Get Rooted In

“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” – ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭17:7-8‬ ‭

“… When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” – ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭59:19‬ ‭

“The Lord sitteth over the flood; yea, the Lord sitteth King for ever. The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.” – ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭29:10-11‬ ‭

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” – ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭1:1-6‬ ‭

​​“And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” – ‭‭Colossians‬ ‭2:4-8‬ ‭


Enduring Spiritual Winters

When the sun is shining, the days are warm and sunny, the rains plentiful, and the trees are green and covered with leaves, it’s hard to tell which branches are strong and fruitful, and which are weak. They all look alike in this season. However when the winter comes and the tree undergoes a stripping as the days grow cold, the light lessens and becomes more distant, the warm rains turn to cold snows, and the leaves fall away, it is then easier to see each branch for what it really is and what it is able to endure.

“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” – Matthew‬ ‭24:13‬ ‭

However, when the tree has to endure the hard winter season, the branches that have grown strong drawing and feeding vigorously from the root in the good seasons will be stripped bare, shed the unnecessary, and face the cold, but being well connected to the root they will survive to grow knew leaves and bare more fruit then before the stripping.

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” – Galatians‬ ‭6:9‬ ‭

However, for the weaker branches who were indistinguishable from the stronger ones during the summer months, the winter identifies the truth about them. The reality that they were drawing most of there energy from their environment through their leaves rather then from a strong and healthy connection to the root. Therefor, when the environment changed, they died. Their leaves fall away and they dry up. At this point they have become a danger to the tree as disease can now spread from them to the rest of the tree, so that they must be cut away and cast into the fire by the husbandmen.

“I am the true vine (root), and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” – John‬ ‭15:1-6‬ ‭

As for the strong branches that are well connected and drawing strength from the root and not primarily from the environment around them, though it is a difficult season, winters actually help to strengthen them and the tree over all, hardening it against the cold of greater winters to come, making it’s fruit sweeter and more abundant, and allowing for even greater growth in the spring season to follow. As the dead branches are pruned away, the tree can focus more energy and resources toward the healthy branches to bud and for the growth of new life and branches to spring forth. Where the weak and dead branches before were a three and drain to the treat as a whole, the removal of them and the pruning of the healthy ensures the fruitfulness of the tree as a whole.

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” – James‬ ‭1:12‬ ‭

Yes this process happens to us as individuals through the hard seasons of our lives, it happens in our local church through trying times, and it happens to the Church at large through tribulations. All seem like such hard times when the light of His countenance feels so distant, the bitter resistance comes, the cold snows seem to attack relentlessly, and everything we depend on in our environment fails us and falls away. It is in these times that we either learn to draw our strength from the root and become dependent on it alone, or die and be pruned away. Yet for those who do establish that strong connection to the root during these seasons of desperate dependency, there is a special blessing. You see, it is a fact among fruit trees that there are some fruits that will not come forth to bare at all, except that the branch has first endured a certain level of cold for a certain length of time. In other words, the best and rarest fruit is only produced by the hardest trials. So endure, draw closer to the Lord, and thanks Him daily for the trials of great reward.

“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” – 1 Peter‬ ‭1:6-7‬ ‭

Pride Brings a Fall but Humility Preserves Your Soul

“Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:” – Romans‬ ‭11:19-20‬ ‭

In this very important passage, Paul warned new believers of the dangers of pride, unbelief, and falling away from the faith. He explains to them that the Jews who refused to believe God, though they had been His chosen people, had in essence been broken off (or disinherited). Because all unbelief in what God is trying to tell you is based in pride, which is trusting more in yourself and your assumptions, (your understanding, what you’ve been taught, what you think to be right or true, and so on). It is so important never to assume anything with God, to even assume that you can assume is prideful. In all things seek God and be willing to be taught and led by Him.

