About Faith #74-90

About Faith #74-90

#74 Rest and Joy are two keys to the fight of faith. Lynne Hammond

#75 When you’ve truly stepped into the place of faith and grace, there is a peace and an ease about things. Lynne Hammond

#76 The Bible says that once you believe, you enter into rest (Hebrews 4:3). Lynne Hammond

#77 When you are truly in faith, you don’t have to struggle. All you have to do is just rest as God brings the answer to pass. Lynne Hammond

#78 As you learn how to stop trying to make things happen yourself and enter into the rest of faith, God will enlarge the borders of your tent. Lynne Hammond

#79 To enter the rest of faith, you have to stop trying to figure everything out with your education and your intelligence. Lynne Hammond

#80 True faith is filled with joy. Lynne Hammond

#81 What it takes to go from believing to receiving the end of your faith is to rejoice with joy unspeakable, receiving. Lynne Hammond

#82 When you reach true faith in God, so much joy bubbles up from the inside that you can’t put it into words. Lynne Hammond

#83 Faith is what pleases God the most. So when the revelation hits your heart that you have received the outcome of your faith, find some way to express your joy, and make the Father glad! Sing or dance for joy! Lynne Hammond

#84 When you are truly in faith, you see and receive the end (answer) before you even pray. That’s why you can enter into the rest of God with joy unspeakable and full of glory, knowing that God will perform the answer that has been appointed for you! Lynne Hammond

#85 The only way we will ever see God’s promises come to pass in our lives is to walk by faith every step of the way. Lynne Hammond

#86 Sometimes we get tired. Sometimes we need to give our faith an extra push so we can keep going. Lynne Hammond

#87 One way we can give our faith a push is to focus our attention on the grace of God. Lynne Hammond

#88 Grace is God’s grip on us, and faith is our grip on God. As we focus on the grip He has on us, our grip on Him gets stronger. Lynne Hammond

#89 No matter what kind of adversity we might be going through, we get out by speaking God’s Word on the matter. Lynne Hammond

#90 “And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord” (Luke 1:45). Lynne Hammond

Pt 6: Christmas – He Shall Prepare the Way of the Lord

He Shall Prepare the Way of the Lord

As Zacharias stood before the Altar burning incense and offering up to God prayers and worship, a throng of people were praying in the outer court.

Out of the corner of his eye and through the heavy smoke of Glory in the Holy Place, Zacharias suddenly noticed some movement to the right side of the Altar. He was gripped with fear at the appearance of the angel of the Lord.

The angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elisabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.

“For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:13-17, Malachi 4:5-6 NKJV).

The name John, in Hebrew origin, means “Yahweh has favored or Yahweh has graced”.

Zacharias replied, “By what shall I know and be sure of this? (Zacharias was basically saying “What you say is impossible!”) I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years!” (Luke 1:18 AMP)

Then the angel replied, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God and I have been sent to talk to you and to bring you this good news. Now behold, you will be and will continue to be silent and not able to speak till the day when these things take place, because you have not believed what I told you; but my words are of a kind which will be fulfilled in the appointed and proper time” (Luke 1:19-20 AMP). Then Gabriel departed from him.

Zacharias was made mute because of his unbelief and the Lord had to close his mouth so that he would not cancel out, with his own negative and doubt-filled words, what God wanted to do.

Proverbs 18:21 says that death and life are in the power of the tongue. The words we speak contain creative power for good or bad. We shall have what we continually say.

Sometimes God has to shut our mouths, so that when we are tempted to say something negative and doubtful concerning promises God has spoken to us, that we just cannot say it.

It is our tongue that gets us into the most trouble in life, and especially in relationships. A tongue of continual complaining and unbelief can cancel out, or delay, many of the good things God wants to do in our lives.

Another reason Zacharias was struck mute is because he doubted Gabriel, thus doubting Yahweh too. The word from the Lord was not delivered in person by a human being (as even the most seasoned of prophets only “see through a glass darkly” and may miss it at times). Gabriel ministers in God’s very Throne Room, face to face with Yahweh.

