The foolish vulture

 

“Resentment kills a fool and envy slays the simple” (Job 5:2)

This is an African story I heard some time ago. Once upon a time there was a vulture that always envied his neighbor, the great eagle. Daily he looked up on the sky and saw the eagle soar effortlessly, higher than any other bird. The vulture tried to catch the wind that lifted up the eagle. But the same current of air injured him and brought him down. Even their feathers were so different…The eagle looked like a king and he looked like a beggar, or so the vulture thought…

Unhappy, angry and jealous the vulture went to ‘a native doctor’ to make ‘a medicine’ to kill the eagle. The man said that it is possible but he needs some of the vulture’s own feathers to prepare the poison. The vulture agreed and with his own beak he plucked some of his feathers. The medicine did not work and the native doctor said he needed some more feathers to make a stronger one. This went on and on. The vulture agreed and each time he left the shrine he had fewer feathers on his body.

Little by little, he became ‘naked’ and powerless. He then lost his ability to fly. One day, the eagle spotted a bird on the ground that looked like a turkey ready to be roasted. He quickly went down and carried the poor vulture to eat it for dinner. This is the sad story of a vulture that was foolishly envious of the great eagle.

 

What are the lessons? We are all born sinners. Envy is just one of the works of the flesh. Envy is a wicked thing; it means to desire what is not your own; to covet what is forbidden; to hate the success and blessings of others. Envy is resident in our flesh from birth. Envy kills its owner, it is suicidal. The child of envy is ungratefulness. An envious man is wicked and foolish, not thankful for the portion and destiny God has given to him.

Sinner, give your life to Christ! Come to the Cross of Christ for deliverance! Sin killed Jesus!  Envy has to be acknowledged as sin, repented of and replaced with peace, contentment and thanks to God. If not, it will be slow bitter poison to you, destroying any chance you have to be happy and fulfilled.

Oh…that we may desire to be grateful to God who freely, generously and graciously has blessed us with so many blessings in Christ Jesus!

 

In Christ I declare:

I am a child of God!

I am grateful for salvation, for every blessings and gifts given to me by God!

I do not compare myself with others!

I thank God for the blessings given to others!

God is my portion and inheritance in the land of the living!

I am satisfied!

In Jesus name

Amen!

I am a servant of God!

 

“And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”… And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man” (Judg 6:12-16)

The story of Gideon is a favorite with many people. It encourages the weak, the foolish the timid. It calls us to be servants of Christ. God can change and use any man who is willing to pay the price for ministry.

This is the background of the story: the people of God abandoned the worship of Jehovah and went after idols. God judges their sin and allows the wicked Midianites to oppress them.

These are the descendants of Midian, Abraham’s son with Keturah. Her name means ‘incense’. The Midianites were related to the Jews but remained enemies to them. The name Midian means ‘strife, trouble’. They allow the Jews to plant and raise cattle but they attack just before the harvest to take it.

They represent the unsaved but religious people in the church. They cause division and a lot of harm in the congregation. These spirits do not die. They are merciless. They attack to steal the harvest, they cause miscarriages; they destroy the hopes gathered and the resources saved over the years.

We need the anointing and strategy of Gideon to prevail against them.

Gideon is an ordinary man, a ‘nobody’ but, Gideon is God’s choice. His name means ‘to cut down the enemy’. He has the name of a warrior but in reality, Gideon was not a soldier or an ambitious man. He was weak and timid. At the beginning, he was not sure of God’s call. But he was willing to change to be a leader, a servant of God.  Under God’s mighty training, little by little the holy chemistry of faith and courage began to manifest.  God needs to prepare His servant until his destiny begins becomes reality and the Word of victory comes to pass.

What is the application of Gideon’s story to us? What do I need to be a servant of God?

*I NEED THE FIRE OF GOD

First of all, Gideon offers to the Angel a blood sacrifice as a burnt offering. The fire of God comes supernaturally and consumes the sacrifice. A servant of God needs this fire in his heart and tongue. This fire is the anointing to feel the passion of Christ, to preach the Gospel with power from above. Fire alone purifies the heart and the motives for going into ministry. Nothing can replace it!!!

