Monday, July 15, 2024


When Adam took from the woman and ate that which was from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that God had commanded him not to eat, one of the most damaging actions entered into the human race. We see this played out immediately after Adam and the woman ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, "And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden." (Genesis 3:8) We see that God approached Adam and the woman, but they tried to cover up their sin with fig leaves and then, tried to hide from God. God confronts them with their actions and Adam and the woman respond, "Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:12-13)

Notice, what happened. Adam blamed God for giving him the woman and the woman blamed the serpent, but neither Adam or the woman took the blame for their actions. From the fall of man, sin has opened the door for humanity to place the blame on someone or something, rather than accepting responsibility for their own sinful actions. However, on the other side of the coin, anything that a person does that they deem good in their own eyes, or the eyes of others, they are willing to be responsible for. In other words, they are quick to take the credit for what is good, but, like Adam and the woman, will almost always look to blame someone or something for their sinful or unlawful actions. Again, placing the blame on someone or something for wrongful actions is embedded in the sinful nature of man since the fall. However, it does not excuse us from being responsible for our choices that lead us into sinful actions, especially in God's eyes. That's right! It is our choices, just like Adam and the woman, that are reflected in our actions, but does not remove us from being responsible.

Looking at the situation that we find humanity in today, we see that numerous addictions. Addictions are not tied to drugs or alcohol only, but any substance, thing, activity and or habit that enslaves and seems difficult, even impossible to break free from. Addictions have taken hold of many lives which leave nothing in its path but hurt, destruction and death. Addictions have no bounds and unfortunately, many believers have never been delivered from and continue to struggle with addictions, especially addictions that they had before confessing Jesus as Lord and receiving Him as Savior. However, some believers struggle with addictions that have found their way into their lives even after receiving Christ. No matter what addictions people may have, it should move those of us who are not enslaved in such, to compassion. It should grieve us, to see so many hurting soles, causing us to reach out and help in any way we can. But what is behind addictions? What causes so many people to be held, even controlled, enslaved, by addictions? The Apostle James tells us, "Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.  Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death." (James 1:13-15) 

Though these words may be hard to receive, the truth is, additions are the result of being "drawn away by ones own desires and enticed." Eventually, if left unchecked, if not stopped, the very things that enticed, "gives birth to sin" which opens the door to the devil. What was once a seemingly simple choice, like Adam and the woman, has now become a "full-grown" addiction. Therefore, addictions are not a disease. This is what the world would have everyone come to believe, but, by agreeing with the world, we disagree with God's Word. Saying that addictions are a disease is simply a way to put the blame on something other than ones choice. Addictions may be generational to some respect, but we are still dealing with sin (Numbers 14:18) which addictions are. 

All addictions start out as a choice through ones own desires, in the same manner that the woman chose to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil rather than the tree of life. (Genesis 2:9) Adam also made a choice. His choice was to obey God and not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or to disobey God by choosing to take from the woman and eat. No one forced either one of them to eat, it was simply their choice. Once the choice to sin was made, it opened the door for Satan to do what he does, "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy..." (John 10:10) Though Adam and the woman blamed someone else for their decision, their action, it did not remove the fact that they made a choice and were now under the influence of Satan. They gave themselves over to their own desires, and like James said, "when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death."         

The Apostle Paul tells us, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12) The world does not believe this and unfortunately, many believers do not want to face this fact either, thereby, buying into to the excuses of the world. Let's face it. If one can say, it's not my fault, then they no longer have to be responsible for their choices, because, someone or something else is the blame. Paul warns us, "that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness." (Ephesians 4:22-24) and "nor give place to the devil." (Ephesians 4:27) 

When one begins to entertain a sinful action, no matter what it is, if not stopped and repented of quickly, it opens the door, it gives place, for evil spirits and or demons. Depending on what the sin is, it can lead into an addiction. The Apostle Paul tells us, "Now the works of the flesh are evident..." and then he proceeds to reveal some of the works of the flesh. (Galatians 5:19-21) One of these is, "drunkenness." It is defined as anything that is an intoxicant, which includes alcohol and drugs.

