Monday, April 22, 2024


On one particular teaching of Jesus to His disciples, He talked about offenses and the consequences to the one who brings them. At this, His disciples respond by saying, "Lord increase our faith." (Luke 17:5) It is apparent that they already had faith or they would not have asked for more. But Jesus tells them, "If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you." (Luke 17:6) So, was the faith that the disciples already had not even a mustard seed of faith or was Jesus trying to show them something more profound? Actually, Jesus is conveying a deeper truth concerning faith which most miss. Notice His words, "If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say..."

Jesus is not telling them that their faith is smaller than a mustard seed, He is basically saying, “You do not need more faith you need to understand how faith works. Faith works like a seed and like a seed unless you plant it will not produce." Now, with that said, we need to see what seed Jesus is referring to. In Marks gospel Chapter four we see the Parable of the Sower. Jesus shares the Parable and then afterwards He explains the Parable to His disciples, but first, He asks them to important questions, "Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?" (Mark 4:13) These are two of the most important and challenging questions that Jesus is expressing. In essence, if the disciples (and all believers) do not understand the depths of this Parable, they will find it difficult to understand spiritual principles of God and His Kingdom, which one of these principles is how faith works.

In His explanation of the Parable (Mark 4:14-25) He tells us some important points, observe; the seed is God’s Word; the soil is the heart, (our spirit). Think about this from this perspective. A farmer does not go into a field and sow or plant seed unless he first prepares the soil. Once the soil is prepared, the farmer then plants the seed. If a farmer does not sow seed he will not have a harvest, but also, sowing seed does not guarantee a harvest. Once seed is planted, continuous maintenance is required until there is a harvest. In verses 15-19, although the seed, the Word, was planted, the soil, the heart, was not prepared to receive the seed. Either Satan, ourselves or the world causes the seed not to take root when sown. However, in verse 20, we see that the soil, the heart, was prepared to receive the seed, the Word. It also implies that the soil was continuously maintained to various degrees because the results were fruit for harvest, "some thirty-fold, some sixty, and some a hundred."

So, when the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith, His response was not telling them that their faith was smaller than a mustard seed, but, faith works like a seed. Here, the seed is God’s Word. Unless you plant God’s Word in your heart, the soil, it will not produce. You plant God’s Word by speaking it. "So then faith comes by hearing, (and hearing and hearing) and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17) The Apostle James tells us, "Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls." (James 1:21) God wants His Word to be planted in us, to become one with us. In doing so, " can say (speak God's Word) to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you."

The writer of Hebrews tell us, "Let us hold fast the confession of our faith without wavering, for He who promised is faithful." (Hebrews 10:23) Our confession will either make us a conqueror, or it will defeat us. We rise or fa11 to the level of our confession. We must learn to hold fast to our confession in the hard places. The time to make your confession is when Satan attacks you in any area of life such as, when you feel the the symptoms of sickness coming into your body. You command them to leave in the Name of Jesus. The Apostle Paul tells us, "If God is for us, who is against us?" (Romans 8:31) ) Our Heavenly Father is for us! Sickness, disease, poverty, etc. cannot master you. The circumstances of life that try to oppose you cannot master you, because the Father is greater than any circumstances. Jesus said, "My Father is greater than all." (John 10:29)

The secret of faith is the secret of confession, that is, continuously sowing Gods Word. Our confession of God's Word from the lips of faith says, "I have the thing I desire before I actually possesses it." Again, possession comes with confession. Possession stays with continual confession. You confess that you have it, and you thank the Father for it, then realization follows. Confession with thanksgiving always bring realization. So, when the heart and the lips join in joyful confession of God's Word, faith rises to the flood tide and we become the over-comers that God's Word says we are. Also, keep in mind, that confessing the Word is not simply quoting scripture, but putting our faith in the One (Jesus) who is the Word. (John 1:1-2, 14)

Jesus also shows us more of the same concerning sowing God's Word, "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) Notice, once again we find in God's Word the solution to the circumstance that we are facing. We sow (speak) God's Word from our mouth to the mountain, without doubt and we will have whatever we say. However, we must keep in mind the following when it comes to sowing God's Word and building our faith. "And Jesus said, The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:26-29)

Again, this reveals Kingdom principles. We do not need to know how God’s Word produces, but simply that it does. God’s Word does not need our help, it produces crops (results) by itself, if the principle of sowing it is followed. Also, faith takes time to grow, "first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head" before we can expect a harvest. Finally, "For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life." (Galatians 6:8) Whatever we sow from our mouth will result in the harvest we receive. So let us continuously sow God's Word, "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." (Galatians 6:9) 

