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Food for Thought
What sin has overtaken us that
our land suffers because of it? Have the rains been withheld? Have the
locusts come and devoured the land? Has there been a pestilence been
amongst the people?
The Lord says it is He Who does this in 2 Chr. 7:13. Then in the next
verse, He further says "If my people, which are called by my name,
shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their
wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and
will heal their land." These are the conditions and the provisions He
has set forth. It is as day follows night that it will happen as it is set
forth in this very important verse.
The way is clear for us: we must humble ourselves, pray, seek His face,
and turn away from our wicked ways. That is four conditions to His three:
hearing from heaven, forgiving our sin, and healing our land. Come on,
Church, let's fall on our faces before the Lord, prostrating ourselves
before Him, reverencing the Almighty God, fearing Him in His magnificent
splendor and majesty. Let us humble ourselves, privately and publicly in
the gathering of saints, bringing ourselves low, bringing our mind, soul,
and spirit under subjection to His greatness, recognizing His sovereignty
in this whole creation and in us His created.
We need to pray like a house on fire within our soul. We need to really
mean business, not playing at being a part of the church. Our part is
clear as we come to Him in true self-affliction of our soul to travail and
cry out to Him. That is the prerequisite for seeking His face, how we look
earnestly for Him to tell us over what to wrestle with Him on.
The way is clear for us to move the hand of God. He made a promise to
hear from heaven when His people would turn from their sin and folly,
crying unto Him through the dwelling place of His name meaning from within
their heart as they pray to Him in Jesus' Name. He will then forgive us
our sin and heal our land. This is what we really want - for Him to move
in our lives and be moved by our prayers. Let's get on with prayer for the
healing of all the land, ours and the nations we minister unto.
© Van Byington 7/6/2004
|What goes through our mind when
we come to an end of a time shared with people we have gotten to know? Is
our heart impacted with the love for these ones and made heavy at the
thought of leaving them? Do we feel a loss over the soon parting because
we may not see them again?
I think it is because we are leaving behind a part of our selves, the
part we have given to them in love and friendship. We are grieving over
the loss before it occurs because we know it may be the friendships will
never grow any further than where it is now. That is a double grief
because there may be no further development to the unity between the
parties. It could also be a sadness of us being left alone.
After the parting, we feel like we are all alone. Of course, Christians
never need to feel this way as we always have four of us around to
fellowship with: ourself, the Father, the Holy Spirit,
and Jesus Christ. They all bring a comforting caress to our soul and we
can take courage in this knowledge.
We must see things from the perspective of how Jesus looked at life. He
was quoted in Jn. 16:32
as saying "Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye
shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and
yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me." He knew, even
though the whole group would leave, He would not be alone. He would have
the Father with Him. And, technically, He also was with the Holy Spirit.
It is in like manner that never find ourselves alone, friendless, and
comfortless. He and His crowd is always there for us to commiserate with.
The familiar phrase often quoted when I was growing up is "Two's
company and three's a crowd." After all, He said He would never leave
us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5). Let us take our comfort in the Lord Jesus
and be consoled with His love to get us over the hard times of leaving
these dear ones behind. We will see them again on the other side of this
earthly veil for all those who would come to know Him throughout their
© Van Byington 6/18/2004
|How many of us are properly
giving the Lord thanks for His many blessings on our lives? Do we realize
how much He has given us and how much we forget to acknowledge the
goodness' given us? We have much to thank Him for and be thankful for and
there are many areas to look to His providence in, including our spiritual
life and those kingly riches in prosperity He has brought to us in the
There are seventy scriptures in the King James Bible where the word
blessings is used and ten times where the word blessing is used. There is
a place in Christ where we can come to recognize we have been greatly
provided for and in addition our offspring also has been given the same
benefits of the Lord. He has made this universe and world in which we
live: He has set us in the midst of certain laws and bounds of physics and
nature, determining our impact and destiny.
We have, in coming to Him, surrendered all of our will and desires to
Him. He, in His great magnificence, has given the desires of our heart
back to us because He has put them there originally, as it were, before we
thought of having them. All the things He has given us throughout our
lives we may have taken for granted because we were possibly not raised
from birth as a believer in His ways, properly acknowledging Him as our
Lord and Saviour. Even when we were raised this way, we may not have
properly given Him the honor due Him in all the things in the way of
blessings He has given us.
