wisdom

A Mother’s Faith

The seed of the righteous shall be delivered. (Proverbs 11:21 KJV)

Whether they are grown and living a life of sin or still peacefully at home under your influence, the transforming power of God’s Word is available to help your children.  God promises that “The seed of the righteous shall be delivered” (Proverbs 11:21 KJV).

There is something unique about a mother’s faith.  Remember how the Syrophoenician mother reached out in supernatural faith on behalf of her hurting daughter?  She begged Jesus to heal her demon-possessed daughter, but Jesus ignored her.  She persisted, and finally, Jesus said:

“I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

              Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”

But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”

 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.”

 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith!  Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. (Matthew 15:24-28)

This woman was not about to let anything stop her from claiming God’s transforming power for her daughter.  Your children need that same kind of spiritual tenacity exerted on their behalf.  Put your faith in God and His Word.  Although your children may be involved in ungodly lifestyles, don’t let go of God’s transforming power.  Remember the Prodigal Son.  The Bible says, “he came to himself” (Luke 15:17). In other words, his eyes were suddenly opened, and he saw things from the perspective of the Word rather than the world.  Your wayward children can do the same.  One day, they will hear the Holy Spirit speaking to their hearts and respond.  They’ll get up, repent, and serve God.  Don’t give up on God’s transforming power for their lives!

You hold the key.  Your faith in God’s power to transform can determine the course of your child’s life.  Look at Moses’s mother, Jochebed.  Pharaoh ordered all the newborn male Hebrews to be murdered, but Jochebed trusted God, “So the women conceived and bore a son…she hid him three months” (Exodus 2:2).  Jochebed had a mother’s faith for her baby.  She hid him, then put him in an ark and floated him down a river full of crocodiles.  The baby ended up in the bathtub of Pharaoh’s daughter.  She named him “Moses” and raised him as her own.  Because of his mother’s faith, Moses’s life was spared.  He received an education and had the best of everything.  It wasn’t until after committing murder and running away that Moses answered the call of God and was used of the Lord in tremendous ways.  Looking back on the circumstances of Moses’s birth, no one would have foreseen all of this in his future.  God’s transforming power turned Moses’s life around.

Maybe your decision hasn’t always served God, and you’ve made some mistakes in raising your children.  The good news is, regardless of their beginnings, God has plans for your children—they may be future deliverers in the body of Christ.  Stop feeling guilty about past mistakes!  Seek God and repent.  Stand on His Word—the transforming power for their lives—and see what God does.

Today’s blog post is taken from Marilyn’s new book, Beautiful Inheritance, A 101-Day Devotional.

2024-05-13T15:02:38-06:00May 12th, 2024|

There’s a Miracle in That Mess

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. (2 Corinthians 4:17)

Are you having problems with your job, your finances, or a relationship?  Are you suffering from an illness?  Is your heart aching for a loved one who is far from God?  Could you summarize the situation by saying, “My life, or the life of someone I love, is a muddled mess!”? The good news is that your mess can be God’s means to bring a miraculous blessing into your life.

Your situation may seem overwhelming, but in every mess a Christian encounter, there is a miracle in the making.  Most of the time, we look at trouble as something bad.  But when we overcome a difficult situation through God’s grace and power, our victory is an opportunity to receive glory (greater blessings) and give glory (praise and thanks) to God.  We also have the great privilege of reflecting His glory.  A little trouble can yield a heap of glory.

God says your afflictions are light compared to the heavy blessings they can bring into your life: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17).  Who in the natural would think that financial problems, sickness, or any other difficulty could be a benefit?  But in God’s supernatural world, afflictions can lead to glory.  God wants to use the very thing the devil works against you to bring glory into your life.

God has a process to bring His glory into your life; if you grasp the process, you’ll receive the glory.  The way we handle hard times and deal with difficult moments provides a foundation upon which God builds a beautiful life.  Joseph is a good example of someone who grasped this process.  God turned a mess into a miracle in Joseph’s life, and He can work a wonder in yours, too.  So, let’s look at how you can get God’s glory in your situation.  Consider these four keys.

  1. Focus on the Word of God: While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).  Look at what God says about you and your problems.  No matter what others say or how things look in the natural, look at the invisible.
  1. Confess the Word: Don’t just read the Word – speak it, confessing the invisible. If you have spoken negatively into your situation, ask for forgiveness and begin to speak positive, Bible-backed confessions.
  1. Have patience and faith. Hebrews 6:12 says that is through faith and patience that we inherit the promises of God.  Patiently walk by faith.  Some people want their glory now.  The don’t want to wait, but God needs to work on us first to prepare us for the glory to come.
  1. Take hold of joy. While you are waiting for your victory, “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).  Look at your mess the way Jesus looked upon His excruciated death on the cross as the means to a miracle: “For the joy that was set before Him endured the cross…” (Hebrews 12:2).

When problems arise, focus on and confess God’s Word.  Walk in faith and patience while you take hold of joy.  Your mess is merely the means to your miracle.  Your glory is on the way!

2024-05-07T06:56:05-06:00May 7th, 2024|

Stay Fixed on Jesus

How do you overcome test, trials, and temptations? Don’t focus on the apparent size or strength of the problem, and don’t try to win in your own strength. The key to victory is to keep your eyes focused on the Lord, who is your source of strength and power. Children often learn by watching their parents. In the same way, we learn to be like Jesus by watching Him and doing what He did. The writer of Hebrews said:

Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV)

Some Christians experience a great victory only to have a harder trial rise up immediately afterward. In some cases, this is a counterattack by the enemy, but in others it is the result of their letting their guard down and allowing themselves to depend on someone or something other than God. Be very careful about this! If God is not your source for everything, you are stepping into the devil’s territory.

