Showing posts with label God's Love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label God's Love. Show all posts

Monday, October 19, 2020

Covenant Partners

Covenant tends not to be spoken of in most Christian circles today, yet the Bible is broken down into the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. Every believer should come to understand the depth of what covenant is from Gods perspective. Covenant is often mistaken in the church by many because there is a tendency to think that covenant and contract are the same, when in fact covenant is much more far reaching than contract. Covenant can be defined as a mutual consent or agreement of two or more persons, to do or to forbear some act or thing; To enter into a formal legal agreement; to stipulate; to bind ones self. 

Now this may seem the same as a contract in many respects but there are some large differences between the two. For instance, covenant has unlimited liabilities whereas contract has limited liabilities. Covenant does not define terms in the way a contract does, but is commitment to the success of what has been stated in the body of the covenant, whereas a contract, the parties are only responsible to fulfill the terms of what has been stated in the body of the contract. Some Components of a Covenant as things such as...

  • Agreement: The union of opinions or sentiments resulting in harmony and conformity...
  • Commitment: The act of engaging; to pledge; or to pledge by implication...
  • Stipulation: An agreement or covenant made by one person with another for the performance or forbearance of some act...
  • Conditions:  To make terms; to precisely stipulate terms...
  • Duration: In regards to the continuance of time...
  • Exchange: To give and receive reciprocally...
  • Bind: To tie together; To confirm or ratify...
  • Death to independent living: Life shared between the covenant partners becomes the priority...

The word covenant appears 185 times in the Old Testament and 20 times in the New Testament. Maybe this is the reason why so many believers fail when it comes to upholding covenant. Could the thinking be "Well the New Testament does not mention much about covenant, so it is more and Old Testament topic or principle." This is so far from the truth. Look at what the writer of Hebrews says when he contrasts the Old and New Covenants, "But now Jesus has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away." (Hebrews 8:6-13)

The Father was not establishing this New Covenant through His Son with one person or a specific group of people, but with all humanity. However, those who benefit directly from the covenant are only those who, "Confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9) We must also keep in mind that, "For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ." (1 Corinthians 12:12) PTL...

It takes courage and faith to walk out covenant. I believe that as we draw closer to the end of the ages, believers are going to need each other like never before. This means that we will have to accept one another in love and see our diversities as a good thing. Our hearts must be focused on Christ and the purpose of His Body on earth and most important, we must at all cost stop speaking words that offend. We must also let go of all offenses that some tend to hold on to. Finally, let us apply what the Holy Spirit spoke through the apostle Paul, "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you."  (Ephesians 4:29-32) We are in covenant with all believers. So let us activate our faith, look to Jesus and be led by the Holy Spirit in this wonderful New Covenant provided for all... 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The New Year

I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas and had taken some time to reflect on the real reason why the church celebrates Christmas, "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:11) Now that Christmas 2016 is over we all move closer to the new year. New Year's Day falls on January 1st and marks the start of a new year according to the Gregorian calendar. It marks the end of New Year's Eve celebrations in the United States and gives many Americans a chance to remember the previous year as well as contemplate what the new year may bring.

Rather than making what is known as "New Year Resolutions" let us active our faith for the new year and speak forth over our lives and all believers the pray of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ spoke, and believe it to come to pass this new year like never before since the early church, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. "Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:20-26)

What the church and moreover the world would be if believers would confess this wonderful prayer over themselves as well as believing that it will come to pass in the entire Body of Christ. I truly believe that this prayer is centered around every believer releasing the God kind of love. Jesus told the disciples, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35) Notice, Jesus says, "My Disciples." This applies to all believers. The power of God's love actively at work in and through believers causes the world to know that we belong to Jesus. What a wonderful way to release the glory of the Lord. Simply by loving one another with the same love that God loves us. 

Let this year be the beginning of great restoration and reformation in the Body of Christ. The writer of Hebrews records, "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1-2) In context with the previous chapter, believers are to cast off every "weight," every hindrance that keeps us from running the race of faith, such as, unforgiveness, offenses, all failures, our past, to name a few. We are to also lay aside every "sin," that is, unbelief. These are things that can "so easily ensnare us." However, we get past these things first by casting them aside and then most importantly, we are to look to Jesus, His holy life; His love; His grace; His patience and perseverance in trials; to what He endured in order to obtain the crown, and to His final success and triumph.  

So, let us activate our faith and believe God for the things that may seem impossible. Let us act upon God's Word like Abraham, "He 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." (Romans 4:20-21) Let us stand on the words spoken by Jesus, "Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23) Let us let God arise manifesting His Kingdom, Power and Glory in His church. Let us love one another with the God kind of love and do as the apostle Paul, "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." (Philippians 3:13-14)

Have a safe, healthy and prosperous 2017 being united together in Christ, doing all things for the glory of God. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Who Do You Love

The gospels record numerous times how the Pharisees, Sadducees and their disciples "plotted how they might entangle Jesus' in His talk." (Matthew 22:15-33) However, the wonderful wisdom of God in Christ always corrected their hypocrisy with Truth. On one particular incident, a lawyer of the Pharisees "asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:34-40)

The Apostle Paul tells us, "Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, You shall not covet, and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." (Romans 13:8-10) So, who do you love? Who is your neighbor? For many believers, we can love those who fellowship with us; those who believe as we do; and even the unsaved, but, and unfortunately, for many believers, their love for their neighbor stops and oft times turns to criticism, judgment and even hatred for those who do not fellowship with us or believe as we do. Neither Jesus nor Paul ever said there are exceptions to the law of love. In fact look what Jesus says, “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same." (Luke 6:32-33)

I believe the main reason for the lack of loving as God does, is due to believers not breaking free of natural love and exercising the God kind of love.  Every person has within them the natural kind of love. However, natural love is based on selfishness. One moment it says, "I love you" and the next moment selfishness rises up releasing anger, jealousy, hatred and even murder. If all believers would exercise the God kind of love, the entire world would be changed. If you are born again, then know that the God kind of love, "has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Romans 5:5) Notice, that the God kind of love is in each and every believer. Paul also reveals this, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." (Galatians 5:22) Notice, love is first. Paul also tells us, "And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." (1 Corinthians 13:13)   

