Some dads are funny, some are serious, others are matter of fact and yet regardless of their personality, they are DAD. No matter the kind of father you have or had, you have gained much from him. Some would say, "but mine wasn't around, they left when I was small". To you I would say, you learned how not to be and the importance of faithfulness. (It's important in the midst of 'life' situations, in spite of the good and bad and the ups and downs, to find the gain.)
Being a father is a big responsibility. First of all there's the task of being the provider for the entire family. He's accountable for making sure the bills are paid, food's in the cabinet, gas is in the car, there's money for extracurricular activities, as well as for clothes. Having and keeping a good job is very important to him. (Pro. 12:11) (Col. 3:23)
A dad also has to be the emotional strength in a family. Assuring that everything's going to be alright. He comforts the family in sad and difficult times and encourages each one according to their persona. Building up and cheering up attitudes. (Josh. 1:9)
He's the disciplinarian, helping to direct and lead in the right direction. As difficult as it may be for him to punish and correct, he does it because of love for his children. When a wrong decision was made, he's there to help, instruct and redirect. (Pro. 3:11-12)
The brunt of decisions lie in his lap, so he must stay tuned in to God, lending his ear to His instructions. He prays continually for each member of the family, lifting up their needs, desires and purpose before the Lord. His mouth daily confesses the Word over his children believing in faith for the manifestation of God's blessings in their lives. His faith is fortified by being faithful in his service to the Lord. And by this example he is showing his family how to be Godly. (Pro. 22:6)
He helps with scientific homework projects, math calculations, rescuing lost items or fixing broken things. Dads are known for making sure there's recreation, like picnics, camping trips, fishing excursions, trips to amusements parks, going to the movies and even birthday parties. Amidst the significant and important tasks, he still has time to laugh, and have fun doing silly things. Jumping into a pool with all his clothes on, letting the dog lick his face, having a tea party with his daughter, or playing games with his son are all part of being a Dad.
And just in case you didn't know or you forgot...... he attended your events, he cried when you got hurt, carried you to bed when you fell asleep in the car, kissed your boo boos, and stayed up praying over you when you were sick. You see a DAD is a lot of things to his family. He IS the extension of God's love! A wonderful gift from the Heavenly Father. And this Sunday is the day we take to say Thank You, and Honor him for his blessing our life. Take time to thank God for the man God gave you as DAD, whether he's your natural father, step-father, father-in-law, grandfather, uncle or a 'DAD like one' - let's give honor where honor is due. Give him your love and attention, after all he's given you his!
Eph. 6:1-4 "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother"--which is the first commandment with a promise-- "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth." Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."
Sailing a ship in stormy weather can be hazardous unless the captain has the knowledge and expertise. High winds and enormous waves can cause the ship to sink or shipwreck. Many a vessel has been lost due to treacherous seas. Like the tempest at sea, we are living in a troubled world. However, Jesus said "...in the world you will have tribulation..." (John 16:33) Paul also wrote in 2 Timothy, "...in the last days perilous times will come." (2 Tim. 3:1) Listening to the news we can see that we live in very dangerous, risky and unpredictable days. One who does not have the Lord as his Savior, is generally fearful and fretful. Jesus is our lighthouse, illuminating the path to safety. Through His direction and knowledge from His Word there is hope. (Heb. 13:20-21 "Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to who be glory forever and ever. Amen") In light of the fact of circumstances we face, let's see how our Great Shepherd is characteristic of the lighthouse to us....
Psalms 23 says, "The Lord is my shepherd;" Making Jesus the ruler of your life, places Him as your protector, and watcher of your life. A lighthouse is guidance to safety. Surrendering to Him, just like sheep do to a shepherd, allows Him to be a guide of security. Sheep know the shepherds voice and where He leads they follow, unlike goats that question and butt everything that comes against them. (John 10:4)
"I shall not want." Phil. 4:19 says, "He supplies all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." As your Shepherd, He's going to make sure you have provision for every necessity. His supply is satisfying if we follow Him, as a ship that follows the light from the lighthouse. The Bible also tells us, He will give us the desires of our heart as long as we are delighting in Him. (Ps. 37:4) In the place of every need is supply.
"He makes me to lie down in green pastures;" When sheep lie down it means they are satisfied and content. Because we are in His presence there is fullness of joy we can rest untroubled as well as at peace, "I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." (Ps. 4:8 & Ps.16:11) Even in the midst of a stormy sea the beacon shines to give us confidence and peace.
