God is messing with your enemy's head!

Day 64 (Category: Spiritual Warfare)

Today’s Reading: Num. 32-34, Mark 9:30-50

Today’s Reflection: Numbers 33:40 And king Arad the Canaanite, which dwelt in the south in the land of Canaan, heard of the coming of the children of Israel.

Sandwiched right in the middle of the list of places Israel had pitched their tents is a reference that almost seems out of place, because the passage gives no more light on the subject other than what seems to just be a bit of what we might call trivial information. Israel went here, Israel went there, King Arad heard they were on their way, Israel went here, Israel went there, so on and so on, etc. etc. Did you catch that? What felt like it should have been in parenthesis or a footnote was prominently positioned right where the Holy Ghost wanted it. God wanted us to know that King Arad, a ruler in Canaan land, had gotten word that God’s people were on their way! While Israel may have felt like they were making no progress at all, the enemy was getting nervous. The enemy seemed to be more aware of Israel’s progress than they did. Sometimes it is difficult for us, in the middle of our travels to our destiny, to detect how close we are getting, and sometimes the enemy knows more of our progress than we do! You may feel like you’re getting nowhere, but if you’ve been faithfully serving God, rest assured, the current powers that be are nervous at the prospects of your arrival because they know that it was nothing short of a miracle for you to even be where you are today! They know that if you make it to their borders, they stand NO chance against you and your God! That said, you know you’re getting close to your destiny when the “kings” take notice! For us, a “king” might represent whatever is standing in our way of getting to where God is taking us. In the Kingdom of God, this represents overcoming strongholds that have stood almost relentlessly to resist our progress in getting a foothold, establishing a strong presence in the Earth, and influencing this world to turn to Christ. Whatever your enemy’s name, whoever your “king” may be, just know that you’re closer to victory and possession of the Promised Land than you realize. The enemy wants us to THINK that we’re not making a difference. He wants us to THINK that we’re too small and insignificant. He wants us to THINK that he has giants in his land that will defeat us when we arrive. HOWEVER, just keep marching on, because the closer you get to the promised land, the more nervous and ill equipped “King Arad” will be; because, you don’t know it, but God is messing with his head to prepare him for defeat and you for victory. So MARCH ON, child of God, march on!

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Jesus: Can you hear Him now?

Day 63 (Category: Jesus)

Today’s Reading: Num. 29-31 & Mark 9:1-29

Today’s Reflection: Mark 9:8 And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves.

First, let’s get the backdrop: Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James, and John so that his clothing turned a brilliant white, so excellent and pure that Earth could not produce such brilliance. Also, there was Elijah the Prophet and Moses the lawgiver having a conversation with Jesus. It was a sight to see! Any of us who claim to follow Christ would LOVE to have experienced this moment with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration. The disciples were SO excited, and yet so afraid (see verse 6), that they felt this level of glorious revelation required some kind of an attempt to commemorate and honor such an experience for generations to come. So, since they didn’t know what to say, they got what my good friend Scott Boatner calls the “let’s just DO SOMETHING!” mentality. They suggested building three temples, one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. Sounded good to them! BUT, the Father did not approve. He immediately replied out of a cloud above them, saying in verse seven, “This is my beloved Son: hear him.” Then the entire supernatural scenery disappeared and all they were left with was Jesus, in his humble bodily form, with natural earth tone, and possibly earth-marred clothing, just as he was before the revelation. Keep that in mind. Now, looking back at verse one, Jesus said unto them, that there would be some of them that would not die until they “have seen the kingdom of God come with power”. I think it not ironic that it was immediately after this statement that this experience on the mount took place. So, what does all of this mean? Consider this: God decided to give His disciples a glimpse of Christ’s power and glory, from a Heavenly perspective. Up to this point, they had only seen Christ from the natural eye’s point of view, but it was time to elevate their perspective! HOWEVER, once the elevated perspective had been given, God then immediately took it away so that the ONLY focal point from this point forward would be Jesus. Here’s the point: God’s greatest display of the power and glory of His kingdom is embodied in the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ! And before you think you need to see what they saw with the natural eye to benefit from their experience, I wish to point out that The Father did not say, “Don’t forget what you SAW!” Instead, He took all the visual stimulation away and simply ended with, “hear him.” Are you listening?

