Before Jesus was crucified, He made it very clear that he would be resurrected. He knew that death was not the end of His story.
In John 2:19-20, Jesus goes in and clears the temple and calls out the religious leaders for making His father’s house into a place of profit for them instead of a house of prayer. The leaders were upset with Jesus and asked him to show them a sign that He had the authority from God to do these things. Jesus then tells them that if they destroyed this temple that he would raise it up in three days. They were spiritually deaf and dumb and assumed that He was speaking of the physical temple that took 46 years to build. However, Jesus was speaking of His crucifixion and resurrection.
After He was crucified, the religious leaders went to Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.” Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it” (Mathew 27:63-66). Little did they know that no security on their part could stop the supernatural work of God. On the third day, Jesus shook death off of Him and He was resurrected just like he said!
As believers, Jesus’ resurrection has powerful implications for us. God’s intentions are always for life, and that more abundantly. Some of us are facing dead situations, but God has already told us that death is not the end of the story. However, with the passing of time, we can allow the devil to convince us that death is how our story will end. But it is not so! I want to encourage you to partner with God and begin to believe and speak life! Speak what God has already spoken in your ear. Rehearse the promises. Hold on to them regardless of how dead your situation may appear. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power that is able to raise your dead situation. The devil can try to put stones and His guards in the way to block life and hinder the promises of God. However, there is no devil in hell that can hinder what God has spoken. This upcoming Resurrection Sunday I want to encourage you to not only rejoice for the resurrection of Jesus but let out a crazy praise for the life that is coming to your dead situation!
Mathew 21:1-5 gives the account of Jesus telling the disciples to go and get a donkey and its colt and bringing them to him. This command fulfilled a prophecy given by the prophet Zechariah over 500 years earlier. Yes, 500 years later the word came to pass!!!! This reminds me that no matter how long it takes, I can be confident that the promises of God will manifest. The passing of time can cause us to second guess what God has spoken. Don’t yield to the temptation to give up on the promises because it didn’t happen when YOU thought it should happen. God is faithful
What are some promises that God has made you? How long have you been waiting? Have you given up on believing because you think it is taking too long? I want to encourage you to go and get those promises and dust them off. Begin to rehearse them because God is faithful! Don’t remain hung up on it taking too long that you miss the valuable lessons God is trying to teach you in the process of waiting.
The enemy is relentless. When he sees us making progress in what God has called us to do, he will attempt to hinder us. One of the ways he tries to hinder us is through lying. After all, he is the father of lies and no truth dwells in him. Nehemiah chapter 6 gives the account of the near completion of the wall. From the very beginning of rebuilding the walls, Nehemiah’s enemies attempted to deter him and this time didn’t prove any different. They tried four times to get Nehemiah to meet with them. However, he had enough discernment to know that they meant him harm. He responded by telling them he was doing a great work and couldn’t come. The fifth time they sent a letter that was filled with lies that accused Nehemiah of plotting to become the King. They tried to instill fear in him, telling him that the news would get back to the king, so it would be in his best interest to meet with them. Nehemiah was not moved. Instead he replied to his enemies with such boldness. He called them liars. He then prayed and asked the Lord to give him strength to continue the work.
As we seek to do what God has called us to do, it is a 100 % guarantee that the enemy will try to hinder us. But let us respond like Nehemiah, tell the devil he is a liar and keep it moving! Spend enough time in prayer so that you are able to discern when the enemy is trying to trick you. The closer you get to completing what God has called you to do in this season, the more the enemy will step up his game. Don’t be distracted by the lies of the enemy. Remain focused on what the Lord is calling you to do. Don’t cower away in fear. Don’t become a victim to the devil’s bullying. Rebuke him in Jesus’ name and keep working, keep praying, keep praising, keep serving the Lord!
Oftentimes we focus on our inability to give people what they are asking for. We then hesitate to pray for them. We can learn a lot from Peter and John in Acts chapter 3. They met a man who was lame from birth on their way to the prayer service at the temple. The man was placed at the entrance of the temple so he could beg for money. When the man saw Peter and John he stretched out his hand begging. Peter says to the man in Acts 3: 6 “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” He then stretches out his hand and helps the man up and the scriptures says that the man leaped up and ran off praising God! I love this account because it reminds me that while I may not have what people are asking for, I have what they need. I have Jesus. The man was asking for money, but when Peter called on the name of Jesus this man received even greater than what he asked for. He received healing. We can assume that the man was reduced to begging because he was a lame and could not work. Peter didn’t have money to give him but he prayed for the man’s healing in the name of Jesus! The money would have met a temporary need because it was not the answer to the real issue which was his need for healing. There is something about calling on the name of Jesus that answers more than the initial request. Today I encourage you to step out in boldness and offer Jesus to others. It is not about what YOU cannot do, instead, it is all about Jesus’ ability to do the impossible!
In Ezra chapter 8 we have the account of Ezra leading the second group of exiles returning to Jerusalem. The trip was about 900 miles and would take approximately 4 months on foot. The exiles would have to travel through dangerous territory before reaching Jerusalem. In vs 22, Ezra says he was embarrassed to ask the king for soldiers and footmen to protect them. Ezra had already made a bold declaration to the king that God would protect those who worshipped Him. Instead of looking to the king for protection, Ezra got together with the leaders and they prayed and fasted and asked God to protect them. Verse 23 tells us that God heard and answered their prayers. Ezra’s action matched his confession. How many times do we make bold confessions about God but when faced with difficulties our actions prove otherwise? Do we claim that God is a provider but begin to worry when lack threatens to overtake us? We get stressed and forget to seek the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. We sometimes fail to stand with assurance knowing that all the other things we are in need of will be provided! We can make bold declarations but challenges will come to reveal if we believe what we have declared. To stand on those confessions we must do like Ezra and fuel our faith with prayer and fasting. Let us not neglect these necessary aspects of our walk with Christ.
I love to pray I really do. I spend time reading and praying with and for my children in the morning and during the day. However I must confess that I am notorious for praying really QUICK prayers with my children at NIGHT. Most nights I am ready for them to go to B.E.D. I am not one of those moms that sit and read 20 books and say lengthy prayers before bed. Don’t judge me. Last night I was in supermom mode, maybe the nice weather had something to do with it. I did the let’s read lots of stories together thing. Ten minutes into it, I was reminded of why I read in the day and not the night. Two of the children started fighting with each other. My warm fuzzy feelings turned into utter frustration. I wrapped up the story and before I left the room, my 7 year old asked me to pray for him. I was getting ready to pray and he said, “Can you come put your hands on my head and pray more than 5 words!” Excuse me, did he just call me out? I had no idea that he caught on to my quick night time praying habits. He then gave me his request, “mommy please pray that I won’t be afraid to tell other people about Jesus even if I get in trouble for it.” I prayed…and it was more than 5 words.
His prayer request was an answer to prayers that I have prayed for my children. I desperately want them to love Jesus with a contagious love. I want them to share their faith with boldness without concern for their reputation or the penalty. I want their actions to prove that it is not about them but about Christ who lives in them. I want them to be ok with not blending in but fearlessly standing out for Christ. I want them to make the choice to serve their creator when they are young and invite their friends to do the same. It’s in moments like these that I am reminded that I am raising up warriors for the Kingdom! It is a privilege and a great responsibility. I must be diligent in not only teaching them with words but also demonstrating what it means to be a fearless servant for Christ. As I teach, I am also learning.