Out on a Limb

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Mathew 14:28,29 "Lord, if it's you, Peter replied, tell me to come to You on the water. Come, He said, then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus" 

Anybody feel like they're living life "out on a limb"?  Taking risks?  Living on the edge?  That's great news.  Why?  Out on the limb is where the fruit is!  

In Mathew 14, the disciples were in a boat in the middle of a huge storm way off shore, and Jesus came toward them walking on the water.  The first thing He said to them was "Don't be afraid, I'm here".  Peter took one look at Jesus and said, "If that's really You, tell me to come".  Did you know that there was really very little difference between being in the boat and getting out of the boat?  A storm is a storm, no matter where you are.  But to get to Jesus or to get to the supernatural, Peter had to make a decision to do something different than what everybody else was doing. 

Jesus said, "Come!"  Peter stepped out of the boat and walked on water!  In verse 30 it says that Peter took a look around and "began to sink".  Technically speaking, he should have sunk as soon as he stepped on water.  But not Peter.  He was doing the miraculous, walking on the water, and only "began" to sink when he focused on the surrounding circumstances.  

If you "stay in the boat", you're never going to see the miracle of walking on the water.  To see the supernatural you'll have to sometimes, well…no…most of the time, take a risk. Jesus said in Ephesians 3:30, "according to the power that works in us" . God wants us to participate in our own miracle. Come on, get out on the limb, walk in the supernatural, get out where the fruit is!!

 

Cloud Nine

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1 John 4:17 - "Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is so are we in this world" 

According to the International Cloud Atlas, which defined ten types of clouds, the ninth type of cloud is a cumulonimbus, which rises over six miles, the highest a cloud can be.  Hence the phrase, "floating on cloud nine"…or a state of bliss, happiness, elation, and euphoria.  

Cloud nine seems pretty awesome, huh.  Well here's nine words that are even more amazing - "As He is so are we in this world".  Those are the nine words I wake up saying every morning.  Notice the verse doesn't say "as He was" or "as we will be".  It says, "as He is", right now, present tense, "so are we". 

Let me ask you a question, is Jesus healthy?  Of course He is.  As He is so are you.  Is Jesus worried today?  No.  As He is so are you.  Is Jesus poor?  No.  As He is so are you.  Is Jesus righteous?  Yes.  As He is so are you.  In your born again spirit, you are wall to wall Holy Spirit.  When the Father looks at you, He sees Jesus.    

These are the most powerful nine words in all the universe.  As you say them out  loud, you are declaring that everything that Jesus IS right at this moment, is released into your life.  Into your marriage.  Into your business.  Into your body.  Cloud nine?  It's no match to the "1 John 4:17 nine"!  

 

Fix or Facts by Natalie Fortunato

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James 1:14 - "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed" 

Some of you might remember a song from the early 70's called If Loving You is Wrong (I Don't Want to Be Right).  It's a song about a man that's in love with a woman, but he's married, and the woman he's in love with is not his wife!  For some reason, that title has always stuck with me.  I guess it's because I've seen it play out over and over again in people's lives.  They know that something's totally wrong for them, but they want it anyway.   

Are you holding on to or involved in something that you know is not good for you, but you want it anyway?  Are you holding on to something that's hurting you, but you think that letting go will hurt even more?  If yes, then you have a choice to make, do you want a fix or the facts?  

A fix: when you take matters into your own hands, and try to satisfy your desires your way.  When you do things, and won't allow God to do them for you, in His way and in His time. When you decide what's best.  When you answer your own prayers.     

The facts: When you surround yourself with people who will tell you the truth from God's Word, and you make yourself accountable to them.  When you know who you are in Christ and find your value and identity in Him. When you stick to what God has told you to do, no matter what.  

A fix or facts.  You choose.  (Choose facts!)

 

 

Trust Now, Understand Later

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John 13 :7 " What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand" 

Much of the Christian life is spent trusting Jesus now and understanding later. Jesus typically doesn't always explain on the front end why He is doing something the way He is doing it. Like Peter, when something looks wrong to us, we are tempted to go against the Lord's will.  God wants us to trust Him.  During those times when we don't understand, we need to remember Jesus' words to Peter, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand". 

Peter had grown used to Jesus doing and saying unpredictable things, but in the context of John 13:7, the way Peter saw it, Jesus washing the disciples feet was just plain wrong.  He believed Jesus was the last person in the room who should be washing feet, that was a house servant's job, a non-Jew.  People traveled in sandals, their feet were smelly, dirty and came in contact with things the law declared unclean.    

