Asking God for Anything

Matthew 21:22 says, “You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.”  NLT

The word “all” in the Greek means “anything”. It is the word pas, and it means all, any, every, the whole.

This is the passage that talks about commanding our mountains (obstacles) to be uprooted and removed out of our way, and it would obey us.

Many church denominations are in agreement that Matthew 21:22 is not really referring to “anything”, when Jesus said that you can pray for anything and it would be ours if we have faith.  They feel that the word “anything” means “some things”, and especially spiritual things.  Other than the spiritual, and divine healing, the rest of man (or woman) is neglected.

God created us spirit, soul and body.  Plus, we operate in a world that is governed by economics.

God wants to minister to every part of us and bring wholeness.  He wants to bring healing and breakthrough in any area of our lives in which we need it. And not only for us, but also for our family members, loved ones and others.

I heard the Lord speak to my inner spirit a few days ago the phrase:  “the whole nine yards”.  He was saying that He wants to bless His children with the “whole nine yards”.

This idiom is a figure of speech that means:  “the whole thing; complete; all of it”.  He is saying to not just ask Him for a few things, or to feel like you have to pick and choose.  That’s what religion tells you.  Religion always puts God in a box … to limit Him, and also tries to box us in too.

Even if, at one point, God told you to ask Him for what you wanted the very most, that was a prophetic act for that moment in time.  In no way would God limit Himself to just doing one miracle.

Sometimes the Lord highlights, in our lives, what we want the very most because it’s the most sensitive area of our hearts.  Sometimes He wants permission to gently touch those very sensitive areas, and to assure us that He desires those things for us as much as we want it, and that He cares.

God wants to give us our heart’s desires, just as long as we put the Lord first and don’t have any other idols above Him.

God is saying to present Him with the entire list of everything you would like Him to do in your life, and declare to Him that He’s Able to do it.  Begin to call things into existence (Romans 4:17). Check it off your list when God brings it to pass.

Romans 4:17-22 says:

17 As it is written, I have made you the father of many nations. [He was appointed our father] in the sight of God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and speaks of the nonexistent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed.

18 [For Abraham, human reason for] hope being gone, hoped in faith that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been promised, So [numberless] shall your descendants be.

19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered the [utter] impotence of his own body, which was as good as dead because he was about a hundred years old, or [when he considered] the barrenness of Sarah’s [deadened] womb.

20 No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God,

21 Fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and to do what He had promised.

22 That is why his faith was credited to him as righteousness (right standing with God).

AMP

Getting back to Matthew 21:22 about asking God for anything … it’s like in my spirit I can hear some people saying, “Yes, but what about the Scripture that says that you ask, but do not receive, because you ask amiss.”

We will examine this passage to see what James was talking about. The Scripture reference is James 4:3.  To understand this verse, we must look at the context of James’ letter.  We will begin at Chapter 3, Verse 1.

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Are You Ready To Receive Your Promise?

Are You Ready To Receive Your Promise?

Today’s message is about us being ready to receive from God those things which He has promised us.

God has promised us many things in His Word. Also, many of us have prophetic promises that were spoken over our lives of what God desires to do. We want to receive our promise or healing. We KNOW that God will do it. But for some reason or another, many are not completely ready to receive their promise at this moment, right now.

For example, many people who are believing God for physical healing are delayed from receiving because they haven’t been ready to make the necessary changes in their lifestyle and nutritional habits. They may have to be willing to give up certain addictions that contribute to illness. Many people are miraculously healed, but then the sickness returns if they have not maintained their healing (i.e., if they go back to old bad nutritional and lifestyle habits, or allow doubt and unbelief to come in).

Many are in need of emotional healing. Complete healing comes when they are ready to forgive, ready to let go of their past, and ready to refuse to no longer be a victim.

Healing comes when they are ready to give their pain to the Lord. Healing comes when they refuse to no longer believe the devil’s lies that they are unlovable and unworthy. They have to be willing to refuse to no longer wallow in a spirit of rejection.

Some need deliverance from sexual addictions, but have to get to the place where they are totally ready to forsake it. Then God can bring about healing and freedom.

For some, God has promised to bless them financially, and He put business ideas into their spirit. But fear and uncertainty keep them from venturing out and entering into God’s promise. “What if I fail?” is the thought that plagues the mind.

