Monday, April 16, 2018

Who Am I

When Moses encountered "the Angel of the Lord who appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush" (Exodus 3:2), he was given instructions concerning the mission that the Lord had called him to. Before Moses departed, he asked, "Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, the God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they say to me, what is His name?’ what shall I say to them? And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you...This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations." (Exodus 3:13-15) 

I AM that I AM is the common English translation of the response that God revealed to Moses when he asked for His name. I AM in the Hebrew language is usually translated in English Bibles as "I AM...I WILL BE...I SHALL BE." Some translations render this name as "I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE." The King James version of the Bible reveals God saying "I am" 508 times in the Old Testament and 211 times in the New Testament. Although they may be repeated, such as, "I am the Lord" or "I am God," nevertheless God reveals Himself as I AM throughout His Word. Other examples of this are, "I am the Lord who heals you." (Exodus 15:26) "I am Almighty God." (Genesis 17:1) 

Taking this a step further, we also see, "For I am the Lord, I do not change" (Malachi 3:6) from the Old Testament, and "Jesus Christ (God in flesh) is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8) from the New Testament. So, why are these things so very important for believers to fully comprehend? Simply put, because far to many of God's children, who love Him and serve Him are living under the weight of a Christianity that has been and is still being taught that God is no longer "I AM" but is now, I was or I may. What is meant by this statement? I am not trying to be  condescending or condemning, but the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us, "lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices." (2 Corinthians 2:11)

Although Paul says, "we are not ignorant of his devices" this does not insinuate that every believer is not ignorant of Satan's devices. Unfortunately, many believers are ignorant of his plans and schemes. Paul also tells us, "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons." (1 Timothy 4:1) What are deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons? Deceiving spirits are evil spirits that cause someone to accept as true or valid that which is false or invalid. Those who fall prey to such deceptions, obviously do not know it. The doctrines of demons are doctrines blatantly contrary to Scripture. Again, because these doctrines are deceptive, they are easily accepted. 

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul is speaking to us emphatically, not to be ignorant of Satan's deceptive plans, which purpose is to bring apostasy, departing from the faith, through doctrines that are contrary to God's Word. Some good examples of these erroneous doctrines that have been accepted in many sectors of the church, come from teachers that say the age of miracles has past; that God is able to heal, but it may not be His will in certain circumstances; that sickness is God's will for His children. What a deceptive scheme. Satan has worked quite hard to hide the truth from all people, especially believers, concerning these things. Satan has broadcasted these unscriptural, deceptive and illogical doctrines so much, that it has almost succeeded in reducing Almighty God from I AM to I was or I may.

Let us now look at how this plays out in the lives of believers by looking at some Scriptures concerning Israel's condition under Egyptian rule. "And the Lord said, (to Moses) I have surely seen the oppression (affliction; shatter; troubles; misery; poverty; illness; depression) of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows (great pains and suffering)" (Exodus 3:7) Although this was prior to the giving of the Law, Israel was in covenant with God through the covenant that God established with Abraham. For the sake of time, let's skip forward to God's deliverance of Israel from Egypt and see what took place. Keep in mind their condition mentioned above. "He (I AM- God) also brought them out with silver and gold, and there was none feeble (lacking physical and mental strength as a result of age or illness) among His tribes." (Psalms 105:37) Under the Abrahamic covenant, Israel went from poverty to wealth, and from lacking physical and mental strength as a result of age or illness, to health as they exited Egypt. God also promised Israel, "...I will fulfill the number of your days." (Exodus 23:26)  

Next, look at what David also recognized under the same covenant concerning I AM, "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: 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 103:1-5) "Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation." (Psalm 91:14-16)  

Now let's look at the Scriptures concerning what God the Father worked in Christ for all, especially for believers. "But now He (Jesus) has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises." (Hebrews 8:6) Notice that Jesus is the, "Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises." Question? How is it that those under a lesser covenant could have so much available or given to them by I AM than those under "a better covenant, which was established on better promises" by the same I AM? The reality is, Old Testament prophets and kings as well as angels have desired to look into this age of grace. What strange doctrines confront believers who are under this better covenant established on better promises that have absolutely no Scriptural evidence that the age of miracles have past and that the sick are not to look for better promises than those under a lesser covenant. 