“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew‬ ‭18:4‬ ‭

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” – Romans‬ ‭8:14‬ ‭

The passage then continues to emphasize the pride of believing that because one was disinherited and an other was grafted in, that the graft is somehow better or more secure then the original. Paul assures us that this is not the case. He urged the new believer to grasp onto humility in fear, stating that if the natural children were disinherited for not trusting Him, how much more would the adopted children be cast off if they so chose in pride to trust in their own leading and not seek to be led by His Spirit and voice? 

“For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.” – Romans‬ ‭11:21-22‬ ‭

This is one of the most sobering passages in the scriptures. One that we should remind ourselves of daily, knowing that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and that God is no respecter of persons. We are all special to God, but not one is more special to God then the other. He demands trust, respect, reverence, submission, attention, and humility, which are the attributes of faith. Those that refuse are cut off, yes even from among those counted as His own. While those who submit are grafted in, even from the lowliest and least. Let this be a warning that none are above God’s judgment, and that no pride will go unpunished, not even the pride of believing that you are too good or too special to be cast off when God did it to the very apple of His eye, His own people who ceased to trust in His voice and followed that of other men and their own flesh.

“But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭9:27‬ ‭

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” – Philippians‬ ‭2:12‬ ‭

“Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished. By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil.” – Proverbs‬ ‭16:5-6‬ ‭

“The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul. Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud. He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he.” – Proverbs‬ ‭16:17-20‬ ‭

A Seed in the Dark

29136110_10211610570521620_256729960721416192_nI sealed a bean up in a ziplock bag with a damp paper towel for 2 weeks containing enough water to germinate the seed. I insured that this little bean received no light, not even from a crack under the door. It was well hidden in a dark closet, and sealed up tight.

“But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19

The Holy Spirit waters us in the dark seasons of our life, having only this, we have all we need. So sometimes it is in the darkest places that we seem to have the greatest growth. Yes, it is mysterious to us, but that’s God.

“Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?” – Job 11:7

He is so good to bless those dark days. The bean that was given all the same things in it’s sealed bag but was kept in a place guaranteed to receive sunlight did not even begin to grow a root, and barely enlarged in size at all. That was to my surprise. I did not expect the bean in the hidden darkness to grow in leaps and bounds while the bean receiving abundant light and protected moisture, barely changed.

How baffling to my mind. My hypothesis was wrong. What I have seen in this was perfect to encourage my soul and hopefully yours. When our source of growth is continually coming from the Spirit of God (HE is watering us), we can actually grow even more in dark seasons, than we did in the sunniest circumstances!!!!

“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified)” – John 7:37-39

Prayer: Thank You God, for the dark seasons that grow us even more than those filled with sunshine and expectation. Much to my amazement, You work so differently than man can fathom, but You are God and I am just a little seed being watered by my father.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a seed of wheat fall into the ground, be burried, and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” – John 12:24-25

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust” – Psalms 91:1-2

“For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon the rock.” – Psalms 27:5

Submitted by Amelia Barr

Why Fasting Is Critical To Growing In Grace

Did you know that according to the Bible, fasting increases the measure of Grace God imparts to you? Grace is God’s favor, power, and divine influence and being obedient to fast increases these amazing attributes of grace into the life of the believer, but why?

It comes down to humility. You see for starters, fasting is not an option for the true believer. Jesus never said, “if you fast“, He said, “when you fast” and equated its importance in the life of a believer to prayer. As surely as you know that you must pray, you must also obey to fast when He calls you to do so. Why? Because He said to.

“Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance:…” – Matthew‬ ‭6:16‬ ‭

“But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;” – Matthew‬ ‭6:17‬ ‭

Fasting is such a perfect picture of the relationship, reality, and function of faith and grace. God says to fast, in faith you humble yourself and obey by turning away from (or repenting of) food and as soon as you turn away the food in faith then God sends His grace to supernaturally strengthen you and empower you to walk this thing out when you otherwise could not!

