Breaking Bitterness

Hebrews 12:15 (TPT);

“Watch over each other to make sure that no one misses the revelation of God’s Grace. And make sure no one lives with a root of bitterness sprouting within them which will only cause trouble and poison the hearts of many.”

While preparing to write this blog, I heard the following statement from The Holy Spirit:

“YOU MUST BREAK BITTERNESS BEFORE IT BREAKS YOU!”

Stunned, I realized then that this is an urgent warning to all of us from The Heart of God!

What Is Bitterness?

According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, Someone bitter is angry and unhappy because they cannot forget bad things that happened in the past.

How Does Bitterness Break Us?

First and foremost, bitterness will cause us to miss the revelation of God’s Grace, as stated in Hebrews 12:15. Without a revelation of God’s Grace, His Love will not be a tangible reality to us, and we will never be able to comprehend or receive true forgiveness for our sins. We will also be unable to extend Christ-Like Grace, Mercy, and Forgiveness toward another individual who has sinned against us. Living in this perpetual state of un-forgiveness creates an atmosphere of torment in our souls and will manifest in our lives. This heavy load of bitterness then becomes a beast of burden that we carry around within us, and it will eventually break us.

Matthew 11:28-30 (TPT);

“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me, I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.” “Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me.” “For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.”

This Word is Good News, my friend! Though the weight of bitterness will continually try to break us, God has an answer for us as we learn His Ways.

How Do We Break Bitterness?

Through Forgiveness!

The Oxford Languages Dictionary offers a simple and concise definition of the word forgive.

FORGIVE = Stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for (an offense, flaw, or mistake).

Matthew 6:14-15 (TPT);

“And when you pray, make sure you forgive the faults of others so that your Father in Heaven will also forgive you.” “But if you withhold forgiveness from others, your Father withholds forgiveness from you.”

This scripture is astounding! You and I can cause GOD TO WITHHOLD HIS FORGIVENESS FROM US, WHILE OUR PRAYERS GO UN-HEARD! When we choose to withhold forgiveness from someone who has hurt us or that we perceived has hurt us, we are planting a root of bitterness within our hearts. Unforgiveness keeps our prayers from effectively being heard by God! By not breaking bitterness, we forge a, “Barrier of Bitterness” over our hearts that repel the Love of God and His Blessings from flowing freely in our lives. Ultimately, if we refuse to identify and repent of bitterness, we will reject God and His Plan for our life!

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (MEV);

“For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” “Then you shall call upon Me, and you shall come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.” “You shall seek Me and find Me when you shall search for Me with all your heart.”

Bitterness is spiritual cancer that can spread quickly by stealing our future and killing our hope. Thus, causing trouble and poisoning the hearts of many, starting with ours! A poisoned heart is a divided heart. It is imperative that you and I consciously recognize and BREAK BITTERNESS BEFORE IT BREAKS US! The survival rate of the God Given relationships in our lives depends on our willingness to forgive decisively and quickly.

Recently I heard a teaching from a well-respected, trusted minister of The Gospel who shares some valuable eye-opening insight regarding the root of bitterness. He described bitterness as undeveloped murder. Another way that he put it is, bitterness is murder in diapers. This minister then went on to relay a story that impacted me. During his ministry, he had counseled two different people on two different occasions, who were believers. They came to him for help to break free from the root of bitterness. However, these individuals were so consumed with the “Spirit of Bitterness,” that they both ended up killing people and are now in jail after rejecting his help! My friend, These brutal acts of murder are a sobering account of “The Root of Bitterness” in action.

1st John 3:15 (TPT) describes the minister’s tragic story for us;

“Everyone who keeps hating a fellow Believer is a murderer,” and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.”

The message from The Lord is loud and clear, my friend. We must ”Break Bitterness Before It Breaks Us!”

1st John 4:20-21 (MEV);

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar. For whoever does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” “We have this commandment from Him: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

What Barriers of Bitterness are weighing you down?

Is there anyone, or perhaps even yourself that you need to forgive?

Are you, “Breaking Bitterness or is it Breaking You?”

If Breaking Free From Bitterness has been a battle for you, please join me in the following prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, I recognize today that I have been carrying the heavy burden of the sin of bitterness and un-forgiveness. I come to You and lay it down at Your feet. Please forgive me for walking in bitterness and un-forgiveness toward_________________(name the person or persons).

By an act of my will, I release them now and choose to forgive them for hurting me. Father God, If I have unknowingly hurt someone, I ask that you bring their name to me now, and I ask that you forgive me for hurting them in Jesus’ Name! Direct may path to restitution for the pain and hurt that I have caused them in this situation.

Lord, I now receive the total cleansing, healing, strength, and refreshing that comes from Your Presence as I walk with an upright heart before You, in Jesus’ Name! Amen! I Love You, Lord!

II Chronicles 7:14 (AMPC);

“If My people, who are called by My Name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.”

Be Strong and Live Free as you Break Bitterness………….. Boldly For Him!

© 2021 Clare Matthews – Boldly For Him. “All Rights Reserved.”

Photo: Niel Taelman

“Table For Two”

I don’t have to close my eyes to re-live one of my most cherished memories. Captured in my thoughts and stored in my heart, it is a beautiful scene that I often revisit.

It’s a chilly winter night, and the intimate “table for two” is set against a quaint brick wall in the small dining room of a cozy restaurant in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The ambiance creates an atmosphere of expectancy, igniting questions of hopeful love to swirl through my thoughts and dance through my heart! Is this “The One?” I wonder, My Knight in Shining Armor? The man that God has called to be my husband?

Song Of Solomon 2:4 (AMPC);

“He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was love [for love waved as a protecting and comforting banner over my head when I was near Him].”

Through the flickering candlelight, I can see in Mark’s eyes the “Protecting Presence of God’s Banner of Love” waving over my heart. His beautiful blue eyes reflect an inviting Peace that is both comforting and intimidating to me at the same time. As a fairly new Believer, I wonder, How could this handsome and Godly man be interested in me? At moments I feel like I am in the midst of the most beautiful dream that I never want to end!

For once in my life, the “Cinderella Shoe” fits and I’m wearing it!

It has been several years since the concert in Dover, Delaware. My best friend growing up begs me to go with her; at first, I’m not interested since I’m not a big fan of “rock music” and had never heard the term “Christian Rock” before. Besides, I have not been feeling well, and it’s going to take us a few hours to get to our destination from where we live.

Several phone calls later and a promise that we will stop to get something to eat finds me on the road to Dover! As we journey along, my friend, who has previously dated the bands’ drummer, realizes that we are running late and decides to forego the food. After all, there is no time to waste!

Getting to the Church where the concert is taking place catches me by surprise, where is everybody?

As people begin to filter in, the lights dim, and the atmosphere begins to shift, dry ice adds to the mystique of the moment. Suddenly, the spotlight highlights a guy blindfolded in a plexiglass phone booth-shaped box, wearing a red shirt. From an opening in the top of the box, there is a key hanging from a string dangling in front of him.

As the music starts, the guy in the box grabs the key takes the blindfold off, swings the door wide open, steps out, and confronts another guy dressed as a demon. As they go through the motions of a staged fight between good and evil, I am intrigued by what I am witnessing.

This “staged” fight seems a lot like the life that I am currently living. I am a reasonably new Believer in Jesus Christ, yet the ties to my past are strong, and I am having a difficult time “Breaking Free” from a very toxic relationship in my life. I find out later that this is one reason my friend has asked me to accompany her to the concert.

By now, the guy in the box has won his fight against the force of evil, and the band comes out in full force. The guy in red is singing a song that he wrote entitled, “I Surrender.” With tears stinging my eyes and rolling down my cheeks, God uses every lyric he sings to fully open the eyes of my heart and break me free from the “soul ties” of my past.