We know, according to Scriptures, God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:4) But, is God more willing to show the mercy of forgiveness to the devil's children, the lost, than He is to His own children? Is He willing to show more mercy and provide better promises to those under a lesser covenant than He is to His own Children who through the meritorious work of Christ are under a better covenant with better promises? Absolutely not! The fact is, our Heavenly Father loves His own children even more than He loves the sinner and His promises to all believers are greater than those under the old covenant. Not only is He able, but He is completely willing in all circumstances to heal, deliver, preserve, rescue, save, provide, make whole and give long life His children. So, let us shed ourselves from all doubts as to who God is and know without doubt that  He never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. For He is and will ever be, I AM!!!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Praise the Lord

Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament! Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness! Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp! Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord! (Psalm 150) Can we possible imagine what would happen in every community, city, state and even the entire world if believers would take this Psalm at face value and praise the Lord this way? It says, "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord." We must conclude that the only exception to praising the Lord as revealed in this Psalm would be if one had no breath, which means they would not be alive. 

So, what is praise? Praising the Lord has two aspects. First, praise is proclamation, which means to announce, declare or broadcast publicly. Therefore, praise is a public declaration. A public declaration of what? It is the public declaration of the great and powerful works of God. It is expressed by singing, playing musical instruments, and giving shouts of joy, as well as by different postures of the body, including clapping, raising the hands, and dancing. We see this in the life of David the king and Israel, as they brought the Ark of the Covenant of God to the city of David, "And so it was, when those bearing the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, that he sacrificed oxen and fatted sheep.  Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet." (2 Samuel 6:13-15) "Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn, with trumpets and with cymbals, making music with stringed instruments and harps." (1 Chronicles 15:28)

What a sight this must have been. How they were honoring the Lord with exuberant music, dance and shouting. Sadly though, "Davids wife, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked through a window and saw King David whirling and playing music; and she despised him in her heart." (1 Chronicles 15:29) It was sad because David was not dancing with all his might to draw attention to himself but, it was before the Lord who had chosen him to be ruler over Israel. (2 Samuel 6:21) Due to Michal accusing David of being undignified in his exuberant praise before the Lord, "Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death." (2 Samuel 6:21) This is also sad, because many in the church today consider those who shout, dance, clap, etc., in a church service is carnal, out-of-order and even disrespectful to the Lord, when in fact they are making a public declaration of the great and powerful works of God. The fact is, when it comes to praise among believers today, I believe that we have not been exuberant enough over the wonderful, powerful works of God.

The second aspect of praise is sacrifice. "Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name." (Hebrews 13:15) The Greek word for sacrifice refers to a victim, a killing. Every sacrifice implies death. In this case, the victim for the sacrifice is the flesh. Therefore, praising God requires a sacrifice because it is something that goes beyond our strength, convenience, desire, and comfort. To praise God, something of ourselves, something ungodly must die, must be killed, such as apathy, pride, selfishness, worry, fear, bad thoughts, bad attitudes or anything else that keeps us from wholeheartedly expressing His greatness, His great works. Our praises to the Lord are not simply during a church service, this is implied, but our praise is to be continuous, a life style.

Our sacrifice releases the Holy Spirit to move among us, coming to our aid bringing us to the place where once something in us has died, praising ceases to be a sacrifice, as it was in the beginning and now becomes the fruit of our lips, meaning, our praise becomes natural, spontaneous and heartfelt. Praise to the Lord was so important to David, He set up a system of continuous praise in the tabernacle David had erected for the Ark of God. (1 Chronicles 16:1), "And David appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, to commemorate, to thank, and to praise the Lord God of Israel." (1 Chronicles 16:4) I believe that praise and worship will be the catalyst that will usher the last major outpouring of the Holy Spirit. 