"He leads me beside the still waters." We can be sure He's leading us to a place of refreshment and tranquility. When we delight in His Word, as we meditate day and night will place us by the rivers of water which provides sustenance. Therefore, keeping us refreshed and prosperous, quenching our thirst. (Ps. 1:1-3 & Jer. 17:3)
"He restores my soul;" God forgives our iniquities and heals all our diseases. (Ps. 103:3) Regardless of how much we mess up, when we repent He forgives. Because of His infinite mercy and grace we are restored. The Holy Spirit gently signals us during times of struggles to escort us to the sanctuary for redemption.
"He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake." We can depend on the guidance of the Holy Spirit. (John 16:13) He will usher us in the right direction and in safety. His Name is the Lord our Righteousness, Jehovah Tsidkenu. Ps. 32:8 God says, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye." Keeping our vision focused on Him assures traveling in a sheltered course.
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death," Life is full of tribulations and temptations. One thing for sure, is we are going to the other side of the problem. But we must remember not to set up camp in depression or sorrow. We are more than an overcomer through Him. Especially when storms are raging, there's trust in His guidance. Pro. 18:30 "As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him."
"I will fear no evil, for You are with me;" Paul wrote, that God didn't give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of a sound mind. (2 Tim. 1:7) As long as we abide in the presence of the All Mighty God, we remain in His protection and fear will not affect us. (Ps. 91) Relying on the promise of His faithfulness to never leave or forsake us brings courage and strength. (Deu. 31:6-8) Just like the light signaling lost ships gives hope.
"Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." God's Word is the instruction we need to get us through our life. In Ps. 119:105, it says, His Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. That means it will point us in the right direction daily and for things to come. If we refer to the Bible everyday, it will teach, correct, and admonish us in living. (2 Ti. 3:16)
"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;" God is on our side. He will contend with those who contend with us. Although there are enemies, we will not just survive, but feast in the midst of them. We come out on top of situations because of Him. Ps. 18:3 says, we can call upon the Lord, and He will deliver us from our enemies. Our trust and faith in Him, will bring peace with any adversary. (Pr. 16:17)
"You anoint my head with oil;" The anointing of oil upon the head is symbolic of blessing, protection and empowerment. We are sanctified and set apart for Him. (1 Cor. 6:11) We are chosen to proclaim the praises of God. (1 Peter 2:9)
"My cup runs over." Jesus said He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly, overflowing, much more than is expected or needed. This is the blessing that spills over. We are blessed!
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life;" As long as we remain faithful to God's Word, we shall be in His mercy. Ps. 65:11 says, God crowns the year with His goodness, and richness overflows wherever He is. Steadfastly abiding in the Word and His presence guarantees goodness and mercy.
"And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever." We have guarantee of our place for eternity when Jesus becomes our Lord and Savior. This is a promise of security in eternity.
We want to encourage you to mediate on this scripture and let it become a reality in your heart. Realize that through the Word, God has given us guidance for anything we may face. He encourages us with the promises of provision, protection, healing, blessing, and His benefits. Our failure to recognize these, believe and trust Him, and receive it, puts us at risk in these insecure days. Don't shipwreck because you reject faith and a good conscience. Keep your eyes upon Jesus and sail through to the shore. You can do all things through Him, who gives you strength. (Phil. 4:13)
Have you ever felt as if everyone and everything was coming against you? Your thoughts being bombarded with condemnation, telling you it's all your fault and that you're a complete mess up! And no matter how hard you try to fix it, you're not getting out of it? Let me tell you right now, you have invisible enemies! Ephesians 6:12GWT tells us, "This is not a wrestling match against a human opponent. We are wrestling with rulers, authorities, the powers who govern this world of darkness, and spiritual forces that control evil in the heavenly world." Our opposition isn't coming from people. It's what's behind the problem - unseen forces trying to kill, steal and destroy your hopes, dreams and faith. (John 10:10)
1 Peter 5:8 says, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." One of my favorite minister teachers said, interpreted the verse like this: "You must be constantly alert and on your guard! The devil, like an accusing lawyer, will try to charge you will all kinds of arguments and accusations. You need to know that he is like a lion on the prowl, constantly walking around, roaring, with a deafening sound, earnestly seeking the kind of person he can completely consume and slurp up!" (from Sparkling Gems from the Greek by Rick Renner)
These powers from the supernatural realm are assaulting with depression, defeatist attitudes, hopelessness, worry, fear, discouragement, distress and the like. Does this sound like you? The problem is that most people don't recognize 1) it's coming from the devil and 2) there's a way of escaping this! (1 Cor. 10:13)
If you want to become free from any attack of the devil, here's what you can do!
