Devotions by Dennis Burke Ministries
Monday, October 15, 2018
While The Battle Rages
After Moses delivered the Lord’s message to Pharaoh demanding he let Israel go, notice his reaction: “Is that so?” retorted Pharaoh. “And who is the Lord? Why should I listen to him and let Israel go? I don’t know the Lord, and I will not let Israel go” (Exodus 5:2 NLT). Outraged at Moses’ request, Pharaoh punished the Hebrews by eliminating the straw needed to make bricks, only increasing their grueling burden. This then angered the Hebrews toward Moses, causing them to turn against him.
In his anguish, Moses cried out to God, saying, “…Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!” (vv. 22,23). Yet the Lord had warned Moses that Pharaoh would not agree until the pressure had become unbearable.
The same thing happens today when people complain about how bad things are with the economy, the media, the government, and immorality. Yet Jesus warned us that the closer it gets to His return, the more this world would resemble the days of Noah and Lot.
Noah was the only righteous man alive in his generation, and there were only ten righteous people where Lot lived. Today’s difficult conditions aren’t nearly as desperate as theirs were. Jesus warned that in this dark world, there would be trouble. Yet He instructed us to remain untroubled because He has overcome the world (John 16:33)! How do we obey that divine command? By sinking our teeth into God’s promises like never before.
Moses was unwise to accuse God of doing “nothing” just because he didn’t see immediate results. In the same way, what we see or don’t see in the natural is never an indication of whether God is working. He always does what He promises.
“God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” (Numbers 23:19 NLT).
God is always at work bringing to pass what He has declared, but the kingdom of darkness is resistant. Daniel provides us with insight into what is taking place when we don’t see immediate change:
“But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia” (Daniel 10:13 NLT).
We are in a spiritual battle that our natural eyes are unable to see. While the battle is raging, we must stand our ground in faith, believing God will do just what He promised.
“Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all the crisis demands, to stand [firmly in your place]” (Ephesians 6:13 AMP).
When we are equipped with God’s armor we are able to resist and stand our ground in the battles we face.
Acts Chapter 17
King James Version (KJV)
17 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:
2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
4 And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.
5 But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.
6 And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;
7 Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.
8 And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things.
9 And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go.
10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.
11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
12 Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.
13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people.
14 And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still.
15 And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with all speed, they departed.
16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.
17 Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.
18 Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.
19 And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?
20 For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean.
21 (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)
22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.
23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.
30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.
33 So Paul departed from among them.
34 Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
Sunday, October 14, 2018
No More Excuses
In order to stop the ever-increasing population of Hebrews living in Egypt, Pharaoh ordered his soldiers to throw every newborn Hebrew boy into the Nile River. Hearing the sound of agonizing screams draw closer as soldiers went from home to home, slaughtering children, one Jewish woman named Jochebed made a life-threatening decision: She would hide her newborn son from Pharaoh’s murderous decree.
But after three months, Jochebed realized she could no longer protect the growing infant. So she developed a plan that would not only guarantee her baby’s deliverance but would also guard him in the royal palace under the watchful eye of Pharaoh’s daughter. The child was found floating down the river in Jochebed’s carefully crafted basket and brought to Pharaoh’s daughter. She named the child Moses and decided to adopt him as her own.
Moses’ mother imparted to her son the extraordinary legacy of a deliverer. His heritage became evident when, many years after his adoption by Pharaoh’s daughter, he paid a visit to his people, the Hebrews. During this visit, Moses witnessed an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave. Thinking that no one was watching, he killed the Egyptian and buried him. But someone did see what happened—and when Pharaoh heard what Moses had done, he ordered him to be killed, forcing Moses to flee to the land of Midian.
Although God had a plan to use Moses to deliver the Hebrews, Moses’ method was not God’s way. But after spending years in exile, Moses’ life was about to change!
As Moses was living the life of a lonely shepherd, the Lord appeared to him from a burning bush with His plan for deliverance. Moses would be God’s spokesman, demanding that Pharaoh let the Hebrews go free.