During the beginnings of the early church, the Jewish converts were insisting that the Gentiles observe the Law of Moses as part of their conversion to Christianity. It had come to the place where, "the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter." (Acts 15:6) Through all the debate, dispute and witness of the situation, the Holy Spirit through the Apostle James speaks, "After this I will return and will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins,and I will set it up." (Acts 15:16) James is giving a paraphrase of Amos 9:11 plus some things spoken by the Prophet Hosea. 

The point being made is this; that some time after the Messiah (who is the seed and the Son of David) has come into the world, and following a great shaking up of Israel and the nations, there’s going to be a great revival and a return to the days as they were in King David’s time. It will be a time of great expansion of the kingdom of God. In those last days the tabernacle of David will be rebuilt and this tabernacle will be a refuge and a place of deliverance and salvation not just for the Jewish people, but will include Gentile's also. Together, Jew and Gentile would celebrate, praise the wonderful works of King Jesus. 

When we experience difficult periods in our lives, when life seems full of setbacks, financial troubles, or sickness, we may not have the desire to praise God, and yet, this is precisely the time when God will ask us to present the sacrifice of praise with the fruit of lips giving Him thanks. So, if we want to live at the forefront of what God is saying and doing, if we desire to live in constant blessings and to be permanently on fire for Him, then continuous praise should become the forefront part of our lives.

Monday, April 2, 2018

From Glory to Glory

The Lord desires to manifest Himself among His children. Jesus said, "...he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him." (John 14:21) To manifest is to show, to make appear, to place before the eyes so that an object may be seen. Again, Jesus desires to manifest Himself among His people, to show himself to them that they should see and know that he is their Lord and Savior. He continues, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him." (John 14:23) God will manifest himself to believers as a Father and again, Jesus will manifest himself as Lord and Savior. To make their home in believers is a figurative expression implying that the Father and Jesus would manifest themselves in no temporary way, but that believers are to enjoy their presence continually.

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul reveals, "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" (1 Corinthians 3:16); "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you..." (1 Corinthians 6:19); "...For you are the temple of the living God..." (2 Corinthians 6:16) As we see, believers can enjoy God's presence continuously because He has set up residence in us. But this goes even further. Jesus reveals to us in His prayer to the Father in John gospel chapter seventeen, a very exciting things for all who would believe in Him  through the preaching of the gospel. He prays, "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one...Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world." (John 17:22, 24) 

The very glory that the Father gave Jesus would also be given to every believer. What does this mean to the believer? "Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light." (Matthew 17:1-2) This is the glory of the Father in Christ being reflected on the outside of Jesus that these three disciples got to see in which all future disciples would come to participate in. Jesus says it this way, "that they may behold My glory which You have given Me." The word behold means, to be a spectator; look at; to view attentively; to see; to perceive with the eyes; to enjoy the presence of. The very glory that the three disciples saw, is the very same glory that Jesus said believers could view attentively, perceive with the eyes and or enjoy the presence of.

For many this may be difficult to believe, that believers can enjoy the very presence of God beyond Him living inside, but to physically see His glory, His presence, manifest among us. This is a part of the tremendous redemption that the Father restored to man through Christ, that Adam had forfeited. It is not difficult to believe if believers will accept the truth without doctrinal prejudices and then learn how to create and atmosphere where God can manifest His glory. In other words, God does not manifest Himself where people tend to carry out an agenda, a predetermined program, or where He is simply tolerated due to poor attitudes during a church service. He will always manifest Himself where people have an insatiable desire to reverence, celebrated and honored Him with their whole heart.

You might ask, "Is it possible for us to be in the same place where the glory of God is present and not realize it? Look at the situation the Jacob encountered, "Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” (Genesis 28:16) As we can see, yes it is possible for believers to be in the same place where the glory of God is present and not realize it. There are many reasons for this, such as a lack of knowledge of such things, teaching that opposes this or not being willing to accept change from the same old order of a church service that we have grown use to. However, most often, it is sin. It could be bitterness, resentment, a lack of forgiveness, poor attitudes, or it may be that we are totally absorbed in our own problems, so that our spiritual perception is completely turned off.  If any of these things are the case, they must be dealt with so that we can be sensitive to how the Spirit of God is moving. 

