Monday, June 18, 2018

Let's Connect

Our Heavenly Father desires to be a part of our daily lives. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle's Paul and John tells us, "God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:9); "that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ." (1 John 1:3) As we see, God's great desire is to have fellowship, that is, companionship; to partner with; having joint interest; communion; intimate familiarity with each of His children. Naturally, the best way for us to accomplish this, is spending ample time in His Word. Doing this opens the door to a joyful, productive prayer life. So what is prayer?

Prayer is our need crying out for help; it is the voice of faith presenting His Word along with our petitions to the Father in the name of Jesus with the calm assurance that what we ask according to His Will, His Word, He will hear us, answer us and the need will be met. (1 John 5:14-15) It is going into the presence of the Father and the Son in an executive meeting, laying our needs before them and making our requests for His ability, His strength, for grace, healing, financial, etc., for ourselves and or for others. It is searching His Word where we find His promise and then speak His Word through the lips of faith. It is as though He Himself is speaking, because He and His Word are one. (John 1:1, 14; 1 John 5:7) 

God backs His Word with His very throne. So, think of prayer from this perspective. If we were to take a loan from a bank and offer collateral to make the note good, in a greater and more confident way, we know that God has the ability to make His Word good. Simply put, prayer is facing God with the assured confidence that as we offer our needs and the needs of other to Him in Jesus' Name, His promise is to meet those needs. (Matthew 6:31-33; John 14:13-14, 16:23) However, we must ask with faith, not doubting. (Mark 11:24) Jesus tells us, "...that men always ought to pray and not lose heart." (Luke 18:1) Another translation says it this way, "Men ought always to pray and not cave in." You see, prayer is not a hit or miss thing or a when we get some time in our schedule or even when we find ourselves between a rock and a hard place. It is recognizing that we are always in His presence and His presence is always in and with us. It means that we are near enough to Him to breathe in His very presence. It means that we have an open and standing invitation to come boldly into the throne room, right into His presence. (Hebrews 4:16) It is a constant communion with the Father and Son that enriches us in every way. 

One the the wonderful features concerning prayer is that it reaches to the uttermost parts of the earth. We see this very thing as the power of God's Word was released from the Savior lips recorded in Matthews gospel, "Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed...Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour. (Matthew 8:5-8, 13) 

Though Jesus was not praying, we see in this example the power of God's Word, when released from the lips of faith, that it releases the very presence of God upon people even when they are not in our midst. God through the believer is ruling over all the demons and evil forces all over the world. His Word really becomes the sword of the Spirit, and it is waging a war against demoniacal forces who rule over people. God's Word through your lips dominates these world forces in the same manner and with the same power as we see in the life of Jesus. Jesus said, "In my name they shall cast out demons..." (Mark 16:17) This means that God through you, can sway entire nations. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us, "We then, as workers together with Him..." (2 Corinthians 6:1) How can we labor together with the Lord? Of course through ministry, but also through a marvelous prayer life. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Peter tells us, "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood..." (1 Peter 2:9). The moment a person is born again, they immediately enter the royal priesthood and as a priest they become God's voice, His spokesman, His ambassador, in Jesus' Name.

According to Genesis, God gave Adam dominion over all creation. (Genesis 1:26-28) That dominion was restored to us through Jesus, but it is of no value to us unless we, use His Name. Jesus said, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth." (Matthew 28:18) The church is His Body, therefore, His authority has been  given to us as members of His Body. In the same manner that Jesus exercised that dominion during His ministry on earth as the Son of Man, ruling over the wind and the sea; over all manner of sickness and disease; feeding the multitudes and raise people from the dead, we to can exercise the same authority in the same manner. We must believe that when He said, "I am with you always, even unto the end of this age" (Matthew 28:20), that He is indeed with us in the Word, in His Name, and in the presence of the Holy Spirit.

He has made us sons and daughters; He has given us the power of attorney to use His Name; He has given us the Holy Spirit; He has restored all that Adam lost, which make us masters over demons and laws that sin brought into being. All of His promises are ours. Every believer has a place in prayer. There isn't a useless member in the physical body nor in the spiritual Body of Christ. The moment one is born again, you have a place in which to function. If any one thinks that because of lack of training or any other reason that he or she hasn't a place, it is the lie of the devil to keep you from exercising your authority against him. In Christ, you have a place. However, with that place comes responsibility, and with responsibility comes a reward or demerit. If you do not take your place in the Family of God, in the Church, and begin to function, the body of Christ is weakened because of it. Therefore, take your place. Give yourself to prayer and the Word. Don't allow anything to stand in your way. 

