The greatest lie Satan tells...
By Author Emerald Barnes
(All Bible verses are in the NKJV copied from www.biblegateway.com.)
The greatest lie Satan tells is “what if…?”
What if this? What if that? What if? What if? What if?
And he’s persistent with it too. That thought gets stuck in your brain, causing it to be the only thought you dwell on. And why does he do that? To get you out of the Word.
I’m speaking from experience, but my experience also has OCD in it. I won’t go into more details here, but I recently spoke up about my experience with OCD and fear in my life on my personal blog.
Still, between Satan and the OCD, my life has been a constant fear/worry/anxiety-filled battle field, especially for the past year. And Satan knows what he’s doing. He’s really good at reconnaissance. He knows exactly how to hit and what to hit us with. He knows exactly what will bring us to tears and hold us back.
Satan is always out looking for some way to devour you, and when he finds that way in, he’s very adamant about it. He will do anything to keep you in a place where you can’t grow, a place that will keep you away from pursuing God’s will for your life. Like in my case, it was to keep me inside, away from the people I have the potential of reaching for Christ.
We all have a purpose, and Satan knows that. He knows that God has created us for greatness, and Satan doesn’t want us to achieve that greatness. Simply because once we step into what God has for us, we know that we have authority, and when we realize the kind of authority we have, there is nothing the enemy can do to stop us. We become unstoppable when we realize who we are in Christ, so Satan will do everything in his power to keep us out of the Word and out of faith so we will never discover who we are in Christ and accomplish what God has in store for us.
Yet, when the enemy comes against us, the best thing we can do is use the Word against him. Quote scripture to him; praise God; and use your words, the words that God has used. Your authority comes from the Gospel—the good news, the truth, and it's our job to stay in the Word, to study it and know what God has said about us. It's time to discover who you are and get out of the doubts, the what-ifs that Satan holds us back with.
Whatever your "what if" is, don't let it define you. As Kenneth Copeland says, "Don't let the devil see you sweat!" Today, take that lie of "what if..." and counter it with the truth, what the word says.
What if I'm never healed? The Bible says that it is God's will that we ARE healed.
What if I die alone? The Bible says there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother; that He will never leave us or forsake us.
What if sicknesses and diseases come against me and my family? Psalm 91 says that no sickness or calamity will come near our dwellings!
There is always an answer in the Word. Take Satan's lies and tell him God's truths. The truth will always set you free.
"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." - John 8:26
Put on the Word
By Lynn Morgan
I don't think there's any subject that man has been able to cover exhaustively concerning Holy Scripture. We may have seen books entitled "An Exhaustive Study" on whatever topic in the Bible. But in truth, we can only handle what we're able to handle at the point we find ourselves in.
The Pharisees had an idea they knew it all so much so there was nothing left for them to learn. I believe some of the Pharisees are still around. What about you? How many times have we read a passage and seen some truth we've never seen before? It just kinda jumps on us.
Take a three or four year old child. You can tell them, "No, don't do that," not wanting them to harm themselves. But if you try to explain all the reasons why they should not, it'll be over their heads. At some point, it becomes one of those "because I said so" moments.
I heard a minister from Mississippi say this not long ago: "We never get completely through on any subject in God's word; we can only follow The Spirit of God 'til He says it's time to unplug from this topic for awhile." Could it be before we can go any further there are some other foundational truths to be stirred up? I think so. One thing's for sure, we have much to learn.
Paul was a faith preacher if there ever was one. God speaking to us through Paul's writings are just as much for the church today as in the early church, after all, there's only one church. "The just shall live by faith"...."we walk by faith and not by sight"....the word of faith which we preach"...."it's impossible to please God without faith" just to name a few.
We, as believers on and in The Lord Jesus Christ, must put God's word in us so much so that it comes out of us automatically. "The entrance of His word gives us light". God said through Paul: "They believed and they spoke, we believe also therefore we speak." We are either walking in the natural and tolerating everything as "that's just the way it is", or we are being "transformed by the renewing(continually) of our minds" to what God has said. It's "either or": walking by faith in what God says or walking by our natural sense and reasoning and our five physical senses alone. But to walk by faith—it has nothing to do with intellect or what we feel but what we trust and believe in as TRUTH in our hearts.