Although we may be creating an atmosphere for God's glory to manifest, we need to keep in mind, that God alone takes the initiative, to manifest Himself among us. We must learn not to rush or be in a hurry, but to rest in His sovereignty, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and permit Him to have His way in our midst. Our priority should always be to a1low His glory to manifest. Sure, it may be difficult to break free from the same old way of doing a church service, change usually is. It simply comes down to whether we desire continuing in religious rituals or desire the presence of God which is able to transform lives in an instance. In our day, I believe that God is raising up a new generation of people of all ages who will know how to respond to His presence. This generation will thirst for His glory to manifest not only in our church services, but also over the entire earth. 

Although darkness in the world seems denser each day, and wickedness seems to be multiplying, the manifestation of God on earth will also become more powerful with each passing moment. I believe that this new generation of people who hunger for God's presence will impact the world and gather the greatest harvest of souls ever seen. Entire cities and nations will be shaken by His glory and will recognize Jesus as Lord and Savior. I believe that we will see the most remarkable manifestations of His presence through miracles, signs, and wonders that will take place around the world. So, let us be this new generation being assured that God will take care of everything because He does not want us to waste our time following religious norms. He wants us to enjoy the highest dimension of His glory. As Jesus said, "...that they may behold (to perceive with the eyes; to enjoy the presence of) My glory which You have given Me..."

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Greatest Plan

The purpose for the incarnation was that man might be given the right to become a child of God (John 1:12). Man could only become a child of God by receiving the nature of God. Therefore, Christ came that man might receive eternal life (John 10:10), that is, life as God has it. Man could receive eternal life only after he had been legally redeemed from Satan's authority (Colossians 1:13-14).
The Holy Spirit gave to the Apostle Paul the revelation of the finished work of Christ concerning man's redemption.

The Apostle Paul tells us, "Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith, to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen." (Romans 16:25-27) and "But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ." (Galatians 1:11-12) 

Though Paul says in Romans "my gospel," we see that it is a revelation of Jesus Christ, not from man but from God. It is a revelation that had been kept silent but now has been made known. This is also revealed in Ephesians 3:1-12. In Ephesians, Paul reveals that his understanding in the mystery of Christ, that had not been known to other generations, was given to him by revelation. However, prior to the revelation given by the Holy Spirit concerning Christ, was only on the level of the sense, that is, they were only able to comprehend Jesus in the physical realm, through their senses. We see this as revealed by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle John, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life." (1 John 1:1) Though the Apostle John had received a greater revelation of Christ by this time, he is revealing Christ in the natural sense in order that the reader can understand that Jesus came bodily form, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us..." (John 1:1, 14)

Therefore, we see that the knowledge, the understanding that man possessed of Christ during His life on earth was purely by his physical senses. However, we see Jesus with His disciples and He asks, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" (Matthew 16:13) We see the disciples response, but then Peter says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16) Jesus tells him, 
"Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 16:17) Jesus proceeds "to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day." (Matthew 16:21) Although Peter had received this wonderful revelation of Christ from the Father, it was not enough for the disciples faith to rise up and stand on this revelation. We see this in Peter's response when Jesus revealed what would happen to Him in Jerusalem, "Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” (Matthew 16:22)

They could not comprehend the greatness of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection. They could only understand what their senses could assimilate. Even when the time came where they saw the beating of Christ; the nails driven into His hands and feet; when they heard the words, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me" (Matthew 27:46); when they saw and handled His body in the process of embalming it, and placing it in the tomb, they did not understand. Not only did they not understand these things in the physical realm, but they knew nothing of the spiritual suffering of Christ, as His spirit was made sin, sickness and a curse. (Isaiah 53:4-6, Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24).

