Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Leading of the Holy Spirit

“…He will guide you into all truth… and he will shew you things to come.” (John 16:13)

Glory to God! Though we live in difficult times, isn’t it wonderful that we have a supernatural counselor, a guide, a comforter! (John 14:26) The world longs after these things, and that’s why there are psychics and soothsayers everywhere, but we have the benefit of being led by the Holy Spirit! And He tells us the truth! (Romans 8:14) Just as God led the children of Israel through the wilderness wherein there were “fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought” (Deuteronomy 8:15), our covenant with God is our protection from the destruction and misery that is in the world! Glory be to God forever and ever! (Psalm 74:20)

“Well, I don’t know if I hear God’s voice!” Yes you do! If you are a child of God, then Jesus said that you will hear his voice (John 10:27). The prophet Samuel, when he was a child, heard the voice of God, but didn’t recognize it as God. He thought it was Eli, the priest! God had to call him four times until Samuel finally said, “Speak Lord, for your servant heareth…” (I Samuel 3:1-10). But God persisted until Samuel heard. Many times God is speaking and we are either on a “different frequency,” or we’re not listening, but through practice, and spending time ministering unto the Lord, we can be fine tuned to hear.

God longs to have constant fellowship with us, and though there are secret things that do belong only to the Father (like the exact moment of Jesus’ return) (Deuteronomy 29:29, Mark 13:32, Acts 1:7), we are no longer servants, but sons and daughters, and all things that the Father has shown the Son, He longs to share with us also! (John 15:15) Some things, however, He cannot explain to us at the moment, and we simply have to trust Him.

Jesus had a close friend named Lazarus, but when he (Lazarus) was in trouble, Jesus seemingly ignored him. Instead of running to his side, he stayed right where He was for two whole days (John 11:6), and didn’t even pray for him! When he finally did show up on the scene, he was four days “late” (Lazarus had been dead for four days). Then Mary, Lazarus’ sister, cried out to Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died!” (John 11:32) She blamed Jesus, and accused Him of negligence, but God had other plans (John 11:43-44).

Jesus obeyed the Father in all things; what He heard the Father say and do is what He said and did (John 5:30). Many things, if not most of what Jesus did, did not make much sense to His disciples, and even to His own family. In fact, at one point, his family had thought he had simply lost his mind, and attempted to silence Him! (Mark 3:21) But Jesus had a divine purpose to fulfill, and it could only be accomplished through the Spirit.

David was a mighty man of war, a warrior, but he was also a man after God’s heart (Acts 13:22). He had learned to listen to God when he was a young boy tending his Father’s sheep, and God
would give him strategies, and he would defeat his enemies every time. David walked in a relationship with God, not a formula; when a nearly identical situation would arise, David would still seek the counsel of God, and would not presume that the solution would be the same as it was the previous time (II Samuel 5:18-25). When the economy turned bad, David sought the Lord, and God revealed to him the root of the problem, and that it was a direct result of something that King Saul, his predecessor had done to bring a curse upon the land. God gave him instruction, and showed him how to reverse the curse (II Samuel 21:1).

King Saul lost the kingdom because of presumption and disobedience. He was the opposite of King David, for he was “self-reliant,” and disobeyed the prophetic voice, and instead obeyed his own reasoning and the opinions of the people (I Samuel 15:18-23).

The world is beginning to experience what Jesus referred to as the distress of nations, and perplexity (Luke 21:25, Psalms 2:1-6). World leaders and the masses are searching for answers, but they are not going to God, and because of this they are spiraling further into darkness and confusion. But it shall not be so with us; we can trust the leading of the Holy Spirit! Satan works in the sense realm; he operates in the arena of logic and reason, and the area of natural circumstances which he can manipulate. Let us keep our eyes fixed on the Lord, and He will direct our steps (Proverbs 3:6).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Spiritual Warfare

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

My friend, God is a warrior! (Exodus 15:3) Satan has diligently (and effectively) taught the body of Christ in recent years that we do not have to engage in spiritual warfare in our personal lives, nor confront demonic principalities over territories and nations. He has fed us with these lies while he plunders our marriages, our children, our churches, cities and nations, and keeps our churches void of power.

Jesus admonished us to cast out devils (Matthew 10:8, Mark 16:17); He did not say that God would do it, He told us to do it! The devil is our responsibility, and nothing will be done about his activities unless we do something about it!

“Well, you talk about the devil too much!” “We don’t have to fight the devil because Jesus defeated him, and Satan is under our feet!”

These are statements that I have heard frequently, and they sound good, but we need to apply wisdom.

Consider this man…

“Well, God has given me dominion over grizzly bears!” “He said so in the book of Genesis!” (Genesis 1:26) “I’m going to go camping in the Rocky Mountains, and I don’t have to be concerned about grizzlies, because grizzly bears are under my feet!”

He takes no gun with him, no protection, and leaves his food lying out in the open all night because he has authority over grizzly bears.

What would we think about such a man? Would you consider him a fool for thinking like this? Did you know that this man could be prosecuted through state and federal laws for criminal endangerment and gross negligence, especially if he brought others “camping” with him?

Yes, it is true, God has given us dominion (Luke 10:18-19), but he has also given us knowledge! We have very specific tools and methods for dealing with dangerous animals, and those that have knowledge in these things do quite well in exercising their God-given dominion.

It is also true that Satan has been legally defeated by Jesus Christ on the cross (Hebrews 2:14, Colossians 2:15), and if we submit ourselves to Jesus Christ, and obey His Word, then there is no power that can defeat us! But we have to know God, not just know about him. He cannot be the Jesus that your pastor preaches, or your favorite evangelist or prophet; He must be the Jesus that you preach! Your authority must be real to you! (Acts 19:13-16)

So many people let their pastor do all the work; they come to church on Sunday and hear the Word, but they never read the Word for themselves. When the devil comes around, they run to the pastor, “Help me!” “Help me!” “Pray for me!” But their pastor can’t save them because they must grow up and confront the devil for themselves!

