Tag: victory

From admiration to assassination in 30 seconds 

“And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth…” (Luke 4:22 ESV)

“When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff.” (Luke 4:28 – 4:29 ESV)

In between the above two passages was a short, 30 second message from Jesus to those in Nazareth, His hometown. Their response wasn’t much different than today’s religious folk.

It wasn’t a message about Heaven or Hell, or even giving more money to the Temple building fund.

So what was it that got them so worked up? Why were they willing to let Him hang around and read from the scriptures one minute, but ready to murder Him the next?

It’s the same thing that gets folks, yes, even church going folks, riled up today.

He said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

That’s what did it.

When He finished reading from Isaiah 61, and handed the scroll back to the attendant, Luke recorded that all eyes were on Him, as though they were anticipating His next few words.

This is what He read from Isaiah:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18 – 4:19 ESV)

Some probably thought He’d speak about Isaiah, and what a wonderful servant of the Lord He was. Others may have already started thumbing through their bibles to passages like David had written; speaking about the King of Glory arriving with power and majesty.

Some could have been piecing together ones from Malachi, thinking about Elijah, John the Baptist, and the coming of the Lord.

But no one was ready for His message, “Today this scripture is fulfilled (or ‘as good as done’) in your hearing.”

Jesus was telling them, and us, Isaiah was speaking of Him when he wrote those words some 700 years prior. He was also saying He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), that God hadn’t changed, and He knew Him so well He could speak on His behalf.

And that’s what gets today’s people rankled at times.

It’s one thing to talk about God. People who are very uncomfortable talking about Jesus can usually talk about God with no difficulty. “God” isn’t necessarily personal; only some “higher power” or “force” way beyond the blue.

Yet Jesus said, in essence, “I know God, and He knows Me. He has empowered Me to do what I’m doing. God has anointed Me to heal all who are oppressed by the devil. Today. Right now.”

God IS the same yesterday, today, and forever. All He has done in times past, He is not only able, but willing to do today. 

Through His Son Jesus.

Paul wrote, “Today is the day of salvation…”. In other words, no one need wait an extra minute to believe, receive, and experience the promises of God.

He also wrote, in 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, “…we beg you, as if God were speaking instead of us, be reconciled to God…”. Or, “We’re not lying. All He has promised, He means to make good. We know Him personally and are speaking for Him.”

Yep, that has a tendency to get folks a little peeved. But isn’t that just what a witness is supposed to do? Speak of things he has seen, heard, and knows to be true?

When you declare Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever as though you know it to be so, don’t expect everyone around you to be full of joy. They may even attempt to shut you up. 

But that’s okay. Everyone needs to hear, we need to declare it, and Jesus will take care of the rest.

After all, He authenticates (confirms) His word with accompanying signs. All the promises of God are fulfilled in Christ. He is God’s “Amen”.

So be it!

A Timely Word

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“For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17 ESV)

You may say, “Peter wrote that letter a long time ago. It doesn’t pertain to this day and age.”

Wrong. It has everything to do with the church of the twenty first century.

Especially today’s church.

“God judging His church? Really?”

He did it in the Book of Revelation, didn’t He?
But consider this: if you and I will judge ourselves, we won’t need to be judged by the Lord. 

Here’s a word I believe is from the Lord. It’s the same word He placed in my heart a few months ago, a word I’ve preached, taught, and have written a book about.

In essence, here’s what I hear Him say:

Because the day is so late, and nighttime will soon settle upon this last days generation, it is time for My people to examine their lives. 

Do you find yourself struggling with lust, pride, greed, or other things that wars against faith and confidence in Me? 

Have you grown to love the world and all it has to offer?

Are you ashamed of Me?

Arm yourselves with the mind of Christ. Take My words and let them be your sole support, confidence, and life. 

As I have said, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’, so I have instructed you to build your life upon everything, and only, what I tell you.

