The Paralyzing Grip of Fear!

images-26The Dusty cobblestone streets of the small Guatemala town were sparse and gave the appearance of a ghost town. It was as a mountain of fear that gripped this small town as the news of the looming coronavirus stood before them. Temporary paper signs were posted on most business and restaurants throughout the narrow streets. Fear was now blocking this community keeping them from the promises that were in their hearts. Those that did venture into the streets were distant and sober looking reminding me of a Story of Gods people as they were on the brink of crossing over into the land of promise.
Ten out of the twelve spies who went into the Promised Land saw the inhabitants and were gripped by fear. It was a tormenting fear that not only skeweud their vision but spread to many others. The Biblical account that we read in Num. 13:26-30 continues to let us know that the other two, Joshua and Caleb, had an attitude of a warrior. These two did not succumb to spreading fear but kept their eyes on God’s promises and declared with boldness, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it,”. Their tenacious heart revealed their victorious attitude for the battle that lay before them. Yet, the majority of the spies were affected by fear just like a big part of God’s people.
​Let me share with you six facts about fear that every believer should know: First, fear is a tactic of the enemy that will grip and paralyze you. Fear is your imagination running wild. It asks the question, “What if?” and answers with the worst-case scenario, picturing a future without God’s Intervention.
​Second, fear will stop you from being effective for God. Have you ever seen someone who is afraid to try anything new? What about your child and broccoli? All the disciples were in the boat but only Peter ventured out and walked on the water (Matt. 14:29). Fear held the others back from having that same supernatural testimony. Too often we are hindered from moving forward in God because of this enemy.
​ Third, fear can spread to other believers and limit their impact. In Num. 14:1 it reads, “So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried”. Why did they cry? Because fear had spread to everyone who heard the spies say that they lacked the strength to go up against their enemy. Fear will sweep across others like a wildfire on a dry prairie.
​ Fourth, fear is a serious defect in a warrior. In Deuteronomy 20:8 the commanders were suppose to ask their troops, “What man is there who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, lest the heart of his brethren faint like his heart.” Being fearful and faint-hearted will affect and impact many. The fainthearted Christian will melt in the face of a spiritual battle.
​ Fifth, fear brings bondage. Romans 8:14-15 declares, “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear…” Many Christians walk around in bondage because they live in fear. Fear is a lack of understanding in who God is, as well as, a lack of trust in Him.
​Sixth, fear is a torment that can hold you back from fulfilling God’s purposes. Elisha’s servant was overcome by fear when he thought he was outnumbered by the encircling enemy (II Kings 6:15). The apostle John assures us, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love,” (I Jn. 4:18). A Christian who is tormented by fear is a Christian who is not grounded in God’s love.
​ Knowing these six crucial points about fear will help you not be distracted from serving the Lord. I believe the church is on the brink of its finest hour. Yet a prayer warrior must be aware of the effects of fear in the realm of intercession and fulfilling the plans of God. If fear grips us as we move into spiritual warfare and the things of God we will be limited in our impact to those around us. Lets keep our eyes on Jesus as we move forward into our promised victory ahead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a Bad Day when Donkeys are more Intune to God than Us.

1aa donkey. Paul speaks to the Christians in Corinth letting them know that on this side of heaven we are handicap in our spiritual eye sight and understanding of Gods totally will. We read in 1 Cor 13:12 where he says, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known”.  It reminds me of trying to shave in the morning after the hot water has been running for a while and the mirror becomes all fogged up. You can’t see clearly anymore so you take a couple of wipes with your hand bringing a slight moment of clarity making for a few more needed swipes with the raiser before it gets fogged up again. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could see correctly a hundred percent of the time? It definitely would help us not get in some of the messes that we seem to find ourselves in along the way. The more we pursue God the clearer our spiritual vision will become.

As the children of Israel were coming into the Land that God had already given them, we find an interesting story of a dull and defiled prophet that was being pulled by his own fleshly desires. We follow his story of struggling to be obedient to God, so as many people do, he continues to question and push for his will not Gods. Truthfully, it is kind of like how it was when we were children dealing with our parents, we would want something so bad that we refused to take no for an answer and keep asking them until we would end up getting in trouble, right?

As we pick up the story in Num. 22:28-32 we see where it says, “Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have abused me. I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you”! In a moments time we can find ourselves being brought into this incredible story where we see this supernatural adventure unfolding with a donkey speaking so that the prophet could understand. That’s amazing and incredible, but what is really peculiar is that Balaam starts speaking back to the donkey having a conversation with it.