For others, the Lord wants to bring healthy relationships that are God-ordained into their life. They want to receive but are having a struggle. There is a battle with feelings of fear, possible rejection, possible betrayal, and issues of trust and opening up to others. Perhaps painful experiences in relationships from the past, such as divorce, abuse, abandonment, disappointments, etc. causes one to be closed or have a very difficult time receiving.

Fear blocks faith from operating. Fear closes the door to receiving. Some are delayed from receiving their healing or promise because they have been a captive to the pain of their past, and living with a victim mentality for so long.

In John 5:5-9, Jesus came by the pool of Bethesda and found a lame man who had suffered with an infirmity for 38 years. Jesus said to him, “Do you want to be made whole?” Rather than the man instantly saying “yes”, he gave Jesus the reasons why he hadn’t been healed in the past. And the man was also stuck in the mode of blaming others for his condition. When the man decided to take responsibility for his own life and stop blaming others and making excuses, then he was able to receive his healing.

Often times we do the same thing as this man. Often times we justify our actions by blaming others or blaming our past for our problems. Even though others may HAVE done us harm and we were victims, God doesn’t want us to remain in a victim mentality for the rest of our lives.

Pastor Paula White often says, “A victim says: ‘I cannot get out unless you let me out’”. That’s too much power to give to a mortal man or woman.

Another reason why some are blocked from receiving their healing is because they are looking more to man to be healed, than to Jesus. Man can’t do much for you. Man is only the vessel, the instrument, in which the healing power of God flows through. Only Jesus can heal. The focus must be on Him.

What is keeping you from receiving God’s promises right now? Fear? Doubt? Past hurts? Unforgiveness? Bitterness? Unresolved past issues? Blaming others? Not ready to let go of something that is blocking you from receiving? Focusing too much on your past? Your past doesn’t have to dictate your present or future. God is doing a new thing. Now it springs forth.

Another thing that keeps us from being totally ready to receive is because we are familiar with the old, as unhappy as it may be. It’s predictable and we know what to expect. The new is uncertain. We have not traveled on the path of new before. There are so many “what ifs?”.

Also, many times feelings of unworthiness get in the way of us receiving. “I am unworthy to receive ______ because ______.” Those unworthiness thoughts are not of God. The author of those thoughts is the devil (whose character is that of lying, deceiving, undermining, cheating, killing, robbing and destroying). Unworthiness thoughts remain when we view ourselves lower than how the Lord sees us. We need to come up higher and see ourselves the way God does. We are royal heirs and heiresses of God.

Feelings of shame also block us from receiving what God has promised. Whether feelings of shame are the result of something we did in the past, or a result of dishonor and disgrace brought upon us by the actions of someone else—we must give it over to the Lord and receive His cleansing and grace. Believe what God’s written Word says and receive it for your life.

If prophetic words were spoken over you and it bore witness with your spirit and is in agreement with the Bible, then trust God to perform His Word. If God spoke some rhema words into your spirit of things He’s promised He’s going to do in your life, then believe God to bring it to pass. When I say “rhema words”, I’m talking about when the Lord speaks to you a fresh, “right now”, word directly through Scriptures that seem to be highlighted and grab your attention.

Your part to acquiring God’s promises for your life is to cooperate with God by doing whatever He tells you to do and by opening up your heart to receive.

May we prepare our hearts to receive all God has for us. May we make whatever changes God tells us to make, so that we are ready to receive.

It’s time to cross over into our promised land and receive what we’ve been believing God for. May we not let fear, doubt and other issues get in the way of receiving our promise. May we be ready to receive. Amen.

The Promises of God are YES and AMEN!

The Promises of God are YES and AMEN!

Habakkuk 2:2-3 Write down the vision and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”

Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?”

God’s Word is filled with many promises for our lives. Have you asked the Lord to do something specific in your life and you know deep in your heart that He said “yes” and made a promise to you that He would do it?

He may have quickened a Scripture that pertains to your situation or maybe He dropped a promise into your heart. Perhaps a prophetic message was spoken over you and it bore witness in your spirit that it was of God, and was a confirmation of what the Lord had been speaking to your heart.

What is your circumstance? What are you believing God for?