Monday, April 15, 2024

Who Said That

"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.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:13-16) Notice, in this passage, Jesus uncovers some important information that believers need to be fully aware of. Jesus asks, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?...“But who do you say that I am?” Just prior to this He warns the disciples, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” (Matthew 16:6) Marks records it this way, "Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” (Mark 8:15) 

After Peter confession of who Jesus is, Jesus reveals what will happen to Him in Jerusalem. Next, we see Peter taking Jesus aside and saying to Him, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” (Matthew 16:22) Jesus makes another statement that believers also need to pay close attention to, "But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:23) So, what is it of such great importance that believers must see and understanding concerning what Jesus is revealing here? He is showing us there are three voices, man's, God's and Satan's, that are speaking. Which one(s) are we listening to?  

Notice, that only Peter responded to, "who do you say that I am?" We must assume that the other disciples either did not know, were not sure and therefore were afraid to speak out, or that the voice of man was louder to them than the voice of God. With all that is going on in the world today, it can be easy for believers to hear man's voice and live in fear. Jesus said, "men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth..." (Luke 21:26) People will (and do) live in fear, not due to what is happening now, but due to "the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth." This happens because they listen to the voice of man over the voice of God. Notice also, that Jesus rebukes Peter because Peter listened to the voice of the devil even though he had just heard the voice of God and spoke it aloud. Believer, do not be naive! Peter was living with Jesus. He saw the miracles, he heard the Good News, he confessed that Jesus was the Son of the living God and yet he listened to and spoke the words of Satan. 

Jesus tells us to, "beware of the leaven of the Pharisees (Sadducees) and the leaven of Herod.” The voice of man is not limited to what the unsaved world (Herod) would say , but also what faithless church leaders (Pharisees and Sadducees) who rely on their intellect to interpret God's Word rather than the Holy Spirit. (John 16:13) If we are not listening to the voice of God, then it only stands to reason, we will listen to the voice of man, or the voice of Satan. Jesus also warns us to, "Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given." (Mark 4:24) We are to beware as to what we hear, because what we hear will take root in our heart. (Mark 4:15) Therefore, what we hear is the measure of what we use and what we use is the measure that we will receive back. The Apostle Paul tells us, "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life." (Galatians 6:7-8) 

Why is this so important for us to understand? Honestly and unfortunately, far to many believers live in worry over what man is saying, which ultimately produces the words of Satan coming from their mouth. Any words that come from our mouth that speaks contrary to God's Word are influenced by man, but ultimately, by Satan. We see this clearly in the scripture examples shown above. Jesus was going to be put to death in Jerusalem which caused Peter to be concerned and or filled with fear of this future event. This opened the door for him to be influenced by the voice of Satan, to focus on and speak what he apparently saw as a serious problem. Fear always opens the door to the voice of Satan, because fear comes from him and it will neutralize any faith that we have. (2 Timothy 1:7) If we look at the ministry of Jesus, we see the He only spoke the solution, God's Word, never the problem. We see this clearly illustrated in Jesus' ministry through the miracles, signs, wonders and the preaching and teaching that He did. Going to Jerusalem and being killed was not a problem for Jesus, although Jesus surely understood the horrific punishment that was coming, but the ultimate and only solution to meet the need of all humanity, satisfy justice and reconciled humanity to God. 

Look what the Apostle James tells us, "If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless." (James 1:26) The words coming from our mouth will cause our heart (spirit) to be deceived if we do not watch over our words. Look at the Word spoken by Solomon, "You are snared by the words of your mouth;You are taken by the words of your mouth." (Proverbs 6:2) "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit." (Proverbs 6:2) My friends, this is serious business.  Many of the problems that we face in life can be averted if we would simply watch our speech. Believers may want to blame Satan for most of their problems, but most times, the real problem can be found about one inch below the nose. 

