Friday, January 29, 2016

How do you face your enemy

How do you face your enemy? 

Do you face your enemy in anger, in fear, with boldness, with peace, with confusion, with intimidation? 

Let’s look at the shepherd, David, and his method of facing his enemy. Yes, this is the same David who eventually became the most beloved king of Israel.
But as a teenager, he faced a fierce enemy.
It all began one day when his father, Jesse, sent him to take food and check on his older brothers who were camped with the Hebrew army preparing to war with the Philistines, their greatest enemy.
As David approached the battlefield, he didn’t hear a battle going on, but instead heard a man shouting with a harsh, angry voice. The man was from the enemy ranks—a giant of a man. Not just extremely tall, he was muscular, fierce, violent looking, and wore rugged, heavy armor. His name was Goliath.  
Goliath had challenged the Jews, demanding they send a warrior to fight against him. The representative who won this two-man battle would bring victory for their own army on that day. Among the ranks of the Hebrews, all trembled with fear. No one would volunteer to fight Goliath.
As he reached his brothers, David heard Goliath again shout to the Israelites, “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together” (1 Samuel 17:10).
When David realized what was taking place, anger rose up in him, to think that such a man was taunting the army of his God. After a bit of exchange with his brothers, David proclaimed: “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? (1 Samuel 17:26b)”

David then went to King Saul and volunteered to fight Goliath. The king questioned David’s ability to step into such a battle.
But David confidently told the king, “’Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.’ Moreover David said, ‘The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine’” (1 Samuel 17:34-37).
David went out to battle the giant, Goliath. His trustworthy God gave him victory over this ominous enemy.
David had a history with God. God had helped him win over many other enemies before Goliath.
Do you have a history with God, your Creator? That is, do you have a relationship with Him and do you know how big and how capable He is? We establish a relationship with our Creator God through His Son, Jesus.
For those of us who have that relationship, let’s build our history with Him  by getting to know Him better through prayer and Bible study.
If you do not have a relationship with God, through Jesus, I invite you to do so right now, right here. Confess that Jesus is indeed the Son of God and ask Him to come into your heart. Get to know Him through reading the Bible.
What is your enemy today? Is it sickness, relationship issues, financial burdens, concerns for family members? −just naming a few possibilities.
Look that situation in the face and say, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the servant (me) of the living God? The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine (or whatever my situation)!”
Let’s confidently face our enemies as David faced Goliath, knowing our God is well able to work things out for our good.
Thank you for reading this post. I pray you will face your Goliath with confidence in the living God.
©Connie Wohlford 2016

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Part 2. A Lamp –The Light that Shows the Way (7)

Part 2. A Lamp –The Light that Shows the Way (7)          
We continue with RiSiKiLi−
              God’s Word − Read it, Study it, Know it, Live it.     

In my blog post last week we continued to look at the value of learning God’s Word and allowing it to illuminate our paths through life. The quote from Pastor Jack Hayford reiterated the point.
Today, let’s look at words of wisdom from Proverbs 3. As you read this passage take notice of how God’s Word is lighting life’s path with right-living instructions. This is so rich I’ve included a large portion of the chapter.

My son, do not forget my teaching. Let your heart keep my words. For they will add to you many days and years of life and peace. Do not let kindness and truth leave you. Tie them around your neck. Write them upon your heart. So you will find favor and good understanding in the eyes of God and man.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not trust in your own understanding. Agree with Him in all your ways, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and turn away from what is sinful. It will be healing to your body and medicine to your bones.
13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gets understanding. 14 For it is better than getting silver and fine gold. 15 She is worth more than stones of great worth. Nothing you can wish for compares with her. 16 Long life is in her right hand. Riches and honor are in her left hand. 17 Her ways are pleasing, and all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her. Happy are all who hold her near.
21 My son, do not allow them to leave your eyes. Keep perfect wisdom and careful thinking. 22 And they will be life to your soul and a chain of beauty to your neck. 23 Then you will be safe as you walk on your way, and your foot will not trip. 24 You will not be afraid when you lie down. When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25 Do not be afraid of fear that comes all at once. And do not be afraid of the storm of the sinful when it comes. 26 For the Lord will be your trust. He will keep your foot from being caught.
27 Do not keep good from those who should have it, when it is in your power to do it.
30 Do not fight with a man for no reason, when he has done you no wrong. 31 Do not be jealous of a man who hurts others, and do not choose any of his ways (Proverbs 3:1-6; 5-6; 13-14; 21-27; 30-31 NLV).

