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The Anointing Part 1

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners… . “
(Isaiah 61:1 NIV) 

Notice the order of things Isaiah was called to do: 1) preach the good news, 2) bind up the brokenhearted, and 3) proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for prisoners. What was the first thing Isaiah was called to do? Preach the good news. Broken hearts will not experience true restoration without first accepting the good news. Captives will not experience true freedom without first accepting the good news. Prisoners will not experience the light of life without first accepting the good news. Preaching the good news is the key for the fulfillment of the subsequent promises spoken through Isaiah. So let me ask you, how many people have you preached the good news to lately? More importantly, how many relationships do you have with people who do not know Jesus? The majority of people who become believers do so due to a relationship with a genuine believer. Too often we encapsulate ourselves within a bubble of going to church, going to our Bible study small group, meeting our Christian friends for lunch, and participating in the church softball league. None of those things are wrong, but if our schedule is only filled with spending time with Christians, we have left no room for time with unbelievers. In Romans 10 Paul asks the recipients of his letter how the lost can believe in the one of whom they have not heard? We must be intentional to seek out the lost and proclaim the good news. Our loving actions will win over their hearts which should open their minds to hear the message we are proclaiming. And it is only through the acceptance of the Good News that they will be able to experience true freedom and restoration in life.

Be blessed,

Noree

 

 

Photo Credit: https://www.freeimages.com/photo/olive-oil-bottle-1322824

Is Prayer Your Steering Wheel or Spare Tire?

“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”
Jeremiah 29:12

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Jeremiah 29:12

Have you ever felt that God wasn’t hearing your prayers? Have you ever just felt far from God for no apparent reason?

The verse in Jeremiah tells us that God does hear us, and he is near (even when it doesn’t feel like it) But to get a better understanding of what he means when he says “then” we need look at little deeper to get the full picture.

This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:10-13

We notice that God tells us specifically of his promises (to prosper us and not to harm us) and the very next verse we are promised that when we call on him and pray to him we will listen to us.

Whenever someone listens (and not just hears) what I have to say it means alot to me. How does it make you feel when someone listens to you? When is the last time someone just listened to you?

Yeah that’s what I thought, usually when we go to people in hopes that they will just listen, we are met with unsolicited advice and several possible solutions thrown at us instead of just a listening ear.

Why do we keep going to other people to listen when it goes against their human nature, when we can go to God who infallibly listens to us?

We set ourselves up for failure when we look to man to fill a void that only God can.

Now think of who you know that is more likely to listen to you (and you are more likely to listen to them) Usually they have two traits in common:

  • We care we have a higher level of compassion and empathy.
  • We have a intimate relationship with the person.

Relate this to our heavenly father, He listens because he cares and because we have an intimate relationship with him. Here’s the deal though because He listens to us, He wants us to listen to Him. He longs to be our first thought instead of our last resort.

Blessings and Love,

Stephanie

 

 

 

Photo Credit: image created via wordswag

Faith, Faults, and Failures

“And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith . . .”
 Hebrews 11:32-33 NASB

Hebrews 11 is often referred to as the ‘hall of faith’ chapter in the Bible. Among its verses you read of the remarkable reliance and trust of men and women such as Abraham, Sarah, Joseph, Moses, and Rahab. As I was reading this chapter recently, verses 32 and 33 caught my attention. I’m familiar with most of the men listed in verse 32, but Jephthah, not so much. What had he done that would merit his name to be listed in this faith chapter?

Upon research, I discovered that Jephthah, an Israelite from Gilead, was driven out of town after he grew up because he was the son of a harlot. But, because he was a mighty warrior, he was summoned to come and fight against the warring Ammonites. The Gileadite elders made him their head and chief; he became their judge for six years. However, Jephthah made a tragic vow to the LORD. If God would give him victory over his enemies, he would sacrifice whatever came out of his house when he returned in peace. It cost him the life of his daughter, his one and only child. How sad!

What of the other men listed in verse 32? What was hiding among their faithful acts?

Gideon – because of his fear of the people, he destroyed the idols of Baal and the Asherah as God commanded, but at night instead of in the daytime. He also asked not once, but twice, for a sign from God that He would deliver Israel through him.

Barak – was summoned to fight against Israel’s enemies, but he refused to go unless Deborah, the judge, went with him. As a result, Barak was victorious, but the honor of defeating the enemies’ commander Sisera was given to an obscure woman, Jael, and not him.

Samson – used by God to defeat the oppressive Philistines; but his weakness for women, and especially Delilah, became his downfall.

David – was known as a man after God’s own heart, yet he committed adultery and murder.

Samuel – was one of the greatest prophets of old, yet both of his sons turned from following God and were dishonest, took bribes, and perverted justice.

Sometimes it’s easy to focus on the less than stellar actions of others and even ourselves. We all have faults and failures as did the great list of people in the hall of faith. Nevertheless, I find such hope and encouragement in the fact that God chose to remember them for their great faith, not for the lack thereof. Let us do the same.

“who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut   the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.Hebrews             11:33-34 NASB (emphasis mine)

[Digging deeper – Judges 11 – 12:7; Hebrews 11:1-40]

Living by faith,

Beverly <><

 

 

 

Photo Credit: photo by Beverly Lussi