The Apostle Paul tells us, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17) So, if hearing God's Word produces faith, which is a spiritual force, then we need to also recognize that there is another spiritual force at work, fear. Fear comes by hearing the word of the devil. This is one of the reasons why Jesus tells us to "take heed to what you hear." Many believers do not even realize that they quote the words of the devil. Have you ever spoken any of the following phrases over yourself or over another person? "That drives me crazy...I'm sick and tired...I can never make ends meet...I can't afford to give...It always happens to me...I'm just a clumsy person...What's the use of living...I give up...Over my dead body...I laughed so hard I almost died...God never hears my prayers...I never hear God's voice...I don't understand the Bible" These are but a few negative phrases or words that believers inadvertently permit to flow from their mouths which are contrary to God's Word. The unfortunate thing is, most believers do not know that such language has power over them. (Look again at Proverbs 6:2; 18:21). To say things such as these and then following it up by saying, "Well I did say that , but I really did not mean it, God knows what I mean," does not change the power of such words and their effect on your life and or the life of others. 

Believers need to control the words that come out of our mouths. God created man in His own image and likeness which has been restored through God's wonderful plan of redemption through Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 4:24) Jesus said, "all things are possible with God." (Matthew 19:26) So, let us believe and speak God's Word. Let us confess continuously, "I hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, the voice of the stranger I will not follow." (John 10:4-5) "I let no corrupt words proceed out of my mouth, but only what edifies, that it may impart grace to the hearers." (Ephesians 4:29) "I am an imitator of God." (Ephesians 5:1) In other words, let us speak God's Word over the circumstances of life that we may encounter. As we do this, we no longer agree with the voices of man or Satan and therefore our faith will rise (Romans 10:17) and we will walk in the abundant life that Jesus has promised. (John 10:10) 

Finally, the Apostle Peter tells us, "having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever." (1 Peter 1:23) God's Word is pure and incorruptible, so let us plant seeds (God's Word - Mark 4:14) in our heart, "which is able to save our soul." (James 1:21) When believers continuously confess God's Word, we will come to know that there is enough power in it to manifest every promise that He has made. His promises will manifest themselves in every aspect of our life, as we constantly speak it. As with planting seed, faith may take some time to grow, but is will certainly be worth the effort. The Apostle Paul encourages us, "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." (Galatians 6:9)  So, declare aloud, "I hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, the voice of the stranger I will not follow." Amen...

Monday, April 8, 2024

What Does It Mean To Me

The world becomes so real to us because we are in a body with five senses, sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. It is the five senses that makes the physical realm real to us. Everything a person learns from birth is through the five senses. However, if one of these senses becomes impaired then learning is also impaired. There is another realm, the spiritual realm, that most have heard of and many believe to be, but have not come to a place where the spiritual realm is above and more real than the physical realm. The main reason for this to be so, is that living in the physical realm does not require faith, whereas, the spiritual realm can only be perceived and made real through faith. But there is also another side to understanding that the spiritual realm is more real than the physical realm.

Jesus met a Pharisee named Nicodemus who said, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” (John 3:2) The following statement that Jesus makes must have shocked and astonished this respected religious and educated man. Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) Next, Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” (John 3:4) Although Nicodemus was a religious leader and educated as such, we see that he could not understand spiritual things because he was trying to understand Jesus' statement through his senses, or by-way-of the physical realm. Jesus tells Nicodemus a truth that reveals the reality of a realm beyond what Nicodemus could comprehend, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again." (John 3:5-7)
Jesus clearly shows us that no one can perceive the reality of the totality of the spiritual realm unless one is born from above. I say totality because people who delve into occult practices can perceive things in the spiritual realm, but it is limited to only the demonic side. To be born again by the Holy Spirit opens ones eyes (spiritual eyes) to the entire spiritual realm, both light and darkness. The Apostle Paul tells us, "But the natural man (sense oriented) does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14) For this reason, many blame God for all the problems that occur throughout the world. For many believers, God's Word does not seem real to them. Yes, they say, God's Word is truth and infallible, but their senses have blocked them from the reality of the spiritual realm providing them only with a mental assent towards God's Word.

For instance, you may have a pain in your body and you say, "By His stripes I am healed" and yet in your mind you hear another voice saying, "but the pain is still there." You find yourself continually making two confessions. One with words from your mouth confessing God's Word and the other with the intellect. With that said, I would like to share the following story that gives us a better perspective of this. Two men were waiting at a bus stop one day and as they talked they discovered that they were both believers, which led into the following conversation...

