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I have prayed about what to write to our partners this month more than normal, I felt it was vital to send out the right word this month, for the past couple days I felt like I knew what to say however, I struggled with it because sometimes I think I sound like a broken record, saying the same thing over and over, then my wonderful God reminded me of the truth that He has always done it that way, we see prophecy spoken all throughout the Old Testament that took time to come to pass, yet that same word kept being prophesied, our word produces what we will see, therefore we can never stop saying what God is telling us to say.
So, what was He telling me to tell you? To press. I know you don't want to hear it, neither did I, however, after I meditated on this for a couple days, a friend sent me a teaching on the month of Av and I found out why it is so vital to press this month.
The month of Av historically is the month that God showed His people the land He was giving them; it is the month Moses sent 12 spies into the land to spy it out. It is the month that 10 of the spies said 'the giants are too big, we can't win here, and we will die.' It is also the same month that 2 of the spies said 'no, God gave this to us, it is ours, we can take it, the giants may be big but the land is greater, let's take our land.'
You know the story, the children of Israel wondered around in the wilderness until they did exactly what they said, they died. The other two spies, they entered into their land and took it, just as they said they would. This is that month.
God works in times and seasons, you can't read the Bible and not realize that, times and seasons are vital and God's times and seasons do not change, it was a month of entering in to the Promised Land back then and it still is today.
So then what's the problem, you may ask? There are giants in the land. Just as with the children of Israel, God has already delivered us from bondage through the blood of Christ, just as the children of Israel, God has given us our promised land. And just like the children of Israel, we must take it; we must face the giants in our life and take our land.
Most people are afraid of giants, however, I once wrote a motivation on the fact that in actuality the giants were afraid of God's people, they dreaded them coming because they were so afraid, they knew the acts of God and they knew that if God was with them, and He was, they could not prevail against them. It is the same with us today, many of us are afraid to go up against hard stuff, our giants, but that hard thing, that giant cannot stand up to the word of God or the promise of God, if you go in to take your land, you will prevail.
I know some of you are beyond weary, I am too. I talked to God about this all weekend long, but I know in my spirit that we are at that final push; you know the one when you are in labor and they say 'I see the head, one more good push.' We are there, it is time to press like never before, and this is your month of promise. What will you do? Will you run in fear from the giants that are facing you or will you stand and say 'God gave me this land, I am taking it, and nothing will stop me.' For me personally, I have come way too far to stop now, I am taking my land, every inch of it.
I am beginning today to take my land, it is the month of promise and I am entering in. The first thing I am going to do is give God an offering, the second thing I am going to do is to get my promises before my face so that I see them every day and they become greater than the size of the giants, next, I am going to speak God's word out of my mouth like never before. I am taking my land.
This month, this day, as you sow your monthly offering, sow it with purpose. Sow it today and declare 'I am taking my land, I am sowing this seed and declaring that I enter into my Promises this day, no giant can stand before me, nothing can stop me, God is with me and I am going in.'
As always, we pray over every seed sown, but this month I am going to be praying over them in a different way, I am declaring with you that you are entering into your promise. I am praying with you that God strengthens you to push and press and overcome this month, it is HIS month of promise, HIS season of entering in to all that is ours through the blood of Christ, it is HIS time; let it be your time too.
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The LORD will march forth like a mighty man; he will come out like a warrior, full of fury. He will shout his thundering battle cry, and he will crush all his enemies. Isaiah 42:13
There have been times in my life when, to be quite frank, I was tired and ready for some relief. One time in particular, I took this to the Lord and told Him I was weary and needed some relief. He asked me a question; ‘what do you want? If you could have it any way you want it, what would you want?’ I answered Him and then He said to me, ‘then Fight!’ In spite of the weariness, fight rose up on the inside of me.
This brought several scriptures to mind. Paul tells us to fight the good fight of faith, but not only to fight it- but finish it! That had new meaning for me today. Don’t just fight to fight or run the race to run – run to finish, fight to win. In the scripture found in Isaiah, the Lord came forth light a mighty man and crushed his enemies. He did not leave them standing – He crushed them.
This is the same thing we should persevere to do to our enemies, I’m not talking about people, I am talking about the enemy of lack, or disease…I am talking about satan. We shouldn’t stop until we ultimately crush them. The Bible tells us that if we do not give up, we will receive the promise. That should be our stand. But, some of us, as I was feeling today, would rather settle for temporary relief than fight on for ultimate victory. And I fully understand that – but never settle for less when your heart is crying out for more. Never allow the enemies of your life to overtake you. I don’t care what your enemies are; debt, lack, sickness, division in your family, or just plain weariness. You have authority over every enemy and you can change the situation – every time – if you will continue to fight.
God showed me a lot of things that I could apply spiritually when we had our puppies last year. For instance, Princess, the mom, has always been a very timid dog. She has never barked to my knowledge and sometimes even cowers in the corner. On the other hand, our male, Dudley, he is small, but thinks he is the stuff – he barks and tries to pull Princess around by her leash, he tries to attack much larger dogs – he is bulldog to the bone. One day, as Princess was feeding her babies, Dudley was walking around her, just tantalizing her. She took it for about 15 minutes and then with no warning – she attacked! She didn’t growl to warn us – she lunged for Dudley with the most frightening bark I have ever heard. Why did she do that? I can tell you.
We as women were created by God to give birth. This not only applies in the natural but in the spirit as well. We are to birth breakthroughs, to release new beginnings into this earth. When Princess saw that something threatened her new beginnings, her promise she had given birth to – she was no longer timid – she didn’t stop and say ‘hmmm, perhaps he doesn’t really mean them harm’ no – she did what her instincts told her to do, she attacked what she perceived to be her enemy.
Have you ever felt as if you were backed in a corner? We all have, and we all have two options. Cower in the corner or come out fighting.
Perhaps in your situation, it feels like it’s over. And you feel there is nothing left to fight for. I can boldly say this – it’s never over until God declares it over. Remember Ezekiel? The Lord said to Ezekiel ‘can these dead bones live?’ And he told Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones. Ezekiel did as God commanded and the bones did live! Your answer is not far from you – it’s in your mouth – that’s what the Bible teaches us. It’s time for you to begin to prophesy to your situation – command it to live! Command your body to be made whole. Command your lack to go, in Jesus name. Command your family to walk in peace. It’s time for you to stand up and fight for what God has already said is yours. Refuse to settle for less when you know in your heart God has provided more for you. Refuse to grow weary and give up. Stand on the promise when others would sit down and give up. Speak the word of God and prophesy to your enemy and declare to him, this day we fight!
Keep in mind, when you are in the middle of a fight, one truth remains; God allows what we allow. In the book of Joshua 18, we find Joshua asking the children of Israel 'how long are you slack to go in and possess the land which God has given you?' You see, they had wondered in the wilderness for 40 years, while all the time the Promised Land awaited them. It belonged to them ~ all they had to do was possess it. God had given them the command to go in and possess all He had for them years before, yet they continued to wander around and around in the wilderness. We would probably ask why someone was wondering around in the wilderness living day by day when such an inheritance belonged to them.
Yet, the body of Christ, for the most part is doing the exact same thing. Through the cross of Jesus Christ, God provided all we could ever need; He put dominion over the whole earth back in our hands, just as it once was in the hands of Adam. In the beginning, God gave Adam dominion over all the earth. (Genesis 1:26) Dominion means lordship, rulership, ownership. Now, think about that for a moment.
Adam had ownership over all the earth. Can you imagine then that when Jesus took back dominion and gave it to us that we now have ownership over all the earth? For most of us that it simply too big to imagine however it is entirely true. We are in control of what happens in our lives, we always say 'God is in control' but according to the Bible, God placed that dominion in our hands. Therefore, God allows what we allow.
God allows what we allow - this statement is proven in Matthew 18:18. The Bible says 'whatsoever we bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever we loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.' You see, the authority lies with us to bind and loose, not with God. He is basically following our lead - if we bind it on earth, He binds it in heaven. If we loose it on earth, He looses it in heaven. That's what the Bible says, right?
Adam had dominion then gave it to the devil, through disobedience. Jesus, the last Adam, took it back and handed it to us. Now God is waiting on us to take our legal right to ownership over the whole earth. I know that sounds so big but remember Psalm 115:16, it says 'the heaven, even the heavens are the Lords: but the earth He has given to the children of men.' That's us! He has given the earth to us. But what happens if someone doesn't take ownership? Let me explain.
