There was a famine.
In Genesis 26:2, God told Isaac not to go to Egypt, but to stay where he was. For God to make such a statement, meant that Isaac must have been thinking about leaving.
When ministry isn’t going the way you think it should, when it looks like you’ll never be promoted on that job, when it feels like nothing will ever change in your city, the first thing most people want to do is leave the situation, move to a new location or find employment elsewhere.
Isaac could have easily picked up and left, but what God was trying to get out of him and give to him and his descendants could only take place in the city that HE chose, not the city that Isaac chose. Our thoughts are not His thoughts and a lot of times we don’t see what God sees. Remember the land that Lot chose to dwell in? It looked good, but inside of that city was sin and wickedness.
The place that didn’t look like anything good could come out of it was the same place where God said He was going to bless Isaac. This reminds me of an oyster shell. It lacks outward beauty, but inside of it is hidden something beautiful. Our problems sometimes look just that shell, but you will never know the beauty hidden inside of them if you don’t confront it. Yes, you can move to a new city, join another church or find a new relationship, but that’s not always the answer. Just because you physically left a problem doesn’t mean that the problem has left you. You will face it again.
Don’t despise where you are. We all have to start somewhere. This is only the beginning. Zechariah 4:10 tells us your beginning is small, but it never said your end would be small. We love to quote the first part of Ecclesiastes 7:8, which says “better is the end of a thing than the beginning”, but what our spirit really needs to hear is the latter part of that verse: “a patient spirit is better”.
When a woman is pregnant, the longer she waits, the more her stomach grows. While we are waiting for the seed (word) God planted in us to manifest, we are growing. The changes we are going through is preparing us for what we are about to behold. A woman has pain when her time to give birth comes, but after she gives birth, she no longer remembers what she went through.
Your time has come. The pain you are experiencing now cannot be compared to the joy that is coming. Your joy is about to make you forget all the pain you went through. You can’t see the growth right now because it is an inward work, but in a little while everyone will know what you were pregnant with. You will see what God said.
I know sometimes we feel like if we had wings like a dove, we would fly away and find rest (Psalm 55:6), but learn instead to mount up with wings like an eagle (Isaiah 40:31) and rise above your situation.
Don’t run away from your struggle because out of your greatest struggle will come your greatest blessing.
Have you ever felt like God was taking too long to answer your prayer? Have you ever been mad or disappointed with God because He didn’t move when you thought He should move?
When Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus letting Him know that the one He loved was sick, He didn’t move immediately. He stayed in the same place two days longer and by the time He arrived to Judea, Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. When Martha saw Jesus, she said, “If You had been here, my brother would not have died”. This is the same Martha that Jesus said was anxious and troubled about many things (Luke 10:41).
Mary and Martha said that Jesus loved his brother, but when Jesus didn’t come when they thought He should, Martha was disappointed. Despite Lazarus being in the tomb for four days and being sad that he was gone, Martha chose to think on what she knew about Jesus. She said, “But I know that even now, whatsoever you will ask of God, God will give it to you”.
The reason why you worry is because you don’t know or understand how much God loves you. You don’t know how much He cares for you because you care too much about the things of the world. You’ve heard about what He has done for others, but you’re not sure if He will come through for you. If you really knew how much Jesus loves you, then you would know that He loves you enough not to let you remain in your condition. Sometimes people feel that God doesn’t love them because He won’t give them what they want, but the reason why God won’t give you what you want is because He loves you.
Philippians 4:6 tells us not to be anxious about anything, but to pray about everything. Most of us don’t have a problem praying, but we have a problem waiting. We should be at a place in our lives where we know that God hears us when we pray and whatever we ask according to His will, He will give it to us.
There is a difference between a need and a want. A need is something that one must have. A want is a desire to have something, but it may not be necessary to have. A lot of things we call a need is actually a want. One morning, God was talking to me about my ‘need’. He first asked how long had I been without the thing I was praying for. Then, He told me that if I was doing okay without it, that it really wasn’t a need.