Here's the twist.  Under the law the unclean makes the clean, unclean.  But under grace, the clean makes the unclean, clean.  Jesus washed the disciples feet, when it should have been Peter down washing the feet of Jesus.  It looked like it was all backwards.  Peter didn't understand in the now, but he would later.

Today you may not understand what God is doing in your life, but trust Him, you'll understand later.  Follow the example in His Word, listen to that still small voice that says "This is the way, walk ye in it" (Isaiah 30:21). Remember this simple truth, God is good, all the time. When your down to nothing, God is up to something!  Something good.  

 

Step Into Peace

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Mark 5:34 "and He said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague" 

Imagine being healed of a blood disorder after 12 years of going to every doctor you could find, spending every penny had, and things just getting worse.  Just like that, one encounter with Jesus and she was instantly healed.  What happened next?  He said to her "Go in peace", or in the original Greek, "Go into peace".  This is really important.  Jesus wasn't bidding her farewell.  He was telling her to step into the realm of peace, the way you would step into a house. 

You might be going through a prolonged season of challenges where nothing you have done seems to work. Perhaps you are dealing with a chronic condition.  Or maybe you’re a single parent struggling to make ends meet. Or possibly you have done all that you can to mend a broken relationship, but all your efforts have come up short.  

Jesus is inviting you to receive grace for your situation, step out of your place of fear, worry, and anxiety, and step into the realm of peace.  Peace is a key component to keeping what grace has given through the finished work of the cross.  Grace and peace always go together, as seen in so many of Paul's epistles.  So, go ahead, receive your victory, and step into peace, it will change the course of your life.  

 

The Lord Saves. The Lord Saves.

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1 Samuel 14:6 "Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few.” 

Yahweh, the Lord saves!  He saves us from our addictions.  From our bad habits.  He saved us from sin.  He saves us from getting in further trouble.  One of the greatest things about salvation is, the Lord saves us from ourselves  From our bad decisions, our mess ups, our mistakes. Grace is giving you victory in your time of trouble!  

Every day you need to know the Lord saves.  The Lord is the name of JESUS, Yeshua!   What area of your life needs saving right now?  You might say "I don't  need saving, I've got things under control".  Fine, you're on your own.  But if you say, "I need help", the Lord will save.  He loves to save, saving is what He does best. 

In 1 Samuel 14:4 it says, "there was a sharp rock on one side and a sharp rock on the other side".  Jonathon and his armor bearer were "caught between a rock and a hard place".  There were 30,000 Philistines that came and surrounded the whole area.  

It says in verse 16 that their enemy was "uncircumcised".  That's covenant language, meaning God was not with them.  But like Jonathan, God is with us.  On your job, in your family, in your marriage, in every area of life, why should you be like the people of the world?  You must have this attitude, we are God's people!  

Maybe you feel like you're between a rock and a hard place.  Or perhaps surrounded by an impossible situation today.  The Lord saves by few or by many.  He's not moved by the odds against you.  He's not looking at your bills or your bank account.  He's not reading over the doctor's report and saying "What shall I do now?"   Our verse today says, "He will work for us".  While you're resting He's working!  The Lord not only saved you, He saves you in every situation.  

 

Toes, Heels, Soles

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Joshua 1:3 "Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said to Moses" 

There's basically three types of people that I have met in life.  First, people that walk on the toes of their feet.  Second, people that walk on the heels of their feet. And third, people that walk on the soles of their feet. 

People that walk on the toes of their feet tip toe through life, like the teenager who walks in two hours after curfew, and his dad is sitting on the Lazyboy in the living room waiting for him.  He tip toes in because of fear.  Fear causes people to walk on "egg shells", afraid of situations, people and challenges.

 People that walk on their heels are those who are ready to go backward at the first sign of opposition.  If it doesn't happen immediately they assume, "Well I guess it wasn't God".  A little wind can push them back into neutral.

People that walk on their toes are those who are ready to move forward at a moment's notice.  They are well balanced.  They walk with confidence of "knowing the One in whom they believe".  

The key for Joshua is that four times God instructs him to "be strong and of a good courage".  Under God's grace we know that His strength is made perfect in our weakness.  When we are weak then He is strong. Whatever you're facing today…financial hardship, pain inyour body, a child who's not acting right…, "walk on the soles of your feet".  Press toward the mark with confidence in God's Word, toward the victory that is already yours in Christ, waiting for you to receive it.  Toes, heels, soles…you get to choose.   

 

Breaking Through Resistance

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Philippians 3:14 "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God In Christ Jesus" 

Even a dead fish can swim downstream.  Know why? There's no resistance!  How do you respond to resistance in your life?  When you decide to live in the "high calling", you will face opposition and resistance.  "…all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" 2 Tim3:12. 