They knew nothing as to what was taking place in the spiritual realm. Then, the third day had arrived. They saw that the stone rolled away from the tomb; they saw the empty tomb and grave clothes; the disciples were told of these things and yet they still could not comprehend, they could not believe. All they knew was the reality of what there senses could comprehend. Finally, Jesus appears to them and "as the eleven sat at the table, Jesus rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen." (Mark 16:14)

Jesus had told the disciples before His death, "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come." (John 16:13) It appears that the reality of what had taken place had only became known, had only become real to the disciple after they had received the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:1-4)  Now they could see with their spiritual eyes. They understood the judgment, that was upon man, fell on Jesus; they understood that Jesus died under our judgment; they understood that Jesus paid our penalty in hell and suffered there until God could justify the human race.

The great news for us today is, Christ has died for all; He had become identified with our spiritual
death as our substitute; in hell He was justified in spirit (1 Timothy 3:16); He was born of
God (Acts 13:33); He conquered Satan (Colossians 2:15; Revelation 1:18); He was raised from the dead by God's almighty power (Ephesians 1:19-20); He carried His blood into heaven (Hebrews 9:12); He is seated at the right hand of the Father (Ephesians 1:20-21); where He continuously intercedes for us (Hebrews 7:25); and has given everything, every promise, every blessing for the benefit of His Body the church (Ephesians 1:22-23) This is the greatest plan that has even been freely given to man. Now through the meritorious work of Jesus Christ, redemption has been made eternal, perfect, comprehensive and available to every man, woman and Child.

So, as we move towards what we call Easter Sunday, let us truly celebrate the glorious resurrection of our Lord. Let us do as David did, "I will extol You, my God, O King; And I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts. I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works. Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts,And I will declare Your greatness." (Psalm 145:1-6) Let us rejoice and celebrate the wondrous works of God...

Monday, March 19, 2018

Abundant Life

There are four Greek words in the New Testament, translated life. One of these means manner of life; another means human life; another behavior; but there is another Greek word for the kind of life that Jesus brought to the world. Jesus tells us, "...I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) The word "life" here mean, life in the absolute sense; life as God has it, that which the Father has in Himself, which He gave to the Incarnate Son to have in Himself, which has been given to all who confess with the mouth the Lord Jesus Christ and receive Him as Savior. That they may have it (life) more abundantly literally means, that they may have abundance, or that which abounds. Therefore, Jesus tells us that in Him believers have, life as God has it, the very life of God, eternal life, and we have it now. 

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us, "...that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3:19) This shows that this new life, the life of God, can fulfill in us any promise of any requirement in the Bible. This means that the life of God in us, can fulfill all that the Bible requires or promises and it is precisely what the life of God in us was or is to accomplish. The life of God in us, will make us more than conquerors (Romans 8:37) in spirit, soul and body; it transforms us from glory to glory into the image of Christ; it turns belief into knowledge; it is the source of all the divine graces; it gives God's wisdom; it overcomes the world, the flesh and he devil; it works in us that which is well pleasing in his sight. By filling us with His own life, God Himself becomes our life, our peace, our righteousness, our purity, our strength and our health. God wants to do in us, all that he did in Christ for us. The life of God in us should move us to proclaim as King David, "God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." (Psalm 73:26)  

Jesus said, "I am the vine, you are the branches..." (John 15:5) The Vine's life is in the branches. The life of the branches is a part of the life of the vine. It is Christ's will that all the branches shall be full of His own life. When one is full of the life of God, they are one with God just as the bay is one with the ocean. Paul tells us, "But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him." (1 Corinthians 6:17) In other words, our recreated spirit and His Spirit are blended into one. Believers need to get this in their heart because the Holy Spirit wants to be unhindered in His wonderful and continuous work of releasing the life of God throughout our whole spirit, soul and body. Jesus said, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life." (John 6:63) The Apostle Paul tells us, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." (Romans 8:2) 

All life is due to the direct action of the Holy Spirit. It is His work to impart to us continually the actual Life of Jesus. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." John 14:6) Jesus is the true source of life for our spirit, soul and body. His work of increasing the divine life in our spirit, soul and body is hindered or limited when we do not apply faith to these realities. When Jesus said, "that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly," He, in essence was saying, we cannot have His life in the measure that He desires unless we are filled with the Spirit. David says, "My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word." (Psalm 119:25 KJV)

