Impossible to Possible

impossible-possible
tick possible

When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”  But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” — Matthew 19:25-26

Men, earlier, Jesus has spoken to a rich man who was not willing to give up possessions to follow Jesus. Jesus said it was easier to pass a camel through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God. The disciples, hearing this, were astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Some think they can inherit the Kingdom upon their own merit, riches, or efforts, but when presented with the truth of where that line of thinking ends, the disciples are disheartened and fearful.

We too become embroiled in doubt and fear when we hear such passages. Perhaps that is good for many of us. If doubt creeps into one’s mind, it is reasonable to ask Holy Spirit for affirmation. It is also good to ask Holy Spirit to search out our hearts, if there be anything hindering “a closer walk with thee”. The disciples are not rich any longer. They have walked away from trades and positions. They now wonder what this all means for them. Jesus answers their hearts. “With men, this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.”

The rich man, the 12, you sir, and myself as well, we can accomplish no good thing to inherit the Kingdom upon our own strength, wisdom or resolve. But! Praise the living Lord God, that through Him a provision is made, a way has been given unto men to be called children of God. The impossible: the cleansing of tainted hearts and unclean hands, the repair of a severed connection to the Spirit of God, the appointment of dominion which had been forfeited earlier by our common earthly father Adam, has been restored, and made possible by the Lord God of Heaven.

This is a passage to sing and shout about. What was lost, stolen, cut off, and removed has now been returned, restored, and given unto us all to share in abundantly. Entering the Kingdom of Heaven is no longer restricted for those who call on the name of Jesus.

Move forward men, as sons, and if sons then heirs. Walk into the “possible” which has been supplied to us.

Vance Durrance

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Opposition

Opposition

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. Mathew 11:12, NKJV

Men, Jesus is still speaking to a multitude about John when He makes a statement we don’t often think about. “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” The kingdom of heaven had and still has deep opposition. Jesus’ legal line was almost severed by Joseph who didn’t believe Mary’s story. Herod then ordered all male children under the age of two slaughtered, hoping to wipe out Jesus.

Things go quiet for a while until Jesus begins His formal ministry. There is growing opposition. John is often viewed as a lunatic, and is now imprisoned. The spiritual enemies of God are working out a deep physical resistance to the kingdom coming to men on earth. Hostility is increasing and both John and Jesus know it. The kingdom, Jesus says, is advanced through hostility and opposition, and in spite of it.

If John and Jesus experienced suffering as they advanced the kingdom then we certainly will too. Violent people will take the kingdom away by force. Remember, until “it is finished” the kingdom is Jesus Himself. We know that He and John both will later be killed by violent men. Thankfully, God our Father is not caught off guard by the schemes of the enemy. His perfect plan was carried out and kingdom is available through Christ’s atonement and the Holy Spirits indwelling. Deeper relationship with the Spirit brings broader access to the kingdom.

But the enemy does NOT want that happening. We make it easy for him by submitting to our own fleshly desires. Pride of life, pride of flesh, and lust all work against the kingdom until ultimately, the enemy will attack your life.

So be it men, move forward. Surrender life to the Kingdom. Die to the flesh and walk in His Spirit. Don’t fear the death of men, but fear the One who can kill both body and soul. Confess Christ in hostility and be counted among the faithful. Hostility against the Kingdom is not over, but our Lord goes before us, when we follow His lead.

Vance Durrance

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Knowing and Owning Fear

fear

Fear has the ability to stop you in your tracks.  Uncombatted, and allowed to entrench, a given fear can eventually absolutely own you.  Fear of height paralyzes the physical and mental ability of some men, even creating a physical pain that penetrates down into their abdomen when they approach a ledge or even see someone do so.  Similarly, fear of battle or even the mere sight of another person being physically harmed may create similar physical pain to run through some men and send the mental control into a frenzy of panic.  These are fears created either through our sight or vision, or fears created by physical pain and reoccurring through deep-seated, mentally-stamped memories.  These are physical fears that disrupt physical and mental abilities and steal God-given potential.

Fears may also come suddenly, seemingly through the air, through a spirit that introduces a thought.  Consider the thought that invades suddenly as your teenager gets in their car to drive away for the first time.  The fear-induced thought that says you may never see them again; that they may get in a tragic wreck.  Or the fear that you may lose your job and not be able to support your family.  Or the fear that that pain in your side or head is cancer.  These fears are not physical, but they can be crippling none the less.  Just like how a fear of heights or battle can shoot pain down into your physical core, these spirits of fear are meant to paralyze your inner spirit, to steal hope and vision and extinguish faith, and supplant all with fear.  And given a place to root, they will set in and steal your ability to hope, dream, persevere, and advance.  These are the most dangerous fears.  Fears based in a deep lie that once set in, leave the mind’s door open to additional fears of inadequacy and attacks of doubt.  The downstream result, either coming in a slow fade or a quicker depression or death spiral, is a minimized man, worse a critical spirit that crushes other souls, or in maturity, a spirit of suicide.