1) James 4:7 "Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you." Submitting to God means, prayer and reading or studying the Word. We must know about the authority God and Jesus has given us and how to operate in it. (Luke 10:19) Just sitting in your room and thinking God's going to zap the devil, isn't going to change anything. He is not in control. If He was, He would have control over the evil. God has done all He's going to do through the power of the cross and Jesus' resurrection. Resisting something takes determination and a firm stand. A great example would be a dieter that is refusing to eat cake. Closing his eyes and pretending the cake will go away won't work. He must strongly fight against the urges to eat the dessert. To combat the tactics of satan's attacks, it requires a purposeful persistent opposition. The decision to cast down all imaginations that don't line up with the Word and a commitment to remain dedicated to confessing the scriptures. With this type of perseverance you can win every time!
2) Walk in the Spirit! Galatians 5:16 says, "...walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." By saying walk, we are implying that we need to live our life, make it our behavior or habit to be in the Spirit. One who 'walks in the Spirit', is asking the Holy Spirit for direction, listening and heeding His instruction! Saying what God's Word says, rather than talking about the problem. Walking in the Spirit means we're not participating with things that are contrary to the Word of God! It's control over the flesh!
3) And when we've done all to stand, stand! (Eph. 6:13-18) In other words, after doing everything in the Spirit we know to do, taken our authority, prayed in the Holy Ghost, and resisted the devil, we stand convinced that things have already changed. Why? Because we've acted in faith. And faith is the things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Faith is calling those things that be not as though they were, running the course with endurance, and never let go strength. It keeps it's eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of faith. Praise and Worship is in our mouth because we believe we have already obtained victory. And when the invisible enemies come, we are already convinced that we are more than conquerors through Christ!
We encourage you to fight the good fight of faith, stay true to your course, never give up, know that you're an overcomer through the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony above the invisible enemies!
Many years ago while in Arkansas ministering, we visited a secluded farm. The sole purpose of going there was to get some blackberries. Fresh picked fruit is the best. We each sought out a bush and began to pick. Pastor Michael found an extremely large one that had the biggest berries, we'd ever seen. He began to choose the choicest ones and his small container filled fast. While gathering, he noticed deep within the giant bush there were even bigger berries. As he carefully tried to move the vines to avoid the thorns in order to reach in, an unsuspecting branch swung over and hit the hand holding the container. Just then all the berries, he had so thoughtfully gathered spilled to the ground, in the middle of the bush. Now all the huge fruit, he so cautiously harvested was scattered and his receptacle was empty. What had taken him twenty minutes to collect was gone in seconds. So disappointed in the loss, he looked around and found an abandoned fence post. He took that post and began to beat the bush, until he made a hole wide enough for him to crawl into. He picked up his little can and on his hands and knees, he wriggled into the bush to begin picking up all his lost fruit. He began to say, "I picked these berries, they are mine, and I'm going to have them!" All of a sudden an audible voice, that only he heard spoke to him and said, "When you seek Me like you're seeking these berries, you'll go straight to the top." When he heard this, he paused, but within a second later was back in picking and saying "I picked these berries, they are mine, and I'm going to have them!" Again the voice spoke a little bit louder to him, "When you seek Me like you're seeking these berries, you'll go straight to the top." Once more he paused and listened, but quickly began pressing in to get all that fruit he so much longed for. Then the third and final time the voice spoke, "When you seek Me like you're seeking these berries, you'll go straight to the top." Just at that moment he realized he had heard the voice of God. It wasn't until much later that evening that he became aware of thorns that had pierced him in his ears, legs and arms that he hadn't noticed during his berry quest. If one desires something, a focused determination will bring it about, although there are 'thorns' trying to hinder.
Some learning aspects of this experience, would be:
1) "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you." (Mat. 6:33) Just like in this illustration, what a man seeks is the direction that will be leading him. Becoming so ingrained in something, can be positive if seeking the right thing. God first! If one is on the hunt for their own desires, success, fame or fortune, they can get off course and self driven, which leads to trouble. And when God speaks, it's often difficult to hear Him because the attention is based on our own passions. Grasping the attitude of Kingdom business and righteousness first, means all the things that God has for us will fall in line. Our needs and wants will be fulfilled if we give Him and His desires priority.