 If you are born again, and are struggling with an addiction, know that God loves you and wants you to be free. (Galatians 5:1) First thing to do is simply, "confess our sins, (to God) He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9) I am not saying the road ahead will be easy, but, confessing sin closes the door to Satan, evil spirits and or demon from having place. Depending on the addiction and the length of time that one has been struggling, you also may require some additional help or support to get you through, but first and foremost, ask the Lord for His help. The writer of Hebrews 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 4:16) God is abundant in mercy and grace. His grace gives us the desire as well as His ability, His strength, His power to do His will. No longer focus on the addiction, on failure or defeat but on the victory that we have in Jesus Christ. Calling out to the Lord for His mercy and grace is not a one time event, but should be a continuous action for all believers.  

If you are not a believer, simply cry out to the Lord to save you (Romans 10:9-10), then continue to cry out to Him as stated above and seek additional support if needed. I am not saying these things to bring guilt or condemnation upon anyone who is struggling with an addiction. What I am saying is, demons are real and sin opens the door in ones life for them to deceive and enslave. We also need to understand, that when one accepts the responsibility of their sinful choices and actions, and confesses such, it opens the door for the Lord to intervene and deliver them. It is the devil, evil spirits and demons that are set out to, "steal and to kill, and to destroy" but Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)      

For every believer who is not struggling with an addiction, let us go be witnesses of God's Kingdom, Power and Glory to those who struggle. Let us be fishers of men. 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) "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." (Luke 10:19) "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) So, let us go forth and do what Jesus did, "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) "...For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." (1 John 3:8) 

So, let us go in the Name of Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit in the grace of God and set the captives free! Jesus said, "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." (John 8:3

Monday, July 8, 2024

Completely Restored

Many believers are under the influence that the main reason they have received Christ as Lord and Savior is to escape the wrath to come (which is true) and escape hell and go to heaven (which is also true) but, these things are not the sole purposes behind God's brilliant plan of redemption. When looking at the account of Adam's act of treason in the Garden, we find the first thing that happened was fellowship with God was broken, "Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden." (Genesis 3:8)  

 Notice that "Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God." Keep in mind, prior to this they were tending the Garden together, naked, "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed" (Genesis 2:25), and they had no shame. The act of treason had brought shame upon them both. The fig leaves they covered themselves with was not to hid their nudity, but an attempt to cover their shame. The shame then cause them, in a feeble attempt, to hide themselves from God. Adam's act of treason had caused such a painful feeling of humiliation, the consequences resulted in broken fellowship with his Creator, the Lord God, "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 death that Adam immediately experienced was "spiritual death." His physical death came 930 years later, which was the consequences of spiritual death, separation from God.

The number one purpose for man's redemption in the mind of God was to restore man back to fellowship with Himself. (2 Corinthians 5:18) Everything else is an outcrop of restored fellowship. The Apostle Paul tells us, "God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:9) The Apostle John tells us, "that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full." (1 John 1:3-4) Fellowship means, sharing together, joint participation, therefore, God has called us into a two sided relationship with Him, where we share and participate together. Our fellowship with the father is a love relationship, "We love, because He first loved us." (1 John 4:19)  

The writer of Hebrews 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 4:16) Boldly means freedom. God has given His children the freedom to meet with Him, to fellowship with Him, any time, any place. We come to Him because of His mercy, knowing that "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9), because, "My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world." (1 John 2:1-2) Praise the Lord, we have a family attorney, a "Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5)  who goes to bat for us, so we can have this wonderful, loved filled fellowship with the Father. 

Once we have obtained God's wonderful mercy, we now ask Him for "grace to help in time of need." We ask Him for His favor; His strength; His help; His counsel; His direction; and His support. The reason we ask God for these things, is we recognize our utter dependence on Him and the desperate need for His grace. 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) Every believer must realize the without Jesus, we can do nothing. Every talent and or ability that we have is solely from God. The very breathe that we take can stop if not for God's grace. 

Having fellowship with God is not limited to prayer. The fact is, we have an unlimited fellowship with Him, meaning, we need to acknowledge Him every waking moment that we have, whether on the job, in a store, in an automobile, wherever, due to His desire for us to fellowship continuously with Him. The writer of Hebrews tells us we are to "offer God a sacrifice of praise, continuously." (Hebrews 13:15) Solomon tells us to, "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) The Psalmist wrote, "In his presence is fullness of joy." (Psalm 16:11) "Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms." (Psalm 95:2) "Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing." (Psalm 100:2) Do we see our Heavenly Father's desire for His children to fellowship with Him continuously?