When you come safely and successfully through a temptation or trial (and you will), continue to build on your victory. Don’t allow yourself to become complacent. Once you pull down a stronghold of sin or evil, be sure to erect a stronghold or fortress of the Word of God in its place. The book of James provides three practical steps in this process that will help you neutralize an attack of the enemy:

  1. Look ahead. Watch out for “good-looking” bait disguising the hidden hook of sin. Consider the consequences of sin—death. Don’t take the bait! “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren” (James 1:16). 
  1. Look around. See and proclaim the goodness of God. He has provision for your every need. When you meet temptation, say, “Why give in to that trap? God has much better things for me.” He wants you to have a miracle!” “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17). 
  1. Look within to the nature of Jesus Christ. See that you are clothed with His righteousness. When God looks at you, He says, “You are the best! You have My nature within.” “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of His creatures” (James 1:18). 

Once you know what lies ahead—what miracles and blessings are yours in the future—suddenly the trial or test you are going through now won’t seem as difficult to bear. Instead of giving into murmuring, speak the Word. During your trials, remember that while God has prepared a miracle for the “outside,” He also wants to do a work on the “inside” as well:

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4).

2024-04-18T06:47:46-06:00April 22nd, 2024|

Walk in Victory

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says…the man who looks
intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this,
not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.”
(James 1:22, 25 NIV)

Approach every day as though it were the only day you have to achieve your goals and be a winner.  In reality, that is true.  Yesterday is gone forever, and tomorrow isn’t here yet.  Nevertheless, yesterday is the foundation you’re building today on, and today is the foundation for tomorrow.  Too soon, today will be gone and you will be faced with tomorrow.  What you do right now sets the stage for your future, for achievement or failure.  Choose to be a winner.

We hear a great deal today about stress and how to handle it.  Our society seems to be plagued with stress, which manifests in confusion, frustration, anxiety, fear, etc.  Let me give you valuable keys to stress management.  Put God first, plan each day wisely, schedule your time, write things down, stick to your goals, and avoid delay.  This will enable you to eliminate a great amount of stress.

God wants His people to reflect joy and walk in victory.  He doesn’t want them stressed out under their circumstances.  Remember, others are watching you.  The world needs to see a different kind of person—an optimist instead of a pessimist, a winner not a loser, an overcomer rather than an underachiever.  That kind of person just might have the opportunity to lead others to Christ.  Will you be that person?

2024-04-04T09:15:41-06:00April 15th, 2024|

Elijah and Elisha-Receive a double portion of the anointing!

Elijah was a tremendous prophet who moved in the miraculous. He was called by God to minister during a very dark period in the history of the Israelites. Their nation had been divided into the north kingdom, which was called “Israel,” and the southern kingdom, which was called “Judah.” Ahab and Jezebel were the king and queen of the northern kingdom, and they were evil leaders who rejected God and His ways and turned the nation to the worship of Baal, the false god of a religion that even included child sacrifice. (See, for example Jeremiah 19:5). Elijah preached against them, and the nation made a turnaround during the time of his ministry.

Then, God called Elisha to be Elijah’s successor, and he became a “servant” or “attendant” to Elijah for a time. (See 1 Kings 19:16-21). Elisha apparently learned from observing Elijah; he saw how God had anointed his life with power to fulfill what he had been called to do. Therefore, when it came time for Elijah to be taken to heaven. Elisha was very bold, telling the older prophet, in effect, “I want a double portion of the anointing you have from God.” (See 2 Kings 2:9). Elijah replied, “You have asked a hard thing” (verse 10).

If you want a double portion of God’s anointing, don’t think of it as a little thing. It is a hard thing. But Elijah told Elisha that if he saw him when he left, he could have what he had asked for. Here is how that transpired:

Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!” So he saw him no more. And he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces. He also took up the mantle [“cloak” NIV] of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan. (verses 11-13).

After receiving Elijah’s mantle, Elisha repeated what Elijah repeated what Elijah had done a little while earlier (see verse 8), to enable them both to cross the Jordan River: “Then [Elisha] took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, and said, ‘Where is the Lord God of Elijah?’ And when he also had struck the water, it was divided this way and that; and Elisha crossed over” (2 Kings 2:14).

If you count the miracles of Elijah in the Bible, you will see that there are eight. If you count the miracles of Elisha, you will find sixteen. Elisha did receive a double portion of the anointing!

2024-04-04T08:56:51-06:00April 8th, 2024|

Thanksgiving Brings Joy

Can you imagine the emotional and spiritual rollercoaster the disciples experienced during Jesus’s last few weeks on earth?

The triumphal entry into Jerusalem, with large crowds of people singing Hosanna and praising Jesus as the Messiah? The sheer anger of the Jewish leaders toward Jesus and their inability to control Him?

Or the last supper, when Jesus shared His most intimate moments yet by washing their feet, telling of His imminent betrayal by one of them, and His talk of death?

There was also the agony of His prayers in the garden; His arrest, scam trial, and beatings; His execution on the cross.

Then, after three miserable days of hope lost and unfulfilled expectations, Jesus returns. Alive.

For the next 40 days, His followers were able to see Him just a little more, and then He said goodbye as He ascended to heaven until His second coming.

They had seen it all, and in these final moments with Him, He left them as He was blessing them. They knew with certainty He was the Messiah, He loved them, and He was coming back again.

So what did they do?

They worshiped Him, a form of thanksgiving. This allowed them to return to Jerusalem with hearts full of joy, a joy that would carry them through the miraculous establishment of the church over the remainder of their lives.

When you receive the blessings, God has for you and respond by worshiping Him with a thankful heart, the same joy they experienced will be yours.

Worship Him. Praise Him. Thank Him—until joy overwhelms your heart as you become lost in His presence.

Today’s blog post is taken from Marilyn’s Today’s blog post is taken from Marilyn’s book, Treasures of a Thankful Heart.

2024-03-21T12:43:25-06:00April 1st, 2024|

Easter and the Power of Redemption

Do you know that there are two ways of looking at the death and resurrection of Jesus? From a human perspective, Easter proclaims the good news that our Redeemer lives! From the Lord’s perspective, Jesus’s death and resurrection were the price God paid to purchase a group of people—you and me—called “the redeemed” (see Hebrews 12:23 AMPC). God has always desired to redeem fallen man.

Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage is a beautiful picture of the way God works to redeem His people. “I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments” (Exodus 6:6). The Israelites had been in Egypt for almost 400 years—through no fault of their own. Jacob and his whole family had moved there at Joseph’s invitation. Eventually, however, Joseph died, the Pharaoh who ruled during Joseph’s lifetime died, and circumstances turned against the Israelites.

Has it ever seemed to you that you were in bondage to a certain habit or situation for the longest time? There comes a point when God says, “I’m going to get you out!” Jesus wants to redeem you out of those circumstances. To redeem means many things, a few of which are: “to break off,” “to deliver,” “to free by paying a ransom.” That’s what God wants to do for you and me. He wants to set us free from bondage so that we can walk in resurrection life—living victoriously every day.

Redemption for the Guilty

Have you ever thought, Well, I got myself into this mess. I’ll just have to get myself out of it? It’s easy for us to believe that God will redeem us when we’re innocent victims of oppression. But when the bondage is our own fault, we sometimes think God is going to sit back and watch us squirm to get free. But He doesn’t! Look what happened to Israel: after God set them free from bondage to Pharaoh, they eventually turned their backs on Him and were taken into Assyrian and Babylonian captivity.

God could have said, “Tough luck! You’re guilty. Get yourselves out of this one!” But He didn’t. He said, “And they shall call them The Holy People, the Redeemed of the Lord; And you shall be called Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken” (Isaiah 62:12). The Jews had blown it—they had forsaken the Lord—and were led away as captives. But God still considered them “the redeemed.” After they had repented, God brought them back into the promised land. God will also bless you if you repent and turn back to Him.

Always remember, you are the redeemed of the Lord (see Isaiah 51:11). When we look at the events of Easter, we see that we have a Redeemer who lives eternally. Because of Easter, as the redeemed, we can enjoy the power and benefits of redemption eternally.

When God delivered the Israelites from Egypt, the Bible says He did it with “an outstretched arm and with great judgments” (Exodus 6:6). It took only one arm to redeem the Israelites. But in the New Testament, we see that it took two outstretched arms on the cross to redeem all mankind from sin. Your redemption took both outstretched arms of Jesus, didn’t it? By that act, Jesus redeemed you from your past, your present, and your future. That’s the good news of Easter!

Kinsman Redemption

Redemption includes one other aspect that will help you. This aspect is found in the Old Testament book of Ruth. Do you remember Ruth’s beautiful story? Originally a woman named Naomi and her husband left Bethlehem with their two sons. They traveled to Moab (which was a cursed place due to the idolatry and incestuous roots of the Moabites), and Naomi’s husband and two sons eventually died. The sons had married Moabite girls, and one of them, Ruth, chose to return to Bethlehem with Naomi. Ruth also chose Naomi’s God (see Ruth 1:16), so she was a believer; redeemed, delivered, bought, and set free. But she was about to experience the fuller meaning of redemption during her stay in Bethlehem!

Ruth began to glean barley in the field of a rich man named Boaz. But this wasn’t just any rich man. It just so happened that Boaz was a relative of Ruth’s dead husband, and Mosaic law made it the duty of the next-of-kin to marry the widow and raise up children in the dead man’s name. Boaz desired to marry Ruth; but in order to marry her, he first had to prove his family ties to her dead husband, buy back the land that used to belong to her husband, and be willing to raise his children under the name of Ruth’s dead husband. This was called the law of the kinsman redeemer.

The Hebrew word for redeemer is “ga’al” and it is translated 18 times as “redeemer,” 14 times as “kinsman,” and six times as “avenger.”

Jesus is all of these things to you and me. Jesus is our kinsman. He emptied Himself of His divinity and came down to earth clothes in humanity. In order to be your “relative” and to understand where you are coming from, He had to be tempted in all ways. Then He died for you. He shed His own blood for you. Those who are born again belong the Father. Jesus became your kinsman redeemer.

Another thing that the kinsman did in the Old Testament was to seek revenge on anyone who hurt his relatives. Jesus does the same for you. When the enemy comes against you, “The Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one” (2 Thessalonians 3:3). Jesus took vengeance upon death itself. The book of Hebrews states:

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. (Hebrews 2:14-15 NIV)

Do you remember the story of Cain and Abel in the book of Genesis? Gain murdered Abel out of jealousy. But God came to Cain and told him, “The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground” (Genesis 4:10). He then avenged Abel’s death by cursing Cain. In the New Testament we are told that the blood of Jesus speaks of better things than the blood of Abel.

You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (Hebrews 12:23-24 NIV)

This means that Jesus’s blood speaks to the Father and says that you are redeemed, delivered, bought, set free, and that you are a very close relative!

Activating Your Redemption

What does this mean for our life? Psalm 107:2 says, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy.” If Christ is your living Redeemer and you are the redeemed, then you need to say what God says about you!

God says you are free, whole, healthy, prosperous, joyous, wise, forgiven, and much, much more! That’s what you should be saying about yourself. If ever there was a man you had a right not to say he was redeemed, it was Job. But look at what he said:

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God. (Job 19:25-26)

Job said, “If I die and worms destroy my body, I will still stand and see my Redeemer at the latter day upon the earth!” No matter how bad it looked in the natural for Job, he had a Redeemer, he was redeemed, and he spoke it!

You need to know the benefits of redemption, and the power of confessing them for yourself. Psalm 103:1-4 tells us the redeemed have all their sins forgiven, their diseases healed, and their lives saved from destruction! You and I have all the benefits of the redeemed because Jesus stretched out both of his arms on the cross for us. He redeemed us with outstretched arms.

There is nothing you can do to earn this redemption. Jesus redeemed you when you were innocent, and He redeemed you when you were guilty. He redeemed you from sickness, and He is your avenger upon the devil. But there is one thing the Bible says you are to do, and it’s found in Ephesians 5:16: you are to redeem the time because the days are evil.

Redeem the time by what you say with your mouth. Do you spend your time whining and gossiping? From now on, redeem your time by speaking what God says about you and about your situation! Pray with me, and let’s begin redeeming our time right now.