For the first time in my life, I am not afraid to Dine with Father God at His “Table for Two.”

Revelation 3:20 (TPT);

“Behold, I’m standing at the door, knocking. If your heart is open to hear my voice and you open the door within, I will come into you and feast with you, and you will feast with me.”

Feasting with God at His “Table for Two,” created a “Holy Hunger” within me, a True Divine Appetite. Yes, “I Surrendered” to God’s Perfect Will for my life that night, and I am so glad I did!

Many years later, I can testify that the beauty of my relationship with Mark, (the guy who was in the box that night) is that WE BOTH LOVE GOD MORE THAN WE LOVE EACH OTHER! We have learned to continually dine at Father God’s, “Table for Two,” developing our intimacy with Him individually through His Word before communing as husband and wife.

Why?……because anything less would be idolatry!

Deuteronomy 5:7 (AMPC);

“You shall have no other gods before Me or besides Me.”

Idolatry is the antithesis of intimacy with God.

Idolatry is the devil’s playground.

Idolatry is the force behind “crimes of passion!”

Idolatry is the trap that the enemy will use to destroy your intimacy with God and kill the relationships in your life, spirit, soul, and body!

Merriam Webster Dictionary:

IDOLATRY = The worship of a physical object as a God.

ANTITHESIS = The Direct Opposite.

My friend, when you and I choose to love someone, something, or even our desires more than God, that person or thing becomes an “object of our worship.” our god! By desecrating our hearts in this manner, we sit and dine at the tables of “foreign gods,” feasting on the carnality of our fleshly desires. This heart action works in “The Direct Opposite” to developing True Intimacy with God, at His Holy, “Table for Two.”

The danger in all of this, “idol worship,” is that our true soul satisfaction can never come from any source outside of the “One True Source,” Jesus Christ!

John 4:13-14 (TPT);

“Jesus answered, If you drink from Jacob’s well, you’ll be thirsty again and again,” “but if anyone drinks the Living Water I give them, they will never thirst again and will be forever satisfied! For when you drink the water I give you, it becomes a gushing fountain of The Holy Spirit, springing up and flooding you with endless life!”

To drink from the well of human efforts will bring disappointment, and leave us spiritually dry, brittle, and thirsty “again and again. “However, drinking the “Living Water” of Jesus Christ will fill our souls to the Brim with Him! We become a “Gusher” of Holy Spirit Power as He “Springs up and Floods us with Endless Life!”

Whose dining table are you sitting at, my friend?

Have you chosen to dine at the table of foreign gods?

Have you answered God’s RSVP for Eternity?

I am so grateful that God, “Who Is,” “Love Himself,” offers His Love to us in all of the “Right Places.” My journey with Mark began at The Most Important “Table For Two” FIRST. The Table of Intimacy With God, Dining on His Word and Feasting on His Presence!

When I reflect, my heart’s deepest desire was to meet and marry a man who LOVED GOD MORE THAN HE LOVED ME! In Mark, I have found that “Dream Come True!”

Luke 12:37 (TPT):

“What great joy is ahead for The Awakened Ones who are for The Master’s return. He Himself will become their servant and wait on them at His Table as He passes by.

Be Strong and Live Free…………..Boldly For Him!

© 2021 Clare Matthews – Boldly For Him. “All Rights Reserved.”

Photo: Raissa Lara Lutolf ( -Fasel )

What Color Is God?

*This month I have the honor of having my husband Mark Matthews guest blog for me.  I believe that you will find the word that he has written relevant, insightful and transforming as he addresses a topic that has recently been widely discussed and debated.

-Clare- 

 

The little boy looked into his mother’s eyes and asked the obvious question of the current times.  Mom, what is racism?  The mother of the bright-eyed 5-year-old paused to make sure that her response would answer her son’s inquiring mind.  Well, son, it is hatred and the belief that some people are better because of where they were born or the color of their skin.  “Mom, did God make all people”?  Yes, son! What color is God, mom?  The million-dollar question that every person who has ever heard about God has wondered.

There is something about God that might surprise you.  He loves to reveal Himself to mankind.  With God there is no containment when it comes to the Love that he has shed abroad for His creation through His Son Jesus Christ.  Did you know that God is as infinitely small as He is Large?  There is no place that you can go without running into God. If you run one direction and never turned back when you stop, God will be there.

To know God, you have to acknowledge that He is.  God is a Spirit, and He has an Image. John 4:24 (KJV) says, “God is Spirit, and all those who worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and truth.”  God made mankind a three-part person.  We have a body, we have a soul, and we have a human spirit. Our body is an earth suit. Our soul is made up of our mind, our will, and our emotions.  When we surrender our hearts to God, Our human spirit is born again by the Spirit of God. From this point forward, we are recognized by God as His son or daughter and a citizen of Heaven.  We are a Spirit-filled being temporarily living on earth.  

 Gen 1: 26-27 (ESV), “Then God said, let us make man in our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky and the cattle and all of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.  God created man in His image, in the image of God, He created him; male and female. He created them.” 

It is hard for us to reconcile in our minds that God has never made a mistake.  The world looks at you through the eyes of inspection.  God looks at you through The Eyes of Reflection.  He does not see imperfection He sees a one of a kind creation made in His Image.  He says I did not have one of you, so I made one of you.

Like this five year old you might be wondering what color is God? God is flawless.  He is the color of perfection.  When you look into a flaw-less diamond or precious jewel, you experience multiple dimensions at one time.  The color, light, and facets that make up the prisms of the diamond all interact in concert to perform a radiant expression of beauty. No matter how many times you look at that diamond, you will discover something new every time, yet it is still the same diamond.  The diamond never changed, the prisms never changed, but one thing changes every time, and that is the light. Remove the light, and the diamond looks lifeless and dull, cover it in mud, and you can’t even tell if it is glass or the real deal. 

1 John 1:5 (ESV) states, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you: God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.”

The conflict that we are witnessing in the world today is about control, it is not about restoration from racism.  The enemy has made a power play of manipulation that has taken vindication hostage, right when justice was preparing to shine”.

Real love understands that tension must have restraint.  Apart from God, you can’t do anything of lasting value.  He knows the difference between the real and the counterfeit because He does not make cheap glass. 

If you could look into God’s Eyes, you would discover that whichever direction He moves or looks, you see your color and reflection in His Presence.  The moment you recognize God, you feel right at home, because He is your Heavenly Father.  Instantly Everything about Him reflects Himself in you, that is why whatever color you are on earth looks like God! 

How could God make so many people with so many different colors and they all look like Him?

The comforting answer, 

“God’s foundation color is love, not ethnicity.”

Revelation 4: 3,5 (TPT) “His appearance was sparkling like crystal and glowing like a carnelian gemstone.  Surrounding the throne was a circle of green light like an emerald rainbow! V – 5a, And pulsing from the throne were blinding flashes of lighting, crashes of thunder, and voices.”  

The color of your skin is God’s expression, His Robe of Love that frames the destiny that He has given you.  Like a fine Diamond the flawless facets of His presence reflects a Son like brilliance through your life, as you choose to walk in the “ministry of reconciliation”. 

Friends, God is forever near, and “He is our present help in times of trouble.” Ref. (Ps 46:1.) We all have a choice to make.  Which side of history will you be counted on?  Will you be remembered as the group who makes history and ushers in the love of God, or will you be numbered in the group who tried to erase history?  

Jesus is the Only Way that true peace and reconciliation will ever be found. Col 1:17 (ESV); “And He is before all things, and in Him, all things hold together!”

Search your heart, don’t be hesitant to ask God if there is any animosity or prejudice residing within your heart, that will get in the way of His Love for you and others. 