Most of us would agree that if followers of Jesus would read and heed these and other similar passages on a regular basis, we’d live daily lives as better examples of Christ. Our value systems would reflect Jesus’ values. We’d have a true Christian world view and would actually behave different from non-believers. 

This is talking about having and using wisdom and understanding that comes from God. Wisdom is knowing truth and then using it appropriately in given situations. Understanding is knowing truth and having proper insight that enables one to use it wisely.
What a difference it would make in the world if all, or at least most, believers would heed the words in Proverbs! 

Imagine the benefits of diligently teaching God’s principles to our children, starting at the earliest possible age. Then consider the effects of living the life of faith and godly integrity before them in every arena of life. I know a lot of parents who do this and it’s gratifying to witness. 

What a difference this would make in households and the effects would flow like “rivers of living waters” out into the marketplace. Teaching the Word, and the value of it, to children should not be left to Sunday School or children’s church teachers alone. Certainly though, the formal training of these institutions is of great benefit in reinforcing and expanding the teachings of the home.
But day to day teaching and the living before them, of the parents especially, and also of grandparents, older siblings, extended family and friends, is the way to get the Word and its practical application into the hearts and minds of children.

This is the best way to anchor them in Truth and set them up to come into their own faith in Christ that will not only get them into Heaven for eternity, but will get them onto the path of God’s glorious plan−for his or her own abundant life.  
Let's be pro-active in training up children in the Word of God and lets exemplify its illuminating power in our own lives. 

©Connie Wohlford 2016

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Part 2. A Lamp –The Light Shines in Darkness (6)

Part 2. A Lamp –The Light Shines in Darkness (6)          
We continue with RiSiKiLi−
              God’s Word − Read it, Study it, Know it, Live it.    