There are ranks, or levels of authority, among the angelic hosts of Heaven. Gabriel is one of the highest ranking chief archangels in Heaven who serves around God’s Throne taking his orders directly from the Most High God. There is no possibility that he could have made a mistake in hearing from the Lord.

Zacharias had the faith to pray and believe for a child for many years. However, hope deferred makes the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12). Too much time had gone by. His heart became hardened and closed off to receiving.

He had lost all hope many years prior, and now he and Elisabeth were too old to have children. He had come to a place of acceptance—that he and Elisabeth would never have a child. Gabriel’s message stirred up old desires and hopes in Zacharias’ heart, and disappointments, which was painful, because he had already accepted the fact that it would never happen.

Zacharias is a prophetic picture to us. When God first drops a promise in our heart, or gives us a prophetic word, we are filled with joy. But after years of delay, hope deferred makes the heart sick. The temptation is to give up and relinquish the word.

While many have strong faith to believe for a long time for their promise, due to delays, when the promise finally comes they think they have no strength to give birth to the promise. Isaiah 66:9 (NKJV) says, “Shall I bring to the time of birth, and not cause delivery?” says the Lord. “Shall I who cause delivery shut up the womb?” says your God.

Birthing prophetic promises is likened to giving birth in the natural. When the time comes for the promises to be fulfilled, then the labor pains and travail begins. Once the labor begins, the birthing is imminent.

Travail represents intercession. When you intercede, it leads to desires and promises being birthed. Often when a promise comes to pass, it first begins as a seed and then it grows until it is complete. Therefore, when prophetic words come to pass, often it happens over a process in stages.

Often a prophetic word or promise fails to come to pass because of passivity. I used to think that when a word was spoken that if it was truly God, that it would automatically come to pass.

However, I’ve been learning that we have a part to play in prophetic promises coming to pass in our lives. We have to birth the promise in prayer, confess the promise and sow towards whatever it is that we are believing God for.

We have to learn to wait patiently on the Lord. Hebrews 6:12 (NKJV) says, “That you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

We have to cooperate with God by taking appropriate steps of action to bring the promise to pass. James 2:20 says that faith without works is dead.

Zacharias was in the Holy Place much longer than usual. The priests outside in the Outer Court waited a long time for Zacharias to come out and began to wonder why he was delayed.

Thoughts raced through their minds. “Why is he taking so long?  Is everything okay?” Finally, Zacharias walked out of the Holy Place and remained speechless, unable to talk. Zacharias beckoned to them in gestures and then the priests realized that he must have seen a vision.

When the days of Zacharias’ service in the Temple were complete, he returned home. Shortly thereafter, Elisabeth conceived just as God had said.

They kept the pregnancy quiet for five months before telling their relatives and neighbors the joyful news. Then Elisabeth declared, “The Lord has done this for me! In these days He has shown me His favor and taken away my disgrace among the people” (Luke 1:25 NIV).

Our God is a good and faithful God who fulfills His promises!

About Faith #64-73

About Faith #64-73

#64 There is personal faith (believing for your own needs) and corporate faith (faith to believe for others to receive their miracle).

#65 Once you release the word of faith, never back up. Press in. Keep moving forward.

#66 In God’s realm, you believe it first and then you see it.

#67 Fear always attacks when you need to operate in faith. Fight fear with a plan (Deuteronomy 31:6)

#68 Whatever you need, find Scriptures in the Word for it so that your faith has a foundation upon which to believe.

#69 Faith is Heaven’s currency. It doesn’t do you any good unless you spend it. The more faith you spend, the more you’ll have to spend.

#70 The spirit of faith never says “it’s coming”. It says “it’s here, I have it right now”. It believes it’s already received the promise or answer. If it is here, I begin to make preparation for what’s here like it is here.

#71 Faith has to be in two places: 1) in your heart 2) in your mouth. This is how salvation works (Romans 10:9-10).

#72 You cannot claim what is not in your heart and expect it to come to pass. Faith involves no doubt in the heart.