In John 2, Jesus and his disciples were invited to a wedding. They ran completely out of wine and they needed more. Mary told the servants, “Whatsoever he (Jesus) tells you to do, do it”. If you have a need in your life, it is not because God hasn’t done His part. It is because you refuse to do your part. You must do what God is telling you to do. The servants couldn’t make wine with just water, but when they used what they had (waterpots and water), Jesus changed the water into wine – not the servants. They just obeyed the One who was able to change their situation.
Whatever it is you’re facing at this present time, keep reminding yourself that the devil’s plan is to harm you, but God’s plan is to prosper you. God cares for you and He’s not going to withhold no good thing from those who are walking in Him.
Sometimes it looks and feels like nothing is happening in your life, but don’t focus on what you see and what you feel. Trust in what God told you. Trust in what you know. That’s what Martha did. Don’t let your situation tell you how it’s going to be. You tell your situation what it’s going to be. Tell it what God said because it has to obey the word of God.
We don’t walk by sight. What looks dead in your life is only sleeping. It is not unto death. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the word is alive and full of power so even if your situation seems dead, speak the living word over it. The word of God has never met a condition that it could not change.
Learn about who Christ is by spending time with Him through prayer and reading scriptures so that when you face difficult times, you can say, “But I know”.
Hold on to what you know.
I will grant this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be that when you go, you will not go empty-handed (Exodus 3:21).
Psalm 24:1 tells us that the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it. So if the devil possesses anything, it is because he stole it. He is a thief (John 10:10). He is not an owner. He is only an occupant. He is occupying in the land that God has given you.
God has given the earth to man (Ps 115:16), but for too long we have acted like the lame man who begged daily at the gate of temple called Beautiful when we should have been walking in power and authority like Peter and commanding whatever was lame in our lives to rise up and walk.
When we face something that is discomforting or hard, we tend to blame the devil, but how do you know that God isn’t behind what you’re going through? Do you understand His mind? Do you know how He works? Do you know what God is doing?
In 2007, the United States experienced a period of recession. During that season, there were lay-offs, depression and worry increased, and family murders and suicides were on the rise, which was sad, but at the same time, things that were too expensive (such as homes) became affordable. Things were being given away, but a lot of God’s children missed this opportunity. What was a recession or crisis or tragedy to the world was God’s wonders for the people of God, but we were calling our condition what the world was calling it. What was happening was the wealth of the sinner was transferring to the just and what seemed like hardship to some was actually designed to benefit the children of God.
The same thing happened in the book of Exodus. God told Moses, “Israel is my son, even my firstborn”. They had spent many years in slavery and bondage to the Egyptians and God’s plan was to smite Egypt (the world system) with all His wonders. The Israelites were about to be recompensed for all their hard labor and years of oppression.
Ten plagues struck Egypt: blood in the river, frogs covered the land, dust of the land became lice, flies were inside houses and covered the land, disease on beasts, boils on man and beasts, hail, locusts, darkness and death of any firstborn in Egypt. All these things affected Egypt’s economy, health, employment, finances, and even their minds. Sickness, death and poverty were around the Israelites, but it didn’t come nigh them.
After the final plague (death), the Egyptians were now crying and urging the Israelites to leave their land, but they didn’t leave empty-handed. Before they left, they asked the Egyptians for clothing, silver and gold.
For years, the enemy has stolen from you, cheated you out of some things and he has treated you unfairly, but he has been caught, he has been exposed and he will repay sevenfold. God is going to perform signs and wonders in your life this month. Every debt shall be cancelled and all you will owe man is love.
Don’t worry about your life and don’t worry about tomorrow. The eyes of the Lord are everywhere. You are not forgotten and you will see the goodness of the Lord. God cares for you and He will take care of you.
No more empty hands.
Nehemiah 2:20 – The God of heaven, He will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build…
God gave Nehemiah a word BEFORE rebuilding the wall to keep him from giving up DURING rebuilding the wall.
When God gives you a word, He gives you a word to prepare you for what’s coming, but after God gives you a word, the enemy immediately comes to take the very word God gave you (Mark 4:15). Because faith comes from hearing the word, the enemy will always fight against what you hear. He knows that if you believe it, then you will receive it (Mark 11:24) so he uses different tactics to keep you from receiving what God has already given you.