I once heard a story about a woman who believed God for a house. God made the way for her to build her home. But after many attacks, she consulted with a minister and said, 'Brother, the enemy keeps attacking, when I finish one room then something goes wrong with another room, then when I take care of that problem something else bad happens.' 'I don't know what is going on' she said 'I told God it was His house and I don't understand this.' The minister replied 'well, that's your problem, God gave you the house and you keep giving it back to Him, therefore it has no owner.' 'When no one has ownership the enemy can come in and do whatever he pleases, as he has done with your house.' Wow! That was revelation to me! What did the woman do? She took possession of the home God had given her with her words and the enemy no longer had a right to attack. She completed the building of her home and enjoys the home God gave her.
Let's look back at 1 Corinthians 3:21, the Bible says all things belong to us. All things. Everything. We have dominion over all things - I know I am repeating myself, but I want you to get this - we have dominion over all things. Does that mean attacks won't come - no - but it means the enemy has no legal rights to take anything of yours that you don't freely hand over. God made the earth for us; it's time we took ownership. It's time to stop procrastinating and take our inheritance. It's time to take hold of what God has for you. Don't be slothful, possess your land.
The Bible says 'all things are ours.' What 'thing' do you have need of today? Do you need a home? Well, God wants you to have one and He even said you would own houses you didn't build. That means that He will give you a house that you didn't have to toil to build. Do you need a nice car? God said He would give you the desires of your heart. Do you need healing? He said 'I am the God that healeth you.' Do you need peace? Jesus said His peace belongs to you. You see, all things are really ours - we simply have to possess them. And no, it is not always simple, sometimes it is a fight. Sometimes the enemy will fight you with all he has but there is only one problem with that for him. All he has can in no way compare to all God has and God has already given you all He has. When the fight comes, don't back down. Stand still. Stand and trust God. I don't care if it begins to look like you have lost - it's a lie - he who stands with God and on His word never, ever loses. Just keep standing and you will see God come on the scene and you will see the fruit of standing firm on His unchanging word.
I heard a powerful statement the other day. It was on a movie about a village whose residents lived in peace, they lived by God's laws and lived to serve one another. A man came from another village and said that he was going to attack them and that they couldn't fight because they were a village of peace. The king of this village stood up and said 'we will fight, for some peace only comes after war.' Some peace only comes after war. Sometimes you must fight for peace. I promise you, if you are trusting God for something big, or if you are being effective for God, there will be a fight. But I have good news for you; the battle has already been won. We only have to do what Jesus did when the devil came to Him in the wilderness - speak the word of God. Say what the word of God says. That's our fight. And His word never fails - victory is a sure thing.
Many times, the battle comes from other people. Often, it seems it is people coming against you, judging you, speaking against you. When these things happen, keep your eyes on God and know that it is the enemy working through them. While it is sad that they are allowing themselves to be used of the devil, it is still the devil behind it. He is trying to stop you - he is trying to get your eyes on the people attacking you - so that you get your eyes off the word of God. Keep your focus. Keep your eyes on Jesus. And remember, it is the enemy, not the person.
Remember Peter? When he was walking on water, as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, he literally walked on water. But the moment he put his focus on the wind and waves he began to sink. Sometimes we do the same thing, an attack comes through someone and before we know it our focus is on the attack - get your eyes off the attack and get your eyes back on Jesus. Get your eyes off the person the enemy is using to torment you and walk on water. Walk on the water of the word of God. God said that 'He would keep us in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed upon Him.' That word 'peace' means wholeness, nothing broken, nothing missing. That means as you keep your eyes on Jesus, all those things that belong to you will come to you. All things. Nothing missing or broken. All things.
It's your time, possess what's yours! You have gone long enough around this mountain - go forward and possess your land.
He who observes the wind and waits for all conditions to be favorable will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap. Ecclesiastes 11:4
Scriptures like this one often convict my heart. Sometimes we go through seasons that are hard financially and our sowing will decrease, not even because we want it to but because we know what we will need so we often cut back on our seed. We cut back on our giving.
The Bible says that we are not supposed to look at what we see to determine whether we sow or not. This scripture says when we observe the wind, we will not sow. This takes me to the New Testament where Jesus was walking on water and Peter said 'Lord, if that is You, bid me come.' Of course, Jesus said 'come.' And Peter walked on water, other than Jesus no man has ever walked on water besides Peter before or since. But the Bible says when Peter looked at the wind and the waves, he became afraid and he began to sink.
This is the same principle. If in our giving, we begin to look at the wind - we begin to look at our circumstances - we begin to look at our bank account, we become afraid and we begin to sink. The only way we can sink in our reaping is if we sink in our sowing or stop giving.
We are a people who walk by faith and not by sight. We don't walk by what we see - we walk by what we know. And what we know is what the Word of God declares. Give and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.
You see, only fear would cause you to back up on what God has said to do - and how God has said we prosper. I once heard a powerful statement: Feelings are fleeting, they come and then they are gone. But it is my will that determines my outcome and my choices in life. You see, these feelings of fear, I refuse to let them determine what I will do. Nothing will determine my choices but God's way of doing things. I will obey His word.
Once we make that determination, we can stop looking at the wind, we stop speaking based on what we see with our natural eyes and we begin to respond based on what the word of God says. We stop saying 'I can't' and realize 'I can.' Then, like Peter, we begin to walk on water.
The remainder of this scripture says 'he, who regards the clouds, will not reap.' One thing determines whether we reap or not - that's our obedience to sow, regardless of what it looks like, regardless of the circumstances. You must stop looking with your natural eyes and begin to see with your spiritual eyes. God sees things different than man does. Man may say it is one way but God says it is another way and it always turns out to be God's way.
Look in Luke 1:36, when the angel was speaking to Mary about Jesus. Then he said ‘Elizabeth shall also bear a son - she who man called barren is already in her sixth month.' Man may call you barren, but God will call you fruitful and will give you the child to prove it.
Man may call you poor but God calls you rich and He will bring forth the fruit to prove it if you will do things His way. Man may say you have lack, but God says you have abundance for every good work. Man may say you can't tithe and give, you don't have enough but God says when you give, I will cause men and women to give back to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over. The only question is: who do you believe? As for me and my house, we believe the word of the Lord.
Now, that we know what God says about not regarding the wind, let’s look at another aspect of giving.
One day, I received a donation from one of our partners with a note that has stuck with me for year. Along with the donation was a note - not to me - to God. The note said: God, I worship You with my offering. I refuse to give You something which cost me nothing.
It was a short and simple note but it grabbed my heart. It was King David who first said in 2 Samuel 24:24 that He would not give his God something that cost him nothing. Within the letter I read from one of our readers, I knew this offering had cost her something.
I had not always worshipped God with my offerings. I only did that when I was in crises and I sowed a seed that cost me something. That's what this note reminded me of.
You know, we are givers by nature because God is a giver and His nature is in us, but often we give out of our abundance and think little of it. But do you remember those times when you have given out of your lack? Or do you recall those times when it hurt to give? I do. And it was those times that I received the greatest harvest.
Every seed you will ever sow will reap a harvest that is the truth of the word. If you sow apples, you will reap apples. If you sow love, you will reap love. If you sow money, you will reap money - according to what you sow, that shall you reap. It is the law of seedtime and harvest. It works here on earth and it works in the spirit. God is not mocked - that's what the word says.
That being said, may I ask you a question - actually two questions? When was the last time you worshipped God with your giving? Whether it was in tithe or offering - when was the last time you stopped and presented it to God as a form of worship? That was the first thing that grabbed my heart in her note to God. She worshipped God with her giving.
Secondly, when was the last time you gave God a sacrifice? Something that cost you something? The Message Bible says it like this: No. I've got to buy it from you for a good price; I'm not going to offer God, my God, sacrifices that are no sacrifice."
It's easy to give $20 if you have $20,000 in the bank - it's no sacrifice - it's hard to give $20 if you only have $25. She was worshipping with her giving. Are you worshipping with yours?
Give your God something that cost you something - He will give you back more than you can contain. Look at the cost He paid to secure your covenant. He is an amazing God. Worship Him today - with your giving, with your time, with yourself, with all you are. Your worship will come up to Him as a sweet, sweet sacrifice.
