I once had lunch with a man who had come to our office and I asked him during our conversation, “Have you ever been born again?”
He looked at me in surprise and said, “I go to church.” I knew that he had been raised in a mainline denominational church, and that he attended that same denomination regularly. I said, “You didn’t answer my question. Have you ever been born again?” He answered, “Well, I teach Sunday school.”
I said, “You still haven’t heard me. Have you received Jesus Christ into your life as your Savior and been born again by His Spirit?” Big tears welled up in his eyes and he said, “No.”
I said, “Why not?” He said, “Nobody has ever invited me to receive Christ in that way.”
I said, “Well, I’m inviting you now! Would you like to receive Jesus as your Savior and Lord?” He said, “You don’t know how much I’d like that!”
He put down his fork and I put down mine and I reached across the table to take his hand. Right then and there, I led him in a sinner’s prayer.
Friend, I’m asking you today right where you are, “Are you born again? Would you like to be? Will you pray with me today?” You can say this prayer out loud wherever you are! God will hear you if you speak to Him from the depths of your heart. You can start this year out right — and make it the first year of the rest of your life, and all eternity!
Dear Father in Heaven, I admit to You that I am a sinner. I need You in my life. I’m asking You to forgive me of my sins and to cleanse my life and to fill me with Your Spirit so that I might know You as I’ve never known You before. I ask You to give me the courage and strength to turn from my sins and to follow You every day of my life. Today, I take Jesus Christ as my Savior and my Lord. I pray this from the bottom of my heart…in the Name of Jesus. Amen!
From the archives of Evelyn Roberts
Many people say or believe that problems only come to a man or woman if they are out of the will of God. I don’t believe that for one minute. Some of the worst problems that have come in our personal lives have come when we were right in the center of the will of God.
Problems come. That’s just a fact of life. Jesus said that in this world we would have tribulation — or troubles. (See John 16:33.) That doesn’t mean that we go looking for trouble — it means that tribulation comes to each of us at some point in our lives. It’s the devil’s business to send problems our way.
The important thing is what we do when trouble comes.
King David was right in the center of God’s will when his wives and children were kidnapped, along with all the wives and children of the men who were with him. What did David do when this tragedy struck? He cried until he had no more tears and then the Bible says, “David encouraged himself in the Lord his God” (1Samuel 30:6).
How do we encourage ourselves in the Lord?
First, we get our eyes on Jesus and off the problem. We start praising Jesus with song and in words. We sit down with our Bibles and read again the miracles of Jesus and the words of Jesus — and we speak the Word aloud so we’ll hear it with our own spirit. We build ourselves up in the Lord.
Are you struggling today with a problem that seems to have struck you down? Make time in your schedule today to “encourage yourself in the Lord!”
From the archives of Oral Roberts
Evelyn and I recently stopped to visit a family we have known for many years. The man once served on the Board of Regents at Oral Roberts University and had lived by Seed-Faith principles for years. He had really moved mountains for God. Now, he had been struck hard. He was on the verge of losing everything he’d ever earned.
For some time, I sat quietly and listened to him talk. He began to go into detail about his problem — a problem that was literally pulling him down in his business, his church life, and his family life. Everything seemed to be going to pot. That’s the way a serious problem works, isn’t it? It doesn’t take long before every part of your life is affected.
As he told his story, I noticed that he kept referring to “they” — “they” did this, and “they” did that, and then “they” did something else. Finally, I spoke to him.
I said, “I remember a time, brother, when God was always uppermost in your mind. You talked about Him in relationship to your business, your church, your family. You never made a deal without going to God first, without planting your seed to God, without expecting a miracle from God. God and His principles were your first priority. Now, what I hear is the word ‘they.’ Who are ‘they’ in comparison to God?”
Tears came into his eyes and he dropped his head and said, “Oral, I forgot my Source.” He went on, “I was looking to people to make this business deal when I should have been looking to God. I’ll never let it happen again.”
It’s so easy, friend, to get our eyes onto people, or a job, or the government to be and do for us what only God can do — and that is, be the Source of everything good for your life and provide for us all that we need.