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Can God use YOUR spirit?

Day 62 (Category: Leadership)

Today’s Reading: Num. 26-28 & Mark 8

Today’s Reflection: Numbers 27:18 And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him;

It was time for Moses to begin the process of preparing the next leader of Israel to take his place. He asked The Lord to set a man over the congregation who, in essence, would be a shepherd to the house of Israel, leading them in and out, going before them as he leads. As Moses spoke with The Lord about this, he identified Him as “the God of the spirits of all flesh," knowing that only God would know what man among them had the right spirit with which to lead. It was important to have someone that was approved of God, and not someone that just appeared outwardly to be good leadership material according to men’s standards. So, God responded to Moses’ prayer in verse eighteen with these words, “Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit…” When asked who had the right SPIRIT…or one might say, the right HEART with which to lead, God already had a man in mind, whom He had already been preparing against this day. It is important now to note that when God looks for a leader, the only thing He is looking for is someone “in whom is the spirit,"; that is, someone who possesses the kind of spirit that is subject to and sensitive to the Spirit of God. Consider, for example, the prayer of King David (who, by the way, was a man after God’s own heart) in Psalm 51:10, who said, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” It was this kind of attitude David had that made him “King material," and it was this same kind of attitude that made Joshua the kind of leadership material good enough to follow in the footsteps of Moses. The word spirit literally means wind, breath, & mind. It carries with it the idea of possessing life in the soul and guidance in the mind by the very breath or Spirit of God. This brings to mind when The Lord formed Adam of the dust of the ground, and when he breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, he became a living soul. That said, our text would imply that Joshua’s spirit wasn’t just a troubled and famished spirit isolated from God’s presence and guidance, but rather that he was, as close as an Old Testament saint could be, filled with (or at least guided by) the Spirit of God for the purpose for which he was placed on this planet. Now, today’s question is this: Do you have the kind of spirit that God would select and use for His glory? Or, is your spirit all fouled up and out of sorts with God’s purpose for your life? Surrender!

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They say every man has his price. What about you? Consider this...

Day 61 (Category: Commitment)

Today’s Reading: Num. 23-25 & Mark 7:14-37

Today’s Reflection: Numbers 24:11 Therefore now flee thou to thy place: I thought to promote thee unto great honour; but, lo, the LORD hath kept thee back from honour.

We do not demand ANYTHING from The Lord! Unfortunately, king Balak just didn’t get that. He was attempting to convince the prophet Balaam to curse Israel for his sake, but Balaam could not and therefore would not. What is puzzling to me about this entire passage, however, is how Balaam attempted to go along with king Balak’s plan on three different occasions in three different locations to use enchantments to see if they might essentially persuade The Lord to change His mind. It is obvious that Balaam was interested in the financial gain he would achieve were he successful in getting God to cooperate with Balak’s plan. However, even though Balaam was not right in his motives or intentions, God’s blessing upon Israel was so powerful that Balaam could not curse them even if he tried. As a matter of fact, the third time he thought he’d ask God to revisit the subject and reconsider, he was overtaken by God’s Spirit and literally fell into a trance only to speak the blessing that God had for His people. In other words, God over-ruled Balaam’s desire and forced him to bless, even when he had hoped to curse them for financial gain. We know this was his intent because of his continual attempts at seeking The Lord on this matter even though God had already made it clear to him from day one. Now the lesson we can learn is this; we should seek only the approval, honor, and blessings of God and not the promotions of men. It was interesting to me that in the new testament Balaam is only mentioned for his greed, although in our text he did follow through, at least externally (if even by force), with precisely the will of God concerning the matter. So why was he still demoted, not only in the natural world, but in the spiritual ranks? It was not because of outward disobedience, but inward disobedience. God knew that Balaam had a price. He could be bought. Although God did not let him go there, the point is, had God not stopped him, he might very well have gone in the wrong direction. So in our selected verse, king Balak had it wrong…God did not withhold honor from Balaam…he did that to himself, because he was for sale. There’s no honor in putting yourself up for sale. Success in this world gives you no advancement towards the favor of God. BUT, the favor of God could give you advancement towards success in life as you serve Him in your purpose. Question: Do you have a price? Or, are you “not for sale”?