Balaam’s heart was so bent to the point that he pushed God in allowing him to go with the king and so now the Angel of the Lord is waiting in ambush to slay Balaam. And because the prophet’s eyes have become so dull to the spirit realm, he is not able to see the Lord standing in the midst of the path ready to serve justice on him. Yet, the donkey clearly sees what’s going on spiritually and keeps attempting to move out of the way to avoid Balaam from being judged with a sword. We see that God then open Balaam’s eyes to the realm of the spirit, but unfortunately, his heart wasn’t changed and he continued to let his fresh and lust lead him against God’s will. Ultimately, he teaches the Moab king how to get the children of Israel to bring God’s judgement on them. Balaam’s lust eventually brought the sword of the Lord upon him later in his life. (Jos 13:22)

Paul says in Eph 5:17, “Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is”. So often believers are driven by their motives and agendas that they become blind to what is happening in the spirit realm. So let me encourage you, not to be dumber than a donkey, for God wants us to be in tune with His heart!

Beware of Slipping Down the Slopes of Despair!

Image result for american falls reservoir pictures"

It was a hot summer afternoon, years ago when my father took off work early to take me fishing at one of the Snake River reservoirs in southern Idaho. We were positioning ourselves on the concrete slopes of the reservoir, anticipating a great time of fishing. I had noticed since some of the water had been released the day before it had left wet damp moss exposed on the lower section of the slopes. Yet, as a naive young man, I foolishly ran over across the moss without any caution and immediately began sliding down to the water level. It was with a quick protective hand that my father grasped me and pulled me out of what could have been a slimy slide to a momentary destruction.

In like manner there are definite seasons in our lives that we can find ourselves going through, that if not careful or clothed in God’s armor (Eph. 6:12-13), we can slide deep into dark waters of despair.


When you listen to the voice of the enemy, it will always plunder you in depths of despair.


It’s in our vulnerability that the enemy, will begin to plunder us with his accusations and lies, trying to destroy us as children of God. (Jn 10:10, 1 Peter 5:8) He looks for every opportunity to entice you into venturing out on the slippery slopes of your journey.

The demonic spirit that was working through queen Jezebel when she announced her intent to kill Elijah, which began his slide down the wet slope of despair. We read, in 1 Kings 19:9-10, “…he went into a cave…”, where the Lord said to Him, “What are you doing here?”. Elijah, had just experienced God’s awesome victory on the summit of Mt Carmel days earlier, but now finds himself in a cave, wallowing in despair and causing him to have a distorted perspective. Speaking out of his fear and hopelessness Elijah replies to the Lord “I alone am left; and they seek to take my life”. He began to feel that everyone was against him when it was actually just the demonic agenda through Jezebel.

Elijah was a victorious Godly prophet that was in the flow of what God was doing, until He started listening to the voice of the enemy through the queen. Then instead of him standing in the victory of God, he ran and hid in a cave. He began to believe the lie that everyone was against Him. He came to the place of not wanting to stand for God but


Jesus will always call to you from the banks of your failures so He can realign you.


to Die. (v4) What a change and drastic plunge into the deepest of darkness! Who would have even imagined this fearless and determined prophet that the king and godly officer feared? (1 Kings181-1 7)

Peter himself was also deceived to the point of being pushed onto the wet mossy slopes of despair, through the extraordinary circumstances that he and the other disciples went through. Being under such pressure, Peter slid to such a dark place that he uttered these words to the other six disciples in Jn 21:3, “I am going fishing.” In other words he was saying, I quit and I am going back to my former lifestyle. Evidently he had kept his tackle box from years earlier, so to speak, by the back door making it easy to fall back on. And not him only but his despair moved the disciples present down that same deluge of discouragement.

It was in those times that we see the graciousness of our Lord. With Elijah it was that still small voice that reached out and brought him out of the cave with a new fervor. Peter was pulled out of the depths of the unfruitfulness of despair through the words of the resurrected Lord. (1 Kings19, Jn 21:12-19) Let me encourage you to allow the word of God to reach out to you also and pull you back to Him.

 

Pt. 2 – In This Season …Look For the Divine Appointments!

1a divine appI love when God gives you that kiss from heaven, the orchestration of divine appointments, letting you know that He has complete control of every part of your journey. And If we’re not careful we can nonchalantly shrug off these God moments with thinking they are just natural circumstances. Losing the incredible joy of knowing the creator of the universe loves you enough to wrap around your situation the warmth and comfort of the evidence of His love and value for you.

Now back to doctor Luke’s story in Luke 2:25-35 where he says there was a righteous man named Simeon who had yielded himself to the Holy Spirit which had led him to come to the temple. In verse 26 we read, “it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ”. It was a divine set up! There in the temple comes Mary, Joseph and Jesus the Christ wrapped in probably her most beautiful covering. The moment that Simeon and the world had been waiting


Just when we feel things are over, God steps in with His touch and says “They are just Beginning”!


for is now upon them, with no dress rehearsal the camera of history is running. With no doubt to the readers we are convinced of the Holy Spirit’s working in that one place with and for so many people. But truthfully for the characters of this pivotal moment in time they could have brushed it off as just another day of longing in their lives. Yet, this day not only was fulfilling a promise to Simeon who was waiting in faith, but continued to confirm to Mary the words of God, that Gabriel had said nine months earlier, and also affirming to Joseph that his faith filled obedience was important and ordained by God.