You can trust God. What He has said, He watches over it to perform it. There's none like Him; He's not a man that He should lie. We need to expect Him to do exactly what He has said. Trust in Him with ALL your heart. Remember, waiting on The Lord IS expecting Him. We are to put our confidence in God, not man. We need to be "FULLY persuaded" as Abraham believed "what God had promised HE (The Lord God Almighty) was also able to perform". Trust God today in Jesus' name. With God, nothing shall be impossible.
Fear not, child...
By Author Emerald Barnes
Transparency has never really been my thing, but there is something cathartic about being honest—at least in writing and not face to face with another human being.
I've been dealing with some things lately, mostly fear, and I hate admitting that. I know there is no reason to fear anything, but I can't help it. It feels like Satan's voice is extremely loud and annoying, and it's all I can hear lately. It was never my intention to get into this state of mind. It just happened. And the longer it happened, the louder this voice became. And this voice began to choke out the Word. It had gotten to the point where I couldn't believe anything. That I was worried and fearful of just about everything.
That's the thing about fear. Eventually, it becomes louder and louder, more obnoxious, more determined to keep you in this constant state of anxiety, to the point where you can't do anything. And that's the point. Satan wants to keep us in this place of constant fear so that we'll forget all that God has told us and all that God wants us to do. If Satan could keep us in our house, away from souls we could potentially win for the Kingdom, then he's doing his job. But it's our job to stop him.
First, we have to know that we have all the power here, not Satan. Oh, he likes for us to think he has the power, but Luke 10:19 (AMPC) says, "Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you."
God has given us all the authority and power to take care of the enemy ourselves. And, He clearly says that NOTHING will harm us. No matter what lies Satan is telling us, God assures us that we won't be hurt in ANY WAY. How amazing is that?
Second, we have to remember that Satan is the father of all lies (John 8:44). There isn't anything he can do but lie to you, so when these overwhelming and overpowering thoughts come to you, those thoughts that are on repeat and keep you anxious and in fear? Yeah, those are from the father of lies. He only wants you thinking his thoughts, not God's. And when this happens, it's important to remember God's words. That's why it's so important to stay in the Word.
And that brings me to the last and probably most important point. Stay in the Word. If you start repeating and believing what the Bible says about you, then you can defeat Satan and his minions easier. Believing what God says about you is so much more important than believing these lies that Satan wants you to think. It's a simple statement, yes, but sometimes, we forget that. We start believing what Satan says and we let him choke out the truth. That's why we have to read and remember the Word. We want the Word coming out instead of Satan's negative thinking. Our words, God's words, will win the battle, though the war has already been won. We don't have to do this alone.
Speaking to you about fear is something that scares me because it opens up what I've been dealing with, but you know what, I'm done. I'm tired of fighting Satan when God has already won this war for me. And it can be that way for you, too. Today, let's not fear or worry about what Satan is saying and start remembering what God is saying to us. "Fear not, child." What can anyone do to us? God is our protector. He is our Savior. He is our Father. He won't let anything harm you.
Today, if you're struggling with fear, doubts, worries or anxieties, I have a prayer of protection for you. It's something that is prophetic and you can take to heart. It's Psalm 91 but rewritten as a prayer via Kenneth Copeland. Pray this over yourself and your family daily. It really does make a difference when you're ready to face Satan and tell him to leave you and your family alone. It really helps when you're fearful and anxious. And it's proof that God will not let any harm come to us! Start believing this today!
Come to Yourself
By: Lynn Morgan
We've all heard the prodigal son story many times and from different points of view. Something that I've been seeing here as of late that I haven't before has been stirring me to see more. It always amazes me how God can reveal more on something we think we've got a handle on. It's so true though. There's just no end to His truth.
What I've started to see is about the relationship the prodigal son had with his father. He was one of two sons. Upon the son's request, the father divided all that was to be his, and not many days later, the son packs it all up and leaves. Now Jesus precedes the prodigal son story with teaching about repentance, and we know that this comes into play after the prodigal loses everything. Verse 17 of Luke 15 says, "And he came to himself..." Jesus paints a picture like only The Master can of the heart of our Heavenly Father.