Act 17:26 (MEV) “He has made from one blood every nation of men to live on the entire face of the earth, having appointed fixed times and the boundaries of their habitation”.

I want to thank my beautiful wife, Clare, a student of the Word of God for inviting me to be the first guest blogger on Boldly for Him.  Thank you, my love! “Be Strong and Live Free…. Boldly For Him!”

 

Mark Matthews

 

© 2020 Clare Matthews – Boldly For Him. “All Rights Reserved.”

The Faceplate of Faith

Don’t ever let anyone grab your, “Faceplate of Faith” and pull you out of the game, no matter who they are!  Now is not the time to be moved by our five physical senses, or by anyone else’s.  It is imperative in this late hour that we keep our, “Faceplate of Faith” securely on to “see” with our, “eyes of faith,” as we navigate the Will of God for our lives.

What is our “Faceplate of Faith”?

To fully understand what our “Faceplate of Faith” is, I am going to define for us from The Merriam Webster Dictionary the meaning of a Faceplate;

Faceplate = Protective cover for the human face, (as of a Diver). 

Our Faceplate of Faith is a God-Given Spiritual Covering that protects our ability to “see” the way “He Sees,” as we choose to “walk by faith, not by sight.”  Ref. 2nd Corinthians 5:7.  This Protective Spiritual Cover guards and keeps our five Spiritual Senses, the way we “see, hear, smell, touch, and taste” strong and sensitive to The Movement of The Holy Spirit at all times.

In 2nd Corinthians 4:18 (AMP) the Apostle Paul describes for us what it is like to “see through” this “Faceplate of faith”;

“So we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen; for the things which are visible are temporal [just brief and fleeting], but the things which are invisible are everlasting and imperishable.”

In order to look at things “which are unseen”, we must keep our, “Faceplate of Faith” securely on at all times so that we can develop, “Eyes of Faith” that can discern and “see” The Divine Will and Timing of God for our lives.

How do we develop “Eyes of Faith”?

Hebrews 11:1 (TPT) gives us the all important answer to this question;

“Now faith brings our hopes into reality and becomes the foundation needed to acquire the things we long for.  It is all the evidence required to prove what is still unseen.”

When God gives us a “snapshot”, a prophetic picture of our future, there is a “Supernatural Seed of Hope” that attaches itself to that “picture.”  This hope filled picture when conceived by our “NOW FAITH” produces a “Spiritual Embryo” that lives and develops within our heart, which is our “Spiritual Womb”.

To remain healthy and strong this “Spiritual Embryo” should be fed a steady diet of “Fertile Faith” by, “The Mighty Razor Sharp Spirit Sword of The Spoken Word of God,” continually coming out of our mouth.  Ref. Eph. 6:17 (b).  This Spiritual Discipline is what nurtures the foundation of our “Now Faith,” causing the Umbilical Cord of our God-Given Promise to remain intact while giving the vital nutrients needed to our growing Spiritual Embryo.

This is the Supernatural Spiritual Pregnancy Process that allows us to “develop” our “Eyes of Faith.”  As our understanding of faith continually matures and develops throughout the gestation process of our God-Given Promise, a resiliency to the distractions and “evil reports” of the world occurs; making way for a Healthy Fully Developed Promise of God to be “Supernaturally Delivered” right on time!

Let me summarize this important truth for us, my friend.  It is “Fertile Faith” that enables us to keep our “Faceplate of Faith” securely on throughout the Entire Pregnancy Process of a God-Given Dream so that we can successfully birth and enter “The Canaan Land” of our Promise.

It’s, “Game On” my friend, we must keep our “Faceplate of Faith” securely on because the stakes are high!  Who we have in the Delivery Room of our God-Given Hopes and Dreams matters!

We must be committed to, Proverbs 4:23 (AMP); 

“Keep and guard our heart with all vigilance and above all that we guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.”

Why?  

So that a Spiritual Abortion or Miscarriage does not occur, causing us to miss entering our Canaan Land of God’s Promises for our lives.  Our future and the future of those that we are called to reach depends on it!

Moses, an Old Testament “God Appointed Deliverer” for the nation of Israel learned this lesson the hard way.  We read the backdrop for this story in Numbers 13:1-3 (AMP);

“And The Lord said to Moses,” “Send men to explore and scout out [for yourselves] the land of Canaan, which I give to the Israelites.  From each tribe of their fathers, you shall send a man, every one a leader or head among them.”  “So Moses by the command of The Lord sent scouts from the Wilderness of Paran, all of them men who were heads of the Israelites.”

The fact that God was asking these “leaders” through His servant Moses to scout, to “see” for themselves the land of Canaan that, “He was GIVING them”, should have brought fearless faith and bold courage to them while they were on their mission. However, only two of the twelve scouts, Joshua and Caleb kept their “Faceplate of Faith” securely on so that they could see with the “eyes of faith,” and give a “Good Report.”  The remaining ten scouts were moved with fear by what they “saw”, causing them to fling away their own, “Faceplate of Faith” and give an “evil report.” A report that not only aborted their God-given Promise, it ultimately cost them their lives!  Tragically, a whole generation of those who believed this, “evil report” along with them, would also die in the wilderness, failing to enter Canaan the land of their God-Given Promise.

Numbers 13:25-33 (AMP) is the sad narrative of this account:

“And they returned from scouting the land after forty days.”  “They came to Moses and Aaron and to all the Israelite congregation in the Wilderness of Paran at Kadesh, and brought them word, and showed them the land’s fruit.” “They told Moses, We came to the land to which you sent us; surely it flows with milk and honey.  This is its fruit.”  “But the people who dwell there are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; more-over, there we saw the sons of Anak [of great stature and courage].”  “Amalek dwells in the land of the South (the Negeb); the Hitite, the Jebusite, and the Amorite dwell in the hill country; and the Canaanite dwells by the sea and along by the side of the Jordan [River].”  “Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once and possess it; we are well able to conquer it.”  “But his fellow scouts said, We are not able to go up against the people [of Canaan], for they are stronger than we are.”  “So they brought the Israelites an evil report of the land which they had scouted out, saying, The land through which we went to spy it out is a land that devours its inhabitants, And all the people that we saw in it are men of great stature.”  “There we saw the Nephilim [or giants]; and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”

You have been supernaturally birthed into this world to be a God Appointed Deliverer to this world!  Your life is meant to be a walking expression of God’s Delivering Power.  Just like Moses was called by God to be a “Deliverer” to The Nation Of Israel, you and I as Born Again Believers of The Most High God have been called, equipped and deployed by The Holy Spirit to be Modern Day Deliverers, “Messengers” of Truth and Healing to this World, which is “eagerly waiting for the sons and daughters of God to be revealed.”  Ref. Rom 8:19.  That is why we must ask ourselves the following questions;

Who have I sent to “scout” out the land of my God-Given Promise?

What kind of report have they brought back to me?  A “good” one or an “evil” one?

Based on their report what have I decided to do?….Am I entering into the land of my God-Given Promise with my “Faceplate of Faith” securely on, and my “Spiritual Eyes” wide open in order to “see” “The Goodness of God in The Land of my living”? Ref. Psalm 27:13….Or am I like the children of Israel retreating in fear because I have believed an evil report?

You see my friend fear will certainly disconnect our Umbilical cord of NOW FAITH from the Promises of God stripping us of our, “Faceplate of Faith.”

The result?

Spiritually sightless saints wandering around in the wilderness unable to “see”, let alone enter the land of their God-Given Hopes, Dreams, and Desires!

Be encouraged, my friend!  Through The Shed Blood of Jesus Christ, we have already won the battle, now we must reinforce what has ALREADY been appropriated for us at Calvary.

How do we reinforce the Victory of Calvary?