Satan should be the one running from us, not the other way around! We should give him a bad day, every day! We should be the ones that go on the offensive when he is at ease, not us defending ourselves all the time. All of our armor is on the front of our bodies, because God never intended us to run! (Ephesians 6:13-18) God has called us to attack! Satan has no armor; he has no protection unless he can trick us into not using our weapons, through lies and deception.

Hammer him with the Word of God and drive him out in the name of Jesus! “Well, maybe it’s not the devil!” “Maybe the problem is with me!” Well, it probably is, but the deception that led to it, and the oppression that hinders you from walking out of it is of the devil! Drive him out and the light will go on, and the barriers standing in your way will be removed! God is not resisting your efforts to obey His Word! It’s really quite simple; good things come from our Heavenly Father, and bad things come from the devil, and if you know what God’s Word says, you will know the difference between a good thing and a bad thing! (James 1:16-17)

Brothers and sisters, we have all the power that we need to confront and conquer any opposition, for greater is He that is in us (The Holy Spirit) than He that is in the world! (The devil) (I John 4:4) Does this mean we will never have any battles? Not by any means, but the victory is assured! Praise God!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Itching Ears

But the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears..." (II Timothy 4:3)

Many are wondering what is going on in the world today. Things have obviously changed in America, and around in the world over the last ten years, especially after 9/11. There is a deep, nagging sense of uneasiness in the hearts of people; fear of nuclear and biological war, terrorism, financial collapse, global warming, and the list goes on. The world is looking for answers, and most are looking in the wrong places.

“We need to get rid of President Bush!” “If we get rid of him, everything will be alright!” has been a rallying cry across the United States, and around the world. But the issue is deeper than President Bush, President Obama, or any other politician or government solution.

We are on a course, like a runaway freight train, though it is not runaway. In fact, it was set into motion thousands of years ago by God Himself, and spoken of through the prophets since the beginning of time (II Thessalonians 2:3-4); it is a course that cannot be changed, and will ultimately culminate in the end of the age. God will have His way in the end (II Thessalonians 2:8), and we are a privileged generation to be a part of the final chapter of the dispensation of grace. To those of us who are saved, it is a time of great hope and rejoicing, a time all the prophets of old longed to see, but did not (Matthew 13:17).

It is also a difficult time, and to those without God, and without hope, it is a time of foreboding. There will be things unleashed in the months and years to come that will cause men’s hearts to fail for fear (Luke 21:26). Events have accelerated (Daniel 12:4), and the changes that we witnessed in the last ten years will be insignificant in comparison to what is coming; how do I know? Jesus said so Himself! (Matthew 24:34) We should not be ignorant of the times and seasons (Luke 12:56).

Please understand, even an unbeliever can sense that there are “forces” at work that are beyond his control. Although he cannot label them, and doesn’t understand the spiritual root, he just knows that he wants it to be “fixed.” He wants a return to a “simpler day” when there was no 9/11, no terrorist threat, and no impending financial collapse, but he wants to do it his way, and not God’s (Psalm 2:1-6, John 15:25).

There is now growing, out of the reprobate section of our society, an intense hatred for what is pure and holy (II Timothy 3:13). This hatred cannot be fixed by smooth-talking politicians, as it goes infinitely deeper than that; it is spiritual, and the battle is not about flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12).

This antichrist spirit has been released with a ferocity like never before, and it is global in its proportion (Revelation 12:12). Our conflict is not about “terrorism,” but rather the beginning of the culmination of a spiritual battle that has raged between the sons of Abraham for thousands of years (Romans 9:7, Galatians 4:29-30), and will never be resolved through “political diplomacy.” In fact, the only thing that will put an end to it is when Jesus Christ appears in glory, and Satan is cast into his eternal home, the lake of fire! (Revelation 20:10)

This intensifying, deep-seated hatred of God, and His ways, will intimidate many believers and eventually usher the antichrist onto the world scene. He will come with all the “right answers,” and the soothing words; he will be charismatic, intelligent and wise (Ezekiel 28:1-6, Daniel 11:21), but he will be of a different spirit! Those that are of the world will gladly receive him, as they are already embracing this spirit (I John 4:3).

But we as believers must also understand that this spirit is not only affecting unbelievers. What is happening in the church today is similar to what happened in the days of Moses. Everything was wonderful as long as there were demonstrations of God’s power and everyone was comfortable. However, as soon as faith was necessary, and the excitement faded, the children of Israel got angry with Moses, and they built a golden calf to worship and to lead them. But the golden calf was just a chunk of metal, it was not a god, and in fact, was simply created by their own hands.

The children of Israel had no patience to wait upon the Lord; they wanted what they wanted, and they wanted it now! In their perception, Moses had failed them, and the God of Israel did not seem to be coming through, at least not in the way that they thought that He should. They became offended with Moses, and with God, and turned away from their faith (Exodus 32:1, II Timothy 4:4, II Thessalonians 2:3, Romans 10:1-11). This was tragic, because eventually they all died in the wilderness.

My friend, Jesus warned us that in the last days, deception would be so readily available that even the elect would be deceived, if that were possible (Matthew 24:24). The reason it is not possible is because those of us who belong to Him have embraced a love for the truth (II Thessalonians 2:10), even at the expense of our own long held ideas, convictions and beliefs.

What we love, we will draw to us. If embrace a love for the truth, it will fill us with its light (Matthew 6:22-23). God’s Word is truth, and it remains constant; it doesn’t change with the times, and is not “politically correct.” Let us lay hold on eternal life, and receive a love for the truth that we may be accounted worthy to stand before Him in that day! (Luke 21:36)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Blessing of Abraham

“And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3)

God’s original plan for mankind was to be blessed. In fact, the very first thing that God did after he created Adam and Eve was pronounce His blessing upon them and declare that they be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28). This blessing was not simply a command, but a supernatural ability to prosper and be fruitful in whatever they set their hands to. Their work was a joy, and with very little effort they produced much result, and everything just seemed to “work out for them.” But suddenly, all that changed.