I want to encourage you to fellowship with the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit all the time. Honestly, this will take some practice, some getting used to, because most believers are often caught up in the distractions of life. This does not mean that we should quit our jobs or just stay home, but to remember that the Holy Spirit is in us and we are always in God's presence, though we may not recognize this fact. Once we get used to having fellowship with God at all times, we will find ourselves living in His peace, the kind that passes all understanding, no matter what circumstance we find ourselves in. We see this in the life of Jesus. Though He was God, He was still a man. Due to His constant fellowship with the Father He was able to be fast asleep in a boat, though waves were filling the boat with water and His disciple were in panic mode. (Mark 4:35-38)    

"Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever." Amen. (Jude 24-25)

Monday, July 1, 2024

His Grace Is Freedom

The Fourth of July in the United States is known as Independence Day. Independence Day has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of celebrating Independence Day goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution (1775-1783). In June 1776, representatives of the 13 colonies accessed a resolution that would declare their independence from Great Britain. On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later its delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 until the present day, Independence Day has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with typical festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues. Although the United States celebrates Independence Day as a day of freedom from Great Britain's oppression of those days, one is not truly free until they confess with the mouth the Lord Jesus Christ and receive Him as Savior.

Today in the United Stated we often forget that, in declaring independence from an earthly power, our forefathers made a forthright declaration of dependence upon Almighty God. The closing words of the Declaration of Independence solemnly declares, "With a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor." The fifty six courageous men who signed that document understood that this was not just high sounding rhetoric. They knew that if they succeeded, the best they could expect would be years of hardship in a struggling new nation. If they lost, they would face a hangman's noose as traitors. But notice, their dependence was not upon their abilities, but upon Divine Providence. They knew that without divine intervention, their desire for freedom would never happen. History reveals that all the signers of the Declaration of Independence had a Christian/religious background; 32 Episcopalian/Anglican; 13 Congregationalist; 12 Presbyterian; 2 Quaker; 2 Unitarian or Universalist; 1 Catholic.  

Of the fifty six, few were long to survive. Five were captured by the British and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes, ransacked, looted, occupied by the enemy, or burned. Two lost their sons in the army. One had two sons captured. Nine of the fifty-six died in the war, from its hardships or from its bullets. Whatever ideas you have of the men who met that hot summer in Philadelphia, it is important that we remember certain facts about the men who made this pledge. They were not poor men, or wild-eyed pirates. They were men of means, prosperous men, wealthy landowners, substantially secure in their prosperity and respected in their communities. But they considered liberty much more important than the security they enjoyed. They pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. They fulfilled their pledge. They paid the price. And freedom was won.

Someone once said, "To be born free is a privilege. To live free is an awesome responsibility." Yet freedom is never free. It is always purchased at great price. Take a moment and ponder the greatest price ever paid for freedom. The price that was paid at Calvary nearly two thousand years ago by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to purchase man's freedom. In a similar way, the forefather's of this country were also ready to pay a great price for freedom not only for themselves, but for all who would come to the United States to become citizens of this "One nation under God." Little did John Adams know how significant his words would be when he spoke to his wife, Abigail, on the passing of the Declaration of Independence, "I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure, that it will cost to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these states; yet, through all the gloom I can see the rays of light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than all the means."

To those who sacrificed for our freedom, the end was worth the painful means. Where would we, who are citizens of the United States of America, be today if there had not been those who counted the cost of freedom and willingly paid for it? Where will we be tomorrow if men and women of integrity do not come forward today and once again pay the price to reclaim a dying America? The only way this can be accomplished is for the church in the United States to do two things. First, we must humble ouselves and do the very thing that the LORD spoke to Solomon, "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14) Secondly, what Jesus spoke to the apostles (and for all believers) before departing His earthly ministry as the Son Of Man to return to the Father, "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 19-20)

We may look at the American revolution and think that it was a struggle against natural forces, but the reality is, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood." I believe the forefather's recognized this. I pray that the church in the United States would also recognize this and respond to God's call, 2 Chronicles 7:14 and Matthew 28:19-20. 

