Thursday, August 27, 2009

Protection and Provision in Hard Times...


In these uncertain times, I am sure that many of you may feel hopeless. As jobs disappear, homes are lost, families are torn apart, swine flu threatens, and the world schemes in hostility over how to "fix" our problems - life seems to be out of control. Where can you turn to for help? Where does your hope come from?

Psalm 91:1 -
"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty."

I love Psalm 91! I think it contains a powerful word that is especially comforting during these hard times. In fact, some of my favorite "key" words from Psalm 91 are...


These powerful "key" words really speak to my soul. I am drawn to press in, to search for God's deepest thoughts, as I hold this passage up against the very "real" struggles in life that seem to be so overwhelming, at times. Without supernatural intervention, certain life trials are sure to cause even the most optimistic of minds to fail.

So, as I pondered the first verse of Psalm 91 which says, "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty"... I found myself asking, "just where is the 'secret place'?"

Psalm 91:14 -
"Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name."

As I reflect on the lives of so many of the patriarchs mentioned in scripture, I notice they all have several things in common:

· the ability to HEAR GOD'S VOICE

These men and women of God "set their love upon Him". They knew God intimately because they spent each and every breathing moment seeking to understand Him. Their thoughts were continually aimed at worshipping the Lord, not only from within their heart, but also in worshipping Him by their actions. They sought to dwell in the "secret place" with God. They knew His name(s).

Were these Bible hero's perfect? Absolutely not; but they did all possess a sincere desire to please God in all of their ways. They were not afraid to be different. They didn't worry about what the crowd would say. These hero's of the faith lived a life that was so remarkably different than main stream society... even different than the main stream religious people of their day. They pursued an intimate relationship with El Elyon (The God Most High), and could not be satisfied until every word that God had spoken into their heart came to pass.

Psalm 91:2-3 -
"I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence."

The Lord is so pleased with us when we trust Him. He longs to protect us in times of trouble. His will is to deliver us from the snares of life. Imagine Him as a mighty umbrella. As the storms of life beat vehemently upon the windows of our soul, He says, "Run to me." He wants us to run out of the storm, and into His presence... which happens to be a place of shelter; a refuge and a fortress.

Psalm 91:4 -
"He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler."

God's Word is the TRUTH. Disappointing FACTS are only an opportunity to stand on God's Word. No matter what FACTS threaten you today, know that God's TRUTH will always prevail... when you dwell in the "secret place". The Lord does not force His will upon anyone. Even though His will is peaceful and full of His glory, still, He gives each one of us an opportunity to choose any path that may seem right in our own eyes. Oh, how He yearns for each of us to choose His perfect pathway that leads to victory. God has given us the manual for getting to the "secret place" and now He waits with open arms for us to seek Him out. El Yeshuati (the God of my salvation) not only wants us to find Him, but, He also wants us to rest in His presence continually.

Psalm 91:7 -
"A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee."

Do you really trust the Lord? Are you resting in the promises of God's Word; refusing to live in fear? Have you entered into that "secret place"? If so, Psalm 91:7 is a passage that should give you complete peace - no matter what the condition of our economy and no matter what storms may come your way. Even though thousands of hearts may fail because of fear; numerous homes may fall apart in the wake of stress; and multitudes may fall sick with disease; the Lord's Word promises us that those who dwell in His "secret place" will always have supernatural help from El Shaddai (the God who is all-sufficient and more than enough).

Psalm 91:15 -
"He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him."

Perhaps you have not sought to live in the "secret place" of the most High and now you are suffering the consequences of life's storms that have tried to overtake you. The GOOD NEWS is that it is never too late with God! Call upon Him NOW! Seek Him NOW! Abide in His presence NOW! He will deliver you and set you on high when you run to Him - setting your full affection and sincere love upon His every Word.

God will show you His salvation. The richness of His love - which rides upon the wings of TRUTH - will deliver you, keep you, and bless you forevermore. So, seek to dwell in the "secret place" of the most High; for it is there that you will abide under the shadow of the Almighty God.

Child of God, rejoice, because the habitation of the Lord brings peace... and through peace we obtain our victory! Now that's good news...Hallelujah!

Challenge: Read the entire Psalm 91, daily, until you get a revelation about the "secret place" of worship that brings deliverance.
By: Deborah Ross
Deborah Ross Ministries
Strengthening Families & Encouraging Women

Monday, August 17, 2009

Getting Out of Bondage

Friends of the World

James 4:4
"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."

Whoa! These are pretty strong words. So, what does this mean? Exactly what does it mean to be a friend of this world and why does James say that being a friend of the world makes us an enemy of God? Didn't God create the world for our pleasure? Didn't He give us dominion over all the earth through Adam (Genesis 1:26)? Can we not enjoy the material treasures of this earthly life?

Let's start our study by clarifying what a "friend of the world" really is...

1 John 2:15-16
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."

Here, the Apostle John admonishes Christians to beware of the subtle deception that is prevalent among those in the church. There are some among the fellowship, who claim Christ, but do not show forth the fruit of being a Child of God, and therefore, these impostors are dangerous examples of the Christian faith. John calls those who walk in darkness, while claiming to be Christians, "liars" (1 John 1:6) because they make idolatry, fornication, covetousness, and lewd behavior seem acceptable to those true believers who seek to live a righteous life.

