Monday, May 20, 2024

Simply Ask

In the gospels, Jesus mentions several time to "ask." For instance, "Ask, and it will be given to you..." (Matthew 7:7)..."And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it." (John 14:13-14) The term "ask" has many definitions. One which is, "to demand something due." This is not putting a demand on the Lord to do something, but to release the manifestation of what is already available to believers. It is like going to the bank where you have deposited five hundred dollars in an account. You fill out a withdraw slip for two hundred dollars. What you are doing is making a demand to receive what is already yours. When Jesus says to "ask" He means to ask. But there are specific ways that believers are to ask in order to see the manifestation of the thing asked.

The name of Jesus carries with it the power to release and manifest our request to the Father. Jesus tells us, "And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full." (John 16:23-24) Jesus stands between us and the Father doing His work as our Mediator, Intercessor, Advocate and Lord. There is no place in scripture that Jesus tells us to pray to Him; For Jesus sake; or simply ask the Father. He tells us to pray to the Father in His Name. There is also an overflowing joy in knowing that the Father will answer our prayer when asked in Jesus' Name. 

When we ask of the Lord, we need to be specific. The Apostle James tells us, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." (James 1:5-8) Although James is targeting a request for wisdom, the principle of being specific still applies. It would be better to pray for two or three minutes and know what we are praying about than to pray aimlessly for two or three hours.

Speak God's Word that promises the answer that we need. In the above scripture, James says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God..." So, if one lacks wisdom then being specific in our asking would naturally be to ask the Lord for wisdom. The Apostle Paul states, "But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God..." (1 Corinthians 1:30) This would be a good scripture to speak concerning receiving wisdom. The believer is in Christ, therefore, they have the wisdom of God. To make a demand on something due would be something like this, "Father I thank you that I am in Christ and have Your wisdom dwelling within me." Because Christ is our wisdom, the believer is in essence agreeing that His wisdom has already been given and they are believing for the manifestation of such. Again, we are not demanding the Lord to do something, only receiving what is already ours by making a demand on its manifestation.

When asking, we must "ask in faith." To understand this better, we need to realize that there are two kinds of faith; sense-knowledge faith and and revelation faith. Sense knowledge faith is also what can be deemed "natural faith." Every person whether a believer or not has this kind of faith. It believes only what the five senses are capable of understanding. However, this is not true Bible faith. Although all the apostles doubted the resurrection (Mark 16:13-14) we see sense knowledge faith exhibited in the life of the Apostle Thomas when told that Jesus was raised from the dead. He says, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger (touch) into the print of the nails, and put my hand (touch) into His side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25)

Revelation faith transcends the five senses. In Matthew 16 Jesus asks His disciple who people say He is. But when He asks, "who do you say that I am" Peter responds, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Notice, "Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 16:16-17) Peter had received a revelation from the Father and responded by making a faith confession on that revelation. As we see, it was not upon any of Peter's five senses that he confessed Jesus as the Son of God, but upon the revelation from the Father. The wonderful doctrines that we have in the Pauline Epistles are ours due to the revelation given to the Apostle Paul, "And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations..." (2 Corinthians 12:7) 

James continues, "with no doubting." Believers must not only ask in faith but we must resist doubt. A situation that reveals this takes place after the transfiguration of Jesus, "Jesus led Peter, James, and John his brother, up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them." (Matthew 17:1-2) When they had come down from the mountain they found the other nine disciple having difficulty casting a demon out of a boy. Keep in mind that all the disciples had previously been commissioned to, "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead,  cast out demons." (Matthew 10:8) However, nine of them could not cast the demon out of a boy. "Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” So Jesus said to them, "because of your unbelief..."  (Matthew 17:17-20) Unbelief, doubt, will always neutralize faith and render it ineffective.

