Signs and Wonders

Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. (Acts 14:3, NKJV)

Have you ever been overwhelmed by the presence of the Lord? The Bible speaks of many times and many people being physically overcome by His presence. The Lord grants to us signs and wonders to exalt His word of grace. His glorious presence declares to us His wonderful name and the greatness of His power. Jonathan and Sarah Edwards often spoke of being swallowed up in God. What a great place to be—totally submerged into His essence and goodness. Seeing and experiencing the miraculous manifestation of His grace through signs and wonders and His overwhelming presence. At times He comes in as a gentle whisper, and at other times like a heavy cloud full of showers of mercy. At times He comes as a calming breeze, and at other times like rushing wind.

As I’m writing, I’m reflecting on the amazing time in the presence of the Lord tonight in our church. As the singing was closing tonight, it was as if the heavy, rain filled clouds of His glory descended upon us. The brightness of His radiance as the unencumbered noon day sun was shining with brilliance, even though the cloud of His glory was upon us. How diversely excellent that the cloud of His glory would fill the room, and yet simultaneously His brightness would be so immense.

I was overcome, caught up in the Spirit. It was if I could hear the spiritual songs of heaven and the joyful singing around the city of God. In the natural, our worship leader had stopped singing and playing, but in the spirit I, and those present had stepped into a heavenly world where God was revealing Himself. At one moment it was as if the veil between the natural world and the heavenly world became so thin, and not only were the sounds of heaven perceived spiritually, but heard with our own ears. Myself and others began to hear the heavenly music and heavenly choirs singing and playing around us. It was distinct and noticeable singing and a melodious heavenly music. Several were overcome with joy and laughter, others fell to the ground under His mighty presence. Still others found themselves sinking lower and lower to the ground as His glory and Heavenly chorus filled the room. Multiple were instantly healed of various ailments. Later in the service, I asked if others had heard the sounds. Many raised their hands and spoke of hearing angelic singing and music, each describing the heavenly sound. Others reported also feeling the intensity of His radiant beams shining upon us. Even the sound operator was reporting how he was confused by the music, trying to identify where it was coming from in the sound system—thinking it might be something left on mistakenly—and yet he could find no source. How wonderfully He came and ministered to the hungry hearts and gave fresh bread and water to those who would receive Him tonight.

It had been my plan to share a pre-planned excerpt about Maria Woodworth-Etter’s ministry this evening, as we had been studying revival history. As God would have it, His orchestration of the service was quite overwhelming, leaving us in awe and incapable of doing anything but joining with the heavenly choir in worship. As the Spirit permitted, I was able to read this excerpt later in the service. It was as if God decided to illustrate the wonderful graces of His presence Himself, and the excerpt I was to read became just the added blessing. God truly demonstrated for us the reality of this excerpt regarding the signs and wonders of His grace. Here’s the passage from Maria Woodworth-Etter’s book “Signs and Wonders:”
The heavenly choir was glorious. It was if heaven had come down and the angelic choir had joined in with the redeemed of the Lord, having many invisible instruments. The large platform was filled with baptized saints, with their bright faces looking up to God, holding up holy hands. Bright lights were often seen over them. Jesus was seen by many of them standing or walking in their midst. Musical instruments (spiritual) were heard away back to the rear of the tent. A thousand or more were present. A holy stillness and a spirit of awe settled over the audience; they knew that God was in the midst. Two or three different times I asked the people to answer me honestly, in the fear of God, if they heard different instruments of music from the platform. The sounds were not given on instruments but by the Spirit. I knew they had heard it. I asked all who had heard the heavenly music or instruments to rise in the presence of God. Men and women rose up here and there, clear to the back of the tent. The prophet said God would in these last days bring heaven down to validate His Word. He would visit us with celestial fireworks like on the Day of Pentecost. They would see, hear, and feel the Holy Spirit work His work, His strange work. Once, when the power of God was wonderfully present, I heard a sister’s music; looking round I saw a sister (an evangelist) with eyes uplifted to heaven, her face shining, playing the harp in the Spirit. She said the glory of the Lord covered her, and the Lord placed a golden harp in her hands. Her fingers began to play, bringing forth the heavenly sound. Several others were playing on different instruments, sending out heavenly music.

We worship God, not the experience. But He gives us the experience that we might, as Paul said, discover the depths and riches of His love more fully. This knowing is not by understanding of a truth only, but having divine revelation by experience that God is love. These signs and wonders declare the greatness of His love through principle, and through experience. Truly, this is what the hungry heart is looking for. To those who are hungry and thirsty, principle alone will not satisfy. Knowing food and drink is sufficient to satisfy is not the same as being satisfied. To those who are hungry and thirsty, they must eat and drink ‘til they are full. Jesus graciously invites us to feast on Him, our bread and living water. Tonight, was another reflection on and opportunity to indulge in the great feast prepared in our wilderness.


A Christian’s Response to Guest Ministers

Recently, we had guest ministers at our church. As a pastor, I believe it is important to have other ministers share with our congregation for many reasons. A highlight of these important reasons include the importance of the Ephesians 4:11 leadership working in cooperation and bringing maturity to the congregation; there is a unique expression of God’s grace and anointing in every ministry leader; opportunity is given to the congregation to hear of God’s work around the world, providing an opportunity for greater global vision; together we see the Body of Christ in operation.

I also think about the clear opportunities the congregation has to share with the guest minister. Almost always, when I have had the privilege of serving as a guest minister in another congregation or ministry, I have walked away feeling more blessed, having received from wonderful partnership in the Gospel.

My effort here is to give some highlights of scriptural truth and teaching on the subject of believers receiving Biblical ministers with Biblical lifestyles:

Bless them financially

Through offerings to support their ministry, which is over and above the tithe.

Galatians 6:10, NKJV
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

2 Corinthians 8:1-5, NKJV
Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive[a] the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.

 1 Corinthians 16:1-3, NKJV
Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem.


Be Present

In attendance, but also with expectancy to receive from the Lord through their ministry

Philippians 1:3-6, NKJV
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

2 Timothy 1:4, NKJV
greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy,


Receive from their Ministry of the Word

Guest Ministers bring a unique perspective on what God is doing elsewhere in the country or world, but they also bring the power of God’s Word.

Romans 1:16, NKJV
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,[a] for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

1 Corinthians 2:1, NKJV
And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony[a] of God.


Understand each minister brings a unique perspective and expression of the anointing

Every minister is a gift from God to the church, and like gifts, each fulfill a unique purpose and have a unique expression of ministry.

1 Corinthians 3:5-6; 8, NKJV
Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6, NKJV
There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.


Receive from their Ministry Gifts

God uses imperfect people to accomplish His perfect plan. Natural wisdom says 1+1 does not add up here. But God chooses the foolish and the weak. Consider the people that Paul ministered to who probably initially did not like something about him. John the Baptist irritated many, and yet there was a deposit of God’s Word into their hearts.

2 Timothy 1:6, NKJV
Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

1 Corinthians 2:4-5, NKJV
And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human[a]wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.


Pray for Them & Support Them

As we partner together in Gospel ministry, we pray and support one another.

Hebrews 13:18, NKJV
18 Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably.

Philippians 4:16, NKJV
16 For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities.



A Slippery Slope

From a Sermon delivered at Celebration Church, November 20, 2016


Life is a slippery slope into eternity. One minute we are in this life, standing on what we believe is a firm foundation—and the next, we are sliding into eternity. Here was a woman who was on our property—and missed an opportunity to experience the love of God.

Deuteronomy 32:35 says this about the slippery slope of life:
Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; Their foot shall slip in due time; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things to come hasten upon them.

In this verse is threatened the vengeance of God on the wicked unbelieving Israelites, that were God’s visible people, and lived under means of grace. The expression, here, “Their foot shall slip in due time,” seems to imply the following things, relating to the punishment and destruction of the wicked:

1. The wicked are always exposed to destruction, as one who stands or walks in slippery places is always exposed to fall. Psalms 73:18: Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction.

2. It implies that the wicked are always exposed to sudden unexpected destruction. As one that walks in slippery places cannot know when he or she will fall, so it is with this verse. Psalm 73:19: Oh, how they are brought to desolation; as in a moment! They are utterly consumed

3. Another thing implied is that the wicked are liable to fall of themselves, without being thrown down by the hand of another. Just as one who walks on slippery ground, they do not need anything but their own weight to throw them off balance.
4. The reason why the wicked have not already fell into hell, and do not fall now, is only that God’s appointed time has not come. As the verse says, “in due time,” or the “appointed time” their foot shall slide. They will slip according to their own weight, and God will not hold them up any longer. They will fall to their utter destruction

My observation in this verse and the reason for my thanksgiving is this: There is nothing that keeps wicked, at any moment, out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God. By His pleasure, I mean His sovereign will, His own choosing. God is not hindered by any manner of difficulty or any person, but it is His own mercy that keeps any person from slipping into hell.

1. There is no lack of power in God to cast wicked men into hell at any moment.

The strongest man has no power to resist God, and no man can deliver another out of the hands of God. God is not only able to cast wicked men into hell, but he can most easily do it. Sometimes earthly rulers have great difficulty in executing punishment or subduing rebellions, but it is not so with God. There is no defense against the power of God. Though men were to join together against God—even in great multitudes—God would break them into pieces. They are like light chaff before a hurricane or dry twigs in a devouring fire.

We may find it easy to crush an ant that we see crawling on the earth; it is that easy for God, when He pleases to crush His enemies. What are we to think that we can stand before Him, at whose rebuke the earth trembles, and before Him the rocks are thrown down.

2. The wicked deserve to be cast into hell so that divine justice may be complete.

The justice of God calls loudly for infinite punishment of their sins. The sword of divine justice is always hanging over their heads, and it is nothing but the hand of God’s mercy that holds it back.

3. The wicked are already under a sentence of condemnation to hell.

The wicked not only justly deserve to be cast to hell, but the sentence of the law of God, the eternal and unchanging rule of His righteousness, has gone out against them. John 3:18: But he who does not believe is condemned already.

4. The wicked are objects of the full wrath and anger of God, and the reason why the wicked do not go to hell at every moment of every day is not because God is not angry with sin, but because of His mercy.

It is not because God is unaware of their wickedness, and doesn’t resent it, that he holds his hand from cutting them off. The wrath of God towards them and their sin is burning against them, and the furnace has been made hot and ready to receive them. The flames of hell do now rage and glow. The sword of vengeance is held over them, and the pit of hell has opened its mouth under them.

5. The devils stand ready to fall upon the wicked and seize them as their own at the moment that God will allow it

The wicked belong to the devil; he has their souls in his possession, and under his dominion. The devils watch them; the devils are always by the wicked, waiting for them, like greedy hungry lions that see their prey, and expect to have it, but are for the present kept back. But if God should withdraw His hand, by which the devils are restrained, those devils would in one moment fall upon the poor souls of the wicked. And if God should allow it, hell would quickly swallow them up.

6. Hellish principles are reigning in the evil nature of wicked men, and if not for the restraining hand of God, this evil nature would burst into full flame, consuming the wicked person.

Isaiah 57:20: The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.

Job 38:11: When I said, This far you may come, but no father, and here your proud waves must stop!

These wicked principles in the evil nature of man are active and powerful, and exceedingly violent, and if it were not for the restraining hand of God upon them, the evil in wicked men would fully overtake them, turning their soul into a fiery oven of fire and brimstone.

7. Just because a wicked man does not see imminent death upon them is no security to them.

Being in good health and not seeing imminent death or any visible danger shows no evidence that a man is not on the brink of eternity, and that his next step won’t be into another world. The unseen, unthought of ways a person may suddenly go out of this life are innumerable. Wicked men walk over the pit of hell on a rotten covering, and there are many places in this covering so weak that it will not bear their weight. The arrows of death fly unseen. There are so many different ways of taking wicked men out of this world and stepping into hell’s flames.

8. Wicked men’s attempts to preserve their lives or the attempt of others to preserve their lives does not secure them for one moment.

Men’s own wisdom is no security from death. Ecclesiastes 2:16: And how does a wise man die? As the fool!

9. All of wicked men’s efforts to escape hell, all the while rejecting Christ, do not secure them from hell.

Almost every natural man that hears of hell, flatters himself that he will escape it; he depends on himself for his own security; he flatters himself in what he has done, in what he is no doing, or what he intends to do; everyone plans out in his own mind how he will avoid destruction, and flatters himself in that his schemes won’t fail. But they are trusting in nothing but shadows. There are millions—billions—who have lived before us and are now dead and have not escaped eternity. If we were able to speak with each of them who have died and gone to hell, they would tell us about the times when they heard of hell and rejected it; they would tell us of the times they heard of God’s mercy and did not listen. They would say, “No, I never intended to come here; I had laid out plans otherwise; I thought I was a good person and I would handle this later in life before I died, but it came as a thief; death outwitted me; God’s wrath was too quick for me. I was flattering myself, pleasing myself with vain dreams of what I would do in the afterlife, and when I was saying peace and safety, then sudden destruction came upon me.”

10. God has not put himself under any obligation to keep men out of hell at any moment.

God has made no promise to keep wicked men out of hell for any moment. He has made no provision for deliverance or preservation from eternal death outside of what is contained in the covenant of grace, given to us in Christ. But the wicked have no interest in these promises in the covenant of grace, and are not children of that covenant, and have no interest or mediator of the covenant, and thus God is not obliged to maintain a promise they have not enjoyed. God is under no obligation to keep the wicked at any moment from eternal destruction. They have deserved the fiery pit, and are already sentenced to it; and God is provoked, his anger is great towards sinful man, and wicked man has done nothing to appease or abate the anger of God; the devil is waiting for them, hell is opened wide for them, the flames gather and leap about them, the sword of vengeance is drawn above them. They have no refuge, nothing to hold them from slipping, and all that preserves them every moment is the mere forbearance of a merciful God.
What you have heard is the case of everyone of you that are out of Christ. That world of misery, the lake of burning sulfur is extended abroad under you. There is the dreadful pit of glowing flames of the wrath of God; there is hell’s wide open mouth, ready to devour you; and there is nothing that you may take hold of to keep you out of hell; there is nothing between you and hell except for a vapor; and it is only the mere pleasure and power of God that holds you up.

You probably are not aware of this; you find you are kept out of hell, but don’t see the hand of God in it, but you flatter yourself in that it is your own plans that keep you from hell. But if God were to withdraw his hand, they would not avail, no more to keep you from falling than a thin vapor that would hold a person upright. Your wickedness makes you as heavy as lead and weighs you downward towards hell, and if God should let you go, you would immediately sink and quickly slide and plunge into the bottomless lake of fire, and nothing you could do or say would have any influence to keep you out of hell, just as a thin spider’s web would have no power to stop a falling rock.

Were it not for God’s mercy and His own desire, the earth would not bear you any more, for you are a burden to it; the sun does not willingly shine upon you to give you light to serve sin and Satan; the earth does not willingly yield her increase to satisfy your lusts; the air does not willingly serve you for breath to maintain your life while you spend your life serving God’s enemies. God has subjected them to you, and should He remove His sustaining hand, the earth would spew you out. There are black clouds of God’s wrath now hanging directly over your head, full of the dreadful storm and thunder and lightning, and it is the mercy of God that keeps it from breaking upon you. The fury of the hurricane of His justice would consume you like chaff on the summer threshing floor if not for His mercy.

The wrath of God is like great waters that are restrained for the present; they increase more and more and rise higher and higher, till an outlet is given. The rapid and mighty river will overtake you. The floods of God’s vengeance have been withheld, but your guilt in the meantime is constantly increasing, and every day you are storing up wrath. The waters are continually rising and growing in strength, and the mercy of God has shut the floodgate, but once His hand is removed, the waters will flood in, and the fierceness of His wrath will rise upon you; and if your strength was ten thousand times greater, it could not withstand the fiercest wrath of God towards sin.