Most of us, of course, know the story; Adam and Eve disobeyed God and brought a curse into the earth, and everything that was good reversed course. The curse became “genetically inbred” into the world, if you will, and because of disobedience, all creation took upon itself the bondage of corruption. What was once wholesome and good suddenly morphed into a twisted and perverted shadow of what once was (Romans 8:21).

The root of all physical matter is the Word of God (Hebrews 1:3, 11:3, Colossians 1:17, John 1:3), it upholds the very tiniest of sub atomic particles, and consequently defines their conduct. In this world, it dictates the course of events according to the curse, as was spoken of by God in the Garden of Eden, and formally given through Moses in the form of the law (Deuteronomy 27:26, Galatians 3:10). The curse of the law currently remains in effect and active, unless it is redirected by faith in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

With these things in mind then, it is evident that since all things are framed, upheld and consist by the Word of God, that all things are therefore subject to the same Word. The Word of God spoken out of our mouths, declaring the blessing of Abraham through Jesus Christ!

When I was in flight school, we were taught a principle called positive static stability, which is the inherent tendency of an object in motion to oscillate back to its original path and attitude if interrupted or disturbed by an outside force. It could be said that the world that we live in has positive static stability in regard to the curse, and must be redirected by our faith, and held in place to line up with the blessing.

Satan will tell you that your confession and declaration of faith won’t work; he will tell you these things are foolishness, but don’t believe it! Things may not change overnight, but the declaration
of God’s Word will begin to change the problem from the root (Mark 11:20), and cause events and circumstances to line up with God’s will and plan for your life!

Does this mean we will float through life on a bed of ease? If anyone believes this, they are in for very a rude awakening! The determination for nothing short of complete victory must be firmly settled from the beginning, as Satan will do everything he can to stop us; he will lie to us and use the pressure of persecutions, afflictions, cares of this world, deceitfulness of riches, and lusts of other things in order to steal the Word from our hearts and out of our mouths. (Mark 4:14-20)

Joshua tells us not to let the Word of God depart from our mouths, but that we should meditate therein day and night, that then we would make our way prosperous, and have good success (Joshua 1:8). If God has given a dream or a promise, then we must begin to declare it done, until it’s done! (Romans 4:17) Well, how much faith do I need to move a mountain?” You may ask. The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart several years ago, and said, “If you have enough faith to do it (speak and declare the promises of God), then it is enough faith to move the mountain!” This is accurate according to scripture, for we demonstrate our faith by what we actually do! (James 2:18, Revelation 20:12-13)

A person that does not believe will not do it! They will hear these things preached, and they will go their way and dismiss them. We may not think we believe at times, but if we will just do it, and continue to do it (Hebrews 6:12), then eventually it will get down on the inside of us, and enable God to move on our behalf! (II Peter 1:19)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

God is Love

“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. (II John 4:16)

Brethren, it is important in these last days that we know the character of God; to believe and know the love that He has toward us. This revelation is the foundation of our confidence with God, and without it, it is difficult for our faith to be effectual.

“Well, I know that!” you might say. But wait a minute, Satan has launched an all-out assault in order to hide this truth from us, and replace it with an often-subtle form of guilt and condemnation, or “sin-consciousness.” He knows that if he can deceive us into thinking that God is upset or “displeased” with us in some way, then he can paralyze our faith, or destroy it altogether. If we are not careful, we will become like Job, who though he was a righteous man, didn’t quite understand God’s true character, and in an effort to “appease” Him, inadvertently opened a door to the devil.

Most of us have heard the story of Job, and probably in the context of God “allowing” tribulation in his life in order to “test” his commitment and his faith. We all applaud Job for being so “faithful,” and for his commitment to stay true to God, which of course was a good thing, but in reality, the whole situation shouldn’t have had to happen at all!

Our nature is to blame God, or blame others for trouble that comes into our lives, rather than accepting personal responsibility. If we caused the problem in the first place, through ignorance or disobedience, than we can fix it through wisdom and repentance! This is very good news!

Job’s sin was very subtle, and it actually appeared to be a form of humility on his part, but in reality, it was a subtle and lethal form of pride. His many sacrifices offered to God were offered in fear, and his words and actions began to work against him spiritually.

Let us never fall into the trap of blaming our Heavenly Father for evil things that can present themselves in our lives (James 1:13-17). In doing so, we put Jesus back on the cross again, bringing Him shame while justifying ourselves (Hebrews 6:6). We must remember that Jesus has already perfectly pleased the Father (Matthew 17:5), and in proving His love through obedience, He successfully fulfilled the law, in its totality, thereby bringing us full redemption from its curse.

Many times we give the devil too much credit! Though we must enforce Jesus’ victory through faith, Satan’s power has been legally destroyed. He is not in heaven accusing us any longer! In fact, God didn’t waste any time; he was very successful in removing him permanently from heaven after Jesus Christ defeated him on the cross (Revelation 12:10). He no longer has any access to heaven, nor the throne of God, as he did in the days of Job, or in the days of Peter, before Jesus rose from the dead (Job 1:6, Luke 22:31). The devil is now confined to the earth (Revelation 12:12), where he accuses us to ourselves, and to one another.

The Apostle Paul, who suffered great tribulation at the hands of a demonic assignment sent by Satan to stop the Word of God (II Corinthians 12:7, 11:23-28), had learned to trust in the truth of God’s character. He was able to come to a place where he could declare, “The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work,” (II Timothy 3:11, 4:18), because in understanding God’s nature, he could discern between an evil work, and the works of God.

Even though Moses met with God face-to-face, he cried out to the Lord, “Show me thy way!” (Exodus 33:11-13, 18-19) The difference between Moses and the children of Israel was that Moses desired to know God’s ways, his heart, while the children of Israel were only interested in His acts. They were thrilled when God performed signs and wonders among them, but as soon as the “newness” wore off of these mighty acts, they would turn away from the Lord and become rebellious and disobedient (Exodus 32:1-4, Psalm 106:12-14).