Today, I’m going to share just a few tactics the enemy uses to keep you from receiving what God says He has already given you.
- Ridicule means to belittle, humiliate or laugh at. The devil doesn’t mind you being a hearer as long as you don’t become a doer. The moment Nehemiah and the people began to rebuild, their enemies questioned if they could finish what they started and even questioned the materials they were using. They also used teasing and name-calling to distract them. Tobiah told them if a fox walked up the wall, the wall would collapse and Sanballat called them ‘weak’. Their enemies were trying to convince them that they didn’t know what they were doing, that what they were doing wouldn’t work and that they would fail. By this time, the wall was halfway up. Saints of God, the reason why the devil is messing with you is because you’re halfway there, but he can’t stop you.
- Intimidation. The enemy knows that he can’t stop the word God gave you so he uses threats to tempt you to stop and to give up. The objective of intimidation is to prevent you from taking action. He wants you to believe that he is going to do something, but he can’t because he doesn’t have permission to do it. He’s just bluffing. He sends you threats because he is threatened by you. Although Nehemiah’s enemies plotted to fight against them and stir up trouble, Nehemiah continued to pray night and day. Fighting with people leads to confusion, but fighting in prayer leads to peace. Keep praying.
- Discouragement. The people got weary and started complaining. “There is too much rubble to remove”. This was a hard and tedious task. They stopped focusing on what God said and started focusing on what their enemies were saying. Instead of declaring ‘The God of heaven will prosper us’, they started declaring ‘We can’t build this wall’. Not only does faith come by hearing, but fear comes by hearing. Be careful what you listen to. Whatever goes in, will come out. The reason they complained was because they forgot what God said, but Nehemiah told them to not be afraid and to remember the Lord. Think on Him and not yourselves. Think on His promises and not your problems. After Nehemiah encouraged them, the people went back to work.
- When a person compromises, they give in, they try to make everyone happy, they try to please others and sometimes people will try to make them feel guilty for saying ‘no’. By this time, the wall was completely built with the exception of the doors and gates. Nehemiah received four invitations from Sanballat and Geshem to meet with them, but he didn’t compromise. They wanted to meet with him to harm him, but he didn’t stop what he was doing. Nehemiah told them four times “I can’t afford to slow down the work. My work is too important”. When the enemy sends you an invitation to sidetrack you, decline his offer. Tell him you can’t afford to sin because the wages of sin is death.
- Slander is falsely spoken words to damage someone’s reputation. They tried to scare Nehemiah through slander and lies. Sanballat sent an official with an unsealed letter stating that rumors were going around that the wall was just being built because Nehemiah wanted to be king. If you’ve ever been lied on, you know it’s hard to be silent when lies are spoken of you, but you don’t have to defend yourself when God is your Defender and He will settle your case. Nehemiah prayed for strength and went back to work.
- False accusation. Shemaiah acted like God sent him, but Nehemiah recognized that he was lying. Shemaiah was hired by Tobiah and Sanballat. Shemaiah suggested that he and Nehemiah should go to the temple and shut the door because someone was trying to kill him, but Nehemiah knew not to go inside the temple because only priests were allowed there. They wanted to accuse him of something, destroy his reputation and stop him from finishing what he started. When the enemy can’t influence you to commit an act, when he can’t easily beset you, he will then lie on you, but God is with you. You will escape every trap the enemy sets and whoever digs a pit for you will fall in it.
Nehemiah and the people did finish rebuilding the wall. They got discouraged along the way, wanted to give up, complained about their situation, but the key to finishing what they started is found in Nehemiah 4:6 – The people had a mind to work. You can have what God says you can have, you can do what God says you can do and you can be who God called you to be, but you got to make up your mind about what you want. Want what God wants to give you.
Just as the word came to pass in Nehemiah’s life, it is going to come to pass in your life. I’m not telling you that you won’t cry, complain, get tired or want to quit, but make up in your mind that you are going to get what God has for you. Make up in your mind that you are going to do what God tells you to do. Don’t give up so easily. The devil is going to tell you what you can’t do, but it’s only because he knows that you can do it. He is not going to just let you have it. You’re going to have to take it by force. Every thing God promised you will not come easy, but it will surely come.