I would encourage us to take a few moments, minutes, blocks of time in
hours, days, weeks, or months to meditate on the goodness of the Lord in
our lives. I urge us to think on how He has shown us His tender mercies in
all the ways He has brought blessings to us. It can be a very moving and
humbling experience, giving us a greater intimacy with Him. It will come
out in our appreciation of how the price of redemption for the whole world
was planned for, prophesied throughout the ages, and paid by our Lord
Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary. We can do no less than this deep
consideration of His loving inheritance for all the children of God, all
© 4/23/04 Van Byington
Is there a requirement for us to look for the Lord? How
is it we seek the Lord? Is there a set method or best practice for getting
a hold of Him or gaining His attention?
The Bible tells us, in Is. 55:6, we are to "Seek
ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is
near:" This is a good thing for these reminders because we, as His
children, often forget and need, like any child, to be told again and
again of the thing we have forgotten. We have to look for the Lord daily,
many times a day, not just once in a while. It is based on conscious
effort on our part.
The word seek is defined by two different usages
throughout the Old Testament. They are often used in a doublet
construction, as in the following two verses:
Jer. 29:13 "And ye shall seek me, and find me,
when ye shall search for me with all your heart."
The word search is the other word for seek.
Ps. 105:4 "Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek
his face evermore."
Both words are there in the Hebrew text. The word in
the Isaiah verse is darash (1875), meaning to seek (with care), to resort
to, enquire, require; to seek a deity in prayer and worship; to seek (with
a demand), demand, require, to ask for; to practice, study, follow, seek
with application or care, care for; t o investigate, enquire.
The other word for seek, or often translated as search,
is baqash (1245). It means to seek, require, desire, exact, request; to
seek to find, to secure; to seek the face; to desire or demand; to require
or exact; to ask or request; to be sought. It can be found in many places
where it talks of seeking the face of the Lord, as in Ps. 24:6 "This
is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob.
The psalmist and other people, mostly Hebrew, would set
their heart's cry to music and offer their prayers unto the Lord. That is
what a psalm is: a melody of praise unto the Lord from the heart of one
inclined to sing of His great goodness and provision to them and others.
They made music by rehearsing the words of positive affirmation about the
Lord our God. We need do no less as we go throughout the day, to praise
Him with a song in our heart and the words of truth from our most
uplifting and comforting scriptures upon our lips.
© Van Byington 4/6/2004
How do we get our faith to increase? The Bible teaches
us this is accomplished by speaking the word out of our mouth. How do we
get our beliefs to line up with what we speak? What causes us to believe
Let us look at a verse in Romans: "But what saith
it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is,
the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy
mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath
raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." This word near us is
from the Lord. He has planted it in our hearts and made it known to us.
The Lord will look to those of contrite heart who revere and tremble at
His word (Is. 66:2).
The Lord can use us when we are in this position. The
Romans verses tell us to confess the word out of our mouths. That word in
Greek is omologeo (3670) and means to say the same thing as another, i.e.
to agree with, to assent. It involves a profession, declaring openly,
speaking out freely this word of the Lord with no shame or
self-consciousness or hiding of the fact we have known and believed of the
goodness of the Lord. We say the same thing as our Lord, the apostles, and
what is written in the Bible coming from the Lord as our written
instructions and promises to keep and claim as our own.
How we do this is to confess them on every occasion we
can apply them to, everywhere in our day-to-day lives. In this manner, we
are aligned with the truth of the Logos of written word and it becomes the
rhema word to us as we hear ourselves say it out of our mouths and it
becomes a part of us. Our sub-conscious is set free to create the devices
to get us to the place we are confessing, aligning our mental, physical,
and emotional energies to line up with that of the spiritual realm, that
area where the Lord God spoke the worlds into existence. We have no real
problem accomplishing that which He has spoken and already put into motion
by the prayers of Jesus providing for His sheep for time eternity (Jn.
17:14-17) and by His righteous act on Calvary for all the world and us who
© Van Byington 4/5/2004
|When we build a house, is it one we would be
pleased to show off to our friends and to the Lord? Are our efforts of the
godly sort and do they bring glory to His name? What are we building with,
the kinds of building materials used?