Making a demand of a king is an outrageous prospect for anyone. But the waters between Moses and Pharaoh ran deep, which made God’s instructions to Moses even more extreme. Needless to say, God had to convince Moses before he finally agreed to take this seemingly impossible assignment.
Moses’ first response was a familiar excuse—one that many of us use today. “Who am I?” he asked God (Exodus 3:11 NLT). Like Moses, we also have a tendency to focus on our weaknesses and inabilities. But to do so means we are more self-conscious than God-conscious—placing ourselves before God. It means we put more faith in our inability than in His ability.
Certainly making a demand of a king is an extreme measure, but God has a way of being extremely convincing.
The excuses Moses used ranged from “Who am I?” to “Who are You?” to “No one will believe me.” Despite everything God had done to convince him, Moses brought up one final issue: “…O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled” (Exodus 4:10 NLT).
The Lord ignored Moses’ shortcomings, inadequacies, and imperfections and simply responded, “Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say” (v. 12). The Lord will also ignore our inadequacies until we finally decide to obey, so we might as well obey from the start.
Ephesians Chapter 6
King James Version (KJV)
6 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
2 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;
6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:
8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:
22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.
23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.
Saturday, October 13, 2018
Strength For The Task
The Lord told Gideon to sneak over to the Midianites’ camp and listen to what they were saying.
“The man said, ‘I had this dream, and in my dream a loaf of barley bread came tumbling down into the Midianite camp. It hit a tent, turned it over, and knocked it flat!’ His companion answered, ‘Your dream can mean only one thing—God has given Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite, victory over Midian and all its allies!'” (Judges 7:13,14 NLT).
The information Gideon received from this scouting trip encouraged him to immediately return to camp and prepare his men for battle. However, this wouldn’t be a typical battle using conventional weapons. Gideon’s army consisted of only 300 men armed with clay pots and horns!
Who ever heard of soldiers using clay pots and horns to fight against a mob of terrorists? But the battles fought by God’s people are “…not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord” (Zechariah 4:6). We do not wage war as mere humans, we use God’s mighty weapons (see 2 Corinthians 10:3,4).
God used what little strength these 300 men possessed and some harmless clay lanterns and horns to cause the enemy forces to fight against one another. Those who were not killed fled for their lives.
Clearly God isn’t looking for super strength, a multitude of people, or the perfect weapon to fulfill His purposes. He is looking for individuals like you and me who are willing to do whatever He asks despite our weaknesses—knowing that our weaknesses only gives the Anointed One an opportunity to work through us (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Remember, Jesus said that without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). That is sometimes difficult to comprehend when we have the natural ability to accomplish a certain goal. Perhaps that’s why God often gives us assignments that we cannot fulfill unless we tap into His unlimited resources. That’s also why Paul prayed that God would grant us an infusion of mighty inner strength from His infinite resources by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16 BCJ).
God’s power will be activated in our lives when we say what He says about ourselves instead of saying what we have or can do in the natural. So the next time we lack the needed strength to complete an assignment the Lord has given us, keep in mind that He is only able to bless what we do (Deuteronomy 28:8).
Give God something to work with by declaring, “…Let the weak say, I am strong” (Joel 3:10)! Then we must begin to do whatever we can to move toward that goal, and God will bless all that we set our hand to. As we step out in obedience and trust, we will rise up in His strength, defeating the enemies that have tormented us for so long.
Remember, it’s all about perspective. Our part is to renew our minds with God’s Word so we can begin to see ourselves through His eyes. Then we’ll come to realize that, no matter what challenge we face or how big the assignment God gives us, we are a mighty man or woman of valor, strengthened with His power and well able to complete the task!
John Chapter 15
King James Version (KJV)
15 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.
18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.
22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.
23 He that hateth me hateth my Father also.
24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.
25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.
26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
Monday, October 8, 2017
Abram is called the father of faith. He walked in the kind of faith that is a model to all generations—the faith that pleased God. He believed that his covenant with God would bring him increase, and for the rest of his life he saw that increase come to him.