Hebrews 10:35-36 (AMP) is the “SuperGlue” set of scriptural instructions for keeping our, “Faceplate of Faith” securely on and in place at all times.

“Do not, therefore, fling away your [fearless] confidence, for it has a Glorious and Great Reward.”  “For you have need of patient endurance [to bear up under difficult circumstances without compromising], so that when you have carried out the will of God, you may Receive And Enjoy To The Full What Is Promised”!

Here’s a Promised Land Checklist taken from the above scriptures that will help us enter The Land of our God-Given Promise.

Don’t fling away your fearless confidence.

Walk with patient endurance under difficult circumstances without compromising.

Stay focused and fear-free in order to carry out The Will of God for your life.

Receive and Enjoy to the Full Your Promised Land!

Remember it is our God Given Mandate to keep our “Faceplate of Faith” securely on at all times, so that we can successfully enter our promise land. 

Be Strong and Live Free…..Boldly For Him! 

 

© 2020 Clare Matthews – Boldly For Him. “All Rights Reserved.”

Picture by: Kevin Wolf

“A Banner Love”

The unthinkable happened, with the verdict guilty, the decision was sealed.  Now it would take The Blood of His First Born Son to eradicate the penalty of death caused by the sin of man.

It wasn’t that long ago that God walked with Adam in “the cool of the day”, sharing His Thoughts, Plans, and Dreams for man.  Now with Eyes Full of Tears, He watched with Love and Compassion as the man and woman whom He had created, “In His Very Own Image” were driven from their home.  The first, “eviction” had occurred and now their home, “Eden,” the Beautiful Garden that God Had “Planted” for them was left without a caretaker.  Oh, how God would miss the fellowship of His Beloved Creation!  Adam, the first “man” and his wife Eve, the first “woman,”  would now be removed from His Presence, as a result of their disobedience.

What sin did Adam and Eve commit, that drove them from Eden?

It was the “sin” of unbelief and rebellion against the commandment of The Lord.

In Genesis 2:15-17 (AMP) we read the commandment of The Lord God to Adam.  A commandment that Adam and his wife Eve would later go on to violate;

“And The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and guard and keep it.”  “And The Lord God commanded the man, saying, You may freely eat of every tree of the garden;” “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and blessing and calamity you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

The devastating “fall of man”, has forever been recorded for us in Genesis 3:1-8 (NKJV);

“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”  “And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;” “but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’” “Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.”  “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.  She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.”  “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.”  “And they heard the sound of The Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from The Presence of The Lord God among the trees of the garden.”

Beguiled by the language of rebellion that the enemy spoke, and enticed by the lust of their eyes, Adam and Eve desired and partook of the fruit that God had commanded them to stay away from.  Now for the first time in recorded human history, fear and shame shrouded God’s creation with a vice grip of death, that squeezed their Holy Innocence from them.

The awareness that Adam and his wife Eve had of their transgression caused them to, “hide themselves from The Presence of The Lord God among the trees of the garden.”  You see my friend their, “willful” sin created a “Spiritual Homelessness” a “Vacancy of Heart” that had evicted them from, “Eden” the garden home that God had planted for them.

The domino effect of the original sin of Adam and Eve was staggering.  It would go on to affect everyone who would ever be born on the face of the Earth.  Thank God that He had a Holy, Divine Plan put in place long before you and I were born, to Redeem Man back to his original relationship with God.

What is this Plan?

This Holy, Divine Plan is called, “SALVATION” and His Name is JESUS CHRIST!  We read about This, “Banner Love”, this Gift of Salvation in;

John 3:16-17 (TPT);

“For this is how much God Loved the world-He gave His One and Only, Unique Son as a Gift.  So now everyone who believes in Him will never perish but experience Everlasting Life.”  “God did not send His Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be it’s Savior and rescue it!”

This is Good News for you and me, my friend!  Remember what happened back in the Garden of Eden?  Adam and Eve sinned and through that sin, introduced, “everlasting death”.  Now through our believing upon “Jesus Christ” His Son, our “Savior,” we all receive, “Everlasting Life,” as we are rescued from the effects of eternal damnation, which is eternal separation from God!

This is God’s “BANNER LOVE” for you and me Redemption through His Son Jesus Christ!

What do we do with this, BANNER LOVE?

So glad you asked!  Colossians 3:12-14 (TPT) gives us the answer;

“You are always and dearly loved by God!  So robe yourselves with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy.  Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all.  Be gentle and humble, un-offendable in your patience with others.”  “Tolerate the weaknesses of those in the family of faith, forgiving one another in the same way you have been graciously forgiven by Jesus Christ.  If you find fault with someone, release this same gift of forgiveness to them.”  “For love is supreme and must flow through each of these virtues.  Love becomes the mark of True Maturity.”

My friend since, “Love becomes the mark of True Maturity”, then we must ask ourselves the following question;

“Am I a spiritual adult”?

Ouch!  A question from The Lord that hits home for all of us!  I know that there have been many times that I have personally felt the “pinch”, the “grief” of The Holy Spirit when I did not respond in a manner where love was “supreme” toward others or even towards myself.  When this happens in our lives, it is so important to recognize, “Why” The Holy Spirit is Grieved.  You see my friend, when, “love reigns supreme through our lives”, we are the most like God!  We become, Spiritual Adults by choosing to live from a “Banner Heart” as we Advance The Kingdom of Heaven with every thought, word, and action!  This is how His, “Banner Love” is seen and reproduced in our lives, Glory To God!

On the other hand, when love does not “Reign Supreme” in our lives, we are then giving way to our, “old Adam self” living like the enemy and reproducing death with every thought, word, and action.  This type of behavior is extremely detrimental to our lives and very harmful to The Kingdom of Heaven.

Why is this behavior so detrimental to our lives and harmful to The Kingdom of Heaven?

Simply put, when we make choices contrary to the characteristics of Christ-likeness in our lives, we are choosing to create a “hard heart” rather than choosing to live from a “Banner Heart.”  An unrepentant “hard heart” will eventually lead you and others away from The Presence of God.

What is the solution to a “hard heart”?

To receive God’s “Banner Love” for our lives as the scriptures state in John 3:16-17 (TPT).  When we make this decision and choose daily to live for The Kingdom of Heaven we will then develop a strong, immovable, unshakeable, “Banner Heart,”  able to disciple others because we ourselves have been discipled in the ways of God.

The next step is to follow the instructions that The Lord has given us in Colossians 3:12-14 (TPT) and, “Robe ourselves with The Virtues of God.”

What are the Virtues of God that make up this Robe?

Holiness, Mercy, Understanding, Compassion, Kindness, Gentleness, Humbleness, Un-offendable, Patient, Tolerant and Forgiving.

This, my friend, is the Glorious Robe of His “Banner Love”, which was wrapped around The Tree of Calvary for you and me!  Jesus Christ is His Name and when you receive Him, you will never be the same.  He was Bruised and Beaten for every one of your sins, diseases, and iniquities, with The Blood of Jesus you have been Washed and made Clean. Now you are in The Kingdom of God Family!  Righteous, Free and Totally Healed…..So “Be Strong and Live Free” in Perpetual Victory With The Power and Strength of “The Banner Love” of Calvary!

AMEN and AMEN!

 

© 2020 Clare Matthews – Boldly For Him. “All Rights Reserved.”