Heavenly Father, I know that my Redeemer lives. I am delivered, loosed, set free, bought back from bondage, and a very close relative to Jesus, who is my avenger upon the devil! From now on, Lord, everyone will know that my Redeemer lives because I am going to say so! Amen.

If you’d like additional prayer, call 888-637-4545, or visit https://marilynandsarah.netviewshop.com/prayer.

2024-03-13T11:28:14-06:00March 25th, 2024|

Waves of Victory

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a colt shortly before His death, the people mobbed Him, throwing their cloaks before Him and waving palm branches. They cried out, “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ The King of Israel!” (John 12:13). That first Palm Sunday was quite a victory Sunday because the people celebrated Jesus and acknowledged Him as their king! Some time ago, when I was meditating on this passage, I wondered, Of all the plants, why did they use palms? What was so significant about palm branches? That’s when the Holy Spirit directed me to the Old Testament.

Palms and Willows

After the Israelites left Egypt, God gave them seven feasts to celebrate Him, His work, and what He would do in them and through them. One of these feasts was the Feast of Tabernacles, which they celebrated by constructing booths made of palm and willow branches. For seven days they lived in the booths, commemorating what the Lord had done for them.

You shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. Leviticus 23:40

God specifically told the Israelites to use palms and willows to build these booths. Palm trees were very important to that culture. They were a source of food and drink, the leaves were used to make ropes, and the trunk was used to make furniture. Palms eventually came to represent victory for the Israelites, so when God told them to use palm branches to make the booths, He was reminding them of their victories.

Willow branches are also mentioned specifically in the passage above. Here in American, we call them “weeping willows.” The willows had to do with the heartaches the Israelites experienced in the wilderness. The wilderness wasn’t a picnic. At one time, the earth opened up and swallowed up Korah and 250 men who were in rebellion. Mirian and her brother criticized Moses and she immediately got leprosy. The Israelites turned to idolatry, caused innumerable headaches for Moses, and had loads of problems. So, the willows were used on the booths to remind them of all the hardships they endured before they inherited the promised land.

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, he knew it was a time of victory. He also knew that between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, He would die on the cross. There would be a willow—a time of heartache. In our lives, we experience some wonderful victories, but we also have willows. Yet, if we will bring our willows to the Lord, He can transform them into victories. When you hit those willow times, don’t hold onto them; hand them over to God and watch them become palm branches.

One of the members of my prayer team once told me about a true transformation that had occurred in her life. For most of her life she had been an alcoholic. One day, 18 years before, she was in a bar telling another alcoholic all her problems. The other woman responded by telling her about Job, saying, “Well, if you think things are so bad, why don’t you read the book of Job in the Bible. You’ll find out you don’t have it so bad.” This woman did just that. She went home, found a Bible, and began reading it. The Lord began to deal with her out of that book and she got saved! When she turned her life over to the Lord, He took her willows and transformed them into palms. That bar—her alcoholism—became the turning point of victory in her life.

As this woman discovered, Job holds a crucial key for allowing God to turn willows into palms. Job lost everything, but did you notice the devil spared his wife? Why? Because his wife could keep needling him and giving him a hard time. The devil was using her to get to Job. Rather than listen to his wife’s admonition to “curse God and die,” Job turned everything over to God and put his afflictions into the hands of the Lord: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him” (Job 13:15).

Later, Job went on to give the first prophecy related to the resurrection:

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God. (Job 19:25-26)

Job believed in his “willow time” that he would be victorious and there would be a resurrection. Job had an inner revelation of the Redeemer who would appear and bring resurrection. Likewise, when we talk about resurrection, we have an inner revelation that Jesus not only died for us, but that He lives. What a victory!

We all experience willow times. But whether they shatter you or lead you to victory depends on whose hand you put them into. If you keep them in your hands, they won’t change. But if you put them in God’s hands, He can bring transformation.

Remember too, that Scripture tells us, “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). In the natural it’s difficult to understand just how this work. But when you become a child of God, you have an inner revelation that He loves you so much, that if you will put your circumstances in His hands, He can cause you to triumph.

The Ultimate Victory

I think a lot of folks believe that getting older is a “willow.” Things don’t button the way they used to, there’s too much hair left behind in their brushes, and there are too many wrinkles staring back at them in the mirror. That’s because they’re corruptible. But there’s a palm coming! Look at what Paul said: “So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption” (1 Corinthians 15:42). What are we raised in? Incorruption! We know by the Spirit that we don’t just have a life here; we’re going to live in a new body that doesn’t decay, get old, lose hair, or wrinkle.

In subsequent verses, Paul also tells us that death is a dishonor; it’s a willow. Then he says believers will be raised in glory. When Jesus died, that was a dishonor. But when He was raised, it brought glory to the Father. He’s the first fruit of resurrection and we’re going to follow him! Paul continues to compare mortality and immortality and arrives at this conclusion:

“O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”

 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)

Eternal life will be wonderful! There is no sting of death for believers because Jesus has already borne the penalty of the law for our sins. When we claim Him, we can claim His resurrection and know that we will spend eternity in heaven with Him. Just imagine it: forever in His presence, rejoicing in the victory that He bought for us, and celebrating Jesus by waving palm branches:

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands. (Revelation 7:9, emphasis added)

We’re not going to carry willows in heaven because God will wipe away every tear. Rather, we will carry palm branches because we’re not defeated—we were made victorious in Christ!

You might have a willow in your life right now that hurts and causes you great pain. Maybe it’s a broken marriage, prodigal children, or an unsaved loved one. Perhaps you need healing in your body or finances. Take those cares and place them into the hand of Jesus and allow Him to turn those willows into palms of victory. Pray with me:

Father, thank you that Jesus is the victory. I take all these willows and the heartache and weeping they represent and place them in your hands. I believe that you will transform them into palm branches of victory in each circumstance. In Jesus’s name I pray, amen.

If you’d like additional prayer, call 888-637-4545, or visit https://marilynandsarah.netviewshop.com/prayer.