I believe that a great awakening is coming that will fulfill the prophecy of Habakkuk, "For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." (Habakkuk 2:14) I also believe God is calling every believer to change, because He wants to take us into another dimension or level of glory. (2 Corinthians 3:18) There are dimension of glory that exist that we do not know of or have entered into. Areas of creative miracles where we will see body parts grow where there were none; Birth defects instantly healed; Dominion over the forces of nature; People raised from the dead; and more salvation's than the world has ever experienced. I believe a time is coming where we will enter into these dimensions of glory and they will be the norm. I say these things because like me, I want to stir you up to seek God and His glory. 

But change is an individual choice. We must ask the Holy Spirit to give us the grace, that is, the desire and ability to do God’s will, to help us change, but we also must work at bring change. It may take some time, it may even be painful or difficult process for some, but it is worth the effort, because with God all things are possible. Food for thought: Change is not really change until it is genuine and lasting. So, let us do like the forefather's of this country who were willing to give up all and trust that God would bring freedom. Let us no longer be conformed to the world, remain stagnant and frustrated with life trying to please man? But, let us let God’s Word transform us into the image of Christ from glory to glory to please God. As we choose the latter, not only will we understand true freedom, but God will also use us to set the captives free... 

Monday, June 24, 2024

Running The Race Set Before Us

Racing on any level is defined as, competing with another or others to see who is fastest at covering a set course or achieving an objective; to move or progress swiftly or at full speed. Toward the end of the Apostle Paul's life on earth, he tells Timothy, "For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:6-7) "For I am already being poured out as a drink offering," conveys the idea that for Paul, there was nothing more remaining to be done but to leave this life and enter eternity in the LORDS presences. The fact that he was about to die, was his way to convey to Timothy the reason why Timothy should faithfully carry out the duties to which he was also called to fulfill in Christ. Paul was about to leave the work which he loved, to which he had devoted his life to, and he was anxious that they who were to succeed him should carry on the work with the same energy and zeal that he had for Christ and the work which Christ called him to. 

"For I am already being poured out as a drink offering" also carries the idea that Paul was in the condition of a sacrifice on whose head the wine and oil had been already poured, and which was just about to be put to death. Every preparation had been made, and he waited for the blow which was to strike him down. Paul understood that Christ was the true sacrifice, he was simply saying that his death was about to occur and there was nothing more that remained for him to do but to die. Next, Paul says, "and the time of my departure is at hand." Departure; an unloosing (as of things woven); a dissolving (into separate parts). It is used as a metaphor drawn from loosing a ship from moorings in preparation to setting sail. The idea in the use of the word departure would be, that Paul had been bound to the present world, like a ship to its moorings, and that death would be a release. With such a view of death that Paul states, why should a Christian fear dying?

Next, Paul says, "I have fought a good fight." The believers life is often represented as a conflict, or warfare. (2 Corinthians 10:3-6; Ephesians 6:10-13) Paul tells us that in the conflict with sin, the world, the flesh, and the devil, he was able to maintain a strong front over them all in and through Christ and the power of His might. ( Ephesians 6:10) Paul was likening the fight in the natural sense of the contests at the Grecian games; I have wrestled that good wrestling; I have struggled hard, and have overcome, in a most honorable cause. "I have finished the race." The Christian life is often represented as a race to be run. (Hebrews 12:1) In a sense, for Paul, his life for Christ was a personal race, a mission for Christ, outperforming all the competitors, crossing the goal line and winning the prize. He had completed the work that Christ had given him. "I have kept the faith." Paul was declaring that his course for Christ had no detours. That he steadfastly maintained his faith in Christ and his work of spreading the gospel, faithfully serving his LORD.

Like the Apostle Paul, all believers are in a conflict. The conflict is between two kingdoms that diametrically oppose one another. The Kingdom of God; the kingdom of Satan; The Kingdom of Light; the kingdom of darkness; The Kingdom of life; the kingdom of death and every person will be a servant to one of them. Can we say the same things that we see the Apostle Paul saying in the above verses? Is our service to Christ one of works to gain something from Him, or is it a work of faith working through love (Galatians 5:6) with a willingness to lose everything for Him. (Matthew 19:29) This was the heart of the Apostle Paul. Paul tells us, "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." (Philippians 3:7-8) 

Do we desire to gain Christ over all or as Paul states, "For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? His answer is, "For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bond servant of Christ." (Galatians 1:10) The Lord is once again calling to His people to faith, that is...
Forsaking, All, I, Take, Him. 