Another situation that deals with doubt neutralizing faith is revealed in Jesus walking on the water to meet the disciple who were in a boat being tossed about by a storm in the middle of the sea. The disciples saw Jesus walking on the water, supposed it to be a ghost and were afraid. Jesus reassures them that it was He, then Peter says, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:22-29) Notice, Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water. In other words at this point Peter was exercising faith above his senses. Now notice what happens next, "And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him..." Now take careful note to what Jesus says to Peter (us), O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased." (Matthew 14:31-32)

Although Peter started this miraculous adventure with revelation faith, he allowed his senses to dictate the circumstance and immediately doubt neutralized his faith. Often, believers "ask" with genuine revelation faith, but like Peter, allow their senses to neutralize their faith, which causes the thing in which they had asked not to manifest. Notice, that Jesus did not tell Peter that he did not have any faith, but that doubt was the reason why his faith failed. This certainly is not to discourage us, but to encourage us to "hold fast the confession of our faith without wavering, for He who promised is faithful." (Hebrews 10:23) 

After we have asked in faith, with no doubting, now we are to believe that we have received what we have asked for. Keep in mind, if what we have asked for is a promise of God, such as asking for wisdom shown in the example above, then it is actually already ours. Jesus said, "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." (Mark 11:24) In other words, as previously stated, resist doubt no matter what the circumstances may dictate and as Jesus tells us, "believe that you receive them." 

Finally, when we ask, let us thank the Lord for the answer although it may not have manifested yet. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." (Philippians 4:6) "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1 Thessalonians 5:18) For some, these things may be a difficult task. However, let us always keep in mind that God desires to give to His children. Jesus tells us, "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" (Matthew 7:11) The Apostle Paul tells us, "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32)

So, when we ask, ask the Father in the Name of Jesus; be specific; Speak God's Word that promise the answer to that which is needed; Ask in faith; Do not doubt; Believe that we have received what we have asked for; give the Lord thanks and keep in mind that the devil wants to discourage you in any way that he can, through lies and deception. Jesus tells us that "...there is no truth in the devil. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it." (John 8:44) But also keep in mind, "God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19) The fact is, He will do it and He will make it good!!!   

Monday, May 13, 2024

A Complete Redemption

When we ponder the wonderful, brilliant, plan of redemption that was in the mind of God the Father before creation (Ephesians 1:3-6), it staggers the mind. Why would the one and only true, holy, righteous, perfect, all knowing, almighty God the Word, (John 1:1, 14) choose to leave the glory of heaven, put on flesh, knowing that He would be rejected, beaten, mocked, and put to death, and go to the place of torment, and yet still come to earth to save humanity? Humanity, the only creature in all creation that chose to rebel against Him, serve His enemy, continuously commit all manner of evil and ultimately hate Him, so, why would God do such a thing? Because He wanted to share all that He is and has with the only creature in all of creation that He made in His image and likeness. God wanted a family.

Before Jesus rose from the dead, He was "justified in spirit" (1 Timothy 3:16), "made alive in spirit" (1 Peter 3:18), conquered Satan and stripped him of the authority of which he had robbed man in the Garden. We see the defeat of Satan and Christ's triumph as revealed in Colossians 2:15 "Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them." The margin reads, "Having put off from himself the principalities and the powers." You see, Jesus when to Sheol (Psalm 16:10), Hades (Acts 2:17) to pay the price required by justice for man's redemption. Only God the Father knew what Jesus suffered until He had satisfied the claims of justice, had been made Righteous, and made a New Creation, the first born of all creation. (Colossians 1:15)

In that moment, Satan's dominion over Him ended. He hurled back the hosts of Hades. He crushed their death-dealing ability. He stripped Satan of his authority and left him paralyzed and broken. ( Matthew 12:29; Luke 11:21-22; Hebrews 2:14; 1 John  3:8) Then God raised Him from the dead, having taken from Satan the keys of hell and death. (Revelation 1:17-18) Try to imagine if we can, what was happening in the spiritual realm when Jesus rose from the dead, holding in His hand the keys of hell and of death having defeated Satan before his own cohorts. Hebrews tells us, "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil." (Hebrews 2:14) Another version says it this way, "Seeing therefore the children have received a fellowship of blood and flesh, He also, in like manner, took partnership in the same, in order that, through death, He might paralyze him that held the dominion of death, that is, the Adversary."