2024-03-07T11:15:38-07:00March 18th, 2024|

Queen Esther and the Origin of Purim

In a couple weeks, the Jewish holiday of Purim will be celebrated around the world. In honor of this joyous occasion, today’s post is about the book of Esther and the history of Purim.

Esther lived in a historically dark time. Following the Persian Empire’s destruction of Babylon, many Jews had been displaced to Persia. Their king, Ahasuerus, ruled a kingdom of 127 provinces extending from India to Ethiopia. He was extremely wealthy and very astute in worldly matters.

As a demonstration of his worldly wealth, Ahasuerus called all the leaders of his provinces together for a six-month celebration. Can you imagine holding a six-month party? Talk about guests who made themselves at home! After these six months, he held a seven-day feast for everyone in the palace. The palace was elaborately decorated with gold and silver. Even the wine was served in golden vessels, each differing from the next. It was one of the most extravagant celebrations the world has ever known.

During that time in history, it was not customary for men and women to mingle at feasts. Therefore, Ahasuerus’s queen, Vashti, hosted a special feast elsewhere in the palace for the women. During the feast, the king became drunk with wine and bragged about what a knock-out his queen was, and sent word for Vashti to come into the court so that he could show her off. Some historians and Bible commentators say that he asked her to come in and expose herself indecently. “But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command brought by his eunuchs; therefore the king was furious, and his anger burned within him” (Esther 1:12). Vashti had the guts to exercise some class and say, “I’m a human being, and I refuse to be exhibited like one of your golden vessels.”

Ahasuerus consulted his seven princely “wise men” about Vashti’s behavior. One wise man, Memucan, was particularly upset with Vashti. My guess is that Memucan was henpecked at home, and he probably thought this was a great opportunity to take out his frustration on women. He advised the king, “You had better handle this woman because she’s too gutsy. If you let her get away with this, all the women in the empire are going to rebel against their husbands. They won’t cook meals, wash the clothes, or take care of the children! You have got to do something about her!” Memucan then recommended that the king divorce Vashti, saying:

“If it pleases the king, let a royal decree go out from him, and let it be recorded in the laws of the Persians and the Medes, so that it will not be altered, that Vashti shall come no more before King Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal position to another who is better than she.” (Esther 1:19)

In a moment of anger, King Ahasuerus took Memucan’s advice and deposed Vashti. But he soon realized that he had made a big mistake because he truly loved her. Unfortunately, it was too late. In those days, the king’s laws couldn’t be retracted. After the wrath of King Ahasuerus subsided, he remembered Vashti and what had been decreed against her. In an effort to cheer him, the king’s servants suggested that he hold a beauty contest in which all the beautiful women in his empire could participate. The servants said, “Surely there is a woman in your vast empire who could become a suitable queen.” The king eagerly agreed to hold the contest.

Esther was a young Jewish girl who lived near the palace. Evidently, her family had been killed during the first Babylonian invasion, and she had been adopted by her cousin Mordecai, who was raising her as his own daughter. Mordecai and Esther were both captured during the second Babylonian invasion and exiled to Persia. While in Persia, Mordecai changed Esther’s name from Hadassah to disguise her ancestry. He gave her the Persian name Esther, meaning “star.” I think her new name really fit her. Like a star, Esther allowed the light of God to shine through her to penetrate a very dark generation.

However, Mordecai and Esther started out on the wrong foot. The prophet Jeremiah had instructed the Jews to return to Jerusalem after their 70-year captivity, but most refused. Only 60,000 Jews had chosen to return. The rest — over 2 million — decided to remain in Persian territory, including Mordecai and Esther. Besides that, Mordecai decided to enter Esther into the king’s beauty contest, which wasn’t a very holy thing to do. If she didn’t win, she would automatically become a concubine to the king!

For one full year, all the beauty contestants were groomed and trained in a manner appropriate for a queen. At the end of the year, they were presented to the king one by one. When Esther went before the king, the Bible says, “The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti” (Esther 2:17).

Esther delighted the king, and she was chosen to be his queen. Remember, the king loved to eat, so he held a great feast in Esther’s honor. He also “proclaimed a holiday in the provinces and gave gifts according to the generosity of a king” (v. 18). All to celebrate the beautiful new wife he had chosen.

Do you think that God ordained this marriage? From our natural viewpoint, the union between a Jewess and a rich, materialistic, heathen king doesn’t appear to be a match made in heaven. But remember, God is a God of providence. Providence means forethought of care and supply. God provided Esther with special access to an ungodly king so that she could divert her generation from impending destruction. God’s providence is evident throughout the entire book of Esther. But I want to point out a very strange fact: God’s name is not mentioned even once in this book! Although no one mentions God during this entire time period, He is present to move and guide the course of events that occur. Occasionally, it appears that God’s people have forgotten Him, but He never forgets His people. He is still a God who can provide needed help. He is always a God of providence.

One day, Mordecai overheard two of the king’s doorkeepers scheming to kill the king. Evil plots were nothing new in those days — nor in our day. Mordecai sent an urgent message to Esther, and Esther informed the king, giving credit to Mordecai. The two doorkeepers were executed, and the plot was squelched.

What was done to reward Mordecai? Initially, nothing. No one said, “Oh, Mordecai, you’re such a hero!” Have you ever done something that went completely unnoticed or maybe even backfired? Maybe you thought, No good deed goes unpunished! It’s not worth it. Believe me, if you stay true to God, then His hand will be in your situation. Eventually, you will reap what you sow. Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

It seems as though there’s a villain in every story, and Esther’s is no different. In Esther 3:1, Ahasuerus promoted a very ungodly man, Haman, to the number one position in the kingdom. Haman, as the highest of the king’s princes, was consumed with pride. He loved his position in the Persian Empire. Haman, however, was not a Persian, he was an Agagite, which means he was of Amalekite descent. Why does this matter? Well, the Amalekites were descendants of the Edomites, and the Edomites were descended from Esau. The sons of Esau hated the sons of Jacob, and this went on for centuries. So we have a generational curse: antisemitism. This isn’t a new thing, and it’s satanic. It’s the devil’s plan.