Today I want to resume looking at the value of God’s Word, picking up where I left of in my October 27, 2015 post. Today’s post is part 6 as we consider our Bibles being like a lamp, helping us find our way through a dark and treacherous world.
We ended Part 5 looking at Paul’s instructions to his young protégé, Timothy. As you read the following passage, imagine that Paul is talking to you and me. Here we have a good example of God’s Word instructing us through everyday life—as a lamp lighting the way. Also, take note of the term “word of truth.” We can think of our Bibles as The Word of Truth. Paul said,
15 Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.
16 Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior. 17 This kind of talk spreads like cancer, as in the case of Hymenaeus and Philetus. 18 They have left the path of truth, claiming that the resurrection of the dead has already occurred; in this way, they have turned some people away from the faith.
19 But God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and “All who belong to the Lord must turn away from evil.” 2 Timothy 2:15-19 NLT
This passage, verse 15 in particular, should be especially meaningful to anyone God calls to be a teacher. For the teacher, this verse contains the heart of his or her ministry gift. All believers are to study and understand God’s Word, but the teacher will be held to a higher level of accountability in this regard. Teaching the Holy Scriptures to others is a high privilege and a huge responsibility, not to be taken lightly.
But this does not let those, without the teacher gift/calling, off the hook, because every person has a teacher type influence on someone−our own family members as well as those we encounter in the market place.
Continuing at verse 16, Paul instructs that we should “avoid worthless, foolish talk.” The New International Version says, “Avoid godless chatter” –the New King James Version, “profane and idle babblings.” Instead we should adhere to the Word of Truth. 
How can we do so if we don’t know what is the Word of Truth? Here’s a simplistic example: “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” It seems that a number of people have been told, and believe, that those words are Scripture.  Though good hygiene is a desirable thing, this is not a quote from the Bible. Believing that it is, reflects ignorance of God’s Word.
Here are Jack Hayford comments on 2 Timothy 2:15: “The Bible−God’s inspired Word−is the only conclusive source of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding concerning ultimate realities. It is a fountainhead of freeing truth (John 8:32) and a gold mine of practical principles (Ps. 19:10), waiting to liberate and/or enrich the person who will pursue its truth and wealth.  Thus, Paul’s instruction to “be diligent … a worker” has been applied by serious Christians through the centuries as a directive to study the Word of God. The only way to healthy, balanced living is through the ‘rightly dividing’ (Greek orthotomounta, literally, ‘cutting straight’) of God’s Word. Such correct, straight-on application of God’s Word is the result of diligent study. The test calls us beyond casual approaches to the Scriptures, telling us to refuse to suit the Bible to our own convenience or ideology.”
“In his earlier words (I Tim. 4:13) Paul also told Timothy, ‘Give attention to reading [God’s Word],’ but now he emphasizes studying like a ‘worker’ (from Greek ergon—‘toil, effort’).  Ps. 119:11 urges memorizing of the Word of God as a mighty deterrent against sin. Memorizing the Scripture also provides an immediate availability of God’s ‘words’ as a sword, ready in witnessing and effective in spiritual warfare (Heb. 4:12; Eph. 6:17). (Is. 55:10, 11/ 2 Tim.3:16).”  Jack Hayford, Spirit Filled Life Bible, Kingdom Dynamics, p 1854.
In writing his epistle to Timothy, Paul was keenly aware that Timothy needed to study and know God’s Word in order to minister to others and to stand firm against unrighteous temptations and behaviors (2 Timothy 2:22-26). It was imperative that Timothy have this divine illumination guiding his personal life and his ministry. He needed to teach these same principles to others and set a good example, even as a young man. Paul instructed Timothy in effective servant leadership, knowing that this was the example set by Christ, Himself.
Truth is found in the Word of God and knowledge of God’s Word will help us stay on God’s virtuous path, illuminating the way, helping us recognize and avoid snares of the devil. As I said in an earlier post the devil, has a plan, or we may call it a plot, for our lives. But following the ways of our Lord, as clearly defined in His Word, will help us avoid his snares and even captivity.    
Have you devised a Bible reading/study plan for this New Year? If you want to do so and don’t know where to start, you might learn Jesus. Begin reading the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—then on to Acts. In addition to that, try to read through the book of Proverbs. It has 31 chapters. If you read a chapter a day, you’ve read the whole thing in a month. You might find it stimulating to repeat that each month or every other month.
On the Internet, Bible Gateway has several Bible reading plans you can take a look at>
No matter the plan you choose, start now. It’s okay to start small, but let it be today. One more thing, PRAY—ask God to help you focus and lead you in His Book. You will be causing Him to smile. Go ahead, smile back.
I pray God will bless you richly as you get to know Him better through His Word.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

What Is God Saying to America in 2016?

I recently read a Charisma Magazine article, by Pastor J. Lee Grady, which really touched my spirit. Last night I read aloud the whole thing to our Wednesday night prayer team at my church. They too saw the relevance and insight of Pastor Grady.
We live in serious times and I believe the seven points made here will help call God’s people to prayer and help give direction as we pray.
So today, with permission, I’m sharing the article, in its entirety:
                                                       By J Lee Grady                 
I've been accused of being a prophet, and I cringe every time because (1) I don't like the title, and (2) I'm not comfortable with the way some Christians put prophetic people on pedestals. The gift of prophecy is certainly needed today, but we should never turn prophets into celebrities or follow them like gurus. Nor should we cheapen prophecy by turning it into a Christian form of fortune telling.
True prophecy is the holy proclamation of God's will and purpose in a particular situation. It is possible to discern what God is saying to a specific church or even a nation. And I believe He is saying some very specific things to the United States. I do not claim to know every detail, nor is the list below complete. The Bible says "we prophesy in part" (1 Cor. 13:9)—and that's why other prophets should add what is missing.
I believe God is most definitely saying these things to us today:

1. We shouldn't look to politicians from either party to save us. At this point, unity among conservative Christian voters looks impossible—especially since most black churchgoers and a big percentage of Hispanic Christians will vote for the Democratic ticket. The bigger question is this: Regardless of whether we have Clinton, Rubio, Trump, Cruz, Carson or even Sanders, will the "right" president deliver our country from its problems? We've had both liberals and conservatives in the White House over the past three decades, but neither party has stopped our morals from sinking or our families from disintegrating. Only a sovereign intervention from heaven can help us now. We can vote our consciences, but we must look to God to heal America.
God is saying: "Ask Me for a spiritual awakening, not a political victory."