If we truly seek to know God, the believing part will be easy! This is why Paul prayed for the churches, that they might know the love of Christ, the breadth and length and depth and height of it! (Ephesians 3:14-19, Philippians 1:9)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fear of the Lord

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom… (Proverbs 9:10)

My brethren, our God is a holy God! He is the Creator and possessor of heaven and earth; He indeed is a great King, and worthy of all honor and reverential fear (Malachi 1:14).

So what does this mean for us, His people? First of all, God is very interested in how we respond to holy things. In basic terms, holy simply means “special,” or “set apart,” by God, for Himself, and for His own personal use and purpose. God is jealous over these things, and will protect them expeditiously, first with mercy, and then with judgment.

“But God is a God of love!” you might say. “We are living under the New Testament now!” Yes, these are statements of truth, God is a God of love, but He is also a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). He is jealous of the things that He calls His own. He is Jealous over His people (Hebrews 3:1, Mark 9:42); He is jealous over the institutions that He has ordained, such as the marriage bed, and the marriage arrangement that He has designed from the beginning (Hebrews 13:4, Genesis 2:21-24). He is jealous over His calling upon our lives, and the gifts and talents that He has deposited within us (II Timothy 1:9, Matthew 25:14-30).

In the Old Testament, there is the story of Cain and Abel, and we can see that Abel understood and respected what was holy, but Cain did not. Cain and Abel both brought an offering unto the Lord, and God accepted Abel’s offering, but rejected Cain's (Genesis 4:3-5). Why? Because Abel understood the awesomeness of God, and that the tithe and the offering were a holy thing, and he mixed his giving with faith, coupled with holy fear. But Cain, on the other hand, brought his offering out of necessity; to him it was simply a chore, and a grievous one at that.

God's attitude toward holy things has not changed since the days of the Old Testament, for He is the same "yesterday, today and forever," and He never changes (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8). The only thing that has changed since the Old Testament is the covenant, not the nature of God (Romans 5:9).

When Jesus, in the New Testament, walked into the temple and discovered how it had been desecrated by covetousness and greed, he responded swiftly and decisively, and He drove them out. He was consumed with the zeal of His Father’s house, because the temple, which was holy, had been turned into a common marketplace (John 2:13-17).

God is jealous today, for His church and for His people. He is jealous for His glory and for His name; He is jealous for us, and that His will be fulfilled in our lives!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Born Again

“The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”
(Romans 8:16)

My friend, this may not be the most pleasant message for all, but it is the truth. Most of us have heard the phrase to be “born-again,” and Jesus used this term in explaining the requirement for entrance into His Kingdom (John 3:3). In other words, he made it clear that the born-again experience was a necessary prerequisite for receiving salvation, and that without it, entrance into the Kingdom of God would most assuredly be denied. (Matthew 22:11-13, John 3:3-5)

Please understand that it is urgent that we comprehend the significance of Jesus words. Many of us are wise in preparing for the things of this world such as our retirement, a college degree, or other such things, yet we leave our eternal destinies up to assumption at best, or to the care of a religious organization, etc. We trust our eternal souls to doctrines of men that have no Biblical basis, and hope that somehow it will all work out in the end. This is simply not wise! “But can we really know with absolute certainty?” You may ask.

The answer is yes! Absolutely! In fact, this irrevocable knowing is the very foundation of our faith (Matthew 16:16). When a person is truly born-again, the Holy Spirit imparts this knowing and understanding into the heart of the believer. If we haven’t received this understanding and assurance from the Holy Spirit, then it is questionable that we have truly experienced the new birth. (Romans 8:16)

Please understand however, that I am referring to a knowing in the heart, not the mind, as Satan will attempt to attack our minds with doubts and fears to challenge our faith, as he did Jesus…

“Are you really who you think you are? Are you truly the Son of God? If you are, then turn these stones into bread!” “If you are truly who you say you are, then jump off the top of this temple, and the angels will bear you up in their arms!” (Matthew 4:1-11) The devil will whisper in our ears, “If you are truly a child of God, then you wouldn’t have had that thought! “You wouldn’t have acted that way!” “God is finished with you!” “You’ve failed him too many times!”

But those are lies! God is never finished with anyone that loves him and desires to enter into his Kingdom, ever!

“For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee…”
(Isaiah 54:9)

The new birth is a supernatural occurrence wherein a new creature truly is born! (II Corinthians 5:17) But before we can really be grateful, we must first appreciate the reality of what God has accomplished through Jesus Christ.

Consider the gravity of what Jesus Christ has done for us, and for what he has delivered us from (II Corinthians 1:10). Hell is real, and is a horrible place that is worse than any suffering upon the earth, and its horrors beyond the recesses of man’s imagination. There is no rest day or night, no comfort, nor anything good, as all good things proceed from God (James 1:17). It is a place where a person’s worse fears will be realized (Isaiah 66:4), and where there will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 22:13, Luke 13:28). There will be more terror in a moment than could be experienced in the worse conditions on earth in a lifetime; the flesh will be eaten of maggots and worms, and burned with fire but never consumed (Mark 9:43-48). It will be unending and eternal, and there will be no second chances for the one that dies in his sins. (Luke 16:19-31, John 8:24)

My friend, If you are a child of God, and have experienced God’s mercy in your life, then this message is a message of hope to you, and a joyous reminder of what God has done for us through His Son Jesus Christ. However, if this message makes you uncomfortable, then the Holy Spirit may be reaching out to you. He loves you and wants to give you life, and a hope for the future. He wants to remove the burden and the label of sin from you forever, and cast it into the depths of the sea. He longs to bring restoration, healing and deliverance, regardless of what we’ve done or where we’ve been.

God will never condemn anyone who comes to Him by the way of the cross. God is rich unto all that call upon Him in faith, and if we are willing to repent and surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, then God will give us the strength to turn from sin and obey His commandments.