Today as I was sitting at my desk praying over the donations that I was entering into the computer, I began to think about our offerings and how we give them to God.
I am thankful for every single donation that comes into this ministry and I diligently pray over each one. But I began to think about how those offerings came to us. Did someone just pop a check in the mail without thought or was it an expression of their worship unto God? I must admit that I have been guilty of tossing an offering into the plate without ever giving it a second thought - but this morning the Lord began to show me how His people should give offerings.
In Proverbs 3:9 it says to Honor the Lord with our wealth and the first fruits of our crops. Most of us know that and do that - but there's more!
1 Chronicles 16:40 says 'Bring an offering and come before the Him, worship the Lord in the beauty of His holiness.' Malachi 1:11 tells us to give a 'pure offering' and Numbers 15:3 teaches us that it comes up to God as a sweet aroma, a pleasing aroma to the Lord.
In 1 Chronicles David gave an offering to the Lord and while he was presenting his offering, he called upon the Lord and the Lord answered him IN HIS OFFERING.
All these things I found interesting and I learned that I should first of all, present my offering to the Lord. I don't just toss a check in the mail - I bring it before the Lord as a form of worship, I present it to Him as a gift from my heart because I love Him so.
Secondly, I should worship Him with my offering before I toss it in the offering plate or send it by mail. I should pray over my offering, something like this: God, I present my offering to you today, I ask You to accept my offering, as it is a pure offering. I give it as my best gift to you because I love and worship You. I ask that Your eyes be open to my offering and Your ears be attentive to my gift today - I pray that it is a pleasant aroma before you this day. I thank you today God, for blessing my offering.
Can you just imagine giving God something that smells to Him like a sweet aroma? Just as the old saying goes where there is smoke there is fire, where there is a sweet aroma, something is being prepared. When it becomes a sweet aroma to God, it isn't just a smell, it is something prepared for God and not only prepared but ready for His tasting...isn't that awesome!
I want to encourage you today, when you give, don't give without thought - instead present it to God as a sweet smelling aroma - something that is pleasing to Him. Worship Him with your offering.
As you do that, you will find your offerings are accepted by God and not only that - but something He is pleased with.
It's the same when you pay your tithe - we know the tenth belongs to God - but you can also present it to Him and pray over it. Malachi 3:10-11 teaches us the blessing of the tithe, therefore pray over your tithe. As you tithe, lay that check in your hand and pray; Father, I thank You for Your word concerning the tithe, I honor You today with this tithe, and I thank You that You have opened the windows of heaven and poured out a blessing I can't even contain, I thank You that You rebuke the devourer for my sake today - I bless You God with this tithe.
Let's begin to give God the honor He deserves in our tithe and offering - and let's present them to Him as a sweet smelling aroma - and then let's walk in the blessings of God in our finances.
Dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness. Psalm 37:3
Some of my favorite scriptures are on the faithfulness of God. I have found that there may be times in my life when I doubt many things, I may doubt if I have prayed enough, or fasted enough or confessed enough to get a breakthrough in a particular situation, but I never doubt His faithfulness to me. 2 Timothy 2:13 declares ‘If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.’
I love that scripture. That tells me even if I am beating myself up because I haven’t done all the things right that I think I should do still, my God remains faithful. Why? Because He cannot deny Himself. He loves me so much and He will not fail me simply because He swore by His Word and His own name…and that is undeniable.
Another one of my favorite scriptures is found in Psalm 27:13, ‘I would have lost heart if I had not believed I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.’ I have walked through many, many times when I could have chosen to lose heart, but I didn’t. Why? Because I have come to know His faithfulness and I knew if He were faithful to me in the past, He would remain faithful to me now. I knew if I could hold on and trust in His Word that I would surely see His goodness manifested in my life. But many of those times I felt I was walking in blind faith. What I mean by that is that I was walking on faith alone. Simply trusting that God could not lie and would not fail me. Now that is not always an easy thing to do, but it can be done. The only way you can walk on faith alone is to trust the author and finisher of your faith, your spotter, Jesus.
You may wonder what I am talking about in a spotter…well; I can’t wait to tell you. My husband likes to watch football, baseball, and even Nascar Racing. Me, not so much. But, one Saturday he was watching racing and I wanted to spend some time with him so I decided to watch it too. I really don’t understand what is so great about going around and around in circles and I understand even less why anyone would want to watch someone else going around in circles. But, as I set that time to spend time with my hubby, God showed me some revelation that has helped me every single time that I was walking in blind faith.
My husband and I were watching these guys go in circles, then I noticed this one car, he swerved to the right, then to the left and then kept going. I also watched as another car just behind him crashed into a car that had wrecked up ahead. So I said to my husband, how did the one driver know where to go to avoid that collision? He said, ‘his spotter led him through it.’ That caught my attention.
It turns out, that because these guys are traveling at a high rate of speed they can’t possibly see everything that is happening up ahead and if they do see it they don’t always have time to react correctly– hence, a spotter. A spotter is a guy who is in a building way above all the cars and fans and commotion. He can see everything that is going on. He can see his driver and the cars ahead and behind him. He sees when someone wrecks up ahead or blows a tire. And when he sees these things, he instructs his driver which way to go to avoid the wrecks…this keeps him in the race and unharmed. So then, what happened to the other guy, the one who crashed? Ahhhh…he didn’t heed to the instructions of the spotter. He was interviewed afterward and admitted that he didn’t go the way the spotter told him to or he moved too late. A spotter is a very important person – vital to finishing the race. And the vital part is that you must trust the spotter…literally with your life. Realistically, whether you finish the race or not, or whether you arrive at the finish line uninjured is resting totally on the relationship between the spotter and the driver.
You see it is the same for us. We are moving at a fast speed, doing the work of the Lord. We can’t always see what is up ahead, sometimes we can’t even see what is about to hit us in the face, but I know someone who can. Jesus, He is our spotter. He is seated at the right hand of the Father, watching over us. Warning us, telling us which way to go. Telling us through His Word what we need to do to avoid crashing and burning. If we listen and obey, we will avoid the danger ahead. If we ignore His warning, we alone are responsible when we crash.
Two things to keep in mind. First, you must have a relationship with your spotter. He must know how you think and how you react and you must know how to listen to his voice, how to know when to move fast or when to slow down. Secondly, there must be absolute trust between you. You will not have time to question his instruction; you have to trust when you do not understand why. This type of relationship and trust only comes through intimacy. Spending a lot of time together. Going around many tracks together. Becoming one.
You see, my friends, our Spotter is watching for us. He is not trying to keep us from winning the race, He is trying to get us to finish and win the race with no injury and no delays. So when you hear that still small voice prompting you to go a certain direction – don’t ignore Him just because you don’t understand. Perhaps the reason you don’t understand is because you can’t see what is ahead…but He can. Trust Him. Dwell in Him and feed on His faithfulness, He will not fail you and He will not lead you the wrong way…trust Him. Trust Him when He says ‘sow a seed.’ Trust Him when He says ‘don’t go that way.’ Trust Him when He says ‘come this way.’ Trust Him and understand that blind faith isn’t really blind at all – it is simply having faith in the One who is faithful, who will never leave you nor forsake you and who will never, never fail you.
Now, let me share another story that reminds me of the faithfulness of God. Remember Aaron’s rod that was placed in the Ark of the Covenant as a testimony, forever surrounded by the presence of God. The rod, as stated in the book of Hebrews, is forever in a place that few items have attained to; the Tabernacle which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. What a place of honor! But…it wasn’t always that way for Aaron’s rod.
In the beginning of the existence of Aaron’s rod – it wasn’t a rod at all, but an almond tree planted by its master. It was just a twig, a sapling. The master of the field planted it and carefully tended to it each week. The little almond tree struggled to grow and produce fruit but these things don’t happen quickly, it takes time to produce fruit, a strong root structure must be developed first. This takes lots of moisture and much time.
It seemed to the little tree that it would take forever, nevertheless, the tree decided that it was going to be the best and biggest almond tree around and it would produce the best crop of almonds…because you see; he just wanted to please his master. Finally, he burst through the ground and began to grow strong and tall. When the sunlight appeared that year it began to activate the buds and stems and leaves. He was sure that this year would be his year to produce fruit.
