“Conquering Our Circumstances”

Judges 11

Here we find a man by the name of Jephthah who was born into a mess and a childhood overshadowed by his label as a misfit. No doubt he must have felt depressed, alone, and unsure of his purpose in life. If that wasn’t enough burden on him after his father’s death as a young man he was kicked out of Gilead and stripped of his rightful part of his father’s inheritance. If there was a man who could excuse himself as simply a victim of his circumstances Jephthah would have fit that mold. Yet we do not find such a story here at all instead we see a man who rises above his past and leads an entire army to victory.

Just as Jephthah our past is filled with rough starts and shameful actions yet we do not have to allow these circumstances to dictate who are or who we become. Although our mind refuses to release our memories and devils refuse to stop tormenting our mind there is hope of living in victory. Victory is obtainable yet it will not come without a dear price paid in the following areas. You must be willing to forgive yourself. You can not place blame on yourself for things you was born into they are totally out of your control. Second, You must be willing to forgives others. Those who have done you wrong you must forgive otherwise daily these memories will eat away at your joy. Last, You must be willing to avoid excuses and focus on preparing for greatness. Jephthah wasn’t sitting around saying poor me yet instead we find him preparing for his destiny. Don’t allow yourself to miss your destiny due to a spirit of excuses instead of a spirit preparation. What spirit are you living in today?

“Now For a Little Space”

Ezra 9

Here we find the cry from the prophet of God who along with his people have lived in bondage. Due to their disobedience to God they have suffered hundreds of years of bondage. Yet, here in verse 8 we find God extending grace and giving the people a little space. Eighty years in the Holy Land seemed like a short time compared with the centuries of sufferings under the Assyrians and Babylonians. God not only extends a little space but he places a nail in His holy place and gives them a little reviving in their bondage.

Don’t we know such a bondage as well? All our lives even after salvation we live with the bondage of our sinful flesh. We daily desire to live holy yet we do things that shame the name of God. But, just as with the Israelites here God will extend us a little space of reviving in our bondage. How can we obtain such a reviving? I think of revival meetings, cottage prayer meetings, personal nights in prayer, etc down through the years where God has given His people such a renewing that although their problem wasn’t gone the load was lightened in such a way they could carry on with a fresh strength. In order to personally experience this we must be steadfast in prayer, and hunger to linger in the presence of God. Are you seeking a little reviving in your bondage or have you settled for living defeated under the load?

Living in Depression

Throughout this week while doing day to day activities it became very apparent to me that many people are living in depression. While our initial thought is of lost sinners there is also a great suppression on Christians around the world. You may be serving God doing all you can to live right yet at some point your joy was sucked out and while you continue serving you are miserable. You are just barely hanging on day by day confused of why God would allow this in your life? Notice with me below the words of one of the greatest evangelist to ever live.

Frequently during the ministry of C.H. Spurgeon he plunged into severe depression, due in part to gout but also for other reasons. In a biography of the “prince of preachers”, Arnold Dallimore wrote, “What he suffered in those times of darkness we may not know…even his desperate calling on God brought no relief. ‘There are dungeons’, he said, ‘beneath the castles of despair.'”

Do you like Spurgeon feel as though you live below even the people in despair locked away in depression? Allow me to encourage you that God has not forgot about you and He does care about how you are feeling! Do not allow the devil to tell you that there is no hope and you are simply a failure. Spurgeon spent two-thirds of his ministry in this depression yet through faith, fasting, and prayer he was able to make a great impact on people’s lives for the glory of God. Determine today that even if your battle with depression isn’t removed in your time table you will stand steadfast making a difference for the cause of Christ.

Recommended Reading: Psalms 143

Our Redemption Draweth Nigh

Matt. 24:6-7

Economic depressions, earthquakes in unusual places, tsunamis, violence everywhere, and moral corruption.  Regimes crumbling, leaders removed, nuclear threats, broken peace in the Middle East, and China presenting a one world currency. Ten years ago we would have never believed such a dark picture in the USA. But in 2011 we find ourselves pined up in the middle of such a dark hour. Yet, we find in the Bible here in chapter 24 the very prediction of such a day. With technological advancements we can now sit in our living rooms and watch disasters on the other side of the world.  As dark as it may be to the child of God we shouldn’t be depressed instead look up for your redemption draweth nigh. We are the generation that is seeing prophecy fulfilled like no other. I Thess. 4 is still true that we will be caught up (raptured out) and evermore be with our Savior. That day is soon coming!

Oh what excitement that will be yet we must remember the coming judgment on the faithfulness of our service as a Christian. A pastor friend tells of the time his grandson asked him wouldn’t you like to know when you would die. The grandpa said no way that would worry me. Well, I sure would grandpa because I wouldn’t show up. We laugh at this cute story but the truth is we live as if we will not show up for the rapture or death. Time is running out and I challenge you to be a witness and win souls for Christ. Will you commit today to make a difference for the cause of Christ?

“Rising Up Against Adversity”

A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer’s well.  After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery. Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But, as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and throwing dirt on his back a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back he should shake it off and step up. This he did, blow after blow. “Shake it off and step up, shake it off and step up, shake it off and step up!” No matter how painful the blows or how distressing the situation seemed the old mule fought against panic and just kept right on shaking it off and stepping up! It wasn’t long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly out of the well.

In Jeremiah 16:19 we find that Jeremiah is feeling much the same way. Affliction is great among God’s people to the point he believes unbelieving gentiles will come from the ends of the earth to mock them. In such a wicked day as we live no doubt we feel this same pressure. You are serving God with all you have yet at times we find ourselves trapped in a pit. Satan sees where he can destroy us and brethren/family sees no value in us and tries to bury us. But by God’s grace just as the mule we can shake it off and use their dirt to rise up out of our pit. Determine today that with God’s strength I’m using Satan’s tactics, my past failures, and criticism from others to rise up out of my pit where I can serve Jesus.

“A Man That Almost Missed It”

We have all heard the story of Apollo 13 a mission that NASA called a successful failure. Although they reached their final destination there mission was a failure. Years of preparation and dreaming of completing this mission was brought to a crippling halt by one faulty wire. Here in II Kings 5:6-15 we see a familiar story on Naaham. This man was highly favored and praised among the entire kingdom. It seems that everything is going his way but notice the end of verse 1 “… but he was a leper.” Each mission won was only bitter sweet at best because no matter how great the victory there was a constant internal enemy conquering him. Notice with me just as with Apollo 13 and Naaham you may have all the elements you need to reach your destination but without Christ you have a faulty wire that will cause the mission to be a failure. But there is good news just like Naaham a trip down to Jordan can change your story. A bath in the blood of Jesus Christ can fix the shorted wire and allow you to not only reach your endpoint but successfully complete the mission. Let me ask you this question is there still a faulty internal wire in your life?