by Pastor Tim Burt
Have you ever received a bad report? Who hasn’t—right? And too many have experienced enough bad reports to feel shell shocked and worn down. Bad reports seem to punch you in the gut and twist your stomach in knots. The loss of a loved one, loss of a job, or some type of calamity or tragedy is never easy to hear about. And on top of that, watch the news and you’ll be worn out with terrible news that really didn’t need to be a part of your life. You might think, I have enough drama in my life, why am I watching and listening to all this? It only depresses me.
In your Bible reading, you may have noticed that in the Old Testament, Kings were never pleased with those that couldn’t wait to bring bad news. They often had them killed or punished. Many of us have been guilty of bringing a bad report to others and to serve what purpose? Think about that! The sad part about that is, sometimes people almost seem excited or in a hurry to share bad news. Did you hear about Mary? She and David are getting a divorce! I just heard that David has been cheating on her. Hmm, do you remember that person asking you to pray for them earlier? Probably not! What is the attraction to telling bad news? It often brings fear or sadness to the hearer so what spirit do you think is leading that impulse?
In 2 Kings a very wicked King Sennacherib, spreads a very evil report about all the evil he is going to bring against the children of Israel and how their God can do nothing to stop him. He puts a report out there that sends a chill of intimidation and fear down the backs of King Hezekiah and God’s people. It’s is an ongoing tactic Satan has used throughout all time. He brings an evil report and then gets as many people to begin to repeat it as He can. The result becomes a bad report that gains in momentum. Satan’s strategy is that of a terrorist with the goal of robbing all hope and faith and replacing it with feelings of helplessness and despair. In 2 Kings 19:6-7 NIV, God speaks through Isaiah the prophet and tells King Hezekiah, “This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard–those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me… I will have him cut down with the sword.”
In Mark chapter 4:15 NKJV, Jesus exposes Satan’s tactic again. It says that when the Word of God is planted in our heart, “Satan comes immediately to steal the Word of God from our hearts.” It tells us that one of the ways he does that is to bring the cares of this world. An evil or bad report will definitely bring cares which are designed to steal our faith in God’s love and help toward us.
The entire Bible is written to encourage us to believe God’s truth—“that with man things are impossible but with God all things are possible.” When Hezekiah heard the bad report, he did what God wants us to do—to be still and pray in faith knowing God is for you and working through your prayers! When King Hezekiah did that, he heard from the Spirit of God and even though a whole army was coming down upon them and it appeared to be the beginning of the end for them, God spoke these words: “Do not be afraid of what you have heard…” God then delivered them from the evil report and destruction as God supernaturally destroyed King Sennacherib.
God so desires us to stop responding out of fear to the bad news and evil reports that come our way. He wants us to learn to instead pray and stand on the promises of His Word—what our spirit should be hearing from the Holy Spirit. If we are spending time in the Word of God, we will hear God’s voice and promises. With God, things are not over till they are over, and even then they aren’t over. His Words say that the enemy has no right to harm us. It is a covenant promise. Yes, I know that people are hurt every day. You can’t answer for every person. You can only personally learn to stand in faith for your own life and intercede for others. This is one of the reasons a prayer life is so critical. If you do pray and you do learn to stand on God’s covenant promises, you will begin to see evil reports change. Praying in faith and trusting God will be your greatest part and it will save you from making all the wrong moves born out of fear.
If you are a believer, then you belong to God. Luke 10:19 NKJV says, ”Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Behold means to pay attention and listen and learn. God then tells us that He gives us power over Satan. He then promises, “…nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
When my daughter Stephanie was three years old, I was at the bottom of the stairs going up to her upstairs bedroom. She was standing at the top stairs with a long window shade stick in her mouth. She started walking downstairs. I yelled out to her to stop and take it out of her mouth, but she was already coming down the stairs. Suddenly she tripped and fell and the stick ripped a hole on the inside of her throat. Blood flowed from her mouth and was choking her. I swept her in my arms, called for Renee and we raced for the hospital. We prayed over Stephanie all the way there and took authority over the devil reminding him of God’s promise, “nothing shall by any means hurt her.” The doctor told us he could do surgery—cutting the outside of her throat to sew up the inside and then sew up the outside again, or, we could walk it out a day at a time but it would be at least a month before she could eat solid foods. She would only be able to drink liquids and she would be in great pain for some time. We felt led of God to take the latter choice. Later that day we brought her home from the hospital. Within hours she was running around the house playing with her brother like nothing had happened. We had hamburgers on the table that night. We were planning to feed her yogurt or ice cream. When we weren’t paying attention, she grabbed a hamburger and started eating. She showed no pain at all! She ate the whole thing. She never showed an adverse affect from this accident ever again. It was a miracle!
When bad reports come and try to steal your faith, replace them with God’s promises and then pray and believe as instructed in Philippians 4:8 (NKJV) “Finally, brethren,
whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.” I am not saying to ignore circumstances. We did take our daughter immediately to the hospital. But faith-filled prayers proceeded the medical attention.
Some evil reports are generalized and don’t even directly pertain to you. Some are futuristic forecasting of doom and gloom. In those moments, let prayers of faith stop thoughts and imaginations of the bad news that comes your way. Lead with the spirit of faith as the agent of change over those evil reports. At the very least, you will be encouraging your own heart.
For those things that do directly affect you, pray and believe that God’s promises are true and that He is greater than any circumstance in your life.
Be the bearer of hope, good news and the promise of God. Quit repeating bad reports. Instead grab the hand of the reporter and say, Come on! This situation needs prayer. Let’s agree in prayer right now for this situation to change. As Proverbs 15:30 says, “…a good report gives health to the bones” Now you are a carrier of good news, of faith, and of hope. You will be used of God as an agent of faith and be a great blessing!
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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