#73 Faith sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible. Corrie ten Boom

 

Pt 5: Christmas – Zacharias & Elisabeth “Cursed”?

Zacharias and Elisabeth “Cursed”?

The Hebrew meaning of Zacharias is “Jah has remembered”. (Strong’s Old Testament #2148 is the Hebrew origin of Strong’s Greek New Testament #2197.)

The Hebrew meaning of Elisabeth is “God of the oath”. (Strong’s Old Testament #472 is the Hebrew origin of Strong’s Greek New Testament #1665.)

Just imagine that Zacharias’ hands must have been shaking, his heart pounding and racing, and beads of sweat dripping from his forehead … because this mantle of responsibility weighed heavily upon his shoulders.

He was selected to stand before the Altar of Incense to burn the anointed incense—the ingredients being frankincense, stacte (myrrh), galbanum, and onycha (Exodus 30:34-35). Even if the incense was not handled properly or used for common purposes, a priest could be struck down dead because an anointing was in the incense.

When the incense touched the hot altar, the Holy Place was filled with the smoke and aroma. Zacharias trembled as he began to minister to Jehovah in worship. Would God accept his worship? He was chosen to carry the prayers of the people before God. Would Jehovah accept his intercession for the people as well as his own personal prayers? He felt inadequate. After all, why was he chosen for this responsibility when he was … cursed of God? Or so he thought.

Zacharias and Elisabeth were childless. They had prayed for many years for a child, but Elisabeth remained barren. Now they were both old and beyond childbearing age.

The Hebrew thinking was that a person was blessed and had the favor of God if they had children, and the more children the better, especially sons.

A person was thought to be cursed by God if they did not produce children.

In their cultural mindset, barrenness was a sign that you did not have God’s favor, that He was angry and displeased with you, that you had disappointed God in some way, that there was sin in your life—that for some reason you had done something wrong for God to curse you.

Elisabeth had the most difficult time in dealing with their “curse”. She was the target of the gossip, and was a victim of the taunting and reproach by the other village women.

Zacharias painfully remembered the many times he had tried to console his grieving wife. He had witnessed Elisabeth’s inner heartache as each of their relatives and neighbors gave birth to children and celebrated their birthdays. Zacharias and Elisabeth had become weary from their years of mourning. They had given up on the hope of ever having a child.

They were confused because of a contradiction existing in their lives. It’s recorded about them that both of them were righteous before God, kept all of the Lord’s commandments, and were blameless in the sight of God (Luke 1:6). Yet if that was true, then why were they cursed (or so their culture thought it was a curse) because Elisabeth continued to remain barren?

Why didn’t God answer their prayers and grant the desires of their hearts? Did He not promise in Psalms 37:4 that if they delighted themselves in the Lord that He would grant the desires of their hearts? What about the Scripture that says that no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly (Psalms 84:11)? This contradiction in their life made no sense to them and to those closest to them.

Sometimes we face contradictions in our lives as well. We love God and are doing our best to serve Him with our whole hearts, and yet why are certain circumstances out of alignment in our lives? Often it seems like nothing is happening even though many prayers have been lifted up.

For Zacharias and Elisabeth, it was not the end of the story yet. It’s not the end of your story yet either.

About Faith #52-63

About Faith #52-63

#52 The trying or testing of your faith works patience. Let patience have her perfect work so that you may be entire, mature and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:3-4).

#53 If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask of God and ask in faith, not wavering like the waves of the sea, and wisdom will be given to him (James 1:5-6).

#54 The prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up (James 5:15).

#55 Faith can stand under trial. That the trial of your faith, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise, honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus (1 Peter 1:7).

#56 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls (1 Peter 1:9).

#57 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist steadfast in the faith (1 Peter 5:8-9).

#58 Our [My] faith is the victory that overcomes the world (1 John 5:4).

#59 One way to build up your faith is by praying in the Holy Ghost (in tongues) — Jude 20.

#60 Faith is confident, firm-relying trust in what we do not see with our natural eyes.

#61 Faith sees with the spirit. You have to get a picture of something on the inside first before you see it on the outside.