The bow of God’s wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on string, and justice bends the arrow at your heart, and strains the bow, and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, without any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood.

All who have not been born again, made new creatures, raised from being dead in sin to a state of new life, experiencing the light of God’s glory, will experience everlasting destruction.

However unconvinced you may be of this truth today, there will be a time when the reality of it will come upon you.

The God that holds you out of the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider or an insect over the fire, He abhors sin and is provoked; His wrath towards you burns like fire. His eyes are pure and should not bear you in His sight. You have offended him infinitely more than any other. It is His hand of mercy that has kept you out of hell: it is His mercy that you did not go to hell last night, that He suffered you to wake again in this world; there is no other reason why you have not slid into Hell since you woke up this morning, but that God’s hand is upon you; there is no reason why you have not gone to hell since you sat here in the house of God, provoking His pure eyes by your sinful wicked presence in His house this morning, other than His merciful hand upon you.

You are like the annoying cobweb in the corner of a home in which the owner will take a broom and sweep it away; even so God is as easily inclined to remove you from this life and everlasting judgment will overtake you.

May the wicked sinner consider the fearful danger you are in: a great furnace of wrath, and a wide bottomless pit full of endless waves of torment are held open for you and the wrath of God is provoked against you. You hang by a thread over the flames, every moment the flames singe the thread until one day the thread will give way and you will fall into the pit of utter torment and despair.

Consider this wrath that you are in danger of:

1. Whose wrath it is: it is the wrath of the infinite God. If it were only the wrath of man, it would be comparatively little. But this is the wrath of the king of Kings, the absolute sovereign of all the universe who is absolutely perfect and holy and just in all His ways. The person that rebels against an earthly ruler is subject to the most heinous of torments that human power can inflict. But the greatest of earthly suffering and torments cannot compare to the weakest of hell’s fierceness.

2. Consider the fierceness of His wrath that you are exposed to. Isaiah 59:18: According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay, fury to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies… Isaiah 66:15: For behold, the Lord will come with fire and with His chariots, like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire. Revelation 19:15: He Himself treads the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. These words are greatly terrible. We read of the fierceness, the fury, the hurricane of his wrath and judgment. If Scripture had only said “the wrath of God,” they would have implied great torment; however, Scripture speaks of the great and exceeding wrath of God that will come on the wicked. Who can conceive or begin to speak of such torment and destruction these words carry in them. Just as God worked a great manifestation of His power in redeeming fallen man, He will work a great manifestation of His power in judgment against those whose names are not found in the Book of Life.

Consider, as this verse has said, according to or in proportion to your sin He will judge you. The fullness of God’s wrath is against sin, and yet the intensity of His judgment will increase upon you as you will find yourself ensnared to chains of sin in Hell for all eternity. There will be no escape from His judgment and there will be no escape from your sin and there will be no escape from your absolute misery. Just as the born again will take on the nature of Christ in heaven, in hell, the wicked will continue in the nature of their father, the devil. The sinful chains you carry to your grave will hold you captive for all eternity as you suffer the fury of God’s wrath. Your addictions will hold you captive. Your pride will hold you captive. Your lying and cheating will hold you captive. Your earthly successes will hold you captive. Eternally reminding you of your opportunities to repent; eternally reminding you of why you are suffering; and eternally conflicting your soul to act out more sin while you suffer its judgment.

Consider this, that you are here in this world, unconverted to Christ. Consider that God will execute the fierceness of His anger, without hesitation, against you in judgment in Hell. At this time, His full judgment is withheld because of His mercy, but in that day, there will be no moderation or mercy. God will no longer stay the sword of vengeance, and you will suffer what justice requires according to your sin.

Today is the day of salvation. Today is the day of mercy. Today God stands ready to forgive through the sacrifice of His son. But when the day of mercy has past, your most desperate cries will be in vain; just as it was when God shut Noah and his family in the ark, the cries of the wicked outside would not save them from the fierceness of the floods of judgment that were rising around them.

Isaiah 63:3: For I have trodden them in My anger, and trampled them in My fury; their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, and I have stained all My robes. It is quite impossible to fully understand the magnitude of this verse; to see those being utterly trampled under the vengeance of God; to hear the cries of misery and pride and rejection that spew from their mouths as justice is executed; to smell the stench of death in the air as their blood is splattered about the garments of the Righteous King.

3. Consider the misery which will be inflicted upon you that it might show what the wrath of God is. God has intended from before creation to show angels, men, and creation how excellent His love is, and how terrible His wrath is. In His love and mercy He has shown great forebearance towards sinners, and when the appointed time has come, His forebearance removed, He shows forth His great judgment and wrath. When God arises against His enemies and displays His great judgment upon sin, He will call creation to behold His majesty and His power against sin. Just as the earth gave testimony of the destruction of Sodom, the earth and its inhabitants will give testimony to the fierceness of God against sinners.

So it will be with you if you continue in an unconverted state. The infinite might and majesty of God, the greatness of His power will be against you and will come upon you quickly. And He will make you a spectacle of His judgment to others; he will demonstrate in you the fierceness of His wrath towards sin.

4. Consider that His wrath is an everlasting wrath. It is extremely dreadful to think of God’s wrath even for one moment, but consider this wrath that will last forever. There will be no end to this misery. You will look behind you and see nothing but fury and judgment, and you will look forward and see nothing ahead but torment and extreme misery. You will be in absolute despair and nothing will mitigate the suffering. Your punishment will be infinite.

Consider those that have died in sin many, many years ago, and are to this day experiencing the wrath of God in hell. Moment after moment, day after day, there has come to them endless torment, even to the present day. And this suffering will not end for them, and neither will it end for you if you continue in your unconverted state.

There is reason to think, that there are those in this congregation now hearing this message, that will actually be subjects of this very misery to all eternity. We don’t know who they are, or in what seats they sit, or what thoughts they have: it may be that these persons are now flattering themselves in their pride, promising themselves they will escape the wrath of God. If we knew that there was one person in our congregation that was to be subject of this misery, what an awful thing to consider. If we knew who it was, would we not cry over them and warn them of coming judgment. Would we not remind them of hell and God’s judgment. Would we not love them with the love of God. It would not be surprising if someone that is sitting here now, quiet and secure, should awake tomorrow engulfed in the flames of hell.

Those who continue in their natural man, and should stay out of hell the longest, will find yourself someday quickly engulfed in hell’s flames. Swiftly and suddenly judgment will fall on you.

And now you have an extraordinary opportunity, a day wherein Christ has flung the door of mercy wide open, and stands in the door calling and crying with a loud voice to all sinners; a day where many are flocking to Him daily; many who were miserable are now finding life and healing in His arms of mercy. How horrible to be left behind in such a day! To see so many others feasting and rejoicing in the mercy of the Lord, while you are still perishing. How can you rest one moment in your condition?
To the young, do not neglect this precious season. You have a great opportunity to feast on the goodness of God and rescue others from the fury of hell’s torment. But if you become apathetic and waste your days on your own pleasures, you will find the judgment of natural men falling upon you.

To those who have lived long in the world, especially consider your days. Has your heart hardened to the love of God? Have your affections towards God grown cold? Have you been born again? Consider yourselves and wake out of sleep; you cannot bear the fierceness and wrath of the infinite God.

And let everyone who is yet outside of Christ, hanging over the pit of hell, whether young or old, man or woman, give heed to the loud calls of Christ, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink…” This is the acceptable time of the Lord; this is the day of His favor; do not harden your heart and allow your mind to become blind.

To those who are in Christ, consider John the Baptist, preparing the way of the Lord in the wilderness. Do not walk according to the ways of the religious leaders of the city, but go outside the city, outside of the way of natural man, as Christ was crucified outside the city; go to those in the wilderness and proclaim the way of salvation. Let your voice be heard; let the power of the Gospel be seen in great demonstration; let your prayers and worship ascend the heavenly heights. Today is not a day to sleep and grow apathetic. We are not of those who slip back and slide down the slippery slope of judgment. We are those who walk by faith on the foundation of His Word. Preach the Word, love the unlovely, and give the reason for your hope without shame.

Resting in God’s Knowledge

The following is a summary of a sermon preached at Celebration Church on October 12, 2016.

Men and women spend their lives attempting to gain knowledge of God–whether they are seeking THE God, a god, or find themselves to be god. Religions strive to gain knowledge by vain works which become self-centered endeavors. Yet, in Christianity, knowing God is by revelation. God reveals Himself to man. Scripture tells us about this mysterious God.

Colossians 1:26-27, NKJV
The mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Why is God Mysterious?

1. God is infinite and man is finite.

1 Corinthians 1:18-25, NKJV
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputed of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For the Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

2. The deeper problem is that man is sinful and God is holy.

Sin creates a barrier to knowing God because man cannot comprehend Him.

2 Corinthians 3:13-14, 16, NKJV
Unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. Nevertheless when one turns (to be converted) to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

God has revealed Himself through creation itself. Creation around us, and the act of creation itself declares the glory of God! Without the illumination of the Holy Spirit, this general revelation is distorted and with sinful influence becomes self-focused. The ultimate end in creation, man, & history are self-fulfilling and exist only for personal pleasure. We see this illustrated in:

Romans 1:20-21, NKJV
(20) For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, (21) because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened

To those whose minds have been blinded by sin, the wine of God’s knowledge becomes the vinegar of human confusion.

For those who believe, the source of God’s revelation of Himself comes by and through the Word of God– the Written Word (Scripture); the Incarnate Word (Christ); the Spoken Word (God speaks); and Revealed Word by the Holy Spirit. And all of these are cohesive and never contradict the truth of what God has expressed in His written Word and through Christ.

Jeremiah 9:23-24 illuminates God’s delight in revealing Himself to those who delight in Him.

Jeremiah 9:23-24, NKJV
Thus says the Lord: Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight, says the Lord.

I would show here that God is the all wise, all knowing God, and thus the true believers can rest in His knowledge, which He reveals to those whom He wills.

Isaiah 40:13-14, NKJV
Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as His counselor has taught Him? With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of justice? Who taught Him knowledge, and showed Him the way of understanding?
I. God is the Source of all Knowledge

Having knowledge is as a stream from an endless spring. God is the fountainhead of all knowledge. To have this revelation from God is both rational and experiential. Jesus spoke of this in John 4:24, “God is a Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” True Christianity is expressed through our enjoyment of God, and our enjoyment of God brings us to greater revelation of God.

1. Knowledge itself is not God, nor is salvation obtained by enlightenment as the Gnostics believe; rather, God reveals himself in Christ through divine knowledge as the Savior

The work of the believer is to have knowledge given through enjoyment of God that we might speak about God more accurately and to savor God’s beauty in that knowledge
If everything in creation is originated and designed by God, to reveal His glory, then to pursue knowledge without reference to and enjoyment of God is not learning but insurrection

2. God knows all things because He declares all things

What God knows is perfectly true and accurate because He declares it. It originates with Him.

Isaiah 46:9-10, NKJV
Remember the order things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure”

3. God’s knowledge is boundlessly perfect, expressed infallibly in His Word

Psalm 19:7, NKJV
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of
the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

2 Timothy 3:16, NKJV
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness

John 17:17, NKJV
Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

Hebrews 4:12, NKJV
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerning of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Christ is the expression of this Word. He is the representation of the Father’s idea of Himself to mankind. Christ’s nature is the Word of God. He fully man, yet fully God.
4. Nothing can be hidden from God

Daniel 2:22, NKJV
He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.

Hebrews 4:13, NKJV
And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account

Ezekiel 11:5, NKJV
Thus says the Lord…for I know the things that come into your mind.

The trees of the garden of Eden could not conceal Adam and Eve. No one saw Cain murder his younger brother, but his Maker witnessed his crime. Sarah laughed insider her tent, but God heard. Achan stole gold and hid it, but God brought it to light. David went to great lengths to cover up his wickedness, but God took note of it all. God is not only thoroughly acquainted with the events of the universe, but even the smallest, seemingly insignificant detail of our lives (and He is not surprised).

Luke 12:7, NKJV
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered…

5. The knowledge of God is infinitely greater and higher than any knowledge that man may have or may obtain

Psalm 147:5, NKJV
Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.

Isaiah 55:8-9, NKJV
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

Considering these truths regarding the knowledge of God, His omniscience, true believers can rest in God’s knowledge:

I. My path is known by God

Job 23:10, NKJV
But He knows the way I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.

Psalm 37:23, NKJV
The steps of the righteous are ordered by the Lord, and He (The Pleasure of God) delights in his way.

There is nothing that happens in your life which surprises God or catches Him off guard.God is confident in His ability to sustain you, no matter what happens in this life.

Consider Christ’s death: God allowed what He abhorred for the sake of His eternal plan; and He sustained Christ through it. Even, when Christ cried from the cross, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” Christ was crying out the very essence of His nature, deposited into Him by His Father as He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb—the Word of God—prophesied by David thousands of years earlier in Psalm 22. For the joy of the Father’s Promise (Luke 24:49) set before Him (Hebrews 12:2), Christ was sustained through even death on the cross.

II. God knows how and to what end we were formed

Psalm 103:14, NKJV
For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.

Isaiah 42:3, NKJV
A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench…

MacClaren says this regarding Isaiah 42:3:
The two metaphors which we have in the former part of these words are not altogether parallel. ‘A bruised reed’ has suffered an injury which, however, is neither complete nor irreparable. ‘Smoking flax,’ on the other hand-by which, of course, is meant flax used as a wick in an old-fashioned oil lamp-is partially lit. In the one a process has begun which, if continued, ends in destruction; in the other, a process has begun which, if continued, ends in a bright flame. So the one metaphor may refer to the beginnings of evil which may still be averted, and the other the beginnings of incipient and incomplete good.

Chris is the Healer of the Broken. For as Isa 53:4-5 declares, He was wounded and bruised. And Christ is the Restorer of the Flame. Isaiah 61 creates a beautiful picture of Christ raising beauty out of the ash heap of our lives. The burned out ashes of your life, influenced by the fire of Heaven can bring again a bright a burning flame.

III. God knows my thoughts and meditations of my heart and thus I am never alone

Psalm 139:23-24, NKJV
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

John 21:17, NKJV
…And he said to Him, “Lord You know all things…”

Psalm 19:14, NKJV
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

IV. God acts on His omniscience

Consider for a moment if God based His decisions and actions on man’s advice: In this action, He would be sinning by breaking the first commandment, “have no other gods before me;” additionally, consider how flawed God’s eternal plan would be following the counsel of fallible humans.
What produces action? Our minds conceive a thought based on its meditations or outside influence. The desires are then stirred if the thought is allowed to progress, and eventually a man’s emotions, or the heart of a man, becomes affected by these desires and thoughts, resulting in action. Jesus addressed this process of an evil man:

Luke 6:45, NKJV
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Proverbs 4:23, NKJV
Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.

If God is motivated by infinite love towards His Son that has been imputed to us as adopted sons and daughters, then God’s actions regarding us are the eternally supreme best activities towards us in that we are the objects of His love in Christ. Thus the greatest display of His glory is that we are ultimately satisfied with God alone. God’s knowledge of our enjoyment in Him, His desire for us to enjoy Him and thus display His glory, and being that He is full of infinite love towards His son and expresses this love to us; God’s actions towards us are those that bring about our ultimate satisfaction in Him alone and thus magnify His majestic nature.

In other words, all that God does is rooted in His knowledge of our satisfaction in Him and His desire to display His glory in and through our lives through our enjoyment of Him.