Picture by: Brandon Morgan

“A Banner Life”

Banners have long been used since ancient Biblical times for a variety of reasons.  To declare the identity of a people, to signify a hard-fought won a victory or for the surrender of an enemy during a military campaign, to name a few.  As modern-day Believers and Soldiers in the Army of The Lord, we are to recognize Jesus Christ as, “Jehovah Nissi,” “THE LORD IS MY BANNER,” denoting our trust and allegiance in The One True Living God.  He is The ONLY TRUE SOURCE for our deliverance when confronting life’s battles.  He Is The God “Who will never leave us nor forsake us”, no matter what may come our way!  Ref. Deuteronomy 31:6

King David The Psalmist declares this powerful truth for us in Psalm 20:1-5 (NKJV);

“May The Lord answer you in the day of trouble; May the name of The God of Jacob defend you;”  “May He send you help from the sanctuary, And strengthen you out of Zion;” “May He remember all your offerings, And accept your burnt sacrifice.” “May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, And fulfill all your purpose.” “We will rejoice in your salvation, And in the name of our God we will set up our Banners”!  May The Lord fulfill all your petitions.”

If there was anyone who knew first hand the Power of “Jehovah Nissi,” “The Lord Is My Banner,” it was King David.  In all of the tests and trials that he went through, he continually called upon The Name of The Lord and was delivered!  King David lived a “Banner Life” by putting his trust in God, even in the face of costly failures and seemingly impossible situations.

We read about one of those seemingly impossible situations in 1st Samuel 30:1-7 (AMP);

“Now when David and his men came home to Ziklag on the third day, they found that the Amalekites had made a raid on the South (the Negeb) and Ziklag, and had struck Ziklag and had burned it with fire.”  “And had taken the women and all who were there, both great and small, captive.  They killed no one, but carried them off and went on their way.”  “So David and his men came to the town, and behold, it was burned, and their wives and sons and daughters were taken captive.”  “Then David and the men with him lifted their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep.”  “David’s two wives also had been taken captive, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail, the widow of Nabal the Carmelite.”  “David was greatly distressed for the men spoke of stoning him because the souls of them all were bitterly grieved, each man for his sons and daughters.  But David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God.”

In these verses of scripture my friend, we learn a life-changing lesson, one that David walks out for us so beautifully, and that is this;

“A Banner Life begins with making a banner decision that ultimately leads to a fruitful, “Banner Life” filled with, ”Banner Years”!

As demonstrated in the life of King David, a life well lived for The Kingdom of Heaven is not a “perfect life’ free of faults and failures, it is a “faithful life” that continually gets up in obedience, in the midst of trials, temptations and mis-steps through the Overcoming Strength of The Lord Most High, The One True God to, “Pursue overtake and recover all.”  Notice that is exactly what David did at Ziklag, though his men spoke of stoning him, he chose to encourage himself in The Lord second by second, minute by minute and hour by hour.  This, my friend, is an example of a “Banner Decision” being made under tremendous pressure!

The remarkable payoff?  We read about it in 1st Samuel 30:17-20 (AMP);

“And David smote them from twilight even to the evening of the next day, and not a man of them escaped, except 400 youths who rode camels and fled.”  “David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken and rescued his two wives.”  “Nothing was missing, small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that had been taken; David recovered all.”  “Also David captured all the flocks and herds [which the enemy had], and the people drove those animals before him and said, This is David’s spoil.”

What a day of Divine Dramatic Reversal for David, he went from being a grieving, distressed leader fearing for his life by the hands of his men who “spoke of stoning him;” (which is rather ironic when you think of the fact that earlier in his youth he slew the Giant Goliath with one smooth stone); to an overcoming hero who led the way in “recovering all” that the enemy had taken from them.  The people even chose to set aside the flocks and herds of the enemy and declare it as, “David’s spoil.”  In other words, those who were once against David were now for David, ensuring that he was highly honored and well taken care of.

How did David accomplish this mighty feat….and why wasn’t “the spoiler” (the enemy) able to disrupt David’s Divine Breakthrough?

The answer to this important question can be found in 1st Samuel 30:7-8 (AMP) which reveals The Source of David’s Epic Victory;

“David said to Abiathar the Priest, Ahimelech’s son, I pray you, bring me the ephod, And Abiathar brought him the ephod.”  “And David inquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue this troop?  Shall I overtake them?  The Lord answered him, Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail to recover all.”

After all of the years of miraculous feats done by David in The Name of The Lord, he did not rely on his strength or his understanding, he continued to draw near to God and wait upon Him with a “Banner Heart.”  A heart that is positioned in a place of humility and obedience to receive from The Lord.

David did not allow the memories of past victories and the former strategies that The Lord had given him to cloud his expectation and hearing of a “Fresh Word” from The Lord.  Whats more David did not put the responsibility for his authority on a word from Abiathar the Priest to guide him in this dire situation.  David’s intimacy and friendship with the Lord gave him the confidence to don “His Ephod,” and wait until he received the “Banner Word” of The Lord for his situation.  This, my friend, is how David won all of his, “Banner Victory’s” time and time again throughout each season of his life!

The donning of “The Ephod” which was a holy sacred garment used by King’s and Priest’s in ancient Biblical times to set themselves apart to hear the instructions and guidance of The Lord, was significant for David.  Why?….because the heart that beat under that ephod was a “Banner Heart,” that was set on hearing and obeying the Lord His God, no matter what the consequences were!

How did God view a heart like David’s?
We find the answer to that question in Acts 13: 21-22 (AMP);

“Then they asked for a King; and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin for forty years.” “And when He had deposed him, He raised David to be their king; of him He bore witness and said, I have found David son of Jesse a man after My Own Heart, who will do all My Will and carry out My program fully.”

Whose program are we carrying out in our lives? Ours?….Or The Lord’s?

For us, today, “The Banner of The Lord” written upon the tablet of King David’s heart in The Holy Scriptures, is a continual reminder of an overcoming, “Banner Life.”  You see my friend a “Banner Life” will always be lived from a “Banner Heart.”  A heart that is inclined to hear The Heartbeat of Heaven through The Voice of The Holy Spirit as He shares the secret truths and mysteries that God is longing to share with each one of us that call Him Abba Father!  Therefore my friend, “WE MUST NEVER ALLOW OUR, “HEART” TO BEAT AFTER ANOTHER god!

God, Himself states this truth so clearly for us in Exodus 20:3;

“You shall have no other gods before or besides Me.”

Let’s take a few minutes here and ask ourselves the following life-changing questions, I encourage you to write your answers down in a private place where you and The Lord can work it out.

What is written upon the tablet of my heart?

1. Am I living a “Banner Life” life from a “Banner Heart”?…..Or does my heartbeat after another god?

2. Do I recognize Jesus Christ as, “Jehovah Nissi” “The Lord Is My Banner”….. If not, why?

3. What course corrections do I need to make, if any, to keep my heart beating in line with God’s Will for my life?

My friend, when God sent His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ to Calvary as our “Everlasting Banner of Life,” that was and IS His Eternal Heartbeat of Love for a lost and dying world.  A Heartbeat that you and I as believers in Christ Jesus cannot ignore! We must remember that every act of obedience in sharing The Goodness of God with those around us is an act of love that keeps this Heavenly Heartbeat alive and well and beating strong for The Glory of God!

This, my friend, is how we live a “Banner Life”, that will leave a “Banner Legacy”……
“Strong and Free….Boldly For Him”!

Psalm 60:4 (NKJV);

“You have given a banner to those who fear You, that it may be displayed because of the Truth.”

 

© 2020 Clare Matthews – Boldly For Him. “All Rights Reserved.”

Picture by: Ben White

“Alive And Well”

“Christ’s Resurrection is your resurrection too. This is why we are to yearn for all that is above, for that’s where Christ sits enthroned at the Place of All Power, Honor, and Authority!” “Yes, feast on all the treasures of the Heavenly Realm and fill your thoughts with Heavenly Realities, and not with the distractions of the natural realm.” Colossians 3:1-2 (TPT)

At the beginning of 2019, The Lord instructed me to write two specific blogs to start the New Year. January’s title is, “The Expected End” and February’s title is, “Inner-Action”.  Now as we have come to the last month of the decade, and are about to embark on what I believe will be a “Whole New Era” for the Body of Christ in the coming years; The Lord redirected my attention back to these two blogs.