Now, Haman’s position required everyone to bow down to him when he passed on the street. No one dared to defy Haman! But Mordecai refused to bow — I think he saw right through Haman all along. The king’s servants tried to get Mordecai to bow down, but Mordecai stood firm. Now watch God move on Mordecai’s behalf . . .

Haman was furious with Mordecai. Mordecai had suddenly come out of his quiet corner and taken a daring stand against Haman. What a blow to Haman’s ego! Although he was enraged, Haman was afraid to confront Mordecai directly. So Haman went to the king and said:

“There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from all other people’s, and they do not keep the king’s laws. Therefore it is not fitting for the king to let them remain. If it pleases the king, let a decree be written that they be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who do the work, to bring it into the king’s treasuries.”

So the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. And the king said to Haman, “The money and the people are given to you, to do with them as seems good to you.” (Esther 3:8–11)

The king signed Haman’s decree, which proclaimed that all the Jews were to be killed. The decree was translated into all the languages of the provinces, and messengers were sent out to proclaim that all the Jews, both young and old, would be killed. Remember, no one except Mordecai knew Esther was Jewish. Since she was secluded in the palace, she was in a real predicament and didn’t even know it. She was included in the death decree, and the law of a Persian king couldn’t be altered once it was passed.

When Mordecai heard the decree, he put on sackcloth and ashes and began to weep in front of the palace gate. Someone went to Esther and said, “Your cousin is outside crying. He looks awful. He’s wearing sackcloth and ashes!” (Esther 4:4).

Esther did what many women do when they hear bad news — she went shopping! Esther bought Mordecai a brand-new outfit and sent a messenger to tell him to take off his sackcloth and ashes. She probably thought that new clothes would help cheer him up. But Mordecai told the messenger, “Send the outfit back to Esther and let her know that we are in a very serious situation. The king has signed a decree to kill all the Jews. Plead to the king on our behalf.” But Esther hesitated. The king hadn’t called for her in over 30 days, which very well could have meant that she had fallen out of favor with him. There was a law among the Persian kings that if you went into the court and the king didn’t extend his golden scepter to you, you would be executed. Even though she was the queen, Esther could die if she went before the king without being summoned by him. But Mordecai wouldn’t take no for an answer:

“Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13–14)

Esther’s response is the key to our favor: “. . . I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” (Esther 4:16). Why is this the key? Because she surrenders her will to the will of God. When we surrender ourselves to God, it brings favor. It’s not easy, and we usually have to surrender more than once. In fact, we usually end up having to surrender over and over again! But when we surrender and lay down our life, that’s when God shows up!

God gave Esther a plan, and she told Mordecai to gather a group of Jews to fast with her for three days; then she would go in to see the king, even if she ended up being executed for breaking the law. This young Jewish maiden made a commitment to trust God and allow Him to use her in His divine plan to rescue the entire Jewish nation. When you surrender to God, He gives you His favor. When you have favor with God, He gives you favor with man, and that’s exactly what happened with Esther. After the Jews had fasted and prayed, Esther went to see the king:

So it was, when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, that she found favor in his sight, and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther went near and touched the top of the scepter.

And the king said to her, “What do you wish, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given to you — up to half the kingdom!” (Esther 5:2–3)

God again gave Esther favor with the king. Esther thought it would be wise to ease into the request and maybe butter the king up a little bit, so she replied, “I just wanted to ask you and Haman to come to dinner tonight.”

That evening at dinner, the king was so enamored by Esther that he said to her again, “Ask whatever you like. I will give you up to half of my kingdom!” Esther responded with a second dinner invitation for the next evening, promising the king that she would then give him her request.

Haman must have really thought he had it made now that he had been invited to two of the queen’s dinner parties. Little did he know that the next banquet would be a “necktie” party and he would be the guest of honor. Haman told his wife Zeresh, “I love my life, and I just love my job. The only flaw is Mordecai, the man at the gate who won’t bow to me.”

Zeresh exclaimed, “I have an idea! Build tall gallows and hang Mordecai from it. That will take care of him!” Haman leaped at his wife’s suggestion. He wanted revenge so badly that he ordered his men to build gallows 75 feet high just to kill Mordecai (Esther 5:9–14). Why did Haman build such tall gallows? I think He wanted to make a big example out of Mordecai! The future looked pretty bleak for Esther’s cousin, but remember, God is a God of providence. Whenever His children call on His name, He will move heaven and earth to protect them.

The Bible says that pride always precedes a fall (Proverbs 16:18). Haman was ensnared in a tremendous web of pride, and he was about to plunge into disaster. After Haman had the gallows built, King Ahasuerus had a sleepless night. Who do you think was keeping the king awake? God. He used a simple little thing like sleep to change the course of history.

After tossing and turning for a while, the king finally gave into his insomnia and decided to get some work done. He asked his servants to read to him from the book which contained everyone’s name who had blessed the king. “And it was found written that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, the doorkeepers who had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus” (Esther 6:2).

The king asked his servants, “Mordecai saved my life. Has he ever been rewarded for his noble deed?”

“Nothing has been done for him,” they replied.

Now, Haman had just walked into the court to speak with the king about hanging Mordecai, but before he was given an opportunity, the king asked him, “Haman, what could I do to honor a man who has been especially good to me?”

Thinking that he was the one to be honored, Haman replied:

“For the man whom the king delights to honor, let a royal robe be brought which the king has worn, and a horse on which the king has ridden, which has a royal crest placed on its head. Then let this robe and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that he may array the man whom the king delights to honor. Then parade him on horseback through the city square, and proclaim before him: ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!’” (Esther 6:7–9)

Haman pictured himself wearing the king’s beautiful robes and parading through the streets on the king’s horse, while everyone — including Mordecai — bowed down to him.

But before Haman could ask the king, “Who is to be honored?”

The king said, “Hurry, take the robe and the horse, as you have suggested, and do so for Mordecai the Jew who sits within the king’s gate! Leave nothing undone of all that you have spoken” (Esther 6:10).