When God first promises something to us there’s the feeling of being overjoyed and a sense of expectancy. It seems like the promise will come to pass right away. In some cases it does, but in most instances a period of time elapses between the time God first shows us something and the time it comes to fulfillment.

Many times months and years go by and it still hasn’t happened. And have you ever experienced that feeling of disappointment that just when it seemed like the promise was finally going to come to pass, there was a sudden turn in the road?

Joseph is an example of having been given a promise and yet seeing a reverse in his situation. At a young age God speaks to Joseph in dreams and reveals to him that one day he would be a ruler and his family would bow down to him. Because of the evil actions of his brothers, he ends up in Potiphar’s house in Egypt. He’s been snatched away from his home and family and is made a slave in a foreign land. Then while at Potiphar’s house, he is falsely accused of attempted rape and is thrown into prison for a crime he did not commit. Joseph was a pure man, and now his reputation is damaged. After all of these negative events, he might have questioned God or perhaps thought that somehow he had missed God.

Then there’s the story of Sarah. She had no children because she was barren. God spoke to Abraham and told him he would have a son and would become the father of many nations. Months went by and then years went by and still Sarah did not conceive. She prayed and waited, and prayed and waited but it seemed like nothing was happening. She yearned and longed for a child from her own womb yet was faced with reality being the opposite. As time passed, now she’s not only faced with the fact that she cannot reproduce, but even if she could, now she’s too old and now Abraham is also too old. The Bible says that his body was as good as dead and Sarah’s womb was dead (Hebrews 11:11-12).

Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.”

What do you do during times like these when you’ve taken appropriate action on your part and done all you know to do, because James 2:20 says that faith without works is dead, yet it still seems like nothing is happening?

And the reality of your situation seems to be a contradiction to the promise or what you’re believing for?

The devil uses these opportune times in our lives to taunt us with words like: “It will never happen” … “Did God really say that?” … “It’s too late for you”.

God’s delay in answering prayer doesn’t necessarily mean denial. God’s promises are “Yes” and “Amen” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Though the promise tarry it will surely come to pass and not prove false. God wants us to have faith and to trust him.

Romans 4:17 says that God calls those things that are not as though they already were.

Many times God uses the waiting process to refine us. The fire of delayed answers is one of the hottest fires to go through and tests our faith like nothing else can. Depending on the situation, sometimes God needs to work some things out first before He brings a promise to pass. The waiting process develops patience, humility, and a deeper level of trust in God. James 1:4 says, “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect [Greek: complete, mature], and entire [Greek: whole], wanting [Greek: lacking] nothing.”

For some, they have been in the mode of delayed promises for 5, 10, 20 or more years. The sands of time have brought about a withering away of hope, and dreams seem to be dead or have little life. But God is a God of resurrection, and in His perfect timing, He will resurrect old dreams and fulfill promises He spoke long ago. Where there were years of disappointment, many tears, and lost hope, He will restore with a double portion of joy.

At the time appointed by God, He woke up Sarah’s dead womb and put life back into Abraham’s body. They named their son Isaac, meaning “laughter”. What joy they must have felt! Now all the years of shame and humiliation was finally removed.

And also suddenly (sometimes God acts suddenly), God intervened in Joseph’s situation and gave him the interpretation to Pharoah’s dream. All at once he was set free from prison, was placed as second in command over all Egypt and was given a wife, and she bore him two sons. God restored to Joseph many times over for all the turmoil and pain he had gone through. God turned Joseph’s affliction into joy—so much to the point that when his first son was born he called him “Manassah”, meaning “He has made me to forget my toil”. He named his second son “Ephraim”, meaning “God has made me double fruitful”.

God wants to do something in our life that’s bigger than us. He wants us to believe for the impossible. He’s able to do miracles, even creative miracles.

Jeremiah 32:27 says, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for Me?” In verse 17 Jeremiah declares, “Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for Thee.”

God is doing creative miracles even now, but in the days ahead creative miracles will increase (as our faith level increases to see God do more creative miracles). We will see or hear more testimonies about God restoring bodily parts that are damaged or not even there.

When Zerubbabel (mentioned in Haggai and Ezra) had faced opposition to restoring the temple in Jersualem and work had been suspended for several years, the situation looked bleak. But God spoke through the prophet saying, “Not by [your] might, nor by [your] power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a [level] plain” (Zech 4:6-7).

