Master of Breakthroughs

by Rita Langeland

breaking-through-barriersDifficulties in life often create barriers that impede our progress and our dreams. When it feels like everything you have tried isn’t working and circumstances stand like an impenetrable wall before you – you need a breakthrough!

If you are currently in a situation where you desperately need a breakthrough in your circumstances, then the Biblical story of David found in 2 Samuel 5:17-21 will resonate deeply with you.

David had just been crowned the king of Israel and immediately an enemy army came against him. Militarily, he was outnumbered. There was no way he could defeat the Philistine army with his resources. But David had a secret weapon. It was his trust in and dependence upon the “Master of Breakthroughs.”

When David saw the multitude that was arrayed against him, David did something he always did in such circumstances. He inquired of the Lord – asking what he should do. He didn’t fret or complain about the challenge he was facing, he just asked God what to do.

 Then David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You give them into my hand?” And the Lord said to David, “Go up, for I will certainly give the Philistines into your hand.” 2 Samuel 5:19

David immediately obeyed the Lord and went to the battle line by faith and saw God bring the victory he so desperately needed. He named the geographic location of that battle, “Baal Perazim,” which can be translated “Lord of the breaks” (from the Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon) or in a more modern phraseology, “Master of Breakthroughs.”

Just this week, our orphanage ministry was faced with a wall of financial need that was far beyond our resources to overcome. The deadline was looming and the amount of money needed was huge in comparison to the less $100 we had in the bank. Yet we were so confident that the “Master of Breakthroughs” had a way to deal with the need, that when we prayed, all we could do was thank God for all the past deliverances we had received and praise Him for the one that we were sure was on the way.

Suddenly, we saw the Master of Breakthroughs – break through for us! The money we desperately needed for the orphanage arrived in the mail the day before it was due, allowing us time to wire it to Africa and cover the needs.

Maybe the problem you are facing is so much bigger than your resources that you are tempted to despair. Don’t allow yourself to do it – because you have access to the same “Master of Breakthroughs.” Just follow the pattern we saw in David’s battle. Inquire of the Lord – seek him in prayer and ask Him what you are to do. Then be quick to obey. Stand firm in faith trusting that He will bring the victory. Don’t allow yourself to worry, fret, be anxious or speak out complaints or fear as you wait for your deliverance. And you too will have a powerful testimony of what the “Master of Breakthroughs” did in your life!

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By Rita Langeland   Copyright © 2014 Hidden With Christ Ministries

 

 

 

 

Don’t Leave the Trail

by Rita Langeland

 He is on the path of life who heeds instruction, But he who ignores reproof goes astray.

Prov. 10:17 (NASB)

trailI was walking in a Nature Reserve where I like to hike and pray in the mornings. Along the path I came upon a trail that diverged from the main path and meandered up a hill. To dissuade people who might be tempted to follow this alternative route, a sign was posted that stated, “STOP! NOT A TRAIL!” The sign made me smile, because it seemed to dispute the obvious. It was indeed a trail. Clearly not an authorized trail, but a trail for certain.

In life we face similar temptations. An opportunity to take a path that appears interesting or desirable may present itself, but upon closer examination it becomes apparent that it wanders away from God’s perfect will. If God was in the habit of posting signs when people were about to wander off in a wrong direction in their lives, He might write, “THIS IS NOT MY TRAIL!” And yet truthfully, we could say that God has posted many signs. They can be found by anyone willing to study the Bible.

The thing about alternative paths to God’s perfect will is that they always look so appealing. They seem to offer a quicker, easier and even smarter route to get to our desired end. Yet they are always filled with trouble and heartache.

God’s Word gives us clear trail markers to follow. One very common path that people seem so easily sidetracked by is the path that promises quick riches. It is a trail that always sounds so appealing and so hopefilled. Yet it inevitably leads to disaster. The Book of Proverbs makes a clear statement on this subject.

The trustworthy person will get a rich reward, but a person who wants quick riches will get into trouble. Proverbs 28:20 (New Living Translation)

Many people over the past few decades have been enticed by an “off the beaten path” trail promising quick money and found themselves scammed by some sort of pyramid scheme. This has happened in Christian circles as well.

We need to heed the trail markers God has laid out in His word that make it very clear that there is a Biblical method to increase financially and enjoy prosperity in your life. But it involves diligent effort, a generous and giving spirit, humility and the fear of the Lord. And there is no shortcut on that path!

 …the hand of the diligent makes rich. Proverbs 10:4 (NASB)

He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor. Proverbs 22:9 (NASB

The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord, are riches, honor and life.  Proverbs 22:4 (NASB)

by Rita Langeland ©2014 Hidden With Christ Ministries

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Copyright Statement:
This article may be reproduced in whole under the following provisions:

1)The article is reproduced in its entirety including title (with the exception of brief excerpts quoted in other publications with proper acknowledgement of the author and source)

2) A proper credit must be given to the author at the end of each article along with a link to www.hiddenwithchrist.com

THE REST OF FAITH

by Rita Langeland

For  we who have believed do enter that rest…

Hebrews 4:3

A preacher during the famed Welsh Revival of the early 1900’s often used the story of a shipwreck to illustrate faith. He  described three positions of faith he had observed in people: struggling faith, clinging faith, and resting faith. In a shipwreck situation where lifeboats have been tossed overboard, there are people in the water struggling to get to a lifeboat, people who are clinging to the side of the lifeboat, and those who are resting in the lifeboat.

lifeboat diasaterIn the “struggling faith” position, the individual cannot help anyone else because he is struggling to believe God and His Word in his own life. He is simply trying to get himself to the boat of faith where he can trust God.