I have prayed and prayed, and have received no benefit. I have had others pray for me and the disease grows worse. Can you do anything for me? Yes, I believe I can. Did you ever realize that healing belongs to you, that you need not pray for it? I never heard anything like that. It is true. Let me prove it to you. The Bible says in Isaiah 53:4, "Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted." Tell me, what does Isaiah say God did with our diseases? I don't know that I fully understand. "Surely He (that is Christ) has borne our sicknesses, and carried our pains; yet we esteem him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted." Do you understand now?
Yes, I do. Isaiah goes on to say, "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief" (made Him sick). Do you understand that it pleased the Father to bruise Him? That He made Him (Jesus) sick with our diseases. Yes, but what does that mean to me? It means that these pains and afflictions you are suffering were laid on Jesus. Jesus actually bore them just as He bore your sins. Isaiah also tells us, "He was wounded for your transgressions, he was bruised for your iniquities; the chastisement of your peace was upon him; and with his stripes you are healed." God actually laid your iniquities upon Jesus. Because He did this, you do not have to bear them. In the same way, God laid our sickness and pains on Jesus so that we do not have to bear them either. I never saw it like that before. You mean God actually laid my sickness upon Jesus, and made Him sick with my diseases? Yes, that is what the Word of God  declares. The Father made Jesus sick with our diseases that we might be perfectly well in Christ. Healing is a gift, and it is yours now. Therefore, Satan has no right to put on you what God put on Jesus. 

Like many other believers, as it was with the one man in the above story, the fact that healing belongs to every believer is almost to wonderful to believe, simply, because, as the one man said to the other, "I never heard anything like that." Jesus said, "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." (John 8:36)  If He has set us free from sin, then sin has no dominion over us. If He has set us free from disease, it also has no dominion over us. If He has set us free from Satan, Satan has no dominion over us either. According to God's Word, we are free. "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." (Galatians 5:1) Refuse to allow Satan to have anything to do with this body in which we live. "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" (1 Corinthians 3:16)  

Our body belongs to God. We are simply the overseers living in it. You are to see that Satan does not trespass on God's property. You may ask, "How am I to keep him from it?" Jesus said, "In my name you will cast out demons." (Mark 16:17) Jesus has given all believers the right to use His Name. If believers can cast out demons in His Name, then we also can cast out the sickness that a demon has brought. Jesus said, "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) Though He was speaking to the seventy (seventy two in some versions) it still applies to all believers, "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) 

Notice that Jesus tells us, "...these signs will follow those who believe..." The only condition that is required and spoken by Jesus to do these things, is to anyone who believes! The Name of Jesus can stop disease from reigning over us. There is no disease that has ever come to man which His Name cannot destroy. Oh how the church has lost its faith in the integrity of God's Word for such things as healing, deliverance, provision, etc. How unfortunate regeneration has been limited to simply the born again experience. How most believers put their faith in what man can do, than what the Most High God has accomplished through the Lord Jesus Christ. It seems like far to many believers have forgotten, "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) But for those who read this, let us rejoice and thank the Lord as He raises up a generation that will live by faith and be ushers of possibly the greatest move of God ever to come upon the earth.

Spiritual things are as real as material things, but for many they go unrealized. The Apostle Paul tells us, "For we walk by faith, not by sight." (the senses) (2 Corinthians 5:7) We are not only to walk by faith, but we are to talk by faith. When we learn to walk and talk by faith, the dominion of darkness is broken. But as long as we walk by reason and follow the suggestions of the senses we are going to live and walk in the realm where the works of the kingdom of darkness will hold sway over our lives. But if we will learn through the Word of God and the moving of the Holy Spirit to walk and talk faith, we will be victorious. The Apostle John gives us the key, "For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith." (1 John 5:4) This verse should be known and confessed by every believer. It should be a part of our conscious knowledge that can used day by day. Why? "...we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." (Romans 8:37) PTL!!!

Monday, April 1, 2024

Releasing God's Word

A quote is defined as; to repeat or copy a group of words from a text or speech, typically with an indication that one is not the original author or speaker. One of the most important and powerful ways that believers can live an abundant life in Christ while on earth, is by quoting the Word of God. Quoting or actually confessing God's Word, releases the power of God and increases ones faith. ( Hebrews 1:3; Romans 10:17) When a believer confess God's Word, they are quoting the very Words of Christ. Although faith grows with the confession of God's Word, ones faith is no greater than their confession. The Apostle Paul tells us, "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9)

Let's keep in mind that the word "saved" here means, to keep safe and sound; to rescue from danger or destruction; to keep from injury or peril; to save a suffering one from perishing; to save from disease; to make well; to heal; to restore to health; to preserve one who is in danger of destruction; to save or rescue; to make whole. What wonderful promises from God. So, every time you break the silence of fear and or unbelief with an open confession of the integrity of God's Word, and then act upon His Word, you destroy the very roots of fear and unbelief in your life. Fear and unbelief grow with your confession, in the same manner that faith will also grow with your confession. If you confess that you are sick, unbelief will grow in you. However, if you confess that "by His (Jesus') stripes I am healed" and hold fast to your confession of God's Word, then your faith for healing grows.

