We all face challenges. Sometimes they are grueling and intense. In the midst of a storm it is the Lord’s presence and His Word that sustains and uplifts us. Every so often we need a reminder that our God is more powerful than any storm. He is the one who calms the ways. We must be thankful and joyful in the presence of God. Our Lord is faithful, and He has made promises to us. A storm will either be an occasion for doubt or an occasion for faith to triumph. No matter what you are facing today know that the Lord is your refuge. Jesus is there for you! Thank the Lord for the strength that He provides to endure.
Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is the great God,
And the great King above all gods.
In His hand are the deep places of the earth;
The heights of the hills are His also.
The sea is His, for He made it;
And His hands formed the dry land.
Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand.
Today, if you will hear His voice:
“Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion,
As in the day of trial in the wilderness,
When your fathers tested Me;
They tried Me, though they saw My work.
For forty years I was grieved with that generation,
And said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts,
And they do not know My ways.’
So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ”
The people of God are still more numerous and mighty than those who fight against the Lord. We have been deceived into thinking that we are a small, isolated, shrinking group. The same pattern in Exodus is repeating today. The enemy has a strategy to marginalize the body of Christ because the only way for darkness to ascend is for the light to retreat. We have been distracted from our purpose as representatives of the Kingdom of God. We have succumbed to threats rather than stand up for the Lord. Our children have been targeted. This is an old plan with a new face. We must call out to God now! God wants to show Himself powerful and compassionate in this generation. We must be shaken awake by the Holy Spirit. Lord help us to remember that we can come to you, the source of all power!
Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we; come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and it happen, in the event of war, that they also join our enemies and fight against us, and so go up out of the land.” Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh supply cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were in dread of the children of Israel. So the Egyptians made the children of Israel serve with rigor. And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage—in mortar, in brick, and in all manner of service in the field. All their service in which they made them serve was with rigor.
Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of one was Shiphrah and the name of the other Puah; and he said, “When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.”
One more time the Lord deserves a great harvest in this generation! The enemies of God have been prowling and devouring for decades, and the body of Christ has not battled against this threat effectively. There is tremendous confusion, division, and deception in this moment, but we still serve a living and risen Christ! Jesus help us to arise right now from the weakness and failure we find ourselves trapped in. As we cry out to you and repent answer us Lord with an anointing from your Holy Spirit that will shake the foundations of the spiritual strongholds that have been erected in our land. Now is the moment for us to press in to God, to walk in forgiveness, and to be set truly free!
Deliver me from my enemies, O my God;
Defend me from those who rise up against me.
Deliver me from the workers of iniquity,
And save me from bloodthirsty men.
For look, they lie in wait for my life;
The mighty gather against me,
Not for my transgression nor for my sin, O Lord.
They run and prepare themselves through no fault of mine.
Awake to help me, and behold!
You therefore, O Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel,
Awake to punish all the nations;
Do not be merciful to any wicked transgressors. Selah
At evening they return,
They growl like a dog,
And go all around the city.
Indeed, they belch with their mouth;
Swords are in their lips;
For they say, “Who hears?”
But You, O Lord, shall laugh at them;
You shall have all the nations in derision.
I will wait for You, O You his Strength;
For God is my defense.
My God of mercy shall come to meet me;
God shall let me see my desire on my enemies.
Do not slay them, lest my people forget;
Scatter them by Your power,
And bring them down,
O Lord our shield.
For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips,
Let them even be taken in their pride,
And for the cursing and lying which they speak.
Consume them in wrath, consume them,
That they may not be;
And let them know that God rules in Jacob
To the ends of the earth. Selah
And at evening they return,
They growl like a dog,
And go all around the city.
They wander up and down for food,
And howl if they are not satisfied.
But I will sing of Your power;
Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning;
For You have been my defense
And refuge in the day of my trouble.
To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises;
For God is my defense,
My God of mercy.
The time of Passover indicates to us that God will fulfill His promises to His people. The Passover in Egypt was celebrated while the Hebrews were yet in bondage. They had not yet been released from slavery, but there was a celebration at hand of their impending freedom. In our own lives, we must celebrate and worship the Lord in the midst of trials. We expect His deliverance and the arrival of the fulfillment of what His Word promises us. Jesus and His victory on the cross is worthy of our praise and rejoicing regardless of what we are facing. Let us not turn back from what God has spoken over our lives even if we don’t yet see everything falling into place. Jesus is our Passover, and He is the author and the finisher of our faith.
And He said, “I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.”
(Sarah was listening in the tent door which was behind him.) Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, “After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”
And the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”
But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid.
And He said, “No, but you did laugh!”
Offenses will come, and we are living in a generation that is particularly quick to be offended. Since this is the case, what will we do when we are offended or when we offend others? We must pray, forgive, ask for forgiveness, seek the Lord, and grow in the faith. If we do not forgive the offenses against us, then at minimum our witness can be depleted as we succumb to the trap and temptation of unforgiveness and bitterness. So many of us fall prey to this cycle in our families, marriages, businesses, and ministries. If there is an overriding offense, then any attempt to press forward without the release of forgiveness will almost certainly fail. Brothers and sisters, let’s identify an offense we are harboring as well as a offense that someone is harboring against and deal with both today!
Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”
Immediately after the victory of Elijah over the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel he is threatened by Jezebel and flees into the wilderness. In his exhaustion Elijah prayed for God to take his life, but it was in the next moment that the Lord was going to call him to anoint the next generation of spiritual and political leaders. God did not answer Elijah’s prayer in the affirmative, but instead the angel of the Lord told Elijah to eat. He needed strength for his journey, and so do we. The times we live in can be exhausting, and if we are not feeding on the bread of life given by the Word of God and through obedience to the will of God then we will not have the strength to rise to the challenge of standing for the name of Jesus Christ in this generation.
And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.
But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!”
Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.
1 Kings 19:1-8
It is time for leaders of the faith to stand up. There are enemies not just on the horizon or at the gate but in the camp. It is time for those who know the Lord to set the example of faithfulness in this life to demonstrate to everyone, particularly believers, that we can and must endure in the faith. We must be careful and discerning of the dangers and threats that are in our midst. Many would deplete our faith if they could, and the enemy will continue to deploy resources to make a ruin of our faith. Remember that it was faith, both in its fullness and in its utter lack, that caused Jesus to marvel during His earthly ministry. Arise people of the Lord and overcome!
So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel. And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word. Then Elijah said to the people, “I alone am left a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it. Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the God who answers by fire, He is God.” So all the people answered and said, “It is well spoken.”
1 Kings 18:20-24