This is the very reason why the Apostle Paul could honestly say, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." He let his life go, and identified solely with his LORD and Savior Jesus Christ. I want to encourage us to do the same. Jesus said, "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." (Matthew 16:25) So, let us let go of this life, and remember, "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..." (Hebrews 12:1-2) In doing so, we will find the abundant life that Jesus has for us. (John 10:10) Amen!!!    

Monday, June 17, 2024

Speaking The Truth

The word "percolate" means to, "filter gradually through a porous surface or substance." Looking at the first part of this definition, "filter gradually through" we can, in a sense, apply this to the words that we hear and their affect on us. For instance, if a person grows up in a household where negative speech is common, then all the negativity that is heard will eventually "filter gradually through" and effect that person in some way, most likely in an adverse way. In the same manner, if a person grows up in a household where positive speech is common, this also will "filter gradually through" but will have a positive effect upon the hearer. This is to show us just how powerful words are, or can be.

Jesus warns us, in two important ways concerning words. First He say, "Take heed what you hear." (Mark 4:24) Take heed to what you hear, tells us, that we are to be selective, that is, use caution to what we hear. Why? The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul warns, "that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting." (Ephesians 4:14) Children (new believers) are very impressionable and can be drawn into various doctrines that are contrary to the unadulterated Word of God, which can "filter gradually through" and cause them to remain, "as to babes in Christ" (1 Corinthians 3:1) or as Paul also says, "Carnal and behaving like unsaved people." (1 Corinthians 3:3) It also implies, that we should make good use of every opportunity to learn. If we consider what we hear and make improvements or advancements in God's Kingdom, we shall be well rewarded. (Mark 4:24-25) 

We see a great example of this, "When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” (Matthew 16:13-14) Notice, the report of His disciples, "some say...others say." They were reporting what they had heard. But was what they heard true? No! We are not sure as to whether they believed these reports or not, but one thing is certain, out of the twelve disciples only one heard and spoke the truth, "Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16) How do we know that Peter heard and spoke truth? Jesus replies, "for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 16:17) It can be very easy to hear and speak, even when what we have heard is not the truth, which leads us to the next statement that Jesus made concerning words. Jesus also warns, "But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37) 

Our words can either hold us in bondage and in constant defeat or they will put us over and we will live in victory. It is simply our choice. Jesus 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) Basically, we can say what we have, problems, troubles, lack or put this verse into practice and have what we say, the promises of God. Of course to have what we say must be spoken with faith and it must be in line with God's Word. The simple truth is, as long as we say what we have, we will have exactly that. Saying what we have will produce nothing more than what has been said. Unfortunately, many believe fall short of what God has for them as they serve Him, due to hearing and speaking the wrong things.  

Believers must train themselves in these two realm. We are to take heed to what we hear and take heed to what we say, because words are that powerful. We can do this by studying the life of Jesus. In doing so, we will find some very important facts that caused Jesus to overcome the world, the flesh and Satan. He spent much of His time in prayer, (Luke 5:16); He never prayed the problem. He always prayed the solution, the truth. He never spoke idle words. He only spoke what God said, (John 12:49); He only and always spoke the desired results, God's will, (John 5:30); He used the written Word to defeat the devil, (Matthew 4;1-11) If we will become imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1) and speak the things that God said, we will rise to a new level of faith (Romans 10:17) and walk in the same level of life that Jesus walked in as the Son of Man. (John 14:12). So, let the Word of God percolate, filter gradually through our hearts and minds, always "speaking the truth in love and grow up into all things in Christ." (Ephesians 4:15)  May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ rule in our hearts...