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” – Matthew‬ ‭4:4‬ ‭

You see, James 4:6 tells us that God gives more grace to the humble. However, what many do not realize is that you must humble yourself, God will not do it for you. Therefore, you can have as much grace as you want, if you want it enough to humble yourself for it by choosing to obey God in faith, pick up your cross, follow Him, and believe that He is able to get you through any wilderness that He leads you into. If you want to grow in grace as we are instructed to do in 2 Peter 3:18, you must humble your flesh by disciplining it, or as the Apostle Paul Said, by “putting it into submission”.

“But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭9:27‬ ‭

Faith is a choice, you must choose whom you will serve, God or flesh/self. To choose God over self you must humble yourself. You must choose to humble yourself, God will not do it for you. God does not humble man while he lives, He may humiliate you in His mercy and effort to break your pride, but even then you must choose to either become humbled or hardened by the humiliation. All of scripture makes it very clear that you must humble yourself. You must choose to stop trusting in self, in flesh, and in the things of this carnal world, and put your faith (which encompasses trust, hope, and submission) in God alone.

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles‬ ‭7:14‬

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:” – 1 Peter‬ ‭5:6‬ ‭

Fasting is a humbling. It is not something that the flesh wants to do. It’s an act of submission, sacrifice, obedience, faith, and love. It mortifies the flesh, it baffles the logic, it rejects self will and bows to God’s. It is in every way an act of faith that once stepped out in is completed only by God’s grace, which then builds your faith in His grace for greater things yet to come for those who truly believe in and live by every word He says!

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” – James‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭

“I humbled my soul with fasting;” – Psalms‬ ‭35:13‬ ‭

“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” – James‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭

“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” – Matthew‬ ‭17:20-21‬ ‭

“Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord your God, and cry unto the Lord,” – Joel‬ ‭1:14‬ ‭

“Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? Then will the Lord be jealous for his land, and pity his people.” – Joel‬ ‭2:16-18‬ ‭

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles‬ ‭7:14‬

“And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly. And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days:…” – 1 Kings‬ ‭21:27-29‬ ‭



“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?” – ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭4:1-9‬ ‭KJV‬‬

So often I hear words with this exact attitude in many people today… am I my brother’s keeper? Selfishness of this sort has no concern or care for their fellowman. The world we live in today is the downhill spiral of this very attitude that thinks only of their own welfare and not of others. I stare into the very depths of this darkness day in and day out and what comes out of me is a cry! A cry for mercy from the LORD GOD and a cry for a shaking and an awakening that will cause us to seek the LORD GOD again for the Salvation from this darkness! For the darkness today in this world is much the fault of the church not being the Church. For this darkness of selfishness has largely crept into the churches today in the form of covetness and idolatry. I find it so prevalent in the church that there remains such little concern for the salvation of others, or the thought that “they will make their own decisions, perhaps they don’t want Salvation”. When the fact remains that anyone once they become aware that they are dying wants to live. The problem is that they don’t really know that they are dying nor do they care to know. But as the Church it is OUR JOB TO TELL THEM, and the HOLY SPIRIT’S job to show them.

But what of the church?

Has the physical blessings of God clouded our spiritual minds with pride, selfishness, and envy? Has covetness and greed and idolatry created a less than concern for others? Or an “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Attitude not only a lack of concern for your brother, but a hatred and jealousy of them because one is more blessed than you? God responded to Cain with a very simple explanation of what caused Able to have God’s favor as opposed to Cain…Able was pleasing to the LORD. Cain only brought unto God what pleased himself, but Able brought that which pleased the LORD. That was the difference between the two offerings. God even tells Cain, giving him the opportunity to obey by offering GOD the right offering, but instead of Cain humbling himself to obey, He exacts vengeance upon his brother causing a curse to fall upon himself. So we see that obedience brings blessings and rejecting obedience brings a curse.

Today as I observe the condition of the world I see it as a direct result of the church NOT being the Church walking in direct obedience to Christ the King in doing that which is pleasing to HIM! And for that I cry all the more… LORD JESUS REVIVE US AGAIN to be the living sacrifices by obedience to YOU LORD that the world may see YOUR GLORY and that YOU may receive the reward of YOUR SACRIFICE, a holy people set apart unto YOURSELF serving YOU, doing that which is well and pleasing in YOUR SIGHT!