Redemption had come. Satan was defeated and the Father "has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love." (Colossians 1:13) That was the greatest moment in human history. That was a moment that will be remembered through all eternity. I believe that the angels must have celebrated before the Father's throne in greater jubilee than on the day Christ was born. Christ rising from the throes of hell in triumph meant the end of Satan's tyranny over humanity, man was now completely redeemed, and the claims of Justice were satisfied. God had legally and completely redeemed man. All the ages throughout eternity will remember the heroic battle that Jesus fought in order to prove to Satan and humanity that God was just. Now, on legal grounds, God has justified the ungodly, because His only begotten Son had redeemed them with His own blood and now offers all men, people, everywhere eternal life. The Apostle John tells us, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life." (John 5:24) 

The old spiritual nature that linked man to Satan has ceased being, and a new nature, God's own nature, is imparted to everyone who believes. (2 Peter 1:2-4) Now, all believers are the children of God in the same manner that Jesus was His son in His earth walk. (John 1:12-13) The Apostle Paul tells us, "For if because of one man's trespass (lapse, offense) death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness reign as kings in life through the one Man Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One)." (Romans 5:17 AMP) At one time, we were defeated, conquered, and held in bondage. Now, we are set free and in the name of Jesus we become the bondage-breakers for the rest of the human race. He has made us Masters where fear held us in captivity. We are now reigning as kings in this this life. The Father through Jesus Christ has taken us from slavery to the Throne. 

Have you freely received? Are you living in the abundant life that Jesus made possible? Are you free from shame, guilt, condemnation, and unworthiness? If not, take some time right now and ask the Father to touch you with His love. Ask Him to wash away the shame, guilt, condemnation, and unworthiness. Receive the freedom that comes by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. No longer let your past anchor you to your old nature, but live in the newness of life that is only found in Christ. Jesus has made redemption eternal, comprehensive, complete and available to all who come to Him. (Romans 10:13). The redemption He has accomplished is perfect and complete, providing a freedom in every sense of the word. "It was for this freedom that Christ set us free [completely liberating us]; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery [which you once removed]." (Galatians 5:1 AMP) May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen you all your days.

Monday, May 6, 2024

Beyond The Natural

All humanity functions in what is known as the physical or natural realm. The natural realm is the dimension that is subject to the laws of time, space, and matter, where our five senses make real the world around us. This was part of man's composition in creation so he could function on the earth. However, before the fall of man, he functioned in another realm in which his five senses were subordinate in operation. Man operated in the spiritual or supernatural realm which operates above the natural realm, is permanent, invisible, eternal and located outside of time and space and exercises dominion over the natural realm. Although man was created corporeal, he was not created mortal or immortal, but a perfect human being. It wasn't until man sinned against God that he became mortal, (death doomed) where his five senses took dominion over his spirit and disconnected him from God. Though this separation from God took place, God has left us evidence of Himself in the intricate, detailed order and beauty of the natural realm around us. Yet, when we contemplate the greatness of His creation, our finite imaginations still cannot begin to fathom His vast love and immense power.

Man has often endeavored to know God through intellectual means, but these attempts have proven insufficient. We can know facts and information about God, but we cannot know Him personally through intellectual knowledge. So, how can human beings come to know their invisible, supernatural Creator? Through revelation knowledge, also known as spiritual knowledge. Revelation knowledge transcends intellectual knowledge mainly due to the limits that holds intellectual knowledge at bay. Intellectual knowledge is gained only through the senses whereas revelation knowledge comes from the Holy Spirit, through man's recreated spirit.

The Apostle Paul's prayer for the church at Ephesus shows this to be so, "that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened..." (Ephesians 1:17-18) He also reveals a very similar truth to the church at Corinth, "These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:13-14)

Due to an overemphasis on intellectual knowledge, many people are very aware of the natural realm but are remarkably uninformed (or misinformed) about the supernatural realm. In the absence of revelation knowledge, people tend to rely on formal academic education, much of which attempts to discredit faith. Intellectual knowledge has its rightful place in society, but it is a poor substitute for revelation knowledge. The Apostle Paul tells us, "while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:18) He also reveals to us, "God has chosen, the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are." (1 Corinthians 1:28)

It was never God's intention to remain a mystery to His people or people in general. In fact, He has always desired for us to not only know Him intimately, but to also experience His very nature, character, will, purposes and plan. However, we must understand that only God can reveal Himself. No one has the ability to know Him apart from His revelation. God reveals Himself to us as the supernatural and all-powerful God through His Word by the Holy Spirit. There is no other means by which we can know Him.  Jesus tells us, "when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak." (John 16:13) Even a theologian may know that a superior being exists, but that does not mean he knows Him personally. Many theologians operate merely with information acquired through intellectual research, reasoning, mental processes, or the experiences of others. But the Holy Spirit is the Source of all revelation from God.