Notice that the quickening as David said, is, "according to thy (God's) word." The Holy Spirit inspired these words and it is His blueprint from which He works while carrying on His great work of quickening. To be quickened according to God's Word, means to be full of His life in our spirit, soul and body. Paul tells us, "For in Him (Christ) dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and you are complete in Him..." (Colossians 2:9-10) Therefore, in Christ believers can be full of everything that the Vine contains. The abiding branch not only has life, but is full of life all the time. It is by the
Holy Spirit's fullness, as Paul says, "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thessalonians 5:23) and "For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh." (2 Corinthians 4:11) that all believers by faith can enjoy now.

Therefore, let us pray every day, as David said "Quicken thou me (give me more life) according to thy word." Let this prayer be our first prayer every day. It is God's way of "...fulfilling all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power" (2 Thessalonians 1:11) in and through us. The Holy Spirit wants to release an abundance of the life of God in us to the extent that everything He has revealed concerning us in God's Word shall be fulfilled in us. We must keep in mind, that the measure of the life of God in us, only becomes a reality according to our trust in God's Word.  When we pray, "give me more life according to your Word" we know that we are praying according to His will. The Apostle John tells us, "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 John 5:14-15) We can, therefore, obtain the answer, according to His Will which is His Word. This includes every promise and blessing that we find in God's Word.

What a glorious privilege it is that whenever we feel the greatest lack, we can pray to the Giver of Life, "give me more life according to your Word." Jesus said, "He who believes in Me, (His Word) as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." (John 7:38) The Apostle John tells us, "...Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely." (Revelation 22:17) Our Heavenly Father wants to be an inexhaustible fountain of life within us springing up and flowing out in "rivers of living water." So, let us exercise our faith and let these truths "transform us into the image of Christ, from glory to glory by the Holy Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:18) May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you...

Monday, March 12, 2018

He Never Changes

 The Holy Spirit through the Prophet Malachi reveals a very important aspect of God, "For I am the Lord, I do not change." (Malachi 3:6) God is immutable. He does not change. He is unchanging. He is unable to be changed. Nothing or no one is capable of changing Him. I labor this point due to the questions that arise concerning whether or not certain aspects of the church were only enacted over a particular space of time which we will look at. The primary meaning of the name Lord, is Jehovah, the "self-existent One who reveals Himself." (Exodus 3:14) The word God in Scripture, El, Elah, Elohim, suggests certain attributes of His Deity, such as His strength, whereas Lord reveals His essential being.

The first appearance of the name Jehovah in Scripture follows the creation of man. It was God, Elohim, Creator, who said, "Let us make man in our image." (Genesis 1:26) However, in the second chapter of Genesis, when man was formed and was given authority over creation, it is the Lord God, Jehovah Elohim, who acts. This clearly indicates a special relationship of Deity, as Jehovah, to man. We see this emphasized throughout the Scriptures. Jehovah is distinctly the redemptive name of Deity. Why do I say this? When sin entered and redemption became necessary, it was Jehovah Elohim who sought Adam and the woman, (Genesis 3:9-13), and clothed them with coats of skins. (Genesis 3:21) This is a beautiful type of righteousness provided by the Lord God, through a sacrifice, which pointed to the ultimate sacrifice of Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:21-26)

The first distinct revelation of Himself by His name Jehovah was in connection with the redemption of the covenant people, Israel, out of Egypt (Exodus 3:13-17).  Since it is God's redemptive relationship to us that these names reveal, they must each point to Calvary where we were redeemed. The blessing that each name reveals must be provided in redemption, which the Scriptures clearly teach. These seven redemptive names, point to God's continuous and increasing revelation of Himself to man. In His redemptive relationship to man, Jehovah has seven compound names which reveal Him as meeting every need of humankind from Adam until the end of time.Interestingly enough, there are seven redemptive not six or eight, but seven. (Seven is the number of divine perfection)