Please understand, I am not saying that it will be easy by any means. Jesus never promised us an easy path in this life; in fact, we are called to be soldiers, and admonished to endure hardships as a good soldier of Jesus Christ (II Timothy 2:3). We must be strong to walk the narrow path that leads to life, but it is God that gives us His strength. (Ephesians 6:10)

To be born-again is God’s solution, it is God doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. God’s Kingdom is spiritual, and also sinless, and those that inherit it must be born of the Spirit, and also born of water (signifying being cleansed from sin) (John 3:5, 13:8).

Hebrews says that through the body and blood of Jesus, God has confirmed, by an oath, the immutability (unchangeability) of His counsel, in that we can have full assurance of God’s faithfulness in regard to our salvation through Christ Jesus! (Hebrews 6:16-20)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Count it All Joy

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations…” (James 1:2)

What would we do if we found ourselves in David’s situation? David and his fighting men had returned home to find their town burned and destroyed by the armies of the Amalekites. Their wives, sons and daughters had been carried away captive, and everything they possessed had been destroyed (I Samuel 30:1-3). Understandably, the men were heartbroken and angry, and they turned their anger toward David as their leader. They not only blamed him for the loss of their goods and families, but they were also ready to stone him; there is no doubt that this was a perfect opportunity for David to complain and feel sorry for himself.

But what did David do? He “encouraged himself in the Lord his God” (I Samuel 30:6). That’s right, instead of feeling sorry for himself and moaning to the Lord, “Why me?” He began to call to mind the goodness of God… “God gave me victory over the lion and the bear!” “He gave me the head of Goliath!” David began to worship God in the midst of his trial, and the Lord gave him a solution.

I can hear God saying to David, “David, your faith has reached heaven!” “ GO!” “Pursue your enemies, and without fail, you will not only overtake them, but you will surely recover all that was lost!” (I Samuel 30:8) God responded to David’s faith and delivered him once again, as he had many times before. I would have to say that had David chosen the route of self-pity, his story would have undoubtedly ended with him getting stoned by his own men.

We are exhorted to “count it all joy” when we face difficulties, trials and temptations (James 1:2). “But you don’t understand what I’m going through!” You might say. I understand that it may be difficult, but the joy of the Lord is our strength! That is why the devil works so hard to steal our joy from us.

Satan sent a special messenger to harass the apostle Paul because of the abundance of revelation that he had received from God (II Corinthians 12:7). The enemy’s goal was to steal the Word of God out of his heart in order to cause him to become unfruitful for the Kingdom of God (Mark 4:15-20).

This demonic assignment sent every imaginable hardship against Paul, and he had to fight for every inch of territory that he gained (II Corinthians 11:23-29). But through it all, Paul learned to rejoice and trust God; he began to understand that in his weakness, the grace of God excelled within and upon him (II Corinthians 12:9-10). He learned that every attack of the enemy was an opportunity, not an inconvenience.

My friend, the grace of God is available for every situation, and his grace is sufficient for every situation. There is nothing that the devil has contrived that God has not provided a solution (Isaiah 54:17, I Corinthians 10:13). In fact, the solution was created long before the problem ever existed. (Hebrews 4:3, Ephesians 2:10)

I would have to say that self-pity is one of the devil’s most lethal tools in his arsenal. We are not victims, but victors! We are warriors not wimps! We are mighty men and women of valor, not whining crybabies! We are seated far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, Glory to God! (Ephesians 1:20-21, 2:6)

Monday, April 27, 2009

God's Ability

“Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (II Corinthians 12:9)

What do we do when we find ourselves faced with a difficult task? Do we act like Joshua and Caleb and shout that we are well able to take the land? Or do we begin to make excuses, “There are giants in the land!” “We are but grasshoppers in their sight!” (Numbers 13:32-33)

Let me make one thing perfectly clear, God will tilt the playing field in our favor, if we will but trust him and run toward the giant. David ran toward the giant (I Samuel 17:48). You see, God is only requiring our best, not the best; David did not have a tank, a rocket propelled grenade launcher, or an automatic weapon. He didn’t have air cover or even a brave army behind him. He only had his best, and though it was far-fetched and virtuously impossible that a giant would be taken out with a single stone, slung from the slingshot of a young boy, it happened nonetheless.

God took David’s best, and added His grace, His favor, and the anointing, and David took out the giant. God tilted the playing field in David’s favor, and gave him victory over his enemy.

“Well, that was David, not me!” you may say. But God has not changed, and this principle is still true today. Many times we look at our own abilities and think, “Ha ha, no way!” “Not me!” “I could never do that!” “That kind of stuff is reserved for greater men than me!” “Those with a degree in such and such, those with wealth and power and fame.” But God doesn’t look at it that way; he takes the foolish things of this world to confound the things that are mighty (I Corinthians 1:27-29).

Has God asked you to do something? Then he has faith in you, that you are able to accomplish the assignment. You are well able to kill the giant and walk away with the spoils of victory. The only thing that God requires is that we believe, and then put our hand to the work, and He will fill in the inadequacies; he will bridge the gaps so that we are able to reach the prize.

Moses was a mighty man of God with a destiny and a burden in his heart. He was called of God to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt, and thought that his brethren would understand his calling, but they didn’t (Acts 7:25). Moses was full of zeal, and ready to go, “I’m your man, God! Let’s get it done! He attempted to answer the call in his own strength and killed one Egyptian, and then fled into the land of Midian, where he kept sheep, got married and had a family, for 40 years. By the time that God met with him to send him back to Egypt to meet Pharaoh, Moses was a different man. “God, you made some mistake!” “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh?” “Send Aaron!” (Exodus 3:11) But he was right where God wanted him; he had no more confidence in the flesh, and it would be by God’s mighty hand.