The carnal mind determines people's reality until they are born again. (John 3:3-8) The moment we confessed Jesus as Lord and received Him as Savior, our spirits are renewed, recreated. We then begin the process of renewing our minds with God's Word through which we can receive revelation by the Holy Spirit. What God has done, is doing, and will do in the future is beyond our natural understanding. Therefore, the degree to which we experience spiritual reality is determined by the leve1 of revelation we have received. Unless we continually renew our mind, our intellect tends to remain in the natural dimension, thereby creating limitations in our lives.

Please understand that I am supportive of intellectual pursuits and education that challenge and train the minds God has given to us. I want people to attend higher education and to complete their studies. With my connection with an online Bible college and seminary, I have helped and continue to help people reach their educational goals and to graduate. However, problems arise when we try to use our intellect to understand spiritual realities. Our minds basically become the enemy of truth because they attempt to displace revelation knowledge with natural intellectual understanding. If we surrender to the natural mind, we will end up doubting the truth of God's supernatural power, especially in and through believers today. Thankfully, we do not have to be slaves to our natural intellects. God gave us something that enables us to move beyond the natural realm and to tap into His supernatural sphere and revelation knowledge. It is called faith.

Faith also is not of the natural realm, because true faith believes God's Word no matter what the circumstances may dictate. If God had intended for humanity to remain only in the natural rea1m, He never would have provided a way through His Son Jesus for us to be restored to a relationship with Him, nor given us access to Himself, His supernatural power nor would He have given to us a measure of faith. (Romans 12:3) It is surprising to me when I see or hear of believers, especially church leaders, turning to philosophy, psychology, and psychiatry (the natural realm), to try to resolve problems. No doubt these disciplines genuinely try to help people but fail to utilize the power of God to change and transform humanity. The Apostle Paul tell us, "for the kingdom of God is not in word but in power." (1 Corinthians 4:20)

I want to encourage and challenge you to examine your life to see if you look to the natural realm or look to spiritual realm for all your needs. God has unlimited resources and promises for all of His children. In fact, "God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." (Ephesians 1:3) and "His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness." (2 Peter 1:3) So, let us be led by the Holy Spirit into all truth and move beyond the natural into the supernatural. We were born again for this! Amen...    

Monday, April 29, 2024

Divine Exchange

The word exchange is defined as, to give something and receive something of the same kind in return. For instance, you go to a department store, purchase an article of clothing that you like, but, wait until you go home to try it on. Trying it on you see that is does not fit properly. However, you genuinely like the item so you return to the store, go to customer service and exchange it for a size that fits. The item now fits well, it's new, and even makes you feel good. Well, about two thousand years ago the greatest exchange that ever took place happened. It was not in a department store, but on a wooden cross that was meant to take ones life through horrific agony and pain. On the cross a divine ordained exchange took place in the life of Jesus Christ and mankind.

First, Jesus endured, in our place all the consequences that were required to satisfy justice for the sin of the entire human race. In this exchange, God offers us all the good that was due to the sinless obedience of Jesus. In other words, the evil due to us came upon Jesus so that, in return, the good due to Jesus might be offered to us. Through what Jesus did on the cross, God is able to offer this glorious exchange to everyone on earth without compromising His own eternal justice. All of this proceeds solely out of the abundant grace of God, and it is received solely by faith. There is no logical explanation in terms of cause and effect. None of us has ever done anything to deserve such a wonderful offer and none of us can ever do anything to earn it. There are several aspects concerning this divine exchange.

Two of the aspects of this divine exchange are found in the following passage, "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) These two exchanges can be summed up in this; Jesus was punished that we might be forgiven and He was wounded that we might be healed. The in the next aspect, the Apostle Paul reveals, "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) A third aspect of this divine exchange can be summed up in this, Jesus was made sin with our sin that we might become righteous with His righteousness.

According to the writer of Hebrews it says, "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone." (Hebrews 2:9) The death that He died was the inevitable outcome of human sin that He had taken upon Himself. He bore the sin of all mankind, and so died the death due to all mankind, that is, He went to Sheol or Hades and suffered separation from God. (Psalm 16:10; Matthew 27:46; Acts 2:31) In return, to all who accept His substitutionary sacrifice, Jesus now offers the gift of eternal Life. (Romans 6:23) A fourth aspect of the divine exchange can be summed up in this, Jesus died our death that we might share His in His life.