So, let us join forces with the Lord in our prayer life letting our authority loose to bring liberty to the lost captives and to be a blessing to all people, in His Name. Let's connect with God daily and regularly. He is always with us...

Monday, June 11, 2018

Hear I Am Lord

The Bible shows us a story of a boy named Samuel who, "ministered to the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation." (1 Samuel 3:1) Although, there was no widespread revelation at the time, a wonderful thing happened, "The Lord called Samuel. And he answered, “Here I am." (1 Samuel 3:4) Though Samuel, according to the first-century Jewish historian Josephus, was about 11 years old at the time, and was not familiar with the voice of the Lord, he was directed by Eli as to how to respond, "Therefore Eli said to Samuel, Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, Samuel! Samuel, and Samuel answered, Speak, for Your servant hears." (1 Samuel 3:9-10)

Often the Lord calls to us, and like Samuel we are not always sure of His voice. This is not a bad thing, but the Lord wants us to hear Him speak and respond, so He can direct our path. (Proverbs 3:6)
Many believers look at Gods Word and see a scripture like, "My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don't lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body" (Proverbs 4:20-22 NLT) and simply marvel at the promise(s) of God. However, let's begin to see Gods Word as facts. We see within God's Word a wonderful promise made concerning His very nature, will and character, "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?" (Number 23:19) 

Because God tells us this concerning Himself, it is very important that we look closely at His Word and get it into our hearts. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17) Therefore, we conclude it is God's Word that not only creates and atmosphere of faith, but is what faith is to be built upon. In Luke chapter five, we find one of numerous passages of scripture that paints a clear picture of hearing the Word of God and responding to it as truth, reality, fact. In this passage of scripture, we find a leper who asks Jesus if He is willing to heal him. Jesus said, "I am willing, be cleansed". (Luke 5:13) Here we see Gods willingness to heal this man. As we continue on, we find an important key, "However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities." (Luke 5:15)

We see here in Luke 5:15, that a multitude heard His report, believed and were healed. However, in Isaiah 53:1, John 12:38 and Romans 10:16 we see the same question presented, "Who has believed our report?" This very question becomes a reality concerning God 's Word, later in Luke five, "Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them. Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him. And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus. When He saw their faith, He said to him, Man, your sins are forgiven you. And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Luke 5:17-21)

Notice, "the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason." Reasoning is most likely the greatest enemy, the greatest hindrance to faith. The writer of Hebrews tells us concerning many Jews, "For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it." (Hebrews 4:2) A good example of this is found in Numbers chapters thirteen and fourteen where Moses reveals Gods promises to Israel and they did not mix it with faith, that is, receive the Word of God as fact and act upon it. Their unbelief caused a generation to die in the wilderness. Israel did not believe the promise that God gave to them concerning Canaan, the Promised Land, how He had given it to them and it would be a place of rest for them in the same way, Christ is the ultimate promise of rest, to those who believe in Him.

Today, when the Word of God is preached the same danger exists. If believers who hear God's Word, do not let it penetrate deep into their hearts to take root, unbelief becomes the end result, and believers become unfruitful. (John 15:1-11). In the Parable of the Soils, revealed in Mark chapter four, Jesus shows us the three main reasons why people, including believers, will hear God's Word, not allow it to take root in their heart where faith grows, and act upon it, that is, bear fruit. The Parable reveals that God's Word is seed that must be planted in good soil, the heart. When this is accomplished over and over, receiving God's Word in a willing heart, it produces faith which yields  a harvest. Jesus said, "But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirty-fold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” (Mark 4:20) 

Going back to Samuel, we find that he heard the Lords voice and responded. In fact, Samuel was the last Judge of Israel, but moreover, one of the greatest prophets of all the prophets. So, let us be a people who spends time with the Lord, that is, reading, studying and meditating in and on His Word. As we do this more and more, we will come to know God in an intimate way thereby doing great things for Him in the name of Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit. "...but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits." (Daniel 11:32) 

Monday, June 4, 2018

Enjoying Everyday

When we look at the early church as recorded in the Book of Acts, we find a Christianity that is pure, heartfelt, powerful and seemingly foreign to what is practiced today. For instance, "And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation. Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved." (Acts 2:40-47)

Now many church leaders would have you believe that this was due to culture or even special grace upon the early church because they needed it. They would have you believe that most of these things are not for the so called "modern church" of today, but is this true. Well it would be if the Lord Jesus, the builder of the church, (Matthew 16:18) made adjustments so that the church could adapt to the various cultures of the world and not the culture of the Kingdom of God. It would be if He was no longer a God of miracles, signs and wonders, as well as one who changes (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8) or make adjustments to accommodate man. But the truth is, He does not do such things. It is man who continues to do the same since the fall from the Garden, oppose God's Word. 

So with that said, do you know anyone who would like to be apart of the Christianity that we see as revealed in Acts 2:40-47? I'm sure that most every believer would. They lived from day to day eating their food with gladness and simplicity of heart. What a way to live. Gladness here means; rejoicing that displaces worry and gloom and fills the mind with joy. Simplicity of heart means; having a satisfied, sincere, thankful and pure heart desiring the things of God and not the things of the world. Wow, what a way to enjoy the abundant life that Jesus gave His life for. (John 10:10) Unfortunately many believers today look at the early church and somehow think that their world was problem and trial free, that life was just simple and carefree. This kind of thinking is far from the truth.

The early church faced more opposition than believers in the USA have ever faced, yet they had gladness and simplicity of heart. The main reason for this kind of lifestyle is because they took their Christianity very seriously. When they confessed the Lordship of Jesus Christ, they understood that all of their rights, opinions and views were freely forfeited to Christ their King. The Apostle Paul reveals this very thing to the church at Corinth, "For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." (I Corinthians 6:20) We must also keep in mind that the first converts were Jews. This meant that those who confessed Jesus as Lord and took Him as Savior, would face complete rejection by the religious leaders and family members for making such a decision. They would be treated as though they were dead (See John 9)

In the beginning of Acts chapter two, it was the Day of Pentecost and we find Peter preaching Christ and exhorting the people to "Be saved from this perverse generation". Today the world is still very much perverse but God's Word still stands as a guiding light to truth. Jesus said, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32). Paul tells us, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17) Gladness and simplicity of heart comes to anyone whose foundation is the Word of God and responds to it through faith. Not a general or unspecified faith in Christ, but a directed faith the Jesus perfectly reveals the Father's will in actions, attitudes, words and commands, knowing that God's will has not changed and Jesus is the one and only Savior. (Acts 4:12) That is, "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:9-10)

Solomon said it this way, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6) I believe this is the way that that believers in the early church lived. What they experienced should be experienced in the lives of believers today today. All it takes is faith. So, take some time, read, meditate and let your faith arise on the above passage (Acts 2:40-47) allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us all to the glory of the early church and then move us into greater things. Let's ask the Holy Spirit to lead into the realm of gladness and simplicity of heart. Amen... 

Monday, May 28, 2018

The Battles Won

Today, Monday, May 28, 2018, the USA observes Memorial Day. Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed annually in the USA on the last Monday of May. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Originally it was known as Decoration Day and was established after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union soldiers who died in the Civil War. Eventually, Memorial Day became a day to honor all Americans who have died in all wars. Although we remember the fallen from wars fought in the natural realm, the reality is, all wars begins in the spiritual realm and manifest in the natural realm. Warring in the spiritual realm, began before the creation of man where Lucifer, rebelled against God in an attempt to be equal with God. (Isaiah 14:12-15) Unfortunately, this war did not stop there. Lucifer, now Satan, in his hatred towards God and towards man, created in the image and likeness of God, wages war on earth pitting man against man through his lies and deceptions.

In short, the war against humanity started in the Garden of Eden where Adam chose to surrender to Satan, transforming him from a child of God to a child of Satan. For thousands of years countless human lives have been lost through the lies and deceptions of the one whose sole purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10) Satan is known as destroyer, murderer, liar, deceiver, accuser, and especially the enemy of the human soul. He is the epitome of all that is evil and there is no good or truth in him. (John 8:44) He also is the one behind all sickness, disease, poverty, pestilence, death and every evil action known to man. Although, we see the evil and destructive nature of war in the natural realm, the Apostle Paul tells us the reality of war, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12)

History reveals the greatest war that was ever fought. This war was also fought in the natural and spiritual realms. This was the greatest war ever fought because not one person from the creation of man had ever been able to fight against Satan and rise the victor. All humanity was helpless and hopeless in this world, until the greatest warrior that ever walked on this planet emerged. His name, Jesus, the Son of God. Unfortunately, there are billions of people that  have not recognized the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus paid to set humanity free. Many of them may have heard the story of Jesus, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16), but, "the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them." (2 Corinthians 4:4)

The night before Jesus would face this most horrendous battle, which meant it would cost Him His life, He sat with His disciples and in a sense, set up a Memorial Day for all generations to come to all who would call upon His Name to be saved. "When the hour had come, Jesus sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. Then He said to them,  with fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes. And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, this is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me. Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, this cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you." (Luke 22:14-20)

The Apostle Paul tells us, "For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me. In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, this cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." (1 Corinthians 11:23-25) As we can see, believers are to participate in "Holy Communion" as a deep, intimate connection with the One, Jesus Christ, who has given humanity more freedom than any nation(s) or army(s) could possible provide.

Through faith in Jesus Christ people no longer have to live under the tyrannical rule of Satan because Jesus Christ took the punishment for every sin of every man, woman and child in His own body on the cross. Satan and sin, which are synonymous, has been defeated and humanity can now be free.
When we consider what Jesus did for us and all mankind, the mind can hardly comprehend it. The apostle Paul tells us, "Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous." (Romans 5:18-19)

This means that not one person in all of humanity had the ability to provide redemption. God Himself became a man and provided man’s redemption. (John 1:14) It was God who redeemed man from the dominion of Satan. (1 John 3:8) It was God who destroyed death. (Hebrews 2:14) It was God who restored man’s authority over the Satan (Luke 10:19) It was God who adopted and made us His children (Romans 8:15-16) It is God who gives us all things that pertain to life and godliness. (2 Peter 2:3) It is God who gives us exceedingly great and precious promises. (2 Peter 1:4) It is God who gives us the victory at all times (1 Corinthians 15:57) and it is God who gave us eternal life (1 John 2:25) all through Jesus Christ.

Finally, Paul instructs us, "For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes." (1 Corinthians 11:26) Believers are encouraged to celebrate our Memorial Day every day in remembrance of Jesus Christ. In doing so, we bring to remembrance the war that He fought and the life He gave to bring freedom to humanity. Although, Jesus had become a fallen warrior in the battle for freedom, He rose victoriously from the dead, completely liberating humanity, never to fall again. This has given hope to all, especially those who we honor on Memorial Day who have lost their lives protecting the freedoms we have in the USA. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die." (John 11:25-26) So, let us take time every day and give the highest honor to Jesus Christ, the One who has given all humanity the greatest of all freedoms, abundant life! PTL...

Monday, May 21, 2018

What's The Hurry

I believe the first and foremost ministry of the church, every believer, is that of praise and worship. I am not talking about simply singing songs, but heartfelt, exuberant, awe struck, adoration of the Lord God Almighty. God spoke of David the king as a man after His heart. (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22) This has absolutely nothing to do with David being more special to God than anyone else, because we know the God is not a respecter of persons, He does not show partiality. (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11) Showing no favoritism, David still knew how good, wonderful, glorious and spectacular God was (is) and reveals it in his heart of thanksgiving to God. Many of the Psalms that David wrote reflected this in the way he let go of all inhibitions in his praise and worship to God. For instance...

"Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations." (Psalm 100) Looking at only this Psalm, it should cause believers to at least question ourselves as to why most in congregational gatherings, approach praise and worship emotionless, lifeless and with time restraints. Here we see David, a man like any other man, who was not born again, who the Holy Spirit was with but not in, who was under a lesser covenant with lesser promises, showing us the heart of praise and worship to the Lord.

When David led Israel to transport the Ark of God in the proper, prescribed way, to Jerusalem, he was not embarrassed, he was not concerned what others might say, he simple, "...danced before the Lord with all his might..." (2 Samuel 6:14) There were no hymnals, no smoke or flashing lights and there were no time limits placed on praising and worshiping God. I am not trying to be critical, but thought provoking in the following questions. What is the purpose of believers meeting together in what we call a church service, when we place restraints on praise and worship such as, no shouting, no dancing, no exuberant rejoicing, no clapping, bowing and worse yet, squeezing praise and worship into our time restrictions? Are we truly coming together to experience Gods presence or only having a religious convocation? Are we even expecting God to be apart of our services and manifest His presence among us? Do we believe as David also tells us, "But You (God) are holy, enthroned (Inhabit) in the praises of Israel (your people). (Psalm 22:3)  

I truly believe that God is raising up a new generation of people of all ages who will expect nothing less in a church service than to have the Lord presence. They will not be satisfied by simply singing songs, but have an insatiable desire to meet with the Lord. They will not be concerned with time or what others may say, but will praise and worship the Lord without restrictions and or restraints, knowing that He will show up where is exalted, honored and welcomed. This generation will thirst for His glory to manifest on earth. Although, the darkness in the world may become denser each day; although wickedness may multiply; the manifestation of God on earth will also become more powerful with each passing moment. This will be a generation of praise and worshipers that God will also say, "they are after my own heart." Therefore, this glorious generation who praise and worship the Lord like David, "with all their might" will impact the world and gather the greatest harvest of souls ever seen. 

I believe that entire towns, cities and nations will be shaken by God's glory manifesting and multitudes of people will recognize Jesus as Lord and Savior. I believe that the most remarkable manifestations of His presence will be seen through countless miracles, signs, and wonders taking place. We will see many believers in various congregations where these things are prohibited and even spoken against, who are hungering for these things, being led by the Holy Spirit to congregations who experience these very things now. I believe we will also see many of God's children who have left various congregations, who also are hungering for the Lord's presence, return and become a vital part of those congregations who experience these things regularly. 

Are you willing to be transformed and join this new generation? If your answer is yes, God will take care of everything because He does not want you to waste your time following religious norms nor the new ideas and practices being implemented in many congregations that are used to simply grow numbers and not true followers of Jesus. He wants you to enjoy the highest dimension of His glory. Surely, no change is easy and for most, it is usually difficult and even painful for some. But if that is what it takes to enter into a new and greater dimension of God's presence, then I want it. 

David also tells us, "...In Your presence is fullness of joy..." (Psalm 16:11) Do you want this fullness of joy that only God's presence can bring? The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us, "Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Corinthians 3:17-18) Do you also want to be changed under the glory of God? I want to encourage you right now, dare to let go; do not be in a hurry; let God arise; delight in the Lord; and let the freedom and joy that is experienced through worshiping the Lord in spirit and truth, release His glorious presence transforming us from glory to glory! Jesus tells us, "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:23-24) God is still searching for true worshipers to worship Him. Are you one that He has found?

So, as David said, let us "Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations." (Psalm 100) May the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ fill you... 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Blood Covenant

Covenant is defined as, the mutual consent or agreement of two or more persons; to do or to forbear some act or thing; to enter into a formal agreement; to stipulate; to bind ones self. Covenant is not a contract. True covenant has unlimited liabilities whereas a contract has limited liability. In a contract the parties agree to and are only responsible to fulfill the terms, which have limits, to what has been stated in the body of the contract. When these agreements are fulfilled, the contract ends. However, unlike a contract, there are no limited terms in a covenant. A covenant is not an agreement, but commitment to the success of what has been stated in the body of the covenant. A covenant is only fulfilled upon the death of one of the covenant partners. Although the Bible reveals eight covenants from the Garden of Eden to Jesus Christ, the main focus of covenant in the Bible is only on two; the Abrahamic Covenant and the New Covenant in Christ.

When God entered into the covenant with Abram, we see some very striking events that took place. Among them was the changing of Abram's name to Abraham, (a prince of God) and his wife Sarai's to Sarah (princess of God.) In other words, God lifted them into His royal family before He made a covenant with them. The Abrahamic Covenant is the basis of Judaism and also Christianity, "And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Galatians 3:29) The covenant that God established with Abraham, bound Abraham and his descendants by indissoluble ties to God, and it bound God to Abraham and his descendants.

Although God had spoken to Abraham when he was seventy five years of age, in a sense, the covenant was officially established when he was ninety nine, "When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly. Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him saying, As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations." (Genesis 17:1-5)  

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul gives us some details concerning this covenant. "Abraham did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness." (Romans 4:20-22) Abraham made and unqualified committal of himself and all he was or ever would be, to God. In other words, as we see in Romans, Abraham was, fully convinced that what God had promised He was also able to perform, to the point that he gave himself to God in utter abandonment of self. It meant that all Abraham had or ever would have was laid on the altar and it also meant that God must sustain, protect and provide for Abraham and all of his descendants. 

The seal of the covenant was circumcision. Every male child at eight days of age was circumcised, and the circumcision was the entrance into the Abrahamic Covenant, this included Abraham and every male in his household. (Genesis 17:10-13, 23-24) When a male child was circumcised, he entered into the covenant, and that child became an inheritor of everything connected with the covenant.  Next, we see Abraham's total abandonment of self to God when asked of God to offer the son of his flesh, Issac, as a sacrifice to God. (Genesis 22:1-10) We see that Abraham did not hesitate, though it meant giving up all he held dear. However, "the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, Abraham, Abraham, so he said, Here I am.And He said, Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me." (Genesis 22: 11-12) God had found a man that would keep the covenant; He had found a covenant keeping man. 

Now that we have some background and although much came to pass for nearly two thousand years during the Abrahamic Covenant, we come to the New Testament, and see Jesus and the disciples gathered together that night before the Crucifixion. "When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve[a] apostles with Him. Then He said to them, With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.
And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you." (Luke 22:14-20) 

The old blood covenant between God and Abraham was the basis on which the New Covenant was founded. Now we can understand that when Jesus said, "
This cup is the new covenant in My blood..."
the disciples, although they may not at that time have completely understood the full extent of this New Covenant, when they entered covenant with Jesus in that upper room, they remembered the covenant that God has established with Abraham and possibly understood that they were entering into the strongest, most sacred Covenant known to man. 

Jesus brings us a New Covenant having displaced and fulfil1led the Old Covenant, "Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God. He takes away the first that He may establish the second." (Hebrews 10:9) As the Old Covenant was sealed with circumcision, the New Covenant is sealed with the blood of Jesus, the Holy Spirit and new birth. (Ephesians 1:13, 2 Corinthians 5:17) The Old Covenant had the Levitica1 Priesthood. The New Covenant has Jesus as the Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14) and believers as the royal and holy priesthood. (1 Peter 2:9)  The Old Covenant could not take away sin, it merely covered it. (Hebrews 10:4) The New Covenant through the blood of Jesus cleanses sin, takes it away. (John 1:29) The Old Covenant did not give eternal life, but only a promise of it, whereas the New Covenant gives eternal life. (1 John 2:25) 

Although the covenant between God and Abraham was a most wonderful covenant with many blessings, (Hebrews 6:14), the New Covenant through Jesus Christ is even greater, because, Jesus is the "Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises." (Hebrews 8:6) So, "Let us hold fast the confession of our faith without wavering, for He who promised is faithful" (Hebrews 10:23) and walk out this greater covenant between God and man bringing glory to God for His wonderful work of redemption through our Lord Jesus Christ. The grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you...

Monday, May 7, 2018

What Is Life All About

For thousands of years, man has been searching for answers to these questions, "What is life all about...Why am I here...Where did everything come from?" Now, according to evolutionist, in short, these three questions are answered in this way. Billions of years ago, out of a random act of nothingness, evolved the most basic of microbes and over time became a dazzling array of complexity, which is call light and matter. However, the theory of evolution came by way of a great guess and even today, evolutionist cannot prove with absolute, non-conflicting evidence that their thinking is even remotely more that a guess. Even though they admit that they cannot prove evolution, they refuse to believe that everything seen and unseen was created by a Creator. Unfortunately, their intellectual approach to these things has and will always prevent them from discovering the truth to these three questions.

