand and lead him into Damascus. He continued blind for three days. He ate nothing, drank nothing. [10] There was a disciple in Damascus by the name of Ananias. The Master spoke to him in a vision: “Ananias.” “Yes, Master?” he answered. [11-12] “Get up and go over to Straight Avenue. Ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus. His name is Saul. He’s there praying. He has just had a dream in which he saw a man named Ananias enter the house and lay hands on him so he could see again.” [13-14] Ananias protested, “Master, you can’t be serious. Everybody’s talking about this man and the terrible things he’s been doing, his reign of terror against your people in Jerusalem! And now he’s shown up here with papers from the Chief Priest that give him license to do the same to us.” [15-16] But the Master said, “Don’t argue. Go! I have picked him as my personal representative to non-Jews and kings and Jews. And now I’m about to show him what he’s in for—the hard suffering that goes with this job.”

 

I wrote on this topic because I was really questioning what is God’s Glory exactly and how are we effected by it.  The glory of God is weighty, magnificent and amazing.  We serve an amazing God, whose capabilities cannot be measured.  His Glory has a transforming effect and provides intimacy in our relationship with Him.  His Glory is a display of His Splendor.  He leans into us and gives us a hint of it when we are close with Him.

Final Note:

Allow Him to transform you with the goodness of His presence.  Praise and honor Him; get close to His Glory.