2) Being extremely committed and focused, to the direction God has for you, will desensitize distractions. Heb. 12:1-2 says, "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith..." Pastor Michael was zeroing in on his task at hand: "Pick the berries". His intention was to get the biggest and best at any cost. It didn't matter that the bush had thorns or that they were piercing his flesh. With tenacity and purpose he pressed in despite any obstacle. We should be that persistent when it comes to our faith! Regardless of what comes against us, others conversation, deceptive speculations, or discouragement, our resolve to keep on keeping on should prevail.
Listen people of God, life has many distractions and lots of daunting events. There's going to be 'thorns' along the way. It's what we do in the midst of them that determines what kind of person we're going to be. We can notice every little "owie" or chose to keep our vision centered on God and His Word. One thing we do, is believe what God said above any circumstance, despite how we feel or what we see. We purpose to live daily in agreement with God, which means saying what He says and thinking what He thinks. Is it easy? NO! But if you resolve to be consistent and tenacious, you will not only grow up in Christ, but not even notice the "Thorns".
Have you ever wondered how others get their prayers answered or how it seems like God always comes through for them? Perhaps you're thought, 'when is He coming through for me'?
Basic bible faith is first believing, then seeing! Additionally it's important that we speak what we're believing, not what we're seeing. Technically that's difficult for most people, because we all want to talk about what's going on.
God tells us in His Word He has clearly provided for us salvation, peace, joy, healing and finances plus much more. The problem is, most people don't KNOW what's available for their taking or how to take it. When we were born again, we "believed" in our heart and "confessed" with our mouth, Jesus was our Savior. (Rom. 10:9) Although we didn't physically SEE Him, we believed by faith and confessed our belief. This is how we have salvation! Every promise works the same way! Believe, Receive by faith (not because you see) and confess! (Heb. 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.")
For instance, knowing God already gave us peace, accepting it by faith, and confessing His peace, brings it into being. (Col. 3:15 Amp. "And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].) Just knowing He is peace, doesn't make it prominent in our life. We must first BELIEVE then SAY He is PEACE in OUR life! "Jesus is MY peace." Faith makes it up front and personal!
Now, just let me say the devil won't stop the turmoil just because you SAY Jesus is your peace. He'll come to harass you and tell you that your faith isn't working. And because you don't 'feel' or 'see' peace yet, it could be easy to believe that. But we must continue to call into being what He IS to us! "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." Rom. 10:17 Don't allow the devil to tell you, you don't deserve or you'll never have that promise. Remember the promise isn't based on OUR works, we receive them based on Jesus' works! (Col. 2:15) A minister I recently heard said, "Never let your performance qualify or disqualify you from receiving God's promise."
Luke 10:19 says we've been given authority over all the works of the devil and nothing shall by any means hurt us. The authority you operate in, still works even if you don't "FEEL" like you've got authority. A great example would be a policeman who puts on his uniform and goes to work, but say's I just don't feel like a policeman today. His authority is till working even if he doesn't feel like it. Use your authority, say to the 'mountain' (your situation) to be removed, don't doubt, but believe in your heart and you will have whatever you SAY! (Mark 11:23)
God has already authored the answer to any problem - all we must do is learn the answer from His Word. Then believe what He said and receive it by Faith. After that, start confessing it's yours. Don't speak anything but what God's promise is. You'll not only be convinced that you have it, but you'll resist the devil and he will flee. This will work with ANY promise of God! Know that whoever you're persuaded by is who you're going to quote. What are you quoting: the Word or the problem? Be persuaded by God's Word. (Rom. 4:17-21)
Prayer: Father - I thank You that You have already given me the answer in Your Word. What I don't know, I know You will show me. And what I don't understand, I know You will teach me. I receive by faith, faith in You and Your Word the answer to my situation. I have it by faith Now, In Jesus Name. Amen.
Believing for something, a financial increase, healing for the body, a restored relationship, even peace of mind, takes faith. It just depends where you place your faith. Some people place their faith in 'the worst thing that could happen'. These are the ones who believe that if anything bad can happen, it'll happen to them. Others, because of experienced faith, put their trust and belief in God, knowing that things are subject to change. The real problem with FAITH is, it must be consistent and people give up too soon. Since we live in a fast paced society, generally people believe situations should change NOW! And if it doesn't happen today or tomorrow, or even by next Friday, then they guess it's just not going to happen. As a result they draw back and cease believing, saying in their heart, "things will be this way always. I guess this was the way it was meant to be".