It had now been 40 days since the birth of Jesus, the shepherds were now back tending the sheep in the fields and the excitement of the heavenly announcement had become news of yesterday. The hustle and bustle of this extraordinary season was transitioning into a way of life as this new family had already taken baby Jesus to be circumcised on the eighth day and now Mary and Joseph enter the temple on her completion of days of purification for the birth of a male child. (Lev 12:1-8) It is interesting to me that in the same length of time as the Holy Spirit had taken Jesus into


Our Life Struggles fade in light of His affirming Divine Kiss from Heaven


the wilderness for forty days before He was thrust into His earthly ministry of power, leading to His bodily sacrifice on the cross. We now see these 30 years earlier that the child Jesus has also been in waiting the same length of time for His dedication into the world as the glorious Savior with a sacrifice for Him in the Temple ceremony. (Lk. 2:24)

And “folks, that’s not all”! At that very moment, the scripture also points out, a widow named Anna who had been travailing for most of her adult life, possibly up to 84 years, in prayer and fasting, (Lk 2:36-38) Interceding in the temple for the spiritual birthing of the gift of God to the world. Who by the Hand of the Father’s fate was just brought in for His dedication for the world! (Jn. 3:16)

They all seemed to be assembled and brought together through divine means. God doesn’t just throw things together like we do in making “Everything but the kitchen sink” soup. Each of these characters had a unique story of personal hardship and struggle in their walk of faith. But God uses them as part of His gloriously orchestrated triumphant entry. It was in this moment that the world, as well as each of these characters experienced God’s divine kiss and assurance of His redeeming plan.

In This Season …Look For the Divine Appointments!

1a1 divine apptAfter the prescribed days had passed for the ceremonial purification for childbirth.(Lev 12:1-8) Mary and Joseph now venture with their new born baby, Jesus to the temple. (Luke 2:22-24) It was a day of celebration and anticipation as they come to dedicate this holy child to God. This was a day that can only be described as a “Divine appointment” involving multiple individuals that could only be orchestrated by a loving Heavenly Father. All of which, had their own circumstances filled with hurts and struggles, yet there was an expectancy grounded in God’s faithfulness.

One begins to understand God’s enormous love and commitment, as you become aware and experienced His divine appointments in your life. They confirm His faithfulness and involvement in your journey with Him. It’s much like the father giving his daughter a kiss at the altar as he gives her to the new spouse. It isn’t a “kiss off” but a kiss of endearment and approval, as well as, an assurance that “I am still with you” along your way. That’s how I look at God’s divine appointments; they are His kiss from heaven assuring you of His approval and endearment as you walk with Him. Have you ever been a part of God’s orchestration of His plan? Let me share one of mine.


It isn’t a “kiss off” but a kiss of endearment and approval, as well as, an assurance that “I am still with you” along your way.


Not in a million years did I ever think I would have someone come wondering into my high country camp. I had taken time to pull back from the white noise of society and position myself to be able to focus on what God was saying to me for my life. Over the past forty or so years I have been coming to this region off and on as a place to reset and refocus. You could say it’s a time that keeps me yielded and dependent on God.

There I was huddling around my campfire high in the Rocky Mountains. The early snowstorm had kept me socked-in for a couple of days, dumping a thick blanket of snow in the region. It made the solitude of the backcountry even more remote. I hadn’t seen anyone else or any sign of a human being for a good solid week. Of course the snow always reveals who is lurking closer than you think, such as bears, cougar and wolves who had seemed to be a little more curious of this intruder then I wanted.             The blazing fire was now winding down to a few flames and the crackling of red coals in the darkness. It was now ten-thirty and time to crawl into my mummy bag under the tree. When out of the darkness, five feet behind me comes a voice, “how are you doing”? Wow! All I can say is I went from being calm, relaxed and talking to God, to jumping out of my skin, screaming at who ever was there. The seconds went by as if they were minutes, as I tried to rationalize what I just heard and now see, a young man standing in the middle of my camp, in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere. Not thinking I would ever see anyone or hear anyone at all. A matter of fact in the last forty years I had never seen anyone up there, other than a handful across on a ridge or on another mountain with binoculars. Now in the midst of my camp stands a young man that has evidently been divinely directed whether he knew it or not.

You see I have learned to ask God daily to allow me to be apart of His agenda, using me in divinely orchestrated situations. This young man wasn’t just physically lost, but had lost his faith in God, and had also lost his earthly father to illness some time back. Miraculously, God had orchestrated this divine appointment at my camp. You see, I had also lost my father and had gone through times of questioning my faith. It was God’s set-up that brought much fruit that night. (John 15:1-17)      To be continued…     

It shouldn’t be Just for one Day! We should begin Thanks-Living.