In the “clinging faith” position, the person is hanging on to God’s Word with all that is in him, just like a man clinging for his life to the side of the lifeboat. He is meditating on the Word, speaking the Word and trying to get into the position of “resting faith”, inside the boat.

The man or woman who has reached the place of “resting faith”, is inside the boat with both hands free to help others. That  person has come to the place of absolute confidence in God and His promises regardless of the fact that the waves are still high, the storm is still raging and he hasn’t yet reached the shore where the promises are manifested. God’s deliverance is always manifested after  the person gets to the position of resting faith.

God wants every believer to enter the “Rest of Faith.”  For we who have believed do enter that rest… The obvious prerequisite to entering God’s rest is stated clearly in this verse – it is believing God. Throughout the book of Hebrews, the apostle Paul talks about entering God’s rest.

There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.  Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest….(Hebrews 5:9,11a NKJV)

Paul points out in Hebrews chapters 4 and 5 that the Israelites who were led by Moses and Joshua through the wilderness never entered God’s rest. He reveals two reasons why they failed to enter God’s rest: unbelief and disobedience.

And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. (Hebrews 3:18-19 NKJV)

…and those to whom it was first preached did not enter in because of disobedience (Hebrews 5:6b NKJV)

The two main enemies of entering God’s rest are unbelief and disobedience, and they each have an evil spirit behind them. These two enemies work hand in hand, because if you don’t believe God, you will not obey God. Your unbelief will lead you to disobedience. You cannot rest in faith when you don’t believe God and His Word.

Unbelief and disobedience in a Christian’s life will manifest themselves in two ways. One way is to prevent you from stepping forward by faith, and the second is to get you to take matters into your own hands when God has told you to wait and trust Him to resolve a matter.

For example, if you don’t believe God is your provider and protector and your loving Father who will care for you, you won’t obey Him when He instructs you to step out in faith and do a certain thing He instructs you to do. Instead, you will be inclined to listen to a spirit of fear that says, “You better not do that, God won’t come through or help you and it will be a disaster.” And you will disobey God by not moving forward in faith.

One of my favorite examples of a person obtaining God’s deliverance after entering the “rest of faith” comes from the life of Hudson Taylor. In the mid- 1800’s in England, Taylor was preparing to go to China as a missionary. He knew that he needed to be able to trust completely in God for all his needs once he reached China. In that remote land he would be unable to contact anyone for help for many months at a time.

He decided to test his own faith in God. While serving as an assistant to a medical doctor in London as part of his training for the mission field, an opportunity for a faith test presented itself. The doctor told Taylor that he would need to remind him each time his pay was due, as he tended to be forgetful about such matters. Hudson Taylor immediately decided he would never remind the doctor but instead would go to God in prayer and trust Him to provide his needs.

The day came when the doctor did not remember that Hudson’s pay was due. Several days passed and still he did not provide his salary. Taylor’s money had run out. His rent to a Christian landlady was due that very evening and he knew she needed the money. He wondered, if for her sake, he should mention the matter of his pay to the doctor. Yet in earnest prayer he felt that he had received the strong assurance that he was to wait for God’s timing and provision.

At the end of the work day the doctor suddenly remembered Taylor’s salary. Hudson was relieved and felt happy that his rent would be covered. But then the doctor stated that he had already gone to the bank and deposited his money and he would have to wait until Monday when the bank opened again to give him his pay. Taylor’s heart sank and he quickly went to a quiet place where he could pray and pour out his heart to the Lord. Again he found peace and joy restored and he was able to rest, assured that God was not going to fail him. He stayed and studied at the doctor’s office quite late, and just as he was getting ready to leave, he heard the doctor walking through the garden toward the office.

The doctor came in and told him that an odd thing had just occurred. A wealthy patient had come at ten o’clock at night to pay his bill. He handed Hudson Taylor some of the bank notes and promised the balance to him on Monday. The amount received was more than enough for his rent. Hudson Taylor left  joyfully, knowing that he could live a life of faith and go to China.

In this example, we can see that Hudson Taylor refused to give into the pressure to take matters into his own hands even though his situation was desperate. He prayed until he got to the place of resting faith, and then his deliverance came. God wants the same for you.

Ask God for the grace to bring you out of struggling and clinging faith to the place of resting faith. You will experience tremendous peace regardless of circumstances when you are confident that God is faithful and He will deliver you.