We can personalize this for our own lives. Replace the name Zerubbabel with your name or that of a loved one. Declare outloud: “The Word of the Lord comes to _________ saying, ‘It’s not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? Before _________ thou shalt become a leveled plain.’”

Matthew 21:21 says that if we speak to our mountain and tell it to move out of our way, and do not doubt in our hearts, that it would obey us. What is the mountain in your life that stands in your way and tries to intimidate or taunt you?

Luke 3:5 speaks of Jesus, saying that He would cause every valley to be filled and exalted, every mountain to be made low, every crooked path to be made straight, and every rough way to be made smooth.

God wants us to keep our focus on Him, and see Him as powerful and mighty and awesome. Who else is like unto Him? Who else can do what only He can do? There is none like Him!

Hebrews 11:11 says that Sarah received the promise because she considered Him faithful who had promised. Like Sarah, we need to believe that God is faithful to fulfill everything He said He would do even before we see it happen.

In Psalms 37:4, God promises to grant us the desires of our hearts. Even though there may be a delay in those desires coming to pass, the Lord wants us to keep delighting ourselves in Him.

The Hebrew word translated “delight” in Psalms 37:4 is “anag”. Although the definition of the word “delight” is inclusive of “taking pleasure in”, or “enjoying His Presence”, in this particular passage, the word “anag” is used. It is defined as: “being soft and pliable” (or in other words, allowing the Lord to be the Potter and mold us and have His way in our lives; keeping a soft heart). In the next verse, vs. 5, God promises that if we commit our way to Him and trust in Him, then He would bring our desires to pass.

In God’s way and in His timing, He will fulfill every promise. This is a year when many of God’s prophets and ministers are hearing the Holy Spirit say that this is a season when God is going to fulfill many promises He spoke to people long ago. It’s a season of leaving the wilderness and crossing over into our promised land. There are giants there (new challenges and new devils to contend with), but God will conquer every giant. Although the old can be miserable, it’s familiar. The new seems scary because it’s a place of the unknown.

God has a “promised land” for each of our lives (a place of blessings, joy, abundance and fulfilled dreams). The Lord will lead us there if we take His hand, and be willing to leave the past behind.

Luke 1:45 “Blessed is she [he] that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her [him] of the Lord.”

Pt. 6 – The Christmas Story (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!

Pt. 1 – The Christmas Story (The Stage Was Set)

The Stage Was Set

The key themes of the Christmas Story are:

  • Joy
  • Redemption and Salvation
  • God is faithful to fulfill His promises
  • Fear not
  • Nothing is impossible with God
  • God speaks to us in dreams; listen to Him

God has a perfect season and timing for everything in our lives.

“For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.  Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry” (Habakkuk 2:3 NKJV).

God’s Word is filled with precious promises.  Have you asked the Lord to do something specific in your life and you know deep in your heart that He said “yes” and made a promise to you that He would do it?

He may have quickened a Scripture that pertains to your situation or maybe He dropped a promise into your heart. Perhaps a prophetic message was spoken over you and it bore witness in your spirit that it was of God, and was a confirmation of what the Lord had been speaking to your heart.

What is your circumstance?  What are you believing God for?

When God first promises something to us there is the feeling of being overjoyed and a sense of expectancy.  It seems like the promise will come to pass right away.  In some cases it does, but in most instances a period of time elapses between the moment the promise is first given and the time it comes to fulfillment.

Many times months and years go by and the promise still has not happened.  Have you ever experienced that feeling of disappointment that just when it seemed like the promise was finally going to come to pass, there was a sudden turn in the road?

Proverbs 13:12 (NKJV) says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.”

The devil uses these opportune times in our lives to taunt us with words like: “It will never happen” … “Did God really say that?” … “It’s too late for you”.

God’s delay in answering prayer does not necessarily mean denial.  God’s promises are “Yes” and “Amen” (2 Corinthians 1:20).  Though the promise tarry it will surely come to pass and not prove false.  God wants us to have faith and to trust him.

Psalms 145:13 (NIV) tells us:  “The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV) says, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.”