To exercise the God kind of love simply comes down to choice. Am I going to yield to the God kind of love and let it prevail or let natural love and selfishness reign.  Look at the wonderful biblical definition of the God kind of love, "Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening]. Love never fails [it never fades nor ends]..." (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 AMP)

The natural kind of love manifests in the complete opposite of the God kind of love shown above. Let's face it, for many, we have followed after money, after pleasure, after the things that please our senses rather than following hard and relentless after God, who is love. (1 John 4:8) But if we are truly willing to follow hard after God, we will find ourselves going where love leads and doing what love suggests. That is the way Jesus lived. He followed after love. Jesus' path led Him to Calvary where the greatest expression and show of love took place, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) 

The God kind of love can stand the test of modem life. It is only His love that will enable us to love the unlovely, the disagreeable and the hateful. God's love will lift us up into God's class where we
love the ungodly, the unworthy, just like Jesus did. It is only the God kind of love that will enable us to love them when they are doing all they can to injure us. It is only the God kind of love that will have us say as Jesus, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34) Yes, the God kind of love works. It makes hard, bitter people, gentle as Jesus. It will take a man like Saul of Tarsus and make him like Paul a love slave of Jesus Christ. It will take men out of the lowest depths of the slums and even prisons leading them into the pulpits where they will lead multitudes to Christ. It is the miracle of modern days. Why? 


 "Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening]. Love never fails [it never fades nor ends]..." (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 AMP)

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Love of the Father

Did you ever have someone come and say to you, "God loves you", but were not really sure that He did (does)?  There are many in the church today that have experienced new birth but are not absolutely sure, deep within their heart, that God loves them. Jesus tells us, "For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God." (John 16:27)  In this sentence, Jesus has given us a picture of God the Father's Heart. It is a Father who loves His children; a Father whose heart is reaching out tenderly toward His own family. So, take a moment and meditate on the above verse. What comfort there is in this precious thought, that the God of creation, Almighty God, the Father Himself loves us without condition. This means that even with all the burdens, cares and even our failures that we may carry or experience in this life, the Father Himself loves us. No matter whatever the heartache, whatever the struggle, whatever the secret grief, the heart of God the Father yearns over us.

When believers come to accept the surrounding abounding love of the Father, what peace floods the soul; what courage to fight the battle when every reason for living has gone and death would be a
relief. We can take the battle up again and carry it on to victory, because we know that He loves us.
As long as we are loved, and as long as we can love, there is a reason for being in the world, but when we cease to love and cease to be the object of 1ove, then the reason for being ends. Look at the Words of Jesus, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him." (John 14:23) This is such a wonderful promise. The Creator of everything seen and unseen, He who has charge of every form of life, every star in the universe, every blade of grass, every flower and tree, He whose ear is open to the heart of every human, will come in and make His home with us.

The heart can hardly take it in. The mind can barely comprehend the fact that the Father and Son will come and dwell with (in) us. Honestly, it does not seem credible that He will live in us but He has promised to do it. (John 14:16) What a blessing, what a wonder, that the Omnipotent God will come into us and make His home. He does this because of His great love. He comes and gives us wisdom to deal with all areas of this life, (Colossians 3:16); to help us in those dark hours when we do not know what to do, (Psalm 18); to strengthen us in our times of weakness, (2 Corinthians 12:9); to give us the ability to know His will, (Colossians 1:9) and much, much more. How the Father's heart yearns for us, craves for us. What a blessing He has bestow upon us, what riches are ours to inherit, what fellowship we can have, all due to the Father's limitless love for us.

Look at just how great the Father's love is for you, "And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them." (John 17:26) The Father loves you even as He loved Jesus. You may not be able to understand it. It may not sound reasonable, but it is true and utterly beautiful to not only think about, but moreover receive it in your heart. Not only is God love (1 John 4:16), but He gives His love nature to us. (1 John 4:7-11) Think about it, if we walk in love, we will never sin. Isn't that wonderful? God's love solves the problem of the human condition. To live in love's realm; to learn love's language; love's methods and love's way, will set us completely free (1 John 4:17-19) and we will speak aloud, "God is love; this God of love is my Father; I am His child and He truly loves me. (1 John 3:1)

So how can I come to know the love of the Father? Learn to think in terms of love. The Apostle Paul tells us, "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 4:8) Learn to give in to love so that your action are a reflection of Jesus, who is love. Let the Jesus kind of love reign in your hearts until every thought and all of your words will be covered in love. So, today let us declare that we are going to let the love of God rule us in every way, in all that we think, do and say. "Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Romans 5:5) Open you heart and receive God's love for you today, knowing that "nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ." (Romans 8:39)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Love; Living in Victory

Although we can list many things that seem to have the greatest impact on humanity, I believer the two greatest forces in the world today are love and selfishness. Selfishness is what makes a person concerned chiefly or excessively with himself, and having little or no regard for others. It is a robber. It breaks friendships and hearts. It wrecks marriages and homes. It flat out steals, kills and destroys because all of these things are a product of Satan. (John 8:44, 10:10) There is only one force able to conquer selfishness and destroy its destructive nature. That force is not simply love, but the God kind of love. Natural human love is motivated by human desires, that is, what satisfaction, what pleasures can "I" get from another without giving anything in return. It can turn in a moment from expressing affection and concern to neglect, hatred, jealousy and even murder.