This man's son reduced his relationship with his father down to only goods, stuff, monetary possessions that were marketable in this world system. Can you imagine the pain the realization that although you love this child more than your next breath, he considers you and your feelings as nothing caring only for what he can get out of you? Then proving this to be so by leaving almost immediately.
What was said as he left? Well we're not told this. Did he tell his dad "I'll see you in a month", where he was going, or of his intentions? Maybe I'll send you a letter? I wonder did he leave without anyone knowing he was gone until after he was out of sight? Maybe feeling a tad bit guilty not wanting to see the sadness in his dad's face? All we know is what Jesus shares with us in Luke 15. But even though the father knew full well that the son in his youth, inexperience, and heartlessness toward him had lost a fortune. The prodigal son's father exposes the heart of The Lord God Almighty toward us as only Jesus can. The verse in Ephesians 2 and verse 4 comes to mind. "But God who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us."
We are not loved because we deserve God's love but because of the richness of His mercies.
Scripture teaches us that His mercies and compassion fail not, and they are renewed every morning. This is something that's available to the child of God because of the precious blood of Christ Jesus. We have forgiveness of sin; it's part of our covenant. Jesus provided for all who will receive. This came at a great price, but it's a free gift for the asking.
Do you need to "come to yourself?" You can. Jesus is seated at our Father's right, interceding for us right now. If The Spirit of God is drawing on your heart, turn toward home. Your Father wants to completely restore you. He loves you so. He knows everything, and He loves you anyway. Repentance is a great gift to us. We can be specific, and we should be. God will not be shocked. Love covers a multitude of sins. Only God can do this for us. He knows just how much we need Him. Know this, when we turn toward God, we always find that He is so very close, closer than we thought.
Your faith shall be your eyes.
By Emerald Barnes, author
Sometimes stepping out in faith is the hardest thing that we’ll ever have to do. We see the circumstances all around us, but we can’t see that God is working for us in the supernatural. We’re too focused on the natural. But we need to start walking in faith, not by sight. Easier said than done, right? Of course, but isn't the important part about "faith" not seeing what you're believing for?
Hebrews 11:1 defines faith. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
We've got to be blind to see. Sounds crazy, I know, but a blind person walks by faith every day. He has to believe that he won't run into something; he has to believe in his own abilities to get him from here to there in complete darkness. So instead of having the ability to literally see, the blind man has to see by faith.
"My faith shall be my eyes." We need to take that example and start letting faith dictate our lives. What is the point of faith if we can't believe what we've asked for? God has to know that we believe that He'll provide whatever we're asking for.
I challenge you to start putting the faith of God in your everyday life. Let your faith be your eyes. Forget your empty bank account. Forget the symptoms of the sickness you have. Forget what is in front of you that is terrible. Instead, see the outcome you know God has for you, and believe for it. Don’t believe in what is in front of you.
It doesn't have to be hard. We’re the ones who make it hard. We make it impossible. Not God. God is faithful and just to give us what we ask for. We just don't believe.
Let me leave you with this verse.
1 John 5:4--For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
Notice what it says here. Our faith overcomes the world! We have the victory! The Bible says so. We just have to have faith!
Let faith be your eyes, and you can overcome the world and have victory!
I am FREE!
By Emerald Barnes, author
This week we had revival at our church with Bro. Tracy Harris of Harvest International Ministries, and our praise team sang a Newsboys song, "I am Free." While they were singing, I couldn't stop thinking about what that freedom meant.
As some of you may know, I am an author, and recently, I wrote a yet-unpublished book called, The Healer. It's unorthodox, and I'm not sure how it is going to be received in the Christian community because not everyone believes as I do about healing and such. But, the idea was so strongly within me, I couldn't not write it.
What does this book have to do with freedom? Well, in this book, religion has been made illegal, not just Christianity, all religion. With that, the earth devolves into chaos, but Christianity hasn't been snuffed out completely. There is an underground church, and not all of the Bibles were destroyed. So, it's still there, but these people have to make sure they aren't caught by the law or else they'll be prosecuted. There is much more to this story, and that isn't what makes it unorthodox. But I wanted to note that because it came to my mind during this song.