So, if there's a "high calling", there must also be a "low calling". The high calling is a life lived on earth according to heaven's standards; it's seeing the kingdom of God manifestedthrough an individual's life. People who live in the high calling control their surroundings. By staying in their authority, they change the spiritual climate around them. 

Darkness cannot overpower light, light always expels darkness.  The brighter the light, the more darkness is displaced. This is how it is when we walk in the authority of God's kingdom.  We place our surroundings under its rule.  Jesus could eat with sinners because HE controlled the atmosphere. If you are stronger in God then the unbeliever is in the devil, you will control the atmosphere.  If the sinner is more dominant  in evil than the believer is in righteousness, the unbeliever will control the atmosphere. 

Again, when you decide to live the high calling, you will face opposition.  But you've already overcome because of the finished work on the cross.  Yet many settle and live for the low calling.  Why?  They don't want to face the resistance that accompanies pressing toward the high calling.  They would rather conform to their surroundings than change them with godly confrontation.  It's much easier to blend in than to stand out. 

The word "press" signifies an aggressive mentality that refuses to give up, rather than a "passive" mentality that follows the path of least resistance.  Keep pressing forward with the Grace of God and the power of the Holy Ghost.  Greater is He that is in you than what you are facing in the world. Break through the resistance!  Press toward the mark!  Start today!

 

Why is it Taking So Long for God to Answer My Prayer?

Daniel 10:12  "Then he said to me, 'Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words"' 

Day 1: Daniel prayed.  Day 10: Didn't see the answer yet.  Day 20: Still didn't see the answer.  Day 21: Angel shows up, Bam!  He sees the answer to his prayer.  Wow.  Have you ever prayed for something, and it came rather quickly, and then at other times it seems like it took a long time?  

Why does God answer some prayers in a short period of time, and some prayers in three weeks or three years?  Here's the problem with that question.  God answered your prayer the moment you prayed it.  However, we think God answered it when we see it with our own eyes.  God told Daniel, "from the first day…your words were heard, and I have come because of your words".  The variable is not God.  It says in John 4:24 that "God is Spirit", He moves instantly. 

So what happened?  In verse 13, it says, "But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days".  Your faith is like a bridge from the spiritual world to the physical world.  If you quit standing in faith to see the answer to your prayer because you can't see it, you can stop the manifestation.  What if Daniel had quit on the 20th day, right before the 21st day when he got his answer?  When we pray, we must believe that the power of God is released instantly on the first day that we pray. Period.  Expect to see it, no matter how long it takes.  Don't quit.  Every day is the "20th day" until you see it!  You're "21st day" is coming.  

 

Wounded Time, Is Wasted Time

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by Natalie Fortunato

Romans 8:1 "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." 

"If you're going through hell, don't stop!".  Heard this line in a country song while I was waiting at the car dealership for my oil change.  Loved it!  Totally got my attention.  Such great advice, right?  

When we really mess up, totally miss God, sometimes the guilt and shame is paralyzing.  It's almost unbearable.  But the worse thing we can do is stay there. All wounded and condemned, kicking ourselves.  What a waste of time.  

The enemy loves to rehearse the incident over and over again in our minds.  How we failed.  But the Holy Spirit is the exact opposite.  When we miss it, He loves to remind us of who we are in Christ.  He reminds us that we are loved, accepted, forgiven and righteous.  He reminds us of our calling and our assignment.  

If you've messed up big time, change your mind and change your direction.  Admit where you got off track, take responsibility for your actions, take dominion and authority over the enemy, and allow the Holy Spirit to get you back on track…and move on!  

 

A Meal. Or a Mountain.

Matthew 17:19-21 "Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?  And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting." 

What comes out only by prayer and fasting?  The spirit?  No.  He was referring to unbelief.  It's unbelief that only goes out by prayer and fasting.  He fully expected the disciples to cast that spirit out, on the spot, or He wouldn't have rebuked them saying in verse 17, saying, "O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you?"  The issue wasn't casting a spirit out, it was their unbelief. 

Prayer and fasting brings us from a place of unbelief - where my mountains refuse to move, where everything seems impossible to me - to a place where nothing is impossible for me.  

When we fast, we are enforcing the positional truth that the sin nature was crucified with Christ and our flesh no longer has the power to rule over our spirit.  Our fasting doesn't move the devil, he's not the one with our problems.  Fasting doesn't move God, it moves us into a place where we can receive from God.  

Fasting destroys the hold that the flesh has had on our lives, that has defeated us time and time again, year after year.  Lies that tell us things will never get better, or that we will never accomplish more than we've already accomplished, that this is it for us.  