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If you can handle the pressure, then you can handle the promise!

Day 60 (Category: Trials)

Today’s Reading: Num. 20-22 & Mark 7:1-13

Today’s Reflection: Numbers 21:4 And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.

Do not lose sight of your destination because of the journey. Too often we forget that we are headed somewhere! But wait…are we? May I say, that’s up to you? Understand that when you focus entirely on the journey and lose sight of the final destination, you have become a person with no vision and therefore no direction, left only to get snake-bitten and poisoned to death in the harsh wilderness of your bitter complaints. Though the wilderness was a harsh way to go for Israel in order to get them over to the Promised Land, it was the ONLY way to go. A closer look into today’s reading will also reveal that the wilderness wasn’t just necessary because of its geographical position, but it was also necessary because of its testing qualities. God had to gravitate Israel from weak and beggarly, slave-like tendencies, to a strong and resourceful, kingdom-minded people in order for them to be prepared inwardly to manage and handle the blessing He had waiting for them. SO, their faith was to stand trial through the wilderness. If they could handle the pressure, then they could handle the promise. HOWEVER, many did not pass the test. Instead of remembering who God has been and presently was to them, they forgot His mighty works and reverted back to natural-minded ordinary means of provisions that required no Divine purpose, but yet cost them their freedom. Yet, they thought they’d rather be back in Egypt than to have to learn to trust God day by day for their provisions, even though they were now a free people. That said, God then did something very powerful; He required that they look to the thing that they detested the most for healing. He forced them to look at their tribulation as their triumph. As snake-bitten friends, family, and neighbors were already dying because of the snakes, those who were still breathing had two choices; either continue to complain and die in their soul-poisoned condition of bitterness, or trust God to turn the very thing that was cursing them into a blessing. It was really just about perspective. So, as they looked to the fiery serpent which Moses lifted up, all who were bitten and looked on the serpent were healed. Here’s the word; instead of cursing your journey, your situation, your condition, your trial, or what have you, simply take another look at it from a different perspective, asking God to turn your trial into a blessing, and He will do just that. Now, will YOU pass the test?

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Vision vs. Process

Day 59 (Category: Faith)

Today’s Reading: Num. 17-19 & Mark 6:30-56

Today’s Reflection: Mark 6:37a He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat…

Imagine that! Jesus places for the disciples what they considered to be a tall order! How were they to feed thousands with only a couple of fish and a few loaves of bread? I really like Jesus’ style. He gives them the instruction before He leads them through the process. In one sentence He gives both the vision and the assignment…. "Give ye them to eat." While He does so, He fully anticipates the participation of the disciples as He unveils, step by step, exactly how this is to happen. God will often show us the big picture first, and then lead us step by step from point A to point Z in the process of fulfilling the vision He gives us for our lives in His Kingdom. The key to fulfilling God’s will and being instrumental in the miraculous is to operate in simple obedience and faith, on simple step at a time. It is worth pointing out that Jesus was fully capable of pulling this entire event off Himself, but in this instance, Jesus was multi-tasking. Though He had compassion on the multitudes, and though He wanted to feed them, it really wasn’t just about the needs of the multitude. It was about the needs of the disciples. You see, Jesus was teaching and training them to operate in faith. He was showing them how to tap into Heaven’s resources through faith in an otherwise impossible situation. He was letting them know that the assignments ahead in their ministries would be impossible with men, but possible with God. He was building up their most holy faith. No doubt later when Peter came back to Christ after denying Him thrice, and Jesus instructed him to “feed my lambs”, he must have remembered this event fresh in his mind when Jesus asked him and his friends to feed the multitudes with nothing more than obedience, faith, and a meager supply. Jesus was giving them ammo. Jesus was preparing them for when they would need encouragement as they faced humanly impossible situations while preaching the gospel. It was imperative that they know that with each assignment is given the power and the supply to pull it off when they trust and obey. Admittedly, at first, they did not get it. But don’t you know that later on in their more mature years of ministry, that those seeds of faith came into full bloom and the lessons were finally learned, and not a minute too soon! Now, what about you? What are you avoiding that God has asked you to do, simply because you’ve looked at your limited supply instead of His endless power? If you’re in that place, simply take the first step of faith, and God will lead you step by step!