2. The church must be equipped to heal broken people like never before. The family has been fragmenting at an alarming rate over the past few decades—and the number of young people who grew up with a father and mother in the home has dwindled to a minority. This will have huge implications for the church in the next few years, and if we are not trained to handle the pain, the church will lose the battle. It is time for every church to prepare an army of healers. Christian marriages are in crisis. Sex addiction is rampant. The transgender movement, along with the Supreme Court's decision to redefine marriage, now poses huge new challenges for kids and teens today—and we cannot meet this test without the Holy Spirit's power. The church must train counselors to deal with divorce, abandonment, abuse, domestic violence, gender confusion, sexual perversion and all the other problems associated with family breakdown.
God is saying: "Heal the brokenhearted and give them My compassion!"

3. Aging churches must embrace change—and discard outdated religious baggage. A huge number of Bible-believing churches have already become irrelevant to the culture because they have refused to update their styles and reconfigure their methods. Our gospel is unchangeable, but our methods must adapt to the needs of people. We only have a window of time to make these changes; old wineskins will soon become useless. Denominations must be open to innovative leadership and new ideas—or their lamps will go out. It is a time for drastic measures. Churches that seek God for His new direction will enter into a new season of fruitfulness and growth.
God is saying: "The season of spiritual barrenness is over, if you seek Me. I will break the yoke of dead, dry religion and release a fresh anointing so you can reach your cities."

4. The church must build the bridge of racial reconciliation. God is serious: He wants us to root out racism in the evangelical churches of America. He is not happy that we have dragged our feet on this! Government programs and political speeches don't have the power to heal the problems we saw in 2015 in Ferguson, Baltimore, Charleston or Chicago. The church has been given the "ministry of reconciliation" (see 2 Cor. 5:18), and reconciliation will only work when black, white and Hispanic church leaders engage the enemy together.
God is saying: "A banner has been unfurled over this year, declaring Psalm 133:1: 'Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!'"

5. We must open our hearts to foreigners. Our national discussion about immigration, refugees and Muslims has exposed a spirit of bigotry and hatefulness, even among followers of Jesus. Today the world looks at the United States and wonders if we really are still a nation that believes all people are created equal. Our racism and nationalism have erected more walls than bridges. If we truly want to be Pentecostal in our theology, we must embrace the foreigners who are drawn to Christ by the Holy Spirit. This doesn't mean we throw out immigration policies, or allow terrorists to enter the U.S., but it does require us to make room in our cold hearts for the people God is bringing into our communities.
God is saying: "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations! Open your doors to everyone I am sending to you!"

6. We must focus our prayers on the Islamic world. In the 1980s, Christians prayed for seven years for the collapse of Soviet communism. But when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, most believers were shocked that God answered those prayers. The same doubt exists today; many Christians focus only on the evils of ISIS rather than considering the possibility of a massive move of God among Muslims. We must pray expecting the Islamic Curtain to fall. Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, even Yemen—unbelievable spiritual shifts will take place in these nations in response to the prayers of God's people!
God is saying: "Is anything too hard for Me? My Word will not be chained. I will pull back the veil of Islam and shine My light in the darkest places."

7. We should expect a spiritual awakening to break out among young people. I've never been more convinced that we are going to see a fresh wave of the Holy Spirit's power to hit this country—and I'm looking for it to erupt in our high schools and on our college campuses. It will take a miracle—since God is not exactly welcome in these secular environments. But when one fire starts blazing, others will catch. I fully expect to see America's college students praying, fasting, preaching and worshiping so radically that something akin to the Jesus movement of the 1970s happens again. The music of this next movement will grab the world's attention. The testimonies of transformed lives will end up on the mainstream news. Social media will provide the platform to spread this campus revival quickly.
God is saying: "I will call a new generation to serve Me, and they will boldly proclaim My gospel—even in the strongholds of secularism. I will have radical followers even in the Ivy League schools."

J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady. He is the author of several books including 10 Lies the Church Tells Women, 10 Lies Men Believe, Fearless Daughters of the Bible and The Holy Spirit Is Not for Sale. You can learn more about his ministry, The Mordecai Project, at

Reprinted from Charisma magazine, 600 Rinehart Rd., Lake Mary, FL 32746. Charisma Used by permission.

©Connie Wohlford 2016