Peter was a man called of God, but he was full of fleshly confidence, “I will go with you to death and to prison, and even though all these other disciples forsake you, I will never!” But Peter denied Jesus three times, and then left the ministry and went back to his fishing business. But when the Holy Spirit came upon Peter, he was changed, and he stood up boldly in the book of Acts, declaring the Word of the Lord! (Acts 2:14-36)

God called Gideon to deliver Israel from the hands of the Midianites, but Gideon was a cowardly man, and he told God that he had made a mistake in choosing him (Judges 6:15). But God ignored his excuses, and called him a “Mighty man of valor!” (Judges 6:12) God finally convinced Gideon that he was with him, and Gideon and his 32,000 men were ready to go. But God said no, not yet, your army is too big! God said, “It will be by my hand, not the strength of the flesh, and He reduced Gideon’s army to 300 men.

God’s grace is always sufficient for us, though the task may seem difficult, if not impossible. But if we will trust in the Lord, and rely on His strength, he will always cause us to triumph, and give us the head of the giant!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Freedom from Religion

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1)

God has called us unto liberty, not bondage. He has called us to be free so that we may serve him without fear all the days of our lives. (Luke 1:74)

The devil has devised all types of ways to keep this glorious truth from us. He brings condemnation and guilt to our minds, accusing us to ourselves, and to each other, night and day. But the days of Job are gone (Job 2:1, Revelation 12:10), and God doesn’t listen to him anymore, and neither should we! Religious bondage comes in many different forms, but its goal is always the same, to steal our liberty, our freedom and our joy, and to abort our destiny. God wants us free to become all that He has ordained us to become.

The Pharisees and Sadducees were ever present in Jesus’ day, bringing accusation against Jesus and his disciples. They were enraged when the blind regained their sight and the deaf were able to hear. They became delirious with envy when the dead were raised, and the crippled leapt to their feet. They accused Jesus and his disciples of everything from healing on the Sabbath day to not washing their hands before they ate dinner, and were so infuriated when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead that they sought to kill him again! (John 12:10) Can you imagine that! He was raised from the dead once, and they were contemplating giving Jesus the opportunity to do it again!

A religious spirit is a confused and mean spirit; it condemns things that God has not condemned in his Word, and promotes things that God condemns. It’s cruel and merciless, and will rear its ugly head at the very moment that you are stepping out to obey God! David was instructed of his father to bring sustenance to his brothers who were in “battle” (I Samuel 17:17-18). But when David arrived at the camp, he heard Goliath slandering the God of Israel and defying God’s people, while his brothers, and the rest of Israel’s “mighty men,” trembled in fear. (I Samuel 17:23-24)

David simply had faith, and he wanted to help, but his brother Eliab accused him vehemenently;“Why camest down hither? And with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle…” (I Samuel 17:28)

They not only accused him concerning his motives, but they accused him of being prideful and haughty, and they even insulted his occupation, referring to his few sheep in the wilderness. But all David had said was “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God? (I Samuel 17:26)

David could have walked away thinking to himself, “Well, maybe my brothers are right; they are certainly older than I am, and they’re men of war.” “Maybe they’re right, I shouldn’t be so haughty, I guess I’ll just go back and feed my few sheep in the wilderness.”

But praise God that David didn’t do that! He had something larger on the inside of him, something louder than the voice of Eliab! He had a relationship with Almighty God, and he defeated the giant with a slingshot and a stone because he had faith in his heart, and a destiny from God. I challenge you today, what is your giant? What are the voices of Eliab screaming in your ears? What has God spoken to your heart? Take the sling and the stone of God’s promise to you, and don’t let the voice of Eliab keep you from your destiny!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Dwelling Place

“Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitors of the earth…” (Revelation 12:12)

We hear bad news all around us right now, and yes, things are bad, and they’re probably going to get a whole lot worse, because government is not the solution. However, in light of these things, it is not a time for us, as believers, to be afraid! But rather it is time for us to rejoice with the anticipation of the glory and the mercy of God! We are firmly seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, far above all principality, power, might, and dominion. (Ephesians 1:20-21, 2:6)

You might say to me, “well, you’re just a spiritual weirdo!” “These problems are happening in the earth, not in heaven, and we live in the earth!” Yes, we do live in the world, but we are not of the world! (John 15:19) Our hope comes from heaven, along with our provision, our peace, our healing and our deliverance. God is not limited to our currency, our health care system, the welfare system, or any other system of this world! Praise God!

When we are aware of our position in heavenly places, we are ever mindful of what is going on in heaven. We can abide there and conduct our affairs, and then bring heavenly things back into this natural, fallen world, until the impossible becomes possible! (John 10:9)

It takes a strong man to live the true Christian life, to stand up for righteousness, and to keep the Word of God abiding in him richly when everything else is contrary. It takes a man or woman of resolve and tenacity to walk in love when ridiculed, misunderstood and persecuted. But God has given us his Spirit, and has infused us with his strength. (Ephesians 6:10)

“Well, I’ve tried the ‘faith thing,’ and everything fell apart!” You might say. Listen, all of us have failed at one point or another, and sometimes the mistakes have been grievous and costly. However, we must forget the things that are behind, and reach forth unto those things that God has put before us! Faith always produces, it never fails; we only fail when we get our eyes off of the Word of God and onto the storm, or onto other things. (Mark 4:14-20)

God is calling us to step out once again, into the realm of the impossible! To hear his voice, and to step out of the boat! Does this sound irresponsible? Maybe it does, but God doesn’t look at it that way. Peter got out of the boat, but none of the other disciples did; they stayed where it was safe, and observed Peter. They probably laughed at him when he began to sink… “We told you not to do it, Peter! You should have listened!” But Jesus said, “Come!” And he will always say, “Come!”

Faith pleases God, and he would rather have us step out and sink, than not do anything at all. Notice that Jesus immediately reached out to Peter, and pulled him out of the water. It was also probably not the last time that Peter tried it; he may have been secretly thinking as he settled back in the boat, “I can’t wait to do it again!”