The devil can’t stop the word God gave you so don’t let his tactics stop you.
When the people in Samaria rejected Christ, the disciples asked Jesus if they could command fire to come down from heaven and destroy the people, but Jesus told them that He didn’t come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.
The king of Syria was at war with Israel, but every time he planned to attack, God would reveal the king’s plan to Elisha who would in turn tell the king of Israel. When the king learned what was going on, he commanded the Syrian army to seize Elisha. When they arrived in Samaria, Elisha prayed to the Lord to strike them with blindness and God did. After Elisha led the blind army to the camp of the army of Israel, Elisha prayed that God would open their eyes. When they saw where they were, the king of Israel asked Elisha if he could smite the Syrian army, but Elisha told him no. Instead, he told the king to set bread and water before them that they may eat and drink.
Even though Saul tried to take David’s life, David saved Saul’s life. In 1 Samuel 24:16-18, Saul cried to David and said, “You are a better man than I am. You rewarded me good when I rewarded you evil. When the Lord delivered you into my hands, you didn’t kill me”.
God has prepared a table before you in the presence of your enemies, but they aren’t at the table for you to smite them or for them to watch you eat. They are going to need what you have. They are going to need the Living Bread and the Living Water. They are going to need kindness and mercy. Do not render evil for evil. Do not do to them what they have done to you. Don’t do to them what Christ didn’t do to you. Vengeance belongs to God.
Forgive them for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34). It’s not the people. We don’t wrestle against flesh and blood. The enemy has done this, but he’s a spirit so he needed a physical body to carry out his plan. The devil hates you. He was the one that came after you. He came after your marriage. He came after your children. He came after your ministry. He came after your mind.
Most people feel like what Joseph went through was unfair. He was sold by his brothers, he was accused of rape by Potiphar’s wife, but it was needful that Joseph went through these things. Some of us don’t want to go THROUGH anything, but we want to get TO the promise or dream God gave us.
When Joseph was thrown in the pit, Reuben came back to save his brother, but Joseph was gone. If Reuben had saved Joseph out of the pit, who was going to save the whole household from the pit they were about to face? A famine was coming, but Joseph went through what he went through to save the same people that hated him and sold him. In the same manner, Christ was crucified for the same ones who would crucify Him.
When you fight, don’t attack the person. Fight in prayer. Attack the spirit operating through the person. Your fight is not against what you can see, but against what you can’t see. Your fight is not against people, but the devil will use the people closest to you to attack you.
Don’t take the attack personal.
In the end, Joseph’s brothers had a need, but before Joseph could GIVE to his brothers, he had to FORGIVE his brothers.
When you have the opportunity to hurt those who hurt you, but you don’t, the same blessing that Saul spoke in David’s life will be done in your life – May the Lord reward you good for what you’ve done for them (1 Samuel 24:19).
The enemy wants you to say what you see. He wants you to focus more on what is seen (which is temporary) than what is not seen.
The battle you are facing right now can only be won through words – prayer. Before David smote Goliath and cut off his head, he declared what was going to happen before it happened. He spoke words. “This day will the Lord deliver you into my hand and I will smite you and take your head from you”.
Yes, the battle is the Lord’s and you have already won, but you must still fight. You have been given a whole armor for this battle (Eph 6:14-17) and God expects you to put it on. Your fight is not with a physical shield and sword, but with the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit.
While Joshua and his men fought with Amalek, Moses, Aaron and Hur went up to the top of the hill. When you’re on the top of a hill or mountain (prayer), you are able to see things better. It was from the top of the mountain that Moses saw the Promised Land.
Moses took the rod God gave him and when he held up his hand, Israel prevailed, but when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. This is why it is important to pray. When you speak the word, you prevail, but when you stop speaking, when you let your guard down, when you give up, then your enemies prevail.
The word in your mouth is more powerful than the word in the enemy’s mouth. This is why the enemy doesn’t want you to speak. He knows he can’t the stop the word, but the word in your mouth is able to stop him. If he can’t silence you, then his next job is to tempt you to speak careless words. He wants you to say things like:
‘Nothing ever goes right for me.’