The gospel of Luke puts it this way, "For with God nothing will be impossible.” (Luke 1:37) A more literal translation of this verse is, "No Word from God is void of power." (Also see Isaiah 55:11) God's Word has not lost its ability to accomplish what it says. It has been said, "the Words ability is measured by its Author's ability." Keep in mind, in Genesis 1:3, 6-7, 9, 11, 14-15, 20, 24, 26, 29-30, says, "Then God said…and it was so." So, faith, in the sense that I am using God's Word here, is letting His Word function through you, that is, letting God's Word do what is says it will do and then act upon it as though it is already a finished work, which it truly is.

Jesus said, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23) Notice, that Jesus did not say, "all things are possible to him who has great faith." He simply said, "to him who believes." In other words, the only condition for a believer to see the impossible become possible is to accept God's Word as true no matter what the circumstances may dictate. We need to truly understand that God and His Word are one and His power is in His Word. (Hebrews 1:3)

Jesus said, "I am the vine and you are the branches..." (John 15:5) Think about this. Every believer is a branch, one with the vine. The fruit grows on the branches not on the vine. It is the vine that gives the branches life, or as the Apostle Peter says, "His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness." (2 Peter 1:3) All believers are sharers with Jesus and the bearers of His fruit. That fruit is measured by our confession, that is, our confession will determine our faith life. So, hold fast to your confession (Hebrews 10:23) in the face of all opposition, knowing that you cannot be conquered. (Romans 8:37)

Let us always keep in mind, that our lips give expression to our faith or doubt. If we say, "I believe therefore I have," we agree with God's Word, "For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.  Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." (Mark 11:23-24) I do not need to see, hear or feel, because the Word is my evidence. Again, faith grows through our study, meditation, confession and acting on the Word of God. It is a process of time, but it is well worth the effort.

So, when things arise in our lives that are contrary to God's promises, His Word, our confession of His Word and acting on it will solve the problem. To act on God's Word is not necessarily based upon physical actions, although actions show our faith. (James 2:18) Sometimes, it is simply thanking Him for what He has already accomplished through Christ and then standing on His Word, though His Word may not have manifested instantly and even when the circumstances are contrary to His Word. Therefore, let us keep in mind, a wrong confession hinders the Spirit's work in and through us. A neutral confession is unbelief and is just as ineffective as a negative confession. However, a positive, clear cut confession of God's Word over any and every circumstance that we may face is the confession that puts us over. In short, our confession is a direct reflection of our faith. So, a neutral confession results in neutral faith, an a negative confession results in unbelief. Two examples of the latter are, a confession of failure puts failure on the throne in our life; a confession of weakness, puts weakness on the throne of our life.

The Apostle Paul said, "For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day." (2 Timothy 1:12) Are we truly persuaded that God is able to fulfill His Word in our lives? Paul also tells of Abraham, "Abraham, and being fully convinced that what God had promised He was also able to perform." (Romans 4:21) Notice, that Abraham was "fully convinced" that what God had promised He was also able to perform." To be fully convinced, is to believe without wavering, that God will carry through to the end, that is, accomplish exactly what He said, His Word. I want to encourage us all, do not give up when confessing God's Word especially when it does not manifest quick, now and in a hurry. It is unfortunate that many believers do, but the Word of God says, "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." (Galatians 6:9) Although this is focused on believers doing good works, it is still applicable to believing, confessing and acting on God's Word. So, don't lose heart, because God is faithful to make good His Word. (Numbers 23:19)

Monday, March 25, 2024

New Life In Christ

Many believers have limited knowledge as to their identification in and with Christ. For most, the born again experience is the extent of their spiritual connection with the Savior, meaning that they have eternal life. (1 John 2:25) However, the Bible reveals some things that stagger the mind, because they are almost unbelievable. When the Apostle Paul said, "I have been crucified with Christ" (Galatians 2:20) he meant that he had been judged, condemned, cast out, stripped naked, and nailed to the cross with Jesus. In other words, Paul literally identified himself with Christ in the disgrace and suffering of His crucifixion. Paul tells us, "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." (Romans 6:6) Our spirit, the real person that we are, that Paul refers to as the old man, which was spiritual dead, having the satanic nature, was nailed to the cross with Christ. This means Jesus identified with humanity in sin and suffering, and we identify with Him in His crucifixion. We were crucified with Christ! We were nailed to the cross with Christ!

