Pentecost (Acts 2:1) is the Greek name for the Hebrew Festival of weeks (Exodus 34:22), which was the celebration on first fruits of the wheat harvest. This was the festival in which the Holy Spirit was poured out in Jerusalem (Acts 2:1-4) and is also considered by many the “birthday” of the Church, as the first reference to converts being “added to the church” follows the Spirit’s outpouring (Acts 2:47).
On our calendar, Sunday June 9th was the Day of Pentecost. Let’s take a moment this week and reflect and thank God for sending the “other comforter” (John 14:26) to the earth and giving us a Body called the Church, to do the work of God’s Kingdom here on the earth. Happy Pentecost!
The Lord is the God of INCREASE. Before attacking Job, Satan recognized the blessings of the Lord on everything Job touched. Satan said, “His possessions have increased in the land” (Job 1:10). The enemy recognizes progress and increase. The devil knows that your increase means you will have a realm of influence. Your influence can affect the decisions of others. People listen to those who have influence. Successful people listen to those with a testimony of HOW success came to them. They know that results come only through tests and trials! The Biblical principle is that great testing comes before great blessing. (Exodus 2, 3; 1 Samuel 30:1-4) But God is a God of increase! He will never leave you with less. It may seem that you are on a decline that you have less than ever before. But can you be determined like Ruth? Can you work alone in the gleaning corner? Can you enjoy isolation from friends and family, knowing God will eventually increase you? Many scriptures speak about increase (see Psalm 115:14, Proverbs 18:20, 1 Corinthians 3:6 and 1 Thessalonians 3:12). The widow in 2 Kings 4 was about to lose her home and two sons to her creditors. But a prophet of God had a plan and God had the provision. A supernatural oil supply broke forth in her home. She was able to sell the oil to pay her bills. That is “enough!” But then she is told to “live on the rest” (2 Kings 4:7). That is “INCREASE!” The 60-fold level is the ability to meet your needs and have something left over! God has promised to “supply our need,” but don’t be satisfied with merely having your needs met. Get excited about the possibility of having enough and then some! The highest level of blessing is the 100-fold level. This represents the level of total provision, as well as the level where you become a blessing to others. It is the realm of increase to where your “cup is running over” (Psalms 23:5). It is where you are blessed in order to be a blessing. “Though your beginning was small, yet your latter end would increase abundantly” (Job 8:7). When God blesses you, He has your future in mind. We live a day at a time, but God is a visionary. We pray, “Give us our daily bread,” and cannot peer into the future to determine where we are going. But God’s blessings are for our future. He who “declares the end from the beginning and the beginning from the end,” has already seen the future. He will come with the increase you need!
A great key to success in any endeavor is favor with both God and with people. At some point in time every person who has been successful in their field, walked through open doors that were released through favor. Favor is “special consideration or respect given to you by someone without a demand for equal compensation.” Grace is the gift of God’s Favor to us that believe! “In His favor is life.” (Psalm 30:5) God loved us so much that he gave us “undeserved favor” (grace). Favor came to Abraham, Moses, Daniel, Queen Esther and other patriarchs, because they were fully willing to obey God’s call and will for their lives. It is Favor with God that keeps Satan from overwhelming you with circumstances. Satan will stir up someone to oppose you to distract you from your purpose and mission. The spiritual battles you encounter are always over God’s Will. God’s will brings you into a position of Favor with people and a realm of influence with men. You could influence them to accept Christ, therefore Satan hinders your mission through distraction and disturbances caused by ignorant-Satan inspired by people. But we have a promise:
“When a man’s ways please the Lord, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”
There are three things you can do to produce favor in your life, with God and man:
1. Decree for Favor (Job 22:28) Begin to pray and decree that God will be with you in your day of trouble. (Matthew 5:44-45)
2. Begin to sow Favor. Sow seeds of hate and reap hate. Sow fear and reap fear. Sow Favor by being a blessing to someone and God will return the favor to you.
3. Seek to please God in every area of your life. It may take some time for your harvest of Favor to be experienced in your life, yet seek to please God. God “Is a rewarder of them that diligently see Him” (Hebrews 11:5-6)
Obedience will unlock Favor. That is the KEY!
May God’s Face (Favor) shine upon you!
If there is one phrase that immediately makes me feel exhausted it’s “spiritual warfare.” Having fought many battles in my life, it seems like I can never escape. I’ll be in a place where it’s like, “Yeah! I’m loving life right now and then next it’s like, “I’m tapping out.”
I’m currently in a battle. Are you? If so, I hope my somewhat orchestrated ramblings will make sense to you and hopefully encourage you into your victory.
There are a few different kinds of battles I have faced. 1) Battles I brought against myself knowing full well what I was getting myself into. 2) Physical battles. 3) Battles of spiritual warfare. Unfortunately, I am in a mix of all three of these battles, which is quite a doozy.
BUT I’m not alone, and neither are you. When Jesus died, rose again and ascended to His throne in the Heavenlies – He did it. He won all victory over all evil. ALL. So, why do we fight battles? Because the enemy is really mad. He’s mad because he’s lost, but because Jesus hasn’t returned for us yet, Satan is going to do whatever he can to get one last shot at winning (but he never will). If he can’t have the victory, he’ll try to steal the victors from us.