Each of us needs to remind ourselves every day — including today — GOD IS MY SOURCE. He is the only One who will never leave me and He is the only One who will never fail me. When we really let that truth sink deep down into our spirits, it is then that we may boldly say, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:6).
The Bible tells in Mark 5 of a woman who had an issue of blood. For twelve years the fountain of her blood would not dry up. She had been to doctors, and they had done all that they knew to do, but she grew worse.
One day she heard of Jesus. She heard about the saving, healing power of the Master. The Bible says the Word must be preached so that faith can be heard. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). The woman heard. And when she heard, that Word got down inside her, and she said, “If I could only touch His clothing.”
Jesus wore a certain type of robe, but He also wore an outer garment over the robe. All the rabbis of that day wore a special prayer shawl, and on that shawl were tassels. The tassels represented the Law of Moses, which was the Word of God. I believe the woman said, “I do not have to touch Him. He does not have to touch me. If I can but touch His clothing.” His clothing represented the Word. The Bible says Jesus was the Word of God made flesh. The Word that God speaks is alive and full of power. It is active, energizing, effective, and sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12).
When the woman with the issue of blood touched the clothing of Jesus, she immediately felt the power! Jesus turned and said, “Who touched Me?” She did not touch Him; she touched His clothing. She touched the Word. And she knew she was healed. Jesus said, “Someone has touched Me. Who touched Me?” The disciples looked around, and then said, “Jesus, everyone is touching You. Everyone is saying, ‘Touch me, heal me, bless me.’” But Jesus said, “This was a different touch. No one was just bumping against Me. Someone touched Me, for I felt the power go out.” He then turned, and suddenly, the Bible says, The woman…knowing what was done in her…fell down before him. The woman knew. She had been healed!
When you hear the Word and when you say the Word, there comes a time of knowing. Faith knows!
The Lord showed me in Psalm 103:1˗2: Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits. And then He begins to list the benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.(Psalm 103:3˗5).
Can you imagine all those things? Those things, the Lord is saying, are His benefits when we just bless Him. That is all our part is. Our part is so small, and God, in turn, multiplies it into such great benefits!
He said, “Forget not My benefits. I’ll forgive your iniquities. I’ll heal your disease. I’ll redeem your life from destruction. I will crown you with loving kindness and tender mercies. I will satisfy your mouth with good things. And your youth is renewed like the eagles”. Then He said, “Remember, I’m dealing with you in mercy and graciousness; I’m slow to anger and plenteous in mercy” (v.8).
God has told us that He has not dealt with us after our sins nor rewarded us according to our iniquities (v.10). He is saying, “I forgive everything. I’m not going to do to you what you deserve.”
The Bible says we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. He said, “But I understand that you were made from dust. I’m going to deal with you in mercy. As the heaven is high above the earth, so great is My mercy toward them that fear Me. And as far as the east is from the west, so far I have removed your transgressions from you” (vv. 11˗14).
Our part is to bless the Lord. The greatest thing God ever did — THE greatest benefit — was sending His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross. He sent Him not only to be born, but also to go to the cross and die for our sins. He rose again, and He said, “Because I live, you shall live also.” That means eternal, everlasting life. Because Jesus Christ was born, because He went to the cross, because He rose from the cross, we have eternal, everlasting life. Those are just some of the benefits of God.
Why would God send a Savior for me? What have I ever done to deserve that? There is nothing I could ever do—so great, so good—that God would send Jesus for me. None of us deserved it. But He said, “All you have to do is bless the Lord, O my soul, and I’ll do all the benefits!”
From the archives of Oral Roberts – Eighth of eight parts
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. —Psalm 23:6
A good shepherd never leaves his sheep. At the end of the day, he calls them into the fold one by one. After they are all accounted for, he lies down at the door and personally keeps them safe.
God cares and provides for us as surely as a shepherd cares for his sheep because He is “the GOOD shepherd” (John 10:11˗14).