1a - thankfulI heard a story about a little boy who was handed an orange by a man trying to be kind. The boy’s mother asked, “What do you say to the nice man?” The little boy thought and handed the orange back and said, “Peel it.”

As rude as this boy in the story seems to be, what’s more shocking is that this attitude is prevalent throughout our society. Everywhere we turn we can see it filtering through this great nation of ours. We have raised a generation of self-absorbed people that are blinded to everything other than their desires and needs. We have forgotten the simple act of gratitude.

We have made a make-believe, self absorbed, mystical world that around our own us! We have established ourselves as king in our own little kingdoms! We have made our society nothing more than a “Me, Myself and I” culture that has started us down a slippery slope of ungratefulness. The scripture says in 1 Tim. 3:1-2 that in the last days


Why do we celebrate one day every year to be thankful and return to self-centered living the day after


men will be lovers of themselves and unthankful, as well as, with other selfish attributes. These actions have nurtured and raised a generation of unthankful people. We celebrate one day every year to be thankful and return to self-centered living the day after.

This reminds me of the story of the ten lepers that stood afar as Jesus entered a certain village. They lifted their voices so that Jesus could hear them and cried out, “have mercy on us!” Jesus responds telling them to go and show themselves to the priest, who had the final decision in pronouncing them clean or defiled.

As the lepers went in obedience to His words, the very disease that had kept them estranged from society incredibly dries up and instantly they are healed. Now if this was the end of the story it would be a great lesson on obedience and God’s mercy, but it goes even deeper. The story continues with the scene of only one of the ten returning to give


It’s truly time to stop the madness of self-centeredness and develop a lifestyle of thankfulness


thanks for the miracle from God. The author points out that this healed man was not a Jew but a Samaritan. He wasn’t educated in the traditions and things of God. Yet he knew enough to be eternally grateful for the life changing miracle he was given. Many times those who profess to be Christians are out-done by unbeliever who is touched by God’s mercy.

Where were the other nine? This demoralizing disease had unfairly handicapped them all. They had all been separated from society and their families and dreams. Yet, when they were radically healed and set free by a merciful loving God that heard and responded to their cries. All but one of them chose not to even take the time to come and say, “Thank You”.

It’s time we develop a lifestyle of gratitude towards God and become obedient to the scripture, “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thes 5:18). We can become a person of gratitude by being thankful in three simple areas. First, by being thankful for everything He has done. Secondly, being thankful for everything He is doing in our lives and thirdly, walking in faith by being thankful for everything He is going to do in our lives.

When we become grateful in these areas it will develop a heart of gratitude in us which will flow out to and through others.

It’s truly time to stop the madness of self-centeredness and develop a lifestyle of thankfulness, not just a day of thanksgiving! God wants Thanks-living!

Faithful Follower or Fair-Weathered Fan?

a1 fan

Like a spiritual father that he was, Paul exhorts his spiritual children in Corinth to not be swishy washy in their walk. We read his words in 1 Cor 15:58 where he says, “…be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord”. As he closed this first letter he seemed to be giving them a last nugget of encouragement to keep them from vacillating in their commitment to following Christ.

Some years back when our hometown team was on the verge of going to the World Series, which they did eventually clinched. People came out of the woodwork and jumped on the bandwagon of being a fan. Everyone was buying t-shirts, banners and talking the talk at the water fountain and coffee counter. Everyone seemed to be diehard committed fans all of a sudden. They call these type fans, fare-weathered fans, because they are only committed to the team when it is easy and convenient.

I think many believers fall in this same type category of commitment in their walk with the Lord. You might call them fare weathered Christians. They are committed to Christ and His teachings as long as there aren’t any storms of life or a losing season in their daily disciplines. On the other side of the coin when they are in the midst of over flowing blessings it is easy to jump on the bandwagon of commitment. Yet, Paul knew that the believer was called to stand firm in their faith no matter what comes their way. Jesus said in Luke 9:62, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”. Therefore, Paul also exhorts the believers in 1 Cor 9:24-26 to be like


   Only being committed when it is easy and convenient is being a fare-weathered fan for Christ


the runner in a race that runs to win the race not just to be strolling down the track of life and also to those believers in Ephesus He says, “having done all to stand therefore stand”. (Eph. 6:12) Commitment without endurance is just a desire that never manifests into reality. The followers of Christ must live a lifestyle committed to being obedience to Christ rather than just being hinged with some sort of sacrifice. What I am trying to say is there must be more than just sacrifice. (1 Sam 15:22-23) Commitment is a must for every believer!