Drawing you back to the point I'm trying to make, these people in my book are only fictional, but there are people in the world who actually have to do this. Missionaries have to sneak in Bibles or else they'll be prosecuted, possibly killed for spreading the Good News, and I have the freedom to serve God on a padded pew in a heated (or air conditioned) church yet sometimes, I hold back. Why? Fear. Fear of what others think will hold us back from praising God to our fullest.
That isn't the case with everyone at Faith Outreach. You never know when someone will take off running the church! (I think we all know who that someone is. :) ) The point I'm trying to make is that that is the right thing. We should all be running the church, lifting our hands, and doing everything we can to praise the Creator, the God who saw fit that you were born!
Psalm 100:4 says, "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name."
This verse tells us that to enter in the gates of God, we have to be thankful, and when we enter His court, we enter with praise! The definition of praise is "the expression of respect and gratitude as an act of worship." Thankful means, "expressing gratitude and relief." So, from these two definitions, I think we can conclude that being grateful, expressing our gratitude, is a sign of worship and praise. The two words can be synonymous, so we have to thank God in our praise!
Praise is important. It keep us in a position to receive what God has for us. Think of it this way, would you want to give something nice to an ungrateful person or child? If someone has wronged you, isn't it hard to give them whatever it is they ask for? You can give and give and give to an ungrateful person, but eventually, you'll get tired of it. Why should you give away your hard earned cash to someone who isn't grateful for it? Does this sound familiar to anyone? I've been guilty of saying this, and I kind of wonder if our Heavenly Father doesn't think the same thing sometimes. Why should He give us what we aren't grateful for?
Don't get me wrong. God is a merciful and loving God, but once we start praising Him for things that have come to us and things to come to us, don't you think that's it puts us in an easier place of receiving something that we're grateful for?
And I think we have a lot to be grateful for. We have the freedom to praise God in any way that we want in this country where it's completely legal to be a Christian. Shouldn't we start praising God for that?!
I will say this. God doesn't need our praise. Even the Bible says that the stones will cry out if we're silent. But doesn't He deserve our praise? He's a Good Father, and He deserves what we can give Him.
Giving Him praise is beneficial to you as well! It stops the enemy and opens up a direct line between Him and us! It puts us in a position of receiving the promises. Praise is an important part of being a Christian, and it's time we start doing more of it. Praise Him when it's the hardest. Why? Because it breaks you free of oppression. Because is stops the enemy. Because God deserves it.
So, exercise your freedom today. Praise God. Don't be afraid of how you look or feel. Do it anyway. You'll be thankful, and you'll be free!
Pain is a Sign of Moving Forward
By: Levi Tackett
It may seem hard to believe but, pain is a good thing.
I know that we always associate pain with a negative thought or feeling. You only need to ask a mother about pain to understand that it is, and can be, a good thing. After watching my wife endure all of the pain and changes her body has gone through, she would gladly sign up for it all again because of the three beautiful children we now have.
You see, sometimes pain is a necessity and not a punishment. If something in your life is worth pain to achieve, it's meaning and importance will not only become important to you, but it will become part of who you are. Even after the victories we experience in life, we are often greeted with a painful transition to a new place physically, spiritually, and emotionally. It's this pain that often discourages Christians from continuing on and stops us from growing into all that God has in store for us.
The problem is, we are programmed to perceive pain as a negative. Did you know that without pain, we could be mortally wounded and not know? Pain is a way God designed our bodies to alert us that something has changed and to channel our focus to find out what is really going on.
This passage of scripture I am about to quote comes from the book of Joshua. It's a story about the Israelites as they began to inhabit and take possession of the Promised Land.
“WHEN ALL the kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan to the west and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the Israelites until we had crossed over, their hearts melted and there was no spirit in them any more because of the Israelites. At that time the Lord said to Joshua, Make knives of flint and circumcise the [new generation of] Israelites as before. So Joshua made knives of flint and circumcised the sons of Israel at Gibeath-haaraloth. And this is the reason Joshua circumcised them: all the males of the people who came out of Egypt, all the men of war, had died in the wilderness on the way after they came out of Egypt. Though all the people who came out were circumcised, yet all the people who were born in the wilderness on the way after Israel came out of Egypt had not been circumcised. For the Israelites walked forty years in the wilderness till all who were men of war who came out of Egypt perished, because they did not hearken to the voice of the Lord; to them the Lord swore that He would not let them see the land which the Lord swore to their fathers to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey. So it was their uncircumcised children whom He raised up in their stead whom Joshua circumcised, because the rite had not been performed on the way. When they finished circumcising all the males of the nation, they remained in their places in the camp till they were healed. And the Lord said to Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you. So the name of the place is called Gilgal [rolling] to this day. And the Israelites encamped in Gilgal; and they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at evening in the plains of Jericho. And on that same day they ate the produce of the land: unleavened cakes and parched grain. And the manna ceased on the day after they ate of the produce of the land; and the Israelites had manna no more, but they ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.” Joshua 5:1-12 AMPC
Now I know that circumcision isn't the most popular topic in the church, but let's not get sidetracked by the act but by the symbolism behind it. Let's just set the scene.
