Day 243: Peace and Understanding

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Monday, August 31st, 2015
CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
Job 37:1-39:30
2 Corinthians 4:13-5:10
Psalm 44:9-26
Proverbs 22:13
For full text click here: http://bit.ly/1zZSioH

Commentary from Pastor Mike White:

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.” – Job 38:4

God knows everything.

No matter what you’re going through, He knows how to deliver you. No matter what you need, He knows how to get it to you. No matter how broken beyond repair you think you are, God knows how to knit you back together.

We live in an age of understanding. We want information, and we want it now. But Job learned a powerful lesson: we can never contend with God. We can never demand answers from the God who created us; we can only seek revelation He has specifically hidden for us to find. All throughout his narrative, Job asks to contend with God; he asks to prove his righteousness. But no man can contend with God.

The alternative to contending with God is to trust Him. Put your faith in God, and ask Him to give you His peace, which surpasses all understanding (Phil 4:7). Accept that God knows many things you will never understand, and that He doesn’t owe you an explanation. Now rest easy, because the God of the universe protects and provides for you!

Prayer:

Father, I choose peace over understanding. I will never see as clearly as You do, and I accept that. Help me to find peace in knowing that even though I can never understand everything, You already have!

© Michael D. White, 2015. All rights reserved.

Day 242: The Road to Prosperity

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Sunday, August 30th, 2015
CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
Job 34:1-36:33
2 Corinthians 4:1-12
Psalm 44:1-8
Proverbs 22:10-12
For full text click here: http://bit.ly/Y28Wsr

Commentary from Pastor Mike White:

If they obey and serve Him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures. – Job 36:11

The fastest way to prosperity is obedience. The quickest road to financial success is serving God with all your heart. If you seek money first, and God second, you will find neither; but when you seek God first, you will find both!

Are you spending your days and nights trying to create your own wealth? If you create it, you have to maintain it! But if you simply ask God to give it into your hand, He will do all the legwork. Not only will He bless you with everything you need to perform His calling on your life; He will also maintain and protect everything that comes to you.

Seek God first. He will take care of the rest.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. – Matt 6:33

Prayer:

Father, I want to seek You first! Help me to stop worrying about money. I know that when I follow You with my whole heart, You will take care of providing for all my needs. Help me to trust in Your faithfulness, and know You will provide abundantly – above and beyond anything I could ever need!

© Michael D. White, 2015. All rights reserved.

Day 241: To the Cross

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Saturday, August 29th, 2015
CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
Job 31:1-33:33
2 Corinthians 3:1-18
Psalm 43:1-5
Proverbs 22:8-9
For full text click here: http://bit.ly/1zOl37J

Commentary from Pastor Mike White:

Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. – 2 Cor 3:16

All Scripture points to God’s Only Son, Jesus Christ. The New Testament explains how we are to live our lives in light of the reality that Jesus died for all our sins. But did you know that every word, sentence and paragraph in the Old Testament also points to the Cross?

In Jer 31:33, God promises His people that He will put His law in their minds, and write it on their hearts. On this side of the Cross, we are His people, and we can have a relationship with God! When we talk, He listens. When we ask, He answers. Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross means we can be restored to intimate relationship with God!

In Ezek 37:13, God promised His people that He would put His Spirit in them, and they would live! Because Jesus died on the Cross for us, God’s Holy Spirit lives in us as a guarantee (2 Cor 1:22)!

Jesus Christ came to fulfill the law. He is the Promise through which all God’s Old Testament blessings are released. All God’s blessings now apply to us when we put our faith in Jesus!

Prayer:

Father, I declare that because of the Cross, I have been restored to You! I am your child. I trust in all the promises written out in Your word, and I appropriate and claim them over my life in Jesus’ name!

 

© Michael D. White, 2015. All rights reserved.

Day 240: Spiritual Gut Check

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Friday, August 28th, 2015
CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
Job 28:1-30:31
2 Corinthians 2:12-17
Psalm 42:1-11
Proverbs 22:7
For full text click here: http://bit.ly/1zMHUk3

Commentary from Pastor Mike White:

I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I departed for Macedonia. – 2 Cor 2:13

We should have “rest in our spirit” before we take a step forward. Even though God had opened a door for Paul, he had no rest in his spirit to walk through it. So, he went a different way.

Your non-Christian friends refer to this as a “gut check:” an inner, intuitive understanding as to whether something is the right course of action. We are all made in God’s image, according to His design. Have you ever been in the middle of doing something you know you shouldn’t, plagued by an inner remorse and an understanding that God has better for you? That is your spirit, crying out for your flesh to conform to God’s design.