A home could never be destroyed if every member would love as God loves. The wife would never remember the past mistakes of her husband, nor the husband ever remind the wife of any unpleasant
happenings of her past. All the mistakes and failures of the past would be wiped out. What homes we would have if we were to love as God loves. There would be no more quarreling over finances, no more bitter hurtful words spoken, but each one would be seeking how they could put others above themselves even at their own expense. Why is this? Love never takes advantage of anyone. Love always bears the burdens of the weak. Love says, "It is all my fault. Had I done differently, or
spoken differently, or lived in love, it would never happened." People who walk in the God kind of love never injure anyone, never take advantage of anyone. They simply walk and live in God. They respond to the fruit of the spirit and give no place to the selfish works of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16-26)

No matter what evil the adversary may bring into a life, love will change evil to good, and will bring forth good fruit. (Romans 12:21) Jesus said, "Al1 things are possible to him that believes." (Mark 9:23) That means "a believing one" can operate in the God kind of love. How do we know this? "For the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Romans 5:5) "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23) Jesus tells us, "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." (John 15:5) Believers, the branches, are linked up with Jesus, Who is the Vine. The branch is the fruit-bearing portion of the vine. Therefore, the believer has a legal right to the Father's love and Jesus' ability to carry it out. (Philippians 4:13)

The believer is to take Jesus' place in this life. He is a reproduction of Jesus (John 17:20-26) to carry out the will of the Father just as Jesus did when He walked this earth. Jesus was the first man who ever walked in the God kind of love on this earth. When selfishness is eliminated in us and love gains the dominion, we will not seek our own any longer. We will live as Jesus lived. We will seek only the Father's will as Jesus did. (John 6:38) As we walk in the God kind of love, we will be walking just as Jesus walked. There isn't a thing in the New Covenant or in the finished work of Christ that does not belong to every believer, especially the God kind of love. God is able to make us all that His great heart desires us to be. He delivered us out of the hand of the enemy. (1 Peter 2:9) He gave us His own nature. (2 Peter 1:3) He made us a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17) We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works. (Ephesians 2:10) He is in us now living and working His own good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13) Let us all yield to His Word and give Him the right-of-way in every area of our lives.

Please take some time, slowly read and meditate on the God kind of love as revealed in the Gospels from the Garden of Gethsemane to resurrection of our Lord. Paul tells us, " But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) Also, take some time to read and reread the Amplified Version of the God kind of Love as revealed in
1 Corinthians 13:4-8...
Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].
It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.
Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].  

Monday, April 27, 2015

Where is the Love

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul reveals to us a very important foundational truth concerning Christianity, "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love." (Galatians 5:6) The Apostle John tells us, "My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth." (1 John 3:18) Let us never forget the wonderful yet challenging words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35) 

Without faith, we will not be able to love as God loves, yet, without love we will not operate in the kind of faith that pleases God. This is why faith working through love is the quintessential of Christianity. I believe that faith without love or love without faith on the part of believers has been so lacking in the church, that it is the main cause of all the division. The love that was in Jesus revealed throughout the four gospels, is the love that is to rule the church, every believer. When believers are ruled by love; motivated by love; owned by love; they become imitators of the one who is love, "...God is love" (1 John 4:8) and as Jesus said, "...all will know that you are My disciples..."   

The Apostle John has some strong language for the church concerning love that we should not only think about but take to heart and act on. "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John 2:15) One of the things that John addresses is coming to grips with our love for the world and the things of world. This is not just toward material things, but the ungodly attitudes and actions of the the world. Let's be honest, most people who consider themselves to be Christian, would not admit just how much they are rooted in the world; How the cares of the world have become more important to them than the things of God.  John tells us that one of the ways we can know how much the world has captured believers is revealed in the fact that they do not love as God loves, because God's love is not in them.

Next, John says,"...Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother...he who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him." (1 John 3:10, 14-15) Unfortunately, there is extremely to much unforgiveness in the church. Let's face it, if you cannot forgive another believer, you have hatred in your heart. John says, hating another believer is spiritual death. In other words, the person who hates a brother or sister in the Lord, proves by their hatred that they are not truly saved. 

Unfortunately, many people in the church will say, "But I confessed with my mouth that Jesus is my Lord and Savior so how can you say that I am not saved?" I did not say that you are not saved, the Holy Spirit said it through John, plus we must also remember that though one confesses with their mouth, they must also believe in their heart. (Romans 10:9-10) John continues to reveal to us another problem that causes people to hate a brother or sister rather than love them. "He who does not love does not know God, for God is love." (1 John 4:8) Simply put, if you hate, you do not know God.

So, how can we let go of any ill feelings that we may have toward a brother or sister. It is by simply remembering and acting on the following...
  • "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) Remember, no matter how good you may think you were before making a confession of faith, "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) Jesus died for all even when we were antagonistic toward Him...  
  • "In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." (1 John 4:9-11) Put these scriptures together, we have, "faith working through love." The way we love as God loves, is applying faith and live through Christ, love personified. 
Finally, take at least two times every day for forty days without missing one day, and slowly read aloud to yourself the following...
  • "Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]..."(1 Corinthians 13:4-8 AMP) 
Let the God kind of love dominate your life, "By this all will know that you are My (Jesus') disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35) Amen.... 

Monday, October 13, 2014

God University

A university is an educational institution of higher education and research designed for instruction, examination, or both, of students in many branches of advanced learning. It provides academic degrees upon the completion of any variety of subjects offered. It also provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education. God has a university. However, it is small and very few enroll and even fewer graduate. He has this university because He has very few broken men and women. Instead, what He seems to have is people who claim to be broken but really aren't.   

David, son of Jesse is a great example of one who not only enrolled but also graduated God University. Shortly after David defeated Goliath and returned home, "the women had come out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy, and with musical instruments. So the women sang as they danced, and said: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him..." (1 Samuel 18:6-8) "The next day that the distressing spirit came upon Saul, and he prophesied inside the house. So David played music with his hand, as at other times; but there was a spear in Saul’s hand. And Saul cast the spear, for he said, “I will pin David to the wall!” But David escaped his presence twice." (1 Samuel 18:10-11)

What do you do when someone throws a spear at you? Why you just pick it up and throw it back, right? After all, in responding this way you are proving that you are courageous; you are standing up for what's right; you are tough and can't be pushed around, right? Well David did not throw Saul's spear back at him nor did he go out and make his own spear to throw at him. David simply escaped Saul's presence. If David were to respond to Saul by throwing a spear at him, David the shepherd boy, anointed by God to be king would have grown up to be nothing more than King Saul II. Although Saul sought to destroy David, he actually became the very instrument of God that would eventually mold David to become a man after God's own heart. (Acts 13:22)