‘Lord, I need a personal Pentecost, a fresh fire, please…’

*I NEED THE PEACE OF GOD

The Angel introduces Himself as Jehovah Shalom. This is one of God’s personal names. Shalom is a great word. It means God’s greeting to man, the best blessings available to God’s children, the fulfillment of your dreams and your heart’s desire. In particular, it means peace, prosperity, wealth, health, the friendship and favor of God.

‘Lord, I need the peace that passes all understanding, please…’

*I NEED THE HOLINESS OF GOD

Holiness is God’s attribute to be different, special and pure. Holiness is the opposite of sin. Gideon has to be holy as God is holy. He learns to hate evil and all idolatry. In obedience with God’s command he destroys his father’s idol.

‘Lord, I need to be holy as You are HOLY…’

*I NEED THE PURITY OF GOD

Gideon is still not sure on how to proceed. There are still fears and doubts in his heart about the great plan of God for his life. He applies ‘the fleece test’. He makes two requests to God who called him to ministry. The first one is that fleece should be wet with dew and the ground around dry. The second is the opposite; the fleece should be dry and the ground wet with morning dew. The fleece is a symbol of man’s heart and the ground represents the world.  A wet fleece represents a heart filled with the Holy Spirit that is free from the dryness of the environment. A dry fleece is a symbol of the cross; the flesh is dead to sin. The heart is totally separated from the attraction of the world. This proves that God changes a man’s heart deeply.  He uses only a man who is free from the love of the world, from the influence of the circumstances around him.

‘Lord, I need to be pure in my heart and free from the attraction of the world around me…’

In Christ I declare:

The Lord is with me!

I am a mighty man (woman) of valor!

No weapon fashioned against me shall prosper!

I am free from the oppression of sin!

Circumstances around me cannot change my decision to serve God and to give Him all the glory!

I look only unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith!

I have total victory!

In Jesus name

Amen!

A PRAYER OF LIFTING

“May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob set you up on high [and defend you]; send you help from the sanctuary and support, refresh, and strengthen you from Zion” (Ps 20:1; 2; AMP)

This is the promise of Jehovah, the Self-Existent One. He is the only Living God who needs nothing from outside His Person to exist eternally! This is His pledge:  to be with you when you are in in trouble; when you are under attack, alone and sick, abandoned or in pain….when lawyers abandon your case for ‘lack of evidence’… when doctors cannot find the source of your fever… when friends forsake you and the neighbors mock you… when you are ‘too old’ to marry and ‘too barren’ to have a child… when your need is greater than the supply… when hell has found your address and is ready to pay to kill… when prayer ‘does not work’ and the inspiration for singing has dried…

“Holy Spirit, please, come down!!!”

May God who wrote your name in the Book of Life remember you, help you, support, refresh and strengthen you! May God disappoint your fears, melt your doubts, arrest your sickness, fight against your oppressors and overturn the tables! May the power of praise in worship in Zion locate you and ignite a fresh holy fire in you! May the hand of God lift you up, far above the reach of all your enemies! May the increase of God’s kingdom include your home! May you see your children’ children! May you rejoice always, for God is with you!

To the Glory of God who can never fail!

In Christ I declare:

I have seen the downfall of satan!

My trouble shall become my testimony!

I shall always praise and worship the God of my salvation, healing and deliverance!

God is my ever present Help in times of need!

Zion is my hometown forever!

Revival is my portion!

In Jesus name,

Amen!

THE FIRE FELL!

 

“Elijah came near to all the people and said: ‘How long will you halt and limp between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him! But if Baal, then follow him!’ And the people did not answer him a word.

So they took the bull given them, dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, O Baal, hear and answer us! But there was no voice; no one answered. And they leaped upon or limped about the altar they had made…And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with knives and lances until the blood gushed out upon them…Midday passed, and they played the part of prophets until the time for offering the evening sacrifice, but there was no voice, no answer, no one who paid attention” (1Kg 18:21-29; AMP)

 

Let’s go on an imaginary trip to the top of Mount Carmel in Israel. This is the story of the mighty confrontation between the gods. Elijah was the only ambassador for Jehovah. On the other side were hundreds of false prophets representing Jezebel and the devil. Many people came ready for free entertainment. Then Elijah sounds the trumpet: No more doubting! No more ‘halting and limping between two opinions’! You make up your mind and chose who do you want to serve: Jehovah God or the idols! This battle is unto death! The winner takes it all! The loser shall die!