In Ps. 132 we read the psalmists conversation with the Lord, where he prayed that God would remember David’s commitment to Him. From the sheep fields to the Kingship it seems that this determined commitment that was birthed in him, grew more and more over time. The Spirit describes his determination and intensity in Acts 13:22, saying, “a man after My own heart, who will do all My will”. The Psalmist briefly reminds God of David’s commitment in Ps 132:2-5 which says, “How he … vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob: “Surely I will not go into the chamber of my house, Or go up to the comfort of my bed; I will not give sleep to my eyes … Until I find a place for the Lord”. David never strayed from this passionate commitment to God, in fact if anything, it increased. Scripture reveals how David wasn’t perfect, but his heart was moved for God and the more he leaned into intimacy with Jesus, I believe God kept pouring His heart into him. In a sense, you could say God was stoking the fire of heaven in David’s heart over the years.

After your gone, how will people remember your commitment to God? What will be written on your headstone? Have you given Him opportunity to increase your burning passion to the point that your commitment is at the same intensity as David?

 

 

 

 

 

The Cost of Impatience

1a1aa - impatienceThere’s nothing like entering the stage of life where God blesses you with children. It is an incredible season, yet the transition between only having to worry about yourself to the wake up call of now having a baby that doesn’t understand patience and timing can be eye opening to say the least. I remember in that season how the nights that I was beyond tired was when our sweet cuddly bundle of love turned into a screaming creature from the dark side. That sweet little crying baby never understood anyone else’s needs, only that they wanted their bottle now and that you’re not moving fast enough!

Sadly, many believers are responding in the same way when it comes to receiving the promises of God. When things aren’t coming together in their timetable they begin to be agitated and respond with unwarranted reactions that can, if not stopped, abort the promises of God. It says in Prov. 13:12, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick”. When we are faced with delays we can quickly turn to hopelessness and begin to lose heart, even becoming sluggish in achieving God’s promises.

We see this happening on one of Moses many trips up the mountain. We read in Ex 32:1, “Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, … we do not know what has become of him”.  Now, remember these are the people that God delivered from the Egyptians. God ended hundreds of years of slavery through a great show of His power. (Gen.15:13-14) He went before them as a “Pillar of Fire and a Cloud by day! (Ex 13:21-22)  He opened the Red Sea for a way of escape and then closed it upon the vicious army coming to annihilate them! (Ex 14:21-23, 27-28) Then shortly before this passage the children of Israel had seen God descend upon Mount Sinai in a dark cloud with rumblings and lightening’s, speaking audibly the Ten Commandments before all the children of Israel. (Ex 20:18-19, 22)

They truly had multiple encounters with their all-powerful God that had chosen them to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation before Him, (Ex. 19:6) yet they still slid to a place of impatience when Moses delayed coming down the mountain. You would think after a number of times witnessing God calling him up to commune with Him and to receive instruction on their behalf, that they would be patient and content. Yet it was not so!

The human spirit has a tendency to want things now not later, even if that means trying to help God fulfill His plan with our own strength. Just as Abram and Sari, when they became impatient and produced an Ishmael themselves. (Gen. 16:1-2) Esau was so hungry and impatient after hunting all day that he sold His birthright for soup. (Gen. 25:29-35, Heb. 12:16)

Israel’s impatience motivated them to pursue Aaron to create a god of gold that they might serve and worship it. (Ex. 32:1-2) The gold that they used is what they received from the Egyptians when they left bondage. Isn’t it like many of God’s people in our society? We get tired of contending for His promises, so we create a golden calf that fits our convenience out of the blessings we received from God in the first place.

Let me encourage you as Paul said, not to be weary along the journey, for we will see God’s promises fulfilled if we don’t quit! (Gal. 6:9) Our impatience will only end up costing us the blessings we received from God.

Thoughts to Ponder:  

  • Have you ever been so impatient for whatever reason and did something foolish?
  • Have you ever known anyone to try and help God fulfill what He has promised you? Explain?

 Quotes to Tweet:

  • The human spirit has a tendency to want things now not later, even if that means trying to help God fulfill His plan with our own strength. billvirgin.com 
  • When we are faced with delays we can quickly turn to hopelessness and begin to lose heart, even becoming sluggish in achieving God’s promises. – billvirgin.com

#TheresACostToOurImpatience           #DontDiscardWhatGodAccepts    

 

 

Don’t let man Define you! God is refining You! (pt. 1)

1aaaa mt images (1) The atmosphere was so pure and crisp, yet the light snow was an indication of the major snowstorm that was invading the upper altitudes where I had arrived days earlier. I had made a pilgrimage back to the mountain’s where I had grown up and made memories over forty years ago.

I was hoping for much better circumstances to be camping in for sure. The temperatures were getting ready to plummet to zero during the nights and massive depths of snow beginning to cover the mountains; The shift in the weather began to convince me that a beautiful warm lodge would have been much better suited for me.

I arrived high in the mountains of the Idaho Rockies in early October, and had dodged a early winter storm, but was now directly in the face of another. I knew getting enough firewood for several days was a priority! Knowing it was going to be covered soon with plenty of wet and cold snow. I began frantically gathering everything I could get with the limited tools I had.