Haman was greatly disappointed. After he had fulfilled the king’s wishes and paraded Mordecai through town, Haman rushed home to tell his wife and friends what had happened. They became frightened and said: “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not prevail against him but will surely fall before him” (Esther 6:13).

No situation is impossible for God. He can interrupt the devil’s plans and change a curse into a blessing. Watch how God reversed the devil’s plot to annihilate the Jews.

At Esther’s second banquet, the king must have been on pins and needles, wondering what Esther could possibly want. Finally, she made her request, “My people have been condemned to death, and I want them to be saved.”

Realizing that he had signed his own wife’s death warrant, the king became so upset that he went for a walk in the palace garden. Haman knew he was in big trouble, so he ran over to the couch upon which Esther was reclining and began to beg for his life. Upon his return to the banquet room, the king saw Haman had fallen over Esther on the couch and yelled, “Will he also assault the queen while I am in the house?” (Esther 7:8).

One would think that nothing more could go wrong for Haman, but, in reality, his trouble was just beginning. He was taken back to his house not in honor but as a condemned prisoner. Not wanting such fine workmanship to go to waste, the king sentenced Haman to die on his own gallows. Then he gave over to Esther the property of Haman, and she appointed Mordecai to oversee it. (Esther 7:9–8:2)

In the meantime, the Jews were still sentenced to death. So, Esther approached the king and pleaded with him on their behalf. King Ahasuerus answered her and Mordecai by saying:

“You yourselves write a decree concerning the Jews, as you please, in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s signet ring; for whatever is written in the king’s name and sealed with the king’s signet ring no one can revoke.” (Esther 8:8)

Talk about favor! Mordecai and Esther called in the scribes and wrote a letter permitting “the Jews who were in every city to gather together and protect their lives — to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the forces of any people or province that would assault them” (Esther 8:11). The chapter finishes by saying:

The Jews had light and gladness, joy and honor. And in every province and city, wherever the king’s command and decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a holiday. Then many of the people of the land became Jews, because fear of the Jews fell upon them. (Esther 8:16–17)

This feast became the Jewish holiday of Purim, which is celebrated by Jews all around the world to this day.

The book of Esther beautifully illustrates how God transforms seemingly average people into glorious vessels that he can use to penetrate dark and sinful times. Just as God enabled Esther to become a woman of favor and thwart Haman’s plot against the Jews, God can enable you to halt ungodly forces against your family, community, and nation.

God wants to use you in His providence during this time on the earth, and His hand is on you in a supernatural way!

Today’s blog post is taken from Marilyn’s new book, Wide Open Doors: Heaven’s Favor for Opportunity, Influence, and Success.

2024-03-07T11:22:48-07:00March 11th, 2024|

The Benefits of His Presence

Are you hungry for the presence of God? I believe in the heart of every human being there is a longing to feel God’s presence. Since we desire the presence of God, it’s good to know that He is omnipresent—He’s everywhere! In the words of the psalmist, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? (Psalm 139:7).

In good times and bad, God is there. God’s presence is among sinners as well as saints. The thief and the drug addict can’t flee from it any more than the believer can—the difference is that generally the sinner tried to flee from His presence, whereas the believer runs to it. In His presence the sinner often finds conviction, but the saint finds comfort.

Even more awesome than the omnipresence of God is His manifest presence. God’s manifest presence is often experienced in a worship service, but He’s not limited to church services. Many times His presence is with us, but we fail to realize it. Jacob had a vision of a ladder with angels ascending and descending from heaven before he recognized the presence of God at Bethel. In the vision, God spoke to him and told him no matter where he’d go, God would go with him to bring him back to the promised land. Then, “Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it’” (Genesis 28:16).

Jacob had blown it big time. He’s lied, deceived, and done all kinds of wrong things. Following his vision, Jacob made a new commitment to God and promised that he would indeed serve Him if only He would bring him back home. The manifest presence of God changed Jacob’s life.

In the New Testament, Saul’s life was also dramatically changed when he encountered the manifest presence of God. Meeting the risen Lord, Saul became so totally transformed that he shook up the civilized world at that time and wrote 13 books of the New Testament.

There are times when God will manifest Himself without you doing anything or even consciously seeking Him, as in Jacob’s and Paul’s case. At other times, the things you do can cause His presence to manifest. One of these is praise: “You are holy, O You Who dwell in [the holy place where] the praises of Israel [are offered]” (Psalm 22:3 AMPC). I’m sure this is why Psalm 95:2 tells us to come before His presence with thanksgiving and make a joyful noise to Him. Praise brings God’s presence. You can praise Him wherever you are, no matter what you’re doing. Don’t just praise Him in church; praise Him in your car, your home, and your office.

God also bestows gifts upon those who dwell in His presence, which makes living in His presence so wonderful. There are several things that happen when God’s presence is manifested.

Benefit #1: Joy and Strength

Psalm 16:11 says, “In Your presence is fullness of joy.” When you’re feeling tired or weak, the joy of the Lord can quicken you because “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). I have encountered this same joy many times. When I can’t sleep and start praising the Lord and thanking Him for all His blessings, there are no bags under my eyes in the morning and I feel totally invigorated for the day of ministry ahead of me.

The Holy Spirit will then move upon the people to whom I minister, and they will also experience His presence and joy. I know of one woman who got really “drunk” in the Spirit following a service in which the joy of the Lord flowed. On the way home, she was stopped by a policeman who thought she was drunk and tested her for alcohol. When the test showed nothing, she explained to him that the only thing she was drinking was the Holy Spirit and shared what happened at the meeting. He began to cry! Apparently, he was a backslidden Christian. He was so convicted he prayed and rededicated his life to Jesus. When God manifests, we’ll have people getting saved all over the place.

Benefit #2: Freedom from Sins

The second benefit is seen in that the presence of God brought joy to the woman but conviction to the policeman. This was evidenced also in the garden of Eden after the fall. When God’s presence showed up, Adam and Eve hid from Him because they recognized their sin. I saw the same thing happen in at one of my Bible Encounters many years ago. God’s presence was so heavy that people were coming up to me confessing their sins. They couldn’t stand the weight of their sins anymore. I didn’t tell them to do this; the presence of God was doing it. As they confessed their sins and repented, they were set free!