The Israelites, whom had been wondering in the wilderness for forty years had finally stepped over into this land God had promised to their fathers. They have finally arrived! Well of course, the first thing on everyone's mind was, "Now what?" God had a plan.
The act of circumcision had begun with Abraham and was a religious tradition for the Israelites to help separate themselves from the world. As often happens, while traveling in the wilderness, traditions were forgotten—or simply not deemed important to keep. God wanted to celebrate with His children by once again establishing their separation from the world and bringing them back to Him. You see, the pain wasn't a punishment, but a chance to remind God's people that they belonged to Him. The pain was worth it.
As you read in the passage that after the men were circumcised, they spent three days recovering in their tents. As per Jewish tradition, three days before Passover, the sacrificial lamb was brought into the home to live with the family. This was done to help the family bond with, and bring a more significant meaning to, the lamb that was to atone for the sins of the family. These men spent time healing with the lamb! Now if you missed that symbolism, I'm not sure I have enough time or words to explain it. If you continue on in Joshua, the next obstacle in the path of the Israelites is Jericho. We all know what happened in that particular battle.
You see, when we have stepped over into something new, often pain comes, not to punish us but, to prepare us for a bigger victory waiting on us. Pain is God's way of revealing what needs to be cut away from ourselves and gives us the opportunity to lay aside our pride while we heal and spend time with the Lamb. Ask yourself this, is the amount of pain I feel worth not seeing what lies ahead?
Give it to God
By Emerald Barnes, Author of the Entertaining Angels Series
There are parts of my life that I keep secret for a reason. I don't want people to feel sorry for me, and I don't want anyone to pity me. So, I kept my financial problems between me, my family, and God. And, as much as I hate to admit it and although God knew it, I didn't really talk to Him about it much, which was a huge mistake.
Recently, I had to settle up a payment with a credit card company, and I was afraid that I wouldn't have the money because business was slow and my books weren't selling. I don't even remember the last time I made money off of book sales. Again, this isn't something I like to talk about, but I feel like it's necessary at this point for you to understand that I was depressed and worried about my monetary situation.
Satan likes to throw junk at us right and left, and he was doing a decent job of throwing my money woes in my face. I started 21 Days to Debt Freedom by George Pearsons and Gloria Copeland I received free from kcm.org, but I never finished it. I set aside all of my other books on sowing and reaping, and I kind of just let it go. I did wrong when I set aside learning how to get out of debt and sowing and reaping because I was dwelling on my problem and not the solution - God.
Well, back to the original problem I was discussing. I had a need of $15 a month. That's not a lot, but when business is slow and so are book sales, $15 can be a lot. Then I realized something. It's not a huge revelation, but in the moment, it was to me. It was something that Creflo Dollar had said, "If you can't trust God with your money, the smallest problem, then how will you trust God with your healing or something bigger?" That isn't verbatim, but it's the gist of what he said. If I can't trust God for just $15 a month, then am I really trusting Him at all?
So, that's when I realized I had to give it to God. Like I said, it wasn't just a major revelation, but I had to do something. I can't go on living my life worrying about something so inconsequential, especially in the eyes of God. Phillipians 4:19 (AMP) says, "And my God will liberally supply (fill until full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." God will liberally supply my every need! $15? That's no problem for God!
Whatever your need is, just remember that it's not a problem for God to take care of. He's going to give you everything that you need, and because God is the loving God He is, He's going to give you more because favor follows you! God's got us; you just have to give Him the problem and not pick it back up.