Even in the timing of the birth of Christ, the Messianic promises had been spoken hundreds and thousands of years before Christ became flesh.

Why did God wait so long to send His Son?  The answer:  Because the stage had to be fully set first.

In looking back on history, God waited until certain things were in place before sending Jesus to earth.  For instance, roads had been built by the Romans.  The Romans ruled much of the known world during that time, and they had built wide highways and roads going every direction from Rome to the Middle East, Africa, Far East and European countries.  Because the roads were built, travel to almost any destination was possible.

Besides roads for land travel, there were technological advances in sea travel with ships to transport people to almost any coastal destination, including the isles of the sea.

Jesus said to make disciples of every nation, and with access to land and sea travel, it was now possible for His disciples to fulfill Jesus’ commission and to spread the Gospel to every nation in the known world.

Another important factor which set the stage for the coming of Christ is that during that time in history, Greek was the universal language.

While every country and region spoke their own native tongue, all nations also spoke Greek.  The New Testament was written in Greek so that everyone could understand the Gospel.  Business and foreign relations with other countries was possible since everyone understood the language.

Unlike centuries prior, most people in the known world were able to read and write in Greek.  Most street signs were written in Greek, as well as public announcements from the Romans.  With everyone knowing Greek, and most people able to read and write in Greek, communication was possible so that the Gospel could spread to the ends of the earth.

The political climate was ripe for the Messiah to come.  There had been Jewish revolts taking place, the most notorious being the Maccabean revolts.  There was conflict over Judaism and Hellenism.  The Seleucid Empire persecuted the traditional Jews and tried to eradicate their religion and religious practices altogether.

The lifestyle of the Greco-Roman world was incompatible with that of the Jews.  Because the Greco-Roman influence was so heavy, the younger generation of Jews began to adopt many of the ways of the pagan culture and abandon Judaism.

The revolts were also to rebel against Roman rule over their country Israel, and the heavy taxation.  Israel had been an independent nation, having had possessed the land thousands of years before.  Now their nation was being taken over by Roman rule.  There was tremendous upheaval and unrest.

Roman soldiers could be very brutal with citizens and everyday life posed many dangers.

A forerunner was needed to “prepare the way of the Lord” (Luke 3:4, Isaiah 40:3-5, Malachi 4:5-6).  He was born six months prior to Jesus’ birth.

The fullness of time had come for the Messiah to come to earth and the stage was completely set in place.

In our own lives, sometimes the promises of God are not fulfilled until the stage has been set in place.  The Lord takes us through a period of preparation.  He is at work behind the scenes getting everything ready.  When it is God’s timing, things begin to fall into place.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.”

The Promises of God are YES and AMEN!

Habakkuk 2:2-3 Write down the vision and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”

Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?”

God’s Word is filled with many promises for our lives. Have you asked the Lord to do something specific in your life and you know deep in your heart that He said “yes” and made a promise to you that He would do it?

He may have quickened a Scripture that pertains to your situation or maybe He dropped a promise into your heart. Perhaps a prophetic message was spoken over you and it bore witness in your spirit that it was of God, and was a confirmation of what the Lord had been speaking to your heart.

What is your circumstance? What are you believing God for?

When God first promises something to us there’s the feeling of being overjoyed and a sense of expectancy. It seems like the promise will come to pass right away. In some cases it does, but in most instances a period of time elapses between the time God first shows us something and the time it comes to fulfillment.

Many times months and years go by and it still hasn’t happened. And have you ever experienced that feeling of disappointment that just when it seemed like the promise was finally going to come to pass, there was a sudden turn in the road?

Joseph is an example of having been given a promise and yet seeing a reverse in his situation. At a young age God speaks to Joseph in dreams and reveals to him that one day he would be a ruler and his family would bow down to him. Because of the evil actions of his brothers, he ends up in Potiphar’s house in Egypt. He’s been snatched away from his home and family and is made a slave in a foreign land. Then while at Potiphar’s house, he is falsely accused of attempted rape and is thrown into prison for a crime he did not commit. Joseph was a pure man, and now his reputation is damaged. After all of these negative events, he might have questioned God or perhaps thought that somehow he had missed God.