As I re-read what He had to share with us through these writings, I became keenly aware that these blogs encapsulate what He is now saying to us through this last, “Boldly For Him” blog of the year. With 2019 quickly coming to a close, The Lord wants us to know that as we approach 2020, that no matter where we are or what we may be currently facing, that as Born Again Believers in Jesus Christ, the reality of our, “Expected End” is that we are, ”Alive And Well”, In Him as we recognize, renew, develop and mature our, “Inner-Action” to the truths that are shared with us in Colossians 3:1-2 (TPT).

To fully grasp what The Lord is now saying through this blog, I think it’s important for me to refresh us on the definition of “Inner-Action.”

Inner-Action = The relationship between the mind, the will and the emotions and how they are displayed in an individual’s life through their interaction with God and others.

You see my friend we are entering a time where everything that can be challenged will be challenged regarding what we believe about our identity In Jesus Christ. It is an Era, a decade, a time that will see much fruit as well as much loss within The Body of Christ. Why?….. because of the very pressure that is coming in the days ahead that will cause many to continue to be deceived, stumble and fall in their individual and corporate walk with The Lord. That is why it is so important my friend that you and I, “fill our thoughts with Heavenly Realities, and not with the distractions of the natural realm.”  Ref. Col 3:2 (TPT) 

What we learn and who we learn from can greatly affect what we believe about our God Given identity In Christ Jesus. So much so that the Apostle Paul gave the following instructions to his spiritual son Timothy who was an Evangelist and Pastor in the ancient town of Ephesus:

2nd Timothy 2:15 (AMP);

“Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.”

The Word of God and the Truths that have been “Rightly Divided” and “Accurately Taught” to us must become so “Deeply Rooted Within Us”, that no matter what distraction, adversity or challenge may come our way; we are confident that we can live our lives as one who is “Alive and Well” because of the TRUTH that “Christ’s Resurrection IS OUR Resurrection too!” Ref. Col 3:1 (TPT)  

Understanding and accurately applying this passage of scripture in Col 3:1-2, in our daily walk, as Believers is paramount to a healthy, “Inner-Action” with God and others. An overcoming “Inner-Action” that will lead to Total Victory in every area of our lives, Spirit, soul, and body, in the coming days ahead. To God Be The Glory!

How does this Biblical Principle work in our lives?  

Colossians 3:3-4 (TPT) gives us the answer;

“Your crucifixion with Christ has severed the tie to this life, and now your true life is hidden away with God in Christ.” “And as Christ, Himself is seen for Who He Is, who you are will also be revealed, for YOU ARE NOW ONE WITH HIM IN HIS GLORY.”

This is not just a figure of speech my friend these are the Words of God Himself and the REALITY of Who We Are In Christ Jesus! According to the Word of God, we as Believers, have “severed the tie to this life.”  Meaning we no longer are bound or have any obligation whatsoever to live a defeated life of sin, sickness, poverty, shame, etc.!

Can this be proven by the Word of God? 

Yes, let’s see what He has to say to us in Colossians 3:5-9 (TPT);

“Live as one who has died to every form of sexual sin and impurity. Live as one who died to diseases, and desires for forbidden things, including the desire for wealth, which is the essence of idol worship.” “When you live in these vices you ignite the anger of God against these acts of disobedience.” “That’s how you once behaved, characterized by your evil deeds. But now it’s time to eliminate them from your lives once and for all-anger, fits of rage, all forms of hatred, cursing, filthy speech, and lying.” “Lay aside your old Adam-self with its masquerade and disguise.”

God went to great lengths for you and me my friend to be, “Alive and Well” through the Crucifixion of His Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, and Savior! You see, Calvary not only Confronted, but CALVARY also DEFEATED EVERY FORM of sinsickness, poverty, and disease for all men, for all time…PERIOD! Calvary did not console the enemy, by fearing him and accepting his slander against the Shed Blood of Jesus Christ. Calvary Confronted and Cast the evil works of the enemy out forever!

This is The Resurrection Power of 1st Peter 1:24 (TPT);

“He carried our sins in His body on the Cross so that we would be dead to sin and live for righteousness, Our INSTANT healing flowed from His Wounding.”

Therefore my friend, you and I as believers in Christ Jesus are not to console the enemy by fearing him and caving in when he attacks us with sin, sickness, poverty, and disease, we are to confront him with The Living Word of God and cast him out of our lives, spirit, soul, and body! It is not through our strength that we do this, it is through “The Blood of Jesus Christ”, that was Shed At Calvary. My friend, it is “The Good News” of His Resurrection Power that RESIDES WITHIN US that gives us, as Believers in Christ Jesus, the AUTHORITY AND THE RESPONSIBILITY to Confront and Cast out the devil and all of his evil works from EVERY area of our lives!

Did God give me this responsibility?

YES! Jesus Himself tells us about this “Priceless Privilege” in the following passages of scripture:

 John 14:12-14 (TPT); 

“I tell you this timeless truth: The person who follows me in faith, believing in Me, will do the Same Mighty Miracles that I do—Even Greater Miracles than these because I go to be with My Father!” “For I will do whatever you ask Me to do when you ask Me in My Name. And that is how the Son will show what the Father is really like and bring Glory To Him.” “Ask Me anything in My Name, and I will do it for you!”

Mark 16:16-18 (TPT);

“Whoever believes the Good News and is baptized will be saved, and whoever does not believe the Good News will be condemned.” “And these miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will drive out demons in the power of My Name. They will speak in tongues.” “They will be supernaturally protected from snakes, and from drinking anything poisonous. And they will lay hands on the sick and heal them.”

Never doubt my friend the Power of The Name of Jesus spoken out of your mouth as a Believer in Jesus Christ! It is the same power and authority that was given to the first Disciples! As modern-day Believers it is our turn to do what these Forefathers of Faith did, to take the healing power of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world, to “lay hands on the sick and heal them”, this includes laying hands on yourself!  This Mandate is how we perpetuate the Eternal Message of Calvary! A Precious “Blood Bought” Message that Forever Speaks that, WE ARE, “Alive and Well” and Empowered to,

“Be Strong and Live Free…..Boldly For Him!”

 

© 2019 Clare Matthews – Boldly For Him. “All Rights Reserved.”

Into The Light

Consumed with an insatiable desire for murder, Saul could hardly breathe.  O how he hated those who were of, “The Way”.  How dare they claim that this, “Jesus Christ” was the Savior of the world!  Squinting he looks up to the sky, with sweat running down his face, stinging his eyes, Saul sneers to himself as he recalls that fool “Stephen.”  The nerve of Stephen to call Saul and his fellow Sandhedrin, “A stubborn and stiff-necked people!”  Didn’t he realize who he was talking too!?  Then, for Stephen to fall on his knees with his last breath and ask this, “Lord” to not fix this, “sin” upon them,” was more than Saul could take!  With hate and rage coursing through his veins, Saul was driven by a demonic mission to personally see that not one of these so called, “Christians” as they referred to themselves; would be left alive on the face of the Earth, to propagate such blasphemy!  However, the darkness of Saul’s soul was no match for, “The Light” that he was about to encounter!