David accepted his fate. He embraced the circumstances although unfair and even cruel. He lifted no hand nor offered any resistance. Even when David had the opportunity to retaliate and take Saul's life he would not. He would not return evil for evil even when prompted. "Then Abishai said to David, “God has delivered your enemy into your hand this day. Now therefore, please, let me strike him at once with the spear, right to the earth; and I will not have to strike him a second time! But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be guiltless?" (1 Samuel 26:8-9)

How about you? When others throw spears at you in the form of evil speaking, gossip, slander or when they treat you with disrespect; how do you respond? Do you throw spears back? or do you exercise the most potent characteristic of our God, which is love, toward those who may do these things? The Bible tells us, "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails..." (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) 

Believers that walk in this kind of love, agape, the God kind of love are those like David who have enrolled and graduated from God University. The Apostle Paul tells us, "Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Romans 5:5) The God kind of love is a part of the recreated human spirit that becomes a part of the believer the moment they confess and believe the Lordship of Jesus Christ. However, just like David had the choice to retaliate but chose not to, walking out the God kind of love is the same. In the mind of God, those who choose this path truly understand brokenness and selflessness. They have graduated God University because they know the power of love.        

Monday, August 25, 2014

All Through Love

The life and ministry of Jesus Christ while He was physically on earth was nothing less the the operation of the surrounding, abounding, infinite love of God. This is clearly revealing throughout scripture. We see the revelation of the God of love more clearly portrayed in the New Testament.  "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 God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:10) These are just a few scriptures among many, but they do express God's great unwavering, incredible  love for sinful man.

We only have to look at verses of scripture like these to realize that everything that God does toward humanity is all through love. Even at the treason committed by Adam in the Garden, did not arouse God's wrath toward Adam or the woman. Yes, judgment was past, but it was the result of Adam's transgression not God's wrath. In other words, Adam made the decision, he made the choice to rebel against the one command that God gave to him. The result was what God said would happen, "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17) The literal translation says, "In dying you will die." In other words, Adam died spiritually the moment he broke God's commandment and then he died physically 930 years later. God did not bring this upon Adam, he chose it for himself. It was not God's will! It was Adam's choice. I labor this because many believers have been trained to believe that things like sickness, disease, poverty, premature death, natural disasters, etc., are God's will when they are not.

Not only do scriptures like John 3:16, Romans 5:8 and 1 John 4:10 clearly show us God's loves towards fallen man, we must also keep in mind scripture like John 3:17 "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."  God's love is to save humanity not condemn or destroy humanity. If sickness, disease, poverty, premature death, natural disasters, etc., are God's will for humanity, they why did he set in motion before the foundation of the world the redemption of man?  "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love." (Ephesians 1:3-4) In fact, His redemption for man began at the fall of man, "So the Lord God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” (Genesis 3:14-15)

God did not stop there, He shed innocent blood to cover mans sin, "Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them." (Genesis 3:21) This points to innocent blood that would be shed by God again. This time, His own blood. The ultimate sacrifice that would not cover sin but take it away forever. The sacrifice of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. However, prior to the death of Jesus we see the love of God in action through Him. The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." (Luke 4:18-19) "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."  (Acts 10:38)

It should not take much faith to see that love has no part in sickness, disease, poverty, premature death, natural disasters, etc. All of these things are the result of the fall of man, the actions of the devil and the poor choices that people constantly make, not God. In fact, God describes love this way, "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails..." (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) Let's be not only honest but logical. If sickness, disease, poverty, premature death, natural disasters, etc. is the will of God, who is love, then we either have no idea how loves works; 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 is a misprint and should not be part of the Bible; or love is hatred in disguise. Because we know in our heart that none of these three ideas are true, we also know that sickness, disease, poverty, premature death, natural disasters, etc. are not the work of God nor are they His Will. He is love and all that He does is through love. 

The life and ministry and life of Jesus is the greatest revelation of the Father's will, nature, character, purposes and plan that the Bible records. "Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them..." (Matthew 9:35-36) This again is only one incident of many, revealing the love of Father God operating through the life and ministry of Jesus. God has not limited these things from operating today. It is the faithless doctrines of the so called religious wise who have taken the same position of the Pharisees and Sadducee's as recorded in the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. "Jesus answered and said to them, well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men...making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do." Mark 7:6-8, 13)   

Food for thought: Is there any parent among you that can say it is your will that your child or children should suffer from sickness or disease? That somehow sickness and disease would be a good and loving thing for your child or children because it has a mysterious purpose to teach them something? That if your child is disobedient, you would like sickness or disease to ravage their body or mind to disciple them? Of course you would not. In fact if your children do become sick or injured your heart cries out for relief so they do not have to suffer. Jesus said, "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 7:11) "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) Praise the Lord for His surrounding, abounding love for His Children!!!       

Monday, May 13, 2013

How Deep is Your Love

Although there are many ways to express love, basically, there are only two kinds of love and one or the other will dominate every person. One kind of love is a natural or human kind of love in which every person has to some extent. Natural love though can speak highly of someone one moment and than the next moment completely turn around a spew words of hatred towards the same person. However, when Jesus came to earth He brought with Him a new type of love, a love that emanates from the Spirit which is the God kind of love. The very essence and most potent characteristic of God is love. The apostle John tells us, "...for love is of God..." and "...for God is love..." (1 John 4:7-8)

One of the most exciting events that takes place when a person confesses with their mouth the Lordship of Jesus Christ and receives Him as Savior, is their dead spirit is reborn from above and they become completely new, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17) To expand what this means, the Holy Spirit through the apostle John says, "And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace." (John 1:16) The Holy Spirit speaking through the apostle Paul tells us, "For in Christ there is all of God in a human body; so you have everything when you have Christ, and you are filled with God through your union with Christ. He is the highest Ruler, with authority over every other power." (Colossians 2:9-10 TLB) The apostle John also states, "...as He is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4:17)

The moment that a person experienced New Birth they immediately receive the fullness of Christ. They are immediately filled with God. They immediately have the character of Christ. Now we may not know this or we may not take advantage of what this means, but it is fact! Another characteristic of this transformation into a New Creation is that our recreated spirit is also immediately filled with the God kind of Love, "Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Romans 5:5) Every born again person has within them the ability to love as God loves because His love dwells within us. This new kind of love becomes our nature because we are "partakers of the divine nature." (2 Peter 1:4) We also see that our recreated spirit has been infused with nine wonderful attributes that are called "The fruit of the spirit" (Galatians 5:22-23) in which the first one is love, the God kind of love.     

When believers let go of natural love and let the God kind of love dominate their life, it makes them the master of life in the same way Jesus was as He walked the earth as the Son of man. For instance, Jesus never lost His temper which led to sin. His great love made Him master over every situation. When a believer losses his/her temper, the natural man (old man) takes over. The person, situation or circumstance that caused the believer to lose their temper now becomes the master. However, if we let the God kind of love flow from us, then we become impervious to these things and stand in victory over them as master in the same manner that Jesus stood as Master over them.

How powerful is the God kind of love? Look at the last day of Jesus ministry as the Son of man. He was beaten, mocked, spit upon and nail to the cross and yet those who did this did not realize that the moment they took Him captive, He actually became Master which eventually led Him to become the conquering King of kings and Lord of lords. "For God so LOVED the world that He gave His only begotten Son..." (John 3:16) "But God demonstrates His own LOVE toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

It takes faith to rest in and depend on the God kind of love to dominate our life. Remember, we have the fullness of Christ in us. God is not limiting us to operate in this manner. The only limits that are upon the believer, are the ones that the believer chooses to imposes upon himself. To operate in the God kind of love is a choice that each believer must make daily. In doing so we fulfill the commandment that Jesus has given to all believers, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."  (John 13:34-35) So let us rise above selfish natural love, exercise the God kind of love so that the world will see the Father's tremendous surrounding, abounding love for them operating through us.   

Monday, March 18, 2013

Are You a Team Player

Covenant tends not to be spoken of in most Christian circles today, yet the Bible is broken down into the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. Every believer should come to understand the depth of what covenant is from Gods perspective. Covenant is often mistaken in the church by many because there is a tendency to think that covenant and contract are the same, when in fact covenant is much more far reaching than contract. Covenant can be defined as a mutual consent or agreement of two or more persons, to do or to forbear some act or thing; To enter into a formal legal agreement; to stipulate; to bind ones self.

Now this may seem the same as a contract in many respects but there are some large differences between the two. For instance, covenant has unlimited liabilities whereas contract has limited liabilities. Covenant does not define terms in the way a contract does, but is commitment to the success of what has been stated in the body of the covenant, whereas a contract, the parties are only responsible to fulfill the terms of what has been stated in the body of the contract. Some Components of a Covenant as things such as...
  • Agreement: The union of opinions or sentiments resulting in harmony and conformity...
  • Commitment: The act of engaging; to pledge; or to pledge by implication...
  • Stipulation: An agreement or covenant made by one person with another for the performance or forbearance of some act...
  • Conditions:  To make terms; to precisely stipulate terms...
  • Duration: In regards to the continuance of time...
  • Exchange: To give and receive reciprocally...
  • Bind: To tie together; To confirm or ratify...
  • Death to independent living: Life shared between the covenant partners becomes the priority...
The word covenant appears 185 times in the Old Testament and 20 times in the New Testament. Maybe this is the reason why so many believers fail when it comes to upholding covenant. Could the thinking be "Well the New Testament does not mention much about covenant, so it is more and Old Testament topic or principle." This is so far from the truth. Look at what the writer of Hebrews says when he contrasts the Old and New Covenants, "But now Jesus has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away." (Hebrews 8:6-13)

The Father was not establishing this New Covenant through His Son with one person or a specific group of people, but with all humanity. However, those who benefit directly from the covenant are only those who, "Confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9) We must also keep in mind that, "For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ." (1 Corinthians 12:12) Well, if all believers are in one body, although diverse, why is it that we have so many denominations (division), independent congregations (division), congregation splitting apart (division) people leaving congregation for any reason (division) and not being in agreement (division)? Honestly, it is because many in the church today do not place any value on covenant, which translates into listening to the devil (division) more than God and is an open door for selfishness. Covenant is always broken for selfish reasons.

Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, breaking covenant is divorce. To divorce is to dissolve covenant. Look what God says about divorce, "For the LORD God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one's garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. Therefore take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously." (Malachi 2:16) Although God is confronting the men of Israel with divorcing their wives, it is still a covenant that is being broken and the same applies when believers break off relationships from other believers. Breaking covenant is treacherous because it involves betrayal and or deception.

It takes courage and faith to walk out covenant. I believe that as we draw closer to the end of the ages, believers are going to need each other like never before. This means that we will have to accept one another in love and see our diversities as a good thing. Our hearts must be focused on Christ and the purpose of His Body on earth and most important, we must at all cost stop speaking words that offend. We must also let go of all offenses that some tend to hold on to. Finally, let us apply what the Holy Spirit spoke through the apostle Paul, "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you."  (Ephesians 4:29-32) 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Do You Love Me?

I am not one for watching movies, especially those that are considered musicals. However, as I got older and had children we would occasionally take some time and watch a movie. One of the movie-musicals that is considered an all times favorite by movie critics is entitled, "Fiddler on the Roof" which was a 1971 film adaptation of the 1964 Broadway hit with the same name. In one of the scenes in the movie Tevye, the narrator and main character of the story, father of five daughters, an impoverished milkman, a leader in his Jewish community, asks his wife Golde in song, "Do you love me?" Golda's responses were based on all the chores that she had done as a wife and mother for Tevye and their daughters for the past 25 years and yet Tevye continued to asks Golda, "Do you love me?"

In John 21:15-17 we see Jesus asking Peter, "Do you love Me?" Jesus asked Peter this question three times and uses verb agapaoo, which means to love affectionately, ardently, supremely, perfectly, but in Peter's reply he is using the verb phileoo, which means to love, to like, to regard, to feel friendship for another. In other Words, Jesus says to Peter, "Peter, do you love me affectionately, ardently, supremely, perfectly", to which Peter answers, "Lord, I like, I regard, I feel friendship toward you."