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Church...It just doesn't work that way!

Day 58 (Category: Pastoral Authority)

Today’s Reading: Num. 15-16 & Mark 6:1-29

Today’s Reflection: Numbers 16:7b …ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi.

Are you one of the “sons of Levi”? Let’s hope not…at least not in this context. Here’s why. They assumed that the call Moses had on his life was self-acclaimed, and therefore common and duplicable by anyone else who thought they could take on the same responsibilities and make just as good or better leadership calls than Moses himself. The only problem was, they were wrong! They accused Moses of taking too much upon himself, or in other words, assuming a higher leadership position than he was either capable or called to take. Moses’ reply is classic. He responds with the same wording as found in verse seven, “…ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi.” You see, they had two strikes already against them; first, they dared come against God’s anointed servant, and second, they thought they could stand in his place to do what he did, essentially for the purpose of taking his God-called responsibilities away from him. Sound familiar in any modern day settings? I am sad to report to you that this same dynamic occurs today in way too many churches around the world, where the Pastor is essentially stripped from his God-given role as the leader of the flock, while others in the church take it upon themselves to call all the shots, as if it is their place Biblically to do so. Herein lies the problem. When God sets an order of leadership, no amount of man-made re-organizing will ever be as successful as God’s way, or be approved by God. God either wants total submission or no submission at all. He would rather we be hot or cold, but never luke-warm. Question: is your church structured to where the Pastor is given authority to operate in his calling to the fullest extent of the Word of God? If not, why? Don’t you know that if and when a church strips its pastor of his God-given ability to guide the church in the direction of the Holy Spirit’s leading, that church is only asking for trouble? Dear friend, if you are in a church where this is happening, my advice to you is either to help effect immediate change towards the Biblical model of church leadership, or leave and find a church that operates under such a model. God may not open up the ground and swallow a church up for deliberately tying a pastors’ hands behind his back (though He could), but He certainly will hold them accountable, and withhold His blessings upon such a church unless and until they repent and set their house in order. Please support your God-called pastor, and give him the room he needs to lead Biblically.

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It is time to WORK your faith!

Day 57 (Category: Faith)

Today’s Reading: Num. 12-14 & Mark 5:21-43

Today’s Reflection: Numbers 14:24 But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.

Wow! Has God ever given you a shout-out like that? “But my servant Caleb…” First, that God would distinguish Caleb from the rest as His servant, implying that all others who were of doubtful disposition were NOT His servants, is worthy of noting in and of itself! But He did not stop there. He goes on and tells us more about this choice servant of His, “…because he had another spirit with him…” Hmmm, another spirit? YES! A faith-filled spirit! Caleb REFUSED to adopt this foul-spirited, pessimistic, doubtful attitude that had infested most of the camp. He stood out above and beyond the crowd, so much so that in verse ten they wanted to stone him, along with Joshua, for being of this different spirit. Isn’t it amazing how so many people will join the band wagon of stoning anyone that dares to be boldly and courageously different in their attitude? ESPECIALLY those who are of the true household of FAITH! If you want the most enemies both in the natural and spiritual realm, just DARE to believe God, stay positive, and maintain a pioneering spirit with a courage that will not back down to the giants of normalcy and status quo. You see, Caleb was a mover and shaker. Just because things were as they were, did not mean they had to stay that way. Caleb chose to trust that obedience and faith in God would shift things around to where the things that were in the way, such as the giants, would be quickly removed and a new order would come into play. Caleb did not take the passive approach that things should just remain as they are. No, but instead, he insisted to effect positive change in the right direction, even at the high cost of effort and advancement. You see, the truth is, we want our faith to do all the work for us after we are saved, but honestly, “serving faith” is different than “saving faith” in that “serving faith” requires you to put some effort into that for which you trust God to help you accomplish. Israel, up to this point, experienced “saving faith”; that is, salvation by God and not of their own works. But now, after their deliverance, God wants to teach them how to implement work into their “serving faith” in order for that faith to be fully activated, functional, & fruitful. Caleb was now willing to illustrate his faith through his efforts, believing God to help him win the battle. He no longer expected God to just spoon feed him anymore. It was time to WORK that faith! May God help US to be of this same spirit!

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