Fasting has the same effect on our flesh as it had on Jesus' flesh: it braces us against the temptations of the devil and helps us shut down the flesh by enforcing the perfect standing Jesus has already given us.  As the flesh loses ground, the peace of God can begin to rule in our lives.  

You choose.  A meal. Or a mountain.  Which would you rather do without?

 

Kismet?

James 4:7 " Submit yourselves therefore to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you" 

Much of religion today believes in a fatalistic mentality that everything that happens in life, whether good or bad, must be God's will.  They say things like, "bad things happen to good people".  I know what people mean by it, but what's behind it is a doctrine of the extreme sovereignty of God, that says no matter what happens in your life, it's from God. 

The term "kismet" is an old Turkish word that simply means "fate".  In other words, if someone dies of cancer, or a terrible accident happens to a family member, or a woman is raped, well, it must have been God's will, or at the very least, it couldn’t have happened unless God allowed it!   

In James 4:7, we are told to submit to God and resist the devil.  But why resist if everything is from God?  Because it's not!!  Sickness is not from God.  Acts 10:38 says "How God anointed Jesus Christ of Nazareth who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil".  

It also says, "and he will flee from you", the keyword here is you (and me).  God will allow what we allow.  So don't just accept that you have to live below the standards of God's covenant of blessing, health, favor, and the good life!  To resist means to actively fight against.  Don't just accept depression as the norm, lack as a way of life, sickness as something to just endure, but instead, use your authority, speak the Word, and say NO!  It's your choice…resist or kismet?

 

Grace that Laid the Golden Egg

Deuteronomy 8:18 "Remember the Lord your God, for it is He that gives you the power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers as it is this day" 

One of Aesop's Fables, called The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg, is about a man and his wife who owned a very special goose. Every day the goose would lay a golden egg, which made the couple very rich. "Just think", said the man's wife, "If we could have all the golden eggs that are inside the goose, we could be richer much faster".  "You're right", said her husband, "We wouldn't have to wait for the goose to lay her egg every day". So the couple killed the goose and cut her open, only to find that she was just like every other goose. There were no golden eggs inside, and now they had no goose and no more golden eggs. 

In Deuteronomy 8:18, the Word of God speaks about where your wealth comes from.  Let's use this fable to better understand this scripture.  Please pay close attention.  

In this scripture, what would represent the golden egg?  Money, wealth, riches?  No.  The golden egg is God's favor and the power to get wealth.     

Who would be the goose?  Who would be the one producing the golden eggs?  You, with all your hard work, talents, and good business sense?  Those are all important, but no, it's not you. It's the blessing of God on your life, and your covenant with Him.  

It's God's super on your natural that makes you supernatural regarding your finances. It's the blessing of God that causes things to happen financially that can't be explained or seem impossible.  It's the blessing of God that gives you insight and wisdom beyond your ability and expertise.  It's the blessing of God that positions you for breakthrough and promotion.  It's the blessing of God that causes "whatever you put your hand to" to prosper. Do you see it?  He's "the grace that laid the golden egg!"

 

It's Worth the Wait

Acts 1:4-5 - "And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 

Jesus didn't recommend or suggest that the disciples not depart from Jerusalem until the "Promise of the Father" had come, He commanded them. After His resurrection, they had spent many amazing days together, He taught them kingdom principles, and He knew the disciples were eager to share the good news all over the world.  But He commanded them not to get started until they had been clothed with the Spirit's power (Luke 24:49).  

In 1 Corinthians it says that He gave this command to about 500 people, yet in Acts 1:15 it says there were only 120 men and women in the upper room filled with the Holy Spirit.  What happened to the other 380?  Perhaps they didn't want to wait.  They wanted to get started doing the work of the ministry…without the power of the Holy Spirit!

When God calls us to do something, we need to make sure that we don't get so excited about the task, that we move out ahead of Him.  Moving out in our own power and timing will actually interfere with what He wants to do in our lives, and interrupt the process.  Our decisions greatly affect the lives of those around us, and the people that God has called us to reach.  Slow down!  Don't worry, you'll know when the Holy Spirit says to move, and He will empower you for the task at hand.  It's worth the wait.

 

Honk Lessons From Geese

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 "Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor. If one person falls , the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble" 

Last Saturday night it was kind of cloudy but warm outside, so I took my dog for a walk.  Then the strangest thing happened.  We were walking along, and I couldn’t see anythingin the sky but I could hear geese honking directly over my head.  