The master came by and checked on the now strong tree, he paid special attention to his roots and bent it to make sure it was strong. And it was. Then without warning, the master took his ax and chopped the little tree at the very root. The almond tree was astonished and could not figure out what he had done wrong. All he wanted was to be the best almond tree, and to please his master.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the master then broke off each branch and stripped off all the leaves, the little almond tree was left bare, reduced to nothing but a stick. Then it got even worse, the master began to peel away the bark from the almond tree. The bark, you see, protects the heart of the tree; it is its covering, its protection. It helps the tree keep its moisture and remain healthy.
Then the master lay what was left of the tree in the hot sun. Each day, the almond tree hoped his master would graft him back in, but he never did. One day the master declared that the almond tree was now ready; he picked it up and began walking with it, leaning on it for strength. Now the almond tree understood – he was no longer an almond tree - now he was a staff, a rod. So he decided that he could accept this change of plans and he would be the best rod ever for his master. There he was, stripped down to nothing, dried out beyond repair and laid in the hot sun, only to become something that someone else could lean on…but that was okay with him. Yes, his dream of being a great and awesome almond tree had to die but he still simply wanted to please his master. He lived to please his master.
For years, he gave his master strength and walked with him through many roads. He had surrendered to his masters need and had grown to enjoy his existence. Then one day, in a meeting with other master’s, he was thrown into a pile with all the other rods and left without the company of his master. A man came along and picked up all the rods and placed them in a dark room.
And the Lord spoke unto Moses saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, and take of every one of them a rod according to the house of their fathers, of all their princes according to the house of their fathers’ twelve rods: write thou every man’s name upon his rod. And thou shall write Aaron’s name upon the rod of the Levi for one rod shall be the head of their fathers. And thou shall lay them up in the tabernacle of the congregation before the testimony, where I will meet with you.’
Once again, the once almond tree, now rod, finds himself in a dark place, wondering what in the world he did to deserve this. He lay there in the dark for hours among the other rods that were discarded, wondering what was going on and if he would ever get out of this dark place and see his master again. Suddenly he felt something happening, something growing from him. He said ‘it is impossible, I haven’t had branches or blossoms for many years, I have had no moisture to grow, nor sun to produce fruit, it is impossible.’ But as morning broke, everyone could see that the almond rod of Aaron had blossomed and bloomed and produced fruit – in an impossible situation and in just a few short hours. It was, just as God said it would be.
Have you ever felt like the almond tree? Have you had a dream, a goal and you wanted to be the best you could be – simply to please your Master? Did you give it all you had and then some, but still fell short. Were you cut down at the root and laid away dry and confused? Did you wonder what you could have done so wrong to end up rubble when you were supposed to be a fruit-yielding tree?
Perhaps even like the almond tree, you surrendered your dream and yielded to another service to the Master. Even after your surrender, you find yourself, yet again, in a dark and lonely place. But you see, the almond tree was not alone in this place – remember, God said ‘where I will meet you.’ You see, my friend, there is a place where God will meet you.
It’s in His presence. Everything changes in His presence. Everything is exposed to resurrection in His presence, for He is resurrection and life. You may be in a place right now where you see nothing good happening. It may look like all your dreams have died and are now put away in a dark, cold place – but – if you are in the presence of God, the darkness will have to go and light will spring forth. You see, the little almond tree had nothing, it was abandoned and alone yet it found its true self only in one place – in the presence of God. Just one night in the presence of God can change everything. Everything that abides in God’s presence produces life and lives.
Remember the manna; if it wasn’t eaten it would rot the next day. Yet God had Aaron place manna in the Ark of the Covenant, where God’s presence was, and it remained fresh and alive. God said it was to be kept. To be kept meant that the presence of God stands guard to ensure preservation. Anything that remains in the presence of God is kept – preserved – kept alive and fresh.
This is a nugget we often miss when dark times come. The last place we often think of is the presence of God – but that is where life is. That is where nourishment and preservation is. That is your safe place and it is your place of deliverance.
Life is in His presence. Resurrection is in His presence. Your peace is in His presence. You will find your answer there and He won’t be able to help Himself, He will simply have to bless you beyond measure. But that kind of blessing only comes when you truly spend time in His presence, even in the darkest of times.
Write the vision and make it plain…Hab. 2:2
One of the greatest things I learned from working at Norvel Hayes Ministries was ‘if you can see it, you can have it.’ I am sure you recall how God told Abraham ‘as far as your eyes can see, this I will give to you.’ He is still speaking the same thing to us today.
The problem we sometimes have is this – we simply can’t see it ever happening. Do you know what I mean? Haven’t you heard some people when you declare your faith, they reply ‘I don’t see how that could ever happen.’ Or people even make that same comment about themselves. ‘I can’t see that ever happening for me.’ Frankly, the truth is if they can’t ever see it happening for them – it simply won’t happen. It is only when you can see it that you can have it.
To see means to perceive or to realize. People sometimes make comments like ‘I never thought I’d see this in my generation.’ What does that mean? It means what they are talking about has been realized, it actually already happened. It’s the same with us.
Vision is an amazing thing. Often in my life as a Christian, I have felt the Lord told me a particular thing was going to happen that I could not see any way it would come to pass. But let me tell you what I did, I didn’t go to God and say ‘that can never happen to me, God.’ No, I went to God and said, ‘God, I can’t ‘see’ that yet, help me to see it, empower me to see what You see.’ And then I would feed my faith in that area and meditate on the word concerning that situation and before I knew it, I could see it and I knew when I saw it, it was mine.
Imagine what Jesus must have felt hanging on the cross. What did He see in the natural? He saw people jeering at Him and mocking Him and spitting on Him. But what did He really see? The Bible says that He endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him. He didn’t see the moment He was in, He saw redemption, He saw your joy in redemption, He saw you being healed and set free, He saw you walking in the abundant life. He set His eyes on the promise of the Word and endured to the point that the promise manifested. Today, with His eyes, He can see you and me walking in victory because of what He chose to see that day.
God told Abraham, whatever you see with your eyes, it’s yours, and I will give it to you. What do you see with your eyes today? Are you looking at the circumstances or are you looking at the promise. It is imperative to keep the promise before your eyes. Absolutely vital. Because once you see it, perceive it, it will become yours.
Whatever you have to do to keep His promise before your eyes until you can see it, do it. Keep it before your face, cry out day and night. Don’t stop until you see it, and I promise you will see it. One day you will be praying the same way you always do and suddenly the vision of what you are asking for will come before your eyes…rejoice in that day… for it is surely yours.
Enlarge Your Vision, What Do You See?
You simply must be able to see it before you possess it. In other words, you must be able to imagine it - whatever it may be. It may be a new home, a new car, a spouse, a child, an increase in salary or simply peace in your home. Before you can have it, you must see it with your spiritual eyes and with the eyes of your heart.
When you look into your future, or even into the next week, what do you see? What do you imagine can happen for you? What do you imagine for your family or your child? If you imagine the worst, unfortunately you will have what you see. If you imagine the best, all things are possible with God.
I read a couple stories today that I want to share with you. One was about a girl who wanted to become Miss America. She had entered a beauty pageant at the state level and received runner up. She tried again the next year; again she received the prize for runner up. She could have gotten discouraged and gave up but instead she began to rent every pageant video she could find and she began to see herself walking down that aisle after being crowned Miss America.
The next year, she changed her environment and moved to another state, she entered the state pageant and won. She went on to enter the Miss America pageant and won. When asked if she was nervous when she walked down the aisle after being crowned Miss America, she replied 'no, I have walked down that aisle a million times before.'
She literally saw herself walking down that aisle; she had caused herself to see it over and over by watching those videos.
The other story was about a couple who had moved to a new town to start a new life. The husband was working two jobs to make ends meet while the wife stayed home with the children. They were barely paying the bills and the opportunity to become discouraged was certainly there. They knew they had to do something to keep their hopes alive and to not become discouraged.
They would drive to a luxurious hotel in the area and go in and sit in the beautiful and elegant lobby and talk about their dreams. They took themselves to a place that was at a different level than where they currently were to dream, and they would not let their dreams die. They, too, changed their atmosphere to enable them to continue to envision their dreams. And their dreams for their family came to pass.