The mind of Christ will be your wisdom, your sanctification, your confidence and courage. It will keep you from sin, and give you the ability to help others become free as well.

Your flesh will rebel, screaming bloody murder. But those who ignore the temper tantrums of their flesh will find new strength and fresh grace in these final days.

Judgment always begins with My people, for I want only the best for them. And as they partake of My best, they will have something to give away.

It is time for My people to be as the Apostle Peter, as he spoke to the lame man in Acts, chapter three: “It’s not our money you so desperately need. You need that which Jesus Christ has given us.”
So arm yourselves, be ready when either temptation or opportunity comes knocking. Arm yourselves with the mind of Christ. For those who do will find victory and joy in serving Me.

Brethren, I believe the time is short. We have just enough time left to do God’s will.
Nothing extra.
Let’s make certain we’re prepared to finish well.

Those who are armed well will finish well.

If you would be interested in finding out how to “Arm Yourselves”, you can either go to Amazon.com or click this link:

http://jangrace.org/our-books/

Click on the picture of the book and it will take you to Amazon. Available in both paperback and eBook editions.

“Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.” (1 Peter 4:1 ESV)

Passion

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Passion.

Desire, focus, purpose, mission,

A cross

A week

Passion.

Praises, palms, crowds, questions,

A man

A king

Passion.

Preparation, covenant, body and blood,

An opportunity

A betrayal

Passion.

Pleading, sweating, sleeping, rising, scattering

A garden

A kiss

Passion.

Mocking, trying, beating, crowning,

A promise

A bruised heel

Passion.

Washed hands, mangled flesh, broken heart,

A dark hour

A holy hill

Passion.

Nails, splinters, hammers, jeers, gleeful serpent

A sorrow

A hope

Passion.

Silence, blood and water, declaration, sealed tomb,

A burial

A completion

Passion.

Earthquake, three days, visitors, empty tomb,

A question

A wonder

Passion.

Living Savior, elated saints, fulfilled promise, bruised head.

A defeated serpent

A victorious Lord

Passion.

Then, now, and always.

Passion.

Hear, O Israel!

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Hear, O Israel: the nations aligned against you are in for a rude awakening.

“Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against his anointed one. “Let us break their chains,” they cry, “and free ourselves from slavery to God.”

“But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them. Then in anger he rebukes them, terrifying them with his fierce fury. For the Lord declares, “I have placed my chosen king on the throne in Jerusalem, on my holy mountain.”

“The king proclaims the Lord’s decree: “The Lord said to me, ‘You are my son. Today I have become your Father. Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession. You will break them with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots.” (Psalm 2:1-9 NLT)

Hear, O Israel: God will deliver you from every enemy. You will know and experience the saving strength of his right hand.

“Tell everyone about God’s power. His majesty shines down on Israel; his strength is mighty in the heavens…The God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!” (Psalm 68:34-35 NLT)

“Praise the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does such wonderful things.” (Psalm 72:18 NLT)

“O Israel, trust the Lord! He is your helper and your shield. O priests, descendants of Aaron, trust the Lord! He is your helper and your shield.” (Psalm 115:9-10 NLT)

Hear, O Israel: quietly rest in the Lord’s favor, just as David once did.

“Lord, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I don’t concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp. Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk. Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.

“O Israel, put your hope in the Lord – now and always.” (Psalm 131:1-3 NLT)

“He subdues the nations before us, putting our enemies beneath our feet. He chose the Promised Land as our inheritance, the proud possession of Jacob’s descendants, whom he loves.” (Psalm 47:3-4 NLT)

Hear, O Israel: your God comes!

Take That Mister Devil

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Here’s a little bit of news you just may need, possibly tomorrow.

It’s information about the devil. But it’s good news. Jesus makes it good news.

The devil doesn’t like for anyone to bring this up, but it’s high time we put him in his place; under our feet.

Sure, he’s called the accuser of the brethren. He’s referred to as the wicked one, the lawless one, the deceiver, the god of this world, and the prince of the power of the air.