The area was just beginning to rebound from a devastating fire several years ago that came through this area and ultimately burned over 95,000 acre’s of beautiful landscape. So all around me was charred pine trees standing as a memorial of the death and loss. Blackened with the evidence of the fire, yet still a life source for someone else’s warmth and fire. I began to stack the limbs and easily obtainable pieces for my long stay.

Over the many days that I was there God began to unfold a principle and His promise to me. What man defines as a “Has Been or No Good” God defines as better than before and seasoned.

It says in Lev. 6:13, that the priests of God were to keep the fire burning. God had supernaturally started the fire in the tabernacle and temple but man was to keep it burning. And when we think we are beyond burning God has other things in mind! In 1 Kings 18 Elijah soaked the wood and sacrifice three times with gallons of water. (1 Kings   18:33) Then the fire from heaven consumed it and accepted it! Don’t discard what God accepts!

Fire is such a necessity and comfort in survival. Just like the fire of God in our lives! We need it personally; our families need us to be on fire and all those we come in contact with! We must be fire carriers. (Ps.104: 4)

At the end of my stay in the wilderness of Idaho it was evident to me that these blackened and dead looking trees, which had been through a major disaster had now become a life source unto me. I was covered in black soot from head to toe, with hands cut from breaking branches, looking as if I would never be clean again. This so called “burned twice” wood was a life-saver to my existence. What appeared to be burnt out and no good was actually seasoned with fire to the point that it was superior to serve the circumstances that I was living in.

I am not sure if you’re hearing what I am saying or not, but if you think because of the devastation that you have gone through makes you a “burnt out” or a “ has been”. I am here to say you have been letting someone other than God define you! In Matt 12:20 Jesus quotes Isaiah saying, “A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench”.

God is not through with you yet! What you think was your ending was God’s equipping grace for your next season. You are now ready to be used for others warmth and survival.             (come back for next week’s    Pt2 – Burn Baby Burn) 

 

Check out TAB – (MOUNTAIN) for pictures and shortly More Video

 

I am not Staying in the Shadow of this Mountain any Longer!

1a - mountian prayerI can still remember the feeling of needing to climb the mountain and get to the summit. I was just entering high school and we had recently moved to the mountains of Idaho. Every afternoon around four our ranch would be in the shadow of the Sun moving behind the mountains and for someone that had lived much of their life in the plains of the potato fields, this was foreign and even brought a claustrophobic feeling. Therefore, I determined to get through the first week of school and then get up early on Saturday morning and climb to the summit of the towering mountain to get another perspective.

 

Even though I was quickly met with the realization that I was out of shape, my inner call to climb the mountain compelled me to make it to the summit. I achieved I stood in awe at the view, it was beyond spectacular, as well as, the air was so refreshing. What it did for my perspective was nothing short of miraculous! From that point on I never had the feeling of being claustrophobic or limited again!

The story of Caleb confronting his long time friend, Joshua the present leader of Israel, reveals his inner cry to achieve the summit of his mountain’s shadow that he stood in for the last forty-five years. In Joshua 14:12-13 we read Caleb’s passionate words to Joshua and all that could hear his voice. “Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day; … And Joshua blessed him, and gave Hebron to Caleb… as an inheritance.

Caleb had seen his inheritance 45 years earlier with his eyes and now he wanted to obtain it. To use a military phrase, he wanted to “put boots on the ground”. He wasn’t going to let another opportunity come and go. We can read the account in Num. 13 where God had instructed Moses years earlier to have a representative from every tribe go spy out the ground that He had given them. But, because of the negative opinion of the majority, an entire generation, other than Caleb and Joshua were coerced to reject God’s promise. Causing them to be plunged back into the wilderness that them came out of until they died and were buried in the sand never to experience the joys of living in God’s promises.

Now, after rewriting the wrong of the previous generation, Caleb doesn’t settle for what each different family is being handed, but he asks for more. Caleb wanted the whole mountain! It wasn’t because he was being greedy or selfish; it was God’s idea to begin with. I believe over time Caleb felt what was given to him by God had years of dividends coming. (Num 14:24, 30) Now this 85-year-old warrior which had plenty of time to make excuses, was determined to make a difference! Even with the haunting giants that stood between him and his victory, he still climbed to the summit of his promise. He wasn’t going to let anyone or their opinions keep him any longer from God’s promise for his life! It was now or never!

There’s a time that we need to step out of the shadow of the mountains that hinder and suppress us and begin to conquer them. It’s only when we reach the summit of that mountain that we will experience the incredible freshness of what God has intended for our families and us. God wants us to change our perspectives by changing our view! It’s time for you to start taking your mountain. Defeating any intimidating giant that might stand in the way of you acheiving God’s promise for your life.