I don't know where you find yourself today - but perhaps it is hard to see things getting better from where you are. Perhaps it is difficult to dream from where you are sitting. If so, I would encourage you to change your environment and find some place that you can go and dream again.
You may need to take a long walk through the woods or in the park. Perhaps you need to drive to the mountains. Perhaps you need to go and sit at a building that resembles the building you are asking God for. Whatever you need to do to allow yourself to continue to dream, do it.
Sometimes you have to get yourself out of what is familiar to be able to reignite the dreams inside of you. Sometimes life can be so challenging that you are unable to see clearly the things that God has put in your heart , and you may have to get away to see again.
You can also do like the young lady did, put things before your eyes to cause you to envision yourself where you want to be. If you are trusting God to reconcile your marriage, put wonderful love stories before your eyes and declare that your marriage will be like that.
If you desire to win a contest, put it before your eyes until you can clearly see yourself winning. See your child coming home. See your finances improved. See your marriage healed and whole. See your body strong and healthy.
I am a big advocate of prayer boards, where you place a picture of what you are praying for on a bulletin board and pray over it. That way you can clearly see what you are trusting God for. There have been many things I have placed on my prayer board and began to see with my spiritual eyes that I have seen come to pass and you will too.
We also offer a Possibility Book which is similar to a prayer board but enables you to take it with you – it is a powerful vision tool.
I encourage you today to enlarge your vision by dreaming again. Do whatever you need to do to enable yourself to begin to see a larger vision of what God has for you - imagine the best life possible. Ask God to give you a vision of what He has for you and then feed that dream. Feed it with faith and by looking at it and by talking about it - feed it.
My daughter loves animals, I don't. She had a cat and then she decided that she didn't want it in the house, so she put it outside. The other day I walked around the front of her house and there were cats all over her porch. I ask her where she got the cats. She said "they are not mine, I just feed them." I said to her, "Breanne, whatever you feed becomes yours, these cats have made their home here, and they are not leaving."
Those cats had found a place to be fed and they were home. Allow your dream to find a place to be fed so that it can come and make its abode with you. Feed your dreams - feed your faith - starve everything that opposes your dreams by refusing to think on the negative. Think on good things - imagine your life just as God wants you to see it. God told Abraham, 'as far as the eye can see, I will give it to you.' He is saying the same thing to us today - as far as you can see, it is yours. The imagination is a powerful thing - just look at Disney World.
Habakkuk 2: 2-4 tells us to write the vision and make it plain - let's look fully at this scripture:
Write the vision and make it plain.
That he may run who reads it.
For the vision is yet for an appointed time.
But at the end it will speak and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it, because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
Behold, his soul which is lifted up it is not upright in him, but the just shall live by faith.
Let's look at some of the meanings found in this awesome scripture:
Tarry = question, hesitate
Tarry = be behind, procrastinate (the second tarry in scripture)
Lie = fail, deceive, be in vain
Speak = breathe
Wait = wait in ambush
Upright = straight, level, smooth and steady
Live = remain alive, live prosperously, be restored to life and health
Faith = firmness, steadfastness, steadiness
In other words, you could say it this way: write the vision and make it plain, that he who runs can read it, for the vision is for an appointed time but at the end it will breathe and be alive and it will not fail or be in vain. Though it hesitates or you question if its coming, wait in ambush for it, for it will surely come, it will not be late. Behold, your soul who may appear not level, smooth and steady, yet remains alive, prosperous and restored to life and health by the firmness of our faith, what we believe in, our steadfastness and our steadiness.
A vision is a powerful thing. One description of a vision is something imaginary which you can actually see. A vision is something God has shown you or that you can imagine in your mind. The Bible says it is to see in an ecstatic state. An ecstatic state is delightful beyond measure. Think of that - what God has for you to envision is delightful beyond measure. I love that!
Proverbs 29:18 tells us that where there is no vision, the people perish. It is when people lose this sense of imagining or envisioning something that is delightful beyond measure that they begin to perish. We see it all the time, they can no longer imagine what God has promised and their faith begins to die.
Therefore my question for you today is this; is your vision from the Lord still clear? Has the effects of life and this world dimmed that once clear vision? Can you still envision in you mind, in your imagination that what God has for you is delightful beyond measure?
If not, I encourage you to stir up the spirit of God in you and ask God to once again show you a clear vision of what He has for you. Ask Him to show you a clear picture of how your marriage will be, how your finances will be, what your new home looks like, how your business will prosper. Ask Him to allow you to see it, imagine it clearly. Once you have sight of that vision once again - write it down, make it plain. Keep it before your eyes for just as scripture has said - it will not lie in the end - it will speak and it will breathe - that vision will live - wait for it.
Oh my friends, Gods plan for you is delightful beyond measure - it is something to see in an ecstatic state - it is a glorious vision - imagine it - imagine it as great as you can and then know that it is even better than that - it is beyond delightful - it is beyond what you think or imagine - it is based on what an awesome, huge and glorious God can imagine and it is laid up for you - imagine it - envision it - write it down and watch it come to pass. It’s yours - don't question it and don't grow weary - it's yours and it's your season - get that vision back in front of your face and call it forward.
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this. Malachi 3:10
With God everything is based on obedience to His word. There is just no way around it. From Genesis to Revelation we find God saying, if you do this, then I will do that. For instance;
If you obey and serve God you will spend your years in prosperity and your days in pleasure. If you confess Jesus as Lord, you shall be saved. If you seek God you will find Him. And the list goes on and on.
If you desire to walk in the benefits of the word of God then you have to obey the principles of the word of God. You can't halfway serve God and expect to reap the full benefits of His covenant with us. If you don't obey His word in a certain area, you won't reap the benefits of that area.
The only way to remain in perfect peace is to keep your mind stayed upon God. The only way to walk in health is to give your body what it needs to be healthy. And the only way that God will rebuke the devourer for your sake is when you are a tither. It is a Biblical principle that you can't get around.
I realize there are many people in the body of Christ who do not tithe but that does not negate Malachi 3:10-11; Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this," Says the Lord of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field," Says the Lord of hosts,
It is not a suggestion - God said bring all the tithe, the whole tithe into the storehouse that there would be meat or food in His house. We are commanded by God to bring 10% of all our increase to God. We bring it into the storehouse - where ever we are being fed the meat of the word - that is the storehouse. Tithing was not about law but about covenant.
Ideally it would be your local church that should be the place you are weekly fed the meat of the word. However, there are many people who have no local church, who are fed by other means. Perhaps by a nationwide ministry - whoever is feeding them God's word and praying over them daily - that is where the tithe goes. And the whole tithe must go there - not part of it.
I have been asked many questions this week about tithing. Some of the questions I have been asked, I will address here. First of all, I was asked if you could pay your tithe to someone who has a need. Your tithe goes to whoever is feeding you spiritually. I can find nothing biblical stating you can give your tithe to a need, that would be your offering; your tithe goes to whoever feeds you the word of God. God has a storehouse; it houses His meat and His food which is the word of God, that's where it goes, into His storehouse. If your cousin needs groceries I don't believe God would have you give her your tithe, I can't find any scripture to say He would.
I have people ask me every day to pray for their finances, they need a miracle. Then they tell me they don't tithe or they tithe sometimes. The Bible is clear. When we tithe, it protects the rest of our income - if we don't tithe, the remaining 90% is not protected by God.
However, when we do tithe, God says He will not only open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing you can't contain, but He will also rebuke the devourer for your sake. That means, He will tell the devil that he can't touch your money, it is holy and set apart unto God.
If you fail to tithe - or if you fail to tithe correctly, the Bible says you are cursed with a curse. I believe God wants to get us in position to be blessed and that position must be doing it God's way - there is no other way.
If you want your money blessed - tithe and tithe your whole tithe to the place God tells you to. And be consistent with your tithe, give your tithe regularly and give it in a consistent place. Don't move around here and there, nothing can grow that way.
God wants to bless you - He wants to pour out blessings you can't contain - He wants to rebuke the devourer for your sake - but it must be His way. Do what the word of God says; Prove God - let Him show you He will do what He says He will do with your tithe - Prove Him.
Are you struggling in your finances? Do you tithe? Do you tithe regularly? Have you established a consistent storehouse for your tithe? If you say no to these questions, that is probably what is wrong in your finances. God has no way to work on your behalf if you are being disobedient to His word.