He’s known as that old serpent, the ruler of darkness, and the tempter.

The father of lies is he, lying his way into the hearts and lives of ignorant people. No, I didn’t say stupid people, I said ignorant; people who haven’t a clue about what truth really is.

Or who truth actually is.

He lied to mankind’s first couple, and their first son. He lied to everyone in Noah’s day, other than the eight people who were saved. And you just know he tried lying to them.

His escapades have continued down through history, lying to one after another, inciting jealousy, misunderstandings, greed, bitterness, fighting, war and death.

In fact, I’d say he’s very active today; even in America.

Like I said, though, I’ve got good news.

It’s so good, God is shouting it clear across Heaven. And, he’s shouting it to you and I.

“Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last – salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth – the one who accuses them before our God day and night. And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.” (Revelation 12:10-11 NLT)

“The accuser of our brothers and sisters is no longer in charge! He has no clout in Heaven. And my sons and daughters are no longer slaves to the enemy’s chains.”

Can you hear your father shouting the victory?

We overcome by Jesus’ blood, our testimony of his power and grace in us, and we are not afraid to stand or fall for truth.

The devil’s lies fall at our feet because God’s truth rules in our hearts.

His evilness is no match for the good God’s righteousness imparts to our spirit. Hatred can’t overcome the love of God that is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Darkness no longer rules our life. We walk in the light as God is in the light. God IS light.

The tempter no longer can show us the receipt Adam gave him, demanding our allegiance and obedience. No. We have a receipt stamped “Paid In Full” from the who paid the price; Jesus Christ the righteous.

The fine print, in case you are wondering, states that those who are no longer condemned, who walk in the Spirit, no longer are required to obey the cravings of their flesh (Romans 8).

The devil is defeated. The sooner we understand that, believe that, the quicker we’ll recognize the way of escape during any temptation. God is greater that a host of devils. Yes? Yes!

You and I can believe these scriptures…

The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked. (Proverbs 24:16 NLT)

One disaster was enough to overthrow the wicked. The Resurrection was the devil’s disaster!

For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. (1 John 5:4 – 5:5 NLT)

Who wins? Those who believe.

I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else – not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself. (Ephesians 1:19-23 NLT)

God put all things under the feet of Jesus. The feet are part of the body of Christ, who is FAR above EVERY ruler, authority, power or leader.

Take that, mister devil!

(I told you this was good news)

What do you think? How can the sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus change your world?

Worship and Warfare

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“Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in.” (Joshua 6:1 ESV)

Have you ever sat watching people as they go about their day? I have. Actually, I’m the kind of person who could sit for hours and do nothing but watch people! I know, I’m kind of weird. My only defense is I come by it honest.

As I watch people go about their hectic day, I wonder about their spiritual life. Do you? I wonder if they’re as free as they want people to believe? Can they go anywhere they desire, or are they limited by chains and walls of addictions? Do they have the authority to open their gates and leave the old life behind, or is someone, or something else controlling who comes and goes? Have they ever tried scaling the walls, calling for help; or have they given in to the devil’s spin, “this is the way it is; the way it will always be”?

Most people know the story of Jericho; and how God had Joshua shout the walls down so they could go in and kill all the people. Well, that’s MOSTLY true.

But there’s a more important storyline here. I believe Jericho was attacked for the following reasons:

Victory Is Yours

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“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” (1 John 5:1-5 ESV)

Everyone! No exceptions, no buts, no ifs; Everyone!

Everyone who believes. Everyone may not understand everything, or be able to explain it all, but believes. Believes to the point of confessing allegiance to a new “Owner”, a new Lord.

Believes Jesus is the Christ. The Messiah, Savior, Redeemer, Substitute. To believe He is the Christ is to believe, and confess, one’s need for such a Savior. “I needed Him, that’s why God sent Him”, is the cry of the heart of the one who believes.