Friday, February 20, 2009

God's Testimony

Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today and forever! (Hebrews 13:9)

What are you struggling with? Whatever it is, God has anointed Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit and power (Acts 10:38), and he has given us this same power and authority over all the works of the enemy, through his name, if we can only believe! (Mark 9:23) Our faith is the only prerequisite for receiving God’s deliverance. Is it gambling? Alcohol and/or drug addiction? Pornography, adultery or other sexual sins? Is it sickness or disease? A broken marriage? Whatever the problem, for this reason was “the Son of God manifest, that he may destroy the works of the devil” (I John 3:8)

Jesus is the deliverer, and he is the only deliverer! Many years ago God delivered me from a serious alcohol and drug habit, among other things, and counselors told us that “Once an alcoholic and/or drug addict, always and alcoholic and/or drug addict.” But that is not the truth! Glory to God! God will restore our health, our lives, our dignity and honor, and remove the label of sin from us forever! (Psalm 103:112, Micah 7:19)

For “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away and all things have become new!” (II Corinthians 5:17)

My friend, call upon the name of the Lord while there is yet opportunity! (Isaiah 55:6)

Allow me to tell you a true story that happened quite a few years ago:

There was a brother in the Lord (which I'll call "Joe" for the sake of this story) that used to go door to door with the gospel message, for he had a burning desire for souls. We also had a prayer group on Friday nights, which Joe would normally attend, but on this particular Friday night he showed up visibly distraught. When pressed for information, he proceeded to explain...

Several months before that, he had gone to an older couple’s home and presented the gospel to the man, who apparently was unsaved. He had asked the man if he would be interested in eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, and the man had replied, “Maybe some other time,” and sent Joe away. Joe was not one to give up easily, however, and he decided to return to the man's home several months later.

When Joe arrived on the property, the man was doing some yard work outside in his front yard, and he approached him and they began to talk. Joe asked him once again if he would be interested in hearing about Jesus Christ, at which point he waved his hand and shook his head, “No, no…" But this time the man never finished his sentence, instead he clutched his chest and fell down on the ground and died, right there at my friend's feet! Understandably, Joe was shook up for awhile after this, and I asked God about it… “Did you kill him?” I asked.

But the Holy Spirit reminded me of the parable in (Luke 12:16-20) concerning a rich man that had stored up goods for many years, but was not rich toward God. He had built barns and filled them with food, and then had said to himself, and I paraphrase, “You’re set up for life! You don’t have to worry about anything, so eat, drink and be merry!” (Luke 12:19) But God told him he was being foolish…

“…Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee…” (Luke 12:20)

Some translations and cross-references translate, “This night shall they require thy soul…”
I believe that this is more accurate, but either way, the question of who is doing the “requiring” can be found in light of Luke 9:56 and Hebrews 2:14...

“For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”

“…that through death he (Jesus) might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.”

God called this particular rich man a fool, because he didn’t invest in what was truly important, and when the “time of reckoning” came, the man lost it all.

In the case of Joe's experience, Satan had required this man’s life, as he had a right. The man had faithfully "served him" (the devil) all of his life, and he legally belonged to him. Nevertheless, God restrained him from taking the man’s life until he had received one last chance to make a decision in regard to Jesus Christ, but when he rejected the “life-preserver,” so to speak, the enemy took what was rightfully his.

Only after we are born-again do we become children of God. Before that point we belong to the devil as a result of Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden, and are subject to his authority. (II Timothy 2:26, John 8:44) Satan is a merciless master, and will take a person, use them for his own purposes, and then throw them on the trash heap of life (or death).

You see, Jesus Christ is our deliverer, our Saviour! God is not creating problems in the world, he has the solution! He sent his Son that we might be saved, not condemned! (John 3:17) We have an enemy that seeks our destruction, but God loves us and has a wonderful plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11), and no matter where we’ve been, whom we’ve been with, or what we’ve done, God will receive us if we come to him through faith in the Son of God, and commit our lives to him.

If Adolph Hitler were to receive Jesus Christ before he died, he would be in heaven right now, and if Mother Teresa tried to earn her salvation through good works, and never submitted to the righteousness of God (Romans 10:3) through faith, all of her good deeds would be in vain, and her soul would be in hell. Sound surprising? Yes, it is, but it’s true!

God's Kingdom is a spiritual Kingdom, and flesh and blood cannot inherit it, neither can the unrighteous (I Corinthians 6:9-10, 15:50). But praise God! He has given us his righteousness through Jesus Christ, to all who believe! (Isaiah 54:17, Romans 3:22)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

God's Hand of Justice

"For he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil." (Romans 13:4)

God's view on dealing with terrorists:

In I Kings 20:28-43, God had promised Ahab victory over the Syrians in battle because they had boasted of their gods, that they were greater than the God of Israel. So even though Ahab was wicked, God promised him victory for this reason; but here's the point...

During the heat of the battle, Ben-ha-dad, the King of Syria had fled and hid. But then his servants came to him and counseled him to go surrender himself to Ahab, because they had heard that "the kings of the house of Israel were merciful kings” (I Kings 20:31), and that perhaps his life would be spared. In other words, they counseled him to exploit the “mercy” that they had heard about, concerning Israel. So the king of Syria went to Ahab.

What happened next is truly amazing, for not only did Ahab let him go, but he also “made a covenant with him.” (I Kings 20:34) In other words, he "negotiated" with the King of Syria, who was not only his own enemy, but also the enemy of God!

Was God pleased with this act of “mercy?” Apparently not, as he immediately sent a prophet to him with a message;

“Because thou hast let go out of thy hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore thy life shall go for his life, and thy people for his life." (I Kings 20:42)

Ahab would later die by the hand of the King of Syria.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Heavenly Calling

“…I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.” (Acts 26:19)

Even the enemies of God understand the requirement of accountability to a universal Creator. That’s why they hate him, because they understand that such a Creator requires obedience and acknowledgement of his “eternal power and Godhead” (Romans 1:19-20). But why, as believers, do we run and hide?