Before you were saved, your “gut check” was led by your flesh. But ever since God’s Holy Spirit made His home in you, your “gut check” has been led by your spirit. Trust your redeemed “gut check.” When God gives your spirit rest, His Holy Spirit is leading you into the things He wants you to do!

Prayer:

Father, hone my spiritual senses. If You want me to do something, give my spirit rest to do it. If You want me to avoid something, deny me rest so I know You haven’t approved the choice. I want to be led by You, in Jesus’ name!

 

© Michael D. White, 2015. All rights reserved.

Walking in Power

The following is an adaptation of the sermon ‘Walking in Power’ preached by Pastor Mike White on Sunday, 8/23/2015, at CityLight Church. To listen to the full podcast please click here: http://bit.ly/1U8TCVL

From Potential to Power

All of us have God’s potential in us. We are made in His image, according to His likeness (Gen 1:26-27). We share His DNA because we are His sons and daughters. But not all of us see His power in our lives.

How do we move from potential to power? How can we position ourselves so God is free to move through us with miraculous strength?

In the Book of Acts, Peter preaches to Cornelius’ household about God’s power:

God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. – Acts 10:38

Power is the Greek word dunamis, which means “inherent power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature” (Strong’s #141). Jesus got His power from God. He was able to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead and cast out demons (Matt 10:8) because God had anointed Him to do it!

The humbling realization when it comes to God’s power is that moving in power has nothing to do with us. God’s miracle-working power is not something we can cultivate in ourselves; but rather something He must cultivate in us. That revelation should be incredibly freeing. When you pray for the sick, or for any miracle to take place, the outcome has nothing to do with you! The result of your prayers has everything to do with God, and His constant willingness to honor our prayers from a place of relationship with us.

The Purpose of Power

God’s miracle-working power proves that He is real. In Scripture, we see Jesus criticize the people around Him as a “faithless and perverse generation” (Matt 17:17) because they did not believe in God’s power. Every generation seeks a sign that God is real, but it is up to believers to pray that they would see it.

Showcasing God’s power is the most poignant way to prove to unbelievers that God is real. I sat and spoke with someone recently who was having trouble believing God is real. They knew all the Scripture that supported His existence, but was having some serious trouble bridging the gap from intellectual understanding to practical experience.

I could have come up with an intellectual proof to demonstrate God’s existence. Instead, I shared a handful of testimonies. People in our congregation cured from terminal cancer. A newborn cured of “incurable” liver disease. A severed finger that re-grew when exposed to faithful prayer.

You see, there are certain things that I can’t un-see. God has proved He is real to me on so many occasions, that it is no longer within my right to doubt His existence. Our mission, as a church, is to demonstrate to others that God is real. When we pray, we should expect to see His miracle-working power on full display. As we pray for others, and they see His power for the first-time, entire generations of people will be motivated to become faithful disciples of Christ!

Miracles are still for today. As a church, we are fighting against cessationist theology: the doctrine that spiritual gifts ceased when the original twelve apostles died. Vast portions of the church have subtly accepted this stance, and the result is clear in our prayer lives. We seldom pray for things that require God’s miraculous power. Instead, our prayers have been neutered by our unmiraculous expectations. We settle for prayers focused on nominal, subjective improvement in our lives, and call it a day when we “feel better.” Instead, we should be praying specific, objective prayers that rely on God to show up and show off: to only settle when we see His best with our own eyes!

Church leadership is, unfortunately, largely responsible for the decline in believers showcasing God’s power. As pastors and leaders, we easily become afraid to pray for supernatural results. We think that if we pray for something big, and nothing happens, it’s our fault! We think it means we are less holy, or less faith-filled, than we should be! But that is never the case. Signs, miracles, and wonders have nothing to do with us, and everything to do with God! When we step outside of our own insecurities and rely on Him to show up and show off, His power will be put on full display!

We fight the myth of cessationism with Scriptural truth. The truth is, God’s will has not changed:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. – Heb 13:8

Jesus’ earthly ministry was filled with constant, miraculous demonstrations of God’s power. If that was God’s will then, it is still His will now!

What’s more, the same Holy Spirit who empowered Jesus for His earthly ministry empowers us for ours!

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. – Rom 8:11

If you are filled with the same Holy Spirit as Jesus Himself, and God’s will has not changed, then why should signs, miracles, and wonders ever cease? And if we, as God’s church, don’t pursue God’s power in our lives, then who will?

What God’s Power Is Not

1) God’s power is not magic.

The power of God – breakthrough on earth as it is in heaven – cannot be conjured up. His power cannot be purchased for any sum, or earned with any resume.