‘God doesn’t love me.’
‘I’m a failure.’
When a believer begins to talk like this, it’s because they don’t know God. You can read the written word and still don’t know the Living Word. Meditate on the word day and night so that what you put in you will be the words that come out of you. Then, you will begin to say what God has already said.
‘All things are working together for good.’
‘God loves me.’
‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me and I will succeed.’
Jesus holds the universe together by the word of his power (Heb 1:3). If things are falling apart in your life, use the word to cause things to fall into place. Work the power that is at work in you. The moment you speak the word of God, it happens – in the spirit. It is not by His power or His might, but it is by His Spirit. It happens in the spirit realm first. The reason why you begin to doubt is because you can’t see it yet, but keep saying what you don’t see until you see it.
Everyone wants to see the results of their prayers NOW, but guess what? The moment you prayed, it happened. The word is quick (Heb 4:12). The word runs very swiftly (Ps 147:15). Whenever you pray, you are praying in the now. Just because you didn’t get it when you wanted it, doesn’t mean that you don’t have it. You have it NOW.
Know that God has already delivered your enemies into your hands and cut the head of every Goliath in your life with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
You’ve already won.
Her husband was dead and he didn’t leave an inheritance to her and her sons. He left them debt.
The widow went to the prophet Elisha because he knew her husband and she thought he could help her. The prophet asked her two questions: 1) What do you want me to do and 2) What do you have in your house? I’m not sure what the widow was expecting him to do, but Elisha didn’t agree to pay her debt, he didn’t lend her any money and he didn’t suggest praying about her situation. When he asked the second question, she almost missed her miracle by saying she had nothing, but she quickly changed her answer and told him she had a pot of oil. She never mentioned owning a bed, table or chair. Maybe she had already sold these items, but still couldn’t pay off the debt.
Elisha didn’t give her a handout, but he did give her something. He gave her three clear and simple instructions.
The first assignment was to go from door to door and ask neighbors to borrow vessels – and she had to borrow many, not a few vessels. You don’t know what people will give you unless you ask. Pride tells us to keep our mouths closed because what you’re going through is nobody’s business, but this woman was desperate. She didn’t care who knew what kind of trouble she was in. All she wanted was to come out of it. She humbled herself and obeyed the prophet.
The next assignment was to go in a room, shut the door, and fill the borrowed vessels. Some of us would have allowed logic to talk us out of obeying this instruction. Elisha asked her to borrow vessels, but how can you fill many vessels when you only have one jar of oil? The things God ask you to do may not make sense, but it does make faith. In spite of what her mind said, she believed the word she heard. If you don’t believe what you hear, you won’t obey it.
The last assignment was to sell the oil. This was a lot of work. How long did it take to borrow vessels, fill them and sell the oil? Some people would complain about losing sleep and being tired, but remember, this widow probably wasn’t resting anyway. She was probably worried and wondering how she was going to pay this debt, but if she worked now, she would rest well after her debt was paid.
One of the purposes of anointing oil was to anoint the body for death. If the prophet wasn’t able to help her, she would have given up, but God didn’t want this oil to be used for her death. He wanted her to use this oil so she could live longer and enjoy life.
What this woman needed was in her house. What you need is inside of you, but like this widow, we call our something ‘nothing’. Either we don’t know what we have or we don’t understand the value of what we have. I don’t know how long she had oil in her house, but it probably took her losing everything to see what she had. Sometimes God will allow things to dry up in your life (like Elijah at the brook of Cherith) so that you will move and do what He has called you to do.
I want to leave you with these six points:
- God loves you and He doesn’t take pleasure in seeing you struggle.
- Stop looking at what other people have and be content with what you have.
- Stop saying ‘I don’t have it’. God has given you everything you need to live this life (2 Peter 1:3).
- Even if you don’t have a lot, what you have is what you need.
- What is insignificant to you is significant to someone else. Someone needs what you have.
- Jesus has given you permission to ask and in return it will be given. Ask Him to reveal to you what you have and ask for wisdom to use it the way He designed it to be used.
Inside of you is a word, a book, a business idea, skills and talents.
What do YOU have in your house (body)?