#62 Faith involves “saying” in Mark 11:23, and saying (epo 2036) is PAST TENSE in the Greek meaning “to speak or say (by word or writing)”. Faith speaks as if you already have the answer or miracle in your hands.

#63 When we say what we believe, we release our faith to go to work on our behalf (Mark 11:23-24).

 

Pt 4: Christmas – Casting of Lots

Casting of Lots

The custom during the time of Zacharias was that lots were cast to determine which priest would be chosen to burn incense in the Holy Place before the Lord.

The use of the lot was a common practice of the priests and Jewish leaders in ascertaining the will of Jehovah in various matters—spiritual, business and personal matters.

A lot could be a piece of wood, a pebble, a piece of pottery, etc. Whomever the lot fell on, that was an indication of who Jehovah selected, or the revealing of His will regarding a matter.

The last time it was recorded in the Bible that lots were cast to determine the will of God was in Acts 1:26 when the apostles appointed two candidates, Justus and Matthias, to take the place of Judas Iscariot.

After praying and asking the Lord to reveal which man He had chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, they cast lots and the lot fell upon Matthias. However, once the Holy Spirit was poured out to earth on the Day of Pentecost, the use of the lots were done away with because now everyone can be filled with the Holy Spirit and hear from the Lord for their own selves. (Prior to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, only a select few were filled with the Holy Spirit, i.e. priests, kings and prophets.)

The lot happened to fall upon Zacharias. This indicated that Jehovah had sovereignly chosen him to minister in the Holy Place that day.

It was a once in a lifetime honor to be chosen to serve in the Holy Place, as there are said to have been twenty thousand priests in Christ’s time.

Before entering the Holy Place, Zacharias went through the normal rituals of purification—washing with water from the laver, being properly dressed in white linen, the blood of a sacrificial animal being sprinkled upon his body and clothing, as well as blood sprinkled on the articles they used (tongs, pots, pans, etc.). He was anointed with holy anointing oil. Bells and a rope were tied to his ankle, and he very reverently entered into the Holy Place.

The other priests must have been just as shocked and puzzled as Zacharias was that he was chosen by God to minister in the Holy Place. After all, wasn’t he … “cursed”? How could God be pleased with Zacharias?

The priests tied the bells and rope around his ankle extra tight because they didn’t know if he would survive in the Holy Place, since he was “cursed”.

He and Elisabeth had no children because she was barren, and now they were too old anyways to bear children. In that day, the mindset was that barrenness was considered to be a curse.

About Faith #36-51

About Faith #36-51

#36 The just shall live by faith (Romans 1:17, Hebrews 10:38).

#37 And being not weak in faith, Abraham considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what God had promised, He was able also to perform (Romans 4:19-21).

#38 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).

#39 Faith is one of the Gifts of the Spirit that the Apostle Paul mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:9.

#40 We walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

#41 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham (Galatians 3:9).

#42 Faith is one of the fruits of the Spirit-filled life (Galations 5:22-23, KJV).

#43 Faith and grace are twins and always go together. Faith won’t work alone without grace, and grace won’t work alone without faith. For by grace you have been saved through faith (Ephesians 2:8).

#44 The shield of faith protects you from the fiery darts of the wicked one (Ephesians 6:16).

#45 In 1 Thessalonians 5:8, the Bible mentions the breastplate of faith and love, which protects your heart and soul from onslaughts of the devil.

#46 Our faith can grow exceedingly (2 Thessalonians 1:3).

#47 Faith and patience work together (2 Thessalonians 1:4). It takes faith and patience to inherit the promises of God (Hebrews 6:12).

#48 Fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12). Faith is a fight, but also a rest.

#49 To enter our promised land and Sabbath rest, the preaching of the Word must be mixed with faith to those who hear it (Hebrews 4:2).

#50 Hold fast the profession of your faith without wavering back and forth (Hebrews 10:23).

#51 The heroes of faith are mentioned in Hebrews 11. They obtained a good report through faith (Hebrews 11:39). Faith always has a good report.