Ps. 127:1 tells us "Except the LORD build the house, they labour
in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh
but in vain." We can glean from this that we are not to be doing
things without the Lord as our primary focus. It also shows us the Lord
will put His blessing upon us as we seek to do those things for Him,
walking in His leading.
I think this verse from the psalms contains more than just being about
building a house for the Lord or watching over a city. We have an
incumbency to look to the Lord for our every morsel of bread and to place
Him first in everything we do. We need to open our hearts up to Him, to
let Him into our lives in such a real and meaningful way, to give Him such
place in our hearts that we cannot we separated from Him or Him from us.
We must never let there be any gap between us being with Him or Him with
He is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Pr. 18:24). He gives
His protection and love, providing a way for us to live in the shelter of
His covering wings (Ps. 36:7). There is nothing we can do to escape His
love and presence - He is always there, everywhere we go. As long as we
stay in His hand, in His kingdom, we will be drawn to His side and share
in His love for us: believe it.
Another great bit of encouragement is Ps. 84:10 "For a day in thy
courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the
house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness." This is
the peace coming from being in the Lord's house and dwelling in safety
there. It is shown in another psalm of praise in Ps. 63:7 "Because
thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I
Let us build our house to be a home for ourselves and the Lord of our
heart. He will meet us and fill the whole place with His great love.
© Van Byington 4/2/2004
|Are we caught up in loving Him
for what He has done in our lives? How are we loving Him and returning
that love to Him as we appreciate and adore the things He has done for us
and the places He has brought us to and the place He has brought us out
from? It needs to be a full, rich, and meaningful love we give Him. Our
praises of Him must be a deep heart-felt experience or else we are missing
a facet of living in Him that could be ours.
In Eph. 1:3-6, Paul tells us we need to
realize we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places,
that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, to the end
that we can praise the glory of His grace where we are accepted in the
beloved. Imagine that! We are like totally accepted in Him, into His
loving arms, all the time. We never have to doubt ever being shunned by
Him - He is always there willing to welcome us into His loving embrace.
Every time we come to Him, we find all our
issues, problems, and dilemmas simply evaporate in the presence of His
tender affections toward us. It is so wonderful to live as accepted. We do
not have to strive or work to do anything to earn His love because it is
already there as that free gift we can receive at any time for all times
of our lives. It is not a one time thing we take from Him at our initial
salvation and then it wears down, tarnished along the paths we go down.
This love is there all the time for all to lay hold of, to apprehend as we
make it our possession for each time, each moment we are in need of it.
Live deeply in His presence at all times,
my brethren. We must hide ourselves in Him to give ourselves the refuge
for our every need, whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. He
will be there for us at all times - oh, saint, come to Him with every cry
of inner heart. He will lift us up into those heavenly places whether we
can get our self there or not, He will do it. His hand is always extended
unto us. Let us reach out and take hold of it, drawing on the strength is
there to deliver us up to sit in the glory of His grace
© Van Byington 2/13/2004
| Have you ever had the experience of being in the
presence of the Spirit of
fear of the Lord? Isaiah 11:2 tells us about this: "And the
spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and
understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge
and of the fear of the LORD;" and it is talking about the worship and
the awe of the Lord. It is a very special aspect of the Lord's
calling on our life.
When a cross-reference to the verse is done, what is found is
scripture verses which talk about the Spirit of truth, the Spirit of the
Lord, the Spirit of God, the spirit of wisdom, and generally the Spirit.
The context of verse three, following what is contained in verse two,
explains, at least in the New King James, that "His delight is in the
fear of the Lord" giving better indication of what it says in the
King James. It reads "And shall make him of quick understanding
in the fear of the LORD" which is simply stated as finding
"fragrance in the reverence of Yahweh" in Rotherham's.
So, verse two basically tells us what the spirit of the Lord
comprises: it is the spirit of
wisdom and understanding, counsel and might, and knowledge and the fear of
the Lord. Do you see the groupings of the phrases? I believe
they are done that way in the Hebrew to indicate a strength gained from
being together as a pair. Would you believe that wisdom (3068) here
is the word for JEHOVAH? It is, and tied to it is the word ruwach
(7307) which is the Hebrew word for breath, that life-giving kind.