Rita Langeland ©2014 Hidden With Christ Ministries

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Copyright Statement:
This article may be reproduced in whole under the following provisions:

1)The article is reproduced in its entirety including title (with the exception of brief excerpts quoted in other publications with proper acknowledgement of the author and source)

2) A proper credit must be given to the author at the end of each article along with a link to www.hiddenwithchrist.com

To Love or to Judge…That is the Question

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”          1 Samuel 16:7

gavel

The human tendency to judge people has been around since the beginning of time. When we judge people by what we observe with our natural eyes, we will always be in danger of making a grave error in judgment. Even mature Christians who have demonstrated spiritual discernment at other times, (like Samuel the prophet in the scripture above) make errors when they judge people by how things appear. This has resulted in much heartache and sorrow in the body of Christ.

Jesus understood this common fault of mankind, so He taught, “Judge not, lest you be judged.” (Matthew 7:1) I have observed believers walk into a certain situation, size it up with their own minds, and then proclaim that they had “discerned” that a certain Christian leader was in sin. They were so sure they were right that they could not be dissuaded from their position of judgment. But time revealed that they were absolutely wrong.

One of the biggest challenges for mature believers is to avoid the mistake of always thinking that whatever thought crosses their minds must be from God just because they walk closely with God. The Lord told Isaiah the prophet, “Your thoughts are not My thoughts…” If a man of the spiritual stature of Isaiah could be told by God that his thoughts were NOT the same as God’s, then the same must hold true for us. Therefore it is vital that we don’t ever take the hard and fast position that if we think a certain thing, it must be true and accurate.

The hurt that can result from such unbiblical behavior among believers is often devastating. It is unbiblical because Jesus forbade us to judge others. Yet it is a sin that easily besets us as human beings. Galatians 6:7 teaches us, that whatsoever a man sows, that he will also reap. It would be a painful way to learn the lesson if you end up reaping (in your own life) someone wrongly judging your character and motives because you had done so to someone else.

The wisest course is to make a conscious decision to commit yourself to following Jesus’ command to “judge not.”

But how do you handle being confronted with a situation in which it appears that a person is clearly in sin or struggling with some temptation? I find Francis Frangipane’s counsel to be among the wisest I have ever heard. In his book, “Holiness, Truth and the Presence of God,” he exhorts the body of Christ to become a people who are so motivated by love that they will persevere in prayer until the weakness seen in a fellow believer is overcome and the person is restored. That is a huge departure from the usual response to seeing a fellow Christian in sin. Many people will act shocked and personally offended by the sin, become critical and judgmental, begin to gossip to others about it, encourage others to avoid the “sinner” like a pariah and eventually reject the person from their fellowship.

God’s Word has clearly spelled out how to handle such situations, and the guiding principle is the law of love. Galatians 6:1-2 states it plainly:

Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

In essence, we are called to love like God loves and leave the judgment of people to Him. If we insist on judging people, we will have no room in our hearts to love them.

When God Closes the Door

…and the Lord closed it behind him.  Genesis 7:16

The Lord instructed Noah to embark on a major building project which spanned several decades. Despite the ridicule of their neighbors, Noah and his family worked hard to obey God. When it was finished, Noah and his family entered the ark they had constructed. Then they watched in awe as God caused male and female pairs of every specie of animal to peacefully follow them in. Then another supernatural event occurred that is often overlooked by readers of the story of Noah’s ark. God Himself closed the door of the ark behind them.

locked blue door compressedWhen that door closed, it cut them off from everything familiar to them. The people they had known and the places they had lived were left behind forever, never to be seen again. And God had been the One to close the door.

There are times in our lives when doors are closed that are abrupt and unexpected. And perhaps the situation we find ourselves in is so difficult or hurtful or shocking that we can’t imagine why God has allowed such a thing. Yet it may not be a case of God “allowing” it. It may well be that God Himself is the One who closed the door.

Consider Noah. Though he built that ark himself – he probably was not fully prepared for the finality of the shutting of that door. It cut him off from every other human being outside of his immediate family. It took him away from his family homestead and the earth as he knew it. The closing of that door meant he would have to walk through a “new” door into the great unknown after the flood subsided.

But now consider the closing of that door from God’s perspective. God closed that door to protect Noah and his family. He hid him in the ark as a way to preserve his life and to set him apart for God’s divine purpose of re-populating the earth with godly seed.

You may go through a time when a door is shut in your life. It may be the end of a relationship you thought would lead to marriage, or the end of a job you thought you would work happily in for many years. At that moment – the future may appear very insecure or even fearful, like it did for Noah and his family when the door of the ark slammed shut.

Yet you can be assured of this one thing. When you are walking with God and a door is closed in your life, He has done it for your protection. It may not become apparent until some months or even years later, but you need to believe that God is always seeking your best.  And when He opens that new door for you, there really is a rainbow of God’s promise for you on the other side.

Rita Langeland ©2014 Hidden With Christ Ministries

Copyright Statement:

This article may be reproduced in whole under the following provisions:

1)The article is reproduced in its entirety including title (with the exception of brief excerpts quoted in other publications with proper acknowledgement of the author and source)

2) A proper credit must be given to the author at the end of each article, along with a link to www.hiddenwithchrist.com