Then there’s the story of Sarah. She had no children because she was barren. God spoke to Abraham and told him he would have a son and would become the father of many nations. Months went by and then years went by and still Sarah did not conceive. She prayed and waited, and prayed and waited but it seemed like nothing was happening. She yearned and longed for a child from her own womb yet was faced with reality being the opposite. As time passed, now she’s not only faced with the fact that she cannot reproduce, but even if she could, now she’s too old and now Abraham is also too old. The Bible says that his body was as good as dead and Sarah’s womb was dead (Hebrews 11:11-12).

Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.”

What do you do during times like these when you’ve taken appropriate action on your part and done all you know to do, because James 2:20 says that faith without works is dead, yet it still seems like nothing is happening?

And the reality of your situation seems to be a contradiction to the promise or what you’re believing for?

The devil uses these opportune times in our lives to taunt us with words like: “It will never happen” … “Did God really say that?” … “It’s too late for you”.

God’s delay in answering prayer doesn’t necessarily mean denial. God’s promises are “Yes” and “Amen” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Though the promise tarry it will surely come to pass and not prove false. God wants us to have faith and to trust him.

Romans 4:17 says that God calls those things that are not as though they already were.

Many times God uses the waiting process to refine us. The fire of delayed answers is one of the hottest fires to go through and tests our faith like nothing else can. Depending on the situation, sometimes God needs to work some things out first before He brings a promise to pass. The waiting process develops patience, humility, and a deeper level of trust in God. James 1:4 says, “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect [Greek: complete, mature], and entire [Greek: whole], wanting [Greek: lacking] nothing.”

For some, they have been in the mode of delayed promises for 5, 10, 20 or more years. The sands of time have brought about a withering away of hope, and dreams seem to be dead or have little life. But God is a God of resurrection, and in His perfect timing, He will resurrect old dreams and fulfill promises He spoke long ago. Where there were years of disappointment, many tears, and lost hope, He will restore with a double portion of joy.

At the time appointed by God, He woke up Sarah’s dead womb and put life back into Abraham’s body. They named their son Isaac, meaning “laughter”. What joy they must have felt! Now all the years of shame and humiliation was finally removed.

And also suddenly (sometimes God acts suddenly), God intervened in Joseph’s situation and gave him the interpretation to Pharoah’s dream. All at once he was set free from prison, was placed as second in command over all Egypt and was given a wife, and she bore him two sons. God restored to Joseph many times over for all the turmoil and pain he had gone through. God turned Joseph’s affliction into joy—so much to the point that when his first son was born he called him “Manassah”, meaning “He has made me to forget my toil”. He named his second son “Ephraim”, meaning “God has made me double fruitful”.

God wants to do something in our life that’s bigger than us. He wants us to believe for the impossible. He’s able to do miracles, even creative miracles.

Jeremiah 32:27 says, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for Me?” In verse 17 Jeremiah declares, “Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for Thee.”

God is doing creative miracles even now, but in the days ahead creative miracles will increase (as our faith level increases to see God do more creative miracles). We will see or hear more testimonies about God restoring bodily parts that are damaged or not even there.

When Zerubbabel (mentioned in Haggai and Ezra) had faced opposition to restoring the temple in Jersualem and work had been suspended for several years, the situation looked bleak. But God spoke through the prophet saying, “Not by [your] might, nor by [your] power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a [level] plain” (Zech 4:6-7).

We can personalize this for our own lives. Replace the name Zerubbabel with your name or that of a loved one. Declare outloud: “The Word of the Lord comes to _________ saying, ‘It’s not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? Before _________ thou shalt become a leveled plain.’”

Matthew 21:21 says that if we speak to our mountain and tell it to move out of our way, and do not doubt in our hearts, that it would obey us. What is the mountain in your life that stands in your way and tries to intimidate or taunt you?

Luke 3:5 speaks of Jesus, saying that He would cause every valley to be filled and exalted, every mountain to be made low, every crooked path to be made straight, and every rough way to be made smooth.

God wants us to keep our focus on Him, and see Him as powerful and mighty and awesome. Who else is like unto Him? Who else can do what only He can do? There is none like Him!

Hebrews 11:11 says that Sarah received the promise because she considered Him faithful who had promised. Like Sarah, we need to believe that God is faithful to fulfill everything He said He would do even before we see it happen.