I know people who say they can't afford to tithe - as for my house, we can't afford not to tithe. Take your stand on the tithe and then stand under heavens windows for they will be pouring out an overflow of blessings - on you!
I was studying the Blessing that began in the Garden of Eden and then moved on through the Bible through Noah, Abraham and many others. As I studied, I noted how each time the people of God would turn away from God the curse would come upon the people - each time the curse came upon God's people, God set about to find a way to get His Blessing back in His people
In Genesis 14, it talks about Melchizedek and how Abraham gave him ten percent, it also talks about how Melchizedek was the Priest of the Most High God. Two things took place that day; one, Abraham presented his tithe. Two, Melchizedek presented a blessing. Abraham tithed to the High Priest and the High Priest pronounced a blessing on him. The great exchange.
As I studied this I pondered on what my perspective of tithing was and I discovered I tithed to honor God and because I love God and because I believe it is a principle of the word of God. What I realized is that I didn't acknowledge this great exchange taking place - I didn't have revelation of this awesome truth. What truth? Every time I present my tithe to Jesus, my High Priest, He in turn releases the blessing on me.
Most people see tithing as a money issue and many don't tithe at all because they don't want to be told what to do with their money - but tithing isn't about money - it is about covenant, it is about the blessing, it is about honoring God. It's not that you hand over your money and the preacher or pastor takes off with your money - if that is your idea, then it is no wonder you are not seeing the blessing operate in your life.
You present your tithe to Jesus (regardless of who you give it to, Pastor, Church, Ministry) and He presents to you the Blessing that God has desired for His people to walk in from the very beginning. We release our tithe, He releases the blessing. An exchange is taking place.
Some people may wonder why I try to teach so much on tithing and offering - I can easily answer that - we get hundreds of prayer request daily and 90% of them are about money. I made an observation today, did you know that 10% of the church tithe and give offerings? Yes, only 10% - then I can easily see why the other 90% are having financial difficulty.
I have been studying this subject for a few months and in studying this subject I also decided to take a look at the people I know who are faithful tithers and the people who I know that do not tithe. This I have observed, there is a level of life in the tither that is not in the non-tither - you can see the difference. You can see the blessing in their lives, not only in finances but in joy, happiness, peace and so much more.
Now, you don't have to tithe - it's your option, just as every other principle of God is optional to you. But I do want you to understand my heart in sharing this with you. I want you blessed.
I would love to receive only praise reports about finances and no longer receive prayer requests for finances - not that I mind praying for you, I am honored to pray - but I want to see you blessed and walking in the blessing of God. I want you to realize and comprehend that God is not trying to get something from you - He is trying to get something TO YOU. He has made a way for you to enter into the blessing of God. Instead we keep fighting every minister who tries to show us the way to the blessing - because we believe it is someone telling us what to do with our money - and it is not that at all.
Personally, I have never needed to be forced to tithe and give offerings - when I became born again it was part of my new nature - I present my tithe to God because I love Him so, because I want to honor Him and because I want to say 'thank you' for all you have done for me.' It is a privilege to me - I don't have to tithe - I get to exchange my tithe for His blessing.
Yes, it's true, many things were purchased for us at the cross and are paid in full, and they belong to us free and clear. Yet, in the word of God there are many principles of exchange - this is one of them.
The next time you present your tithe - don't do it without thought or by throwing a few bucks in the bucket and walking on. When you present your tithe - present it to Jesus, your High Priest and receive the Blessing of Almighty God each and every time you tithe.
The more you do this, the more you will realize the fullness of the Blessing in your life - it will become evident that you are in covenant with God and His Blessing rests upon you. His blessing will touch every area of your life. His Blessing will cause the sick to be healed. It will cause the depressed to be filled with joy. It will cause the broken to be restored. It will cause the lack to turn to abundance. His Blessing will cause everything to line up with His will. Tap into the tither’s blessing today and walk in the fullness of it!
And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there shall be no rain. Zechariah 14:17
I have always been a worshipper; it has usually come easy for me. It was the very first thing I learned about God, and it has been my heart cry ever since.
Now, I will admit, there are times when it is more difficult to worship, it doesn’t always come easy. When battles and trials came, it seemed my safe place was in worshipping Him. And worship, I did. It has brought me through many difficult times.
However, there was a time when my times of worship had diminished. I had no excuse; I simply got my eyes on the cares of this world and the battle that was shaking every part of my life. It was an extremely difficult time for me.
During that particular time, the Lord spoke something to me that changed how I saw worship and taught me what happens when we worship God with our whole heart. He said simply ‘no worship, no rain.' I thought that was the strangest statement. But it just kept coming to me. I thought 'that can't be scriptural.' So I looked it up and it is scriptural. Zachariah 14:17 declares those who will not worship me, on them there shall be no rain.
I still did not know what God was trying to tell me fully but I knew He was trying to get something vital across to me. So, I began to meditate - no worship, no rain. A couple of days passed and I still did not have the revelation of it. I know from scripture that until I get the revelation of a thing, I cannot walk in it nor have the fruit of it.
I became frustrated, knowing God was trying to show me something but not quite getting it. I knew that He was telling me that my times of worship had been greatly lacking but I also knew that wasn't the fullness of what He was saying. I keep meditating and studying those scriptures.
One night, when I was ready for bed, I decided to simply do what the scripture said and worship. For me, worship has always come from the heart; I had never worshipped by faith before. However, in walking through this season the past year, it seemed my heart worship was nowhere to be found. Therefore, I did what the word says to do: I had to worship by faith until the passion for worship returned.
Just 12 hours later God gave me the revelation of what He was saying to me. When God was saying to me 'no worship, no rain' what He was saying was; if you don't take time to worship me, all those seeds you have sown to bring you through this, all the word you have sown to enable you to come out with plunder - on those seed there will be no rain and if there is no rain, your seeds will not mature and will not be harvested, there will be no plunder without rain, and no rain without worship.
You see in Joel 2:23 the Bible says that He will give us the former and the latter rain together in the first month. If you do a word study on that scripture, you will find that rain means: the rain which matures crop, to glean, to gather, to take the plunder, to spoil the enemy, to gather everything.
Oh, I hope you can get this in your spirit. God was saying, 'yes, you have seed in the ground - enough to give you plunder - but you have to have rain on that seed so I can bring it forth to maturity - and you can't have rain without worship. Worship brings rain. Rain follows one thing; worship. We don't have to pray for rain - we only have to worship.
Many of my friends have sown and sown. They have sown the word for years and they have sown financial seeds for years and have yet to see a harvest - here is the key - when you worship, God will send the former and latter rain and cause your harvest to come up quickly. The seed is already in the ground, it just needs water.
I think of our local farmers who had very little crop last year because of drought. It should not be that way. You see, if there had been rain, our farmers would have had enough crops to sell to prosper them for an entire year plus enough surpluses for them and their family to eat until next season. This is what God is talking about when He said we would have to clear out the old harvest to make room for the new harvest. The rain causes the harvest to keep coming and coming. Showers of blessing.
Rain symbolizes the blessings of God. Are you one of those who have stood and stood on His word waiting on a breakthrough? Or have you stood and stood on a financial breakthrough and sown all you have? If so - all your seed needs is water - it only needs the rain of God. Worship God and He will rain on your seed. I know this to be not only a truth but I lived it. One thing caused God to bless me that year, only one thing. I worshipped Him every day; from the depths of my soul I worshipped Him. Looking back, from the time I began to worship God to the time that I was walking in the fullness of His blessing was a very short time. It happened so quickly - because He hastens His word to perform it.
Worshipping God should be a priority for every born again believer. If you don't know how, begin by faith. When you worship God you are not thanking Him for what He has done, that's praise. Worship is all about God. Tell Him who He is to you. Magnify His name. Call out His names. Talk about how wonderful He is, how mighty He is. King David was a worshipper; you can find so many ways to worship God in the book of Psalms. I am telling you, He will move heaven and earth to move on the behalf of a worshipper, I know, He did just that for me.
Most things I share with you are things that I have experienced in my own life – I believe a personal testimony has more impact than something you may have heard through the grapevine. Let me share one of my special times of worshipping God with you.