For wisdom and understanding as one, WOW, that is something to stand in
awe of, yes?
Might is that plus bravery, valour, and strength. Counsel
is advice and purpose. Do you see a direction or pattern this verse
is taking here?
What is tied to the main word under consideration here, fear, is
knowledge. It (1847) means knowledge, perception, skill, and
discernment. So, when we exercise our discernment and skill in
understanding coupled with the proper reverence for the Lord as we look to
Him in worship and adoration, there is a precise listening that occurs as
He shows up due to our heart reaching up to Him and the response we create
in Him as He comes down to us and inhabits our praises. I think that
is way cool, how about you?
© Van Byington, Sept 15, 2003
|I was awaken with Lev. 19:11 on
my mind: "Ye shall not steal, neither deal
falsely, neither lie one to another." This is a three part injunction
of the Lord. It has to do with stealing from each other, deceiving one
another, and lying to one another. Sometimes, things are fairly simple in
the way they are laid out for us to look at.
However, the term steal, in Hebrew ganab (1589), can mean
that which is stolen and also to sneak away. This is significant because we
will often very subtly withdraw ourselves from interaction with those we are
in contact with. This happens when a point is reached where we have to place
a boundary for our own benefit to protect our self from perceived damage and
further intrusion into our space.
So, it looks as if we have a different interpretation on what the
conventional wisdom is telling us is the correct meaning of this verse. I
believe that it has to do with, not merely stealing articles of value from
each other, the context bears out this more intimate human contact level
based on how we interact with one another. Therefore, should the Lord really
mean to be on that theme in dealing with our fellow man, we have a larger
incumbency to not be invulnerable. We must evaluate the injunction to
interact on a whole new basis: we can not withdraw ourselves from fellowship
with one another, hiding our feelings, nor be false with one another in any
interaction upon the face of this earth. It is a sin before the Lord to do
so and we have no right to hide or cover over our true emotions.
As we seek to steal away, having learned over the course of our lifetime
what we thought were slick ways to cover our thoughts and concerns for our
own protection, we find that we are pulling away from the LORD God. We are
becoming our own idol, worshipping at the altar of our feelings and holding
our emotions and safety larger than what He has done for us on the Cross and
provided for us by having our sins taken away.
This is very big with the Lord - He is a jealous God. I think the accusation
stands out clearly in Jer. 9:3 where it reads "And they bend their
tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon
the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith
the LORD." These adulterous and treacherous men have gone so far in
their falsehoods that they know not the one true God. Do not let your eyes
be so darkened by your own snare of self-deceit.
© Van Byington, July 18, 2003
|When we give unto the Lord, we
offer Him our best by tradition, convention and it is according to the
dictates of our heart that we give Him the best, the first-fruits of what
we have. We can do no less.
We are usually constrained from robbing God by our conscience. What then
could possibly keep us from giving Him all of our offering? Why would we
hold any of it back? Do we have a need or some lust which is keeping us
from giving all of what is due Him?
Recently, l thought l was giving Him a full tithe and when l figured up
the gross receipts from statements of giving, l found that l was almost
three percent short. Psalm one sixteen seventeen declares "I will
offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name
of the LORD." This sacrifice is that of the annual covenant Passover
thank offering sacrifice. It is coupled with the word thanksgiving meaning
confession, praise and thanksgiving. So, the phrase could be seen as thank
offering of thank offering and since this is a sacrifice of confession, we
see that giving praise to the Lord is a proclamation of this sacrifice of
our lips (Heb 13:15 "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of
praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to
We are at peace with the Lord and we offer these grain or peace offerings
of our lips or of our substance, our increase which He has blessed us
with. Some say that the New Testament abolishes the need for tithes
because we have no priestly order to maintain and supply the needs for. We
are His priests and we need to give in our service in the work of the Lord
where we are attending that He may have more of the means with which to
bring the Gospel to the lost and dying world and to meet the needs of
those in that part of the body of Christ.