“If I serve God, I’m afraid he’ll make me a missionary and send me to Africa or China, or worse yet, the Middle East!” “If I serve God, he may tell me to preach, and everyone knows I’m not very literate or a good orator!” “What if he wants me to become a pastor or evangelist ?” “No way, that’s just not me!” And so we run!

But heaven is not a democracy, and God does not give us a choice; he gives us an “offer we can’t refuse!” All we can do is accept or reject his invitation (Luke 14:16-24).

A call from God will not make us popular, and it is for sure that we will not be everyone’s “friend!” In fact, the greater the anointing upon our lives, the greater the isolation, misunderstanding and rejection will be. As the power increases in our prayer life or ministry, we also become a greater target for demonic attack and harassment (II Corinthians 12:7, II Timothy 1:8).

Am I talking about the calling of an apostle? A prophet? Or maybe an evangelist, pastor or teacher? Perhaps, but rather the calling of every believer, to take up his cross and follow him (Hebrews 3:1).

God has not called us to walk an easy path; the road to heaven is narrow, and the way is difficult, and it is not for the weak or faint-hearted (Ephesians 6:10). Few choose to travel this path, and the casualties and desertions are many (Matthew 7:14).

This present age is drawing to a close, and we must draw near to the Lord as never before. He does not require us to fulfill our calling in our own strength, neither does he permit it. For our strength is wholly inadequate for the job, and it only gets in his way. If we ask him, he will help us; if we submit our plans to him, he will show us what is needful for the day, and give us the strength and ability to do it. Time is our friend, not our enemy, when we live and walk in the Spirit.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Realities of Redemption

“Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away. (Isaiah 51:11)

Blessed be the name of the Lord forever!!

It is with unspeakable honor and privilege that we can rejoice to be called the redeemed of the Lord! If the knowledge of our redemption is the only thing that we ever receive from God this side of heaven, then it is reason to shout and worship him every day of our lives!

Our future is heaven and not hell, and our path gets brighter and brighter with each passing day! (Proverbs 4:18) God has chosen us, we have not chosen him (John 15:16), and he has given us his name, the name of Jesus! What a wonderful privilege! We have “power of attorney,” if you will, to enforce all the ordinances of heaven here in the earth! (Matthew 6:10, 16:19, Mark 13:34) We have authority over all the works of the enemy (Luke 10:19), and the power to set others free!

While the world plunges deeper into darkness, despair and hopelessness, we have a glorious future! Our loved ones in Christ that have gone on before us will be waiting to greet us when we leave this present world, and our flesh will “return to the days of our youth!” (Job 33:25) God will create a new earth untouched by the curse, and there will be no more pain, and He will wipe away all tears from our eyes (Revelation 21:4-5, 22:3). There will be no more Democrats or Republicans, for Jesus himself will “sit upon the throne of David,” ruling in righteous judgment throughout eternity! (Luke 1:32-33) Praise God!

These are not simply pleasant words, for God has not only spoken them in his Word, the Bible, but he has emphasized them by saying “these words are faithful and true!” (Revelation 21:5) Now is not a sad time for the church! But rather the time to “lift up our heads, for our redemption draweth nigh!” (Luke 21:28)

Sometimes we can get so caught up in the cares and distractions of this life that we forget the realities of our redemption! The Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Paul, said that the sufferings of this present world were “not even worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us!” (Romans 8:18)

God has reserved the ages to come in order to pour out upon us all the fullness of his exceeding riches and kindness, for he will be no longer be limited by our flesh, and the natural, fallen state of our present world! (Ephesians 2:7)

God, our Father, is the source of everything good (James 1:17), and every good thing that we have experienced in this life is but a minute foretaste of what God has in store for us in the age to come!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Entering into His Rest

“Let us labor therefore to enter into his rest…” (Hebrews 4:11)

Sometimes our Christian walk seems to be so full of struggles. We struggle to “receive” from God, struggle to “please” God, to find our identity, and a host of other things.

A great man of God once got off an airplane in a foreign land and was asked, “Why is there so much controversy everywhere you go?” ‘Why are you so full of controversy?” The man of God replied confidently, “I don’t understand what you are talking about, there is not an ounce of controversy in me whatsoever!” What an amazing answer to this question! But that should be no surprise, as we serve an amazing God.

You see, the world is full of controversy and struggle, but this ought not be so with us as Christian believers! The Apostle Paul, a great example to the church, had no problem saying of himself, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God…” (Colossians 1:1) He recognized and received who and what God had called him to be and was neither moved by doubts nor by the approval or disapproval of man. These things became settled in him as he matured in his relationship with the Lord.

What do we struggle with? Is it forgiveness? Healing? Confidence? Do we have identity issues? God has the answers already established in his Word.

“Well how do I enter into his rest?” You may ask. That’s a good question! We enter into his rest by faith, by taking God at his Word and believing what he says and allowing the truth of it to become settled in our hearts. We enter into his rest by continuing to walk the path that he has set before us until he redirects it, regardless of whether or not it makes sense to our natural minds. We rest in him, being fully persuaded that that which he has promised he is able also to perform! (Romans 4:21)

Did you ever notice that Jesus was sleeping in the boat while his disciples struggled against the storm? The devil didn’t stir up the storm for Jesus’ sake, but rather for the disciple’s sake, because he knew that they struggled with fear!

The disciples desperately toiled, but Jesus understood his Father’s promise of protection in Psalm 91, and so he slept. When the terrified disciples woke him up screaming, “Don’t you even care that we perish!’ He rebuked them for their unbelief. (Mark 4:35-40)

Oh, we struggle so unnecessarily in so many things, and we waste so much of our time worrying when it could be used for something else. God wants us free so that we can be productive for his Kingdom and have peace. There is a labor that we must endure, but it is not the labor of this world. We labor to enter into a condition of resting in faith; we labor by casting down imaginations that exalt themselves against the knowledge of the truth of God’s Word.

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Isaiah 26:3)