V. Revelatory Spiritual Gifts are inspirations from God of pieces of this divine knowledge for the comfort, encouragement, and exhortation of others

Regarding these wonderful spiritual gifts that are still in operation today: Prophecy, Words of Wisdom, & Words of Knowledge

1 Corinthians 14:3, NKJV
But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.

VI. Instead of acting recklessly we should seek the knowledge of God

Romans 12:2, NKJV
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Ephesians 5:26 says that, He washes us with the water of His Word.

VII. Knowledge of God is not an end to itself, but the beginning, which results from faith-produced godly fear

Proverbs 9:10 & Psalms 111:10 both declare: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…”

We are apprehended by grace as a free gift of God. Grace produces faith, or our spiritual perceptivity to divine realities. Faith produces godly fear, and according to the Word of God, this fear is just the beginning of knowing God.
VIII. To enjoy God more fully results in greater revelation of God. This is the true pursuit of the believer: to enjoy God more fully that we may know Him more richly.

Ephesians 1:17-19, NKJV
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power

You know more about someone the more time you spend enjoying them. You can spend unenjoyable time with someone and know nothing. Intimacy is developed by mutual enjoyment.

In this wonderful enjoyment of God, both our experience with God, and the truth of what God says about Himself must kiss:

John 4:24: God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

Victorious in Death

We all know the certainty and reality of death. As a pastor, I have had the honor of walking through death’s valley with many from various backgrounds and beliefs. One thing is certain in this life: the sting of death is inevitable.

For the believer, though, that sting is removed. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:54, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting?”

To the Philippians, Paul wrote:
According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
(Philippians 1:20-21, NKJV)

As Paul faced imprisonment and death, he knew that Christ would be glorified in his dying because he had enjoyed God in his living. The believer is truly victorious in death because he or she has found their greatest satisfaction by enjoying God to the fullest in life.

Oh, the wonderful gains that await the true believer the moment he or she steps from mortality to immortality. The reign and torments of sin are permanently and finally over. Temptation will cease. The sorrows of this world will have passed away like the vapor of smoke that dissipates in the wind. The believer will finally forever be with the Lord, and the Lord will bestow on him or her the rewards and pleasures that have been stored up in heaven. The list of the eternal enjoyments of God in heaven is endless. Truly, the believer is victoriously gainful in death.

Paul doesn’t examine here the benefits of death only: “For to me, to live is Christ.” Both dying and living for the true believer is to gain Christ. The richest enjoyment of this life is only a shadow compared to the gains of enjoying Christ. In this life, He makes heaven sweeter; the doctrines of the Gospel are more delightful; and even the passing enjoyments of this life are more enjoyable with Christ.

So, like Paul, we can truly say–whether I live or whether I die, it is gain for me because I have found my delight in Him.

Christian Citizenship

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ
Philippians 3:20, NKJV

As born again believers we are eagerly waiting, inwardly groaning, anticipating the return of our King, the Lord Jesus Christ. While we greatly expect and anticipate this coming at any time, we are also commissioned as ambassadors of our King:

Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.
2 Corinthians 5:20, NKJV

While we have heavenly citizenship, and a heavenly King, we operate as His ambassadors in this earth. An ambassador is an official representative sent on behalf of a sovereign. An ambassador carries only the authority of His leader and is limited to the extent the authority given.

As Christ’s amabassadors in the earth, we represent a heavenly Kingdom with heavenly values and principles. When it comes to our earthly government, and our involvement in our government, we are to represent these heavenly values of our King.

Interesting, though, that a study conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, says that 62% of Americans say their faith has little to do with their voting decisions.

According to George Barna’s research, there are 90 Million born again Christians in the US eligible to vote, and in the 2012 general election, only 39 million voted.

So what is our response to the current tempest in our government? It is certainly not to keep quiet and do nothing. Remember, we have been sent, commissioned by the King. Our response should be to:

1. Pray for our Government (1 Timothy 2:1-3; Jeremiah 29:7; 2 Chronicles 7:14)

2. Pay for our Government (Romans 13:1-2, 6-7; Titus 3:1; Luke 20:21-25)

As we commit to these, let us remember who we are to represent and those Biblical values on which Christ’s amabassadors operate. With these values, we participate in government.

Three values of which I believe are crucial in our world today and are under blatant attack:

1. The Right to Life (Proverbs 24:11-12; Leviticus 18:21; Psalm 139:13-16)

2. The Biblical Family (Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:24; Leviticus 18:22; Matthew 19:4-6)

3. Religious Liberty (Galatians 5:1)

In 1799, Samuel Chase, appointed to the Supreme Court by George Washington, said this in case Runkel v. Winemiller:

By our form of government, the Christian religion is the established religion; and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed on the same equal footing, and are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty.

Today, in 2016, the US Civil Rights Commission, says otherwise. They have likened religious liberty to hypocrisy and discrimination. The very foundations of our country and reason why we exist is under attack.

Martin Castro, chairman of the commission says this regarding “religious liberty”:

The phrases “religious liberty” and “religious freedom” will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy, or any form of intolerance.”

America’s first political document, the Mayflower Compact, says this

In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, etc. Having undertaken for the glory of God, an advancement of the Christian Faith, and the honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia; do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politik…

William Bradford, said this of the Plymouth Colony in 1620,

Last and not least, they cherished a great hope and inward zeal of laying good foundations or at last of making some way towards it, for the propagation and advance of the gospel of the Kingdom of Christ in the remote parts of the world, even though they should be but stepping stones to others in the performance of so great a work.

I recently shared a message with our congregation on living as Victorious Citizens. I would encourage you to listen to this podcast available on our site as it will give greater depth to this writing.

Let us consider the great blessing the Lord has given us in this great country of the United State of America, and consider the blood of those who have laid down their lives on the altar of freedom–both for our country and those who have given their lives as Christian martyrs.

How to Pray Corporately

Let me begin by saying there are many styles of prayer to God, in the name of Jesus. Utmost priority should be given to prayer in the various manners. Specifically, I will address corporate prayer as it is displayed to us in Acts 4.

Acts 4:23-37, NKJV
And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: “Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the Lord and against His Christ.’  “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.  Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

1. The occasion of their corporate prayer

Peter and John had been arrested, imprisoned, and questioned about their ministry and the healing of the lame man. At the start of the New Testament church, and continued on to today, people despise supernatural ministry that proclaims Christ. Upon their release from prison, Peter and John gathered together with other believers to engage in corporate prayer. The urgency of the hour had gripped their souls. Reality of the government’s opposition was upon them. A great revival was sweeping the land, but it came with a great price. Intercession was the birthing place to this revival, and it was what would carry the work of God onward.

2. They raised their voice to God

Passion and urgency in the dimension of faith result in a heart ablaze for God. Out of the abundance of a heart on fire, does the mouth pour forth prayers and worship with great fervency. The believers in Acts 4 were not praying weak or half-hearted prayers, but corporately, a passionately vocal prayer that increased their faith and set them on a path towards breakthrough. Even as their mouth proclaimed the excellency and power of God, their path was being laid out before them. There are times in which we silently wait corporately in the presence of God, but often God uses the passionate vocalizations of the innermost desires and meditations of our heart to work out His plans and purposes, as well as reveal to us the depths of what He has deposited in us.

3. In harmony

Truly, unity of many people is a work of the Holy Spirit. Even unity of two in marriage takes divine enabling and determination. To watch this corporate prayer meeting in Acts 4 unfold, is watching the divine communicator and orchestrator supernaturally move and lead people to a place of unified, passionately vocalized prayer. Psalms 133 tells us commanded blessings flow on those who operate in unity. Unified prayer and passion was not unfamiliar to this early church. This had been the context of the outpouring on the Day of Pentecost, and would be the atmosphere of subsequent outpourings in the days ahead. It was the attitude of supernatural fellowship and partnership that permeated every aspect of their lives; and thus, a time of corporate prayer would display the same attribute. Someone walking in unity with God cannot cause strife in God’s church.

4. The context of their corporate prayer

It is interesting that Luke recorded the prayer of the believers at this gathering. Notice they began by declaring who God is. They honored him in His creative power and His ability to vindicate His people. They prayed according to what they had seen and experienced. They spoke of God’s sovereign hand and the signs and wonders He had performed. They prayed the Scriptures. Many times our prayers remind us of whom God is, as much as they honor Him as we pray. The ingredients of a Spirit-led, passionate prayer include a mixture of acknowledging who God is, our experiences, and the Word of God. This model of prayer reminds of Jesus’ prayer as He taught the disciples how to pray: “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name.”

5. The result

Notice, God did not take away the persecution. As a matter of fact, it’s only days later that the persecution greatly intensifies. The conflicts generated with an influx of believers did not go away either. Again, just a chapter over we find the difficulties increasing with the rapid growth. What was God’s response? “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” The Holy Spirit, our Helper, is the best answer to any prayer. David placed a priority on the presence of God when He said, “Do not take your Holy Spirit from me.” We would oftentimes love for the environment or people around us to change; however, God many times sends the Helper to walk and wrestle with us through the situation. The Holy Spirit always proclaims the Word of God. He reminds us of all God has said. In our weakness, Paul says in Romans 8, the Holy Spirit works on our behalf. No matter the circumstance, He causes us to meditate on and speak those things of the Word, which have been deposited into us. The result of corporate prayer time: A body that flows together in unity under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, proclaiming the Word of God with boldness and demonstration of power, and together, they live generous lives.

How to Receive Correction

Exodus 18:17-24, NKJV

So Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you do is not good. Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself. Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you: Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God. And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do. Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Then it will be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge. So it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you. If you do this thing, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all this people will also go to their place in peace.” So Moses heeded the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said.

  1. Humble yourself & avoid the prideful responses.

Moses was “called” of God to lead the Israelites; “surely he knew best how to shepherd them” (sarcasm added). Many times our pride will lead us quickly down a path of destruction (Prov 16:18) that in actuality we really do not want to journey down. It is amazing how quickly we can allow ourselves to be caught in the cycle of justification, deflection, excuses, lying, and simply, pure conflict due to our pride.

Moses listened and responded graciously. “So Moses heeded the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said.” Moses did not try to “save face” or cover up the reality; he simply humbled himself to receive wisdom. The wisdom he received bore witness with him and the leading of God in his life, and the process of implementation began.

Protection comes from submission to the appropriate, God-appointed leadership in your life; even if you “feel” absolutely correct in your own judgment, God may have something else for you to learn and grow into. Moses would not continue in leadership successfully had he not learned this valuable lesson from a timely rebuke.

  1. Follow the Lord’s direction.

Moses truly had a calling from God to lead the Israelites. Moses met with God face to face. God could have revealed this great leadership truth in their alone time together; however, God chose to use Moses’ father-in-law to speak truth in a timely manner. God given correction will reflect to you the purposes of God’s calling and refine you for continued fulfillment of this calling. Moses recognized he was running thin on energy and carrying an emotional and spiritual load he was not intended to carry; he simply needed godly wisdom and direction from a third party. Imagine Moses’s new-found effectiveness after implementing his father-in-law’s advice.

  1. Obedience to correction is a gift to others.

As a result of Moses submitting to and honoring God by honoring his father-in-law, the Israelites were blessed. New leaders were born; the people learned to self-govern; Moses was refreshed; the new leaders grew in maturity and discernment—and so are the results of the blessing of correction. Often times we can also learn from other’s corrections and mistakes. When walking in humility we learn to extend grace to others, from the same grace of which we have received.


  1. Honor those with a different vantage point.

Correction can be difficult to receive. Our pride and ambition can get the best of us. Once placed in check and humility begins to lead us, we must honor those who come with correction.

Moses did not leave the meeting with his father-in-law and begin to share personal frustrations and “family only” drama. He honored his father-in-law by heeding his advice, and utilizing his father-in-law for wisdom for implementation. Exodus 18:27, states that, “Moses let his father-in-law depart” after implementation. In other words, Moses honored the correction, and followed through by seeking his father-in-law’s continued assistance until the corrective action was carried out.

This place of humility and honor brings the Lord’s blessing and peace to everyone involved. Long-term relationships can be continued from a place of honor. Neglect of this honor can cause tension and future factions unnecessarily.




Don’t Eat Your Seed


Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.
2 Corinthians 9:10-11, NKJV

All finances and resources God places into your hands contain seed for sowing and bread for eating. Be careful not to eat your seed, or there will be no future harvest.

With every blessing, the Lord provides for our needs and he gives us additional blessing to give away. Before you can receive what is in God’s hand, you must first let go of what is in your hand.

In the preceding verse (v. 8), Paul writes, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” He is connecting seed for sowing and bread for eating to our liberality in giving.

In the Greek, “all sufficiency,” means everything needed to sustain your life. God is able to provide all we need to sustain life. Remember, Jesus taught us not to worry about what we would wear or how we would maintain our life. As believers, we are now heavenly citizens with a God who cares and supplies.

Beyond meeting our needs, Paul says that God will also give us “an abundance for every good work.” In other words, God is able to take care of our needs, but also give us lavish overflow to support the work of God.

Scripture clearly teaches us, and is again stated here, that God releases finances into the hands of His people to steward the work of the Kingdom in the earth. When we walk in the principles God has placed before us, we walk in blessing on our personal lives and have overflow for the work of God. No longer do we operate under the curse of the law, squandering our resources on unrighteous living, but we have been given the ability to get wealth to be givers.

Farmers do not eat their seed. They look for and work to maintain the soil that produces healthy and abundant crops. They are looking for opportunity to sow seed in order that they may have additional seeds and additional crops. Giving for the believer should not be a struggle, but an easy overflow of the work of God in us. We should be looking for opportunities to support the work of God in this life, which makes eternal investments in the next.

Have you experience a lack of increase in your life? Do you feel like every time you get ahead something else is eating your resources? Have you considered the seed your sowing? Are you misappropriating resources that should be designated as seed into God’s soil? Every seed contains a miracle, but the seed has to go into the soil for the miracle to manifest.

Giant or Grasshopper

There we saw the giants; and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.
Numbers 13:33, NKJV

Have you ever faced a seemingly insurmountable task or opposition? I’m sure we all have faced circumstances that seem impossible in the natural. In this Scripture, we pick up the occasion in Numbers in which Moses sent out spies into the Promised Land.

We know that ten of the twelve spies came back with a negative report. Joshua and Caleb were ready to conquer every giant and take possession of their promises. Here are a couple thoughts as you encounter the giants of life. Remember, our God is not a grasshopper; He is bigger than every giant you could face!

1. The same God that gives you access and favor behind the enemy lines will give you the victory over your circumstance.

The spies, obviously shorter in stature than the current occupants, were able to move freely behind enemy lies and spy out the land. This presents an obvious issue. The Israelite spies are obviously outsiders and yet are able to determine the inhabitability of the land and the military strength of their enemy.

2. We do not shrink back in fear, but we advance to conquer.

Hebrews 10:29 says, we are not of those who turn away or shrink back, but of those who have faith and advance. The spies with the bad report reverted back to their old life of slavery and torture. They forgot the possibilities and were trapped by fear. Fear will always keep you out of what can be in the land of what was.

3. God is a Promise Keeper not a Manipulator

God did not bring the Israelites this far on their journey to the Promised Land to leave them stranded. God does not manipulate us out of fear and guilt, He brings us out to bring us in. God always exchanges our worst for His best; our sin for His righteousness; our insignificance for His identity. Consider even our tithe: God receives ten percent and exchanges it for bountiful blessing.

4. As a Man Thinks, so is He

The spies reported of their small stature: “We were like grasshoppers.” Your life in view of the great possibilities ahead, may cause your insecurities to arise and your stature in Christ to diminish. Maybe God has called you to step out of something old to enter into something new and the possibility is overwhelming. The spies said we were like grasshoppers, “in our own sight.” How the spies saw themselves became the report they shared with others. How do you identify yourself? Are you trusting in a God that is able to kill the giants or do you view Him as a grasshopper? Begin to magnify God today in worship, and see Him as bigger than any circumstance you face. It’s time to see through eyes of faith and not fear.