So if in any area of your life, you find yourself in disobedience to GOD, by displeasing HIM with offering unto HIM that which pleases yourself, then Repent and obey. If you find yourself given to pride, covetness, greed and idolatry by the spirit of selfishness, hatred, or envy…repent. If after carful reflection you observe yourself obedient… then intercede for your brother who is not.

Will you walk in darkness after having received the Light? Will you walk along blindly after having received your sight? My Holy Spirit has equipped you to fight this good fight, but how can you fight if you reject the Light?

“Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.”‭‭ – John‬ ‭9:3-7‬ ‭KJV‬‬

“I healed you that I might send you! For MY GLORY TO BE SEEN THAT I AM THE MESSIAH THE CHRIST YOUR KING! Now GO AND WASH AND COME FORTH SEEING! That others may see My glory and know ME as KING!
Now that you see ME, don’t let ME out of your sight; Keep your eyes only on ME and keep fighting this good fight!
This love empowers you, giving you purpose to fight the good fight of faith that others may see the Light!
Endure to the end; for those who love and obey Me are they whom I send!”

Submitted by Heather Wright

It All Comes Down to Faith

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” – Hebrews‬ ‭11:6‬ ‭

God is not impressed with wealth, with buildings, with landscapes, with money, with titles, with knowledge, with degrees, with physical strength, or with any such earthly thing for He knows it will all pass away and count for nothing in the end. The only thing that impresses God is faith, because when the time comes for us to leave this world and all its worldly gains behind, the only thing we will take with us to the thrown of God by which we will be judged is our testimony, and what is a testimony but a measure of our faith… or lack there of?

The word is clear that it is our faith that causes God to send His grace by which we are saved. Therefore, it is impossible to be saved without faith. Yet our opening passage takes it deeper when it tells us, in no uncertain way, that it is impossible to please God without faith because no one can come to God unless they truly believe that He is God. So the question is, do you truly believe that He is God? Do you believe that He created you? Do you believe that nothing is impossible for Him? Do you believe that He can heal? Do you believe that He can do miracles? Do you believe that He makes a way of escape for you out of every temptation that you need not fall into any? Do you believe that He is smarter then you? Do you believe that He can provide for you? Do you believe that He can sustain you? Do you believe that He has defeated the enemy and placed him under your feet? Do you believe He is able to make a way where there is no way? Do you believe what He says? Do you believe that He can raise the dead? Do you believe that He is God? Because that these are all the attributes of God, if you do not believe in the reality of any of these attributes, then you do not truly have faith in Him as God and you are not only displeasing God but without faith there is no saving grace.

Yet this powerful verse doesn’t stop there, it then provides a measure by which to test whether or not you truly have faith that He is God (or you just say that you do). It then says that you also have to believe that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. Why? Because if you truly believe that He is God with all the attributes of God, then you will trust His wisdom, grace, power, ability, and so forth, above your own and you will seek Him for His will, His words, His wisdom, and His way. If you don’t have faith that His attributes, wisdom, and abilities or better and more able then your own, then you will continue to trust in your own wisdom, strength, and will, which is the essence of the absence of faith. 

The truth is that we can claim to believe all we want, and still not be saved because we do not bare the fruits (or evidence) of faith, and where faith is not present, then neither is grace. If we really do believe then we will lay down our own will, knowing it is inferior, and seek Him for His, then after having sought Him and received His instructions, we will believe in His attributes enough to walk them out in faith. By this, true faith, alone are men saved. 