Faith is the key to opening up our supply. Just keep your faith up and remember that God is looking after you. Sometimes it doesn't happen the way we expect, but it will happen. God loves you, and He only wants the best for you.
"The blessing of the Lord brings [true] riches, And He adds no sorrow to it [for it comes as a blessing from God]." - Proverbs 10:22 AMP
Shutting Up Our Biggest Problem: Us
By Levi Tackett
First off, let me start out by saying, I’m not a great writer. Without the very talented Ms. Emerald Barnes, this blog post would read more like a sixth-grader’s essay than a grown father of three. Having already set the bar low, let’s talk about healing.
Healing is not an easy topic to talk about in most Christian circles, even the Pentecostal and Spirit-filled churches can sometimes disagree about this basic principal. There’s one infallible way to approach any topic when it comes to God, and that’s His Word. The best examples of healing can be found when reading about Jesus. Jesus never made anyone qualify themselves before He used God’s power to touch their lives and make them new again. Just think about that! Not having to make sure you were in the right church or reading the correct scriptures, listening to the right sermons, etc. Jesus simply met the people in their need. Sometimes healing happened because the actions of people were so desperate for a touch from God that they would risk breaking religious laws just for the chance to maybe be healed. Let’s take a look at one particular individual that did exactly that.
Just then a woman who had hemorrhaged for twelve years slipped in from behind and lightly touched his robe. She was thinking to herself, “If I can just put a finger on his robe, I’ll get well.” Jesus turned—caught her at it. Then he reassured her: “Courage, daughter. You took a risk of faith, and now you’re well.” The woman was well from then on. (Matthew 9:20-22)
According to Jewish law (Lev 15:19), this woman was thought to be unclean and should have stayed away from everyone, not out mingling with the crowd trying to touch the Man of God. Just think about how the people would react today if someone, whom we deemed unclean, would not only show up in our church but have the audacity to try and reach out to someone. I know the “churchy” response is to say, “No way that would happen in MY church!” Let’s be honest, we all judge another by their appearance the first time we meet them, it’s just our fleshly nature. This woman wanted a touch from God so badly, she never gave thought to the opinions of others or the fact of persecution for violating laws. She needed God and was determined to get what He had for her no matter the cost. One can only imagine what manifestation of healing would break out in our churches if we simply begin to desire a touch from God like this woman.
Now, on to another of my favorite healings that took place with Jesus. Blind Bartimaeus is a fascinating story, not just because a blind man received his sight instantaneously but because of Bartimaeus’s actions before he received.
They spent some time in Jericho. As Jesus was leaving town, trailed by his disciples and a parade of people, a blind beggar by the name of Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus, was sitting alongside the road. When he heard that Jesus the Nazarene was passing by, he began to cry out, “Son of David, Jesus! Mercy, have mercy on me!” Many tried to hush him up, but he yelled all the louder, “Son of David! Mercy, have mercy on me!”
Jesus stopped in his tracks. “Call him over.”
They called him. “It’s your lucky day! Get up! He’s calling you to come!” Throwing off his coat, he was on his feet at once and came to Jesus.
Jesus said, “What can I do for you?”
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
“On your way,” said Jesus. “Your faith has saved and healed you.”
In that very instant he recovered his sight and followed Jesus down the road.
Hallelujah! This man who was destined to beg for any semblance of a living is now given the greatest gift he could have ever imagined. Jesus asked what we think is a silly question but to God your heart and actions mean more than any great words could ever begin to describe. When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was coming, he began to cry out even after the people tried to silence him. Far too often we miss out on blessings from God because we let other’s opinions and voices, our own insecurities, religious traditions, or simply lies from the devil silence our cries for help. It’s only when we reach that level of true desperation are we willing to shake things up and truly cry out to God.
Bartimaeus didn’t care what it cost; he was willing to pay the price to receive from the Man of God. His actions were even more telling of how badly Bartimaeus wanted his sight. In verse 50, he threw off his beggar’s clothes, symbolizing that never again would he have to go through that humiliating process of begging for a living. He was so confident in a man he couldn’t even see that he separated himself from his past and transferred himself into his future. Never again would he be called a blind beggar, his name was Bartimaeus.