1 Corinthians 5:6 -
"Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?"

We need to remember that it only takes a little sin (a little leaven)to lead us down the dark path of destruction. If we allow the lust of our flesh (our personal desires), the lust of our eyes (those things that are attractive to us), and our selfish pride (a know-it-all attitude) to dictate our behavior, we become guilty of being a "friend of the world", forfeiting God's covenant blessings that are rightfully ours, as Children of the King.

Galatians 5:24 -
"And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."

In order for the Holy Spirit of God to have full lordship in guiding our day to day affairs, we must practice self-control; we must crucify the flesh. As believers, God has equipped us with His precious Holy Spirit who keeps us from being entangled by the snares of this world - providing we surrender to His leading.

Satan knows this, and so, he is on a relentless mission to tempt mankind with everything this world has to offer. The devil is called the "Prince of this World" and he is a master at making the things of this world glisten in such a way that we will fall prey to his gestures, if we are not privy to his tricks. God's enemy has one thing in the forefront of his mind... to kill, steal, and destroy God's creation (John 10:10). He is constantly trying to lure us into being ruled by our carnal (natural, fleshly) minds - instead of being led by our spirit man, as God intends. Just take one look at television, billboards, magazines, or movies and you will quickly see how advertisements make everything from laxatives to obnoxious reality shows appear to be glamorous.

My friend, we are spiritual beings who live in natural bodies. The Word of God clearly tells us that though we are "in" this world, we are not "of" this world (John 17:16). Instead, our citizenship is in the spiritual realm and, in fact, as born-again believers, our citizenship is in heaven! On earth, we are merely sojourners (strangers or foreigners) put here for a short time to do the will of God. This life is only a vapor compared to God's eternity. Our passage here on earth (as far as scripture reveals) is for the purpose of giving God glory; to fellowship with God; and to "pass the tests" of life that qualify us for heavenly rewards on the day of judgment (James 1:11).

1 Corinthians 6:15 -
"And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

In the Bible, those who trust in the world's riches - the world's ideas and the world's methods - are called infidels. An infidel is someone who trusts in his or her natural senses more than they trust in the Word of the Lord. Really, an infidel is someone who does not exercise their faith; to put it simply, THEY DON'T TRUST GOD. Instead, they live in fear, trying to make things happen on their own accord in an effort to live a blessed life. The writer of Hebrews 11 tells us that, "without faith, it is impossible to please (God)." So, an infidel never pleases God, because he or she is always reacting in response to carnal instincts, instead of abiding and trusting in the Word of the Lord.

Some characteristics of an infidel include the following:
· One who is friends with the world because they fear man's opinion.
· One who is friends of the world because they fear a lack of material possessions.
· One who is friends of the world because they fear the unknown.

Be aware that "fear" can be a subtle unction. A person may not "feel" as though they are in fear, while in reality, it is their inner fears that cause them to doubt God and ultimately follow the world.

In 2 Corinthians 6:17, God tells us to "come out from among them, and be separate." While the inheritance of the Lord is , indeed, that of dominion, as well as, that of enjoying the fruit of the land, it has never been God's intent for us to be bound to the material aspects of the things of this world. Unfortunately, those who strive to be friends with this world are in the company of the vast majority, but God says that we - Christians - are to be separated from that majority. The Lord wants us to be free from the cares of this world in such a way that stress, guilt, and fear cannot torment our mortal bodies. In addition, He says that if we will first seek His Kingdom (His way of doing things), and His righteousness (fully trusting Him), then, all of these "things" that we need and even desire will be given to us (Matthew 6:33).

We need to rest in the fact that the Lord is not trying to withhold earthly pleasures and goods from us. On the contrary, His plan is to bless us with earthly and spiritual blessings, both now, as well as in the life to come (Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30 and 1 Timothy 4:8). It all boils down to us "trusting Him". When we trust Him with our lives, He takes care of us... and let me tell you, He does a much better job than we could ever do for ourselves.

So really, being a "friend of this world" is just another temptation from Satan. He is trying his best to rob each of us from our rightful inheritance by causing us to react with panic, fear, and doubt - instead of living in faith, peace, love and joy. The devil knows that once we get into the trance of idolatry (seeking to get things, instead of seeking to fellowship with God), we become enslaved to his evil authority. Satan's ultimate plan is to annihilate us. He wants to separate us from God in any - and every - way that he can.

The book of James is very short - only five chapters - but, I think it serves as a great place to begin to learn how not to be a friend of this world. I'd like to challenge you to read the book of James, and then, ask the Lord to speak to you about areas of your own life that may need pruning.

Galatians 2:20 -
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

Whatever it is that pulls at your carnal nature, I pray that you will be admonished to let go of this world's enticements, knowing that God wants to bless you - superabundantly! Remember, crucifying the flesh is something that all Christians must choose to do, daily. There will always be that temptation to follow the crowd, and the only way to overcome these earthly desires is to know God's Word, trust God's love, and abide in God's presence.