If Jesus stood face to face with you and asked the same question that He asked Peter, what would be your response? Before you answer remember, the Lord knows our heart. Let's be honest most believers would respond as Peter did. Phileo is the natural type of love that like Peter every person on the planet has. However, natural love is very limited. I heard it said that natural human love is nothing more the refined selfishness because it can shows affection one minute and turn ugly the next. But agape love knows no such bounds. It is not selfish in any way because it always seeks and thinks the best of others. Agape love, or the love of God is already in the believer, "Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Romans 5:5) but it is a choice that every believer must make daily as we walk out our life in Christ .

Agape love is a demonstration, "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 God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) However, demonstrating love goes beyond doing various works or chores because the God kind of love is not natural but spiritual. It takes faith to walk it out in our daily lives for many reasons...
"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you." (Matthew 5:44)
"If you love Me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15) 
"This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:12-13)
"Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law." (Romans 13:8)

As I had mentioned it takes faith to live out the God kind of love daily and consequently it takes the God kind of love to walk in faith, "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love." (Galatians 5:6) So for us to truly answer the question, "Do you love Me?" let's consider these things and make the choice that no matter what circumstances come our way, no matter what people may say, let us choose to have  "compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing." (1 Peter 3:8-9) In other words, let's choose to love as God loves and choose to practice it daily.

Finally, I want to challenge you to turn to 1 Corinthians 13, read and meditate on verses 4 - 8 every day. The apostle Paul tells us, "So then faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God." (Romans 10:17) As we read and meditate on these verses our faith will grow, our minds will be renewed and our spirit will be built up resulting in all knowing that we are Christ's due to the love that we express in every situation.  

Monday, September 17, 2012

What's Stopping You

Out of all the tragedies that have happened in the history of man, the greatest one occurred when Adam committed treason by choosing to disobey God resulting in relinquishing the authority that God vested in him and giving it to Gods enemy, Satan. Man was bankrupted. He lost fellowship with God, He lost his ability to approach God, the one whom he was master of has now become his master, he had opened himself to all the vile wickedness and destruction his of his new master, he was helpless and hopeless and could not save himself, he became spiritually dead.

We can look at human history and see that mans depravity has caused untold losses of live through wars, dictators who have slaughtered millions, the fetal murder of millions of children and on and on. But none of this would have happened if Adam chose God above his own desires. Due to Adams transgression, this left God with a problem. Was God able to provide man with a redemption that would set him free from the authority of Satan and give him the authority over Satan that he once had, remit all of his sin that he had committed, recreate him and make him a new creation with the nature of God so that he could once again approach God without condemnation, guilt, shame or feeling inferior, all on legal grounds? Yes He did. He did this through the incarnation, deity and humanity coming together in the person of Jesus.

Everything that has held man in bondage for 4000 years came to an end when Jesus rose from the dead and presented His blood to the Father (Hebrews 9:12). Jesus had conquered Satan. Jesus took away all of Satan’s weaponry. Let's look at some scripture concerning this very thing... 

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. 

Sickness, disease, poverty, fear and so much more have all been defeated. For those who have come to believe Jesus to be Savior and confess His Lordship have been given the ultimate weapons against the works of darkness, the name of Jesus and the Word of God. The Bible tells us... 

Mark 16:17-18 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."
Luke 10:19-20 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.  
Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

If the church could just get past its reformation hang over, believe and act on the Word of God and let the Holy Spirit have the preeminence in the church once again, the church would turn this world upside down once again. Gods presence, power and glory would be in every service and would also manifest wherever we would go. The church would again make it very difficult for the second greatest tragedy to continue in mans history. Jesus said, He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18) We also read, Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

That's right, the second greatest tragedy that continues to happen in mans history which is worse than war and the slaughter of human life is what happens to those who past from this life to the next who have not confessed the Lordship of Jesus Christ and receive Him as Savior. They will be cast into everlasting fire (Matthew 18:8) where their worm does not die (Mark 9:44) where there is darkness, weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 8:12) Is there one person who would want this to happen to another person. Well if you are truly a Christian then your answer is absolutely not! So, what is stopping you? If we have the ultimate weapons, which we do, then we must get out of the fort (church building) take authority over the darkness and enforce what Jesus has already accomplished, 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) and plundered his goods and has given believers a mandate, And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:19) So let's use our authority and win souls for Jesus!!!   

Monday, August 13, 2012

Which is Easier?

Not to long after the birth of Jesus, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and says, "Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him." (Matthew 2:13) So Joseph takes Mary and Jesus to Egypt. After the death of Herod the king the angel of the Lord appears again to Joseph in a dream saying, "Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child's life are dead." (Matthew 2:20) and so he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. Luke adds something that is interesting to this account, "And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him." (Luke 2:40)

 Next, Luke tells us that Joseph and Mary take Jesus, who was twelve at the time, to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of the Passover. (Luke 2:41-42), and again we see something very interesting concerning Jesus,  He was "...in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers." (Luke 46-47) Luke records once again, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." (Luke 2:52) Point being, we see that from childhood Jesus increased in wisdom.

As we look through the Gospels, we see that the religious leaders who were in office during the time that Jesus walked the earth as the Son of Man were always looking for a way to discredit Jesus. Every time they did so, the wisdom of God in Jesus defused the entire situation and put the religious leaders to shame. Jesus certainly did not respond to their evil with any malice in His heart. He responses to them was because He was "...grieved due to the hardness of their hearts..." (Mark 3:5)  One particular time, Jesus got into a boat and went into His own city, "Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you." And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, "This Man blasphemes!" But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, "Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Arise and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins" — then He said to the paralytic, "Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house." And he arose and departed to his house." (Matthew 9:1-7)

There are a few lessons that we can learn from this situation. One of them is that many Christians for some time have been taught erroneous doctrine that have caused them to not believe God's Word. However, their are many other Christians who believe that God has not changed nor His Word. What He did through Jesus and the early church still applies today. Jesus tells the scribes that their hearts think evil. But look at the wisdom of God in operation. Of course it would be easier to say to someone "Your sins are forgiven you" because things are "easier said then done." But are they? Although the scribes do not respond to His question, Jesus says to the paralytic, "Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house." The paralytic responds to Jesus' Word, "And he arose and departed to his house."