Hebrews 10: 38 says, "Now the just shall live by faith. But if anyone draws back. My soul has no pleasure in him." We all know that faith pleases God.
It is my firm belief and experience that to obtain, one must remain persistent reaching past unbelief and doubts. It's that never give up attitude, believing in the Word of God no matter what. We see this type of conviction displayed in athletes and people that have defeated overwhelming disabilities. And for the most part, we applaud them, with never the thought to apply that kind of certainty to our faith for our circumstance.
Abraham, when faced with the option of drawing back from faith, continued in hope believing that what God promised He would do. He was strong in faith, and he did not meditate on his predicament. Although he knew he and Sarah, in the law of nature, could not bring forth a son, he did not waver! Abraham remained committed in faith and gave glory to God for his son, whom he didn't see at that time. Now that's what I call confidence and persistence! Of course we know the rest of the story - Isaac was born!
It came to light yesterday, that when faced with believing for a particular situation to change, that it would be easy to give up. But you know what? I chose to extend my faith. Being fully persuaded that what God has promised, He is able to perform. Nothing, not circumstance, not pain, not anyones conversation can change my belief in the Word. No matter the hardship or difficulty I will not allow it to sway my faith. I am continually giving glory to God for the answer of His Word for my situation!
The challenges for most come in the fact that past incidents seem to outweigh trust or belief in God. Perhaps you've recently experienced a tragic fatality, a great financial loss, or a dreadful doctors report. As terrible as any of these may be the one thing I've realized is, that during any extreme severe situation we need the love of our Father God to help us get past the hurt and pain. (Romans 8:35-39)
Let me encourage you today, that with any circumstance you're addressing, remain determined to receive your answer from God. Resist becoming weary of waiting. Block the cries of defeat! "Do not, therefore, fling away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward. For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised." Heb. 10:35-36 amp. Remember FAITH tirelessly and determinedly stands by and never lets go of the things for which we hope! Then be relentless in giving glory to God for the answer to your faith.
Have you ever heard someone say, 'he's got stalwart faith'? What is stalwart, anyway? After researching it, I found that stalwart means loyal, reliable, committed, steadfast, unwavering, dependable and steady. So stalwart faith never gives up, never gives in, always relies on and believes in the Word of God, over any circumstance. It's where we choose to believe God's Word over the evidence of the senses. (Things we feel. see, hear, or think) . It's knowing that all natural circumstances, sickness, financial woes, fears, and such are to be kept subject to the Word of God. I'm not talking about denying the circumstances, but believing God's Word and living in agreement with it. That means declaring His Word over the situation and believing that it has the divine power over it to change it. You may have a broken arm, but instead of saying "I have a broken arm", you should say, "By His stripes I am healed". That's acting on the Word, being a doer of the Word.
We must be committed, steadfast, unwavering in belief of His divine power through the Word of God, remaining steadfast to 'see' by faith His results. It's almost like the time, when you were a child and saw into the imaginary realm. You really thought that it was real, no matter what anyone else told you. That's were we need to be in our faith in God's Word. No matter what anyone says. No matter what we see. Regardless of how we feel, we just KNOW that the Word of God is ultimately the real truth with power to accomplish what it's sent to do. (Is. 55:11)
1 John 5:14-15 "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us, And if we know He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him."
There was a time in our life, where the powers of hell came against us. A business partner stole $60,000. As a result we were evicted from our house, our car was repossessed, our electricity was turned off, and to top it all off, we had no money to buy food. What seemed like the end, was really the beginning for God to work in our life. It took faith to forgive this person, it took faith to believe that we wouldn't be homeless, it took faith to believe that things could turn around to be better than they were. Because we held onto faith, we got a bigger and better house with no payments for 3 month and we were given a new car debt free. Within nine months we received in the mail a check for $10,396.00 and $11,670.00 a month later, from an unexpected source. All because we forgave and exercised stalwart faith in God!
You see, we need to keep our focus on the Word, rather than on the circumstance. Things can change if we stay humble and faithful to believe. Trust the Word, know that all things are possible to him who believes. (Mat. 19:26) Keep your conversation ordered aright, there's the power of life and death in the tongue. (Pro. 18:21) Choose life! Speak faith, speak the Word and Believe God!
Pastors Michael & Ginny Gulotta
Pro. 11:25 "The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself."