Showing posts with label Believe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Believe. Show all posts

Monday, June 8, 2020

The Truth Will Make You Free

As I meet with fellow ministers and listen to the words that come from their lips my heart sometimes sinks. It is almost as if Jesus only came to earth to forgive sin, and the results of life on the earth for the Christian is nothing more than a life of weakness, disappointment and misery. That Christians are nothing more than weak sinful church goer that God has saved from hell and some day when we pass from this life to the next we will finally have the victory.

Well, if you have been trained to think along these lines than I have some good news for you. The days of oppression are over (actually they were over when Jesus was raised from the dead). Satan has receive a paralyzing blow through the meritorious work of Jesus and has been rendered harmless and ineffective against the believer. How do I know this?  "No one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. and then he will plunder his house." (Mark 3:27) Jesus has bound the strong man (Satan). Look at what the Word of God also says about these things...

John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
1 John 3:8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
Colossians 2:15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
Hebrews 2:14-15 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 

Does any of this indicate that the devil has any authority or dominion over the believer? Absolutely not! Well if the devil has had his authority and dominion over the believer taken away then this means that everything that is of or from him also has been extinguished such as, fear, doubt, sickness, poverty, all manner of evil, etc. Jesus is now Lord and the believer is identified with Him...

2 Corinthians 5:17-18 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ…
Colossians 1:13-14 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?
Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified (declared righteous) by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. 

Do you see that? When one confesses with their mouth the LORD Jesus Christ, believes in their heart that God raised Him from the dead, they instantaneously are transformed into the very things the above scriptures tell us. Believers are no longer beggars and sinners, but as Paul tells us by the Holy Spirit, "...put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness." (Ephesians 4:24) Isn't this great news. Understand that when Jesus said, "Therefore if the Son make you free, you shall be free indeed." (John 8:36) that you are completely free of all the works of the devil? Makes you want to jump up and shout, "Thank You Jesus." So, let us exercise our faith and speak the Word of God knowing that the Word of God, the Words that Jesus spoke, have as much power today as they did when He spoke them... 

 Matthew 7:11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
Matthew 18:19 Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven
Matthew 17:20 for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you
Matthew 21:21-22 So Jesus answered and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."
Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." 

Mark 11:23-24 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. 

 Finally, I want to leave you with this last thought, no word from God is void of power. Do you believe this?

Monday, December 16, 2019

Open The Door And Let Him In

Today one of the problems that captivates most people, including believers, is image. Just standing in the checkout line of most stores, all you see is tabloids and magazines concerned with how one looks. Basically, image deals with how one projects themselves, which in turn becomes what people think a person is. Although this issue has been present throughout man's history, since the mid 1990’s it has had a profound affect on the church. There is a greater concern about image that unfortunately has come in the form of compromising God's Word which results in a lack of integrity and solid character. Billy Graham said it this way, "When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost." What is meant by this?

Today many church leaders seemed to have adopted various worldly concepts and have brought them into the "Body of Christ." Some of these concepts are; the church building needs to look appealing and non-threatening to an unbeliever meaning, remove anything that presents a Christian view (banners, scripture verses, etc.); church members need to refrain from using certain Christian phrases that may make unbelievers uncomfortable; the church needs world class entertainment to keep people interested and coming back; music must be upbeat only with a time limit; worship means maybe one slow song but no true expression of worship; and sermons also known as a message, are to be short and sweet to make people happy and feel good about themselves (this type of sermon is considered to be "relevant" for today). The thinking is that if the church does these things, we then can expect to reach unbelievers and have a successful ministry.

Naturally, we should have clean facilities, but are we representing Christ or the local coffee shop? One of the things that separates believers from the world is how we talk and act. When the presence of the LORD begins to touch lives during a service believers should be shouting the name of Jesus. When Jesus entered Jerusalem look at the response of the people, the religious leaders and Jesus Himself. "Then they brought the colt to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him. And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road. Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying: "'Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD!'  Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples." But He answered and said to them, "I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out."
(Luke 19:35-40)

Notice that "the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice." This was a multitude of disciples not unbelievers. To keep believers from shouting or speaking "Christian Phrases" is to deny God the honor that He is worthy of. It is ignorance motivated by fear in church leaders that want to squelch believers from verbalizing their excitement about Jesus because it may offend an unbeliever or make them feel uncomfortable. Though the people may not be shouting out the praise due to the LORD one day the stones supporting the building may. There is certainly nothing wrong with doing drama or having special music during a church service. The problem lies when we saturate people with entertainment to keep them interested and coming back to "Our Church".

The following is the entertainment that the LORD provided in the church to multiply the number of believers. "And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all." (Acts 4:33) "And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed." (Acts 5:14-16) "And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people." (Acts 6:8) "And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city." (Acts 8:6-8) 

Not to belittle or make light the power of God in any way shape or form, but these are the entertainment, if you will, that unbelievers truly need to bring them to a conversion to Christ not a decision for Christ. What is the difference. Well a decision means, "the action or process of deciding something." However, a conversion is, "the process of changing or causing something to change from one form to another." Notice, conversion brings change whereas a decision has nothing to do with change. No one can honestly deny when the LORD reveals Himself by a demonstration of the Spirit and power. (1 Corinthians 2:4). However, this takes faith in an all powerful God who has not changed. It also take courage for church leaders to step away from the pressures that the world wants to conform the church to, and let Jesus build His church through His people.

Music is a powerful medium especially during church gatherings (not to exclude any other time). It is a means to usher in the presences of the LORD as we exalt and magnify Him through singing. David tells us, "...In Your presence is fullness of joy..." (Psalm 16:11) and "But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Your people". (Psalm 22:3) Why would any church leader want to exclude Gods presence as to not offend an unbeliever or to make them feel uncomfortable? I have been in numerous congregational and small group meetings where unbelievers were so taken by Gods presences that some were saved, some healed, some delivered and some a combination of them all. I have been in other meetings where the presence of God was so strong that the praise and worship continued unplanned for two hours. There was no preaching during this time and in the LORDS presence, time seemed to stop. It was extremely powerful having such an affect on both believers and unbelievers that many still talk about the experience today. To exclude an intimate time of ministering to the LORD through worship or to place a limited time frame on worship is to say that God is not worthy of our admiration and we do not need His presences to have a successful church service.

I find it very interesting how church leaders advertise that they share a "Relevant Message" at their meetings but rarely preach from the Bible or use the Word of God in context. Honestly, the gospel (God's Word) has always been, is and will always be the only relevant message that the world will ever need to hear. Church leaders must stop being ashamed of the gospel of Christ and begin to preach and teach God's Word without reservation or apologizing for what it says. Paul says,  "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek." (Romans 1:16) Notice that the unadulterated Word of God has the power to save all people. To not preach and teach God's Word is to deny Jesus the preeminence in His Church. He is the Word! (John 1:1-2, 14, Revelation 19:13)   

When the Prophet Samuel was sent by God to the house of Jesse to anoint a king to replace king Saul He made this statement concerning David, "...For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, (Image) but the LORD looks at the heart (Integrity, character)." (1 Samuel 16:7) We should not be concerned as to how we match up with the worlds image, but realize that Gods presences and glory far surpasses the best the world has to offer. We should concern ourselves with being a sanctified, a people set apart, as we serve the one true God, more than trying to adjust our image with worldly concepts that are motivated by Satan (1 John 5:19) and infested with sin (1 John 2:16) that only appeal to the flesh.

The real problem is not trying to reach the unbeliever per se, but how congregations go about it. We must stop reducing the church to a palatable organization where we fit into the world, but once again become a life filled Body that turns the world upside down. The church must begin to operate in faith and return to preaching the full gospel. The apostle Paul makes it clear as to what the full gospel entails, "For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient, in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel..." (Romans 15:18-20) As Paul tells us, the Full Gospel is preaching God's Word (the gospel) in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God. This is the churches legacy; this is how multitudes will be saved, healed and delivered; this is church growth Gods way!   

Won’t it be wonderful when the church becomes the envy of all once again. Well I have some good news and some not so good news, you can decide for yourself. We will see the so called "Open Church" (not the name of a congregation, but how they perceive themselves) continue to compromise the truth (God's Word) for the sake of unbelievers who unfortunately never come to Christ. We we see what is known as "Seeker Friendly" church's who currently have thousands of members begin to shrink and some will even be forced to close their doors (this is already happening) because all their programs and entertainment have not truly fixed broken lives. We will see many main line denominations reject sound doctrine and teach such things as Christ not being the only way to eternal life (this also is currently happening). Some will even be deceived by Mormon's, J---- Witnesses, Muslim's or other false religions and join their ranks.  

However, on the other hand, there are some church leaders and congregation that have not bowed their knee to the world for the sake of having a world pleasing image. They have maintained their integrity in Christ and have not compromised God's Word. They are not trying to please the world but save people from the world. They understand and embrace the kind of faith that pleases God which will open the door to many lost souls being saved, healed, delivered and becoming true disciples. We will see reformation taking place in some denominations. Many denominational church leaders will throw away doctrines that they have embraced for years which are contrary to God's Word. They will come out from under the religious laws of men and begin to live by grace through faith.

Even now there is a stirring in many believers, young and older, who want more of Christ. They have participated in many church programs that are more therapeutic than life changing. They have listen to sermon that are psychology based rather than steeped in the Word of God. Even now many are seeking a congregation where the Full Gospel (as Paul presents it) is the norm and where true Christian community is experienced replacing the social club atmosphere. Why are these things happening and why will they be? Because the church is Christ's Body which He loves. Even now He is cleansing her so that she will be a "glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish." (Ephesians 5:27) PTL

As I close I would like to share a quote from General William Booth, Founder of the Salvation Army. Although the church is in the twenty first century, his statement is still worth pondering…
The chief danger of the 20th century will be religion without the Holy Spirit, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God and heaven without hell.” (William Booth Quotes) How prophetic...

Monday, July 16, 2018

It's Your Decision

Without a doubt, the Book of Romans is the greatest legal document ever given to man. Not only does it reveal the condition of every person who does not know God, but it also gives a clear, concise description of the legal and vital position of everyone who confesses the Lordship of Jesus Christ and receives Him as Savior. However, once confession is made unto salvation, every person becomes responsible to act in faith and receive all that God has provided through Jesus Christ. In other words,  understanding the difference between living by law and living by grace. The reality is, many people who have been filled with the Holy Spirit, and who say that the Holy Spirit dwells in them, do not actually live in the Spirit, but live according to the flesh much of the time.

We need to see that on the cross, Jesus, by the Father's will, made Himself one with man's fallen, satanic nature, and through His death as man's substitute, had in fact executed man's fallen nature. God never had, nor does He have, any plan for the rehabilitation of man's fallen nature. In every sense of the word, God's plan for man's old fallen nature is execution. He can do nothing with man's old nature except to kill it. Therefore, our rebellious, fallen, satanic nature was executed when Christ died on the cross so that it should no longer have the power to dominate and control us.

God forgives our past sinful acts when we come to Him in Christ, but this is only the beginning. He deals with the old nature, and He brings forth a new nature in its place, which is called the new creation,  (2 Corinthians 5:17), the new man. (Ephesians 4:20-24) This is actually the nature of Jesus Christ reproduced in us by faith through the Word of God. (James 1:21; 1 Peter 1:23) The agent who produces the new birth is the Holy Spirit, who also transforms the believer into the image of Christ. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Romans 6:1-2)

The Apostle Paul assumed that everyone born again is living in the grace of God, and is dead to sin, so he is saying, "If you continue to live in sin, you are contradicting yourself. If you are dead to sin, you shouldn't talk about living in sin." Paul continues, "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin." (Romans 6:3-7)

Our old man was crucified with Christ! The tense here signifies that this is an actual historical event that took place in the past. When Jesus died on the cross, our old man died in Him. It happened nearly twenty centuries ago. Why was this done?  "...that the body of sin might be done away with..." not renovated, not fixed up, but done away with, rendered ineffective, no longer able to control and dominate us, "...that we should no longer be slaves of sin." PTL!!! Next, Paul tells us, "Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God." (Romans 6:11-13)

Now it becomes the believers responsibility to accept by faith and act upon these wonderful liberating Words. You must refuse to accept the dominion of sin over you and the members of your physical body, but instead yield yourself, your soul (mind, will and emotions) and your body to the Holy Spirit. Although not the conclusion of the whole matter, Paul tells us, "For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace." (Romans 6:14) Do you believe that? If you do not believe it, you will not experience it. If you believe that you are going to continue sinning, you will continue sinning. However, if you do believe that, then you understand the last part of this verse, "...for you are not under law but under grace." Knowing this to be true, you will indeed walk in the Spirit, be led by the Spirit not fulfilling the works of the flesh.  

Every believer must come to the place of a firm personal decision to no longer give into the flesh, but yield to the Holy Spirit, to be led by Him. He is the way of escape from continuing in the slavery of sin. Consider this; what good is it to have your past sinful nature and acts forgiven, if you are still controlled by the old fallen, satanic nature? The Holy Spirit will help every believer if you set your will to yielding to Him. He will not force you, it's your decision. Think about this way, every time you make a decision to do the wrong thing, you become more and more the slave of sin, but, every time you make a decision to do the right thing, you become more and more the slave of righteousness and live in the freedom that the Father has provided humanity through Jesus Christ. 

Finally, God made a proposal to Israel which I believe applies today for all believers, "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days..." (Deuteronomy 30:19-20) Jesus said it this way, "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you...

Monday, January 8, 2018

Entirely Supernatural

When we take an honest look at Christianity, as portrayed in the scriptures, we see that it is entirely supernatural. The incarnation was supernatural. The ministry of Jesus was supernatural. The church was supernaturally birthed. The early believers saw the supernatural as simply normal Christianity. Even becoming a new creation is supernatural. However, in many Christian circles, when the supernatural is mentioned in the church today, a shying away tends to occur due to numerous doctrines that have held many believers in bondage for centuries. Yet, the Bible clearly reveals that God and His Word do not change (Psalm 119:89; Isaiah 40:8; Malachi 3:6; Mark 11:31; Hebrews 13:8) and that He and His Word are one. (John 1:1, 14; 1 John 5:7)

In order to see the supernatural living God at work through His church, we cannot get past this one truth, which is revealed through one of Jesus' apostles, Thomas. "Then Jesus said to Thomas, Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing. And Thomas answered and said to Him, My Lord and my God! Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:27-29) Simply put, we must believe. Thomas did not believe that Jesus was risen and alive, though Jesus told all the apostles that He would be killed and on the third day rise again. (Matthew 17:22-23; Mark 9:31; Luke 18:31-33) In other words, Thomas did not believe the Lords Word. 

The very things that happened with Thomas, is the very thing that goes on in many believers today. They do not believe God's Word, but have excused it away either in the same manner, as Thomas, “Unless I see...I will not believe.” (John 20:25) or have replaced God's Word by, "making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down." (Mark 7:13) These are most likely the main reasons why healing in the church through the supernatural power of God in Jesus' Name is almost nonexistent in many areas. However, there is a biblical truth that is a foundation to
healing the sick and injured. This foundational truth is frequently expressed in various ways in the New Testament.

Many, who seem to generally accept the truth of divine healing, seem to fail in applying this foundational biblical truth to specific matters involving healing. Others will simply reject the implication behind this foundational truth based on doctrine that has become acceptable in the church, again, not believing God's Word. Therefore, healing for believers today in many areas of the church is generally unpredictable, unreliable, inconsistent, or not present at all. This has produced a weak theology that erodes faith for receiving and or ministering healing. This truth, which we will see, cannot be taken for granted or underestimated. It is the bedrock of receiving and ministering healing today in and through the church, believers. Let's begin with a conversation between Christ and His disciples in the Gospel of John.

"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know. Thomas said to Him, Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way? Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him. Philip said to Him, Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us. Jesus said to him, Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, show us the Father? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves." (John 14:1-11)

Jesus reveals, He is the way, the truth and the life. Although this has a larger application than just healing, Christ is also the way and the truth about healing. In other words, Christ's life produces healing, and to know Christ is to know the Father. He goes on and answers Philip. To see Jesus, His actions, is to see the Father in action. Therefore, studying the life of Jesus reveals the Father's will in all matters, which includes healing. If believers fail to believe that Jesus knows the Father's will and expresses it perfectly, many things that God's has provided for believers, such as healing, will remain an unattainable puzzle at best. Believers must understand without reservation, that the Lord Jesus Christ ultimately reveals the will of the Father in all matters! 

The writer of Hebrews says, "God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person..." (Hebrews 1:1-3) Phillips version of this verse says that Jesus is the "radiance of the glory of God, flawless expression of the nature of God." The Amplified Bible says, "He is the sole expression of the glory of God [the Light-being, the out-raying or radiance of the divine], and He is the perfect imprint and very image of [God’s] nature." Let us also keep in mind, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." (Hebrews 13:8) Again, in all matters, pertaining to God, Jesus ultimately reveals the will of the Father. 

While the entire Bible declares God's will, nature, character, purpose and plan, many of these attributes were unclear and unrevealed until Jesus. Mysteries that were once hidden are now revealed in Jesus, particularly by His actions and words. Also notice, the special nature of the relationship between Jesus and the Father. Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in Jesus. Jesus says that believers must believe in this special relationship to experience the Father's will which includes healing. We also see that Jesus gives credit to the Father for His works. The miracles and healings in the ministry of Jesus were expressions of the divine purpose of the Father. 

Having faith in Jesus includes believing that He was and is in the Father. Jesus has been teaching the importance of believing that He has been revealing the Father. In fact, He commands His followers to believe that very thing. If believers fail to believe that Jesus reveals the will, nature, character, purpose and plan of the Father perfectly, they will find that faith will be difficult for many of the things that the Father has freely given through Christ. (Matthew 7:11; Romans 8:32) Understanding that Jesus was expressing the will, nature, character, purpose and plan of the Father can be discerned simply by observing the ministry of Jesus in His teaching, preaching and actions. 

To believe and appropriate the blessings, the promises of God, which includes healing, we must believe, we must mix God's Word with faith. This was not only the apostle Thomas' failure but also the failure of many Jews which kept them from coming to Christ. "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) God's Word must be mixed with faith or Christianity is reduced to nothing more than another world religion. So, as the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul states, let us cast away the, "persuasive words of human wisdom" and believe God for the "demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:4-5) Let us believe God for a continuous flow of His supernatural power in and through the church so that the Father is glorified, the Name of Jesus magnified and that the Word of God multiply and prevail mightily. The unsaved world is depending on us. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you...

Monday, August 29, 2016

There Are Giants in the Land

Throughout church history, giants in the faith have always risen up to continue the ministry of Christ on the earth. Jesus tells us, "And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:17-18) "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father." (John 14:12) In these two scriptures, I have highlighted two words in each, "who believe." Although Jesus is talking to His disciples, the term "who believe" applies across the board for everyone, anyone, all who believe, anytime and anywhere. How do we know that this applies to the church today?

First and foremost, there is absolutely not one verse or passage of scripture that tells us that miracles, signs and wonders are not to be apart of the daily lives of believers today, unless we take scripture out of context and or not permit scripture to confirm scripture. Just prior to Jesus' departure from earth to return to heaven, He tells His disciples, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20) He plainly tells the eleven to go make disciples, to instruct them to attend to carefully, ALL THINGS that He (Jesus) commanded them (the apostles). 

Let us look at one of the commands that Jesus gave to the twelve apostles, "These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give." (Matthew 10:5-8) In this passage we find Jesus giving the twelve apostles a command to do some very specific things, "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons." So, if this is a command from Jesus, which it is, and if He commanded the eleven to, "make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you," which He did, then it only stands to reason, it is only logical, that the command to, "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons" has not been relinquished, dismissed, taken away from, or cease to operate in the church by Jesus ever! This is a command that all who believe have been commissioned (commanded) to do!

If the church, all who believe, are commanded to continue the ministry of Jesus on the earth, then why do so many believers reject the full extent of the great commission, which is not only preaching regeneration to the lost, but also includes, miracles, signs and wonders? The answer is quite simple, "these signs will follow those who believe: Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me." Walking in the supernatural, powered by the Holy Spirit, in the Name of Jesus takes faith. To have faith, is to have complete trust or confidence in the Lord and His Word. Faith has absolutely nothing to do with our five senses, which are the vehicles from where most of our knowledge comes from as we live and operate in the natural realm. However, faith transcends the natural realm to believe God (His Word) when it seems foolish, ridiculous, absurd, impossible or just too hard to believe. 

Throughout church history, even more recently, there are men and women who went beyond a mere religious Christianity, to true Christianity that reveals our Lord Jesus Christ through miracles, signs and wonders. Some of these fellow believers are, John Alexander Dowie, Maria Woodworth-Etter, John G. Lake, Smith Wigglesworth, Aimee Semple McPherson, Kathryn Kuhlman, William Branham, A. A. Allen, K.W. Kenyon and Oral Roberts. They were not perfect people, nor were they special to God above any other believer. They simply believed. They believed the very thing that Jesus said "whoever believes" could do, release the supernatural, that is, do the things that Jesus did. These men and women believers are some of the giants of the faith. People that we can admire and glean from or sit back and criticize. Remember, "But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence." (1 Corinthians 1:27-29)

The Apostle Paul tells us, "For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power." (1 Corinthians 4:20) He also reveals to us, "Therefore I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God. For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ." (Romans 15:17-19) Paul proved Jesus not in word but in power. His ministry revealed Jesus through not only his preaching of the gospel, but through mighty signs and wonders. He discloses an important message for us all to hear when he says, "I have fully preached the gospel of Christ." In other words, Paul tells us in this passage, that the full gospel is not complete without mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God. 

The gospel according to Mark also shows us, "So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs." Amen. (Mark 16:19-20) Notice that the Lord confirmed His Word through accompanying signs. Some may say, "Well that was the apostles, therefore, now that they are gone, we do not need signs and wonders because we have the Bible" or "God does not do signs and wonders through believers today because they were only needed back in the days of the early church." Believing statements like these is why so many people in the church have more faith in what man can do than what God has done through Christ and what believers are to do through the Holy Spirit. When people in the church come to such a conclusion that miracles, signs and wonders are not part of the church today, it is simply due to relying on what their five senses can apprehend. To get beyond this, they simply need to believe God and act upon His Word.  

For the Apostle Thomas, seeing was believing, (John 20:24-25), for all the giants of the faith, believing is seeing. When we truly believe that God and His Word are not void of power at anytime, we will see the supernatural of God moving across the earth, even greater than it did in the early church. So, let us stop looking at the weakness of our flesh, stop listening to the lies of devil, and let God arise in His mighty immeasurable power at work in us (Ephesians 3:20) as a testimony of Jesus, the Lord and Savior of all and walk with giants.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Just Like Dad - Part 6

In this final part, we will look at some points as to why the confession of God's Word is important to the believers life. As we look at these things let's keep in mind that in creation, "God Said...and it was so." (Genesis 1) Jesus said of Himself, "For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak." (John 12:49) Jesus also tells us, "For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says." (Mark 11:23) We see that God spoke, Jesus spoke the Father's Words and believers are also to speak God's Word. The Apostle John tells us, "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, (which is His Word) 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)  

So as previously mentioned, believers are to confess God's Word because it is the way we sow
seeds in the Kingdom. This is a principle of God. So to put it to work in your life, you must be obedient to His Word and do what His Word says, that is, "Hold fast to your confession of faith..." (Hebrews 10:23) Sowing by the Kingdom method will bring success in any area but you must "hold fast to your confession regardless of what circumstance may dictate. A confession of doubt naturally is not one of faith. The Apostle James tells us, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." (James 1:5-8) Although James is focused on asking for wisdom, the principle and results are the same. Basically, if you do not ask (speak) in faith do not expect results. 

Confessing God's Word builds ones faith. "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17) Hearing implies something must be continuously spoken and that you keep hearing and hearing, etc. It is a continuous process. Speaking the Word is setting the goal of that which you desire to come to pass. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1) It can be in any area, healing, finances, emotional issues and or spiritual matters. No matter what, speak what God says in His Word concerning you and or the situation, to yourself, aloud. You declare it, you say it, you confess it and faith will come. Also, keep in mind, hope is important, but it has no substance, it is only the desired goal. Faith gives substance of things hoped for.

Confessing God's Word renews the mind. Because our mind was not renewed when we were born again, it is important to bring our entire soul (mind, will and emotions) into subjection to our recreated spirit. The Apostle Paul tells us, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:2) Confession of God's Word, that is, speaking and being in agreement with what His Word says, causes your mind to be renewed so you can think like
God thinks. This in turn will cause you to talk like God talks. Eventually, talking like God talks will cause you to be an imitator of God. "Therefore be imitators of God as dear children." (Ephesians 5:1)

Confessing God's Word keeps the answer before you. What do I mean? When facing a problem and you find yourself constantly thinking about the problem, speaking the problem, praying the problem, then you will have faith in the problem because all you see, hear and think is the problem. But when you begin to confess the solution, God' Word, you are now doing something about the problem.  The Apostle Paul tells us, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things." (Philippians 4:6-8) You will never solve a problem by dwelling on the problem. You have to get off the problem and get to the answer, by keeping God's Word before you. Paul tells us a way to get our minds off the problem. It is by meditating on the things revealed in this passage. (verse 8)

Confessing God's Word changes your heart. "My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life." (Proverbs 4:20-23) Every believer is to keep, or guard, their heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues, or source of life. Jesus tells us, "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication's, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man..." (Matthew 15:18-20) Solomon tells us, "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he..." (Proverbs 23:7) As with the Parable of the Soils, our heart must receive the good seed (God's Word) so we bring forth good fruit.

Confession of God's Word sets the law of faith in motion. Faith is a law of God. The Apostle Paul tells us, "Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith." (Romans 3:27) Paul also tells us, "And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke, we also believe and therefore speak." (2 Corinthians 4:13) That's the way it works. What you believe, is what you speak and subsequently, what you speak, you will believe. This process causes faith to come. You are putting it in motion the law of faith. It is not going to happen just because you say it. However, saying it is involved in setting it in motion. Your confession must be done in faith. That is why you must continue to do it. Often, believers will speak some things even though they may not believe it when they first say them, though they are in the Bible. You know the Bible is true, but it does not seem to be true in your life.  However, if you speak it, confess it, proclaim it long enough, your mind will come into subjection to your recreated spirit, which bears witness with God's Word, and you will eventually believe it. Again, what you continually speak, you will believe.

Confessing God's Word will put angel's to work for you. Many believers have never realized that the angels are listening to the words we speak. The writer of Hebrews says, "But to which of the angels has He ever said, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”? Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?" (Hebrews 1:13-14)  By virtue of being born again you are an heir of salvation which means that supernatural beings, angels, the ministering spirits of God, are here to minister for you. The Apostle John tells us, "Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” (Revelation 22:8-9) In other words the angel said, "Don't worship me, I am your servant." Angel's are our fellow servants, fellow servant of the prophets, and fellow servants of those who keep the sayings of this book, the Bible. So, if you are keeping the sayings of the Bible, God's Word, then the angels are your servants. "The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all. Bless the Lord, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, Heeding the voice of His word." (Psalm 103:19-20) If you are saying what God said, then you are assigning angels to go and cause things to manifest according to God's Word spoken with faith. 

For some, all of these things may seem to be outlandish or even extreme. However, the Bible tells us, "So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55:11 AMP) The simple fact is, it comes down to believing that time, space, culture, demons or faithless people do not have the power to change God's Word. His Word has not changed and is as powerful today as it was when it was first spoken. God's Word will also accomplish today, what it says, in the same way that it did when it was first spoken. I pray that you will apply these principles to your life daily and do not give up because you may not see immediately results. Never forget the God is faithful! "Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23) May the grace of our Father fill your life abundantly through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Acting Out

When someone truly believes something, no matter what it is, they have no problem acting on it. Well it is the same with God's Word. If we truly believe it we will have no problem acting on it. However, when someone has only a mental or intellectual understanding of the Word, they will only admire it or admit that it is true, but they do not act on it. Acting on God's Word is letting Christ act through you and it gives God the opportunity to use you for His purposes.

Jesus said, "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

Building on the rock is building on God's Word and it requires action. Therefore, the one who hears God's Word must become a doer, that is, a builder. If he is not a doer of the Word, it is like building a house on sand and when the storms of life come the entire structure (the person) falls. So, the wise man is a doer of the Word, whereas, the unwise person hears it but does not act on it. The main reason why many do not act on God's Word is due to reasoning which erodes faith and therefore their spiritual life is built on sand. If he has faith in anything, it is in man, what man has done.You can tell whether a person is building on the sand or on the rock, by noticing whether they are putting into practice, that is ,acting on God's Word. The one who thinks that knowledge is all that is necessary will fail.

James tells us, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does." (James 1:22-25) 

There is a grave danger of deluding our own selves in this way; we know the Word; we may be familiar with the original Greek or Hebrew; we may know the history of the Word, but that is all wasted energy if we do not live the Word, practice it, act on it. For instances, one who acts on God's Word, when they come to a hard place, and need money, without a second thought, they will turn to the Lord, to the Word, because they know that "...My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19) You have taken your place and have acted the part of a real believer, trusting on the integrity of God's Word no matter what the circumstances may dictate. Instead of turning to the world, you turn to the Father to provide.

Maybe a loved one is sick. Instead of being fearful, you remember, "Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses) and carried our sorrows; (pains) yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:4-5) You remember, "who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness, by whose stripes you were healed." (1 Peter 2:24)

Maybe some calamity has come, some rumor, something that the devil has stirred up against you. Instead of going into a mode of panic you confidently confess,  "No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me, says the Lord." (Isaiah 54:17) Your trust is in God's Word, because you can bank on Him to be faithful to do what He says He will do.

Unless one is a doer of the Word, he is not a believer of the Word. He has nothing but a mental assent of God's Word, a mere empty profession of religious words. Jesus would call them a sand foundation, a house on the seashore waiting to be destroyed by the next incoming tide. What danger there is with a religion of words if there is no corresponding action. It is a doer of the Word that receives things from God. Idle words may entertain men, but they do not reach God.

I want to encourage you in this. As we become doers of the the Word, not be a hearer only, the Lord begins to do in us and through us great and wonderful things. So, do not let reason or vain thoughts have their way but, "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) PTL... 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Identity Theft

Identity theft is defined as the fraudulent acquisition and use of a person's private identifying information, usually for financial gain. Although this definition describes what is taking place in our world today, identity theft has actually been taking place since the fall of man. Jesus tells us, "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) From the Garden of Eden the thief has been stealing from humanity all the God has freely given him.

For centuries, man has been working hard to regain his standing before God. The religions of the world as well as the so called Christian cults, such as Russellism and Mormonism have worked to no avail to correct what Adam's act of disobedience had brought upon humanity. Naturally, it begins and ends with the person of the God man, the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This also includes the various sects of Catholicism and the many denominations within Protestantism. Although Catholicism and Protestantism have a similar fundamental belief of the incarnate birth of Christ as well as His vicarious death, resurrection, ascension and glorification, the majority still present a beggarly redemption in Christ.

For the most part, the church in all of it divisions has been very strong in teaching man his need of righteousness, but has also taught his weakness and inability to please God. It preaches the denunciation of sins, against unbelief, world conformity, and lack of faith, but has been sadly lacking in presenting the truth of what and who believers are in Christ. It has lacked in teaching how righteousness and faith are available to all who put their faith in Christ. This type of teaching puts redemption off until after death and therefore raises many questions.
  • Is it after death and in heaven when we will find rest?
  • Is it after death and in heaven when we will have victory?
  • Is it after death and in heaven when we become overcomers?
  • Is it after death and in heaven when we will have peace with God?
  • Is it after death and in heaven when we will have no more failings?
  • Is it after death and in heaven when we are complete? 
  • Is all we have to look forward to on this side of heaven, failure, misery, disappointment and weakness?
Unfortunately, today, most have never come to understand the distinction between saint and sinner. Many have come to believe that as long as a believer lives on the earth in these bodies, he will always be a hopeless sinner that does not have the ability to please God. They acknowledge the fact that God has provided a "new birth" but that His new birth only provides eternal life and forgiveness. But is this a Biblical perspective of redemption? Will relief only come when we pass from this life to the next? Scripture is very clear that we live in His presence now and if God cannot present us before His presence now, in this life, then what the Bible teaches concerning redemption is all future and physical death is where one finally experiences redemption. However, if it requires death to cleanse us from sin and make the believer free, then we are left in quite a dilemma, because death is of the Devil. (Hebrews 2:14; Revelation 1:18)

This would indicate that God in His plan of redemption was unable to give us victory, but that He needed the devil to complete His redemptive work. This sounds far-fetched, but when you think about how redemption is presented in most of Christendom today this would be the conclusion. The truth is, God Himself is now our very righteousness, and that we are the righteousness of God in Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21) We also are partakers of God's very nature. (Ephesians 4:24; 2 Peter 1:4) Therefore, the believer does have rest (Hebrews 4:3); victory (1 Corinthians 15:57; 2 Corinthians 2:14); is an overcomer (Romans 8:37); has peace with God (Romans 5:1); is no longer a failure (Philippians 4:13); and is complete in Christ (Colossians 2:9-10); which means that believers no longer have to live this life in failure, misery, disappointment and weakness. PTL

The fact is "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ..." (2 Corinthians 5:17) A person cannot be in Christ and have the devil's nature in him at the same time. He is either in the family of God or in the family of Satan. There is no dual nature. It's one or the other, "In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest..." (1 John 3:10) There can be no real development of faith, no strong, victorious Christian life with this mixed conception of the believer in Christ. We are either new creations or we are not. We have either passed from death into life or not. (John 5:24)

When Paul says, "For sin shall not have dominion over you..." (Romans 6:14) he means exactly what he says. If you live a life of weakness and defeat, it is because you do not know what and who you are in Christ and how the Father see you, which, I believe is the greatest need of the church at this hour. Look at this incredible truth, "And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight." (Colossians 1:21-22) Does this sound like failure, misery, disappointment and weakness? Absolutely not! This is a present reality. Believers stand before God complete in Christ.

If God was unable to take the sin nature out of us when we are born again, if the blood of Jesus was not sufficient to wipe it out, then preaching from the Bible gives no hope in this life and God's Word is reduced to nothing more than philosophy, which enlightens, but does not bring life. Also, keep in mind that unrighteousness prevents one from coming into the presence of God, yet God's Word tells us, "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:12)

Remember, "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) Jesus came to bring, not only the after life (eternal life) but life now to those who can believe. It has been the devil who has and is constantly working at stealing the believers identity in Christ and leaving him with a sin consciousness, that is, the feeling of guilt, condemnation and inferiority before God. But thanks be to God who has justified us freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus and Who is the Justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus Christ. (Romans 3:24, 26) PTL  

Monday, May 19, 2014

It's Your Decision

One of the greatest acts of deliverance recorded in the Bible is Israel's exodus from Egypt. There are several estimations of how many people left in the exodus. We are not given any exact number until the first census of Israel was taken "...on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt." (Numbers 1:1) However, this census was limited to, "...all the congregation of the children of Israel, by their families, by their fathers' houses, according to the number of names, every male individually, from twenty years old and above, all who are able to go to war in Israel. You and Aaron shall number them by their armies." (Numbers 1:2-3) This total came to "All who were numbered were six hundred and three thousand five hundred and fifty."(Numbers 1:46) Keep in mind that the census was taken fourteen months after the exodus and was limited to men "twenty years old and above, all who are able to go to war." Notice that the men chosen were all who were able to go to war. Some have suggested that there were some men unfit for war due to some sort of aliment. This is a wrong assumption. "He (God) also brought them out with silver and gold, and there was none feeble among His tribes."  (Psalms 105:37) This tells us there was not one person who lacked in physical or mental strength. They were not frail or weak in any way.

Many have used formulas to calculate the total number of people that God delivered from the bondage of Egypt but we do not know the exact number. Based on most researchers the average number comes to approximately two million people. Although God Himself was leading Israel, He chose Moses and set him over this multitude of people to lead them on a journey to the "Promised Land." During Israel's journey through the wilderness there were faced with various trails. Although they witnessed their miraculous deliverance and Gods provision in the wilderness unbelief ran rampant among the people, even the great man Moses had his doubts. One of these happened at the Red Sea.

Israel had come to the Red Sea with impassable mountains on their left and right and the army of Pharaoh behind them. It seemed as though there was no place to go, there was no escape.In the natural it looked quite disastrous, but what God spoke to Moses is a key to living a victorious life. "And Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace."  Exodus 14:13-14) At first glance it appears that Moses is trying to calm the people by assuring them that God would save them, but look what God says to Moses. 

"And the Lord said to Moses, "Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea." (Exodus 14:15-16) God is actually rebuking Moses for unbelief. Look carefully at these verse again and note that which is highlighted. The Bible record numerous times that God used Moses' rod to perform miracles, and still Moses was unsure.God did not say to Moses, stretch forth your hand and I will divide the sea. No, God said, "stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it." God was calling Moses to exercise his faith.

 Jesus' disciples were faced with a similar situation. "Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side of the lake." And they launched out. But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, "Master, Master, we are perishing!" Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. But He said to them, "Where is your faith?" (Luke 8:22-25).

In both situation the same thing happened. God expected Moses and the disciples of Jesus to exercise their  faith, but their unbelief put the responsibility of the situation on God (Jesus). This happens to many in the church today. God has given the church His Word, His promises, the Name of Jesus, authority and the Holy Spirit, yet, when a tough situation appears, many believers cry out to God to do something, when in fact, He has given the church these five wonderful gifts to use against any of life's circumstances. This has nothing to do with petitioning God in prayer. All believers are to constantly pray. It simply means that believers are to step up as children of God and uphold and enforce what God has already given to the church. For instance, Jesus said, "And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." (Mark 16:17-18)

Based on what Jesus said, believers do not have to ask God to cast out a demon for us or to heal the sick for us. We simply follow the Lords command and do these things in the Name of Jesus. In the Name of Jesus, demon come out. In the Name of Jesus, be healed. This is the place where Moses and the disciples failed as seen in the previously two passages above. It is also the place where most believers fail. Instead of believing and acting on God's Word, many let unbelief have the ascendancy in their life and then wonder why things do not seem to happen they way they had hoped. Jesus tells us, "Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." (Mark 11:22-24)

Now your faith may not be at the level to believe God in this way, but as you feed on God's Word your faith will grow. "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17) So don't be discouraged, don't quit and don't speak a negative confessions. Know that your faith can grow and you will be used of God to do what seems to be impossible. "Jesus said, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." (Mark 9:23)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Goin' Crusin'

Cruise control (sometimes known as speed control or auto cruise) is a system that automatically controls the speed of a motor vehicle. The system takes over the throttle of the car to maintain a steady speed as set by the driver. Most automobiles today come equipped with this convenient feature. When this feature is engaged at the desired speed (hopefully equal to or lower than the legal speed limit) the driver can ease back and relax a little. The driver doesn't have to watch the speedometer nor be uncomfortable due to his foot putting constant pressure on the accelerator.

For many in a local church today, cruise control has become their approach to Christianity. We press the accelerator of faith, love, obedience, service, etc., until we have brought our life up to a certain level (speed). The gauge that we use to do this is mostly based upon the standard of Christianity of those around us. We don't want to lag behind others because we want to be as spiritual as they are. However, at the same time we are not motivated enough to forge ahead of them because we wouldn't want to be different. We just want to blend in with the level of Christianity of those around us. In other words, we do not want to rock the boat.

Once we have arrived at the desired level of Christianity, we set the cruise control. Now we can sit back and relax letting our desired level of Christianity take over. We don't have to watch, as it were, the highway signs of God's Word that empowers us to exercise godliness as well as transforming us more and more into the image and likeness of Christ. This attitude is also called comfortable Christianity. It is the place where we can become satisfied with what we have and all we need in Christ. Although some may disagree, there is another term that describes the same, "Fire insurance Christianity." It's the idea that one has enough Christianity (which is based on an individuals own standard) that will keep them from going to hell.

The sad thing is, this is not the Christianity of the Bible. Our comfortable Christianity has led many in the church down the path of apathy where our concerns are focused upon our kingdom and not Gods. It has cause many to have faith in the world rather than God. What I mean by this is that we are quick to work overtime (there is nothing wrong or evil working overtime) to make ends meet at the expense of family, rather than really believing, "my God shall supply all our need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19) The same attitude causes many to call a doctor before even considering calling upon the Healer, "Jesus Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness, by whose stripes you were healed." (1 Peter 2:24) (There is certain nothing wrong with most doctors. They help people and even save lives) Divorce among those who attend a local church is not much different than that of a lost world. This type of Christianity has also opened the door for the twisted thinking of atheists to convince many in the church that there is a separation between church and state when in fact we have the privilege of the freedom of religion not freedom from religion.

Jesus said, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." (Matthew 6:33) He also said, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you..." (Matthew 28:18-20) We cannot seek the fullness of God's kingdom and obey the great commission if we are only seeking our kingdoms. The apostle Paul said, "But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him..." (Philippians 3:7-9) Is this how we value our Christianity? If not, we should. This should not be the apostle Paul's desire only, but for all believers.

Next, Paul says, "that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death." (Philippians 3:10) This also should be the aspiration of every believer. We should desire to have Christ formed in us so much, that His life working in and through us has a profound affect on all those around us. Finally, Paul goes on to say, "Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind..." (Philippians 3:12-15) Notice in Paul's conclusion he says, "Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind..."

It's apparent that any believer who lives by cruise control, comfortable Christianity is an immature believer and needs to be brought to these truths so their life can be transformed into the image of Jesus not conformed into the image of the world that Jesus Christ has freed us from. But for the mature believer, our thinking concerning "growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18) should be a never ending desire to want to be like Christ. It's not about not having enough time, money or education. I believe it comes down to one of two things.  Jesus said, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:21) and or "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." (1 Peter 5:8) It comes down to a heart issue or an issue of the devil deceptions to keep Christians weak, sickly and faithless.

So, let us once again turn this world upside down by letting Jesus to be formed in us and being doers of the Word not hearers only.