These compound names which are revealed in Scripture are, (not in any particular order)...
  • Jehovah-Jireh, "the Lord will provide" (Genesis 22:13-14); Christ is the offering provided for our complete redemption... 
  • Jehovah-Nissi, "the Lord our banner" (Exodus 17:8-15); It was Christ's triumphed over principalities and powers (Colossians 2:15) that He provided for us, as our Substitute, the redemptive privilege of saying, "Thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:57)...
  • Jehovah-Shalom, "the Lord our peace," (Judges 6:23-24). This reveals to us the redemptive privilege of having His peace. Accordingly, Jesus says, "My peace I give to you." (John 14:27) This blessing is in redemption because "the chastisement of our peace was upon him" (Isaiah 53:5) and confirmed when "having made peace through the blood of His cross." (Colossians 1:20)...
  • Jehovah-Ra-ah, "the Lord my shepherd" (Psalm 23:1) Jesus became our shepherd by giving His life for the sheep (John 10:11-15); therefore, this is also privilege provided in redemption...
  • Jehovah-Tsidkenu, "the Lord our righteousness" (Jeremiah 23:6); Jesus became our righteousness by bearing our sin; therefore, our privilege of receiving the gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17) is a redemptive blessing...
  • Jehovah-Shammah, "the Lord is present" (Ezekiel 48:35) The Lord is present revealing to us the redemptive privilege of enjoying the presence of Him who says, "Lo,I am with you always even until the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20). This blessing provided in redemption is proven by the fact that we "have been brought near by the blood of Christ." (Ephesians 2:13)...
  • Jehovah-Rapha, "the Lord that heals" (Exodus 15:26); This name is given to reveal to us our redemptive privilege of receiving the healing which was provided by Christ, our Substitute. Isaiah, in the redemptive chapter, declares, "he has borne our griefs (sicknesses), and carried our sorrows (pains) (Isaiah 53:4; Matthew. 8:17)
This completes the list of seven redemptive names of God, which were given for the purpose of revealing God's relationship to all of us under each of these seven titles. These seven names also belong to Christ. (John 1:1, 14) It is under each of these seven titles that He "is the same yesterday, and today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8) Jesus says to all who come to Him for any of these seven
blessings, "He that comes to me I will in no wise cast out." (John 6:37) This is the Good News that God wants preached to all the world, so that every person may have the privilege of enjoying "the fullness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ." (Romans 15:29) There is nothing of God's Word more "settled in heaven" than His redemptive names. No one has a right to change God, "I AM" to I was!!!

The Holy Spirit, who is sent to execute for us the blessings of redemption, is our Helper and He is ready to help us press through and beyond all of the obstacles that try to keep believers from all their redemptive rights through Jesus Christ. These blessings are pledged to us in His seven unchanging redemptive and covenant names of God. So, I want to encourage us all, if we need provision, Jehovah-Jireh will provide; if you need victory, Jehovah-Nissi, has provided it; if you need peace, it is available now through Jehovah-Shalom; we can rest in the fact that Jesus is Jehovah-Ra-ah our shepherd; by virtue of becoming a New Creation in Christ, Jehovah-Tsidkenu is our righteousness; we never have to feel that he has forsaken us, for Jehovah-Shammah is ever-present; if you need healing now, today, Jehovah-Rapha, is the healer of spirit, soul and body.

Finally, "Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ." (Colossians 2:8) These redemptive names of God and everything they represent belong to you now! As we have seen, the Scriptures reveal, "For I am the Lord, I do not change." (Malachi 3:6) and "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8) So, do not wait. By faith take hold of all of His promises. They belong to us NOW...

Monday, March 5, 2018

What Proof Do You Need

Trying to appropriate the blessings and promises of God in ones life has become a struggle for many believers today. The main reason is a lack of true Bible faith. I say, Bible faith, simply because, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17) However, many have not been brought into a clear understanding of faith due to words that have created doubts wondering if it is God's will to continue giving gifts, promises and blessings for the church today. So, words that contradict God's Word create doubt not faith. With that said, it is impossible for anyone to receive the gifts, promises and or blessings from God if one is not certain God offers them. These things can only manifest where the will of God is known. When I say the will of God, it also means the Word of God. His will and His Word are one and the same. Let's look at an example of this...

