Who or What is Your Giant? By Mayada Naami

“David said to the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.’” 

(1 Samuel 17:45-47, NIV) 

Have you ever faced an obstacle or situation so big that you thought there was no way you can get out of it or win the battle? David, a young boy, faced his giant with a stone and a sling—with faith that he had God on his side—no giant was going to take him down. The Bible tells us that faith is all we need to face our giant, and yet the world tells us differently. In Matthew 17:20, Jesus tells us faith of a mustard seed is all we need to move mountains, yet the world tells us there is no way we can move a mountain. In the literal sense, of course we cannot physically move a mountain, however in the spiritual realm, moving mountains or giant obstacles is possible with faith; the belief that anything is possible through Christ Jesus.   

“He replied, ‘Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.’” 

(Matthew 17:20, NIV) 

With my unfailing belief that ALL things are possible through Christ Jesus, I have moved mountains that were blocking my vision of the future that God promised me. A future filled with plans to “prosper me and not to harm me,” and plans to give me a “hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). God has good plans for you too. They are not plans of failure or defeat. They are plans to prosper you, they are “good, pleasing, and perfect” (Romans 12:2). However, God will never force His plans on you. He desires your cooperation and participation. You need to actively seek Him if you want His plans for you to be fulfilled. Because of His faithful promise, I wake up daily with confidence that I can take down any “giant” with a single stone.  

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” 

(Jeremiah 29:11-13, NIV) 

In Romans 8:28, we are told ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. It is not by our own human strength that we move mountains or take down a giant obstacle facing us. It is only through our faith in the supernatural Holy Spirit Power (gifted to us when we believe and declare Jesus as our Lord and Savior) that we can face any giant with the assuredness of a victory. After several battles with my personal “Goliath,” I can boldly say nothing is impossible when you are in Christ—and He is in you. Looking back, there is no way I won those battles on my own. They were giant obstacles that were much bigger than anything I could handle in my own power and strength.

What “giant” are you facing today? Is it a failed marriage or a dead end job? Maybe it’s your prodigal child that is going astray. Whatever the obstacle, trust that your faith in the miraculous can move mountains and take down giants. 

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” 

(Romans 8:28-31, NIV) 

Missing My Father by Lisa Burkhardt Worley

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:33 NKJV)

I just spent a week at a national religious broadcasting convention. It is a week full of blessings. I see old friends. At corporate meetings we are inspired by messages from both political and religious leaders. We also have access to great interviews for our POP Talk media outreach. The days start early and end late. Going in, you know that you will be sleep deprived, but because of the intense schedule there is very little space for a morning quiet time with God.

When I returned to my morning ritual of putting God first, I realized that it is not as much about getting back into a routine as it is spending time with my heavenly Father. I had missed Him! At the convention I was surrounded by people who love God like I do but it was not the same as hearing from Him directly— praising Him at the start of the day, reading his Word, and lifting up all of those I care about. There is nothing more important than sharing a cup of coffee with God.

The question I am toiling with now is how can I put God first even in the busy times? I think it boils down to making Him a priority no matter what. Because I missed Him so much, at next year’s convention I plan to set my alarm a half-hour earlier (even if it means less sleep) so I can begin the important convention days with Him. I have to trust that He will rejuvenate me throughout the day if I make this small sacrifice. Exodus 20:3 says, “You shall have no other Gods before me” (ESV). When we put our schedules ahead of God, that supersedes His rightful place in our lives.

How difficult is it for you to start your day with God? What do you have to do to put Him first?

Heavenly Father, the Bible says we are all sinners and fall short of your glory. Not putting you first is one way we can fall short. Help us to do what it takes to place you at the start of every day, at all times, no matter how busy we get. You are worthy of that position in our lives. Amen.

Army of Angels by Mayada Naami

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

(2 Kings 6:16-17, NIV)

Elisha, referred to as the man of God in 2 Kings 6, was a prophet that was protected by an army of angels when the king of Aram (now Syria) sent his earthly army to capture him. Ancient Aram was at war with Israel and the king of Aram was disturbed that Elisha was predicting where Aram’s army was going and warning Israel’s king—thwarting the king of Aram’s plan to capture Israel. He decided to send a strong force of horses and chariots to surround Dothan, the city where Elisha and his servant were staying. When the servant got up, and went out early the next morning, he saw the earthly army surrounding the city and he was afraid. In verse 17, Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” In the next sentence we are told, “Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” At first, being surrounded by a large army with seemingly no escape terrified the servant, who could only see the earthly army through earthly eyes. After the Lord opened the servant’s eyes he could see the army of angels that were protecting him and Elisha.

“Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ “ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’”

(Acts 26:15-18, NIV)

When Jesus spoke to Saul, who later became the apostle Paul, He said, “I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light.” Like Paul, when you encounter and follow Jesus, the Light of the world, you will start seeing things more clearly through spiritual eyes. Jesus says in John 12:46, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” When the Holy Spirit is in you and is guiding you, you start seeing things that His Spirit wants you to see. He warns you of eminent danger. The result is a keen perception or a discerning spirit that empowers you to be victorious against the spiritual forces of evil in the world.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

(Ephesians 6:12, KJV)

Recently, like Elisha, while in the middle of a personal spiritual battle, I was rescued by an army of angels led by my Lord and Savior, Jesus. While battling against the dark powers that surrounded me, I enlisted the prayer team of Pearls of Promise. I was fighting the rulers of the darkness of this world, and miraculously, an army of angels stepped in. I knew it was because our Pearls of Promise Founder, Lisa, my POP team members, and the prayer team were praying against this spiritual wickedness that was surrounding me. In 2 Thessalonians 1:7, the Bible says. “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels.” In Psalms 91, I am told He will command His angels to guard me in all my ways. Because I love Him, they will lift me up in their hands, so that I will not strike my foot against a stone. He says He will rescue me and protect me because I acknowledge His name. He will be with me in trouble, deliver me and honor me. What a gift salvation is! I know I did not do anything to deserve it, except to love and acknowledge Him as my Lord and Savior.

“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. ‘Because he loves me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.’”

(Psalms 91:11-16, NIV)

Jesus Still Calms the Storms by Lisa Burkhardt Worley

“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm” (Mark 4:39 NIV).

I was on my way home from a ministry meeting when I saw dark, heavy clouds looming in the distance. I called my husband, Jeff, and asked, “Is there a bad storm in our area?” He checked the radar and confirmed. “Yes, and you are going to run right into it. It looks nasty, so just pull over if you need to, and wait it out.”

That was an option, but I decided to pray first, believing the Lord could silence this weather system. Lord, will you calm the storm so it is not an issue? You know how much I hate being in the middle of a heavy thunderstorm. I continued forward and as I traveled closer to where the storm was supposed to be moving, there was moderate rain and nothing more. I praised God and made it home—without incident.

I told Jeff that I had no weather trouble so he checked the radar again and said, “It looks like all the red stuff died out on IH 35.” IH 35 is about a half-mile away from the road I was traveling, and I suspect the storm dissipated at the exact time that I prayed!

Jesus still quiet the storms, not only the physical storms, but the emotional storms that are also happening in our lives. The key is to trust that He is able to turn chaos into peace—sometimes through one believing prayer.

What difficulties are bearing down on you right now? Do you believe that Jesus has the ability to calm your storms?

Lord, we lay all of our storms at your feet and believe that you can bring peace in the midst of turmoil. We thank you in advance for how you will work in and through these scenarios. AMEN

Test the Spirits by Mayada Naami

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

(1 John 4:1, NIV)

The Bible clearly tells us to test the spirits to see if they are from God. We live in a world full of lying spirits and we must test every spirit for truth. But what does it mean to test the spirits? And how do we discern a Spirit who is from God and a spirit who is not? In 1 John 4:1-6, two different spirits are identified. The first is called “the Spirit of God” or “the Spirit of Truth.” The second is called “the spirit of the antichrist” or “the spirit of falsehood.” The Spirit of God which is the Holy Spirit, will never deceive us or lead us astray. He will always lead us to Truth; Jesus, and a closer walk with God the Father. The second spirit is a fallen spiritual being that has attached itself to something or someone, and is a lying, deceitful spirit. This spirit may look and sound very appealing or might tug at your heartstrings, but under their sheep’s skin, they are vicious wolves looking to devour a sheep in Jesus’ flock (Acts 20:29).

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?”

(Matthew 7:15-16, NIV)

There are ways to test the spirits. The following are some ways you can distinguish between the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of lies.

  1. The fruit they produce
  2. Their walk with the Lord
  3. Are they glorifying God and building up the body of Christ?

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warns us about wolves in sheep’s clothing and says we will recognize them by the fruit they produce. In Galatians 5:19-21, the fruits of the spirit of lies, which are acts of the flesh, are listed as: “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” Paul warns us, in verse 21, that those who live like this will not inherent the Kingdom of God. In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus Himself says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” I know that I do not want to ever hear those words. Jesus is very clear that not all believers will enter the Kingdom of God, and says “only the one who does the will of my Father will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Many people today are confused by the verse in Ephesians that states that we are saved by the grace of God through Christ Jesus, and not by our works. The enemy has caused confusion and given many people an excuse to not hold themselves accountable for their actions. Scripture tells us Jesus will hold us accountable for our actions on the day He returns. We are saved by grace, His death on the cross washed away our sins and the sins of the world, however, we are to follow Him and live according to His ways and not the way of the world. Jesus Himself was tested in the wilderness for forty days. Satan quotes Scripture to Jesus and twists the Word of God to manipulate Him. Are we above Jesus? If Jesus was tested in the wilderness, then we know that the enemy is definitively testing us daily. We are to test the spirits daily. In 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22, the Bible says do not treat prophesy with contempt, but test them all. Even when listening to your pastor, or your loved ones, hold on to what is good and reject every kind of evil.

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.

(1 Thessalonians 5:19-22, NIV)

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