In Genesis 17, God again spoke to Abram regarding His covenant with him. This time God changed his name from Abram to Abraham, established the way the covenant was to work, and declared that He would “multiply [him] exceedingly” (v. 2). The Lord would continue to increase Abraham in land, cattle, descendants, and wealth. In fact, God caused him to prosper in all aspects of his life.
When we grasp this relationship between God and Abraham, we can begin to better see our relationship with God today because we are the “seed of Abraham.” Galatians 3:29 says, “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Therefore, the better we know how God blessed Abraham, the better we will understand our own position in Him.
For too long, the Body of Christ has struggled with the realization that God wants to bring increase and even financial miracles into our lives. There seems to have been an underlying fear that to want God to bring any kind of material increase was to be materialistic. This fear of financial increase as a part of the blessing of God has been fed by people who have a misconception of God Himself.
To be materialistic means to endeavor to satisfy an emotional or spiritual need with a physical thing. No believer wants to have material things in a place of priority over God. Material increase is fine as long as we have the things we possess, but they do not have us.
When King David fell to his darkest moment through adultery and murder, God spoke to him and said,
“…I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more!” (2 Samuel 12:7-8 NKJV).
Notice God did not rebuke David by telling him he had too much. In fact, the Lord said He would have given David even more if he had wanted more and asked for it.
David had sinned, but it was not the wealth or power that was the problem. God was ready and willing to increase him even further if David had wanted it. God does not want to withhold His abundance from us, but we must walk with Him and honor His Word for the promise of increase to come to us.
Galatians Chapter 3
King James Version (KJV)
3 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.
5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.
16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.
21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Tuesday, October 9, 2018
God’s Attitude Toward Abundance
We can understand God’s attitude toward abundance as demonstrated in the very first miracle Jesus performed: it was a miracle of abundance. It was during a wedding feast in Cana, and the host had run out of wine to serve his guests.
Jesus’ mother told Him about the problem and then instructed the servants of the host by saying, “Whatever He says to you, do it” (John 2:5 NKJV). Verse 11 further states, “This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.”
Jesus’ glory was revealed through a miracle that did not heal anyone nor did it deliver anyone from demonic power. It was a miracle of abundance. Jesus did what He saw His Father do, He provided abundant supply—increase!
It is significant that the first miracle was a miracle of abundance. God has made a clear case that blessing and increase are part of His plan for His people.
Just as Abraham believed those first words that God would bless him through His covenant, we also must receive His promise and His plan by faith and activate it in our lives.
Look closely at Psalm 115:16: “The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; but the earth He has given to the children of men” (NKJV).
The wealth of the earth is not for those who are living for greed or lust or selfishness. It is for those who walk with God and have put Him first in their life. The world has misused wealth and its power for ungodly or personal gain, and not the purpose for which God gave it. Wealth and riches are given to us for the purpose of establishing the covenant of God. Deuteronomy 8:18 says,
“And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day” (NKJV).
God gives us the power to get wealth. His wisdom and anointing empower us to possess the wealth and riches for the purpose of establishing—to set up, ordain or to prove—His covenant.
God made a covenant with Abraham and established it again with Isaac and Jacob. In that covenant, He promised to bless and multiply them and their seed. He is bound to His Word, and therefore He is bound to bring that increase into our lives if we will walk by faith with Him.
It is time for the increase of the people of God to be, “…exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…” (Ephesians 3:20 NKJV). It is the day for increase to come and the message of faith in God to flourish.
As we increase, we are able to use this wealth to further establish God’s covenant in others. The ultimate plan for our increase is that the message and power of His covenant may be brought to all people—worldwide.
We must lay hold on our covenant, and God will establish His covenant of increase in us.
John Chapter 2
King James Version (KJV)
2 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:
2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.
3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.
4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.
5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.
7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.
8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.
9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,
10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.
11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
12 After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days.
13 And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:
15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;
16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.
17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?
19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
21 But he spake of the temple of his body.
22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.
23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.
24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men,
25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Go In The Strength You Have!
The champions recorded in the Bible experienced great difficulty, even impossible situations, yet they prevailed in the most difficult of times. These were ordinary men and women who, during hard times, triumphed over every obstacle when they obeyed the Lord’s instructions. Whether they encountered sickness, poverty, weakness, imprisonment, or hunger, God’s power was strong on their behalf—that is, as long as they obeyed Him. But if they ever turned away from the Lord, they opened the door for serious trouble.
On one occasion after Israel turned to other gods, they suffered seven years of terrorism at the hands of the Midianites (see Judges 6:1). The Midianites’ intense cruelty forced Israel to retreat to the mountains and hide in caves. Year after year, Israel would plant and cultivate their crops, but just before harvest time the Midianites would arrive in such overwhelming numbers that it looked like an invasion of locusts had swept over the land.
The invading forces would camp in the fields, destroying the crops and reducing Israel to severe poverty and despair. These outlaws didn’t raid Israel’s camp to bring back food to feed their own families. They destroyed Israel’s crops so the people would starve. The Midianites intimidated, violated, and brutalized the people of God.
But God had not forsaken His people. Even though their own disobedience had opened the door to suffering at the hands of their enemies, God still had a plan to deliver them. That deliverance would come through a most unlikely source—a young man from the tribe of Manasseh named Gideon.
The divine call came to Gideon after one of the Midianites’ assaults on Israel’s land. He was busy scraping together some leftover wheat to hide in a wine press, out of view from the Midianites, when suddenly he heard a voice say, “…The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour” (Judges 6:12 KJV).
At the sound of this voice, Gideon froze. Could it be the voice of a sneering Midianite who had returned to kill him? Perhaps it was Gideon’s neighbor who had seen him gathering food and had come to steal the wheat for his own family.
Then Gideon looked up and saw that it was an angel of the Lord who had spoken. “Sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about?…” (Judges 6:13 NLT).
Gideon’s immediate response to the angel revealed his own lack of strong faith. Instead of recognizing that the Lord had sent an angel in answer to Israel’s cries, Gideon immediately began accusing God, asking, “Why has this happened to us?” and “Where are the miracles?”
The Lord had already sent a prophet to warn the Israelites. However, they had refused to listen or obey the Lord (v. 10) and as a result, they were now being oppressed by their enemies. Yet rather than take responsibility for Israel’s rebellion, Gideon blamed God for the problems he and his people were suffering.
Gideon complained, “…Where are all the miracles…?” He was so focused on and overwhelmed by the problems his people faced that he didn’t even recognize the fact that the miracle they’d been crying out for was standing right in front of him!
We cannot allow ourselves to become like Gideon—so focused on our problems that we don’t recognize the answer when God sends it to us.
2 Corinthians Chapter 5
King James Version (KJV)
5 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:
3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.
4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
12 For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart.
13 For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause.
14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:
15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Thursday, October 11, 2018
God Will Use What You Have
Jeremiah tells us what happens to those who trust in man and refuse to obey the Lord: “Thus says the Lord: ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes…” (Jeremiah 17:5,6 NKJV).
What a tragedy! God is always faithful to send the answer. But too often we are like Gideon who was so busy complaining and trying to provide for himself that he didn’t even see when good came!
The angel completely ignored Gideon’s complaints and went on to say, “…’Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!'” (v. 14). What a remarkable statement!
Notice the angel didn’t say the Israelites would be rescued after their strength increased. He said, “Go with the strength you have.” Evidently, whatever strength Gideon possessed was all he needed. In himself, Gideon was weak, but God never expected him to fight in his own strength.
Like so many others have done through the ages when presented with their divine assignment, Gideon argued with God. “But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!” (v. 15). Gideon was persuaded that his family was weak and insignificant. And if his family wasn’t pitiful enough, Gideon claimed to be the weakest of them all!
But God doesn’t look at what we don’t have; He looks at what we do have. Gideon didn’t see himself as a mighty man of valor, but from God’s perspective, he was! The Lord knew that as He worked with Gideon, the young man’s strength would be matchless.
So the angel said to Gideon, “…I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man” (v. 16). Gideon’s small strength united with God’s matchless ability would empower him to defeat an entire nation as though it were a one-man army!
