I Refuse to Go to Prison!

YUdkSWdQcgOne day, according to an old fable, the devil decided to sell some of his well-worn tools. On display were some treacherous instruments, including hatred, jealousy, lying, and pride. Set apart from the rest was a harmless-looking device with a very high price tag. “What’s this?” someone asked. “That’s discouragement,” Satan replied. “It’s one of my most effective tools. With it I can pry open the hearts of God’s greatest servants and bring on depression” (Our Daily Bread, June 20, 1991).

Discouragement is simply losing God’s perspective. You no longer see yourself the way God sees you! After the tremendous victory on Mt. Carmel and years of powerful ministry, experiencing one miracle after another, Elijah would never have dreamt that one day he would find himself under a tree wanting to die, simply because he was so deeply discouraged. The spirit of fear had robbed him of all Godly perspective. However, God had not changed nor had HE lost control over the situation!

If you stay close to God and communicate with him on a regular basis, you can maintain His view of things! There have been times in my life when I was so overwhelmed with discouragement that I felt very tempted to simply give up. But then all of a sudden, God showed me the reality: I am not a victim, I am a VICTOR! In those moments I now say, “In the name of Jesus, I rebuke that evil spirit!” As soon as I take advantage of that Godly authority, discouragement is broken every time!

Refuse to be put in the devil’s prison! You cannot afford it, because the harvest fields are demanding the best right now (see John 4:35).

“‘They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,’ declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 1:19).

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You Have Forty-Eight Hours to Leave Kenya!

ZERkQwSomething was terribly wrong! It was a beautiful, sunny day, but I couldn’t help noticing the stream of African pastors coming and going from our home. My father ran in and out of the house again and again, but without saying a word. There was great tension in the air, but what was wrong?

After a couple of hours, my mother called all five of us children together. The look on her face revealed deep distress. “Children,” she began, “something very terrible has happened. We, as a family, have been ordered to leave the country within forty-eight hours! You will only be able to take one small bag with you, so get your most precious belongings together.” We couldn’t believe our ears! What had my parents done wrong? They were missionaries who were a tremendous blessing to the Kenyan people, often making great sacrifices to further the work of God. Why was this happening? Was this an attack from the devil?

Satan uses every opportunity he can to harm the people of God. If you analyze the decrees made against the people of God in the Bible, you will realize that many of them were carefully designed to destroy the lineage of Christ, the Messiah—to prevent all of mankind from getting saved. In the book of Esther, all Jews were to be annihilated. In the books of Kings, the lineage of David was once reduced to only one little boy named Joash (2 Kings 11:2). If he had been killed, all hope for humanity would have been snuffed out.

We need to understand that, in all our struggles, we are not really the target; God is. The devil’s strategy is: hurt the son to get at the father. The attacks of the devil in your life are always aimed at God, and almost always try to neutralize or completely disable a vibrant witness for Christ. He wants to stop God’s purposes in your life! This means, when you are under attack, it is not your battle but the LORD’S!!! The Bible says: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12; NIV). We recognized that that day that this was God’s battle and only HE could keep us in Kenya.

A certain tribesman, who did not like the tribe my parents were ministering to, had influenced one of the politicians to expel my parents from Kenya. But when the local pastors heard of the deadline, they quickly sent a delegation to the office of the President. The Vice President of Kenya at that time, who later became the President, made a ruling stating, “Martin Franz will stay in Kenya!” My father was placed under his protection and served a total of thirty-nine years on the mission field.

God had stood true to His word: “‘No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me,’ declares the LORD” (Isaiah 54:17; NIV).

The battle is the LORD’S!

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Have You Ever Felt As If You’ve Lost Control?

landscape-328795-editedDo you feel like you are only reacting—trying to patch up holes that are opening faster than you can manage? Are you sometimes shocked at yourself?

There is a story about a remote part of Austria where, many years ago, people were dying because their water supply was contaminated. Even health experts were puzzled, since the village got its water supply from a fresh mountain stream that was fed from a spring. An old man had been hired in the past to keep the spring clean. He performed his duties faithfully, but no one ever really checked to see what he was doing. When the town started to cut budgets, the leaders felt that he was not significant and that his job was of not much value. The old man was sent home.

When people started dying, the town discovered the rotting body of a large bird and other toxic debris that had accumulated over the years at the origin of the spring. The insignificant old man suddenly became one of the town’s most important people. Once the debris was removed, the spring flowed pure again.

HOW ABOUT YOU? Is the spring of your heart flowing pure? So quickly the enemy uses disappointments, conflicts, and sinful actions to contaminate your heart. Once contaminated, it affects everything you do. The Bible says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23; NIV).

Can you name two things that could potentially be contaminating your heart today?

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20; NIV).

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Make Every Day Count!

f16 falcon fighter jet parked  on sunset  backgroundThe small single-engine aircraft flew dangerously low over LeTourneau College in East Texas. Graduation was over, and two of the graduating students celebrated their achievements with a “buzz” over the college. As they pushed the throttle to get back to the airport, the engine sputtered and would not fire up again. All their desperate efforts to have a safe landing were in vain. The aircraft plowed into a forest, leaving one of the graduates dead.