The story of Simon the Sorcerer proves this point for us well. Simon was a magician in Samaria. As the people of Samaria started believing in Jesus, Simon realized that he was not as powerful as he once thought. He saw God do things that no level of expertise in magic or medicine could accomplish. When Peter and John came to pray in Samaria, Simon wanted what they had:

And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! – Acts 18:18-20

Simon’s desire for God’s power came from a place of selfish personal ambition, not from a place of selfess Kingdom expansion!

God’s power is not for sale! It isn’t dispensed at any school, or packaged into any self-help program. God’s power comes from relationship with Him. Without the divine authority that comes from relationship, power is impossible!

2) God’s power is not a feeling.

Too often, we think we have to feel God’s power for something to happen. Many times, I will feel the anointing as I pray for people. The anointing is transferable, and we can feel God moving through us as we lay hands on other people.

However, just because we don’t feel Him doesn’t mean He’s not up to something! Some of the greatest testimonies I have ever seen have come from prayers where I haven’t felt a thing! As God’s people, we are not called to be feelings-led; we are called to be Spirit-led. Step out and take a risk based on God’s word, even if you don’t feel like it!

3) God’s power is not complicated.

Jesus is not complicated. His Gospel message is not complicated. Our infinite sin required infinite suffering. Jesus came and bore it all on the Cross for us. He served as our substitute, so that we could enjoy His reward in heaven!

God’s power is simple. Can I show you?

The Power Pattern

We see a pattern throughout Scripture when it comes to God’s power. I am intentionally using the word “pattern,” instead of the word, “formula.” A pattern implies correlation: we see certain consistent elements whenever God moves powerfully in Scripture. A formula, on the other hand, implies causation. We can never force God’s hand, and push Him into action. We can, however, invite God to move in and through our lives with power!

Power comes when God’s word is mixed with potential. We see this throughout Scripture. Allowing this pattern to play out in our daily lives is how we will see God’s power moving through us!

In the Creation Story, we see two things happen. First, God’s Holy Spirit was present to effect change:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. – Gen 1:1-2

Second, God spoke.

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. – Gen 1:3

When the Holy Spirit was present, and God’s word was introduced into the atmosphere, creation took shape! God’s power was activated as the word was mixed with Spirit.

We see the same pattern in Jesus’ ministry:

Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them. – Lk 5:17

God’s Holy Spirit was present. The atmosphere was ripe for change – supernatural progress. Then, Jesus spoke:

Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him. And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus. When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. – Lk 5:18-25

God’s Holy Spirit was present to heal, and God’s word was introduced into an atmosphere ripe for change. Power followed!

When we follow the same pattern in our lives, God will follow our words with signs, miracles and wonders, wherever we go. We are filled with God’s Holy Spirit. The active ingredient for God’s power is already in you! The first condition for power – the presence of God’s Holy Spirit – is satisfied whenever we walk into a room. The second condition – God’s word – is all we need to see God’s power in our lives. All we have to do is speak His word into any circumstance requiring change, and watch the supernatural take shape!

Jesus told His disciples to follow this pattern before ascending to Heaven:

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. - Mk 16:15-20

We don’t have to chase after signs, miracles and wonders. They should follow us. As we simply introduce God’s word where His Holy Spirit is already present, power will follow!

You don’t have to be a traveling evangelist to demonstrate God’s miracle-working power. You don’t need to spend hours in prayer every day to see God make stuff happen when you pray. Once you are filled with His Holy Spirit, all you have to do is speak His word over any situation, with the earnest expectation that change will take place.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” – Jn 14:12

- by Pastor Mike White

© Michael D. White, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michael D. White with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Day 239: Spirit-Filled Prayer

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Thursday, August 27th, 2015
CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
Job 23:1-27:23
2 Corinthians 1:12-2:11
Psalm 41:1-13
Proverbs 22:5-6
For full text click here: http://bit.ly/1vSwafr

Commentary from Pastor Mike White:

Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. – 2 Cor 1:21-22

The Holy Spirit lives in us as a guarantee. A guarantee of what exactly? Yes, He is our guarantee that when we die, we will go to Heaven. But He is also our guarantee that Heaven starts here and now!

Jesus told His disciples to pray that earth would look like Heaven (Matt 6:10). Our mandate is to release Heaven on earth; and our guarantee that the things we pray for will come to pass is God’s Holy Spirit in us! Scripture calls us to even “greater works” (Jn 14:12) than Jesus performed in Scripture, because we are filled with the same Holy Spirit as Him!

When you pray, expect the same results as Jesus. Know that you are not praying alone; you are praying with God’s Holy Spirit. He will tell you what to pray, and He will give power and authority to your prayers.

Prayer:

Father, I declare that there is supernatural power in my prayers! When I pray, the Holy Spirit gives life to my prayers in exactly the same way He did when Jesus prayed on the earth! I want to release Heaven on earth, in Jesus’ name.