Faith & Finances

Then Isaac sowed in that land [in the time of famine], and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the Lord blessed him. The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous (Genesis 26:12-13, NKJV)

There have been many times as a follower of Christ I have had to operate in faith as I have faced difficulties and challenging circumstances. Even my salvation is established in faith. Faith is more than a muscle that gets exercised by action, as some have inappropriately described faith; faith is our spiritual perceptivity of the realness of the unseen heavenly kingdom. By our natural senses we perceive what is certain and absolute in the natural world. By our faith we perceive what is absolute and certain in the heavenly world. You might be able to liken this to Lucy’s experience in the Chronicles of Narnia; at first she was the only one to truly perceive that unseen world behind the wardrobe.

The greatest news yet, is that our faith is not founded in an abstract world that we know nothing of. True faith is rooted solely in the knowledge of this heavenly kingdom laid out in the Word of God and expressed in the incarnate Word of Jesus Christ. Thus our faith is not a dead faith but a living faith through Jesus Christ.

We can have faith for many things, but often, finding faith for our finances can be challenging. The same God that saves us by faith, is the same God that prospers us by faith. We believe that God owns “those cattle” on the hills; we believe all that is created was created by God and belongs to Him; and yet our belief has yet to become faith with regards to our personal finances. Does God need the cattle, the silver, and the gold on earth? I do not see him translating the cows, the silver, and the gold to heaven. Here is a great alleviator of financial worry: God owns the source of every financial breakthrough you need, and is willing that you walk in His blessing and breakthrough. Not only does He have all the resources of Heaven at His command, but He has made all of the earthly resources available to us.

Our dilemma? We don’t follow the path God has given us to walk in His blessing. Our two-year-old daughter Zoe loves to help in the kitchen. She would love for daddy to give her a knife and allow her to cut her own fruit. We know that this would be a disaster. Someday, when Zoe is older and mature, she will get the blessing of using a knife to cut her fruit. What could ultimately be a blessing, given too soon can be a curse. It is paramount that we learn to follow the path of the Lord concerning His blessing in our lives.

Regarding Isaac, God spoke to him and told Isaac to dwell in the land….He was to dwell in the land 1.) with the Philistines, 2.) in the land that was experiencing a famine. God will often allow you to be in difficult places so that your dependence is not on your skill, but in the word of promise He gave to you and on His ability to perform exactly what He promised. Where there is faith, there is no struggle. It becomes easy to yield when walking by faith because assurance is not based on the natural world, but what is being perceived in the heavenly world.

Isaac dwells in the land, and begins to settle the land and sow seed. Isaac probably had every Philistine looking over their fences to see what this crazy man was doing in a time of famine. Why would you sow seed and expect a crop in the time of famine? When you feel like everyone is going the opposite direction, you are probably going in God’s direction.

Results are God’s to produce. Our responsibility is to act as a result of faith.

Isaiah 1:19, NKJV
If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.

In the Hebrew, the word “willing” means, “to yield,” and “obedient” means to, “listen and obey.” God spoke to Isaac. Isaac listened; he obeyed; he yielded. God brought the prosperity. There was so much prosperity that the Philistines who were looking over their fences at Isaac, became envious. They tried to prevent Isaac’s success by clogging up his water wells that his father Abraham had dug.

Sometimes people around you will become envious of the blessing of the Lord on your life, and do everything in their power to stop you and slow you down. They are not working against you, but God. God brought the increase in Isaac’s life, and God continued to provide water out of the ancient wells of Abraham.

The ancient truths of God’s Word still provide waters of refreshing today. Abraham dug wells by faith. Abraham gave a tithe to Melchizedek by faith. Abraham and Sarah had Isaac by faith. Isaac stayed in and settled the land by faith. Today, as born again believers, we are the descendants of Abraham. The promises of God are faithful, and by faith we obtain them.

Obey the Lord. Sow your seed. And God will bring the increase!

Seedtime & Harvest

Then Isaac sowed in that land [in the time of famine], and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the Lord blessed him. The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous (Genesis 26:12-13, NKJV)

Throughout life and throughout Christianity we see the relentless principle of sowing and reaping. There are many scriptures that reference the power of seedtime and harvest; here are two:

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. (Galatians 6:7, NKJV)

Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness (2 Corinthians 9:10, NKJV)

Isaac found himself living in a time of famine. Famine describes a season of lack, pestilence, illness, starvation, dehydration, economic downfall, financial hardship, among other things. Famine is not a term we like to hear, and we certainly do not want to experience.

In Genesis, Isaac demonstrates for us the two separate economic systems the believer experiences: 1.) The world’s system which is under the curse of the law (that we have been redeemed from) and 2.) God’s system that is heavenly in origin.

Isaac chose to live according to God’s system of economics in the time of lack. Faith sows seed when in the natural you want to stockpile. God’s economy has never operated on the stockpile method, but has always operated in generosity.

The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself. (Proverbs 11:25, NKJV)

Because Isaac trusted the Lord, he became very prosperous. He was so prosperous that the Philistines envied him. Is it possible that God desires to prosper your life in such a way that the unbelieving see the goodness of God overflowing in your life? Is your time of lack keeping you from sowing seed generously? Our God is not a stingy God, and He desires to abundantly bless His children.

We know that unfaithfulness in our tithe invites a curse on our finances. We understand that unless the seed is sown, no harvest can be produced. However, many times out of fear, forgetfulness, or pride with do not sow, and miss out on the harvest that follows. Many people want the blessing of the Lord on their finances, and yet do not sow their seed.

Here’s a some thoughts regarding your financial seeds and God’s promised harvest:


  1. All finances God places into your hands contain SEED for sowing and BREAD for eating. Be careful not to eat your seed, or there will be no future harvest. (2 Corinthians 9:10)
  1. Every seed contains a miracle, but the miracle only happens when the seed is sown. (Proverbs 3:9-10)
  1. Only God can produce the harvest. We are responsible for sowing and receiving. (1 Corinthians 3:6)
  1. The righteous live under the blessing of God, and have been redeemed from the curse of law. Righteous living brings the blessing. (Galatians 3:13; Deuteronomy 28:1-14)
  1. Your source of income is about more than putting food on the table; it is an opportunity for the Kingdom to advance in the earth. “I make a living to be a giver.” Every seed sown into God’s Kingdom affects someone’s life. (Philippians 1:1-8)
  1. Financial deposits are accredited to your heavenly account as you sow your seed. God takes notice of every seed sown, and His accounting is perfect. (Philippians 4:17; Luke 21:1-4)
  1. Know the difference between seed and need. If He’s not meeting a need, there must be seed. (Matthew 6:31-33)
  1. Your harvest is in proportion to the seed sown. (2 Corinthians 9:6)
  1. Be willing to give away what is of temporary value to gain something of eternal value (Matthew 6:19-21)
  1. Faith in God to protect, provide, and preserve you releases you from fear of lack and the control of poverty. (Philippians 4:19; Psalm 122:7)


The Way Maker

I will go before you and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze and cut the bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the Lord, who call you by your name, am the God of Israel.
Isaiah 45:2-3, NKJV

Growing up I would go with my grandparents to visit my great grandparents in the backwoods of Missouri. To this day I can remember the up and down hilly roads that were winding and twisting through the seemingly endless forest of trees. One wrong move and someone could be off the side of the road and down the embankment quickly. As a child I had so much fun going on those winding and hilly roads because I would get the roller coaster feeling in the bottom of my stomach. Somehow I don’t think my grandparents got as much enjoyment from the ride.

Life can be full of winding, twisting, hilly roads of uncertainty, confusion, and danger. Maybe you have felt the nearness of the danger that lurks around the next corner of life. Maybe you have experienced confusion and uncertainty along the journey.

Isaiah prophesies here about the majestic character and ability of our God to not only handle, but overcome any obstacle we face. He truly is the Way-Maker in our lives. Blessed is the man or woman whom God goes before. He promises to not only handle the crooked places; He promises to go before us and guide us through whatever life may bring along our journey. As we face those uncertain times, He makes confusion cease to clarity; He makes turmoil cease to peace; He make obstacles breakforth into opportunities.

Through every circumstance, we can have childlike faith, trusting that God is not only at the wheel of our lives, He is the author and the finisher of our lives. Not only has God gone before us, but He directs every circumstance we face. Crooked places and obstacles are assured, but so is the sovereign hand of God’s providence through them all.

Behind every crooked place and every obstacle are secret riches. The riches of which God speaks may include blessings in this life, but greater than these are the riches of knowing the Lord who is calling your name. In the darkness and uncertainty, His voice brings clarity and peace. His voice stills the troubled waters. His voice instructs in the way that we should go. His voice speaks life and light to the darkness. Jesus said that His sheep know His voice. How blessed we are to know Him more intimately during the uncertainties of life.

Next time you are facing twisting, winding, hilly roads of confusion and uncertainty or obstacles that seem to be blocking your progress, have assurance that your God who has gone before you is revealing Himself mighty and strong on your behalf. He is the Way Maker for you!

Spirit of Prophecy

Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy
Revelation 19:10b, NKJV

In every generation you will find those who take various Biblical truths out of context and distort them for personal gain. The early apostles dealt with this, and even today we see the same as true. Throughout Scripture we see truths to help us understand spiritual gifts. As a Spirit-filled, Pentecostal believer, I desire to know the fullness of the truth of God’s Word relating to the gifts He has freely given, and I want to experience the fullness of those truths. Here are some realities from the Word regarding prophecy. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but some bulleted points to provide guardrails along the journey of using this wonderful God-given expression of Himself.

Prophecy reveals & glorifies Christ

Revelation 19:10 clearly defines the spirit of prophecy and the testimony of Jesus.

The Holy Spirit always reveals the truth of God as revealed in Jesus. Further, Jesus is the Incarnate Word of God, and truths revealed will not contradict the Word.

John 16:13-15; John 1:14

Prophecy originates with and is an expression of God.

2 Peter 1:21

Prophetic ministry builds the church through edification, exhortation, and comfort.

1 Corinthians 14:3

We are encouraged to seek God, not men, for the use of and receiving of this spiritual gift

1 Corinthians 14:12

Prophecy is not a replacement for speaking in tongues (or any other gift), but each gift has a purpose in supernatural ministry

1 Corinthians 14:18-20; Romans 12:6-8

The best stewardship of a prophetic gift is continual use of Scripture, not ambiguities and misrepresentations.

Hebrews 4:12-13

The Holy Spirit reveals the love of God, and thus the motivation behind prophecy is founded and grounded in God’s love.

Romans 5:5; 1 Corinthians 13:1-2

Prophecy is not an indicator for spiritual maturity: Gifts are given, character is developed.

1 Corinthians 12:4-7; Galatians 5:16-26

The believer operating in spiritual gifts must continually develop their stewardship of the gifts given. It takes a moment to receive a gift, but a lifetime to steward a gift.

2 Timothy 1:6-7

Night of Hope

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil
Hebrews 6:19, NASB

As I am writing we have completed another Night of Hope. Each month Celebration Church hosts an outreach to our community which provides about 20 different areas of free services including groceries, hot meals, a spa, community services, haircuts, and so much more. For nine months, I have watched our volunteers and our guests transform. Every month we see many new guests and returning guests. Every month we see volunteers, who often receive more than our guests. Every Night of Hope is fun and inspiring. Our vision for this ministry is Hebrews 6:19.

What a hope we have in Christ! No matter our circumstances, our family dynamics, financial hardships—Christ is the anchor that keeps us firmly secure. Life can set us drifting in the wrong direction, but Christ anchors us firmly to the reality of God. This anchor is a trustworthy and faithful anchor. Our hope in Christ will not leave us in times of rough seas. He is faithful to sustain us. Our goal through Night of Hope is to show people through meeting practical needs, Christ truly sustains us and provides for us. He can minister to our tangible needs, and He can care for our emotional and spiritual needs also.

The joy of believers is to live life behind the veil. Christ our anchor brings us in to this wonderful place of the presence of God. No longer do we live adrift in the seas of life without purpose, without identity, and without meaningful relationships, but we have been brought in to the presence of God, realize our purpose in Him, carry the identity of Christ, and have relationship with our loving Heavenly Father who directs our course daily. This is more than an idea about God; more than a religious experience attempting to obtain God; but a rest in Christ who brings us to God. We can yield full control of our lives to Him, knowing the anchor of our soul has everything handled. We do not have to know every detail of what is to come in our lives, but we can fully rely upon and rest in the One who does.

Are you resting in the anchor of your soul? Do you trust His ability to hold you in the midst of adversity? Can you see him directing your steps into His abundant life? One of the most challenging aspects of using an anchor is trusting that when released, it will work. Yielding to God is similar in that when letting God have full control, you trust He will work. All of a sudden you cease to work and God can begin to work. This is the God-kind of life promised to us. We learn to yield and enter God’s rest and leave the details to Him. This is learning to live behind the veil in the presence of God. Stop striving against the waves of adversity or the waves of success, and yield to Christ, the anchor who will hold you firmly in the middle of God’s sovereign plan and His wonderfully joyful presence.

It’s Time to Dream

When the Lord brought back the captive ones of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with joyful shouting
Psalm 126:1-2a, NASB

Have you ever felt like you have lost your ability to dream? Maybe you no longer have God’s direction and purpose for your life? I often think of Joseph who had a God-given purpose and direction, and continued to dream despite the jealously and taunting of his brothers.

Sometimes our God-given dreams bring us to places, like Joseph, in the pit of despair, in bondage as a slave, and sorting through slanderous accusations. Sometimes we wonder, if we like Ebenezer Scrooge, had some bad cheese when we “thought” we heard from God. Have you been there? Maybe you are in a place like this today. The direction you thought your life was going, seemingly took a wrong turn.

What does captivity, wilderness journeys, accusations, and trials all have in common with God-dreams? According to James, various kinds of trials and afflictions are headed your way when you begin to yield to God’s direction for your life. Rather than become discouraged and weary, we have an opportunity to rejoice and know that the same God who called us to the journey, will lead us through every trial.

The greatest place of joy, I believe, is walking through the storms with Christ. We no longer can rely on our own strength, and so the joy of the Lord must become our strength. Through the trial we understand our inability to change our circumstance, and our only resolve is to be joyful in the Lord.

Determine you will not stop dreaming—no matter the circumstance. Like John in Revelation, get caught up in the Spirit and overflow with the joyful revelation of Christ. Circumstances like John’s—boiled in oil and exiled on an island—can certainly prevent us from dreaming; but circumstances like John’s can be the catalyst for things never seen or experienced before.

I love what Charles Spurgeon writes about this Psalm:

So full were they of joy that they could not contain themselves. They must express their joy and yet they could not find expression for it. Irrepressible mirth could do no other than laugh, for speech was far too dull a thing for it. The mercy was so unexpected, so amazing, so singular that they could not do less than laugh; and they laughed much, so that their mouths were full of it, and that because their hearts were full too. When at last the tongue could move articulately, it could not be content simply to talk, but it must needs sing; and sing heartily too, for it was full of singing. Doubtless the former pain added to the zest of the pleasure; the captivity threw a brighter color into the emancipation. The people remembered this joy flood for years after, and here is the record of it turned into a song. Note the when and the then. God’s when is our then. At the moment when he turns our captivity, the heart turns from its sorrow; when he fills us with grace we are filled with gratitude. We were made to be as them that dream, but we both laughed and sang in our sleep.



A New Chapter

The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:23, NASB

As I am writing this devotion, I have recently finished a staff meeting, and we recently had our church’s annual “Celebration Sunday” or what is commonly called a business meeting. Every year we celebrate the blessings of the Lord in our church. As we reviewed in our business meeting the great things God has done this past year, and again reviewed these items in our staff meeting, we came to the conclusion we had “turned the page” in the story of our church. Collectively there was a sense of a new chapter beginning. We will no longer be identified as the church that was, but we have become and continue to develop into all that God has for us.

How exciting to know that a new chapter has begun! The old is gone and the new has come. The wastelands are no longer desert places, but a vibrant oasis of new life and overflowing rivers.

Great is the Lord’s faithfulness. It is because of His compassions we are not consumed. It is because of His great mercies we can have wonderful new life daily. Every morning you can wake up and breathe the air of His faithful compassion.

It’s time to write a new chapter. Determine today that you will yield to God, and as you do, cooperate with Him as He writes the story of your life. You do not have to continue on in the chapters of yesterday’s news, but allow Him in His great compassion and mercies to write something fresh on the blank storybook pages.

Lamentations 3:24 says, “The Lord is my portion.” As we taste of the goodness of God, He truly is all we need. His compassions sustain us, provide for us, and protect us. Jesus when looking at the hungry multitudes was moved with compassion, not because they were hungry, but because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Today, His compassion is shepherding you and guiding you to still waters that can restore your soul.

Here is what Matthew Henry has said concerning this compassion of God:

Bad as things are, it is owing to the mercy of God that they are not worse. We should observe what makes for us, as well as what is against us. God’s compassions fail not; of this we have fresh instances every morning. Portions on earth are perishing things, but God is a portion forever. It is our duty, and will be our comfort and satisfaction, to hope and quietly to wait for the salvation of the Lord. If we cannot say with unwavering voice, The Lord is my portion; may we not say, I desire to have Him for my portion and salvation, and in his word do I hope? Happy shall we be, if we learn to receive affliction as laid upon us by the hand of God.

Allow the Compassionate King to begin something new in you today. Whether through the storm in the valley below or on the moutaintop above, let us sing of His wonderful mercy. After all, it is a new day and His mercies are new every morning!

Learning to Drink

And have all been made to drink into one Spirit
1 Corinthians 12:13b, NKJV

I have grown up in church and am blessed to have a great spiritual heritage. I thank God for a godly family and healthy churches and ministers who have impacted my life. I have noticed in my own life the tendency of natural man—to strive in my own strength to “serve” God. Maybe you have been there or find yourself in this place now. We know we are born again not by our works, but because of Christ’s work on the cross and His resurrection. We know salvation begins by drinking of the waters of life offered free of charge by Jesus. However, at some point in our walk with God, we switch to endeavoring to accomplish all we can and be “all you can be” in God’s army.

Sadly, many become “burnt out” on Christianity because of striving and endeavoring to accomplish God’s will, doing His plan, serving Him, and checking our religious checklist of “proper Christianity.” Let me define this pattern of behavior. It is called “dead religious works.” Often times we find ourselves doing the right things, but with the wrong motive.

I love what Paul Acts 17:25 “Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.” (NKJV)

Are you striving to build a ministry for God? Do you find yourself working to worship God? Are you checking off your spiritual task list to gain God’s approval for how you read your devotions today or prayed today?

Recently in one of our services, I went to lay hands on someone and as I did, it became clear this person was striving to worship the right way. I began saying, “don’t think, just drink.” Immediately this person’s countenance changed and the joy of the Lord began overflowing in this person. Why? Later this person described how they had been bound by a religious mindset of having to do everything the right way. At some point life became about gaining other’s approval and gaining God’s approval, instead of simply receiving from Him.

Paul said in Acts 17, that God gives to us all. He is always freely pouring out the waters of life. He is an endless ocean of supply. We must ask ourselves, are we striving to work, or are we learning to receive. Receiving requires that we yield. Drinking of the Spirit requires that we stop our endless religious babbling and self-promoting, and open up to drink in the goodness of God.

From the Day of Pentecost until today, as believers we are learning to wait on God and yield to His supply. Salvation was freely given, and as believers, every spiritual blessing and every ounce of spiritual life following salvation is dependent upon drinking in (receiving) from God. Right thinking about God is better than stinkin’ thinkin’ about God. But thoughts of God alone will not satisfy the deep hunger of your spirit. You can have an understanding that the sun provides warmth, but when you stand in the beams of the sun’s light on a hot summer day you begin to have new depth to your understanding of the sun’s warmth.

Move out into the Son’s beams today and have a drink!

Promise of the Father

And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
Acts 1:4-5, NKJV

This is certain concerning God: He keeps His promises! Luke says similar in Luke 24:49, “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” (NKJV)

In Acts 19:2, Paul asked the believers in Ephesus, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” (NKJV)

Throughout the Old Testament, the coming Savior was the promise that everyone waited for. Prophets prophesied and Bible writers proclaimed the coming of the Messiah. In the New Testament, the Messiah came. The promise of the Savior was fulfilled. The Messiah brought with Him another Promise from the Father.

“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever.” John 14:15, NJV

The Promise of the Father to us was the promise between the Father and the Son. It was a promise secured in blood—the blood of Jesus. The Messiah came and restored us back to God, and God promised that we could have an ever-deepening relationship with Him. We could have more than Words on a page: the Word could be living and active in us. And more—we could have the same fullness of the Spirit shared between the Father and the Son living in us. We could be immersed in and saturated with the Holy Spirit. You and I could have divine communion with God by the Holy Spirit.

The greatest of all callings and promises of God is the call and promise of His presence. Like David said, and I paraphrase, “God, you can have it all, but whatever you do, don’t take your presence from me!” Moses had the same conversation with God in Exodus. “God it’s great that you will give us success and blessings, but if your presence doesn’t go with us—then I’m not going.”

This wonderful promise of the Father is our Helper who will be with us, guide us, and reveal Jesus to us. He speaks of what He sees and hears, and becomes our advocate before the Father.

Jesus did not leave us stranded orphans or helpless followers. He left and poured the promise of the Holy Spirit, and today He still is freely giving to those who are willing to wait on Him.

“Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.” Acts 2:33, NKJV

The ministry of Jesus is the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Today, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are in full agreement as the Godhead that this Promised Outpouring is still for you and I today. Are you receiving?



Created for Communion

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
Romans 8:32, NKJV

Leonard Ravenhill once shared a conversation he had with A.W. Tozer:

I think again of a statement A.W. Tozer made to me once. He said, “Len, you know, we’ll hardly get our feet out of time into eternity that we’ll bow our heads in shame and humiliation. We’ll gaze on eternity and say, ‘Look at all the riches there were in Jesus Christ, and I’ve come to the Judgment Seat almost a pauper.’” For God had not only given us Jesus Christ—He has with Him freely given us all things.

We were born for divine fellowship. We were intentionally designed spirit, soul, and body to have communion with God as humans. After all, Christ came to restore us back to God, and now divine communication should be a part of our daily life. How do you start your day? I’m not talking about how much time you spend reading the Word or how many chapters of the Bible you read. Before your feet hit the ground, are you aware of God in your life? Do you greet Him in the morning? Do you think about Him before you go to sleep? Most of us never give much thought to divine communion except for Sundays, and if we do, it’s out of need. I wonder what would happen if someone you cared about deeply only spoke to you when they needed something.

We were made for continual communication with the Creator of all things. As believers we rejoice that we are born again. We thank God for Jesus who became our sacrifice and took the punishment of our sin. However, Christianity does not end there, it only begins. The New Testament writers describe this continual communication and life with God in the fullness of the Spirit.

Consider what Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:23: “May your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless…” We are intricately designed as a tripartite creation. Consider the tabernacle of the Old Testament and how it was comprised likewise: outer court, inner court, and holy of holies. Our outer court (our bodies) containing our senses, the inner court (our soul) which contains our mind, will and emotions, and the holy of holies (our spirit person). We are spirits who have souls and live in bodies. God dwells in the spirit, the “self” dwells in the soul, and the senses dwell in the body.

In the world in which we live, we spend more time and energy on our natural man—the soul and body, and we often do not nurture and develop our spirit man. Our spirit man is where communion with God begins. This is not to say we are to ignore our soul and body; Paul says that all three should be preserved blameless. This is why we need the fullness of the Spirit in all areas of our lives.

Our body must be disciplined and our soul must be sanctified. Our body is offered as a sacrifice of worship, and our soul must be transformed from glory to glory. Our spirit man must continually be nourished by feasting on God and drinking of the waters of life. We must be continually filled by drinking of the spiritual waters of life (Ephesians 5:18). This journey of discipleship, sanctification, drinking and feasting are living a life in communion with God.

Heavenly Visions

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you
1 Corinthians 11:23a, NKJV

I am always in awe when seeing God love on His people, and I especially love seeing God minister to children. Looking back in ministry, I have seen children be ministered to by God and used by God in powerful ways. This week was one of those special and unforgettable times as God ministered to the children in our services. Recently we have had several children make decisions to follow Christ, and we are seeing children coming to services with no previous church or limited church background.

This week in our midweek service the children were encountering the presence of God. Service was still going, and the children after being dismissed from their classes were being brought into the sanctuary with parents who were worshipping and enjoying the presence of God. Many of these children had never experienced this tangible presence. I watched in awe, as even young children were overcome by the presence of God and laying on the floor, others were in an almost trance-like state, unable to speak or respond. One child in particular was greatly affected and saw an angel and then saw and spoke with Jesus about the wounds in his arms.

This all sounds like the Bible coming alive to me. Throughout Scripture, and especially in the New Testament we see the believers having supernatural encounters with God that changed them and changed cities and entire regions for the glory of God. The Scripture is full of everything from paralyzed people running, angelic visitations and ministry, visions, spiritual gifts, and much more. These are all ways in which God displays His glory in real life to us. He is not, nor has He ever been “the big guy in the sky” that never interacts with His children. He continually delights in speaking to and revealing Himself to those who have ears to listen and eyes to see.

In this passage from 1 Corinthians, Paul speaks of an encounter he had with the Lord. Paul was not a disciple of Jesus while Jesus was on earth. Paul we know was previously Saul. Saul had quite the conversion experience when God supernaturally appeared in a bright light, blinding Saul, changed his name to Paul, and sent him on a discipleship journey. God gives a word of knowledge to a man named Ananias—even giving him the exact location where Saul would be. Here in 1 Corinthians, we see that Paul had another encounter with Jesus where Paul received a vision or spoken instruction describing the last supper. Remember, Paul (aka Saul) was not present at the last supper.

This is one of many examples throughout the New Testament of God revealing Himself in ways that are above natural means. The entire book of Revelation is written from a vision that John had while exile. John was so overcome by the presence of God and what he was experiencing, he “fell as dead” many times during the vision.

I am so grateful that Christianity is not historical words, written in a book from thousands of years ago, passed down through the ages that we say “Wow, look what God did. I guess some day in heaven I’ll see what that was all about.” The Bible is full of truth that you and I can experience today. It’s alive and active. The spoken Word of God has become the incarnate Word of God that lives today. You and I can experience every blessing available in God!

So today, I’m again encouraged, as Jesus said, to become like a little child, open my spirit wide and receive every last drop of love He has, and be willing to share this life changing Jesus with others!

Intergenerational Community

I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy out the land, and I brought back word to him as it was in my heart. So Moses swore on that day saying, ‘ Surely the land where your foot has trodden shall be your inheritance and your children’s forever, because you have wholly followed the Lord my God.’ And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, as He said, these forty-five years, ever since the Lord spoke this word to Moses while Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and coming in. Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day
Joshua 14:7;9-12a, NKJV

One of the greatest hurdles often times for churches and ministries is navigating the waters of an intergenerational community. It has always been Christ’s design for the church that all ages, demographics, cultures, backgrounds share together their faith, relationships, and experience. Often we become divided over styles of music, color schemes in the decorating, and so many other non-essentials.

How do we lay aside the non-essentials and as the community of Christ unite together to enjoy God and radiate His glory? The process of aging does not eliminate our need for Christ or His community—the local church. I recently read an article on the error in using the phrase of “passing the baton.” Once a person reaches the status of “senior” (however that is determined) does not mean they can “pass the baton” on to someone younger and seemingly step out of the race. The race continues!

I have been privileged to watch and participate in intergenerational churches and watch as the various backgrounds blend together to display a great masterpiece of God. It is my resolution that I will continue to grow in grace—no matter my age.

I love the boldness and maturity that is expressed by Caleb in the division of the Promise Land. Maturity in God produces confidence in God. Here are some observations from this passage of Scripture regarding maturing in God:

Passion for God + Longevity with God = Determined Confidence

A life lived with God is a life full of experience in God. There are many claimed Christians who are not living with God, but simply do acts of service to God or carry a title about God. Caleb walked with God. For forty-five years he wandered the wilderness, knowing what God had promised. For forty-five years he watched his friends and neighbors die. What began as a young man’s passionate declaration: “We are able to overcome it!” (Numbers 13:30), combined with a persistent journey with God through all the obstacles and opportunities became in Caleb a determined confidence: “Give me this mountain which the Lord spoke in that day.”

This confidence was not born of self. Self had been annihilated along the journey through the wilderness. Caleb’s confidence was born from a word, spoken by God through a godly leader. Caleb’s confidence was matured forty-five years through test and trial as he watched God show up again and again. He ate of the manna. He saw the miracles in the wilderness. He did not allow himself to grow weary, but he became more determined in the goodness of God.

Weariness is what you make it

Life throws us curve balls all of the time. I’m certain that Caleb fully expected forty-five years earlier that all of Israel would inherit the Promised Land after his spy adventure. But we know that because of the negative influence of his peers, they wandered in the wilderness. Have you ever anticipated going “right” in a decision, and for some reason you ended up “left”? Caleb did not become “rut-bound” when others did not go the way he wanted. In fact, God often uses the “left” turns in life to eliminate self, sin, or other negative influences from our lives. Who would want to spend the rest of their life with Shaphat the Negative? Who would want to live with ten people who always had a reason why not to engage in God’s plan? Caleb teaches us not to allow left turns to sidetrack us, and he also shows that we don’t become disenchanted with God’s plan because someone else doesn’t agree. Caleb makes this statement, “just as my strength was then, so now is my strength.” In other words, I haven’t lost hope. I will not live in weariness; I will be strengthened in my inner man.

A Body Fit to Fight

Will your current body endure the journey God has called you on? I believe a lot of times we allow the stress of life and circumstance dictate how we care for our bodies. I realize there are times of unexpected illness and disease. That’s not the idea here. Caleb maintained his physical strength so that he may enjoy all God had for him in this life. Will you miss opportunities because of health and nutrition decisions you are making today? Many negative food decisions and health decisions are motivated by fear, weariness, and negative influences. Caleb knew that at the end of the wilderness journey he had a home to build and a mountain to enjoy with his family. God has, in this life, great encounters with Him, ministries to enjoy, people to reach—are you limiting your enjoyment of these things because you have not been a steward of those things God has promised? You may not completely reverse diet or exercise related illness overnight. You may not establish a new habit of health and nutrition tomorrow, but take a step at a time. Caleb had to maintain his strength for forty-five years while roaming the wilderness.

Never let go of God’s Word

It was as fresh today as it was back then. The word Caleb had received forty-five years earlier was just as powerful and real on the day he looked on the mountain God had given him. The Word of God will sustain you through every season of life. It truly is the anchor of your soul. Cast your anchor upon the Word of God and no storm will change your course.

First & Lasting Impressions

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you
Philippians 1:3

As I am writing this blog, I just wrapped up a great meeting with some of our First Impression Team leaders. Our First Impression Team serves faithfully week after week to ensure all of the guests that walk through our doors are extended the hospitality and love we have received from Christ. We were sinners, and God forgave us and adopted us into His family. We were outcasts, and Christ loved us past our past. We want our guests to have this impression of Christ through our tangible love and fellowship.

Here in Philippians, Paul writes of his impression of the church in Philippi. He had a joyful and thankful account of the Philippian church because of their fellowship in the ministry of the Gospel. This church partnered with Paul and became co-laborers with him in reaching the Gentiles with the Gospel message.

Fellowship or partnership together requires intentional effort. Hebrews 10:24, tells us to “consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.” We are to contemplate and strategize ways we can express God’s love relationally to one another. As we have received of this love from God, we walk in love with others. How do you cultivate community intentionally?

Have healthy expectations

Not everyone in your local church will be your best friend, but you can have a few deep relationships. Connect with many and develop significant friendships with few. Are you involved in a home discipleship group? Are you engaged in significant and meaningful ministry to others?

Baby Steps are okay

Living in community doesn’t mean everyone immediately is allowed to be “up in your grill.” You probably won’t let everyone in to your inner circle, but work at letting someone in. Have you been hurt by others? Allow God to heal the hurt, and let the walls that keep you isolated to come down. As you connect in the community of the local church, you will realize there are many others who have similar stories as you.

Take Some Ownership

Realize that community is everyone’s job, not everyone else’s job. Ask yourself, “how much effort am I putting into connecting with others?” Community is essential in our walk with God. We are loved by Him and in turn are able to love others. Remember, it doesn’t matter to God whether you have your life all put together or not. None of us have arrived to perfection yet. Find your identity in Christ and connect through community.

Connecting in Community

for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now
Philippians 1:5

Do you remember the TV show Home Improvement? Tim the Tool-man Taylor had an interesting neighbor—Wilson. Wilson was always the vague character that never revealed his face. He always stood peering over the fence, but never gave full disclosure.

We see this a lot in church community. Unfortunately, week after week, people come in and go out of church, just peering over the fence at one another. What do I mean?

In Philippians 1:5, Paul uses a great Bible word: Koinonea, which in the Greek means intimacy, fellowship, partnership, to be comrades or endeavor in a joint venture together.

As Christians, we are called to partnership and life in community. This means we have to tear down the fences that keep us separated from one another. This is more than just knowing someone’s name or where they sit in church. The great news: Jesus is the best fence destroyer around. The wall of sin that separates us from God is destroyed by the work of Christ on the cross and His resurrection. Unfortunately, too many times we quickly rebuild the wall Jesus so graciously destroyed.

We build fences between God and our shame. We build fences between others and the mess and hurt of our lives. All the while, we are meant to live without fences, and be willing to allow others into our yard, no matter how messy or unkept it may be. We must be willing to be vulnerable and authentic with others, and walk this journey of wholeness in Christ together.

I’m sure there are many who may be reading this that have been wounded by the words, actions, or inactions of others. There are those that may be completely terrified of the idea of allowing someone to see the “real” person behind the fence. Today, your healing begins with the simple step of allowing the fence to come down and allowing Jesus into your yard—mess and all. Slowly, you will begin to allow others in also.

A great question to consider: Whose yard are you in today? Are you intentionally building relationships with others outside of your yard? Maybe your fence has come down, but are you venturing out within your local church to build significant and lasting relationships. Paul was eternally grateful and joyful over the partnership he shared with the Philippian church. Their fellowship and resources enabled Paul to accomplish God’s call on His life. There is someone God has placed in your life to be able to encourage one another in this journey so that you may fulfill all God has set before you.

I look back over my life, and even take a look at where God has me today, and I know there are people strategically placed by God in my life, and me in theirs that we might partner together to fulfill this journey with Christ. Your home in heaven will be in the midst of a wonderful heavenly community, not on your own private island. Thank God for the wonderful community of believers He has planted you in and intentionally engage with one another.




May be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:18-19, NKJV

This is one of my favorite Bible words. You might be thinking: “I’ve never seen that in my Bible before!?”

In Ephesians 3:18, Paul uses this Greek word, which is interpreted in the NKJV as “comprehend.” We often times lose a lot in translation from Hebrew and Greek to English. This is one of those words that often loses its gusto in translation. The definition of Katalambano is “to lay hold of so as to make one’s own; to take possession of; apprehend.”

Paul is praying that you and I would be able to lay hold of the vastness of God’s love. He goes on to say that this love is so vast, you cannot understand it in the natural; the greatness of God’s love is only understood with spiritual understanding. Have you ever thought about the expanse of the heavens. The heavens cannot even begin to contain God, and so the vastness of God’s love supersedes anything we even attempt to comprehend. As believers, no matter how much of the love of God we have experienced, there are still vast oceans deep of rich love divine. Launch out!

One of my other favorite Bible words is used here in the same text: “Ginosko.” Paul tells us we need to apprehend this great love and make it our own, and then we are to “know it by experience.” It is possible to have knowledge that something is true, but it is quite different to experience that truth. For example, Jonathan Edwards often used the analogy of knowing that honey is sweet, but when you taste and see—there’s a new depth to the sweetness of honey. We can know honey is sweet, but when you taste the sweetness for yourself, there is new depth to your understanding.

God has a reservoir of love that “passes knowledge.” It exceeds and excels beyond anything we can begin to think or imagine. Today, He calls us to make every effort to passionately pursue and enjoy this eternal supply of love. Discovering your pleasures in the oceans deep of His love will satisfy you more fully and deeply than any earthly treasure, and yet will leave you longing for more of Him.

It has been said and sung, but how true these words are:

Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made; were every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade; to write the love of God above, would drain the ocean dry; nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky.

 The love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong. It shall forevermore endure the saints and angels song.

Happy swimming!


…that you, being rooted and grounded in love
Ephesians 3:17b, NKJV

The word thrive means to flourish or prosper, to bloom or blossom, to be healthy. If you had to examine your spiritual health today, what would be the results of the exam? If you sat down with Doctor Jesus, what would the spiritual physical results be?

God calls us out of darkness and vivifies our life, and provides all that we need to become fully developing believers. True Christianity is not praying a prayer one day and progressing to spiritual death. We are called to spiritual fervor and a passionate life in God.

Jesus addresses the need of abiding in Him in John 15. Paul addresses our need to be rooted and grounded here in Ephesians 3. David in Psalms 1 shows us how to flourish. Scripture is full of truth on becoming fully developing Christians.

Here is a summary of key components of the pathway to long-term spiritual health:


Psalm 1:3 “He shall be like a tree planted”

Planting comes from being “buried” in the Word of God. Our lives are saturated with the truth of the Word and sound doctrinal teaching and preaching. The nutrients of the Word of God and the ministry of the Word through a local church enrich and produce spiritual development.


To be rooted means to be firmly established, fixed, to have strong roots.

To be rooted implies planting in the Word of God, and being fixed in a local church, allowing your roots to spread out and be established.

Jeremiah 17:8 “Which spreads its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes”

This also signifies uprooting any obstacles that would hinder significant root growth. Scripture talks about a “root of bitterness,” as an example.


The Greek word in the context of Paul’s writing to the Ephesians for grounded implies having a firm foundation. This term is more of an architectural term versus horticulture, but makes the same point clear: we must be firmly established and rooted in the nature of God (“being rooted and grounded in love”); firmly established on His Word; and edifying one another as we gather together. Jesus made this point when sharing about the man who built his house on the sand, and the other man who had a firm foundation.


The process of growth does not end here, but truly just begins. To continually be in health, we must continue to grow, mature, and develop. We do not have babies and expect that once they are developing on their own we can leave them to continue without assistance. Even as adults we must continue on in health and nutrition, and seek the advice of professionals to continue in health. Spiritually, the same is true. We must continue to abide in Christ in all means possible to mature and flourish.

Superhuman Strength

That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith
Ephesians 3:16-17a, NKJV

One of my favorite “superhuman” movies is Spiderman. There’s a famous quote from this movie from Aunt May that is applicable here:

Everybody loves a hero. People line up for them, cheer them on, scream their names. And years later, they’ll tell how they stood in the rain for hours just to get a glimpse of the one who taught them how to hold on a second longer. I believe there’s a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble, and finally allows us to die with pride, even though sometimes we have to be steady, and give up the thing we want the most. Even our dreams.

Through the eyes of this movie, we get a glimpse of a scriptural parallel—as believers we have a wonderful hero that has redeemed us; lives in us; and strengthens us to live a God-kind of life.

Are you operating in your own, natural strength and abilities, or are you fully trusting in and relying on God’s strength? In Zechariah 4:6, Zerubbabel says, “’Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” Our God is the all-powerful God. His might is never diminished or weakened. The same strength that brought the Israelites victory thousands of years ago has not waned or lessened. This same might is available to work in and through you today!

Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians included that they would be strengthened in their inner man by the Holy Spirit. This is the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead, and He can also empower you! (Romans 8:11) This is more than knowledge about God—it truly is experiencing the power of God revealed in Scripture.

As we make room for the strengthening of the Holy Spirit in our lives, the Holy Spirit will make room for Christ. What is meant by this? When we live in full dependence upon and yielded to the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit will make space in our lives for Christ by eliminating self and sin so that Christ may have full reign and rule over our lives. The more dependent we become on the Holy Spirit, the more room is made for the rule of Christ.

This strengthening of God in our lives by the Holy Spirit goes beyond our salvation; but having believed in God, the Christian can be fully strengthened and empowered by the fullness of the Spirit.

You don’t have to face life alone or ill-equipped. The power of God is made available at all its fullest force. Today, as you meditate on this Scripture, think of this: Your life is like a fire hose either connected or disconnected to a fire hydrant. If you are disconnected—there’s no force of water available for the fires you face. If you are connected to the fire hydrant the force of water is dependent upon how much water you are allowing to flow through the hose. The more we yield and depend upon the Holy Spirit—the greater the flow of the water. Learning to become effective with the power of God released in us is the process of discipleship and learning to be pastored. Through this, we become mature in God and fully empowered!

A House Fit For God

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
Ephesians 3:14, NKJV

Have you ever wondered about your purpose in life? Why were you born? What was God thinking when He made you? Maybe you have felt like someone made a mistake. We all at different times and seasons of our lives face similar questions—even when it seems like things are going great we can question the journey we are on.

Here we find Paul addressing the church in Ephesus, a Greek church. Remember, Paul’s ministry was to bring the Gospel to the “gentiles” or to those who were not Jewish. The church in Ephesus fit this category. By default they were the outsiders. The religious crowd would have said they didn’t belong and should not be considered part of the church. The Ephesian church had a powerful launch in its early days. We find this account in Acts 19. In Acts, Luke describes the miracles taking place in Ephesus as “extraordinary.” So we know that these “outsiders” were having an incredible awakening and experiencing God in such a way that people were taking notice—the surrounding areas were hearing about the church in Ephesus.

And, yet, in Paul’s letter to them, He reminds them of their purpose and who they are in Christ. This tells us that even if we have had a great start—through hardships and the course of life, we all need reminding of our identity and purpose in Christ.

“For this reason…,” Paul says. What was the purpose of Paul’s prayer? That they would be reminded of what he wrote in Ephesians 2:19-22:

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Here are a couple of reminders from these previous verses written by Paul, inspired by God, for you and I, echoing through the ages of time:

In Christ, we are no longer identified by our past
2 Corinthians 5:17—He’s making all things new in you

To have a unwavering faith, we must be established in the truth of God’s Word
Romans 1:16—The Power of the Gospel

We are being metamorphisized to look like Christ
2 Corinthians 3:18—From stage to stage we are being transformed

Together we are encouraged and established
1 Thessalonians 5:11—We are being built together

We are being made into a house fit for God
1 Peter 2:5—We are being built into a spiritual house

I Love My Church

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
John 13:34-35, NKJV


What does it mean that we are to love one another? The world has so many definitions of love these days, so in order to understand what Jesus is saying here, we must understand the context. The evening in which Jesus was speaking was the same night that He was to be betrayed and eventually murdered unjustly. He had washed His disciples feet, a duty left to servants. He had released His treasurer to go and betray Him to those who had issued Christ’s death warrant. With the cross in view, Jesus issues not a new command, but an old command with new revelation—“as I have loved you.”

What an incredible picture of the love we are to have for one another—the love we have received freely from Jesus is the love with which we are to love each other. Jesus further clarifies this statement and says, everyone will identify you as my follower because you have My love for one another.

This clearly shows us that Christ’s love is different from the love the world expresses. The love of Jesus is defined differently. Have you experienced this kind of love, or are you still experiencing love tied to manipulation or control or broken promises or unmet expectations?

The love of Christ towards us is the ultimate love that is permanently and perfectly expressed between God the Father and God the Son. This overwhelming love they have shared for all eternity, displayed in the person of the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5) is lavishly poured out on us. Paul tells us in Romans 8, that this love is so great and so perfect that nothing can break its power or overcome it. He tells us this love is so pure and so precious that it is extended without demand or expectation. This love is so radical and ravishing that it changes everything in its path.

This is the love of Christ towards us, and is the love we are to share with one another. When I say, “I Love My Church,” I’m not referencing a love similar to that of a restaurant or event—but a love that is produced by a relationship with God that affects my relationship with others.

Let me conclude today’s post by sharing with you Johnson’s Commentary on John:

That love was one so intense as to give up all things. His love led him to leave heaven, to take our infirmities upon him, to endure a weary and painful ministry, to become a servant, even to wash the feet of his disciples, and it was about to show itself forth in the outpouring of his blood for the sake of his people. It was such love as he would inspire in the hearts of his disciples for each other; a self-denying, self-sacrificing love which is not of the earth, but carries its own demonstration that it is of heavenly origin. The “new life” is love.

God With Us

The greatest treasure we have as believers–the most valuable of all blessings associated with our atonement–is knowing and living in the presence of God. In Exodus 33:15, Moses told God, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.” God had promised Moses success and favor–he promised the Israelites would reach their goals; however, because they were stiff-necked, His Presence would not go on the journey with them.

Matthew, considering Joseph’s perspective and the angelic message, quotes Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the coming Messiah: “So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us’ (Matthew 1:22-23).”

What an incredible promise and present reality–that God became a man. Immanuel represents the Divine taking on humanity. Christ became the mediator between God and man. No longer are we separated from God by sin. No longer do we require a high priest to act on our behalf. Christ became our sacrifice and our High Priest. He became Immanuel–God with us!

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in the time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).

“But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises” (Hebrews 8:6).

“But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation” (Hebrews 9:11).

You and I as born again believers have become the habitation of God’s presence, in which Christ is our High Priest. He is our mediator to God. He brings us boldly before the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy in our time of need. Are you in need today for His Presence? Like Moses, are you desperate for more of Him? A one time experience on the mountaintop would not satisfy Moses–and it should not satisfy us. We should be left longing to know Him more. Jesus came to restore us to a daily, living awareness of God’s Presence. Are you living life behind the veil?

The Joyful Cradle

I remember when Heather told me we were pregnant with Zoe. We were excited to have our first child, and I was overcome with joy for about fifteen minutes. I literally laughed with excitement and anticipation. I laughed so hard I was crying and crying so hard I was laughing. Maybe you have experienced similar joy at the announcement of great news, or maybe God has touched your life and it has produced His inexpressible, supernatural joy and filled your mouth with laughter (Ps 126 & 1 Peter 1:8).

In Luke 2:10-11, the angels announce the coming Savior:

“Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.'”

The joy of Christ’s coming is discovered in the cradle. This conquering King, the Creator of all Created, the Ancient of Days–stepped into creation. God himself, stepped, as it were, out of the picture frame of His Word–and was manifest among us. John in 1 John 1 describes the joy of the Christmas message. “We have heard, we have seen…, we have looked upon, and our hands have handled…” (1 John 1:1:1)

The joy of Christmas is not found in the gifts, the parties, and the meals; the joy of Christmas is the joy of Christ. Like the shepherds of old, we too can humbly receive the joyous news and participate in the joyous celebration because it was Christ’s joy to humble himself and take on the nature of man. It was Christ’s joy to endure the cross for our sin. It was Christ who was exalted by God above all others and received the oil of gladness (Ps 45:7-8).

Charles Spurgeon gives commentary on this joy:

On account of our Lord’s perfect life he is now rewarded with superior joy. Others there are to whom grace has given a sacred fellowship with him, but by their universal consent and his own merit, he is prince among them, the gladdest of all because the cause of all their gladness. At Oriental feasts oil was poured on the heads of distinguished and very welcome guests; God himself anoints the man Christ Jesus, as he sits at the heavenly feasts, anoints him as a reward for his work, with higher and fuller joy than any else can know; thus is the Son of man honoured and rewarded for all his pains.

It’s time to enjoy your life. It’s time to have a joy-filled life. Christ came to restore the joy of salvation for each us. He came, anointed by God to proclaim this joyous message of healing, freedom, and restoration. In Him is found superior joy. This is why we can truly sing, “Joy to the world, the Lord has come!” Today, may you find yourself looking into Christ’s cradle and discover again the pure and excellent joy from above!

Enjoyment of God & Loving Others

Enjoyment of God and delighting ourselves in the glory of God produces a compassion for those who have exchanged the pleasures of God for momentary delights. Jesus saw the multitudes and was moved with compassion because they were sheep without a shepherd. As believers, we find our fulfillment, our delight, our pleasure, our satisfaction in God alone; and recognize the eternal suffering of those who do not find their fulfillment in God, and thus, we are motivated by compassion to pursue those who are lost–to be ministers of reconciliation that those who are lost may find absolute pleasure in God alone.

I shared with our church this past Sunday a written response to the many concerns believers across our country (even worldwide) are facing. At the request of many of our leaders, I have posted this written response here. Today, it is our desire to enjoy God fully, to glorify Him eternally, and be motivated with compassion for the world around us.


My Response

June 27, 2015

Many who are wiser than I have penned great responses to the recent Supreme Court ruling. For the sake of adding my, “amen,” to the many who have well spoken of these things, I would say this: America has an epidemic disease that will not be cured by better politics and even religion. America has a sin problem that can only be cured through Christ’s blood and repentance. I pray that God would grant true repentance to America on all accounts of sin (2 Timothy 2:25). As the disease of sin grows darker, may the brightness of God’s glory grow brighter among His Church (Isaiah 60:1). May the Church not lose her voice in these matters due to hardness of heart and judgment; rather, let us see with the eyes of discernment and wisdom, knowing the end result of a sinful lifestyle brings unfulfillment and destruction. We must be ready to minister to those who have suffered its ravaging affects, like Jesus with the woman at the well who had suffered from unfulfilled relationships (John 4). The pleasure of sin is momentary, but the enjoyment of God is eternal (Hebrews 11:25). Now is the time for the church, with abandonment, to fully enjoy God and the pleasures of His presence so that others may know the pleasures of His joy rather than the fading earthly enjoyments (John 15:11). We can no longer continue on playing with the toys of religion, rather we must truly live the Gospel.


Walking in the Spirit

Walking in the Spirit

I remember an incident a gentleman told me he once saw upon a bridge over a river. A man was driving a flock of fat lambs, when something met them and hindered their passage. In reaction, one of the lambs leaped upon the wall of the bridge and, his legs slipping from under him, fell into the stream. Seeing him, the rest, one after another, leaped over the bridge into the stream and were all, or almost all, drowned. Those that were behind did not know what was to become of them that were gone before, but thought that they might venture to follow their companions regardless. As soon as they were over the wall and falling headlong, the case was altered. And so it is with unconverted carnal men. One dies beside them and drops into hell, and another follows the same way. Yet, they will go after them because they think nothing of where they are going. Oh! But when death has once opened their eyes and they see what is on the other side of the wall, even in the other world, then what would they give to be where they were?

-Richard Baxter (1615-1691)

Galatians 5:16


How true it is that everyone follows somebody. We can choose to follow our carnal, old nature or we can follow the direction of the Holy Spirit. Jesus taught us that the Spirit of Truth would guide us into all truth (John 16:13). Jesus told us that we would know the truth and the truth would set us free (John 8:32). Thus, it is of great importance that we follow diligently after the Holy Spirit who longs for us to walk in truth—to walk in freedom.

It is when we follow our carnal nature we are bound to the lusts of the flesh. Paul taught us in Romans 6 that we are dead to our sinful nature and should not take up the bondage of this carnality again. To the Galatians he asked, who had bewitched them. Did the life in Christ that was begun by the Spirit now become a work of the flesh? (Galatians 3)

Practically, in order to walk in the Spirit, we must first have relationship and fellowship with the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14). This fellowship is a supernatural partnership, much like a marriage. Our journey begins with a specified destination. Our goal is to take hold of Christ (Philippians 3:14). Our journey must be one of balance. When our balance is off, we fall. Balance in the Spirit comes from walking a life of faith. Just like our natural senses keep us balanced, so also does our spiritual perception—faith. Walking in the Spirit requires observation. Assaults, obstacles, and distractions will come our way, but we maintain our focus. Choose today to walk in the Spirit.

Quality Time

Quality Time

“If your heart takes more pleasure in reading novels, or watching TV, or going to the movies, or talking to friends, rather than just sitting alone with God and embracing Him, sharing His cares and His burdens, weeping and rejoicing with Him, then how are you going to handle forever and ever in His presence? You’d be bored to tears in heaven, if you’re not ecstatic about God now!”

-Keith Green (1953-1982)

1 Thessalonians 5:16-19


Can you say with David, “my soul longs for, even faints for the courts of my God” (Psalm 84:2). David cherished his time with the Lord; time that was spent for much of His life watching sheep or running for his life. Even in his sin, David cried “do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me” (Psalm 51:11).

We have the opportunity to come boldly into the presence of the Lord (Hebrews 4:16) because of the propitiation Christ has made for us. Let us not waiver from our very purpose, but with great diligence pursue the presence of God. May we spend such quality time with Him that we know His heart, His thoughts, and His cares. Oh, that we would have the heart of God that is developed by time with Him.

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) said this in his “Resolution #22:”

Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness, in the other world, as I possibly can, with all the power; might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.

To enjoy God; to pray and seek after Him; to not quench or grieve the Holy Spirit; and to do all with great endeavor is to glorify God forever. Ask God today to increase your spiritual appetite. Let him increase your capacity for prayer and worship. Today, may He stir a longing for His presence within you—more than you have known before.

Acts of Power

Acts of Power

To believe against hope is the root of the gift of miracles; and I owe this testimony to our beloved church, that apostolic powers are there manifested. We have had undeniable proofs thereof in the unequivocal discovery of things, persons, and circumstances, which could not humanly have been discovered, in the healing of maladies in themselves incurable, such as cancers, consumptions, when the patient was in the agonies of death, all by means of prayer, or of a single word.

-Count Nicolaus Ludwig Zinzendorf (1700-1760)

Hebrews 2:4


The following is an excerpt from Maria Woodworth-Etter’s (1844-1924) book Signs and Wonders describing some of her meetings.

Besides the mighty miracles of healing, God has shown many other signs of His mighty presence and the soon coming of the Lord. In many ways the Holy Spirit has signified that we were near the end. Sometimes during the preaching, God’s power would settle down on the saints until some were melted to tears; others saw wonderful visions of His coming glory. Sometimes Sister Etter was held like a statue, unable to utter a word. Other times she stood weeping over the people, while the power of God swept over all like the tide of a great ocean. Around the altar souls saw visions of Him who is walking today among the candlesticks, holding “the seven stars in His right hand” (Rev 2:1). Numbers seems to hear that “voice as the sound of many waters” (Rev 1:15) and like John fell at His feet as dead. The unsaved, beholding the shining faces of those lying as dead men in the presence of God, wept and said, “These are strange things.” Sometimes the Spirit would move like a gentle breeze, fanning every soul with the breath of heaven, then send torrents of weeping over the lost until it seemed to some that the very shades of the dark “tribulation” cloud was casting a shadow all around us.

It is the will of God that you be used in a mighty way by the Holy Spirit to share the Gospel message confirmed by signs and wonders. I do not believe that Jesus is coming back for a church operating in less power than the church He left. Greater things are available to us in these days (John 14:12), and those who choose to yield to the Holy Spirit are experiencing a harvest of souls and confirming acts of power.

Heavenly Construction

Heavenly Construction

The Bible says we are to flow together with one mind, one heart, once accord and one purpose. As we pray in the Spirit, the love of God is poured out and released in our lives. This incredible, supernatural love is the source of unity in the Body of Christ. Keep yourself in the love of God, praying in the Holy Spirit.

-Pastor Frank Bailey, Holy Spirit, The Promised One

Jude 1:20-21


Have you ever watched a large building as it is constructed? There is incredible detail and planning that goes into every construction. Likewise the same is true of our spiritual building. We are each being built into a dwelling place for God (Ephesians 2:22). Jude gives us insight to ensuring our building is structurally sound.

In Matthew 7, Jesus describes the man who built his house upon the sand. When the storms of life came, his destruction was imminent. Jesus likened the man to everyone who hears His words but does not practice them.

Jude’s instruction is that we must continually pray in the Spirit, keeping ourselves in the love of God. As we pray in the Spirit, we are praying the Word and will of God over our lives. As we do this, we are “building an edifice” as the Greek in this verse describes. We are constructing and establishing our lives firmly in the love of God.

Praying in the Spirit takes us deeper into the love of God, for it is the Holy Spirit that reveals God’s love to us (Romans 5:5). Praying in the Spirit is allowing God to do the construction work of our lives (Psalms 127:1) so that our efforts are not spent in vain.

Overflowing Joy

Overflowing Joy

It may be said of Christians that they do in fact rejoice; they are happy. The people of the world often suppose that religion makes its professors sad and melancholy. That there are those who have not great comfort in their religion, no one indeed can doubt; but this arises from several causes entirely independent of their religion. Some have melancholy temperaments, and are not happy in anything. Some have little evidence that they are Christians, and their sadness arises not from religion, but from the want of it. But that true religion does make its possessors happy…

-Albert Barnes (1798-1870)

1 Peter 1:8


Are you full of joy in your relationship with Christ? Have you found that the joy of your salvation has lost its glory?

David found himself in misery from sinful choices. His prayer of repentance included the appeal, “restore unto me the joy of your salvation” (Psalm 51:12).

We receive God’s Word with joy (Matthew 13:20). Heaven has great joy when sinners are born again (Luke 15:7). Jesus desires for us to live with overflowing joy (John 15:11). We see throughout the Bible our salvation should be an abundantly joyful salvation. However, throughout life and circumstances, our joy decreases, and like David we must come to Christ for a restoration of joy.

Peter describes this level of joy we ought to have. It is inexpressible and full of glory. It is unspeakable and unimaginable joy. It is joy that is described in Psalm 126, a joy that fills my mouth with laughter. There is no other way to speak of this joy, but to laugh. And this overflowing laughter is full of praise, honor, and is magnifying God. Have you been filled with such inexpressible joy? “God is most glorified when I am most satisfied with Him” (John Piper).

Pursuit of God

Pursuit of God

He had said that he aimed and eagerly aspired at the resurrection of the dead through fellowship in the Cross of Christ. He adds, that he has not as yet arrived at this. At what? At the attainment of having entire fellowship in Christ’s sufferings, having a full taste of the power of his resurrection, and knowing him perfectly. He teaches, therefore, by his own example, that we ought to make progress, and that the knowledge of Christ is an attainment of such difficulty, that even those who apply themselves exclusively to it, do nevertheless not attain perfection in it so long as they live.

-John Calvin (1509-1564)

Philippians 3:12-14


One of the hardest things for many believers is to forget the past. Whether we are ensnared in the faults of others or our own shortcomings, we find ourselves in bondage. Paul said that we should not give the enemy a foothold (Ephesians 4:27). The Greek in this verse indicates a foothold is a stronghold, an inhabited place, a place of power.

Allowing the failures and rejections of the past not only torments you, keeps you in bondage, but creates a fortified dwelling in your mind for the enemy to wreak havoc on your life. Simply put, a stronghold is the result of the past taking territory today, and devastating your future.

God has an incredible calling on your life. Pressing toward the goal requires first that we forgive and forget what lies behind. Sometimes those things that become strongholds are even good things—successes that ensnare us in pride. Let them all go. Paul considered even His successes as loss compared to Christ (Philippians 3:8).

Our focus must be single: “but one thing I do”. We cannot become distracted by too many affections, but have singleness of heart and mind. Forget what lies behind and press toward the goal. Our heavenly goal is obtaining Christ. Our call is a heavenly call to enjoy Him for eternity. Today is the day of reconciliation. Let go of the past and step into your future. Do not allow your past to rob you of your future any longer. You are no longer defined by your past, and who you are today is not who you are becoming tomorrow. God is transforming your life.

Mind-Blowing Work

Mind-Blowing Work

It is abundantly clear that the performance of mighty works—signs, wonders, and miracles—belongs with the gospel proclamation. The early Christians testified and performed signs and wonders. The proclamation, therefore, is powerful word and miraculous deed (both by the Holy Spirit), which bear witness to the gospel.

-J. Rodman Williams (1918-2008), Renewal Theology

Ephesians 3:20-21


God wants to blow your mind! I often find that as Christians, if we cannot figure something out in our natural mind, we discount it and consider it “mystical.” Could it be that our skepticism about God limits our faith in God? Is it possible that because we don’t understand something in our mind we may disregard the very working of God in our midst?

Paul describes a work of God in our lives that is super abundantly and incredibly great, beyond anything we could even think of on our own. Do we need to place a prerequisite on God of our full understanding of His fullness before we yield to His plan? We cannot begin to comprehend the greatness of salvation, a virgin birth, ascension, resurrection, Christ’s return—and yet, when it comes to the “power that works in us,” we limit the expanse of all that God wants to do because of our inability to figure it out with our natural mind.

Notice Paul says this incredibly great, mind-blowing work of God in us is in direct proportion to the power that is working within us. If your skepticism has limited your faith and the power of God at work in you, it will limit the work of God through you. God is not shocked by our skepticism, He simply says we can live in limited power. However, if you want the fullness of His power at work in your life and through your life, there is a mind-blowing work of God in and through your life available as you yield.



I was enabled in secret prayer to raise my soul to God, with desire and delight. It was indeed a blessed time. All my past sorrows seemed kindly to disappear, and I “remembered no more the sorrow, for joy.” O, how sweetly, and with what an affectionate tenderness the soul confides in the Rock of Ages, knowing He will “never leave it nor forsake it,” and that He will cause “all things to work together for good!” I longed that others should know how good a God the Lord is. My soul was full of tenderness and love—even to the greatest of my enemies. I longed that they should share in the same mercy. I love the thought that God should so do as He pleased with me—and everything else. I felt peculiarly serious, calm, and peaceful, and felt encouragement to press after holiness as long as I live, whatever difficulties and trials may be in my way. May the Lord always help me to do so! Amen, and amen.

-David Brainerd (1718-1747)

Romans 8:26


The Holy Spirit, our advocate with the Father, stands ready to help you today. Praying in the Spirit is praying the will of God over the circumstances in your life. “We do not know what we should pray.” And many times our prayers are for our own motives (James 4:3). But praying in the Holy Spirit is yielding to Divine help and Divine prayer.

Paul uses a compound word for “help” in this passage of Scripture. The Greek describes help much like a lifeguard that rushes to a drowning victim, wrestling and striving with him or her until the person is safe. God comes and strives and wrestles with us until we yield fully to His grace and power in our lives. He pulls us into His secret place of safety.

Instead of praying and wrestling with God over your plans to improve your life, try yielding to the heavenly language and a heavenly time of prayer. It is in this place of surrender we find our help. This heavenly prayer is our refreshing and our rest from the struggles of this world (Isaiah 28:11-12). Yielding to God in this life of prayer transports us from turmoil into the secret place in His shadow of cool, refreshing winds (Psalm 91:1-2). He becomes our fortress of safety and protection.

Abide in Christ

Abide in Christ

The promise of eternal life made by God is sure. But abiding in the truth of the gospel, and thereby in Christ and the Father, is necessary for that life to be fulfilled.

-J. Rodman Williams (1918-2008), Renewal Theology

John 15:5

John 15 is a wonderful passage of discipleship, the joy of our pursuit in God, and the power of God available to those who rely upon God. Christ makes His point clear: true and effective religion is useless without abiding. Abiding in Christ is the source of all true affections towards God; without this, we merely are left with man’s efforts and attempts to please God. The description in the Greek would be that we are to remain in Christ. Here are some matters of abiding we must assess in our life.

Closely related to abiding is that of continuing. This would suggest that we are to remain steadfastly secure in Christ. Colossians 1:21-23 states that we have been reconciled to God and are to be presented blameless at His coming, with the condition “if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel.”

A further step in this journey of abiding would be enduring. There are many ups and downs in our journey with Christ. Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:10, that he “endured all things for the sake of the elect.” Verse 12 of the same passage states that “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.”

It is also important that we make firm or confirm our relationship with Christ. In 2 Peter 1:10, we are encouraged to be “diligent to make your call and election sure.” The Greek is to make it “firm.”

Lastly, it is necessary for us to remain faithful to the end. We know of God’s faithfulness, and we are to remain faithful also. Revelation 2:10, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Today, ask the Holy Spirit to help you abide in Christ, that you may continue on in enduring with a firm faithfulness.

The Spirit of Truth

The Spirit of Truth

When the Spirit comes into believers, He comes to tell them all about Jesus’ salvation. He reveals Christ. He paints Him as the wonderful Son of God, the brightest gem the Father had in heaven—our only hope of salvation and reconciliation with the Father. How sweet it is to have the Holy Ghost come to you and show you Jesus through the Word. He witnesses and reveals through the Word and never gets outside of the Word. Speak through me, Holy Spirit, with a tongue of praise for Jesus, and still all criticism and harsh talk. Amen.

-William J. Seymour (1870-1922)

John 16:13-15

Jesus said in John 14:6, that He was “the way, the truth and the life.” Thus, the Holy Spirit, who is Christ’s representative will speak only of the truth in Christ. Here in John 16, Jesus further explains that the Holy Spirit will glorify Him (Christ). It is clear by Jesus’ teaching that the Holy Spirit—the Spirit of Truth—reveals to us the truth and teaching of Christ. In John 1:14, John said that the Word of God was made flesh and dwelt among us. Christ is the expressed image of God’s Word, and the Holy Spirit reveals Jesus to us.

Further, Jesus explains the Holy Spirit will reveal all that belongs to the Father. Jesus wants us to live a full, abundant, and overflowing Christian life. He wants us to know all that is available to us as believers. Jesus said he came for us to have abundant life (John 10:10). Paul taught us that every spiritual blessing has been made available to us (Ephesians 1:3). Are you receiving from the Holy Spirit all truth, direction, and resources available?

As Ephesians 3:20 says, I want the “exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think” active in my life. We need the power of the Holy Spirit operating in our lives to receive all the fullness available to us.

Now is the Time

Now is the Time

 When you have the Holy Ghost, you have an empire, a power within yourself.

-William J. Seymour (1870-1922)

Matthew 10:7-8

 In this Scripture we find Jesus commissioning His disciples to be sent out for ministry. Their message was clear—the Kingdom of Heaven. The power for ministry was made available. Today, the same is true. Our message is the Kingdom of Heaven and all power for ministry has been made available.

The message of the Kingdom is the message of Christ, beginning with salvation by grace through faith. The power for ministry confirms the Word of God and shows God’s compassion for others. Paul explained to the Corinthian believers regarding his message that it was of the Spirit’s demonstration of power so that faith might be in God, not man (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).

Have you received healing in your body? Has God delivered you from addiction? What have you received from Christ? The power of God that was made available to you in these areas of your life becomes the place where power will flow from you to minister life to others. Your testimony is the greatest sermon you can preach. Share the Word of God coupled with your testimony. Allow God’s power to confirm His Word in and through you. This testimony impacts the hearers and releases overcoming power in your life (Revelation 12:11).

The disciples had experienced a personal ministry from Jesus. They watched as He ministered to and taught others. Every ounce of power needed to fulfill this commission was available to them. Now was their time. Likewise, you have received from God. You have watched His ministry to others. Every ounce of power needed has been made available to you. Boldness has been provided through the Holy Spirit. Trust the Holy Spirit who is teaching you (1 John 2:27). Now is your time!

Prepare for the Miraculous

Prepare for the Miraculous

If you’re going to have a houseguest, you adjust your lifestyle to accommodate him. You prepare a room for her to sleep in, maybe putting the kids together in one room. You set another place at mealtime. You modify what you wear around the house. The list goes on. Just as you prepare for a visit from your friend, you must also prepare for a visitation from The Friend. True revival will change you and your church—forever!

-Steve Hill (1954-2014), Wanted: Extreme Christians

Mark 10:27-28

God is working miracles on our behalf. We can see those things to come by faith. An awakening of hearts to God is happening all around us. If we would anticipate that God would work in us and through us to affect lives for eternity, then we ought to prepare ourselves to engage in this work.

It is quite possible that two teenagers might be physically capable of having a baby. However, does this ensure that these new parents are adequately prepared to nurture and parent this child? We know that raising a child requires finances, mental and emotional support, a proper environment and much more. Likewise, even as we would prepare for a newborn, we must also be prepared for spiritual newborns.

Like Peter, can we say that we have left all to follow Christ? Have we made room for the miraculous? Have we prepared ourselves to engage wholly in ministry to others? If you are willing to lay your life in the hands of Jesus, you will find that he will fully and adequately supply you with all resources necessary to minister to the newborns. Are you willing to lay down your life today so that you can find new life in service to others through Christ (Matthew 16:25)?

The Father’s Blessing

The Father’s Blessing

Jesus cannot be expected to answer runaway knocks. He has never promised it. I mean to keep knocking, knocking, until He cannot help opening the door. Too often, we knock at mercy’s door and then run away, instead of waiting for an entrance and an answer. We act as if we were afraid of having our prayers answered. A great many people pray in that way; they do not wait for the answer. Our Lord teaches us here that we are not only to ask, but we are to wait for the answer; if it does not come, we must seek to find out the reason. We are to ask with a beggar’s humility, to seek with a servant’s carefulness, and to knock with the confidence of a friend.

-D.L. Moody (1837-1899)

Matthew 7:7-12

The Toronto Outpouring in 1994, became known as “The Father’s Blessing” because of the awareness of the Father’s love in the meetings and those ministered to at the revival. Throughout the revival, emphasis was placed on learning to “soak” in or receive God’s love.

It is true that each of us must learn to saturate ourselves over and over again in the love of God. We know that according to Matthew 7:11, it is our Heavenly Father’s desire to give us good gifts, and the very best gift He gave was Himself.

Paul taught us in his letter to the Galatians that the Holy Spirit helps us understand our Father’s love, and even cries out “Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6). The love of God is more than a concept. God is love (1 John 4:8). This is more than an adjective. Love in this context is a noun. Love is not only describing the character of God, but love is who God is. The Father’s love cannot be contained within our human experience. It is an eternal, unstoppable love. It cannot be likened to any earthly person’s love. This love is unique and can be experienced personally.

Have you rested in the love of God lately? Are you saturating yourself in God’s love through worship, through reading His Word, through soaking in His presence? Today, persistently step into this endless fountain of love.

Flames of Fire

Flames of Fire

Their preaching mainly turns on the important points of humanity’s guilt, corruption, and impotence. They equally stress supernatural regeneration by the Spirit of God and free justification by faith in the righteousness of Christ and the new birth. Their preaching is not with the enticing words of man’s wisdom. Rather, they speak wisdom among them that are perfect. Burning love for Christ and souls warms their breasts and energizes their work. In most places where they labor, God has clearly worked with them and confirmed the Word by signs following.

-William Cooper, Regarding Jonathan Edwards’s “The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God,” November 20, 1741

Matthew 4:23-25

“God makes His ministers a flame of fire (Hebrews 1:7).” Jesus went throughout the countryside, towns, and villages as a burning and shining light of hope and healing to all who would receive Him. His message was a burning fire of righteousness. His ministry was fire consuming sickness and disease. The fame of Jesus spread like wildfire. And the multitudes who followed Christ were touched by the fire of God.

This passage of Scripture gives a wonderful picture of what happens when hearts are awakened to the ministry of Christ. The hurting and the broken come. Multitudes are hungry for one moment in His presence.

May God prepare in us a place for the multitudes to receive this all-consuming fire personally. May we travail in prayer that even one soul might be snatched from the flames of hell to be set ablaze in a passionate pursuit of God.

Have you been touched by the fire of God? Is there a passionate, all consuming fire from God burning in your soul? Like those on the Day of Pentecost there is a flame of fire for you to receive and it will so ignite your soul that no earthly passion would compare. Fan into flame today your fire (2 Tim 1:6). Let the passion of your first love be reignited. This world is tired of smoldering church embers and is in desperate need for a Pentecostal flame of fire.

Harvest of Joy

Harvest of Joy

Perhaps if there were more of that intense distress for souls that leads to tears, we should more frequently see the results we desire. Sometimes it may be that while we are complaining of the hardness of the hearts of those we are seeking to benefit, the hardness of our own hearts and our feeble apprehension of the solemn reality of eternal things may be the true cause of our lack of success.

-James Hudson Taylor (1832-1905)

Psalm 126

I will never forget the first time I experienced the supernatural joy of the Lord. I found myself laughing with great joy for what seemed like hours, and was completely overcome for months by this refreshing joy of the Lord. Today, I am still thankful for this joy of the Lord within me.

Scripture is full of testimony of this supernatural joy and a life of joy in God. According to John 15, our greatest joy is found in our pursuit of God and the fruitfulness this pursuit brings. The fruitful Christian life can be found in the overflow of ministry to others. The quality of this fruit is determined by our character, and how we are transformed—displaying the fruit of the Spirit. But each Christian ought to reproduce spiritual fruit of ministry to others. Could it be the lack of joy in your life is directly related to the lack of receiving seed from God and sowing that seed in other’s lives?

In the example of the vine and the branches from John 15, we are the branches and Christ is the vine. The “overflow” or fruit of our vines is personal evangelism—ministry. The quality of the fruit—evangelism—is determined by how we yield to the work of God in the transformation of our character.

Today, ask God to mature your fruit. Allow Him to change your character and display in you spiritual fruit. Allow God to increase your ability to bear much fruit in ministry to others. Lord, give us fruit that remains! As you sow your seeds today in ministry to others, know that God is bringing forth a harvest of joy in your life!

Too Great A Work

Too Great a Work

Hence the answer of Nehemiah to each attack; he refuses to discuss, meet, plead his cause, justify his motives, or defend his actions or the work. He answers each renewed attack the same way. He will not back down. He will not give up. He will not assume there is truth to what they are saying even though what they say at a surface level may appear so; he will not give in to fear because of peer pressure, political or even artificial prophetic opposition, or intimidation. He knows he is a servant of both the Lord and the people. He knows he has a job to do for the Lord, that is great and large, and the people who are to be involved have to be brought to a unity of accomplishment in God where previously they have been shamed, separated, and scattered. He was indeed a man sent from God.

-William Pratney (1944-Present)

Nehemiah 6:3

We are busy about the Kingdom work of rebuilding broken down lives. We are snatching souls from the burning heaps of rubble. All the while, facing threats, assaults, obstacles, and distractions from those who oppose the work of God.

Imagine for a moment that Nehemiah had come down from the wall, distracted by the taunts of those who were after him in the “Valley of Oh-No.” His work would have ceased, others would have lapsed in their labors, and at most the work would have mustered a half-hearted investment upon their return to labor. As we pursue God, it is imperative to stay out of the “Valley of Oh-No.” Do not stop being faithful. Do not stop your passionate prayers. Many will come to distract you and assault you along the journey. Keep your hand to the task God has placed before you.

The scope of the project should not worry you. God is both the author and the finisher of the work He has begun in you (Hebrews 12:2). Remain steadfast and enjoy the completion of the rebuilt walls—the lives God restores—around you.

No Fear

No Fear

Preaching salvation must be more than a cold-water business. Conversions are produced in the fire. Evangelism is not a clinical operation; it is a hot affair. Conversion must be of the Spirit. This is not a business transaction. Holy Spirit preaching makes Holy Spirit converts, not technical converts, or theological converts. We believe with the heart. The answer for this nation is not polemics and debate, but the consistent, bright-burning witness of genuine believers. Let me remind you, if you want to be rid of the darkness, stop arguing and just switch on the light!

-Reinhard Bonnke (1940-Present), Time is Running Out

2 Chronicles 20:15-19

 Have you ever found yourself fearful of what you might say to someone—how to share your God story? Maybe you have written off personal evangelism in your life and designated that as the “pastor’s job.”

We must move forward as believers with the assurance that as we face our opposition, the sound of our praise and the declaration of God’s Word will penetrate the hearts of the enemy and render them completely incapacitated by grace.

Too many times we think the battle of salvation is our fight, and somehow our cunning words will win the war over someone’s soul. Remember, victory is the Lord’s! Salvation is the result of grace on someone’s heart. Our job is to stand steadfastly on God’s Word and His praise, and see the miraculous victory of God. It is time to position yourself in praise.

As you watch God melt the hardened heart, transform the critic, and overcome the belligerent you will recognize your position is to remain unwavering in your passion for God and allow His grace to affect those you minister to. Engage in personal evangelism, for it is there you will carry off the spoils of war brought to you by God.

Act According to The Word

Act According to The Word

Understand that there are difficulties which cannot impair prosperity, and that there is a prosperity which dominates over all external circumstances. It seems hardly correct to assert that Joseph was a prosperous man when he was to all intents and purposes in bondage. He was the property of another. Not one hour of his time belonged to himself. He was cut off from his father and from his brethren. Yet, it is distinctly stated that, notwithstanding these things, the Lord was with him and he was prosperous.

-Rev. Joseph Parker (1830-1902)

Exodus 23:25-26

God promises healing and restoration. He promises provision. Many today have become enamored with a prosperity message—with name-it-claim-it and positive confessions. As much as I believe in the miraculous and provision of God along with a generous lifestyle of giving, I also believe it is improper for us to abuse others for the sake of getting rich.

That being said, as Christians we have the privilege of standing steadfastly on the promises of God. We are not to misuse Scripture, but to receive all that it says God has provided. Healing, supply, wisdom, direction—all can be found in the promised supply of God.

The question becomes: Are you receiving, and are you expecting? We often become more aware of and more content with the report of worldly influences, rather than the Word of God. Has it become easier for you to stand on what the natural man perceives, or are you holding fast to the Word of God?

Holding fast to the Word of God means taking action. We act through prayer. We act by striving to enter God’s rest. We act through our praise. We act through remaining faithful stewards. We act by receiving from God. Our action is not to make or create the end result.

The final question we must review: no matter the result, are you still taking God’s Word into action? Today, what are you trusting God for? Have you acted according to the Word of God or are you busy about making the end result happen?