Fear is a spiritual weapon.  It is a weapon against the truth of God’s sovereignty.  God alone creates, designs, and purposes for good.  He alone is good (there is NONE other; so, says the only one Worthy—Jesus – Mark 10:18).  All these fears, the physical and the spiritual, are seated in the lie that God is not enough; that He is not your Promoter, Protector, Healer or Provider.  These fears are seated in a lie as old as the Garden of Eden.  The devil’s original lie (Genesis 3:1-4).  The lie that says that God’s word is not true.

But consider who God is.  He is above all (Colossians 1:16-17).  He controls all. He can bestow great favor.  He can exhibit great wrath.  He knew you before He knit you in your mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5).  He knows your time and He know your days.  He plants you in an area, assigns you a territory, and sanctifies through trial.   Even the devil takes his authority from God and cannot harm God’s chosen without permission (Job 1-2).  And after considering rightly who He is, write it down on the walls of your heart, impress it on your spirit, and make its truth the absolute and only sieve of your mind.  Conventional wisdom says some level of fear is healthy, i.e. it keeps you aware and safe; like a child’s fear of being run over keeps it from playing in the road, etc.   This conventional worldly wisdom compromises God’s Truth as the only sieve.  Fear God only; replace all worldly fear with absolute unyielding faith in God.

Fear has a face; a smooth, deceitful face with lying lips.  But faith, the opposite of fear, has a name.  God’s word is named Jesus (John 1:1) and that name is above (in authority over; Philippians 2:9) all other names!  The Bible repeatedly says God’s people are not to fear. They are not to fear man or circumstance or authority.  They are to fear God alone.  They are to respect authority (because God has placed it there); but they are to serve God only.

The truth is that fear, left unchecked, can own us.  It can limit us greatly from accomplishing what God has designed us to accomplish in the area He has placed us.  Can fear be conquered?  Absolutely! Can we walk through fire, or survive a den of lions, or face battles against all odds, or face physical death on a cross and then face the demons of death and the grave? Absolutely.  But it must be faced, and faced at increasing deeper levels, until it is ‘owned’.  It is owned when the Truth is firmly and irreversibly seated in your spirit and your mind is fully renewed by the Holy Spirit. Mighty men of God have faced fear, been sifted, and been found faithful even as they found God to be faithful.

Even today, decrease your fear.  Increase your faith.  Prove it out at a higher level in the face of fear and seek to see if He truly is your provider and protector and restorer.  King David did (Psalms 23), “Yea though I walk through the valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no…”  and in the end, many valleys later, the same man of God testified, “Who am I, Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?” (2 Samuel 7:18).  In your last days, what will your testimony be? Will you have joined the battle and faced the fears, and KNOW and have proved out the Truth?  Will you have owned fear? Or will it have owned you? Fear NOT!

Derek Dougherty

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Fear in the Church, or Beauty in the Ashes?

Just recently, in a small south TX town a deranged local towns-person entered a church during the 11 o’clock hour service and killed 27 people, walking pew to pew, gunning down innocent Texans, Christians, family members and friends.  The death of these brothers and sisters turned the spotlight on this little TX town, the people of the town, and their God.  Questions regarding why would God allow this, what do you say to explain it, and many similar and familiar question come rushing to the surface.

In Sutherland, TX, the strength of God’s people has shown bright.  Their light and their testimony has been strong.  Their shared truths of the comfort of God and the love of His people has been genuine and inspiring.  The attack of the enemy is a reminder of the battle.  Satan and his demons are active and he is capable of crippling and misleading the minds of men who open the door to him.  This is his earth where he roams, seeking to kill and destroy.   The sureness of God’s plan also shows clear to His people in this event.  God takes bad and works it to our good and His good.  Out of death comes life and out of this incident will come great Life.   Many Christians and non-Christians alike will have to confront the uncommon peace shown and the stories of comfort shared by the survivors of the victims.  The peace is not natural. It is supernatural.  Many non-Christians around the globe will have to confront the reality of life and death, and make a decision of how they will spend eternity.  Christians throughout this country will have to confront the shortness of this life and consider how they are spending their life on earth now.  Are we using the time we have wisely, working for a heavenly and eternal kingdom, or rather storing up worthless toys and treasures on this earth that will not last?

Around the country, every Christian church subsequently has to deal with the questions of congregational safety in their own church.   And the individual members have to consider their own safety, and subsequently their faith in the protection of God.  Many churches will respond with locked doors and armed guards and even a skeptical review of visitors.  Others will trust in the sovereignty of a great God and leave their doors open.  Those prior will base all on the premise that God gave us common sense to make decisions.  The latter will say and believe that God orders our steps and goes before us.  Others will fall somewhere in between.  But a couple of things are more sure and clear.  For one, there is no place for fear of man in our lives.  The fear and respect of God is the beginning of wisdom, while the fear of man, is the undermining of your Christian faith. Luke 12:4 puts the focus where it should be, Jesus said “And I say unto you my friends, be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do”.

Secondly, there is no place for holding too tightly to our own life.  For any real follower of Christ, his or her life has already been relinquished with the reins given to the Lord.  In Matthew 10:29, Jesus puts it directly, “If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.”

What will your response to the killings at Sutherland Baptist Church be?  Will you be a captive of Satan-inspired fear?  Or will your faith in a great God and your surrender to Jesus as Lord increase?  Will fear supplant faith in your church?  Fear not!  Instead, look up and observe while God brings beauty from ashes.

Derek Dougherty

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