Several years ago, I had gone through a time of fasting and prayer – it was my hearts cry to worship God in spirit and in truth. I desperately wanted to know how to worship God in a way that was pleasing to Him, that would touch His heart. I sought Him earnestly. As I would spend time in worship, I could feel myself getting closer and closer to God. After a few days of that kind of worship, the Lord began to wake me up every night around 3 am, and He would say, ‘come, worship me.’ So, I would get out of bed and worship until I could feel His pleasure with the worship and I would feel as if it was enough…then I would go back to bed.
That must have lasted for a month or so, every single night. Precious times in the presence of my Lord. One day, when I least expected it, God poured out His abundance of rain on me. He began to rain down on me prosperity that I could not have imagined. Within a month, everything I would have ever dreamed of was mine and it came straight from God.
Later, I asked God about it. I said ‘God there are people who pray more, know more of the Word than I do, who are better Christians, why did you pour out your blessings on me?’ He said, ‘because you worshipped Me.’
Again, this is confirmed by the scripture that says; and it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain. Zech. 14:17 As I worshipped God during that time, He rained down His blessing on me in fullness.
Are the blessings of God raining in your life? If not, are you worshipping God? Perhaps it is time to return to the Lord until He comes and rains down on you.
Hosea 6 says ‘Come. Let us return to the Lord…let us strive to know the Lord…He will come to us like the rain.’
It’s time to return to the Lord, strive to really know Him, to become intimately acquainted with Him, for He is about to come and rain all of who He is and all of His abundance on you…as you worship Him.
Now, let’s look at another scripture; even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Isaiah 46:4
A year or so ago, I went through a season where I studied worship a great deal, during that time Lord gave me a dream. God often speaks to me through dreams and He often reveals things to me through dreams. This dream explained the process of worship to me…please allow me to share it with you.
In the dream, my husband (we weren’t married in the dream, we had been, but were no longer together in the dream) was wanting me to re-marry him, but I refused. I loved him but didn’t want to marry him; however, the wedding date was set. Everything was in place. So, my sister agreed to marry him, although she really didn’t want to. (Sounds silly, I know, but bear with me). When the time for the wedding was within minutes away, although I wasn’t dressed as a bride, I was in jeans and a top; I stepped forth and decided to marry him. As he was coming down the hall, expecting to see my sister, I stepped up and said, ‘I decided to marry you, you are bound to me for life.’ He smiled so big, and was so happy.
In the dream, we began to dance, slow dance. At first, we danced normal with both our feet stepping to music. After a few minutes I began to place my feet on top of his and dance (like a little girl would do with her Daddy). We continued dancing. And it was the most peaceful, comforting feeling I have ever known in my life. After a little while longer, I had my feet totally off the ground, still had my arms around his neck, still dancing…but he was now carrying me, supporting the full weight of me, as we continued to dance. I was now in his arms as he completely carried me to the sound of this wonderful music. As we danced, it felt as if we were melting into each other, becoming one, and the longer we danced the more the oneness increased. Then I woke up.
When morning came, I could not get this dream off my mind. That is usually an indication to me that the dream is from God. So, I headed for my dream book to look for some of the symbols the Bible often uses for dreams. In the book I found that dancing represented worship. And marriage represented covenant, and husband represented God. Aha. Now, I could clearly see what God was speaking to me.
Allow me to explain. My husband represented God. Our dance represented worship and the pathway a life of worship takes you on. When you first begin to worship God, really worship Him, you are dancing, step by step. As you continue in worship it takes you to a new level, with your feet on His, walking in His footsteps. As you continue to worship and He sees your faithfulness to worship Him, He begins to carry you, He takes on the full weight of you and you are safe in His arms.
When we are born into this world, we are carried around until we can walk or crawl. We then learn to walk, then run, and suddenly we no longer need our parents help to move from here to there. Often, when we are born again, we are used to doing everything ourselves, we have the attitude that we can make it on our own. It’s true, we can, usually. But, God requires a life totally dependent on Him, does He not? So, to come to His way of doing things we go the opposite, at least in worship.
We begin worshipping Him, and then He takes the weight off us, as He did in my dream when I placed my feet on His. We continue worshipping Him and before we know it He is carrying us and our burdens and has placed the fullness of His blessing upon us.
I have said this before and I will say it again, there is a place in God you go to in worship that you can’t get to any other way. I know it for a fact, for I have been there. I am encouraging you to go there; I promise you will never do the same.
Ask Jesus to dance with you, to teach you His dance. I read a statement in a book by Sam Hinn, Kissing the Face of God, about worship; Sam Hinn asked God ‘what comes after worship?’ God replied, ‘The Dance.’ This is what I saw in my dream. It humbled me to think that a mighty God would desire to dance with me, but He does, and He desires to dance with you too, the marriage dance, the covenant dance…will you dance?
Even with all the teaching on worship, I have found that many people do not know how to worship. I know many ministers have a different view of praise and worship. This is how the Lord has taught me and I hope it helps you in your pursuit of Him.
Praise means to rejoice, give commendations, applause, approval, endorsement and acclaim. Through this definition, we understand that we praise God for what He does. We praise Him when He answers our prayers. We praise Him when He delivers our children. We praise Him for His mighty acts.
David was a man of praise, He even said in Psalm 71:6, 'Your praise shall continually be in my mouth.' What made David a man of praise? He had seen God do such mighty acts right before his face. King David had seen God deliver him so many times; he couldn't help but become a praiser. We see King David's praise all though the Psalms.
David knew about praise - he even praised God when he didn't feel like praising God as we see in Psalm 43:5, when David said 'why are you cast down O' my soul? Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise Him.' Now, that is a praiser!
The Bible teaches us that praise causes the enemy to stop in his tracks. We further find in 2 Chronicles 20:22, when they praised God, He set ambushments against their enemy. Praise is a powerful weapon in the hand of a believer. Keep in mind, praise is to give applaud or approval. I am sure when your children do things correctly, you praise them, this is the same kind of praise.
Praise is all about what God has done for you or someone else, worship on the other hand is a whole different story.
To worship means to bow down, to reverence, to give worthship to. The Vines dictionary says that worship also means to come forth and kiss - thus denoting to worship is an intimate act. And that it is. In my opinion, worship is the closest intimacy you can get with God as long as we are on this earth.
Psalm 132:7 says Let us worship at His footstool. If you do a word study, footstool literally means three feet or three paces from God. That is how close you must be to worship.
Worship is a human response perceived when the divine touches the ordinary. Any time people came close enough to God in the Old Testament to worship; they would build an altar and call it a holy place. When you worship, it is a holy act.
If praise is telling God about all the wonderful things that He has done and declaring His mighty works, then what is worship? Worship is all about God; it has absolutely nothing to do with you. And it has nothing to do with anything He has done. We should worship God based solely on who He is. We worship God because He is God. If He did absolutely nothing for me or if He answered none of my prayers, He would still be worthy of my worship, simply because He is God.
A true worshiper will worship God no matter what is going on around them. Why? Because regardless of the circumstances, God is still God. You have to come very close to God to become a true worshipper. I promise you, if you draw near to Him, you won't be able to keep from worshipping Him. William Barclay said 'it is the law of life that if a man thinks on something often enough and long enough, he will come to the stage where he can't stop thinking about that thing. His thoughts will be quite literally in a groove out of which he can't jerk them.'
That is the truth, if you think on God and how amazing and awesome He is, if you think on it long enough, you can't help but worship Him.
As with everything, I can only speak from my experience. From my experience, praise stops the enemy from working against me - every time. Worship brings forth the blessing of God, every time. That's how it has been in my life.
One of our readers asked me where to begin to worship, if you don't know where to start. That is a good question. As I have said, worship is all about Him and who He is - a good place to start is by telling Him who He is to you. I often call out the names of God and their meaning to Him, without fail, His presence always shows up and leads me into an intimate time of worship. If you don't know where to start, start there. Just tell Him who He is - He will become the very person you are calling Him - and He will become that to you in a very intimate way. Taste and see ~ He is so good.
Let me share one more scripture with you on worship, found in Psalm 34:9; Worship God if you want the best; worship opens doors to all his goodness.
Worship brings rain, rain brings harvest, if there is no rain, there is no harvest - it's very simple. To have a harvest we must have rain.
Remember Abraham and Isaac? God had to know if Abraham would love God more than the promise, God, Himself had given him. And Abraham proved faithful to his love for God.