As a goose flaps its wings it creates an "uplift" for the birds that follow.  I learned that by flying a "V" formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range then if each bird on its own.  When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and the resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it. 

If we have as much sense as a goose, we would stay in formation with those headed where we want to go.  Are we willing to accept their help and give our help to others?  Two are always so much better than one.  HONK if you're willing to work with others!  You'll accomplish so much more.  It's called " synergy", where two or more people work together to produce a result not obtainable by any one independently.  Two are better than one.  Stay tuned next week for Part Two of "Honk Lessons From Geese".  

 

The Weight is Over

Galatians 5:22 (The Living Bible) “But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” 

As the New Year begins, so does the tradition of making New Year resolutions.  What is number one on your list?  If you're like most Americans, it's to shed the extra pounds you gained over the holidays, or last summer, or your "baby weight".  So, what's the plan? 

In Galatians 5:22-25, God shows you how to live a Spirit lead, powerful, supernatural life.  When we are born again and filled with the Holy Spirit, everything we need is already on the inside of us.  Regarding eating habits, all the self control you need is already on the inside of you.  Will power and positive thinking can only take us to a certain level, but through the power of the Holy Spirit we can overcome in every area of life.  

There you go, “the weight is over”. 

 

So Much More

I have to say, Romans, chapter 5 has some of the most amazing truths in one portion of scripture.  Four times Paul uses the term "much more" in reference to a believer’s life after the cross…

Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him - Verse 9

But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many - Verse 15 

For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ) - Verse 17 

Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: - Verse 20 

God has called you to so much more.  You serve a much more God.  Much more opportunity in life, much more forgiveness toward others, much more favor on your job, much more restoration in your family.  Much more than you ever had before.  Much more than you will ever need.  So much more.

 

Thank God for My Clogged Drain!

1 Thessalonians 5:17,18 - "Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" 

During this Thanksgiving season, K-Love Radio has been giving listeners an opportunity to share on the air what they are thankful for.  I heard a great story last week after I has just dropped my wife off at work.  You see, she missed a step coming down the stairs a couple of weeks ago and broke a bone in her "driving foot".  Hence, I have become her temporary designated driver. 

I was getting a bit annoyed at all the driving back and forth…until I heard the story from a woman that said, "I'm calling in today to give thanks for my clogged drain".  Huh?  It really got my attention!  She went on to say that for two years she was homeless.  During that time, she declared 2 Samuel 7:1-7, that "no longer will you move from place to place but the Lord will build you your own house".  And He sure did, she now had a home of her own.    

That's a godly perspective folks!  In everything she gave thanks.  When she was homeless, when she was standing on the Word of God, and when she had her own home, clogged drain and all! 

 

Home "Sick"


Indeed, nearly all people miss something about home when they are away, making homesickness a nearly universal experience.  However, an intense desire to go "back" to a familiar place and time can be very debilitating.  A longing for the "good ol' days" and what "used to be" makes it impossible to look with hope to the future.
 
According to Hebrews 11:15, you follow the direction of your most dominant thought.  You don't go anywhere in the natural that you haven't first gone in your imagination. This can be good or bad, depending on where your mind is taking you.  If you spend your time meditating on God's promises in His Word, by faith you'll move forward and fulfill God's plan and purpose for your life.  If you follow thoughts that want to take you backwards, you will find "constant opportunity to return to it".  You'll be home "sick", instead of enjoying and being content with and trusting in God's goodness and faithfulness in the place He has for you today and every day to come.  

 

No Trespassing!

Gen 15:11 (The Living Bible) – “Some vultures came down to eat the carcasses, but Abram chased them away”

One Sunday I was dosing off while watching a football game after church, when I heard a commotion in my front yard.  A Pit Bull had gotten loose from one of the neighbor’s fenced in yard, and had wandered onto our property.  He was met face to face with our dog Benny, an oversized Yorkshire Terrier.  I knew that all that dog needed to do was position his jaw a certain way on Benny’s body and things would be quite serious.  On the contrary, it was Benny that had the Pit Bull on the run and was nipping at his tail and chasing him off our property.

In Genesis 15:11, Abram had laid out a sacrifice as a sign and a response to his covenant with Almighty God.  As he did this, some vultures tried to “trespass” on his sacrifice, but Abram “chased” them away!  That’s exactly what we need to do when the devil tries to come on our “property”.  Drive those “vultures” off of what belongs to you through the finished work of the cross.  You do this by exercising your authority through speaking the Word of God over your family, your teenager, your body, your bank account, your thought life and whatever else it might be.  Jesus said, “I have given you power…over all the power of the enemy”!  Declare today, “No Trespassing!”, in Jesus’ name.