Yes, the Lord wants you blessed. He loves you and has great plans for you. Now, trust Him. Walk in the freedom of the spirit and don't worry about any of your needs. As you freely enjoy the provisions of this world that God allows into your life, rejoice, knowing that nothing has a hold on you! Truly, whom the Son sets free... is free indeed (John 8:36)!

Proverbs 10:22 -
"The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it."
In Christ,
Deborah Ross
Deborah Ross Ministries
Strengthening Families & Encouraging Women
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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Surrendering to the Lordship of Christ


Last week, I read a book by Joni Lamb entitled Surrender All (ISBN #978-1-4000-7375-7). While I sometimes find it hard to finish many books, because of the authors failure to draw me in, I must tell you that Surrender All is one that kept me interested from the first page... all the way to the last. The Holy Spirit is so evident throughout each paragraph as Joni shares so many testimonies where, either she, or, some of her closest friends have surrendered EVERYTHING at various crossroads of their lives, only to see God miraculously reveal His unfolding "good plans" - plans that far exceeded their human expectations.

Surrender All actually moved me to tears as I rejoiced with Joni's personal account of each story and how God's love brought each person from either heartache, pain, or indecision to a place of glorious VICTORY! As I read example after example of how each "breakthrough became a reality" - totally changing the course of each life mentioned - I was encouraged to surrender more of my life... even those parts of my life that may seem insignificant.

I really think "surrender" is the key that unlocks the door to the working of God's Word. So many times I've witnessed Christian's who try to manipulate God through crafty prayer and fearful denial, all in an effort to try and force God's will. While I do believe that we should "stand" on God's promises in the face of adversity (Ephesians 6:13), I also believe that our "standing on God's Word" should be done with a pure heart of humility that is willing to accept God's pathway to wholeness - regardless of our preference. (Have you ever noticed that God rarely unfolds things in our time... or in our way?)

Psalm 37:5 -
"Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass."

The Lord is good and it is His good pleasure to bless His children (Luke 12:32). Our response to His love should be that of "trust". When we fully trust someone, we have no need to manipulate them; instead, we should rest in their desire to act toward our best interest. God's Word promises us that He will bring those things to pass that we deeply hope for. Not the selfish things of this world, rather: the hidden treasures of our hearts, our destiny, the purpose of our existence, the wholeness of our families, and the salvation of our souls. Every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17), so there is no need to fret over the haunting "what ifs"; those strongholds (thoughts) that try to persuade us to control our situation... instead of relinquishing everything to God.

Learning to surrender requires a "leap of faith"; one that is anchored in the knowledge of God's character. We cannot expect to know God's character unless we are, first, willing to spend time reading His Word. In addition, we must be willing to fellowship with His people by going to church regularly and we must communicate with Him on a daily basis through a prayer life that is more eager to "listen" than it is to "speak".

Time and time again, scripture reveals how God moved when His servants were obedient to His "rhema word" of instruction concerning the dilemma of their moment. I'm talking about a "NOW" word; a word that is specifically for us at our moment of crisis. The Lord does not want us to live on yesterday's word or off of someone else's word; rather, He wants us to follow His leading - step by step - as we walk through unknown doors of "choice". While He does give us a free will to choose any door of life that seems good at the time, He also tells us - in His Word - that He is knocking on the door of life (Revelation 3:20), encouraging us to choose the path of surrender that He has prepared for us. This is the best path. This is the path to victory.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 -
"I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them."

One of my favorite scriptures is Deuteronomy 30:19-20. This verse really sums up the Christian journey as God prescribes the pathway to victory according to His perfect will. As we "choose" to follow after peace by "surrendering" our will, to His, the heavens open up, as the natural is overcome by the supernatural. The glorious wonders of the Kingdom of God are made manifest as we stand in awe at the evidence of our breakthrough. As darkness gives way to light and our breakthrough becomes a reality, God's glory is revealed. This is where our tests become our testimonies. This is where our faith becomes substance (Hebrews 11:1).

SURRENDERING ALL is the secret ingredient of the soul that gives FUEL TO OUR FAITH. While "surrendering our will to His" is in direct contrast to our fleshly nature, it is the only sure way to walk in the spirit. We are told that true worshippers must worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). As our spirit surrenders to His, He ushers us into His perfect will; a place of wholeness and victory. While He probably won't allow our breakthroughs to manifest on our timetable, I can assure you that He will not be too late. His timing and His way is always perfect. He is continually standing with open arms, inviting us to leap into His bosom.

What do YOU need to surrender, today? I pray that you will be able to free-fall into the arms of Jesus, as you "truly" trust Him with every aspect of your life. He will not disappoint you. Trust Him, today, with whatever it is that has caused you pain, unforgiveness, hardship, grief, or emptiness. He wants to take that part of your life and exchange it for His victory, His blessings, His comfort, and His wholeness.

Psalm 9:10 - "And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee."

May you have a blessed day today knowing that God is for you.

I am praying for you!

In Christ,

Deborah Ross
Deborah Ross Ministries
Strengthening Families & Encouraging Women

I love hearing from you!

Hebrews 11:6 -
"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

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