Is born of God. A new creation is the one who is born of God. A new nature, new “DNA”, new hope, a new purpose; born of God! A new Father, new family, new future. Born of God!

Everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of Him. What a wonderful way of recognizing the family. They look like Father! The family loves like Father, talks like Father, walks like Father. And, does what Father desires!

And EVERYONE who is born of God, overcomes the world! There is nothing in this world, nothing, that can keep the one born of God in defeat, in sin, in hatred, in turmoil, in confusion. The world’s systems; its political, religious, financial, and educational systems cannot keep the child of God down!

Those who are born of God OVERCOME THE WORLD! Regardless of the country they are from, or their sex, financial status, or whatever. God makes the difference! Faith in God delivers from the trappings and the chains of the world. And though there may be struggles, battles, conflicts, or whatever; those born of God OVERCOME!

“And this is the victory that overcomes the world; even our faith.”

No longer a slave to sin and death. No more bound to the dictates of the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Overcomers, that’s who we are in Christ! “…thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57 ESV) “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” (Revelation 12:11 ESV)

The VICTORY IS YOURS through Jesus Christ our Lord. DON’T SETTLE FOR ANYTHING LESS!

Dance The Night Away

20130519-213754.jpgEver had a day that seemed a month long? A night that would never end? How about sorrow that only deepened, never giving up, for months and years?

An old song by Leo Thayer, “You make me feel like dancing”, jumped to the forefront of my mind yesterday. The phrase, “gonna dance the night away”, seemed to have the touch of God on it. It’s a corny song, the falsetto singing is hard listening to, and I’m really not into dance music; but there’s a truth in the “dance” phrase God wants us to catch.

“Night” represents darkness, and “dance” is related to joy, or an expression of joy. Many times, during periods of sorrow and grief, the thought of dancing is the farthest thing from our mind. What we’re most comfortable with during those seasons, and what we’d much rather do is lock ourselves away in the dark somewhere, curled up in the fetal position, chewing on our lip, and wishing we didn’t have to face another day.

Despair, night, and spiritual darkness are each related to the other, and have the ability to smother the life out of a person. Their nature is to flood a person’s thoughts and feelings with ideas of everything that could possibly go wrong. It’s like living in a small, crowded room with no windows, and little by little the walls move closer and closer until there’s absolutely no room left, and no way out. And though there’s ALWAYS a way out, it’s usually not seen because of the spiritual darkness pervading the mind of the despaired one. They PERCEIVE they are trapped, and the perception becomes their reality.

But God has something much better for you and I. It’s called JOY!

Despair forces you and I into a small dark corner, but God’s joy releases us to enjoy wide open spaces!

“He reached from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy and from those who hated and abhorred me, for they were too strong for me. They confronted and came upon me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my stay and support. He brought me forth also into a large place; He was delivering me because He was pleased with me and delighted in me.” (Psalm 18:16-19 AMP)

So what should a person do when the nighttime of despair begins to close in on them? Call upon the Lord and start dancing! By faith, act on the word of God and release the power of joy! If necessary, dance on the ceiling and the walls, like Fred Astaire did in the movie, “Royal Wedding”.

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Dance the night away! Away from you, from your loved ones, from your situation! Dance the night – AWAY!

You don’t feel like dancing? Then begin to tap a toe. Tap it by faith; faith in the love and ability of God Most High! Then tap the other one, shuffle your feet, shake a hip, swing an arm, AND DANCE THE NIGHT – AWAY!

Say it out loud: “God, You make me feel like dancing; I’m gonna dance the night – AWAY“!

“Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing.” (Exodus 15:20 ESV)

“And David danced before the Lord with all his might…” (2 Samuel 6:14 ESV)

“As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before The Lord…” (2 Samuel 6:16 ESV)

“Let them praise his name with dancing…” (Psalm 149:3 ESV)

“Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe.” (Psalm 150:4 ESV)

” A time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:3-4 ESV)

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.” (Psalm 30:11-12 ESV)

“For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Psalm 30:5 ESV)

Joy comes in the morning, and “dancing”, releasing joy, drives the night away! Night leaves, morning comes, and joy prevails!