In the Father's great plan of redemption, as soon as Christ was nailed to the cross, with His crown of thorns, and with the howling mob that surrounded Him, justice began to do its awful work behind the scenes in the spiritual realm. The people at the cross could only see Jesus in the physical realm hanging on the cross, but God saw the real man, His spirit. Angels and demons could also see His spirit, the real man, hidden within His body. Isaiah records for us the Father's plan, "Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses) and carried our sorrows (pains), yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:4-6) On that awful instrument of death, the cross, Jesus not only became sin with our sin, sick with our sicknesses, but He also became a curse. (Galatians 3:13)

Sin and sickness are both a spiritual condition that manifest in the physical body. They both come from the same source, Satan. As we see, Jesus was made sin. Therefore, because He took our sin we need not be ruled by it ever again (Romans 6:14) Because He was made sick with our sickness, we need not be ruled by sickness and disease ever again. It was all nailed to the cross with Christ. When we recognize this, we will no longer struggle for faith, righteousness, and holiness, because we will know that we were nailed to the cross and died with Christ. PTL...

The Holy Spirits revelation to Paul concerning this is an unveiling of what happened from the time that Jesus was made sin on the cross, until He sat down at the right hand of God. Jesus was our Substitute and we are to identify ourselves with Him in this truth. He poured out His life unto death. Through that death we were made alive. It was our sin that slew Him and it is His righteousness that gives us life. He drank the cup of death, that we might drink the cup of life. In that mighty ministry before He arose from the dead, He destroyed death. In fact when death slew Him, it slew itself. The reality of Christ's death is, He conquered sin when He allowed it to overcome Him. He conquered sickness and disease when He let them take possession of Him for a most wonderful purpose, "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Think about His wonderful, perfect work of redemption from the cross to the right hand of the Majesty on high. He became one with us in weakness, in sin, in disease, and spiritual death that He might make us one with Himself in righteousness, in perfect health, and fellowship with the Father. (John 17:20-26) He became death's prisoner in order to set us free. In the mind of Justice, we died to sin and its dominion when we died with Christ. The believer now has a perfect oneness with Christ (John 15:5) We have become New Creations in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17)  Therefore, sin, sickness and disease do not belong to the New Creation. It is an abnormal thing in the mind of the Father for a child of God to be sick and although many seem to carry the burden of sickness and disease, we simply need to remind ourselves, we died with Him; We died to the dominion of sin; We died to the dominion of sickness and disease; We died to the dominion of circumstances and habits. We must let 1 Peter 2:24 become a reality in our lives, "Jesus, Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness, by whose stripes you were healed," because these things are so...

Monday, March 18, 2024

Any Thoughts

The  mind can either be a wonderful or detrimental thing to use. For many years motivational speakers have continuously promoted what has been deemed "The Power of Positive Thinking." The power of positive thinking is a mental attitude in which one expects good and favorable results, or as a more modern definition defines it, a mental attitude of approaching life's challenges with a positive outlook. In every sense, it is simply mind over matter, that is, the use of willpower to overcome problems, whether physical or mental. There is certainly nothing wrong for one to have a positive approach to life challenges, but it still comes down to philosophy or psychological science. 

However, we need to understand that the unregenerate mind can be a powerful tool, but its power does not come from above, but is from beneath. The Apostle James tells us, "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there." (James 3:13-16) Notice that James is talking about people who are self-seeking. In a sense then, the power of positive thinking evolves around "I." James continues, "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy." (James 3:17) 

Although James is talking about wisdom, keep in mind that wisdom teaches how to use knowledge effectively. Again, there is certainly nothing wrong with positive thinking. The question we must ask ourselves is, what or who is behind it our positive thinking? For believers, it is through the Word of God that the mind is renewed in which faith is increased, (Romans 10:17) and thoughts are transformed. Unfortunately, though, most believers thoughts and confessions are mostly negative, due to a lack of meditating and studying God's Word. (Joshua 1:8) 

The teaching behind the power of positive thinking is not only taught in the world, but it has also infiltrated the church. Many church leaders today have gathered a large following because they have reduced the Word of God to nothing more than a philosophy for life. Although cloaked with verses of scripture, in reality, it takes the focus off of Almighty God and puts it on self. The Psalmist David wrote, "The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1) Jesus said, "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)  