In Psalms 37:4, God promises to grant us the desires of our hearts. Even though there may be a delay in those desires coming to pass, the Lord wants us to keep delighting ourselves in Him.

The Hebrew word translated “delight” in Psalms 37:4 is “anag”. Although the definition of the word “delight” is inclusive of “taking pleasure in”, or “enjoying His Presence”, in this particular passage, the word “anag” is used. It is defined as: “being soft and pliable” (or in other words, allowing the Lord to be the Potter and mold us and have His way in our lives; keeping a soft heart). In the next verse, vs. 5, God promises that if we commit our way to Him and trust in Him, then He would bring our desires to pass.

In God’s way and in His timing, He will fulfill every promise. This is a year when many of God’s prophets and ministers are hearing the Holy Spirit say that this is a season when God is going to fulfill many promises He spoke to people long ago. It’s a season of leaving the wilderness and crossing over into our promised land. There are giants there (new challenges and new devils to contend with), but God will conquer every giant. Although the old can be miserable, it’s familiar. The new seems scary because it’s a place of the unknown.

God has a “promised land” for each of our lives (a place of blessings, joy, abundance and fulfilled dreams). The Lord will lead us there if we take His hand, and be willing to leave the past behind.

Luke 1:45 “Blessed is she [he] that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her [him] of the Lord.”

The Promises of God are YES and AMEN!

Habakkuk 2:2-3 Write down the vision and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”

Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?”

God’s Word is filled with many promises for our lives. Have you asked the Lord to do something specific in your life and you know deep in your heart that He said “yes” and made a promise to you that He would do it?

He may have quickened a Scripture that pertains to your situation or maybe He dropped a promise into your heart. Perhaps a prophetic message was spoken over you and it bore witness in your spirit that it was of God, and was a confirmation of what the Lord had been speaking to your heart.

What is your circumstance? What are you believing God for?

When God first promises something to us there’s the feeling of being overjoyed and a sense of expectancy. It seems like the promise will come to pass right away. In some cases it does, but in most instances a period of time elapses between the time God first shows us something and the time it comes to fulfillment.

Many times months and years go by and it still hasn’t happened. And have you ever experienced that feeling of disappointment that just when it seemed like the promise was finally going to come to pass, there was a sudden turn in the road?

Joseph is an example of having been given a promise and yet seeing a reverse in his situation. At a young age God speaks to Joseph in dreams and reveals to him that one day he would be a ruler and his family would bow down to him. Because of the evil actions of his brothers, he ends up in Potiphar’s house in Egypt. He’s been snatched away from his home and family and is made a slave in a foreign land. Then while at Potiphar’s house, he is falsely accused of attempted rape and is thrown into prison for a crime he did not commit. Joseph was a pure man, and now his reputation is damaged. After all of these negative events, he might have questioned God or perhaps thought that somehow he had missed God.

Then there’s the story of Sarah. She had no children because she was barren. God spoke to Abraham and told him he would have a son and would become the father of many nations. Months went by and then years went by and still Sarah did not conceive. She prayed and waited, and prayed and waited but it seemed like nothing was happening. She yearned and longed for a child from her own womb yet was faced with reality being the opposite. As time passed, now she’s not only faced with the fact that she cannot reproduce, but even if she could, now she’s too old and now Abraham is also too old. The Bible says that his body was as good as dead and Sarah’s womb was dead (Hebrews 11:11-12).

Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.”

What do you do during times like these when you’ve taken appropriate action on your part and done all you know to do, because James 2:20 says that faith without works is dead, yet it still seems like nothing is happening?

And the reality of your situation seems to be a contradiction to the promise or what you’re believing for?

The devil uses these opportune times in our lives to taunt us with words like: “It will never happen” … “Did God really say that?” … “It’s too late for you”.

God’s delay in answering prayer doesn’t necessarily mean denial. God’s promises are “Yes” and “Amen” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Though the promise tarry it will surely come to pass and not prove false. God wants us to have faith and to trust him.

Romans 4:17 says that God calls those things that are not as though they already were.

Many times God uses the waiting process to refine us. The fire of delayed answers is one of the hottest fires to go through and tests our faith like nothing else can. Depending on the situation, sometimes God needs to work some things out first before He brings a promise to pass. The waiting process develops patience, humility, and a deeper level of trust in God. James 1:4 says, “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect [Greek: complete, mature], and entire [Greek: whole], wanting [Greek: lacking] nothing.”