It would be next to impossible to get a sinner to "believe unto righteousness" before he or she was fully convinced that it was God's will to save them. Therefore, faith begins where the will of God
is known. Faith must rest on the will of God alone, not on our desires or wishes. Appropriating faith is not believing that God is able, but that He is willing. In Matthew's gospel we see a leper ask Jesus,
"Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” The first thing that Jesus does is correct the lepers thinking, his belief, his theology. "Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, I am willing; be cleansed. Immediately his leprosy was cleansed." (Matthew 8:2-3) This very thing is what stops God from overflowing the church with blessings, that is, not only knowing God is able, but knowing that He is willing. 

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Peter tells us, "...the Lord is gracious." (1 Peter 2:3) That is, God is, favorable; kind; benevolent; merciful; disposed to forgive offenses and impart unmerited blessings. Therefore, to not know God's will, which is found in His Word will always hamper believers from walking in the promises of God. To take this one step further, to change or adjust God's Word, that is, saying that certain gifts, promises and or blessings that He has given to the church are not for the church today, is also to say that God is not as gracious to the church who "has a better covenant on better promises" (Hebrews 8:6) than He was to the children of Israel who were under a lesser covenant. Therefore, until a person knows God's will, he or she has no basis for faith. Faith is expecting God to do what we know it is His will to do. When we know it is God's will, it is not difficult for us to believe that He will do what we are sure He wants to do. 

Another example of this can be seen in a mother telling her six year old daughter on a Wednesday, "Honey mommy is going to take you to the store on Saturday and buy you a new dress." The little girl's faith for a new dress comes by hearing the words her mother spoke to her. Although the little girl has no physical proof that she will get a new dress, she is still excited and even tells her friends. Again, the only proof of the dress is her mothers words. The little girl could not, and would not be expected to have faith for the new dress until her mother  promised it. So, in the same way, believers cannot, nor are we expected, to have faith for the gifts, promises and or blessings of God, until faith comes by hearing the Word of God. However, the problem that tends to arise is when believers, unlike the little girl in the story, need proof that God's gifts, promises and blessings are for today. Unfortunately, for many, His Word is not enough proof as Thomas they need to see to believe. Of course this is not faith at all, because faith works independent of our senses. Also, one does not need faith if for something that they can see, taste, touch, hear or smell.   

Faith always blows the ram's horn, before, not after, the walls are down. (Joshua 6:1-20) Faith never judges according sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7) It is the evidence of things not seen but promised. If you really think about it, faith rests on far more solid ground than the evidence of the senses, because it is the Word of God, "which abides forever" that our faith rests upon which also builds our faith. Our senses may deceive us, but God's Word will never fail us! (Isaiah 55:11) When the little girl in the above story is promised a new dress on Wednesday, faith is the actual expectation that she already has it before Saturday arrives. Real faith always has corresponding actions (James 2:18) as seen in the little girl telling her friends about a dress that she does not have in her possession. When Saturday comes and she sees the new dress, faith for the new dress stops. 

The little girl is not afraid to testify in advance that she is to have a new dress. When her friends say, "How do you know you are?" she confidently replies, "My mommy promised it!"  We believers should have even more faith and a better reason for expecting the gifts, promises and blessings of God to manifest in our lives than the little girl had for expecting a new dress. Why? What would have happened if something unexpected had come up and the mother could not get her daughter the dress? Simply put, whether the mother could have avoided the situation or not, the promise was broken and to the little girl, her mother lied. However, God never breaks a promise, because "God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19)

So, let us put our confidence in this. Our proof is God's Word alone not in the things seen or felt. Now, because you have not received God's gifts, promises and or blessings instantly, does not mean that God is not faithful to perform His Word. The writer of Hebrews tells us, "Let us hold fast the confession of our faith without wavering, for He who promised is faithful." (Hebrews 10:23) So, do not lose heart, but believe God's Word. It is His will for us, yesterday, today and forever...