Teaching a philosophy for life from pulpits rather than God's Word is a very dangerous concept because it eliminates faith in Jesus Christ, and turns ones faith, to faith in what can be accomplished through their own ability and or strength. In actuality, this is nothing more powerful to renew a mind than when it is filled with God's Word. We should never forget the devils tactic that led the woman away from the truth to believe his lie, "...And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said...Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God..." (Genesis 3:1, 4-5) I believe the deception behind this teaching is what the Apostle Paul tells us concerning what will happen to many believers as we draw closer to the end, "But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves...lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power." (2 Timothy 3:5) 

The Apostle Paul tells us, "giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us (has given us the ability) to be partakers (to enjoy our share) of the inheritance of the saints in the light." (Colossians 1:12) When one is born again, they immediately received God's nature, (2 Peter 1:4), that is, His substance, His life, and along with new birth we can also be filled (baptized) in the Holy Spirit to live within us. (Luke 24:49; John 14:15-17; Acts 2:38). When Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would come and lead us into all truth, (John 16:13), He meant exactly what He said. God's ability is freely offered to every one who confesses Jesus as Lord and takes Him as Savior. Another deception behind the teaching of the power of positive thinking as it applies to believers, is that it alienated believers from the life of God. (Ephesians 4:17) However, the moment that ones spirit is recreated, the mind may be renewed and brought into perfect harmony with the recreated spirit by the study of God's Word. It may take a little time, but it is worth the effort. When the mind is renewed with the Word of God and brought into fellowship with the recreated spirit, then the reality of all the blessings and promises of God become ours, not by positive thinking, but faith in Jesus Christ.

For everyone who is born again, you have God's nature, God's ability. You are God's child. God
is the strength of your life. He is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. (1 Corinthians 1:30) We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:10) We are the victorious and triumphant ones. (1 Corinthians 15:57; 2 Corinthians 2:14) These wonderful things are ours. We are not slaves, but free. This New Testament is the "Good News" of our emancipation and of God's participation in our lives here on earth. 

Finally, the Apostle Paul reveals some more wonderful truths, "But the natural man (anyone under the influences of the mind, the senses, and not the Holy Spirit) does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned...For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ." (1 Corinthians 2:14, 16) Why would one desire to be limited by the power of positive thinking when the born again believer can be led by the Holy Spirit and be unlimited in the way Jesus was in His earth walk? The reality of Paul's prayer to the church at Colossae belongs to every believer, "For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge (complete, concise, precise knowledge) of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding." (Colossians 1:9) PTL...        

Monday, March 11, 2024

Renewed Mind

The soul is an immaterial part of a human being. It consists of the mind, will, emotions and intellect. Our mind is the element or faculty of consciousness and thought. When one confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and takes Him as Savior, the unregenerate human spirit becomes alive, it is Born Again, with the very life and nature of God. (John 3:3-8, 10:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17, 21; 2 Peter 1:4) However, the soul is not immediately transformed as the spirit is. Jesus tells us, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh (body and soul) profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life." (John 6:63) Jesus is not telling us that we should become mindless, but that the Holy Spirit and His Word brings life to our recreated spirit which in turn renews the mind and brings the body into subjection.

The Apostle Paul tells us how we deal with our two unregenerate parts, also known as the flesh, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:1-2) This is something that must become apart of our daily lives. Everyday we should make it our declaration that we choose to use our bodies as instruments of righteousness (Romans 6:13) and renew our minds with God's Word. (Proverbs 4:20-22; John 6:63; Romans 10:17) Paul also shows one particular way to adjust our thinking, "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)

Why is dedicating our bodies to the Lords service and renewing our minds everyday of the utmost importance to all believers? Peter tells us, "your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." (1 Peter 5:8) The adversary has not changed his tactics. He does the same thing today as he did in the Garden with the woman. He works at getting believers to use their mind, that is, their intellect, to figure out what God said, His Word. When the believer does this, they will eventually reason God's Word away and act out through their body in the same manner that thw woman did. (Genesis 3:1-6) Paul warns us, "the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be." (Romans 8:7) He also tells us, "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14) This very thing is what has become a natural occurrence in the church for centuries and seems to be even more prevalent today.