As I was reading and re-reading the scripture in Psalm 34:9, I felt led to read it in the Message Bible; it says 'worship God if you want the best. Worship opens doors to all His goodness.'
In my own life, I had seen that worship had many times opened doors, but I had never before seen it in scripture. Now I knew it was scriptural.
I thought back to the time when God blessed me with a new home, debt free. Just before it happened, I felt compelled to worship. God would wake me up in the middle of the night and say 'come, worship Me.’ And I would. This went on for some time and then God blessed me.
My friends, if you are feeling drawn by God to worship - take the time to worship. He wants to open up the doors of His goodness to you. Worship Him. The Bible says that His blessings make one rich and He adds no sorrow to it. His way is the smooth way. His way is the best way. And one of His ways of opening doors of goodness is for His people to worship Him.
Everyone needs doors of His goodness open to them - it comes through worship. One of my favorite scriptures is 'I would have lost heart if I had not believed I would see the goodness of God in the land of the living.'
I know when I worship God, I will see His goodness. I know that from experience - but now I know from scripture that my worship to my God opens those doors of goodness. And I want to keep them open, so I will keep worshipping every day.
Don't save your worship for the church service on Sunday or Wednesday - worship Him daily. Don't only worship God in a crowd - set aside intimate times with Him, just you and Him. When you make worshipping Him a part of your day - His goodness will become a part of your day as well.
And we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, so we were in their sight. Numbers 13:33
This scripture is full of insight; first of all it is referring to the days when Moses sent twelve men to spy out the land that God had promised to give them. They were to look for certain things; to see if the people who dwelled there were strong or weak, to see if the land was good or bad, and to check out the fruit of the land.
Twelve men of God went down - ten saw one thing - two saw something different. How is that? Did they really see two different set of facts? No, all twelve saw the same facts with their natural eyes. But two, Joshua and Caleb, they saw the same facts yet through the eyes of faith - through their absolute trust in the God who had delivered them before.
Ten men said ‘we’re like grasshoppers in our own sight so we were in their sight.’ And therein lies the problem, they were looking through their eyes of flesh. Other people will see you as you see yourself and so will the enemy.
Joshua and Caleb saw the same things yet said ‘it’s a great land and God is with us therefore we can take our land.’ There two men were looking through the eyes of faith - seeing as God sees.
Remember David? In I Samuel 17, Goliath had come out against the army of God and the Bible says that because of Goliath’s words, the men of God were greatly afraid. Wow!
Because of his words alone they were greatly afraid. Then David, this little ruddy boy come along - and David saw Goliath differently, he saw a man coming against David’s God. David was able to see the situation through the eyes of faith and he declared that Goliath would be defeated in the name of the Lord – and he was.
David, Joshua, and Caleb saw differently. This sight came from within, not from their natural eyes. Where all the others saw opposition – they saw opportunity. They didn’t deny the giants, they simply knew that The Greater One lived in them and they knew every giant could and would be defeated in the name of the Lord.
What do you see when you look at your circumstances? Do you see giants standing in the way of your promises and decide to just stay where you are instead of pressing to what God has promised you? Or do you see that the God who is on the inside of you is greater and more than able to defeat any and all giants in your way?
In both instances, the children of God were afraid of what they saw and what they heard. The giants hadn’t laid one finger on them; they simply feared what they heard and saw.
The enemy works the same way today. His only weapons are words (lies) and making things look worse than they are. He has no power, none, to keep you from your promises. He can only lie and deceive.
Don’t give into the lie. Look past those giants and see that great promised land through the eyes of faith and declare as David did ‘who are you to come against me, a child of God, this day my God will surely deliver you into my hand.’
Also, don’t allow people who can’t see your promises because of fear or doubt to distort your perception. Don’t allow negative words to keep you from your promises – stand toe to toe with every giant that stands in your way, your God will defeat them for you every single time. He will lead you into your Promised Land if you’ll only believe, trust and see through the eyes of faith.
Now, let’s look at this scripture from another perspective. Have you ever realized that whatever way you see yourself, is how others will see you? Have you ever met someone who really wasn’t that attractive but they thought they were so attractive that you began to see attractive things about them? Have you ever noticed that people who have a lot of charisma are just great to be around? They feel good about themselves and somehow that makes everyone else feel good when they are around them.
We see this same principle in the children of Israel in Numbers 13:33. When God told Moses to send out 12 spies to check out the land He had promised to give them, sure enough the land was just as God said, flowing with milk and honey with wonderful fruit. They found fruit so big that they had to carry one cluster of grapes between two men. However, if you remember, 10 of the 12 spies didn’t see the fruit, they only saw the problems – they saw the giants, the walled cities and they saw how little they appeared in their own eyes. What they were seeing was a reflection of the faith that was on the inside of them. This alone kept them from every promise that God had delivered them out of bondage for, instead they wondered around the wilderness for forty years. Wouldn’t that be a shame? For God to deliver you out of a place and desire to take you to a place of promise but you are unable to go because of the way you see things?
If your perception isn’t lining up with what God says about you then there is only one way to change that. You have got to begin to see yourself through the mirror of God’s word. What does God say about you? Well, He says that you are more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus. He says that you are the head and not the tail. He says that you are blessed coming in and blessed going out. He says that you were healed by the stripes of Jesus. He says that you are forgiven and that your sins have been cast as far from you as the east is from the west. He says that Jesus became poor so that you might be made rich. He says that He sent His only son to die on that cross so you could enjoy the abundant life of healing, prosperity, great relationships, peace and so much more. The only way you will know what God says about you is to stay in the word and find out.
Often we have words, negative words, spoken over us throughout our lives that damage how we see ourselves on the inside. Or perhaps you have made some really dumb decisions in your life and you are seeing yourself in the light of those decisions. The wonderful news is that God doesn’t see you that way. Once you have become born again and give your heart and life to God, He sees you as the word of God says you are. The thing that now needs to happen is that you need to begin to see yourself that way. See yourself prospering. See yourself healed. See yourself happy and free. See yourself walking in the abundant life, after all, God does.
Now, let’s go back. Remember the children of Israel said that ‘as we were in our sight, so we were in their sight?’ It’s true, often other people will see you as a direct reflection of how you see yourself. But sometimes, and we know and understand that this is how the enemy works; sometimes ~ it’s a lie. What do I mean by that? Well, the enemy will talk to you and tell you who he says you are, he will tell you exactly why he thinks you will fail ~ he will say that he sees you as weak and a failure and that you will never get your prayers answered or that you will never do anything for God. Is that the truth? No, of course not, the Bible says that he is the father of lies. And in the scripture we are looking at today, we find that how the children of Israel believe the giants of the Promised Land see them is a lie as well. Let me prove it to you. Remember, the 10 spies Moses sent out believe that they are viewed as grasshoppers in the eyes of the giants.
But look with me at Joshua 2:9-11, ‘and said to the men: "I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.”
Please get hold of this revelation. Although the children of Israel thought that the giants saw them as small, a few chapters later, Rahab told them how the people of that land, including the giants, really saw them. They knew that the Lord had given them the land and it caused them great terror. They knew that God had delivered them from Egypt with a mighty hand. They knew that where God took them their enemies were utterly destroyed. They knew that their God was God, the God in heaven and the God on earth. They knew that no matter how much bigger they were no one had been able to stand up against the God of the children of Israel.
So you see when the enemy is lying to you and trying to get you to see yourself the way he is saying he sees you, it’s all a lie. The devil KNOWS that you are a child of the Most High God. He KNOWS that nothing is impossible with your God. He KNOWS that no weapon formed against you could ever prosper unless you let go of your promise. He KNOWS you were healed by the stripes of Jesus. He KNOWS that Jesus became poor so that you might be made rich. He KNOWS better than anyone knows that Jesus, Himself faced Satan at his own house and took the keys from him and made an open show of him, utterly defeated him. Oh yeah, he knows all this – what he is counting on is that you don’t know and if you do know what God says about you, that you don’t fully believe it.
Recognize his lies, and you will defeat him. Know how he really sees you and all fear will leave. The only truth about you is what God says about you. The only truth about your situation is what God and His word says about it. Don’t buy into the lies, stand on the truth of the word of God and go ahead , step into your promised land, God has already given it to you, go ahead, it’s yours, possess it!