Monday, June 10, 2024

Living In His Glory

In the beginning when God created, everything was in its finished, fully mature form. He also placed seed in every living thing so that it could reproduce after its own kind. (Genesis 1:1-31) Therefore, the essence of creation goes like this, God spoke, it was so, and it was a completed work. Out of all creation, man was the only thing created in the image and likeness of God. Man is God’s crown jewel of creation, "For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us]." (Ephesians 2:10 AMP) 

God created the Garden of Eden and placed Adam there to tend it. (Genesis 2:15). The word garden means, enclosure; to hedge about; It is something that protects, defends, covers, surrounds. Eden means, pleasure; delight. God’s design of Eden was the perfect setting for man, because it was the place of His glory and presence on earth. We get a glimpse of this, "And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day." (Genesis 3:8) Although this was after the fall, we see God’s presence, His glory, in the Garden with Adam and the woman. Before the fall, Adam and the woman were surrounded by, protected by and continuously lived in God’s glorious presence. It was never God's desire for man to live outside of His glorious presence. 

Look at the Psalmist portrayal of man, "What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas." (Psalm 8:4-8) Notice that God is mindful of man and cares for him, "casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully].(1 Peter 5:7 AMP) 

Next, take note that the word angel is the word "elohim." Verse five can be written this way, “For you have made man a little lower than yourself and you have crowned him with glory and honor.” The Hebrews word glory means weight. However, when used figuratively, it is in the sense of splendor; abundance; and honor. It is used to describe an individual’s wealth, power, majesty, fame, reputation, recognition, beauty, magnificence, strength, dignity, splendor, respect, excellence, holiness and greatness. Therefore, the glory of God, expresses the very attributes of God. God crowned man with His glory. In other words, man was created to be filled with and also to be continuously in God's presence, His glory. Not in some nebulous way, but in a real, tangible, experiential way.  

It was Adam's treason, the fall, that separated man from be continuously in the glory and presence of God. Adam did not know physical difficulties such as, pain, sickness, poverty or death. He did not know mental stresses, worry, anxiety, etc., because in God’s glorious presence, none of these things exist. In the glory of God, in His manifest presence, everything is complete. Every need of humanity is met. Jesus' ministry as the Son of Man was the first time that God's glory was present in a man on earth since prior to man's fall. In Jesus' prayer for all believers recorded in John's Gospel chapter seventeen, we find some incredibly good news, He says, "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one." (John 17:22) Then Jesus says, "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." (John 17:24) 

First, by virtue of being born again, we receive the same glory that Peter, James and John saw on the Mount of Transfiguration radiating forth from Jesus. The brightness of God's glory in Jesus was simply manifesting on the outside. Not only do we have God's glory within, but Jesus also tells us, "that they may behold (to look at; to see; to perceive with the eyes; to participate in and to enjoy the presence of) My glory…” The Greek word for glory means, splendor; brightness; magnificence; excellence; preeminence; dignity; grace; and majesty. Therefore, combining both the Hebrew and Greek words for glory, we find that, the glory of God is the total sum of His attributes, character, nature and virtues, that is, the very essence of God is His glory. The glory of God is the essence of all that He is. 

With that said, we need to understand that God’s Glory is infinite, boundless, having no restrictions. It is beyond human comprehension and the imagination. His manifested glory on earth is the supernatural, experienced in the natural that makes everything complete and meets every need of humanity. For some this may be hard to comprehend, but that is where faith comes in. Many believers are settling for far less in their relationship with God as they serve Him. So, let me ask you, "Did the Father through Jesus, fully restore humanity or not? Has Christ completely redeemed us or not? Has God recreated us or not? The answer to these three questions is absolutely, yes! 

The final objective of redemption through Christ was to restore humanity to the realm of God’s glory, for which we were created as we saw in the Garden with Adam and now we see in Jesus' prayer in John seventeen. Believers have a complete redemption. Again, this means that the same glory that was and is in Jesus, is in the believer by virtue of being born again by the Holy Spirit. The great news is, God wants us to participate in and to enjoy His glory. This is not to be a once and a while experience, but a continuous one as it was with Adam, and moreover, with Jesus. Believers are in fact carriers of God’s glory and presence through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. However, we will never realize such an wonderful fact without faith. The Lord desires to manifest His glory and presence continuously and tangibly in His church, that is, in every believer, both corporately and individually. "For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory..." (Hebrews 2:10) This is the objective of redemption through Christ! Glory, Hallelujah...  

Monday, June 3, 2024

Believing Is Seeing

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 want to point out two very important words, "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 are 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.