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us, "These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 
But the natural man (those who learn through the five senses) does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:13-14) The Holy Spirit through the Apostle James reveals, "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic." (James 3:13-15) Only through the Holy Spirit and the wisdom of God can man discern and understand the reality of "What is life all about...Why am I here...Where did everything come from?

Even though man may be confronted with an unexplained creation of which he, himself, is a part, with all of its fixed laws that govern it, within all creation a Master Designer is revealed to man. By that, I mean, everything in creation was designed that it might fulfill a certain purpose, the reason for
its existence. Even evolutionist will agree, that everything has a purpose, a reason to exist. Therefore, to accept as fact that everything that exists some how found its purpose, why it exists from nothingness, comes from exactly what the Apostle Paul said, "But the natural man (those who learn through the five senses) does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

When we look at creation as revealed in Genesis and how everything came to be, it is quite apparent that the purpose of creation seems to completely surround man. In fact, if we take man out of creation, creation with its resources and its beauty has no reason for existing. If God created the universe as a home for man, He must have had a reason for creating man. Today, more and more scientists are realizing that behind creation there is an intelligent Creator.

God, in His desire for man to know Him, formulated His inner thoughts and purposes into words, which man can see with his sense of sight, and hear with his sense of hearing. It's called the Bible. The Bible is God's revelation to man, and because we have no other channel through which we can know God or contact Him, we turn to that revelation to find out what He has told us of His reason for creating man. Of course to find revelation through the Bible, one must be born of the spirit. Jesus tells us, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God...Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." (John 3:3, 5-8) and, "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) and, "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)

Again, looking at Genesis we see, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." (Genesis 1:1-2) Notice, that God did not consider anything that He created before He considered the earth. Therefore, we conclude that the earth is the focal point of the rest of creation. However, if the earth is the reason for the stellar heavens, what is the reason for the earth? Again, looking at Genesis Chapter One we find the account of Creation. Creation consists of a series of spectacular acts by God. These creative acts culminate in the creation of man.

When man was created, we see that God's creative activity came to a rest. (Genesis 2:1-3) Man was the goal of God's entire creative movement. Man was the last and the highest of God's works. The earth has no reason for existing outside of man. It was only when God placed upon this earth a man created in His image and likeness, was there a reason for the vast universe which had been created. God had endowed this man with the capacities to enjoy the beauty of His workmanship, and to utilize its resources. The reality is, man is the only creature who can enjoy its beauty or use its resources to their fullest. (Psalm 8) 

This brings us to the next question. What is the reason for man ? Until we know why God desired to create man, we do not know the entirety of God's reason for creation. So, let us look into the reason for mans existence. God's Word tells us, "I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters says the lord Almighty." (2 Corinthians 6:18), and, "For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named." (Ephesians 3:14-15) and "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God." (1 John 3:1) Through these few scriptures we find the reason for man. The Father heart of God desired sons and daughters to share in His creation. This yearning passion took form, and God planned to create a man who would walk with Him as His child.

The Bible also reveals, "Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love.For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [because it pleased Him and was His kind intent]." (Ephesians 1: 4-5 AMP) Although the Apostle Paul is sharing this revelation with the church, nevertheless we see that in the mind and in the loving heart of Father God, there resonated a desire to have a family before He created the heavens and the earth. 

What does all of this mean to us?  Basically, God Himself has placed the highest premium possible upon man. There is absolutely nothing else in all creation that God loves more. Unfortunately, Satan has been very subtle in blinding the minds of man to the Father nature of God. The average Christian has had no real consciousness of God as being his or her loving, caring Father. To comprehend and live a life filled this the wonderful knowledge, that we have a Father God who loves us beyond measure, it can only come by revelation through God's Word by the Holy Spirit. Once our spiritual eyes are enlightened, opened, to this truth, we will see our purpose in Father God's brilliant plan, and rest in His surrounding, abounding love. The writer of Hebrews tells us, "By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible." (Hebrews 11:3)  

So, knowing these things should cause believers to never see themselves as unworthy, or unable to please our Heavenly Father. Simply put, ever person, especially believers should see themselves as Father God does, of unlimited value. However, we can only understand these things by faith not through intellectualism. With that said, I challenge you to pray and receive from the Holy Spirit the prayer the Apostle Paul prayed for the church, "that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints." (Ephesians 1:17-18) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all...