That’s the power available to us when we bind ourselves to God. The prophet Isaiah spoke of the availability of this strength: “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 NKJV).
The word “wait” means to bind together by twisting. When we wrap ourselves around the Lord, His Word, and His Spirit, we take on His strength—a strength that is unmatched by any other.
Gideon spoke only about his weakness, but the angel spoke only about his strength. We can learn an important lesson from this account of Gideon’s life: God wants us to look at every situation we face from His perspective and not our own. As Jesus said to Peter, “…You stand right in My way when you look at things from man’s perspective and not God’s” (Matthew 16:23 BCJ).
What perspective are we looking from, ours or God’s? Do we look at what we don’t have, or what God does have? Perspective is everything.
Matthew Chapter 16
King James Version (KJV)
16 The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.
2 He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.
3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?
4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.
5 And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.
6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.
8 Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?
9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?
12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.
21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
Friday, October 12, 2018
Unlimited Resources Available
It was a difference in perspective that caused the ten spies to return to Moses with an evil report that melted the hearts of the people, while Joshua and Caleb declared in faith, “Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it” (Numbers 13:30 NKJV).
The ten spies saw themselves as grasshoppers to be trampled under the enemy’s feet. Joshua and Caleb saw themselves well able to do what God had promised they could do. Notice that all the spies saw the same giants, but two of them viewed those giants from a very different perspective than the other ten.
Perspective is everything in the Kingdom of God. Recently I saw this principle hold true in the case of a friend who was going to be interviewed by a primetime investigative television broadcast. As I prayed about this interview, the Lord prompted me to tell him, “Be strong and very courageous, and no one will be able to stand against you.”
When I told my friend what the Lord said, he immediately answered, “Oh, I’m not afraid.” But up to that point, no one had mentioned fear—except him!
The Lord wanted to empower my friend with the same supernatural strength and courage that enabled Joshua to defeat 31 nations. Although this man might disagree, I believe his response revealed that fear, not faith, governed his heart. As Jesus said, “…For whatever is in your heart determines what you say” (Matthew 12:34).
But we have nothing to fear when God is on our side! Gideon learned this truth after he finally accepted the assignment God had given him. The Lord told him to sneak over to the Midianites’ camp and listen to what they were saying.
“Gideon crept up just as a man was telling his companion about a dream. The man said, ‘I had this dream, and in my dream a loaf of barley bread came tumbling down into the Midianite camp. It hit a tent, turned it over, and knocked it flat!’ His companion answered, ‘Your dream can mean only one thing—God has given Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite, victory over Midian and all its allies!'” (Judges 7:13,14 NLT).
If only God’s people could do what Gideon did—sneak into their enemies’ camp and listen to what they say about the power of our God! For instance, consider the time the city of Jericho heard that the Red Sea had opened as a walkway for God’s people but had destroyed all those who were pursuing them. The people of Jericho said: “We heard it and our hearts sank. We all had the wind knocked out of us. And all because of you, you and God, your God, God of the heavens above and God of the earth below” (Joshua 2:12 Message).
When will God’s people realize that the kingdom of darkness trembles at the thought of what their God can do?
King James Version (KJV)
21 The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.
2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts.
3 To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
4 An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.
5 The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.
6 The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.
7 The robbery of the wicked shall destroy them; because they refuse to do judgment.
8 The way of man is froward and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right.
9 It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.
10 The soul of the wicked desireth evil: his neighbour findeth no favour in his eyes.
11 When the scorner is punished, the simple is made wise: and when the wise is instructed, he receiveth knowledge.
12 The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked: but God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness.
13 Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.
14 A gift in secret pacifieth anger: and a reward in the bosom strong wrath.
15 It is joy to the just to do judgment: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.
16 The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.
17 He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.
18 The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous, and the transgressor for the upright.
19 It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.
20 There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.
21 He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.
22 A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty, and casteth down the strength of the confidence thereof.
23 Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.
24 Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath.
25 The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.
26 He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.
27 The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?
28 A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly.
29 A wicked man hardeneth his face: but as for the upright, he directeth his way.
30 There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord.
31 The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the Lord.