We read about Saul’s dramatic conversion as he steps, “Into The Light” in Acts 9:3-6 (AMP);

“Now as he traveled on, he came near to Damascus, and suddenly a light from Heaven flashed around him,”  “And he fell to the ground.  Then he heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me [harassing, troubling, and molesting Me]?”  “And Saul said, Who are You, Lord?  And He said, I Am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting.  It is dangerous and it will turn out badly for you to keep kicking against the goad [to offer vain and perilous resistance].”  “Trembling and astonished he asked, Lord, what do You desire me to do?  The Lord said to him, But arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

Shocked, Awed and Radically Transformed Saul gets up and steps into Acts 9:8-9 (TPT) a, “New Creation in Christ” as he begins his journey, “Into The Light.”

“Saul stood to his feet, and even though his eyes were open he could see nothing-he was blind.  So the men had to take him by the hand and lead him into Damascus.”  “For three days he didn’t eat or drink and couldn’t see a thing.”

From a blood thirsty, religious zealot, to an appointed man of God, Saul’s, “Road to Damascus” conversion is undoubtedly one of the greatest accounts of personal salvation that has ever been documented.  My friend, this “Highway of Grace” paved with, “The Blood of Jesus Christ” is still a Promised Place of Transformation for each of us today!  

Have you had a, “Road to Damascus” conversion and stepped “IntoThe Light”?

If you are a Believer, take a few minutes to reflect back on the moment that you chose to step, “Into The Light”, what was it like to, “see through your spiritual eyes” for the first time?

If you are not a Believer in Jesus Christ, who or what is keeping you from, “Seeing The Light”?

There is a very important nugget of truth hidden in, “plain sight” for us in the previous scripture and that is this, though Saul got up with, “eyes wide open”, he was unable to see, “naturally.”  However his, “spiritual sight” was opened and he could clearly “see” into the Spirit.  The Holy Spirit then led Saul to fast for a period of three days and nights.  During those three days, The Lord started orchestrating and preparing for the Divine Healing of Saul’s eyes, along with the equipping of Saul with the Precious, Priceless Gift of being, “Filled with The Holy Spirit.”  

In order to get the job done, God needed one of his trusted disciples to take an obedient and bold step of faith.  We meet this mighty man of God in Acts 9:10-18 (AMP) as we read about the seemingly dangerous deployment that The Lord sent him on,

“Now there was in Damascus a disciple named Ananias.  The Lord said to him in a vision, Ananias, And he answered, Here am I, Lord.”  “And The Lord said to him, Get up and go to the street called Straight and ask at the house of Judas for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying [there].”  “And he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias enter and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.”  “But Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard many people tell about this man, especially how much evil and what great suffering he has brought on your saints at Jerusalem;”  “Now he is here and has authority from the high priests to put in chains all who call upon Your Name.”  “But The Lord said to him, Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of Mine to bear My name before the Gentiles and Kings and the descendants of Israel.”  “For I will make clear to him how much he will be afflicted and must endure and suffer for My name’s sake.”  “So Ananias left and went into the house, and he laid his hands on Saul and said, Brother Saul, The Lord Jesus, Who appeared to you along the way by which you came here, has sent me that you may recover your sight and be filled with The Holy Spirit.”  “And instantly something like scales fell from [Saul’s} eyes, and he recovered his sight.  Then he arose and was baptized.”

This passage of scripture is as much about Ananias as it is about Saul.  Here we have a mature disciple of Jesus Christ faced with the hard decision of whether or not to stay, “in the Light” by obeying the instructions of The Lord.  You see my friend, Ananias was a conduit for the Power of The Holy Spirit to flow through.  The same supernatural wattage of spiritual power that blinded Saul’s eyes on “The Road to Damascus”, resided within Ananias.  As a Believer in Jesus Christ, Ananias’ obedience to The Lord was needed to remove the scales (or scabs) from Saul’s eyes as a result of them being, “Cauterized” as he came into contact with The Light of God.  This profound act of obedience would simultaneously keep Ananias, “In The Light” as it would fully bring Saul, “Out Of The Dark” and “Into The Light” of his healing and deliverance.

Some of you reading this Word of The Lord right now are an “Ananias” whom God has called and commissioned to reach a, “Saul” on their “Road To Damascus.”  My Fellow Believer of The Most High God, don’t let fear, doubt and unbelief keep you “Out of The Light” of your obedience!  A literal soul is at stake!  Some of you may be in the condition of Saul, waiting patiently “In The Dark” for the “Ananias” that God has revealed to you, to show up with the Healing and Deliverance that you so desperately need in order to fully step, “Into The Light” of your calling.  To you The Lord would say, 

Isaiah 40:31 (AMP);

“But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.”

Whether we are in the place of “Ananias” or “Saul”, this my friend is how we can, “Be Strong and Live Free….Boldly For Him”, as we See and Soar, “Into The Light”!

 

© 2019 Clare Matthews – Boldly For Him. “All Rights Reserved.”

Photo by Simon Wijers

Where is the Love?

His t-shirt read, “Love is for Losers.”  In the few short seconds that it took for me to open the car door and get in, he walked by a cigarette in hand wearing body piercings that demanded attention.  As I drove away I started praying for this young man, wondering what events shaped his life to the point of disfiguring his body?  You see, long before the message was written on his t-shirt, it was written on his heart.  It was obvious to see that this young man had been deeply wounded by, “looking for love in all the wrong places.”

“Looking for Love in all the wrong places” is not just a lyric line from a popular song written by Johnny Lee; it is also a “poison arrow” of destruction shot by a deadly Cupid. My friend the enemy of our soul is constantly looking for ways to lead you and me into places of self-deception and self-destruction as we go, “Looking for Love in all the wrong places!”

Just ask Samson, Judges 16:4-7 (AMP) gives us insight into this tragic one-sided love story;

“After this, he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah.”  “And the lords of the Philistines came to her and said to her, “Entice” him and see in what his great strength lies and by what means we may “Overpower” him that we may “Bind” him to “Subdue” him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver.”  “And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray you, wherein your great strength lies, and with what you might be bound to subdue you.”

The four-prong strategy that the enemy used to take Samson out and ultimately destroy him is revealed within the above scriptures, they were to, “Entice, Overpower, Bind, and Subdue” him.  God wants us, my friend, to not only become aware of this strategy, But He also wants us to be on guard against the enemy using these same “poison arrows” of destruction against us!  To accurately recognize and identify the enemy’s tactics, I have written out for our knowledge the definition for each of these poison arrows of destruction.

Entice = To attract artfully or adroitly or by arousing hope or desire.
implies the presenting of an attraction so strong that it overcomes the restraints of
conscience or better judgment.

Overpower = To overcome by superior force.  To affect with overwhelming intensity.

Bind = To make secure by tying.  To confine, restrain, or restrict as if with bonds.
To constrain with legal authority.
To wrap around with something to enclose or cover.

Subdue = To conquer and bring into subjection : Vanquish.
To bring under control especially by an exertion of the will:  Curb.
To bring (land) under cultivation.
To reduce the intensity or degree of Tone Down.

How long do you think it took for these “poison arrows” to pierce the sight of Samson’s eyes, both Spiritually then naturally?

Though we don’t know the exact number of days, we are given a glimpse as we read Judges 16:16 (AMP);

“And when she pressed him day after day with her words and urged him,  he was vexed to death.”  

In this true story of fatal lust, Delilah is a young woman who is being used by the enemy to carry out an evil plan.  Like the constant drip of a leaky faucet, Delilah erodes at Samson’s resolve to guard, “The Source” of his God-given strength.  This strength was the key to Samson’s identity as a Nazirite, a called Deliverer and Judge in The Kingdom of Heaven.

The seduction unfolds in Judges 16:17 (AMP);

“Then he told her all his mind and said to her, A razor has never come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my birth. If I am shaved, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak and be like any other man.”  (ENTICED).

Who or what may be a Delilah in your life my friend?  What valuable information have you been enticed to give up?