For some, they have been in the mode of delayed promises for 5, 10, 20 or more years. The sands of time have brought about a withering away of hope, and dreams seem to be dead or have little life. But God is a God of resurrection, and in His perfect timing, He will resurrect old dreams and fulfill promises He spoke long ago. Where there were years of disappointment, many tears, and lost hope, He will restore with a double portion of joy.

At the time appointed by God, He woke up Sarah’s dead womb and put life back into Abraham’s body. They named their son Isaac, meaning “laughter”. What joy they must have felt! Now all the years of shame and humiliation was finally removed.

And also suddenly (sometimes God acts suddenly), God intervened in Joseph’s situation and gave him the interpretation to Pharoah’s dream. All at once he was set free from prison, was placed as second in command over all Egypt and was given a wife, and she bore him two sons. God restored to Joseph many times over for all the turmoil and pain he had gone through. God turned Joseph’s affliction into joy—so much to the point that when his first son was born he called him “Manassah”, meaning “He has made me to forget my toil”. He named his second son “Ephraim”, meaning “God has made me double fruitful”.

God wants to do something in our life that’s bigger than us. He wants us to believe for the impossible. He’s able to do miracles, even creative miracles.

Jeremiah 32:27 says, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for Me?” In verse 17 Jeremiah declares, “Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for Thee.”

God is doing creative miracles even now, but in the days ahead creative miracles will increase (as our faith level increases to see God do more creative miracles). We will see or hear more testimonies about God restoring bodily parts that are damaged or not even there.

When Zerubbabel (mentioned in Haggai and Ezra) had faced opposition to restoring the temple in Jersualem and work had been suspended for several years, the situation looked bleak. But God spoke through the prophet saying, “Not by [your] might, nor by [your] power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a [level] plain” (Zech 4:6-7).

We can personalize this for our own lives. Replace the name Zerubbabel with your name or that of a loved one. Declare outloud: “The Word of the Lord comes to _________ saying, ‘It’s not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? Before _________ thou shalt become a leveled plain.’”

Matthew 21:21 says that if we speak to our mountain and tell it to move out of our way, and do not doubt in our hearts, that it would obey us. What is the mountain in your life that stands in your way and tries to intimidate or taunt you?

Luke 3:5 speaks of Jesus, saying that He would cause every valley to be filled and exalted, every mountain to be made low, every crooked path to be made straight, and every rough way to be made smooth.

God wants us to keep our focus on Him, and see Him as powerful and mighty and awesome. Who else is like unto Him? Who else can do what only He can do? There is none like Him!

Hebrews 11:11 says that Sarah received the promise because she considered Him faithful who had promised. Like Sarah, we need to believe that God is faithful to fulfill everything He said He would do even before we see it happen.

In Psalms 37:4, God promises to grant us the desires of our hearts. Even though there may be a delay in those desires coming to pass, the Lord wants us to keep delighting ourselves in Him.

The Hebrew word translated “delight” in Psalms 37:4 is “anag”. Although the definition of the word “delight” is inclusive of “taking pleasure in”, or “enjoying His Presence”, in this particular passage, the word “anag” is used. It is defined as: “being soft and pliable” (or in other words, allowing the Lord to be the Potter and mold us and have His way in our lives; keeping a soft heart). In the next verse, vs. 5, God promises that if we commit our way to Him and trust in Him, then He would bring our desires to pass.

In God’s way and in His timing, He will fulfill every promise. This is a year when many of God’s prophets and ministers are hearing the Holy Spirit say that this is a season when God is going to fulfill many promises He spoke to people long ago. It’s a season of leaving the wilderness and crossing over into our promised land. There are giants there (new challenges and new devils to contend with), but God will conquer every giant. Although the old can be miserable, it’s familiar. The new seems scary because it’s a place of the unknown.

God has a “promised land” for each of our lives (a place of blessings, joy, abundance and fulfilled dreams). The Lord will lead us there if we take His hand, and be willing to leave the past behind.

Luke 1:45 “Blessed is she [he] that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her [him] of the Lord.”