Still another aspect of the divine exchange also revealed by the Apostle Paul, "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich." (2 Corinthians 8:9) This exchange speaks very clearly. But, when did Jesus become poor? It certainly was not during His earthly ministry. Although He Himself did not carry a lot of money, at no time did He lack anything He needed. In fact, Jesus always had all that He needed to do the will of God in His Over and above this, He was continually giving out to others, and His supply was never exhausted.

So when did Jesus become poor for our sakes? On the cross. In Deuteronomy 28:48 Moses summed up poverty in four expressions: hunger, thirst, nakedness and need of all things. Jesus experienced all this in its fullness on the cross. He was hungry, for He had not eaten since He shared the Passover with His disciples. (Luke 22:14-53) He was thirsty. One of His last utterances on the cross was, "I thirst!" (John 19:28). He was naked. The soldiers had taken all His clothes from Him (John 19:23). He was in need of all things. He no longer owned anything. Even after He death He had a  borrowed linen robe wrapped around Him and was laid in a borrowed tomb (Luke 23:50-53). Therefore, Jesus, endured absolute poverty for our sake. The fifth aspect of the divine exchange may be summed up in this, Jesus became poor with our poverty that we might become rich with His riches.

The divine exchange at the cross also covers the emotional forms of suffering. Two of the cruelest wounds brought upon humanity by our sin are, shame and rejection. Both of these came upon Jesus on the cross. Shame can vary in intensity from embarrassment to a cringing sense of unworthiness that cuts a person off from meaningful fellowship with God and or with man. The writer of Hebrews tells us, "who (Jesus) for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame..." (Hebrews 12:2) Crucifixion was the most shameful of all forms of death, reserved for the lowest class of criminal. The person to be executed was stripped of all his clothing and exposed naked to be seen by those who passed by, who jeered and mocked. This was the degree of shame Jesus endured as He hung on the cross (Matthew 27:35-44). The sixth aspect of the divine exchange may be summed up in this, Jesus bore our shame that we might share His glory.

Rejection is another wound that tends to be more agonizing than shame. Rejection generally stems from some form of broken relationship. In its earliest form, it is caused by parents who reject their own children. The rejection is usually expressed in harsh, negative ways, or it may be merely a failure to show love and acceptance.  The Bible records, "Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:45-46) For the first time in the history of the universe, the Son of God called out to His Father and received no response. Due to mans sin that was placed upon Jesus, and due to the uncompromising holiness of God, the Father had to reject His own Son. In this way Jesus endured rejection in its most agonizing form; rejection by a father. The seventh aspect of the divine exchange may be summed up in this, Jesus endured our rejection that we might have the Father's acceptance.

The Apostle Paul records for us another wonderful aspect of the divine exchange, "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." (Galatians 3:13-14) What is the curse of the law? Deuteronomy 28:1-14 reveals the incredible blessings from God to those who "...diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments..." However, from verse 15 through verse 68 there is listed curses that would come upon Israel "...if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes..." You may think, "well, I am a Gentile and was never under the Mosaic Law" yet, if we closely look at this passage, the Apostle Paul was making the point for both Jew and Gentile, "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law...that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus." The eighth aspect of the divine exchange may be summed up in this, Jesus became a curse that we might receive a blessing.

The aspects of the divine exchange shown above cover some of humanity's most basic and yet most urgent needs, but they are by no means exhaustive. The point of the whole matter is this; sometimes we believers can get caught up in the many aspects that we face in life and totally forget or take for granted the divine exchange that took place by God for mankind. The divine exchange was completely one sided. By no means was this an even exchange, but an exchange that only a loving God could engineer and carry out to satisfy justice that was demanded for man's sin and do it on completely legal ground, to free humanity from the powers of darkness. Our response everyday for such a glorious exchange should be a continuous attitude of thanksgiving. Do that right now! Say, "Thank you, Lord Jesus, for all that You have done for me! I may not fully understand all that you did, but I do believe, and I am grateful." Now keep on thanking Him in your own words. The more you thank Him, the more you will believe what He has done for you. And the more you believe, the more you will want to thank Him. Let us never forget for one moment...

Jesus was punished that we might be forgiven; Jesus was wounded that we might be healed; Jesus was made sin with our sin that we might become righteous with His righteousness; Jesus died our death that we might share His in His life; Jesus became poor with our poverty that we might become rich with His riches; Jesus bore our shame that we might share His glory; Jesus endured our rejection that we might have the Father's acceptance; Jesus became a curse that we might receive a blessing. PTL. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen...

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!!!