© Michael D. White, 2015. All rights reserved.

Day 238: Powerful Prayer

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Wednesday, August 26th, 2015
CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
Job 20:1-22:30
2 Corinthians 1:1-11
Psalm 40:11-17
Proverbs 22:2-4
For full text click here: http://bit.ly/1vOd36f

Commentary from Pastor Mike White:

You will also declare a thing, and it will be established for you; so light will shine on your ways. – Job 22:28

Powerful prayer comes from relationship with God. We were created in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:27). The same way He spoke life into creation, we can speak life into the “dead” situations in our lives, through the power of His Holy Spirit!

But the fact that we have the potential for creative and powerful speech doesn’t mean it comes automatically. Scripture promises:

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 that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. – 1 Jn 5:14-15

In order to activate the creative potential in our speech, we have to know God’s will! And the only way we get to know God’s will is by spending time with Him: reading His word, and enjoying His presence.

Reacquaint yourself with God. It’s never too late to ask for new life in your relationship with Him!

Prayer:

Father, I want my prayers to make a difference. I believe that You have given me powerful, creative speech. Help me to know Your will, so I can boldly proclaim it in Jesus’ name!

© Michael D. White, 2015. All rights reserved.

Day 237: Open Doors

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Tuesday, August 25th, 2015
CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
Job 16:1-19:29
1 Corinthians 16:1-24
Psalm 40:1-10
Proverbs 22:1
For full text click here: http://bit.ly/1qI5GJd

Commentary from Pastor Mike White:

For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. – 1 Cor 16:9

Paul understood a simple truth: with every open door come new adversaries. Our job as Christians is to go into all the world and boldly preach the Gospel (Mk 16:15-18). Whenever a door for Kingdom expansion opens, Satan is not happy! He will do everything he can to take us out, before we can tell more people about salvation through Jesus Christ.

But thanks be to God that Jesus Christ conquered all our adversaries on the Cross! We are no longer fighting for victory; now we fight from victory! Death is defeated, and Jesus has complete authority over all our enemies. So whenever we walk through a new door, all we have to do is speak His name, and believe in His power!

Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. – Lk 10:19

Prayer:

Father, thank You for open doors. Help me to walk into new territory with boldness, knowing that You have already won the victory!

 

© Michael D. White, 2015. All rights reserved.

Day 236: Death Is A Myth

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Monday, August 24th, 2015
CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
Job 12:1-15:35
1 Corinthians 15:29-58
Psalm 39:1-13
Proverbs 21:30-31
For full text click here: http://bit.ly/1okeSCa

Commentary from Pastor Mike White:

Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed…
- 1 Cor 15:51

Death is a myth. There is no such thing as death; only change. When we “die,” Scripture explains that we will transition from a physical body to a spiritual body. Everything we do in this life should be in preparation for that transition.

Some might say, “I don’t believe in life after death.” Or, “I don’t believe Jesus was raised from the dead.” But a failure to believe in something does make it untrue. If I choose not to believe in gravity, it does not mean that if I jump in the air, I won’t return to the ground! There is life after death, whether you believe in it or not.

Your life has infinite purpose and eternal significance. God put you on the earth to do something nobody else can do. Your mission in life is to find out what that is, and honor God as you do it for His glory!

Prayer:

Father, I want to be sold out for You! You give me eternal life. You give me purpose in this life, before I pass on into Heaven! Thank You that I am Heaven-bound. Release the Heaven bound in me, here and now, in Jesus’ name!

© Michael D. White, 2015. All rights reserved.

Day 235: Hope

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Sunday, August 23rd, 2015
CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
Job 8:1-11:20
1 Corinthians 15:1-28
Psalm 38:1-22
Proverbs 21:28-29
For full text click here: http://bit.ly/1qBVTV1

Commentary from Pastor Mike White:

For in You, O Lord, I hope; You will hear, O Lord my God. – Ps 38:15

David cried out to God because everything in his life was going wrong! He was sick, and his wounds were getting worse (Ps 38:3,5). His heart was broken (v 8). His friends and relatives had abandoned him (v 11), and his enemies were constantly doing everything they could do bring him down (v 12).

Yet David hoped in God. To “hope” is to wait with eager expectation (Strong’s #3176). David did not give up hope when the stuff hit the fan; he clung to it tighter than ever! He waited for God to show up in his situation with purpose, knowing that God would arrive!

No matter how bad things look: hope in the Lord. When we expect Him, He arrives.

Prayer:

Father, protect my hope in You in Jesus’ name! I declare the enemy has no right to try and steal my hope. Help me to wait on you with eager anticipation, no matter what my circumstances look like!

© Michael D. White, 2015. All rights reserved.

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