The word ‘doubt’ in this scripture it means to dance with a limp, insecure of your steps. Foolishly, the prophets of Baal picked up the challenge! The ‘burial ceremony’ of Jezebel has started! Her prophets started dancing ‘upon and around’ their altar calling for fire to come. Just imagine the scene! It was like an audition for cripples’ break dance in the woods. The music changed, the melody modulated, the drums changed the rhythm…and yet, nothing happen! When their dance did not gain any converts to the new ‘ballet school’ in town, they tried their final desperate ‘prayer’.

‘Blood must flow today…’ –they said to themselves.  So they cut themselves with knives until their blood stained all around. The spectators were speechless. The spectacle was much more they could have imagined. The ‘actors’ played the part of the prophets and sang and sweated and cursed and danced some more. This drama should have had ‘a happy end’, that was their prophecy…with all the effort and rehearsals for such a day like this…The reputation of Baal was at stake…The people of God, his slaves, may refuse to worship him in case of failure…All hell backed up the show that afternoon…demons were on high alert… emergency coven crew scratched their heads…but the curtain did not rise, the power generator refused to start, the lights blew off and the spectators killed themselves in a panic stampede…

There was no voice, not even an apology coming from the devil. His defeat was total….All people whispered:  ‘the idols are dead…our religion is a disappointment…’

 

Then evening came, time for the sacrifice at the temple.  The angels came around to see… Elijah prayed to God! It was a simple prayer to the God of the covenant. And the fire fell! Glory to God! El Anah Esh, the God who answers by fire has spoken! He is the only Living God! Jehovah is in charge! He calls the disappointed backsliders back to Himself again!

‘Come home son! Come home daughter!’

Dear friend, Come and pray and worship and sing and dance to the Lamb that was slain! None who trusts in the Lord shall be put to shame! There is no disappointment with Jesus! Praise His holy Name!

 

In Christ I declare:

The God of Elijah is my God!

Jesus is Lord!

The devil is defeated in my life, in my home!

Revival shall come to my city!

In Jesus name,

Amen!

The Throne of Mercy and Grace

 

“We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help…

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need”

(Heb 4:16; TM; NKJ)

 

We have arrived before the throne of grace. The Lord Jesus is the High Priest. The Lamb upon the throne is there to give grace and mercy for them who are truly in need. Until we understand the revelation of God’s mercy to sinners, we cannot proceed to the higher realms. This royal mercy is the anchor that connects us to the Lord, more clearly revealed when we stumble and fall.

Grace means unmerited favor from God. He sovereignly gives gifts and blesses His people in spite of their sins. Grace destroys all boasting of self and pride. Of necessity, the release of royal grace leads to worshipping the King.

Mercy is God’s sovereign kindness to a sinner who was His personal enemy. Mercy is God’s attitude of compassion to one who suffers the terrible consequences of his sin. In the absence of mercy, the sinner has to die a slow and terrible death, with no human cure available.

When in great trouble, look up and see the throne. Then you shall see His hand waving to you, calling you ‘Come higher…’ So ‘let us’ come boldly to the only place in the universe where we can find help, protection, provision and miracles.

Please observe…such royal blessings come only to them that are ‘in need’. The Lamb upon the Throne is not available to all in the same way. There are many people who suffer, are poor or sick. God has to qualify your status as a person ‘in need’. The word means to lack something vital, to be in want, poor and suffering unto death. Without the mercy of God, the need will kill you. Need is not a selfish desire or a superficial want. Often we confuse need and want, but God is never deceived.

For the release of mercy, we are invited to come ‘boldly’. This word is more connected with the speech. It means to pray with confidence and faith. It describes a free, open speech without any manipulation, religious hypocrisy or deception. For example, in the army, a solider has to ask permission from a senior colleague before he can speak openly. It is not enough to be in trouble. He has to ask for the favor of free speech. If permission is not granted, he cannot trespass his boundary and ‘speak up his mind’.