Benefit #3: Enemies Will Flee

“When my enemies turn back, they shall fall and perish at Your presence” (Psalm 9:3). When God’s presence comes on the scene, your enemies will be repulsed—this applies to natural and supernatural enemies like sickness, disease, and poverty. This was marvelously demonstrated during one of my meetings in Texas. One of the women there fell—literally—under the power of the Holy Spirit. When she tried to get up, she couldn’t and fell back down. She tried again and still couldn’t get up. She finally asked, “God, what are you doing?”

“I’m healing you!” He answered. She had a serious fertility problem and couldn’t have a child. She felt God doing a work, and after the meeting, she received proof of her healing. It became possible for her to have a baby—the enemy fled!

Benefit #4: Direction and Rest

The fourth benefit of God’s presence is that it brings direction. When the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness, their sins finally drove God from them.  Even though they had experienced His manifest presence and divine direction in the pillars of cloud and fire, heard His voice, and knew His warmth and love, they continually rebelled against Him. Finally, God had had it. He told them He would no longer live in their midst but would instead send an angel to go with them. The people were so distressed that they pleaded with Moses to do something. Moses told them to repent and sanctify themselves. As Moses interceded on their behalf, God told them, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” (Exodus 33:14). Notice, God not only promised to continue to guide them, but He also promised them rest.

Benefit #5: Help During Affliction

Fifth, God’s presence is manifest in the midst of affliction:

In all their affliction He was afflicted,

And the Angel of His Presence saved them;

In His love and in His pity He redeemed them;

And He bore them and carried them

All the days of old. (Isaiah 63:9)

Are you afflicted or in a crisis? God is there! Remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? Jesus was in the first with them. When you are in a difficult season or circumstance, pray and trust Him. Instead of falling apart and having a nervous breakdown, pray: “Lord, I believe you can manifest yourself in this situation.” Who knows what He will do? Expect Him to show up and do wonderful things in crisis times.

Benefit #6: Foretaste of Eternity

I saved the best benefit until last. This relates to God’s eternal presence. What is it about us that longs for the touch of God—that desires to know Him in a very personal way? Jude 24-25 tells us:

Now to Him Who is able to keep you without stumbling or slipping or falling, and to present [you] unblemished (blameless and faultless) before the presence of His glory in triumphant joy and exultation [with unspeakable, ecstatic delight]—

To the one only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory (splendor), majesty, might and dominion, and power and authority, before all time and now and forever (unto all the ages of eternity). (AMPC)

Jesus is going to present us before the presence of God’s glory with joy. Think about it. We are going to live eternally in His presence. What we experience here on earth is just the faintest touch of what we will one day experience in heaven. No wonder we are so hungry. We were made for the presence of God!

2024-02-29T11:53:20-07:00March 4th, 2024|

Power and Wisdom from the Holy Spirit

“And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, ‘The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!’” (Judges 6:12). An angel comes to Gideon and says, “Gideon, you mighty man of valor!” But Gideon doesn’t look like a man of courage, and he doesn’t talk like one either! He says to the angel, “Pardon me?”

But the angel just keeps speaking faith to him. He says, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel!” But Gideon doesn’t answer in faith. He says again, “Pardon me, but…” and then comes up with all kinds of excuses why it will never work. “My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe, and I am the least in my family,” he said. But the angel of the Lord doesn’t give up. “I will be with you,” he says to Gideon.

Gideon has the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon him, but he seemed to have so many holes of unbelief that the Spirit had to clothe him with His power to make Gideon the deliverer that he needed to be.

Do you ever feel like Gideon? I know I do! But when we feel like we are the weakest in our tribe and the least in our family, God will continually show up to prove that He is who He says He is, and He will cover us in the power of the Holy Spirit. Just like He did for Gideon.

How do I know that this same power is available to us today? Because Jesus spoke of this! He said, “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). What did the Father promise? The Holy Spirit!

Have you ever prayed to be Spirit-filled? If so, you know how wonderful it is. If you haven’t and would like to know how, I’m going to tell you. The Bible says in Luke 11:13, “…how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” So how do you get Spirit-filled? Ask! It’s that simple. You ask to get saved. You ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit. So that is step one.

Then we find the second step in Acts 2:4, “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” Who speaks? The Holy Spirit? No! They began to speak. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we are the ones who must take a step of faith by speaking. You won’t understand the words that you speak, but the Spirit will speak through you if you let Him inside your heart and open your mouth. It will almost sound like childish gibberish to you, but you’re acting in faith and doing what the Word says.

Now, the last step to being Spirit-filled we know from Romans 8:26, “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” So when I pray in the Spirit, my mind doesn’t know what to pray for, but He knows. He intercedes for us according to the will of God.

I remember when I first went to a Vietnamese salon to have a manicure. These four sisters worked there and they were so friendly. But they had a big statue of Buddha in there. I asked God, “How do I talk to them?” And the Lord said to me, “Chocolate.” Now that seems a strange word to hear in your spirit, and not very Biblical. I expected Him to say “love them” or something like that. But He said chocolate, so I took them a box of chocolates. And let me tell you, I took chocolates from then on and all four of them got saved. Hallelujah! Listening in your spirit will give you wisdom!

How do you do it? Well, of course you read the Word, because the Spirit and the Word work together. But also you have to stop and listen. Sometimes you’ll just be talking to somebody and you have to stop and pray “Lord, I don’t know how to answer them,” and you just take a moment to listen in your spirit.

“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6). Zechariah had eight visions from God that he recorded. I said to the Lord one time, “I don’t have many dreams and visions. You know, my goodness, Zechariah got an interpreting angel. I don’t get an interpreting angel.” And the Lord said, “But you get the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit will lead you to all truth.” We can listen in the Spirit and hear from God with the same might and power that Zechariah did!

 

2024-02-14T11:18:09-07:00February 26th, 2024|
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