Dance!

The Gardens

Garden of EdenArrogance, insolence, audacity, pride, smugness, haughtiness…

You’ll find these, back long ago, in the Garden.

They set the stage for the Downfall, the Rebellion.

Though they were warned, it happened anyway.

“Is that what God really meant?”, the serpent asked Eve. The way in which he proposed his question, he really was saying, “Oh, come on, woman! You’ve been around long enough to know the score. Sure, God said something about that tree. But you and your husband are in charge. You’ve got to make some decisions for yourself, you know. You’re not stupid! You don’t need someone telling you how to run your life. It’s your garden isn’t it? Well then, act like it!”

My, how tasty the fruit looked!

Arrogance will always distort one’s senses.

Adam (he was with his wife) and Eve stood in front of the tree, as the serpent’s toxic words poisoned their souls.

You can only listen to the serpent, the tempter, for just so long. There will come a time you must act. Either you’ll act on the poison you’ve heard, or you will turn and walk away.

Adam and Eve chose to stay. They didn’t cry out to God, instead they handled it on their own. They believed they could figure out life, handle all their problems, decide what’s right and wrong for themselves.

Besides, they were hungry!

Arrogance went to seed – and it spread throughout the human race. The first Adam left his mark.

And left the Garden under the dominion of the devil.

Fast forward a few thousand years. To another Garden.

You’ll find Jesus, facing the Trial, the Temptation, of the Ages. His trial was the same as the first Adam’s. No, it wasn’t about which tree He should eat from. But then, the first trial wasn’t really about the tree or the fruit.

Jesus’ faced the same serpent, the same devil, as Adam and Eve. The venom of arrogance, pride, haughtiness, and the like loomed large in Jesus’ ears.

“You don’t need to go to the cross, Jesus.” (remember, the devil tried telling Jesus that same thing earlier, through Peter) “You have done so much good, cast out so many demons, healed so many who were sick. Why, you’ve even raised people from the dead! No, this world needs you. Just like you are. Give it up. Eat this fruit I’m holding out for you. It’s about time you started thinking for yourself, anyway! Besides, you’re the Son of God, remember? It’s time you stood on your rights and demanded blessings from your Father.”

My, how tasty rebellion looks when peddled by the spirit of arrogance!

All of Heaven was watching, waiting in silence, as Jesus battled those words in His mind. Once or twice He even questioned His Father, “is there possibly some other way?” Of course, there were other ways! That’s what made the devil’s words so powerful! Jesus had options. So did Adam and Eve.

Adam and Eve took the easy route. They gave in.

Jesus said, “Not My will, but Yours be done.” The second Adam was not going to fail. He acted. He set His heart, His mind, and His body toward the cross. It was there He would pay for Adam and Eve’s rebellion. It was there He would bear the wrath of God for all mankind.

But it was in the Garden where the greatest battle was fought.

Jesus stood up, wiped the drops of bloody sweat from His brow, and headed toward the cross. Arrogance and pride, the serpent’s venom, could not turn Jesus from His Father’s plan.

The second Adam left the second Garden a victor!

“For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying: “I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.” And again: “I will put My trust in Him.” And again: “Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.”
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” Hebrews 2:10-18 NKJV

The price would be paid for Adam and Eve’s rebellion. Once Jesus was raised from the dead, the devil would have no legal authority over man any longer.

The cross bore the Savior, Who bore our sorrows and grief (Isaiah 53). The tomb stored the body of Jesus until full payment was made. The Resurrection was God’s declaration to the world, the angels, and the devil himself: “Sin is no longer the master of the human race! Arrogance and rebellion no longer have the final word! Whoever will humble themselves and receive My Son, shall not walk in darkness or sin, but will have the light of life!”

“He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.” Romans 4:25 NLT

Amen!

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