Abraham is brought up in the New Testament as having given the tenth part,
a tithe, to Melchisedech who was that king of Salem and priest of the most
high God. l think just because we are not sure about who wrote the book of
Hebrews where this is found that we can discount the tradition of tithes.
l believe that Jesus received tithes to support His ministries throughout
the land. l believe that we still have an implied incumbency to give our
tithes to the work of God. It really is a matter of heart and how deeply
we wish to honor the Lord in all our ways. Won't we give unto the Lord of
our resources and time to please Him and receive His promises of
© V. Byington 4/17/2003
"Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king
in thee? is thy counsellor perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman
in travail. Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion,
like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and
thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there
shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of
thine enemies." - Micah four nine & ten.
This is an apt picture of how a saint of the Most High
needs to intercede before the Lord for our loved ones, be they close
relatives or those whom we don't know as well and are concerned for. We,
in the power of the Holy Spirit, cry out to the Lord, either in the midst
of the need or hopefully before it. When we are in this travail it seems
like there is no king, no ruler of our souls to guide us through, to know
which path to take, to get this case heard at the court of heaven and
getting a work release order to go on with our lives. It seems like the
counsellor has gone away and we cannot find Him. We are taken with pangs
and pains of travail and we agonize over the one whom we have the burden
for. We cry, ruwa (7321), shout, raise a sound, cry out, give a blast. As
I've said, pangs is defined (2427) as pain, agony, sorrow, a writhing (as
in a fear), anguish. When this travail is upon us, it is as if we are
bound to it, taken away from any other concern, as when a woman giving
birth is only concerned with and having her whole attention on getting
that baby delivered. So it is with us and we are fully locked into the
task of delivering the burden on our heart. It is a distress that we must
totally and fully walk out, going outside our usual surroundings, outside
our city and into the field of battle or waging war in the heavenlies to
accomplish our deliverance. Even in this banishment, this turning out, the
Lord has given us a promise which is emphatic: He shall deliver us out of
the hands of our enemies! Hallelujah, He is the king we are to contact
within us and get hold of Him like the bulldog and worry that thing until
the Master comes and takes it from our teeth.
© Van Byington,
To be covered with a mantle seems to be a thing that is sought after in
Christendom of late. It may be a sign of how we run after the loaves and
fishes like Jesus' disciples, trying to look important, hoping to be
accepted and thought of more highly. A mantle from God is an evident thing
in someone's ministry and can not be imitated, contrived nor copied. It is
an imparted gift from God. Remember Elisha? He was out plowing in the
field with oxen when Elijah the prophet came by and cast his mantle on him
- no more, no less. This mantle is 'addereth (155) glory, splendour,
magnificence (of a vine or a shepherd); a cloak made of fine material or
fur; a prophet's garment. The context is most interesting there in First
Kings nineteen as it was after the prophet had prayed for God to consume
the sacrifice on the altar thereby proving that He is the Most High God
over all idols of Baal. Elijah had then ran off to hide in a cave after
being threatened by an upset Jezebel. When the Lord found him, He spoke to
him in a still small voice after the great wind which rent the mountains,
the earthquake and the fire. Then he went out, obeying the Lord who had
told him to go before all His manifestations occurred, and wrapped his
face with his mantle. Then the Lord spoke to him, as he was covered up in
his mantle. This is where we get the precedence for being covered when we
are not prophesying (1 Cor. 11:4). This is why it was such a big thing to
Elisha when Elijah cast his mantle on him. He thought that Elijah wanted
him to follow after him when Elijah was only passing this cloak of
authority onto Elisha. At any rate, this is how Elisha came to have a
double portion because he already had one of Elijah's mantles. The other
one came to him as he watched his mentor, the prophet, being taken up in
the clouds. How many mantles do we need to go forth and preach the Glad
Tidings of Peace? What must the Lord do after calling us out to stand upon
the mount before the Lord? Must we seek the double anointing for our
sensibilities to be content? We need to go forth as Elisha did when he
crossed back over the Jordan, smiting the waters and speaking "Where
the Lord God of Elijah?" with the expectation that the waters will
part and give way for you to cross on dry.© Van Byington 2-18-2003
Original Quote by Pastor Anthony
When The Going Gets Rough -- Use Better Asphalt!
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Anthony J. Massotti Th.M. || Technical: