Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Spirit of Excellence

“That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ…” (Philippians 1:10)

I once heard someone say, “Excellence of ministry they have, but excellence of spirit, they have not!” This has stuck with me over the years, but it also brings us to ask, what does God consider excellence?

The Pharisees were a people of “excellence;” they paid their tithes and gave offerings; they wore fine clothes and did all the right things. They were meticulous and upstanding members of their communities; they were the ones in leadership positions, and kept the commandments of the law blameless. Many of them were wealthy businessmen, and of excellent reputation among those of power and influence. But yet, with all of these things, they were deficient in the eyes of God (Matthew 5:20), and Jesus called them hypocrites, children of the devil, a generation of vipers. (Matthew 23:33, John 8:44)

He rebuked them vehemently, but when John the Baptist came out of the wilderness wearing camel skin and eating bugs, Jesus said of him that there was no greater prophet in all of the Old Testament (Mark 1:6, Luke 7:24-28).

What made the Pharisees so debased in the eyes of God? They would be considered righteous by most of us today, and John the Baptist would have been considered unkempt and extreme. Most of us would not have given him the time of day; we would say of him, “Who sent you?” “What famous minister do you know?” “What church do you belong to?” “By whose authority do you speak?” (Matthew 21:23)

My friend, where do we set the standard?

In order to understand what excellence is, we may first understand what it is not. Many of the things that are important to us as men, are repulsive to God, or are simply not high on His priority list. For one, excellence is not “busy-ness.” I saw a bumper sticker once that said, “Jesus is coming, look busy!” You may laugh, but this is what many of us are doing. In being “busy,” we can miss the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to our hearts, and we can miss His will.

Another counterfeit of excellence is perfection; we can spend so much time worrying about the details that we can miss God in the middle of it. God isn’t looking for perfection; He is looking for our hearts, and obedience (I Samuel 15:22).

The Pharisees missed the time of their visitation because they discerned not the excellence that was in their midst. They were expecting the King of the ages to come in royal apparel, and to fit their definition of royalty, and they were offended by a group of men that would not even wash their hands before they ate (Matthew 15:2).

The Pharisees were high-minded and critical; they were wrapped up in position and appearance, but neglected the weightier matters of the law, which were judgment, mercy and faith (Matthew 23:23). They had no power or relationship with God, and in fact, were offended by those that God had sent.

Esther had an excellent spirit, and when she was in the king’s court, she was content with what she had, and demanded nothing of the king. She was not there to impress him with a vast array of Jewelry and perfume, but rather a quiet and gentle spirit; the King recognized this quality in her, and it drew his heart (Esther 2:15, 17, I Peter 3:4). It was in sharp contrast to the incessant demands of the previous queen, and no doubt the majority of his concubines.

David killed Goliath with a sling and a stone because he had an excellent spirit within him. He brought God his best (I Samuel 17:39-40), and God used it to do what no other man in Israel could do.

What does God require of us? (Micah 6:6-8)

God spoke to me last year and said, “I only want your best, not the best!” That is what He is looking for; God will make up the difference with grace (Romans 4:16). He will transform and empower our best to move mountains and to slay giants.

When the widow brought her two mites and dropped them in the offering plate, Jesus said, “She has given more than they all.” Why? Because she gave her best, while the Pharisees were too busy competing with one another (Mark 12:41-44).

If God has told us to do something, He is only requiring us to bring our best in obedience to Him. If God wanted man’s “expertise,” He would call on those that are mighty and noble to do the job; but this is not what he has done, for He has called you and me (I Corinthians 1:26-29).

Saturday, October 23, 2010


“…but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.” (Philippians 3:13)

Most of us, if we have walked with the Lord for any length of time have had our share of battles, and some of them might not seem to have turned out so well in our favor. The wounds and feelings of perplexity can at times run deep, leaving us feeling defeated, confused and without much hope for the future.

This is the very thing that the Apostle Paul, by the Holy Spirit, was referring to when he declared “…but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind…” (Philippians 3:13) Why would he do this? Because he understood what it was like to be battle-weary; he also knew that it would be impossible to move forward while holding onto the baggage of yesterday. The failures and even the successes of yesterday can be like anchors around our ankles that must be removed in order to run the race that God has set before us.

As a young man, Moses had destiny burning in His heart (Acts 7:25). He had seen by the Spirit, through the eyes of faith, the children of Israel departing out of Egypt; he saw the same thing that Joseph had seen four hundred years before (Hebrews 11:22). Moses believed in the calling upon his life; he was young and determined, and full of zeal, and he understood that God had a plan to deliver His people (Acts 7:25). He hid these things in his heart until he felt the time was right, and then went into action. But he failed miserably (Acts 7:23-29), and then fled into the wilderness, no doubt defeated in his heart.

For forty years Moses kept sheep in the land of Midian (Exodus 3:1), and every day, had the opportunity to think; “Where did I go wrong? “Where did I miss it?” “What happened to the great calling upon my life?” “I know that God put something in my heart, but my people are still in bondage, and now I’m an old man!” In perplexity, Moses resigned himself to retire in the land of Midian, and to probably die there with his family and with his sheep.

But God had a plan all along, and in the proper season, He came to Moses; “I know that you are broken, Moses, but what do you have left?” (Exodus 4:2) That’s what God is asking; what do you have left? “Things may have not have turned out the way that you had planned, but what do you have left in your hand?” What Moses had left was sufficient for God to part the sea and free His people; what Moses had left was sufficient to destroy a nation and to fulfill God’s eternal plan. God never forgot, but Moses had to forget something; he had to forget the ways of Egypt, he had to forget his own abilities, and now God was demanding that he forget his past failures and go back to Egypt.

My friend, do not ask yourself what you have lost, but rather what remains, for it is what remains that God can use to change a situation, to change a nation.

In the beginning of the New Testament (Luke 1:5-20), before the birth of John the Baptist, Zacharias was high priest; he and his wife Elizabeth had prayed for a son in their younger years, as she was barren. But year after year went by and still no son was born to them; Elizabeth was now passed the age of Childbearing and Zacharias was an old man.

In their younger years, they were excited about the things of God; they knew how God had visited Sarah; they knew how He visited Hannah (Genesis 21:1-2, I Samuel 1:19). So they got into agreement and prayed. But over the years things changed; they had forgotten about the prayer of their youth, and when an angel of God appeared to Zacharias at the appointed time, Zacharias was cynical, his heart hardened in unbelief. It didn’t matter to him that his prayers were in the process of being answered, for during the years of waiting, when his faith should have been growing stronger, he had hardened his heart. He argued with God; “No, you don’t understand, I am an old man!” “It’s over for me!” Can you imagine? Explaining to God that He doesn’t understand! “Whereby shall I know this?” (Luke 1:18) God had to close his mouth in order to keep him from hindering His plan with words of unbelief (Luke 1:20, James 3:6).

All of us have had failures, and these things can get down on the inside of us, and if we’re not careful, they can sabotage our faith. Hebrews says not to harden our hearts as in the “day of provocation” in the wilderness (Hebrews 3:7-8). The things of God, most of the time, do not come out of heaven without a fight, and sometimes these battles can be brutal (Isaiah 9:5). Satan will fight vigorously for every inch of territory that we purpose to take; we can be assured of that, but we will win if we will not quit! Isaiah declared that he would “set his face as flint,” and would never be ashamed (Isaiah 50:7).

If God has spoken something, it is as good as done, regardless of what circumstances look like, and He will visit you in the proper season. He will perform the thing which He has promised, if we keep our hearts tender and receptive to the Holy Spirit, and continue in faith, love and obedience.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

That Good Part

“But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42)

Have you ever wondered why everything seems to work out for some believers? It seems that with some Christians, favor, blessing and peace seem to follow them wherever they go (Psalm 23:6), and though there are challenges, there always seems to be an inner strength and joy in the midst of every trial.

Obviously, every believer has challenges; in fact, the closer a person walks with God, the greater the intensity of the attacks that will come against him (Hebrews 4:9-10). Mary sought hard after the Lord, and was determined to let nothing stand in her way, and yet she came under attack for spending time with Jesus.

Sometimes people will get angry when a man or a woman has chosen the better part; Cain killed Abel because Abel sought hard after the Lord, and the blessing of God was evident in his life because of it. Cain was envious, and it drove him to commit murder and bring an even greater curse upon himself (Genesis 4:11-12).

King David was a man after the heart of God, and when they brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, David worshipped and danced before the Lord with all of his might (II Samuel 6:14). However, Michal, David’s wife, despised him in her heart; she accused him of wrongdoing and attacked his motives; but David refused to bow to her intimidation. God is jealous over these things, and He intervened on David’s behalf (II Samuel 6:16, 20-23).

To Martha, Mary seemed irresponsible and lazy, and as Martha worked feverishly do get all the serving done, Mary was just sitting around “doing nothing” at the feet of Jesus. Martha was sure that Jesus would certainly understand and take her side; but He didn’t. In fact, instead of thanking Martha for a job well done, and sending Mary on her way to go help her, He turned and rebuked her (Luke 10:41).

When Jesus and His disciples were crossing the sea by boat, a great storm arose, and Jesus’ disciples were cumbered about; they woke Him up screaming “Master, careth thou not that we perish?” (Mark 4:38) They accused Him of being negligent, irresponsible and uncaring because he was sleeping, and felt no sense of urgency to wake up because of the storm. When Jesus did wake up, He rebuked them for their unbelief (Mark 4:40).

Martha didn’t understand that there was a better way when she ran up to the Lord; “Lord, careth thou not that my sister has left me alone…?” (Luke 10:40)

There are times that we become cumbered about with the cares of life, but one thing is needful. Jesus told the Pharisees, in regard to His “praise and worship team;” “If these (disciples) shall hold their peace, the stones themselves would immediately cry out!” (Luke 19:40) You see, Jesus was present in the house, and if Martha only understood that if God could raise up stones, He could most certainly raise up others to wait on the tables.

A believer that has chosen that good part is not concerned about the opinions of men, but only the opinion of God. You see, Mary could have succumbed to the pressure of Martha, and gotten up from the feet of Jesus to go “help,” but instead, she ignored her. The devil will use people to apply pressure to get us out of that secret place with God (Psalm 91:1), but we must learn to ignore them and send them on their way!

Jesus was preaching to multitudes and performing miracles, and then suddenly He sent the people away and went up into a mountain to pray (Mark 6:45-46). He was jealous of His time with the Father, and knew better than to allow the pressures and demands of others to keep Him from it.

Am I advocating laziness? By no means! Serving God will never be accomplished through laziness, but there is a yoke that is easy, and a burden that is light. Jesus commanded us to take this yoke upon us, and to put off the heavy yoke that comes as we labor and toil in our own strength (Matthew 11:30).

Peter learned this lesson on a fishing trip! He and his men were fishing all night long; they labored and toiled, but to no avail, for they caught nothing. They were tired and were cleaning their equipment when Jesus came to them and told them to get out there and put their nets back in the water (Luke 5:4). Peter could have said “No! We’ve worked all night and we’re tired! You’re not even a fisherman, what do you know?” But instead, Peter obeyed the word of Jesus and the boat was filled with fish (Luke 5:5-7). When we cooperate with God, the burden is removed.

It is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18), and He has promised that when we choose the better part, that it shall never be taken away (Luke 10:42). Heaven and earth are designed to accommodate us as we pursue the things of the Kingdom of God, and no man or circumstance can take it away; only we can give it up!

Monday, August 9, 2010


“And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” (I Samuel 15:22)

All men want to be free, but true freedom comes with a price; the price of obedience! Desiring freedom from bondage is always universal, for even the gentiles (unbelievers) want to be out of debt, have their bills paid, and have a good faithful wife, a good marriage, successful children, healthy bodies, and even eternal life! (Matthew 6:32)

For many years I wanted to be free from alcohol and drugs, a spirit of anger and rage, and a corrupt and deceitful mind. I tried many of man’s “fixes” and programs, but none of them worked. Sure, I stayed “dry” for periods of time, but I was not free. Listen, brothers and sisters; if you have to go to AA meetings in order to stay free from alcohol, then your life still revolves around alcohol! Can you see that? God wants His people to be free!

Freedom came for me in 1991, when I said, “Not my will but thine!” I replaced my old passions with a new passion; seeking God and winning souls! If we are born again, we will have a passion for souls, for that is the very heartbeat of God! (John 3:16)

When it comes to obeying God, many times we confuse our intentions with obedience. “Well, I want to do that, or I will someday!” But Jesus said that we would be rewarded according to our works, not our intentions (Revelation 2:23). In speaking to the Church of Sardis, Jesus rebuked them because they thought that they were alive, but they were in fact, dead. Jesus warned them and gave them space to repent; He told them, “I have not found thy works perfect before God.” (Revelation 3:2) To the church of Ephesus, he declared to them that they had left their first love.

Did He say to the Ephesians, “Love me again in your hearts?” No! He commanded them to repent and do the first works, or He would remove them (Revelation 2:4-5). What does this mean? It means that He would remove his presence and his blessing, and they would become a dead religious icon that would no longer contain the light of the gospel, but rather would be turned unto Satan and the works of darkness.

Many have once walked powerfully with God, but over the years have fallen into a “routine,” and stopped seeking Him diligently. But God is not into routines; He calls routines, and those that are involved in them, dead and backslidden. You say, “Well, Brother Tom, God looks on the heart!” My friend, faith without works is dead! (James 2:20)

In the book of Revelation, Jesus declares that those who will inherit the Kingdom of God are those that overcome, and keep the first works unto the end (Revelation 2:26). What are your first works? What did Jesus put in your heart?

Jesus said, “Go ye…” (Mark 16:15) Is this command on the forefront of our thinking, or have we backslidden to the mindset of the gentiles, having our own problems and issues on our minds all the time? (Matthew 6:32, Colossians 3:2)

God has imparted into us gifts and talents; what is your gift? What is your talent? Are you using it to further the Kingdom, or have you buried it in the “busyness” of life? (Matthew 25:18) Have you been afraid of man? Have you allowed the opinions of others to cause you to become unfruitful? Are you struggling? Do you desire to be free? Freedom comes when we obey; it comes from obeying God possibly in an area that seems completely unrelated to the problem.

In running from God’s call, Jonah jumped on a ship and brought God’s judgment in the form of a storm (Jonah 1:4). This storm did not affect only Jonah, but everyone on the ship! The men of the ship rowed hard; they labored and toiled and did everything they knew as professional sailors in order to save the ship, but to no avail (Jonah 1:13). The storm did not cease until Jonah, the man of God, called upon the Lord, and the men (and Jonah) obeyed what God said to do! (Jonah 1:15)

Men always look to natural solutions, but in the case of God’s servants, the solution is not always what it may seem. How are we to know? We know because we spend time with God! We talk to Him, and He talks to us! And when He talks to us, we must remember what He said, and do it!

That’s why we get into trouble when we judge other believers! Jonah’s sailors were not bad sailors, they were good sailors; they couldn’t save the ship because there was another issue. If we have gotten into a routine, we will continue to serve God the way that we are used to. However, what once worked for us may not work any longer, because God has moved on!

Has God said “Go to Nineveh, but yet we want to go to Tarsus?” What once was a good thing may now have become a dead, religious work because God is finished with it! When God finishes with something, we had better be finished with it too.

When the children of Israel sojourned in the wilderness, God led them with fire by night and a cloud by day (Exodus 40:36-37). When the cloud stayed, they stayed, and when it moved, they would close up camp and move with God. But can you picture them saying (I can), “We like it here!” “We’re not moving!” Well, God would have moved on without them, and they would have been destroyed by the enemy (I Peter 5:8). Disobedience always causes defeat, pain and destruction, but obedience brings freedom and deliverance, joy, and pleasures forevermore! (Psalm 16:11)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Overcoming Faith

“That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Hebrews 6:12)

Most of us have heard the saying, “Well, he thinks the world revolves around him!” But did you know that the world does revolve around every man or woman of faith?” That’s right! Because God’s Word is the center of the universe; it upholds all things, and by it all things consist (Hebrews 1:3, Colossians 1:17). It is not the other way around, and when God gives a dream or a vision, natural things are subservient (Psalm 119:90-91, Judges 5:20).

It takes faith to bring God’s promise to pass in our lives, and it takes faith to confront the powers of darkness. Many times we think it will “just happen” because God has spoken something to us, but we must agree with Him and say it also, and then go after it with intent (Matthew 11:12, James 2:20). If this were not the case, then the children of Israel would never have wandered in the wilderness for forty years. God’s Word is a seed, and it produces a harvest according to the law of seedtime and harvest (Genesis 8:22); this can be a long process, but if we exercise patience, we will see it come to pass (Hebrews 6:12).

God has never stopped releasing His faith; from Genesis to Revelation He has been declaring the fulfillment of His promise through all of His prophets since the foundation of the world (Luke 1:70). Even in the face of utter impossibility because of the unbelief and rebellion of His people, God did not waiver (Numbers 14:21).

Before Noah’s day, men lived for a very long time, and had a lot of time to become bored and cause trouble! What did God do about this? He declared that man’s days would henceforth be one hundred and twenty years (Genesis 6:3). However, this would not prove to be instantaneous, but instead would gradually decline over a period of generations until the time of Moses (Deuteronomy 34:7). But God didn’t scratch His head when Noah lived another three hundred and fifty years after the flood, for a total of nine hundred and fifty years (Genesis 9:28-29). Can you imagine the Father talking to the Son? “Jesus, is it really going to work?” “I thought it was going to work right away!” “What do we do now?”

Many of us don’t see the fulfillment of certain things in our lives because we have no patience to endure; we stop declaring and believing before the seed even breaks ground, much less produces fruit. The waves and the sea roar, and we, like Peter, begin to sink, and Jesus reaches out His hand to us when we cry out to him, and puts us back in the boat again. But we don’t have to stay in the boat!

Joshua was fighting a battle one day, and he needed just a little more time to finish the job. He
didn’t think within himself, “We must stop fighting because the sun is going down!” But Joshua knew that God had given him an important assignment, and that it must be completed; he spoke to the sun and commanded it to stand still, and it did! (Joshua 10:12-13) You see, normally the earth and Joshua would revolve around the sun, but not so this day, for on this day the sun would revolve around Joshua! For Joshua had God’s plan in his heart, and His Word in his mouth (Joshua 1:8).

It is the same for us today! That is why the antichrist cannot be revealed and come to power until the church is removed from the earth, because our faith holds it all back (II Thessalonians 2:7), and will continue to do so until we are removed. Praise God! When wicked rulers come to power in a nation, it is because the faith of the church has gotten weak, and God’s people are distracted with other things (Mark 4:14-20). Don’t ever think that any president or king has the power to stop the hand of God concerning His plan; it is us that become the hindrance by our apathy and unbelief. God will turn the heart of the king (Proverbs 21:1), or remove them from office if necessary in order to bring His will to pass, if we abide in faith (Psalm 105:14).

Do you think that modern technology is wonderful? But understand that for one purpose only has knowledge been increased in the last days; it is for the purpose of God (Daniel 12:4), so that scripture may be fulfilled and the gospel preached throughout all nations. Even the very continued existence of the nations is hinged upon God’s eternal plan, for as soon as our job is done, it’s all over, my friend; Jesus returns for His church! (Matthew 24:14)

I have heard many in the church resigning themselves to the “will of God” in that “America is going down, what can we do?” “God is judging her!” No! If God is judging anyone, it will be us, His church (I Peter 4:17), not the heathen; they have already been judged and condemned! (John 3:18, 3:36, 16:11). We have been entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation (II Corinthians 5:18), and the state of our nation is our responsibility (II Chronicles 7:14). I challenge you today; what are you doing with what God has given you? What are you doing with your talents, your vision, and your faith?

In the days of Eli, the lamp of God went out because Eli was lazy and indifferent. His sons were wicked, and they became priests, rulers of the people (I Samuel 2:12-17, 22). Eli was content with that, for he had no backbone to take hold of God’s Word and confront the status quo of the day. Many of our preachers are like that today!

We have a work to do until Jesus returns, and it is not to sit around while the wicked triumph, praise God! That is not the commission of an overcoming church; but God has commanded us to be strong in faith, bringing glory to Him!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


“And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.”
(II Timothy 2:5)

There is a common misconception among many Christians that if something happens than it “must have been the will of God.” But nothing could be farther from the truth! God’s eternal purpose will be fulfilled according to His Word, but His will, much of the time, is not.

God said in His Word that He is not willing that any should perish, and yet the majority of people will die and go to hell (Matthew 7:13-14). Why is this? It is important that we understand that Satan is the god of this world system (II Corinthians 4:4), and that he must be forced to relinquish authority. His mission is to steal, to kill and to destroy, and if he is not forcibly subdued, he will not stop; it is that simple.

“Well, what do you mean, brother?” “God is God!” “He is sovereign!”

Well, yes He is sovereign, but in His sovereignty He has delegated authority to us, His church (Luke 10:18-19, Mark 13:34). It is through faith that we subdue principalities and powers (demonic spirits), and it is through faith that we obtain God’s promises (Hebrews 11:33).

Jesus never said that it would be easy, but we must settle it deep in our hearts that we are going to persevere and win, no matter what the cost or how difficult things seem to get. He has called us to be soldiers, and has given us the earth to subdue for His purposes.

God sent Moses to the children of Israel to free them from the hand of Pharaoh, yet it was not an easy process for the Israelites. Satan attacked the Israelites at the time of Moses’ birth, laying upon them hard bondage (Exodus 1:8-14). But eighty years later, as soon as God began to move Moses into position, the enemy pulled out all the stops; if things were difficult before, they were now grueling and unbearable (Exodus 5:4-18). Satan knew that the time of their deliverance was at hand, and he made their lives a living hell in anticipation of the event. He did this to wear them out, and it worked. But was God responsible for these attacks? No, God sent Moses as a deliverer!

When Jesus was born, the Messiah had arrived; but there was anything but peace on earth as hundreds of babies and young children were slaughtered (Matthew 2:16-18). Did God “allow” this, or somehow condone it? Was this the will of God? No, my friend, but we must understand that we are in a battle, and we are deep in enemy territory.

Perhaps one of the most tragic but compelling examples of this principle can be found in our last century as Biblical prophecy continues to be fulfilled. God began gathering the Jewish people out of all the nations wherein they had been scattered for 2,000 years, and was calling them home to the land of Israel (Ezekiel 37:1-14, Luke 21:24). The nation of Israel was about to be reborn in fulfillment of scripture, but was this transition easy?

Satan knew about the promise of God throughout the scriptures and he would do everything possible to stop it from coming to pass. He would stir up a man named Adolf Hitler, and attempt to wipe the Jews off the face of the earth before God’s promise could come to pass. Satan failed in his attempt, but millions died in gas chambers and on the battlefield; the suffering was immeasurable.

We must not let the weariness of yesterday to keep us out of the promise of God for today. When things get difficult, and the pressure intense, we may ask ourselves, “What are we doing wrong?” But many times it is because we are doing something right! We must judge in our own hearts (I John 3:21).

Jesus cried out in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Father, if there be any other way!” (Matthew 26:39) But there was no other way; if there were another way, Jesus would have known it, and God would have simply “taken care of it,” like so many people think that He can just do.

We must understand that God Himself must operate in a “lawful” manner. Even the devil knows this, and that is why Jesus had to go to the cross.

The Lord spoke to me several years ago and said, “Did you know that there is no one in heaven or earth that is not subject to authority?” I asked Him how could that be, as the Father is greater than all, and He gives not account of any of His matters (John 10:29, Job 33:13). He said to me, “I have made myself accountable to my Word, and to my covenant!” (Psalm 138:2, Hebrews 6:13)

Someone might say, “But God’s not legalistic, He gives grace, and understands what I’m going through!” That’s true, but the devil is legalistic, and he will tear up everything that is not founded on the Word of God (Matthew 7:24-27); he will take advantage of every legal “loophole” to bring destruction and hardship.

God’s principles work to our advantage when we believe and do things according to His Word, but they become a curse to the wicked, and to those who are disobedient and stumble at the Word (I Peter 2:8). The scriptures declare that God cannot be mocked, and that whatsoever a man sows, he also will reap (Galatians 6:7).

As the nations of the earth are being shaken in preparation for the greatest event in the history of mankind (Hebrews 10:37), let us take refuge through faith on that which cannot be moved or shaken (Hebrews 12:26-28); our faith, firmly fixed upon the Promises of God!

Friday, April 16, 2010


When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (I Corinthians 13:11)

When we first come to the Lord, everything is wonderful. God seems so close to us, and it doesn’t take much to get our prayers answered. We can be foolish and careless, and make many mistakes, and God has mercy on us, but as we mature, things begin to change. God begins to require something of us. We have to learn to “live by faith” and put away the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21), and as we continue to grow, we develop into a relationship that is centered on God’s plan for our lives, and less on our own.

These are stages that every believer will go through, and even more so if one is called to a five-fold ministry office (Ephesians 4:11-12), as the requirement and accountability is greater (James 3:1). We move in stages, from glory to glory; from infants to maturity as sons and daughters of God (II Corinthians 3:18). God desires to reveal Himself to us and invests His heart into it. He is not aloof to us because He is God, but rather He is sensitive, and cares deeply about our relationship with Him.

God is also jealous, and the closer we get to Him, the more sensitive He becomes to certain things, and the more He takes offenses personally. Sometimes we may think, “God doesn’t care what I think, because He’s God!” But that is not so; Moses was a man that was close to God, and delighted to know His ways, his heart (Psalm 103:7, Exodus 33:18) (See also Psalm 25:4). God revealed Himself to Moses in a very personal way, insomuch that there “arose not another prophet in Israel” who knew God intimately on this level (Deuteronomy 34:10). But even so, one transgression cost Moses the Promised Land, and because of this thing, he would never be permitted to enter.

Many have wondered, “Why was God so hard on Moses for one seemingly ‘small’ act of disobedience?” (Numbers 20:12, Deuteronomy 3:23-26) But it was much more than simple disobedience; God wasn’t angry with Moses because he “struck” the rock instead of “speaking” to it, or because he didn’t believe that God could perform the miracle of bringing forth water. It was more sinister than that, an insidious form of unbelief that destroys men’s souls.

Moses had seen God do miracle after miracle; He had met with God face to face, “as a man speaketh unto his friend” (Exodus 33:11), and performed countless miracles in Egypt. He was a co-laborer with God in parting the Red Sea, and it is for certain that he had absolutely no problem believing that God could bring forth water out of a rock. But what he didn’t believe was that God was still able to bring him into the Promised Land.

You see, the people were so rebellious and hardhearted that Moses himself had lost heart. Because of their rebellion he didn’t see any way that God could ever fulfill His promise to bring them into the land, and he began to grow bitter toward the people, and even against the Lord. He nurtured this complaint until, for a moment, he didn’t care what God thought, or anyone else for that matter; “It’s over because of these rebels!” he thought in his heart. He hardened his heart against the Lord, and then blatantly provoked him to His face, and that before all of Israel. His actions bordered on Hebrews 10:29, and God took it very personally.

My friend, with knowledge comes responsibility, and accountability. We are accountable for what we know as believers; If God has revealed something of Himself to us, then we must apply it and incorporate it into our lives.

An atheist will claim that he does not believe in God, but yet God declares in His Word that He does not believe in atheists! (Romans 1:19-21, II Peter 3:5, II Timothy 4:3-4) An “atheist” is someone who, when knowledge was revealed to them, chose, by a sovereign act of their will, to turn away from what they knew to be true.

“Because that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God…” (Romans 1:21)

Knowledge from the heart of God is precious (I Samuel 3:1), and God doesn’t carelessly throw it around (Matthew 7:6). He will reveal Himself to those that seek after Him with all their hearts; but those that desire to push Him away will slip further into darkness.

“Well, it’s better to be ignorant, than to be accountable for so much!” someone might say (Matthew 25:24-25). But when Jesus revealed to His disciples the responsibility of marriage, and that they were not permitted to put away their wives for any reason but fornication (sexual sin), they cried out, “It’s better for a man not to get married then, Jesus!” (Matthew 19:10) (Paraphrased)

But what did Jesus say? He explained to them that there are benefits that come with marriage, benefits of which not all men can do without (Matthew 19:11). So there are benefits that come with knowledge, but also responsibility. Remember the man who buried his talent (Matthew 25:25-26). Jesus was a “hard man,” who required an account of stewardship.

We are encouraged to not allow the things that we have learned to slip, nor to be “forgetful hearers.” The salvation of the Lord has been revealed to us through His Word, and we must guard and protect it with all diligence!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

God's Faithfulness

That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:” (Hebrews 6:18)

Did you know that it is impossible for God to lie? In fact, the Bible says that if God were to fail to make good on any one of His promises, even once, for any one person, at any time in history, than He would literally cease to exist as God, and all of creation would also cease to exist (Hebrews 1:3, 6:13, 18). Therefore, we can be fully assured that what He has promised, He is also able to perform, if we can only believe (Mark 9:23, Luke 1:45, Romans 4:21).

Jesus told us that as soon as we receive the Word of God, that Satan will immediately launch attacks in order to uproot it out of our hearts. He knows that he cannot stop the Word from bearing fruit in our lives unless he can get the Word out of us. He attempts to accomplish this through affliction and persecution, lusts of other things and the cares (worries and concerns) of this world (Mark 4:14-20).

This is wisdom for us, but also an encouragement, as it demonstrates to us that we have a part to play, a choice concerning our own fruitfulness. He told us that those of a violent (fierce, forceful, and passionate) spirit will lay hold and possess the things of the Kingdom (Matthew 11:12, James 1:6-7).

Joseph received dreams from the Lord, but the more he attempted to pursue after the plan of God and to do what was right, the farther away from the promise he seemed to get. He had favor in his own house, but then he was sold into slavery, and when he finally began to increase in favor and authority in Potiphar’s house in Egypt, he was suddenly thrown into prison (Genesis 39:1-20). I can hear Joseph now, “It’s over for me!” “Did I really hear God?” But through all of this, Joseph never let go of his faith, and he never stopped dreaming and believing.

Moses was a man with a vision; he had it in his heart to deliver the children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt, and thought that his brethren would understand his calling, but they did not! (Acts 7:27) He killed an Egyptian, and then fled into the land of Midian where he remained for forty years. When God finally visited him, he was no longer the young man of zeal and fleshly confidence; “Who am I to go to Pharaoh?” he replied to God. “Send Aaron!” When Moses had sent himself forty years earlier, he killed one Egyptian, but when he was sent by the hand of God, the whole Egyptian army was wiped out, and a nation left in ruins (Acts 7:23-36).

What has the Lord spoken to you? What dream has He put in your heart? What has He said to you through prophecy, in His Word, or through dreams and visions? Don’t ask God anymore about these things, as far as He’s concerned, it’s already settled. But go back to your notes
(I Timothy 1:18) and allow what God has said to get big on the inside of you, just as He told Abraham to look at the stars, “So shall thy seed be…” (Genesis 15:5) Then get forceful in your faith; rise up with vigor and authority, and begin to declare it done! (Job 22:28) Don’t allow the devil to mess with you; beat him senseless with the Word of God, and run him out, just as Abraham ran the fowls off the sacrifice (Genesis 15:11), and then obey God in whatever He tells you to do!

David was anointed by the prophet Samuel when he was a young boy. He was destined to be the king of Israel, but it would yet be many years before he would see the fulfillment of the promise. First, he was given favor before King Saul, and had become his armor bearer. David must have thought, “This is it!” “I will be brought up in favor with the king, and he will someday turn the kingdom over to me!” But it would not be so. In envy, David would be rejected by King Saul, and eventually forced to flee as a fugitive.

My friend, if we pursue hard after the Lord, He will even cause our own mistakes and blunders to work for our benefit, and for His divine purpose (Romans 8:28). God will make the impossible possible for us if we continue to believe!

Saturday, February 6, 2010


“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient…” (Romans 1:28)

My friend, we must guard our hearts in these last days, and earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3). The word “reprobate” basically means “unfit for use,” or a mind that lacks the ability to discern between what is holy and what is profane, and what is clean and what is unclean. (Ezekiel 22:26)

Paul pleaded with the church and gave us strong admonition, in that he warned us that the unrighteousness would not inherit the kingdom of God. In order to insure that there would be no question in regard to the intent of what the Holy Spirit was saying, he prefaced it with these words, “Be not deceived…”

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God? Be not deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters (putting anything else before God), adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind (homosexuals), nor thieves nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the Kingdom of God.”

"And such were some of you;but ye are washed..." (I Corinthians 6:9-11)

We know that wickedness and deception would abound in the last days, for the Holy Spirit forewarned us of these things (II Timothy 3:1-5), but Paul’s plea was to us, the church, the people of God. The apostle Paul, by the Holy Spirit, warned us not to be taken in by the subtle and intellectually enticing lies of the devil in the last days. (I Timothy 4:1)

But yet, even with these stern warnings, we see these things all around us, even in our pulpits! A blatant disregard for the Word of God, and instead, a gospel based more on public opinion and political correctness.

“Well, that’s not love, brother!” someone might say. “Didn’t Jesus tell us to be “tolerant” and to love people?” But, my friend, it is always “love” to tell someone the truth; to warn them of impending destruction and eternal judgment is an act of love, especially if you are a preacher! It is never an act of love to hold back the truth because you think someone might get angry with you! In fact, that is incomprehensibly selfish, and will bring God’s judgment upon you! (Ezekiel 33:6, I Corinthians 9:16) In Jesus’ parable of the rich man that died and went to hell, even this wicked man had a burning desire to warn his family of that terrible place (Luke 16:27-28).

Jesus Christ has delivered us from every kind of sin and perversion. “Well, I was born that way!” Yes, there probably is no doubt that you were, as we were all born with certain weaknesses and sins in our flesh as a result of the fall (Genesis 3:6-7, Galatians 3:10, John 9:34), and that is the reason that the Father sent Jesus to the cross, and the reason that we must be born again! (Isaiah 53:4-5, I John 3:5-8) If we are born-again we have inherited new DNA! Spiritual DNA trumps natural DNA, and we are new creatures in Christ Jesus! (II Corinthians 5:17) Praise God, that I am no longer a drunkard, a fornicator, an idolater or reviler! Such was I, but I am no longer! (I Corinthians 6:11)

The gospel is all about freedom, my friend, and choices. Through Jesus Christ, Satan has been defeated, and we are once again given a choice. God sent His Son in order to destroy Satan’s power and bring deliverance to the captive; to set at liberty them that are crushed (Luke 4:18), and to give us newness of life (Romans 6:4).

Let us be sober in these days, and understand that the road to life is oftentimes difficult and always narrow, and sometimes we must make difficult choices. Jesus commanded us to “take up our cross” and follow Him (Matthew 16:24), and that “through much tribulation” we must enter into the Kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). The scripture also says that “we are made partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.” (Hebrews 3:14)

In the book of Revelation, Jesus warned the New Testament churches about many of these things. He was tough and demanding, and required repentance from lukewarmness, half-heartedness, and from “tolerance” of false doctrine and fornication. (Revelation 2:1-29, 3:1-22)

Our God has not changed, only the “times” have changed. The world has gotten progressively more perverse, just as God said it would, but let us hold forth the faithful Word as we have been taught, and continue with patience to run the race that has been set before us! (Hebrews 12:1)