Jesus tells us, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." (Mark 9:23) Today, as it was for Jesus then, it should be no more difficult to say, "Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Arise and walk." The problem that many Christians have with such things as these, is something that has not changed since the fall of man. It is a lack of faith in the integrity of God's Word. Although the disciples that Jesus chose and named apostles observed His ministry for over three years, they too dealt with the same issue prior to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. They did not believe. Not only did Thomas need tangible evidence of the resurrection (John 20:24-25) but Jesus rebuked all the disciples after His resurrection due to the unbelief and hardness of heart. (Mark 16:14) Even though Jesus foretold the apostles of His death and resurrection (Matthew 16:21); even though Mary Magdalene and the two disciples that Jesus met on the Emmaus Road told the apostles that Jesus was alive (Mark 16:9-13); it was a lack of faith in God's Word (Jesus' Words to them) that caused them to easily dismiss the will of God.

Sadly enough in many sections of the church today the same thing happens. There is an unpersuadableness, a lack of true Bible faith in the Word of God. Look at how the multitude responded to what Jesus did for the paralytic, "Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such power to men." (Matthew 9:8) What a drawing card for those who do not know the Lord. Letting God perform the supernatural through His children as evidence of His great love and all that Jesus did for humanity. However, the only way that these things can be a part of the church today, is the doctrines of man that have created doubts and unscriptural mind sets must be dealt with and put to an end. They must be replaced with the revelation knowledge of the Word of God. Let us pray the prayer that Paul prayed for the church and believe, "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..." (Ephesians 1:17-18) and then be a doer of the Word...

Monday, June 4, 2012

I Really Doubt It

I love the Body of Christ and I should, because I'm a Christian. I get to meet many believers from various parts of the church and make it a point to ask a few questions to see what is going on throughout the church. Recently I had a conversation with a believer that was not connected to a local church. (The Bible teaches that all believers need to be connect to a local expression of the church, not some mystical me and Jesus church) Naturally, I asked this person why they were not connected. Their response did not shock me because it is one of many typical responses that many confused believers have today. However, I was grieved because once again the issue of faith (or should I say a lack of faith) was the root of this issue.

The apostle Paul write, "...that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it..." (1 Corinthians 12:25-26) (I am going to take some latitude with these verses at the end as I share this persons personal story with us) During the 1980's this person (whose story I'm about to tell) went to a major US city to attend a healing and deliverance meeting sponsored by a well known female minister that flowed in this ministry. (If I mentioned the ministers name you would immediately recognize it) This person saw first hand all those who came forth received healing and gave a testimony that they were indeed healed. The person left the meeting with a new excitement for the LORD and His desire and love to heal hurting people.

A few years had past and this person purchased a book by a very well known Christian author. (If I mentioned the authors name you would immediately recognize it) The author wrote a book as a follow up on the healing ministry of this  particular minister. The author of the book revealed that several people who had claimed to have been healed had either died from or were struggling with the same sickness that they were supposedly healed of. In short, the author concluded that the ministry was false and that God does not heal today like He did in the early church. If God does heal today, it is because He picks and chooses who receives healing and who does not. With that, it only took a short period of time when this person bought into this well known authors logic which eroded their faith in Christ for healing. Now for nearly two decades this person has not been connected to any local church.

Unfortunately, there always seems to be people in the Body of Christ who work hard at disproving that believers have access to the power of God today for healing, deliverance, provision, etc. The real reason behind this is a subtle deception that has nothing to do with faith, but causes one to doubt in the immutable Creator of all things. Problems arises when believers do not apply faith to God's Word and permit the wisdom of man to take precedence above the knowledge of God. No doubt (no pun intended) this is exactly what happened to this author.

If believers placed faith in the integrity of God's Word there would be no question at all that God is still in and will always be in the business of healing. He has not changes (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8) which means His Word has not changed (Psalm 89:34, 119:89, Isaiah 55:11, Jeremiah 1:12, John 1:1, 14) God and His Word are one!!! To say that God decides who He heals and who He doesn't means He show partiality towards people which is also contrary to scripture, (Acts 10:34, Romans 2:11, Ephesians 6:9). Jesus said, "as you have believed, so let it done for you" (Matthew 8:13), "Be it according to your faith" (Matthew 9:29), "If you can believe all things are possible to him who believes" (Mark 9:23) and the writer of Hebrews records, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6) It sounds like the condition to receive anything from God requires faith, not chance. If anyone meets God's condition to receive, which is faith, then they shall have. "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 must come to grips with these verses. It is not a matter of yesterday, today or tomorrow, but "whoever" can believe without doubt. The issue of people receiving healing and then losing it comes down to permitting doubt to have place if or when a symptom tries to manifest after they have received healing. It comes down to whether or not one believes God's Word and acts on it or if they respond to their five senses which say, "I won't believe unless I see, feel, etc.". All sickness and disease comes from Satan. Peter tells us (talking to believers) "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith..." (1 Peter 8-9) Although Peter is talking about humility and that some may suffer persecution for their belief, the point is Satan still works against believers. Sickness and disease is one of the areas that he tries to put on believers. Unfortunately, for many believers, he seems to have an element success. But believers are to resist him steadfast in faith!

The author of the book that this person read somehow either forgot, did not consider or just does not know the power of God's Word. He himself apparently does not act on God's Word through faith, nor resist the devil in the manner Jesus shows us, "It is written." His only objective seems to have been to discredit healing in the church for today. This author apparently has more faith in his own wisdom than in the Word of God. It apparent that the research for his  book excluded what God's Word says about this issue. I am not trying to create division, but it is time for Christians to stop buying into the nonsense of faithless words spoken or written by faithless authors and church leaders.

Fortunately, the person that I talked with was relieved and encouraged as I showed them what God's Words says on the matter. Hopefully, the day will come when Christian author's only write books that build up the Body of Christ and stimulate faith rather than tearing it down. Things like this causes schism in the church as well as causing believers who truly love the LORD to suffer when all they have to do is believe God's Word.