This type of desperate prayer of need is done when there is no human help available. Another example is this: in the Bible, all widows are not the same. They all suffer but not in the same way. Some have families who can help them. But some have no human help at all. They have been serving God for long time and now they are alone. These are called ‘widows in need’ and they alone have the right to come before the throne of grace to ask for help from God (1Tim 5). The promise is that mercy and grace shall be given in a supernatural way. This is how miracles happen.

“Father, I am sorry for the many years I have wasted deceiving myself that I can do it on my own. The truth is that I need You. I need Your mercy and grace. I need a fresh touch from You. I need Your power, Your resources and Your guidance. Without You I can do nothing. It has come to that…My need has brought me to You. Please receive me…I am Your child…broken and lonely, sick and wounded, O Lamb of God I come, I come…”

 

In Christ I declare:

“I need Thee, Lord, I need Thee, every hour I need Thee…Bless me now my Savior, I come to Thee…”

In Jesus name

Amen!

SUFFICIENT GRACE
“He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again”
(by Anne Flint 1866-1932)grace of God

REVIVAL PRAYER

“For a prayer life that grips the attention of the heavenly throne room is not built beneath calm, sunny skies but shaken during dark, sorrow filled nights. A serious prayer life is hammered out on the anvil of pain and anguish, desperation and despair, when hope hangs on a tattered thread and all human resources are gone. There and only there does the answer to the request come. Here is where the vital prayer life commences which gains the cupped ear of the Almighty as he leans over to listen more intently to the pathetic sobs and anguished heart cries which in desperation reach out for his robe of righteousness to grab hold of and not let go until the answer is attained. To become a person of prayer is to be a shrill, holy note which continually rings the ears of angels and rattles the gates of glory.
Listen, friends, a true prayer life is not borne out of comfort and prosperity, but through trials and adversities. In your leanness, you will learn to lean upon him. Through your rolling on stormy seas, you will learn how to effectively storm heavens portals for deliverance. When friends fail, disappoint and desert you, you will seek and find favor with your faithful friend Jesus. A desperate life of prayer shakes the gates of hell and influences our generation all for the glory of God. Do you believe that? I do. A strong prayer life will make you fear God and not man.
Oh friend, I beg you to fall to your knees and confess your lack of prayer to God. Be honest with him and ask him to help you redeem the time in your generation to show you the foolishness of your favorite pastimes and the wasted time consumed on them. It is time to put away our idols and lay hold of God for this lost and perishing generation of hell-bound sinners and hell-bound unconverted church members.
Dear brother pastor, if you want power with God and influence over man, go to your knees and stay there. Ask God to make your very bones afire for him to where you can ignite others with your holy life of prayer and powerful preaching. This is a call to the pulpits in our land to take back this land for God and for our children and our grandchildren. Go to your knees, church, fall on your face, beg God above heaven and earth on our behalf and pour water upon this dry, thirsty land of ours today.

Let us pray…
O Great God, you are the Ancient of Days. You are Holy and your are worthy to be praised. Give us the grace, O Lord, to seek thy face in desperate and prevailing prayer. Give us the power of your Holy Spirit to pray in the Spirit so that kingdoms will be shaken for thee. O Great God, forgive us for our selfish enterprises, our wasted time spent on useless things, things that don’t matter, things that you see as dust in light of eternity.
Help us, Lord Jesus, to be persons of prayer. Mighty persons of prayer that you empower to perform your purpose. Help us to shake the very gates of hell with such power that we push back the darkness in our communities and usher in your presence in a Holy Ghost revival that will grip this nation with the awful solemnity of your presence.
Come, O Lord, and take the field in a great revival of religion, I pray. Come pour your Spirit upon this dry and wasted land. Come save our children. Come save our grandchildren. Come, Lord Jesus, and once again permeate our sanctuaries with your presence and your preeminence. I pray in the strong name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen”
(from a sermon by E. A. Johnston)