Somewhere people have gotten the idea that everything bad that happens is an act of God. For example, if you’re sick, God made you sick. But the Bible talks about God’s goodness. James 1:17 says, Every good gift… cometh… from the Father. And Psalm 23:6 says, Goodness… shall follow me all the days of my life. Goodness and mercy surrounds us because the Good Shepherd is always near.
This verse reminds us that the Lord, our Shepherd, is going to be with us always. He has forgiven our sins of the past. He is with us today. And we don’t have any fear of the future because we’re going to dwell in the house of the Lord forever!
From the archives of Oral Roberts – Seventh of eight parts
Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. — Psalm 23:5
Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. As a young boy, the psalmist David was anointed with oil by the prophet Samuel. Later, David’s life was filled with danger, temptation, hardships, and anxieties. Yet, because of that special anointing, he was always able to rejoice in the Lord. He sang, Shout with joy before the Lord, O earth!… Come before him singing with joy… the Lord is God! He made us — we are his people, the sheep of his pasture (Psalm 100:1˗3 TLB).
Israel is a hot country, and under the blaze of the noonday sun, the sheep become weak and lifeless. Also, briars often scratch their faces. At the end of their day, the shepherd goes among the sheep with a vial of oil and pours it on their heads and into their wounds. The oil goes all over them, refreshing, soothing and healing them.
When we’re in such a tangle with our adversaries and problems that we don’t know what to do, the Lord anoints us with His Holy Spirit, and the joy of the Spirit runs down the sides of our souls, out of the cup and into the saucer!
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies. —Psalm 23:5
When your enemies are trying to get the best of you, it’s good to know the Lord is there, feeding you and strengthening your inner man.
I’m reminded of a man who was falsely accused and was to be brought before a group of his superiors to defend himself. He realized he would probably lose his job, and he was frightened. But while he was on his way to the conference, the Lord gave him Psalm 23:5: Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.
So the man recited this verse over and over. As he sat down and faced the men who were going to question him, he continued saying it under his breath. To his amazement, they all started talking about something else. Finally, one of the men said, “There’s nothing to substantiate this accusation. Let’s forget the whole thing.” And turning to the man, he added, “Don’t you think it’s time to go back to your job?”
The man said he has always believed that because of that Scripture, he didn’t lose his job.
From the archives of Oral Roberts – Fifth of eight parts
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. — Psalm 23:4
When a shepherd in Israel takes his sheep from one pasture to another, he uses his rod and staff to beat off the snakes and wild animals — anything that endangers his sheep. This is exactly what the Lord, your Shepherd, does for you.
The shepherd’s staff has a crook on it so that when a sheep starts getting out of line, the shepherd just reaches over and puts that crook around the sheep and pulls it back where it belongs.
Have you ever felt the Lord pull you back into line? I have. I have to have God’s authority in my life because, like sheep, I get going in every direction. Now I don’t always like His authority, but I need it. I must have it, for I have found that where there is authority and discipline, there is also security.
Discipline hurts sometimes. But when you know God is in charge of your life, you can relax with a sense of security. God’s “rod and staff” are an encouragement and a comfort which lets you know that God is always there with you to beat your enemies away and to keep you out of trouble.
From the archives of Oral Roberts – Fourth of eight parts
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me. — Psalm 23:4
I recall when my wife, Evelyn, and I first moved to Tulsa. Our son, Ronnie, was four years old. Just a few blocks from where we lived, a terrible murder had been committed only a couple of weeks before. One night I was gone, and Evelyn and the children were alone in the house. My four-year-old son could not go to sleep. He called Evelyn in by his bed and said, “Mother, I’m afraid that man is going to get in this house and murder me.”
Evelyn said, “Oh, no, Honey. Jesus is watching over you. He won’t let that happen! He has assigned your own personal angel to stand by your bed all night. You don’t have to be afraid.”
He said, “Well, Okay. If that’s the way it is, then I’ll go to sleep.” And he went right to sleep.
When it comes to the valley of the shadow of death, we’re all little boys and girls. But the Lord tells us that when we go through that valley, we need have no fear because we will not be alone. The Lord, our Shepherd, will be with us. He takes the fear away!