Although this was the short version concerning this matter, I have one more thought that I would like us to consider. This may be a hard word for some, but when we allow doubt to say that God does not do the things that His Word says He does or if we allow doubt to say that He does things that are contrary to His Word, we will find ourselves creating God in our own image. Jesus said, "Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it." (Luke 18:17) It's time to exercise child like faith in a loving faithful God who is our Father! 

Monday, May 14, 2012

I Would Like You to Meet My Father

It is very unfortunate when I talk with believers who truly love the LORD but have such a distorted picture of who He really is. Many see God as a holy, just, austere and unapproachable being who is ever on the look out to discover sin in the believer and quick to condemn them. This concept has made many afraid and has caused them to keep their distance from Him. I am here to report that this perception of God is completely wrong. God is our Father!!!

"For the Father Himself loves you..." (John 16:27)
John 17:23
"...that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me."
(John 17:23)
"The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God." (Romans 8:16) 
"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!" (1 John 3:1)

What a beautiful and factual picture of our Heavenly Fathers relationship to every believer. Jesus also paints this wonderful picture of our Father to His children...
"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 7:11) Think about this truth for a moment.

As a parent myself I have always desired to see that my children were taken care of in every area of their life. I wanted them to always be encouraged and to know that no matter how things looked everything would be alright. I have made it a point to make myself available to help them through thick or thin as well as seeing their personal success at my expense and yet this is millions of miles away in comparison to how great my Heavenly Father's tender loving care is for all of His children (believers).

When we come to know Him as a loving, caring, giving, blessing, Father who longs to spend time with His child our entire perception of Him changes. Look at the picture the apostle Paul paints...
"For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out,"Abba, Father. (Romans 8:15)
Do you know what is unique about this verse? Notice that it says we are adopted. Many look at adoption from a totally human perspective in the sense that the adopted child is not really family. However, think about it from this perspective. Jesus said, "You did not choose Me, but I chose you..." (John 15:16) and Paul says, "just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world..." (Ephesians 1:4) Our Heavenly Father has personally chosen you and I. He hand picked us. You and I are very personal to Him.

One of the problems that many believers have is confessing weakness and failure which erodes faith breeds guilt and condemnation not to mention that it also repudiates the finished work of Christ. It cause us to belittle our true position and right standing in God through Christ. Every feeling of guilt, shame, condemnation and inferiority stops being a problem the moment that we know that God is truly a loving Father. When we come to truly believer what we are in Christ guilt, shame, condemnation and inferiority will no longer have place. Exercising faith for the things that we desire and are entitled to through our sonship with Him, are also no longer a problem. This occurs when a believer knows their rights and privileges that the Father has freely given them through Christ.    

2 Corinthians 5:17 declares, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." The old things of doubt, fear as well as bondage to sicknesses and want, have passed away all because we have been legally and lovingly adopted into the family of God. With that said, I will close with a passage that I want to encourage you to read and meditate on. As you do let faith arise in your spirit and know that your Father in heaven sees you as His "creme da la creme" (the best of the best)...

"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. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
(Romans 6:5-11)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bad Things Do Not Come From God - Part 18

We have seen throughout the Gospel of John, our Heavenly Father's will and nature being perfectly fulfilled in and through the ministry of Christ. One of the scriptures that sums up Christ's ministry and the Father's will and nature is...
"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." (Acts 10:38)

Notice that Jesus "went about doing good", not bring judgment or condemning humanity, but doing good. What was the good that He did? "...healing ALL who were oppressed by the devil..." So take a moment and let this verse of scripture sink into your spirit. Now, if God is the One behind bad things happening, then why would He anoint Jesus with the Holy Spirit and with power to do good? If some how one really believes  that bad things come from God, then we have to consider the following...
  • Jesus lied when He said that He came to do the will of the Father...(John 4:34)   
  • That Jesus was not a perfect image and reflection of the Father...(Hebrews 1:3)
  • That Jesus was doing His own will...(Matthew 26:39)
  • That the Father has more than one will...(Romans 12:2)
  • That the Father and Son are not united as one...(John 10:30)
  • The Father changes His will based on human circumstances or situations...(Malachi 3:6)
The list can go on, but these six alone are enough to send chills up one's spine.Can you even imagine how anyone could possibly serve the LORD if these things were so? The Bible clearly shows us that God never changes. Everything about  Him is immutable! (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8, James 1:17). Unfortunately, the things listed above are not taken into consideration when one has been taught or believes that bad things come from God. 

When I think of how many Christians have been taught by church leaders the exact opposite of what scripture reveals concerning God's will and nature, I become grieved. Many have been taught that the bad things that may happen to them is some how God's mysterious way of doing things, but the Apostle Paul tells us...
"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself" (Ephesians 1:7-9)

 Many have been taught that God causes bad things to happen to bring judgment upon a sinful world and yet Jesus says...
"For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son." (John 5:22) and "You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one." (John 8:15) and "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." (John 3:17) 

I have found the biggest reason why so many Christians have been taught that God causes bad things to happen is because "whom the LORD loves He chastens and scourges every son whom He receives." (Hebrews 12:6) However, to chasten means to child train or train a child. Now think about this. Would you as a parent desire to have a debilitating disease come upon your child because he or she disobeyed you? Of course you wouldn't want that to happen. How about if you told your child not to touch the cooking element on an electric stove because he or she could get burned and then one day their curiosity got the best of them and they burned their hand so severely that they needed either a miracle healing or immediately medical attention, would you say, "I told you not to do that" or "That's what you get for disobeying me." Would you do nothing because they disobeyed? Of course not! You would do whatever it took to stop the pain and fix the problem. If you did anything less, you would be considered an abusive neglectful parent.

Well I've got some good news. Our Heavenly Father is not hiding Himself nor is He mysterious (John 14:7-9) He does not judge people in this life by sending bad thing upon them (Hebrews 7:27) and He is not and abusive parent but a loving and caring Father (Matthew 7:7-11) It is time for Christians to abide in God's Word, which will build their faith so they can receive the promise that Jesus gives to all who abide in His word..."And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32)