 

Thoughts to Ponder:  

  • Read over the two accounts of Caleb’s story in Num. 13 and Josh. 14 and see if you can see any other characteristics other than his whole hearted commitment to God, that might have helped him to not be a quitter or one that just settled short of God’s best. ?
  • Have you ever felt you have been living in the shadow of a mountain? Maybe it was feeling like you played second fiddle to a sibling or you were not as athletic as some one of your friends? Explain?
  • Think about a promise that God has put in your heart, that you haven’t seen come to pass as of yet. Is there some different things that you could do while your waiting to see them manifest? Write them down and then pray for God’s help to do them.

Quotes to Tweet:

  • We might have plenty of time to make excuses, but instead we should be determined to make a difference!    –   billvirgin.com
  • There’s a time that we need to step out of the shadow of the mountains that hinder and suppress us and begin to conquer them.      –   billvirgin.com
  • God wants us to change our perspectives by changing our view! – billvirgin.com

 

#IamNotStayingInTheShadowOfThisMountainAnyLonger   #MountiansAreToClimb

 

The Women who would not Settle for “No”

1a houndWhen my brother and I were in high school we wanted to get a couple of Black and Tan hound dogs to raise and train, but we knew we must first convince our father to let us have them. I remember that night well; my father was tired and wanted to go to bed so we maneuvered in at this most vulnerable time with a double team strategy. We then popped the question on him with smiles from ear to ear, “can we have two hound dogs”? It was a quick “No” at first. Yet, it only provoked a more passionate plea of “Please, dad just two pups”? We debated back-and-forth continuing late in the night asking for his permission. We pled our case and kept pursing his approval. I remember he kept saying, “No”, we don’t need anymore barking dogs”. But even though he was tired, we kept knocking on the door of his heart until he finally said, “OK, and good night”. Looking back to those times I believe he might have regretted that decision, but in the most part it brought some memorable times together and also strengthened our relationship with him.

In Matt 7:7-12 we read Jesus’ interaction with His disciple in the context of the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus exhorts them in their prayers to ask, seek and knock. In verse 8 we read, ‘For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” He had just used the illustration of the persistent lady who comes to her neighbor late at night for a loaf of bread for her unexpected guests. He then continues the thought with comparing a child asking their earthly father for a need and receiving his response, to our loving heavenly Father. And in verse 11 it says, “…how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him”!

This conversation should fuel our prayer life with power and with confidence as we bring our supplication to God. Unfortunately, many Christians as they stand before the Lord contending for the manifestations of His promises will give up or become offended because of unanswered prayers. Yet, if we interpret Jesus’ word correctly it should instead motivate us to continue fervently. I believe the key to not quitting is developed from having the right perspective of who He is and knowing his heart towards us. We see this message brought out in Matt 15:22-25 where we read the story of a Canaanite women who pursued Jesus in behalf of her daughter that the enemy had in bondage. This woman wouldn’t settle for anything but her daughter’s deliverance! She refused to take “NO” for an answer.

I am convinced this woman was drawn to Jesus by the great things she had probably heard about Him. It is also evident that she was driven by the enormity of her need with the hopes of Jesus being the answer for her daughter. But as we see in this very unusual scene, we quickly come to the conclusion that she had the opportunity to be distracted and discouraged in her pursuit of wholeness for her child. Yet, she would not be discouraged with Jesus’ silence, the contempt by His disciples and the hard doctrine that He declared. Jesus’ action and attitude revealed this women’s tenacious faith and His desire to deliver her child.

Let us learn from Jesus’ words on the mount and through this story become motivated to contend for His goodness to be manifest in the earth and our lives.

 

Thoughts to Ponder:  

  • Think back at a time when you had to really be committed in asking and pursing your parents or someone to get what you wanted and tell the feelings you had and if it made you feel uncomfortable.
  • Have you ever felt put off and belittled?
  • Many times Christian feel it is a lack of Faith to keep asking God about the same unanswered need. Have you ever felt that way or knew anyone that did? Is it a lack of Faith?

Quotes to Tweet:

Many Christians as they stand before the Lord contending for the manifestations of His promises will give up or become offended because of unanswered prayers   –   www.billvirgin.com

Contending and not Settling for anything less than God’s Best      –  www.billvirgin.com

 

#NotSettlingForAnythingLessThanGodsBest              #DontQuickJustBecauseOfDelays

 

 

Quit Giving the Enemy a Foothold in your Life

Nothings worse than standing on one foot trying to balance yourself all the while you’re trying to get out of the pickle your in. Our pasture had a marshy section in it where the creek would over flow and saturate the ground making it hard to walk through with out having some type of a dilemma. At this particular time the suction of the mud monster held onto my rubber boot making my stocking foot come out of the boot. Even though it might be funny, the point is once something or someone gets a foothold on you, you’re either stopped or extremely hindered in your journey.

Paul exhorts the believers in Ephesus as they fulfill the purposes of God in their lives to not make the mistake of giving place or foothold to the enemy. He says, “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. (Eph 4:26-27)

The enemy gets a foothold in our lives when we willfully sin and continue to walk in disobedience, as well as when we are entertaining wrong beliefs and doctrine in our lives that are contrary to God’s word. James teaches us that temptation comes when we are drawn away by our own “desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death”. (James 1:14-15) When we are pulled away by our fleshly desires the enemy waits to ensnare us and fasten his hold on us.

Recently I was in Alaska for a wedding and while heading to our destination on Hwy 1 we were paralleling the Cook Inlet. I was awe struck at the beauty of the mountains cascading into the inlet with a trace of snow up high on the peaks. My driver was explaining how the tide comes in and out at drastic fluctuations levels up to approximately 29 ft. twice a day. When the tide is out, much of it has no water and is just mud. They call it the Mud flats, which have many stories, some fact and some legends of how different ones have gotten stuck.

The mud is supposedly made up of Glacier Silt, which I understand are finer than the sand and are shaped like billions of small angles that lodge together making an airtight seal around anything that happens to penetrate a soft spot. One such story many years ago is of a husband and wife who were going to cross over the mud flats on four wheelers and dredge for gold but in the midst of the process the wife step off into the mud and ended up getting so stuck that they could not get her free before the frigid tide came back in causing her to drown.

Paul encouraged young Timothy to walk worthy before the Lord so not to get ensnared by the devil. (1 Tim 3:7) Jesus said in John 14:30, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. Jesus who is our example shows us that we can follow His example and live without the devil having a foothold in our lives.

Anytime we venture off the beaten path that God has set for us, walking in places we have no business in, we can get caught in the silk of the enemy. In John’s Gospel we read where Jesus said, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed”. Jesus came to set us free from the foothold of the enemy. We read in 1 John 3:8 where it says, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil”. So quit giving the enemy a foothold!

Will you be a Garbage Can or a Trash Man?

1a-garbage-can-e1562700052424.jpegTrash talking and gutter gossip is nothing more than fruit from the pit of Hell! (Jas.3:1-12) and it seems to be such a big part of our society. We have TV shows and magazines solely dedicated around slander and gossip. It has always astounded me how different ones can constantly be involved with corrupt communication. Unfortunately, even in the midst of many communities of believers we see the cancer of gossip! But of course we clothe it with religious jargon saying it’s a prayer request. But sadly there never seems to be the prayer just the gossip.

Years ago I was invited to go with a medical team to the Philippines to minister. While I was there we went to a regional garbage dump to minister to a group of people who actually lived on the garbage heaps. These people spent their days rummaging through the toxic garbage from others looking for something of value but only to receive infection and sickness.

In the same manner people that are obsessed with listening and spreading hateful communication are themselves living amongst the most unrighteous mounds of spiritual trash. It is no better than eating out of a dumpster or living on a garage dump rummaging through others refuse. Some people think its spiritual to be a garbage can for others to dump their garbage, but actually we really are to be a trash man. A garbage can will get putrid and smelly and contain germs, but a trash man is one that takes someone’s garbage and puts it in a safe place to be covered up.

Paul exhorts the believers at Ephesus saying, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good …that it may impart grace to the hearers.” (Eph 4:29) The Greek word “corrupt” actually means rotten and worthless words. So Paul is telling us not to be involved in trash talk, but only those things that will uplift and bring grace to others. When you say things that tear others down and is not edifying it is lining yourself up with the devil who is called “the accuser of the brethren in Rev.12:10. The devil speaks evil of us and tears us down before God. In 1 Pet 5:8 it says that he goes about looking for whom he can devour. When individuals openly or secretly gossip they are bearing the fruit of the evil accuser.

I do realize that things that are healthy and living produce refuse and garbage. So therefore without a proper garbage system we would be in big trouble. We must have experienced trash men that are able to get rid of our toxic and disease infested garbage. It is the same in the church… there will be smelly trash and as Prov. 14:4 says there will also be poop in the stall. Therefore, we must decide whether we will be a “garbage can or a trash man” with other peoples garbage.

When we cast the weaknesses of others before the Lord through our prayers as in 1 Pet.5:7 and give biblical support, we are dealing properly with the garbage of others. But when we spread it or rummaging through it we resemble the varmint the scatters the garbage down the street making a bigger mess. Gossip is seldom the complete story or truth being twisted to fit the mood of the one spreading it, not to bring any kind of help.

In comparison to what we see the enemy of our soul doing before God, we see the picture of Jesus in Rom. 8:34 after His finished work on the cross going before the Father as our advocate and intercessor. It goes on to say that nothing will separate us from the love of God. The question we will have to answer is whether we are lining up with the accuser or the intercessor! Will we be a “garbage can or a trash man”! We have a choice.