Sunday, December 15, 2013

Countdown to Christmas Peace on Earth


We are at 10 days and counting on our Countdown to Christmas this year. Today we are going to continue the Christmas story and hear the heart of God as we look at another passage from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2.

Luke 2 NKJV
8 ¶  Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9  And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
10  Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
11  "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
12  "And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."
13  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14  "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"

Imagine what those shepherds must have seen that night. Suddenly the heavens opened and there was a multitude of heavenly saints and angels giving glory to God for the birth of Messiah.

In all the excitement heaven spilled over into the earth and the shepherds heard the wonderful news. Heaven declared a new day of: “Peace on earth and good will toward men!”

With this heavenly declaration, things changed, forever. That’s what declarations do. A declaration is the most powerful and least respected dynamic in the universe.

Declarations change things …
·        Among the first lessons God teaches us – “Let there be light”
·        Declare a thing and it shall be established – (Job 22:28)
·        Say to the mountain be removed – (Mark 11:23)
·        Speak the Word only – (Matthew 8:8)
·        With the mouth confession/declaration is made unto salvation
·        Words contain power and words change things – (Hebrews 1&11:3)

There is only one problem with a declaration … both: Death and life are in the power of the tongue ~ Proverbs 18:21

The reason God promised and ultimately sent Messiah as our Savior was so we might know peace and experience good will in life … His declaration.

There is no person who has ever lived who has not been acquainted with grief and familiar with the common sorrows of the heart. Each one of us have faced disappointments and encountered tragedies which seem all too unreasonable and worthless to any account. Individuals and families, genders, cultures, races, tribes, nations and generations carry terrible burdens of hurts and weights of pain unjustly inflicted on them by others.

Some small amounts of trouble are agreeably self-inflicted but by and large the greatest hurts known to man are those visited upon them by the actions or inactions of others. Generation after generation has experienced the same unfolding injustices and limitations which we encounter today.

The Torah contains a record of the Children of Israel and their journey from Egypt to the Promise Land. At one point we find the Israelites camped in the northern borders of Moab near the land of Midian, which is directly across the Jordan River from the city of Jericho. The sheer numbers and strength of the Israelites concerned the King of Moab, especially since the Israelites had proven themselves in battle having utterly defeated all their enemies in the wilderness including the formidable Amorites.

Balak, King of Moab, conferred with the elders of Midian and together they agreed that they needed a greater force than their combined armies could muster. In order to defeat the Israelites, the elders of Moab and Midian decided they needed somebody to make a spiritual declaration on their behalf. They believed, as does God and the hosts of heaven, that a spiritual declaration releases power to change things.

Balak sent for a man named Balaam who was known throughout the land for making powerful spiritual declarations. Balaam’s words had power and not only did the Moabites and Midianites believe it but also heaven was acutely aware of the power of Balaam’s words. Heaven was concerned that Balaam might be successfully tempted to make a declaration against Israel and put them at a disadvantage in the face of those who wanted to see them defeated.

I encourage you to read the account of Balaam and his encounters with messengers and the angel and the donkey and the Israelites as he stood and made his powerful spiritual declarations over the Children of God.

King Balak said to the Prophet Balaam:

"Therefore please come at once, curse this people for me, for they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed." (Numbers 22:6) 

And God said to Balaam, "You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed." (Numbers 22:12) 

King Balak believed faith filled words would release power to bless or power to curse people and groups of people according to what was spoken by someone with passion and conviction. Interesting to note … so did God, so did the angel and even a donkey. As well …

James 3
8  No one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.
9  Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God.
10  And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!

Well it might not be right but nonetheless it happens, and that’s what James is saying. Both blessings and curses are real and powerful in our lives. And, both are often the result of the words spoken over us by others.

I need not tell you that some problems are spiritual problems … hurts from the inside and not something that can be fixed with medicine or money. The pain of a wounded spirit or a broken heart cannot be remedied by natural means but must be dealt with spiritually. Many fears, continual failures and some of those things we call addictions are the results of curses visited upon us by family lineage, cultural heritage or others around us releasing curses over our lives whether consciously meaning to or not.

Words have power as testimony confirms throughout the Bible. Perhaps the trouble you or someone you know has been facing is beyond the realm of natural remedy. The Holy Scriptures speak of curses attached to finances, curses on health, curses on relationships, curses on families, curses on the success of your job, business, promotion, your mental and emotional health and wellbeing.

In Matthew 21 Jesus cursed the fig tree by the words He spoke and soon it dried up and withered away. Curses are real and that’s what curses do.

Is there something in your life that is drying up or is withering away? Let me assure you, Jesus is not cursing you today. Galatians 3 says He gave His life to set you free from the curse. But, the devil hates you …

It may be that you are facing some dilemma which has a natural cause and can be remedied with money, medicine or mental help. Perhaps a little discipline or better decisions might fix your problem. If so, great. However, some of you have done absolutely everything you can do and nothing has gotten better, in fact, for some of you things have only gotten worse.

Worry, depression, financial hardship, pain, problems, attitudes seem to be against you, you can’t capture your thoughts or you keep falling into the same trap over and over again, sin has a hold of you or you feel like you are always one step ahead of failure or losing everything and nothing you do fixes the problem. It might be a spiritual problem. If so, good news, spiritual problems can be fixed, regardless of who/what caused the curse.

Deuteronomy 23:5  "Nevertheless the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam, but the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loves you.

God loves us today and He has made a way for us to effectively deal with curses caused by others against us in this life.

Isaiah 54:17  No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their righteousness is from Me," Says the LORD.

Today you can break the spiritual chains that bind you. There is no power in the universe stronger than the spoken word. And, no one has greater power over you than you do yourself.

Pray with me right now and make a new and powerful spiritual declaration over your life, your family, your finances and your future. Join me as we lift up our Church family, our communities and the nation.

I have a passionate conviction that you can change things in the spirit realm and reverse the curses in your life. I am convinced there is power in your words and that the LORD our God will not listen to other voices or the words spoken against us but will turn every curse into a blessing for us – even if we are the one who needs to change - because He loves us.

This is not the time for you to check out or to just listen to my prayer. You get engaged in your mind, in your heart and in voicing your spiritual declaration. Today you can break the chains that bind you, your family, your finances, your friends, and your future.

What would you change in your circle of life if only a word would fix it?

Let’s speak that word forth as a declaration. Things will change and you will begin to see the difference. Look for it – testify to it – help others …

Revelation 22:3  And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him.