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:” – Matthew‬ ‭7:21-24‬ ‭

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” -James‬ ‭1:22‬ ‭

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure. By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones. By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment. By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days. By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace. And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” – Hebrews‬ ‭11:6-38‬ ‭

Stand For God, No Matter What

“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” – Galatians‬ ‭1:10‬ ‭

Romans 12:18 tells us that “when possible, we ought to try to live peaceably with all men“, yet in Matthew 10:34 Jesus tells us how rarely that will be possible when He states that He comes “not to bring peace, but a sword” (or conflict). He goes on to explain that to truly follow His voice and serve Him will put us at odds with even those of our own household. In 2 Timothy 3:12 we read the assurance yet again that “ALL who will live Godly WILL suffer persecution.” In all these attacks, oppositions, and hardships we are to love and pray for those that persecute us, yet still stand firm in faith to what the Lord has spoken to us. In other words, love men no matter what they say or do but never the less, choose God’s side. 

“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” – Acts‬ ‭5:29‬ ‭

Even in situations when men of great authority came against the instructions of the Lord to the Apostles, though they did not physically fight or become arrogant or violent, they did not submit either. For often times to submit to men puts you at odds with God and to submit to God puts you at odds with men. The ungodly being prideful, arrogant, domineering, and led of another spirit, will always seek to force God’s people to act out their will, which will always be in opposition to God’s will. When this happens, choose God’s side! 

Remember that when you stand before God on the day of judgment those people will not stand with you. You will stand alone before the Lord and give an account for what you did. We will not be allowed to point our finger at anyone else, we will be judged by what we ourselves did or didn’t do, no matter the reason we did or didn’t do it. So in all things, obey the Lord, no matter who tells you not to. Love all men, pray for all men, but obey God. If the early New Testament church submitted to the will of men in opposition to the will and word of God, there would be no church today and we would all be lost. Determine today to stand on God’s words, no matter the cost. Walk in humility and love, but take God’s side, and stand. For if we don’t, even against those of our own house holds, then we are not worthy of Him. How much more so then in the face of strangers. 

“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” – Galatians‬ ‭1:10-12‬ ‭

“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” – Matthew‬ ‭10:32-38‬ ‭

Stand Firm and Pray!

“Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.” – Daniel‬ ‭6:10‬ ‭

God had great favor on Daniel, even from his childhood. This favor was very evident to all around him and was a great testimony of the God whom he openly, relentlessly, and continually served in the midst of Babylon. Surrounded day and night by a worldly hedonistic pagan culture, Daniel kept himself apart from it with continual prayer, fasting, and submission to the word and will of God, and all knew it for a burning flame such as he could not be hid in this darkest of places. 

By today’s standards, and certainly by the standards of his day, you might call Daniel a religious fanatic. Yet God did fantastic things for him, and through him changed a King and a nation. Of course such unashamed faithfulness to God does a bit more then draw God’s favor to you, it also draws the attacks of the enemy, and the jealousy of men. This was surely the case for little Daniel. The princes of the region (under the influence of the devil) became very jealous of Daniels favor and blessings. So they got together and began to plot and scheme how they might destroy him.

Envy (especially of the anointing / God’s favor) will lead (according to scripture) to gossip, slander, malice, manipulation, lies, hatred, and can even go as far as murder (either spiritual or physical). In fact, James 3:16 tells us that envy, if allowed to take root in a heart, will grow into strife, and can bare the fruits of “every evil work.” This was certainly the case with these princes and rulers. They knew that they could not find fault with Daniel unless it be His obedience to God. So they brought a decree to the King that no one make a petition to any other King or God for 30 days. 

Playing on the Kings Pride, he agreed. When vile, deceitful, envious people want to trick you into coming into agreement with their evil agendas, they will do it with flattery. They will work your pride against you, against others, and even against those you love. They will make it seem like they are for you and want to help you, all the while they are seeking to destroy all that you love and hold dear.

The King, blindsided by the flattery of this decree, did not think it through and hastily signed it. This brings us to our opening passage. Daniel knew about the decree, yet was ever faithful to his God and ceased not to pray to Him daily, as he had before. The princes, knowing this would be the case, then ran and told the King that Daniel (whom he favored) had broken the decree and though the King desired a way to excuse Daniel from this law, he could not. A law once spoken, could not be broken. Therefore, the King did something very unexpected in his desperation to see Daniel saved. Being inspired by Daniel’s faithfulness and having the testimony of God’s evident and tangible favor upon him continually, the King made a decision to do himself, that which the enemy had gone to such lengths to stop Daniel from doing… Having no other option, King Darius put his trust in Daniel’s God, fasted, and prayed.

“Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him.” – Daniel‬ ‭6:16-18‬

Daniel did nothing himself, but to stay true to God. He continued to serve God with all his heart and wavered not when his earthly authorities came against his heavenly one. He chose to trust in God and take his side and allow the greater authority to show forth it’s dominion over the lesser. He did not compromise even a little, but went right on serving God in obedience the same as before the order was given and trusted in God for whatever may come from it, even if it killed him. However, what it really did was allow God to position him to prove the unmatched power of his God unto the saving of a King and a people, and further prove God’s approval of him.

“Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.” – Daniel‬ ‭6:19-23‬ ‭

In the end, because Daniel stood firm on God’s word in faith, he was delivered, the King got saved, his enemies were destroyed, and the nation was changed as a new decree when forth for all to worship Daniel’s God. Note that in all of this, Daniel did nothing but stand in faith. He did not argue, debate, or defend himself. He did not fuss or fight. He just kept on serving God in every way that he had before and trusted in the salvation of the Lord, no matter how it came, and come it did! 

God used it all for His glory and still is to this day, yet none of it would have happened had Daniel given in to the decree of this lesser authority over the wishes of the Greater one. If Daniel had sought more to please men then to please God. Had Daniel, succumb to fear of punishment and faltered in his faith, none of it would have happened, none would have been saved by it, God would have had no glory in it, and the faith of millions for a thousand generations would not have been stirred by it. The pivotal moment in this historical and heroic event was not an instinct to fight, or a reaction to flee, but a decision to stand. A decision to stand his ground, to stand on God’s word, to stand in faith in the face of both men and lions and see what fantastic and impossible things God could do. 

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the (Rhema) *word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Holy Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” – Ephesians‬ ‭6:13-18‬ 

Losing The Sight But Keeping The Vision

mountain-top“And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatic, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” – Matthew‬ ‭17:14-21‬

In verse 16, the man had brought his son to the disciples first for them to heal his son, and they could not. You have to remember that these are the same disciples that had just gotten through witnessing Jesus feeding 4,000 people with seven loaves of bread and a few fish. They saw him walk on the sea of Gallilee. Again they witnessed Jesus feeding 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish, and had 12 for baskets left over. Let’s not forget the “Mission of the Twelve”, were they even cast out devils!

“And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse: But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats. And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. And they went out, and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.” – Mark‬ ‭6:7-13‬ ‭

Don’t forget that Peter had made his confession of faith when Jesus asked His disciples in Matthew chapter 16 verse 15 “who do you say that I am?” and Peter answered, “thou are Christ, the son of the living God.” So when the man told Jesus that the disciples couldn’t heal his son, Jesus looked and said “oh faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you?” The disciples couldn’t understand why they could not heal the boy so they go to Jesus apart. Matthew chapter 9 verse 28 explains that they asked him privately and Jesus answers them, “because of your unbelief.” Then He further explains about faith.

How many miracles does Jesus have to do, and how many blessings do we have to receive before we are able to totally trust in Him no matter what the situation? How long do we have to live for God? How long do we have to have the Holy Spirit before we can totally trust in God?

If you look at “mountains” as a great difficulty in your life (it can be any situation), then when the word “mountain” is used, it is a difficulty that seems to be huge in our eyes and we can’t “see” around it because it’s so big. The mountain is so wide and broad that we can’t see around it, and the height of the mountain is blocking our sight of God. With our sight being blocked, our minds or distracted and are not focused on God. The “mountain” seems impossible to climb because it is too high and steep to go over, and two broad and wide to go around, and it seems like it will take forever to try to get across this mountain where we can get our sight back on God.