Notice, what Adam and the woman did, after they chose to listen to the adversary rather than God, "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 3:7-8) They hid, covered, themselves from one another and hid, conceal from view, themselves from God. They had lost their spiritual connection with God and now relied on their mind, their intellect. Now guilt, condemnation and unworthiness had replaced innocence, approval, and nobility. 

However, it did not stop there. Look at Adam and the woman's response to God, "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 3:13) The guilt, condemnation and unworthiness, the consequences of their acting upon their mind with their bodies, was so strong, that they could not even admit what they had done. Instead, Adam blamed God and the woman, and the woman blamed the serpent, the devil. This brings us to the point. Many times, believers will blame God, for things that are actually the works, lies, deceptions of the devil, without actually saying it. 

For instance, sickness and disease continues to ravaged the Body of Christ. Many have been trained through church leaders and theologians that God permits sickness and disease to be apart of the believers life for some benevolent reason that no one, except He, knows. They are taught, that healing today is not in the redemptive work of God in Christ, but only belongs to the believer if God gives one faith to be healed. If He does not give you faith, there is no need to struggle for your healing from God, you simply put up with it or better yet, go to a physician for healing. The question that we need to ask ourselves then, is, if benevolent is defined as well meaning and kindly, then why would one go to a physician and work against God doing some that is well meaning and kindly?

That fact is, "...For I am the Lord who heals you" (Exodus 15:26); "Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses) and carried our sorrows; (pains) (Isaiah 53:4); "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses" (Matthew 8:17); "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 I am the Lord, I do not change;" (Malachi 3:6); "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1); "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14);  "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Hebrews 13:8)

Notice, not one of these scriptures insinuates that God has anything to do with sickness and disease other than to heal. If you read the Gospels, you will find that the majority of Jesus' earthly ministry was to bring healing to the sick and diseased. We also see that Jesus tells us numerous times and in various ways, "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me." (John 6:38)  So then, if God is the God who heals; if Jesus only did the will of the Father; if Jesus went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him; if God has not changed, then it goes without saying, that God still heals today and all sickness and disease is not of God, but from the adversary!

Think about it, disease is, dis-(cut off)-ease. Disease is pain, weakness, loss of ability to bless and help. It makes slaves of the people who care for the sick (not that caring for the sick is a bad thing, it is actually a good thing to care for those who cannot care for themselves). The loved ones who are up day and night taking care of the sick ones, are robbed of joy and rest. Most importantly, sickness is not of love, and God is love. (1 John 4:7-8, 16) Disease is a robber. It steals health; it steals happiness; it steals money we need for other things. Disease is an enemy because it comes from the enemy and is not a benevolent work of God. All of this is of the devil. We see in Luke's Gospel that "there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity. And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God." (Luke 13:11-13)

Naturally, Jesus doing the will of the Father dealt with the issue. However, the religious intellects of the day began to criticize because Jesus healed on the Sabbath, "But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.”  (Luke 13:14) However, Jesus goes to the heart of the matter, "The Lord then answered him and said, “Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound, think of it, for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” (Luke 13:15-16)

There are five things that we can take from this passage. First, the woman was dealing with a spirit of infirmity. There is not one verse of scripture in the entire Bible that even suggests, that a spirit of infirmity is of or from God. Second, Jesus heals the woman. Third, as it was then, it is today in many portions of the church, the religious intellects always have something to say that is contrary to the will, nature, character, purpose and plan of God due to their lack of faith. Four, we see clearly that this spirit was of and from Satan himself. Five, we see healing, not sickness or disease, glorifies God!!!

As I had mentioned before, God is love, sickness and disease is not of love. If sickness and disease is the will of love, then love has turned to hatred. If sickness and disease is the will of God, then heaven will be filled with it. Jesus said, "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:9-10) No, sickness and disease is the will of hate, the will of Satan, due to his hatred of God, His children, and in fact, all humanity. Sickness and disease were never and are never the will of the Father. To believe that they are, is to be deceived by the adversary. If healing had not been in God's plan of redemption, the Father would not have taught it in His Word.

Finally, Jesus healed all who came to Him, Jews and Gentiles alike. He was carrying out the will of the Father and so should all believers, "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) However, for many believers, their mind must be renewed and their bodies dedicated to the service of the Lord daily so they can shed the doubts, fears and unbelief that thwart the church from releasing God's Kingdom, as well as His power and glory to the entire world. The struggles that most believers face is not with the adversary, per se, but with a mind that has not been renewed by the Word of God, "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12)