While these healings are wonderful examples of God’s love and power, they also come with a responsibility. Healing is not just a physical manifestation of the impossible but an opportunity to change your way of thinking and talking. I’ll be willing to wager after he received his sight, Bartimaeus never let anyone call him Blind Bartimaeus again. That was who he used to be, not who he is now. I know this may offend some, but I hate the terminology Cancer Survivor. God never intended for His children to just survive but to thrive. When we tie the term cancer to ourselves, we are, in fact, identifying ourselves with cancer. Cancer is not who I am but rather a path God brought me through. As the book of James tells us: A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it! (James 3:3-5). Our words can become our greatest assets or our biggest opponents. The choice is ours. Be careful that your words do not bind the blessings God has by planting those seeds of doubt into your heart and mind.
As a child of God, I cannot imagine a scenario when God has ever forgotten about me or simply refused to care for me. If we truly believe He is our Father, then we must know of His undying love and affection for us. Why then wouldn’t he want to see us healed, whole and well in every aspect of our lives? The problem isn’t God; it’s us. We allow the voices surrounding us every day to steal our blessings. God wants us whole in every area of our lives: spiritually, physically, financially, socially, and emotionally. Yes, God cares about our emotional and social lives as well. I urge you, if you don’t receive anything else from this blog post, receive this:
God loves you more than you could ever think or imagine, and He has only good and bright plans for your future. Are you willing to be like the people in these stories and do whatever must be done to get it and hold on to it?
The Importance of Thanksgiving
By Emerald Barnes, Author of the Entertaining Angels series
We're entering into a time of thanksgiving here in the United States with Thanksgiving coming up November 24. We celebrate the pilgrims and the reasons why they voyaged to the United States, but that's not what I want to focus on. I want to focus on what thanksgiving means in the Kingdom.
According to Google, the definition of Thanksgiving is, "the expression of gratitude, especially to God."
Honestly, I was surprised by the "especially to God" part, because I think it's something that we as believers tend to forget. At least, we forget to realize how important giving thanks is. Out of curiosity, I searched the word "thanksgiving" in the Bible, and so many Bible verses popped out to me, verses that I honestly hadn't paid close attention to, but it occurred to me how important giving thanks was to God.
Imagine your child coming up to you and demanding you give them something. What is your response? "What's the magic word?" "Please." Then you hand your child what they've asked for, and you want a response, a 'thank you'. We expect it of our children, but we tend to forget how important it is for us to say "Thank you," in response to God.
I can't remember where I heard this, but it was from a preacher at one of my previous churches. He said that we should always start our prayers off with thanksgiving, thanking God for what He's done and what He's going to do. After that, I tried not to say a prayer that didn't have a thank you somewhere in it.
We don't need to be like a child who doesn't say 'thank you' to our Father who's pleasure it is to give us our hearts desire. A heart of thanksgiving really goes a long way. In fact, Philippians 4:6 says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." God's Word gives us an example of how to pray, and we pray with thanksgiving.
There are many Psalms that tell us to come before God with thanksgiving. Here are a few:
Psalm 50:14 (NKJV) Offer to God thanksgiving, And pay your vows to the Most High.
Psalm 107:22 (NKJV) Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, And declare His works with rejoicing.
Psalm 95:2 (NKJV) Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
Psalm 100:4 (NKJV) Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
Psalm 116:17 (NKJV) I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, And will call upon the name of the Lord.
Even Leviticus has a very similar verse. "And when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord, offer it of your own free will." (22:29)
Every one of these verses tells us to offer up thanksgiving; some verses call thanksgiving sacrifices and offerings. And both sacrifices and offerings are what we owe God. It's important to our prayer life and our Christian life to thank our Father for the things He does for us.
But why? God put it to me this way not long ago, "The devil is always the loudest when we're the quietest." When we aren't thanking God and praising Him, the devil gets in. He uses his mind tricks to bring us down, but when we give thanks to God, we don't have time to listen to the devil. It's like our church always says, "Praise stops the enemy in his tracks," and that praise includes thanksgiving.
This holiday season, let's not forget how important it is to give thanks to our heavenly Father. After all, He is the One who you can trust the most, who has your best interests at heart, and will never let you down. He gives us the desires of our hearts and loves us without fail. I would say that He deserves thanksgiving for simply being amazing.