In Mark chapter 9 verse 29, the phrase, “this kind” suggest that there are different kinds of demons. Just as there are many different difficulties in life. We go through trials and storms. We stumble, fall, and wander off the path of righteousness. With these difficult times we go through, it indeed is hard but we still have our sight on God and are still strong in faith. When we stumble and fall, we still have God in our site and can feel His presence near and we know that all we have to do is get up and start our journey again. When we are going through a trial Jesus is right by our side guiding us in our journey. We know He is very near and is still in our “sight”. When a storm comes along and we or being tossed to and fro, as the disciples were, and the rain comes pouring down on us, we can still “see” His light because He is our lighthouse. Even in the midst of a storm we can still have “sight” of Jesus. Our site may be blurred from the pouring rain but we can still “see His glorious light” that will guide us through the storm.

When there are “mountains” however, where it seems that there is no hope, no way around or over because it is just too wide to travel around and too hard to see over and steep to climb, where your sight of God has been blocked and you can’t see God, it is “This kind” that comes forth by nothing but by prayer and fasting! When our mountain comes, we take for granted the power given to us from Jesus which is the Holy Ghost! We forget that we are God’s children, and our faith may come into question. We began to focus on how huge the mountain is when we have a lack of prayer. When we begin to have a lack of prayer our sight of God becomes blocked by this huge mountain. Then we forget that the power we possess to get over the mountain is from Jesus! When we forget about the power we possess which is the Holy Ghost, we begin to forget about Jesus. When you forget about Jesus you can’t “see” Him anymore. Then you focus more on your problem and it’s all that you see. When you lose sight of Jesus, you don’t know where to go and what directions to travel anymore. We think about turning back and going back to where we came from or we give up and quit and wander off. This is because our
“sight” is blocked from the “vision” of God!

We lost our vision! “oh faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you and suffer you?”

Faith = Vision

We need to pray! So we can still keep our “sight” on God. Even if we can’t see Jesus we still have “faith”. Matthew chapter 17, verse 20 says “if you have the faith as a grain of mustard seed you shall say unto this mountain, removed to yonder place; and it shall be remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you”. Just a little faith to keep on going and move towards God and not to give up. If we have “faith” then we still know where Jesus is, that He is still there with us even though our site is blocked. That He is waiting on us to move forward. We know where we need to travel, what path to take, and what direction to move towards.

It is during these times that we need prayer and fasting. Yes, prayer is powerful but we also need to fast. In Mark 9:29 Jesus says, “this kind cannot come forth by anything but by prayer and fasting.” When a mountain comes into our path and blocks our sight to where we cannot see Jesus, everything seems impossible before our eyes and there seems to be no hope, this is where we have to “demonstrate” our determination and perseverance to God. We need to “keep our vision”. We have to “demonstrate” our belief. That we know that He is able to lead us over this mountain. We have to “demonstrate” our “faith”. Even though we do not see Him, or are even able to feel God’s presence is still there, He is still leading us and guiding us. Even when we feel alone and that no one else is there to help, “we have to know” that “Jesus is always there”. We have to “demonstrate” our “willingness”. We have to be willing to sacrifice to see God’s will accomplished. God’s will is that we climb over that mountain. God’s will is that we still believe in Him and the power of Jesus through the Holy Ghost! God’s will is that we have the “faith” in Him to where even when we lose sight of Him, that we will still have our “vision” of God. God’s will is that we overcome and claim victory over our mountains that we face in life. Many times in these situations that we face, we have to be willing to make a sacrifice. Sometimes we have to kill the flesh so the spirit can grow. Through fasting we can resist our flesh and make a sacrifice in order to see God’s will accomplished.

In this, we begin to see the hand of God reaching out and grasping our own hand and “leading us over our mountain”. Over our problems, over our situation, over our habits, over spiritual walls. He helps us.

But we have to still “keep our vision” of God, even when we “lose sight of him”. Even when our mountain seems to get too big, where the mountain blocks our sight of God. We still have to keep our vision. We must still keep our faith to overcome. This kind can come forth by nothing but by prayer and fasting.

Submitted by @ Chris Adams