Remember my friend the ultimate goal of the enemy is to stop you and me.  To blind our spiritual sight so that he can subdue our God-given calling.  It is so important that you and I recognize that our God-given calling is also our spiritual Identity in The Kingdom of Heaven, and the key to our assignment here on earth.  We must remember that like Samson we have been called to be “Deliverers” for The Kingdom of God. Modern-day Deliverers of Healing, Hope, Peace, Joy, Wisdom, Strength, and most importantly, Modern Day Deliverers of the Salvation Message of Jesus Christ; as we have been Saved, Delivered and Healed!

Never allow the “Enticements” of this world cause you to uncover, “The Source” of your God-given strength.

With the seduction of Samson’s life and calling now complete, we read about this deeply sad moment of Biblical History in Judges 16:19-20 (AMP);

“And she made Samson sleep upon her knees, and she called a man and caused him to shave off the seven braids of his head.  Then she began to torment [Samson], and his strength went from him.”  “She said, The Philistines are upon you, Samson!  And he awoke out of his sleep and said, I will go out as I have time after time and shake myself free.  Samson did not know that the Lord had departed from him.”  (OVERPOWERED).

Don’t fall asleep upon the knees of the enemy and don’t toy with your weakness.  Notice that Samson said, “I will go out as I have time after time and shake myself free.”  As the scriptures record throughout Judges chapters 14-16, Samson had repeatedly given in to his desire for ungodly women and did not deny himself.  He was deceived into thinking that there were no repercussions for his insatiable and unholy appetite.  Samson insisted on living a lifestyle of, “Looking for Love in all the wrong places”, and it cost him everything!

Judges 16:21 (AMP) records the painful repercussion of Samson’s sin against God;

“But the Philistines laid hold of him, bored out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with [two] bronze fetters; and he ground at the mill in prison.”  (BOUND) and (SUBDUED).

Where have you been looking for love my friend?  Has a “Delilah” laid hold of you, deprived you of your “Spiritual Sight” and subdued your life?  Can you still “see and seize” your God-given assignment?

Samson went from a Supernaturally Promised Child, God Appointed Judge and Deliverer of Israel, to a depleted sightless prisoner.  His life is an example of a powerful man of God who became reckless with his Anointing.

Judges 16:28 (AMP) reveals the state of Samson’s heart at the time of his death;

“Then Samson called to the Lord and said, O Lord God, [earnestly] remember me, I pray You, and strengthen me.  I pray You, only this once, O God, and let me have one vengeance upon the Philistines for both my eyes.”

Judges 16:30 (AMP) gives us the dramatic account of Samson’s final feat of supernatural God-given strength;

“And Samson cried, Let me die with the Philistines!  And he bowed himself mightily, and the house fell upon the princes and upon all the people that were in it.  So the dead whom he slew at his death were more than they whom he slew in his life.”

You and I don’t have to “die with the Philistines”, (our enemies) my friend!  We can choose to resist the Delilah’s that tempt us, repent for our sins and receive restoration for our losses.

James 4:7-8 (TPT) provides the “Way of Escape” for us;

“So then, surrender to God.  Stand up to the devil and resist him and he will turn and run away from you.”  “Move your heart closer and closer to God, and he will come even closer to you.”  “But make sure you cleanse your life, you sinners, and keep your heart pure and stop doubting.”  “Feel the pain of your sin, be sorrowful and weep”!  “Let your joking around be turned into mourning and your joy into deep humiliation.”  “Be willing to be made low before the Lord and He will exalt you!”

You can escape Mighty Deliverer friend!  Seize your Strength in God, as you choose to, Be Strong and Live Free……Boldly For Him!

 

© 2019 Clare Matthews – Boldly For Him. “All Rights Reserved.”

Photo by Aziz Acharki

You Hungry?

Someplace in the middle of the Mojave Desert, in the restaurant of a modest motel, you will find some of the best blueberry pancakes on Planet Earth!  At least that’s what a ten-year-old girl on a cross country family move thought.  The memory of those crispy golden pancakes vividly lives on in my thoughts to this day.

Now as an adult Believer in Jesus Christ, there is a taste that I have developed a craving for that far outweighs the memory of those blueberry pancakes, as good as they were. “You Hungry” yet?

Psalm 34:8 (AMP) provides us with Heaven’s, “Eternal Recipe.”

“O taste and see that The Lord [our God] is good! Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who trusts and takes refuge in Him.”

It is vitally important my friend that you and I as Believers in Jesus Christ watch what we develop a “taste” for.  If we allow our appetites in life to be satiated by the carnal things of this world, rather than by our relationship with, The One True God, we will “see” God as a means to “our end” rather than The One True God Who Knows The Beginning from The End.  Since the appetites in our life determines the course in which our life will go, let’s ask ourselves this very important question;

What ingredients or influences have I allowed in the kitchen of my heart?

In order to, “Taste and See that The Lord [our God] is good”; the pantry shelves of our heart must be stocked with “The Fruit of The Spirit”, which has no expiration date.  The Love of God actively at work in our lives keeps “The Fruit of The Spirit” fresh, hot and abundant while preventing staleness of soul, which leads to lukewarmness of life.

We read about this staple diet in Galatians 5:22-23 (TPT);

“But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions.  The joy that overflows, Peace that subdues, kindness in action, A life full of virtue, Faith that prevails, Gentleness of heart, and Strength of Spirit.  Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.”

Isn’t it interesting that we learn in this scripture that, “Divine love” has many varied expressions Joy, Peace, Kindness, etc?  A spiritual diet full of these, “Fruit” will ultimately produce in us, “Strength of Spirit” which will give us the ability and tenacity to follow God no matter how hard or difficult the season that we are facing may be.  This is God’s recipe for a well-prepared life that is, “Rooted and Grounded in Love.” Ref. Ephesians 3:17 (NKJV).  A life that will always, “Rise” to the occasion of a Victorious overcoming walk in Him!

I really sense that The Lord wants to ask us this question,“What are you hungry for”?

Acceptance, Love, Fame, Power, Control, Attention, Money or is it that tenth piece of mom’s Chocolate Cake in two hours?

Whatever the craving may be, it is ONLY The Fruit of The Spirit that will keep you and me satisfied and healthy both Spiritually and Naturally.  This is because Jesus is our Righteousness!

1st Corinthians 1:30-31 (AMP) clearly explains this vital truth for us;

“But it is from Him that you have your life in Christ Jesus, Whom God made our Wisdom from God, [revealed to us a knowledge of the Divine Plan of salvation previously hidden, manifesting itself as] our Righteousness [thus making us upright and putting us in right standing with God], and our Consecration [making us pure and holy], and our Redemption [providing our ransom from eternal penalty for sin].”  “So then, as it is written, Let him who boasts and proudly rejoices and glories, boast and proudly rejoice and glory in The Lord.”

Matthew 5:6 (TPT) goes on to explain this Divine Spiritual Meal Plan for us;

“How enriched you are when you Crave Righteousness!  For you will be surrounded by Fruitfulness.”

Now is our time my friend to “Crave Him” to continually dine at The Table of His Word and become intimate with His Heart as we gaze into The Eyes of Love Himself!  Don’t break His Gaze!  His Look of Love IS our Righteousness, our Seal of Approval to be The “Spiritual Heavyweights” that God has called each of us to be for the Kingdom of Heaven! He is asking us to share His not so secret, “Eternal Recipe” with this lost, dying, searching and hurting world…..Let’s make a solid commitment my friend to not “binge and purge” the Word of God.  Let’s make a firm commitment to,

“Be Strong and Live Free”….Boldly For Him!

 

 

                                            © 2019 Clare Matthews – Boldly For Him. “All Rights Reserved.”

               Photo Credit:  Peter Lewicki….Unsplash.