However, sometimes when we talk about spiritual warfare, we focus SO much on Satan that he becomes all we see and then we feel defeated. It’s like when Peter walked on the water. The moment he took his eyes off of Jesus, the waves began to take him under. But that isn’t the end, Jesus reaches out His faithful hand.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.”
We have a Mighty Warrior who fights our battles. He says I’m a winner and Satan is a loser. Alas, the devil is like a lion. He must feed. He must return and try again.
But with everything there is balance. Even in spiritual warfare. Is it all Satan? No. Is it all God? No. There’s a balance. Job is a supreme example. When Satan comes before the LORD after having searched for someone to prey upon, the LORD suggests Job. Is Job a bad man who deserves hardship? No, Job is a “blameless and upright man who fears God and shuns evil,” says God in Job 1:8. So is Job the only person ever to have been suggested by God to Satan? Not sure. I’d bet against it though. There are people right now on this earth who have quite a future before them and God has prepared a royal inheritance. We can choose to settle and be a peasant forever surviving off breadcrumbs, or we can choose to accept the inheritance and live as royalty thriving off the loaf.
The crumbs are so small that they will never fill you up. So even sitting on the floor eating crumbs that fall from the tabletop won’t be enough to last you when you leave the dinner table until the next meal. Ah, but the loaf sustains. It will fill your belly and you will be satisfied even when you have to leave the table until the next meal. Trials are not all that exists in life. There is a purpose for all and hope for the future. I would never take back any hardship I have faced – not one. Not even the worst ones. I seek to be like David who worshiped God in the midst of his trials. He allowed God’s presence to come and inhabit his praise bringing freedom for his soul. All you have to do is lift your gaze (Psalm 121).
“Your life may be a bunch of broken pieces, but God uses those pieces to make a beautiful work of art called a mosaic. And that is your life. A beautiful work of art.”
You can choose to be ugly. You can choose to be bitter at the broken pieces.
You can hand them over to the Artist and let Him tell your story by creating a beautiful, living, breathing work of art.
We must remember that the spiritual blessings promised in the New Covenant do not operate simply because they are inspired and printed in a Bible. The Word of God works when you take the instructions, follow them, speak them, and act upon them. When our problems are linked with recession, economic shaking and job changes, we must remember that the covenant of blessings does not hinge on the circumstances as we see them. Your faith in God can take you to places you have never been, allow you to meet people you have never encountered, work a job you never thought you could have, and receive resources that are an unexpected blessing. In these last days, the greatest blessings will come to those who put their trust in the Lord rather than man, the government, or handouts. Those who have passed the tests and proven they can be trusted to use the financial blessings to advance the Kingdom of God will be given the resources to do so. God will reward the people who are already proven givers. He will reward those who can properly discern the times and listen to the voices of the Holy Spirit. These people will have unique insight into what God is doing on earth and will know where the money should be spent. They will pay attention to the Lord’s directions and have wisdom to properly use the money for the advancement of the end-time Kingdom of God. Use the gifts God gave you to earn a living, and when He blesses the works of your hands, use the money wisely. Remember that you will never take any earthly belonging with you into the next life. But you will take the people who were won to Christ through the seeds you sowed into the Kingdom of God. You can either lay up your treasures here on earth, where you have use of them until you die, or you can store your treasures in heaven, where you will have use of them for eternity!
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also.” ~Matthew 6:19-21
In the patter of the Lord’s prayer, Christ taught we should pray that God would “give us this day our daily bread,” and that His “will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10-11). Thus, God’s will is not a one-time destination at which you “arrive,” sip sweet tea as you lie in your hammock surrounded by pine trees, while listening to the latest top ten contemporary Christian hits on your new headphones. The Christian walk may oftentimes resemble work more that it does a vacation. God’s will is progressive, and it can be missed if you willfully alter the course of your life through prayerless choices. Daily prayer maintains your focus on God’s plan by asking Him to manifest His Heaven-prepared plans on earth, and to help you walk out every day in line with his purpose. His purpose is linked with simply being at the right place at the right time with the right people. Every morning, I desire that the Lord allow me to be obedient in the smallest act and tiniest point. Every day you should pray, first thing in the morning, that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matt. 6:10), including His will on earth for you personally. Psalms 40:8 says, “I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is written in my heart.” The first phase od God’s will is receiving Him as Savior and then making Him Lord of your life. Following the will of God is as simple as reading the Bible and acting upon the practical life instructions that Christ laid out in the four Gospels. As a true believer in covenant with Christ, you must pursue specific lines of behavior to stay in God’s perfect will. Some call these “Christian ethics;” others, “Biblical Commandments; and others, “God’s do and don’t list.” Jesus said, “If you love me you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). The Holy Spirit will help you to do God’s will daily, as it is written, “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God” (Psa. 143:10). Daily prayer for God’s will and being obedient in the basic details will lead you to the place of God’s purpose for your life. Your “destiny” is not a one-time destination, but a continual process of obedience that leads to assignments. Just a penny adds up to dimes and dimes add up to dollars, our simple acts of kindness, words, and little actions of love add up to build a heavenly account that pleases the Father. In return, He releases blessing and favor, while directing your steps (Psa. 37:23).