He had written an essay about half a year before graduation. It went something like this: “In half a year, life is finally starting for me. I cannot wait to get out there.” However, his life ended before it “started.”

Did you know that the greatest riches in this world cannot be found in the oil wells of the Middle East, nor in the economy of the United States, nor the gold and diamond mines of Africa? The greatest untapped wealth can be found in our local cemeteries. Six feet under the ground lie incredible inventions that were never made, books that were never written, and dreams that were never fulfilled! All the potential was there, but people never took the time to find God’s plan for their lives.

Psalm 139:16 says, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (NIV). Did you know that God is personally writing your biography? Have you heard from HIM? What kind of story will it be?

Finding God’s plan is not the easy road. Think about this: at the toughest point in Jesus’ life, under tears, sweat, and blood, he said, “Father, not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

Make every day count! What is your dream?

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Spider Lifts 220 lbs. in Africa!

YkVmQ2ZRcwDo you believe that a small insect can lift 220 pounds?

A scream rang through the remote mission house. Suddenly, a half-dressed lady came running around the corner, ploughed straight into the living room and jumped on the dining table, screaming at the top of her voice. The missionary nurse who lived there hurried over to find out what was wrong. She found the distraught woman screaming on top of the table. When she went to investigate the problem, she found a desert spider innocently crouching in the bedroom. That little creature had managed to get a 220 lbs. lady onto the dining table.

Obviously a spider cannot even lift an ounce, but the power of fear can. The devil often tries to use fear to control us. This is what made Elijah, who boldly confronted King Ahab and stood full of faith on Mt. Carmel challenging hundreds of Baal’s priests, actually turn around and flee from one woman—Jezebel. Fear drove him to the point where he wanted to die.

How could the devil be trying to use fear to control you today?

Remember what God says: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:1-3).

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The Boy Would Not Move!

Dscn0283The scorching African sun shone mercilessly on the hot desert town. Occasionally, you could see one or two brave people walking in the sun, but most of them preferred to seek refuge in the shade. As I was sitting outside the pastor’s house preparing for the evening crusade services, a number of children came running towards me to take a look at the new “white man” in town. They kept playing close by, making a lot of noise and breaking my concentration.

Finally, I playfully picked up a stick pretending to want to use it against the youngsters. The group immediately scampered—all except for ONE. The boy just stood there looking at me, not budging an inch. Challenged by the boldness of this young lad, I again raised the stick as if I wanted to hit him … but again, he just stood there looking at me. Why was this youngster not frightened like the others? A young man nearby finally spoke up. He said, “Sir, be careful how you treat that boy. He is the chief’s son!”

I was moved—what an illustration! He knew who he was and under whose authority he stood. Too many believers cower in fear instead of standing their ground, looking the enemy in the face. That boy was much smaller than me, but he knew that if I touched him, I was messin’ with his father!

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).

God wants you to rise up in His authority and be all He has made you to be!

What are you afraid of today?  Conquer it with the knowledge that you are a precious, chosen child of God.

NOTE: The same thing that made thousands of Israelite soldiers run from Goliath, deeply motivated David to stand up and fight!

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Avoid the Big Crisis!

IVCan you avoid the big crisis?

There I sat in the emergency room. My wife sat next to me, looking very concerned. A dull but pronounced pain was squeezing my chest. Was this a heart attack? Once I was checked into the hospital, I was sorry I had come. They took me through the mill, keeping me for twenty-four hours, performing one test after another.

My heart turned out to be healthy in all, but the doctors put me on medication. “Just a ‘baby’ dose that you will need to take from now on” is what the nurse told me.

After the shock, I began to reason with myself. What do I prefer, to endure a little pain every morning exercising or to one day end up in the hospital with doctors fighting for my life? I decided to pay the price for health in small installments. Since then, I run and exercise almost every day and have found the rewards to be tremendous. This principle applies to every area of our lives.

Nobody has ever planned to have a major heart attack – ending up in the hospital with surgeons fighting for their lives. No one has planned for divorce when they were standing at the altar saying, “I do.”

I have discovered that we must choose to pay the small daily installments or we will face spiritual bankruptcy in one form or other.

We can choose to be accountable before we fall into deep moral sin.
We can choose to spend time in prayer before we descend into irreversible carnality.
We can choose to spend the time reading the Word of God and meditating before deception has a chance to take us to Jonestown (where 800 deceived people committed suicide).
We can choose to make the small daily investments in our marriage before our spouse walks out the door.

Which area of your life is headed for a huge crisis?

You will have to choose between the smaller price of discipline or the huge crisis later.

Make the small daily payments of time with our precious Savior and with the loved ones HE has given us.

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. ‘Make level paths for your feet,’ so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed” (Hebrews 12:11-13).

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