Archive for June, 2013
Jesus said, “My peace I give to you; not as the world gives” (John 14:27 NKJV). Peace does not mean escaping your trouble by relaxing in a soothing bubble bath, because once you’re finished, the trouble is still there waiting for you.
One meaning of the word peace is “destroying the stronghold that creates chaos.” The way to live in the peace that Jesus gives is to destroy the stronghold that creates chaos in your life, and the stronghold of chaos is a spirit of fear. If you’re living in fear, you’ll never be able to live in peace. God said in II Timothy 1:7 that He has not given you a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love, and a sound mind. So if a spirit of fear is trying to attach itself to you, it’s not from God, and you don’t want it! But you can’t wish it away, think it away, hope it away, or read it away. It’s a spirit. And there is only one way to get rid of a spirit—take authority over it with the Word of God!
If someone came to your front door with a bomb, and you had the choice of opening the door and accepting it or slamming the door and refusing it, what would you do? Of course you would refuse it! The spirit of fear is just like that. Since God didn’t give it to you, you have a Bible right to say, “I refuse fear! I’m not going to have it!”
You can take authority over fear by saying, “God, I can’t handle this in my humanness or in my natural ability, but I can handle it in the Spirit. And, satan, I call you what you are. You’re a liar, a thief, and the author of confusion and chaos. I will have no part of you, in the Name of Jesus!”
Some years ago, our family was staying on the seventeenth floor of a hotel in California when at 4:57 in the morning we were suddenly jolted out of our beds by a massive earthquake. Lamps crashed to the floor, and the walls shook violently. The windows rattled, and the floor rolled back and forth as the building swayed and shuddered uncontrollably. I could hear people screaming in the hallways. As Lindsay and I rushed to our children, the devil spoke to my mind and said, “The top floors are going to come crashing down on you, and you’re all going to die.”
But the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and reminded me that I was called to preach in forty nations. At that time, I’d only preached in seven, and He assured me, “You’re not going to die now in an earthquake.” I spoke that word out loud to Lindsay, and all of a sudden the room stopped shaking. Everything stopped rattling and rolling, and there was a calm. We went back to sleep, and the next morning we went to church and preached.
Out of that experience I learned about overcoming the shake, rattle, and roll of life. First, when things come to shake you, they come to cause doubt. Doubt tries to creep into everyone’s life—it’s no respector of persons. Satan is always going to try to shake something in our lives because he has an assignment against us. John 10:10 says, The thief cometh not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I [Jesus] am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
We don’t have to be shaken! We can stand strong in our faith in our times of shaking, because greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world! (See I John 4:4.)
Jesus gave us two impossibles¾maybe more¾but two in particular. First, He said that it is impossible but that offenses will come (see Matthew 18:7). He meant that we’re going to offend somebody, or somebody is going to offend us.
The second impossible Jesus mentioned is that unless we forgive, we cannot be forgiven (see Matthew 6:14,15). Unless I forgive someone else for what they’ve done to me, I cannot be forgiven for what I have done to them or others. Two impossibles.
There is something about offending someone or living in the strain of that offense and being unforgiven that is evidently too heavy for a human being to bear. It throws us off balance.
I remember once when our oldest granddaughter Brenda, who was ten at the time, came to spend the night with Evelyn and me. But her usual joy of visiting was not present. Then her mother, our daughter Rebecca, called, and we heard Brenda say, “Mommy, I’m sorry too.” Then, “Mommy, I want you to forgive me too.” Apparently, they’d had a dispute. After that conversation, Brenda relaxed, and we were able to have the marvelous time we always had when our grandchildren visited.
We are affected by forgiveness¾whether we have it or we don’t have it. I believe we should forgive and plant that forgiveness as a seed of faith. Whether anyone ever forgives us or not, we are to forgive. That’s what Christ did on the Cross. While the soldiers were killing Him, He said, Father, forgive them (Luke 23:34).
Forgiveness is one of the greatest seeds of faith you’ll ever plant because God can multiply it back to you. Through forgiving, you also can be forgiven.
Recently I had one of those days when, from the moment I got up in the morning, everything I did went wrong. You name it; pick anything. As soon as I crawled out of bed and opened my eyes, everything that could go wrong did…and much, much more!
Needless to say, when I finally got home that evening I was exhausted and frustrated. And I had a tip-of-the-iceberg moment where I was going to blow it.
Suddenly I began to chuckle because I realized that at that moment I had a golden opportunity to really get ticked off or let God be God. Ironically, I had just been teaching about blessing the Lord with your mouth. But it’s easy to bless the Lord when everything is going right. It’s not as easy when everything is going wrong.
Well, I began to just bless the Lord. I believe with all of my heart that the Lord had spent the day in heaven just watching me, saying, “Is she going to bless Me so I can bless her, or is she going to lose it? Is she going to give this situation over to Me, or is she going to give in to the devil’s plan?”
As I began to bless the Lord, I believe He put a chain of events in motion and said, “Because she chose to bless me, I’ll reward her.” Not long after, the telephone rang, and it was a friend of mine who seems to always shows up at my door when I’m in a crisis mode. She said she was coming over to bring me a new outfit! Because I blessed God, He blessed me!
Psalm 22:3 says that God inhabits the praises of His people. If you’re having a bad day…everything is going wrong…bless the Lord. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that when we begin to bless God, He begins to bless us!