Someone shared a video with me of Chris Cumo saying the number of deaths in New York were down because “We brought the numbers down, God did not do that, fate did not do that, destiny did not do that.”
A friend whose newborn granddaughter required surgery praised God when it appeared the surgery was successful. Unfortunately, appreciating this act of God riled one of the nurses. The nursed glared at her and said, “How can you say God did this when you see the doctors taking care of her? The doctor’s performed the surgery God didn’t.”
My question is, why does it have to be God or man? And why not God and Man? Is it possible that God and man are working together to do great things?
Since God breathed into the nostrils of man during the creation process, God is in man. They are working together. This seems to be the message scripture wants to relay to us.
God breathed into the nostrils of man and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7).
After Cain left the Garden of Eden, he built a city (Genesis 4:17). From Cain’s family line, we have the development of stringed and pipe instrument (Genesis 4:21), tools of bronze and iron (Genesis 4:22) and raising livestock (Genesis 4:20).
How did Cain and his family know how to build a city, create musical instruments, or tools?
Perhaps the answer is found in the book of Exodus, here God says to Moses, concerning Bezaleel, “I filled him with my Spirit, I have given him wisdom and made him a skilled craftsman who can create objects of art with gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood.” (Exodus 31:3)
King Solomon is known as the wisest and richest man of the East. Scripture says, God gave Solomon wisdom, but did it come automatically?
He composed over a thousand songs. He spoke about plants, animals, birds, reptiles and fish (1 Kings 4:32) Did he write songs or speak about plants and animals because he received daily messages or heavenly downloads from God?
I’m sure there were times he received divine revelations from God but he also studied and researched written texts (Ecclesiastes 12:9-12). He spent many hours studying and researching just like today’s top leaders, researchers, authors and composers. Although God granted him wisdom and riches, he worked hard to obtain them.
It’s been said man may obtain knowledge, but God gives him the wisdom to use the knowledge. For example, man may have facts and data but with God’s wisdom he will know how to effectively use the data.
Solomon diligently worked to create a great life for himself and earned the right to boast about his accomplishments.
I made my works great, I built myself houses, and planted myself vineyards.
I made myself gardens and orchards, and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them.
I made myself water pools from which to water the growing trees of the grove.
I acquired male and female servants, and had servants born in my house. Yes, I had greater possessions of herds and flocks than all who were in Jerusalem before me.
I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the special treasures of kings and of the provinces. I acquired male and female singers, the delights of the sons of men, and musical instruments of all kinds.
So, I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also, my wisdom remained with me.
Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in all my labor; And this was my reward from all my labor. (Ecclesiastes 2:4-10)
After boasting about his accomplishments, this famous accomplished artist, engineer, botanist and zoologist encouraged readers to remember their (Ecclesiastes 12:1, 6).
He advised them to remember God in their youth but especially before the silver cord is loosed (before they die) and the Spirit (breath) God gave (loaned) them returned to him. (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25)
It’s O.K. to acknowledge your accomplishments, Paul did it in the New Testament; saying He worked harder than All of the other apostles, but he quickly acknowledged that God helped him. (1 Corinthians 15:10)
So, acknowledge your accomplishments or even boast about them but don’t leave God out. For your mental capacities are in his hands (Daniel 4:28). As a matter of fact, your very breath comes from him and he can take it back when He wants to. (Luke 12:16-21).
Although Luke 12:16-21 is a parable, it highlights a sharp contract between Solomon and the rich man. Both built good lives for themselves both decided to enjoy their lives, eating, drinking and being merry. One remembered God the other did not. (Strong’s Bible Dictionary says remember is to be mindful).
It appears to be a simple matter of choice, as you go about your life, making a name for yourself, building great businesses, curing diseases, developing life changing technologies, solving the world’s problems, be mindful of God.
It’s not God or man or science verses God. It’s God and Man, God and science working together to make the world a better place.
Perhaps, many of us don’t reach personal or business goals because we are double-minded. As the Apostle James noted in an often quoted scripture. ” A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:8)
According to Thayer’s & Strong’s Greek Dictionaries, double-minded means, vacillating in opinion or purpose, divided in interest, wavering, uncertain, doubting.
Double mindedness is “Uncertainty caused by never letting a decision rest, but going over it again and again, until opportunity is lost, and nothing is done.”
Some of us are over- thinkers. We think things to death. While continuously looking at the pros and cons, we come up with more cons than pros. And what happens? Absolutely nothing!
So, opportunities and chances to advance simply fade away.
In Matthew 25:14-30, an employer gave his employees gold/talent to invest. He gave one talent to an employee, but he chose not to invest it. He buried it in the ground for safe keeping because he did not want to risk losing it.
Perhaps he was an over thinker. He researched various opportunities, talked them over with family and friends. He weighed the pros and cons but could not decide what to do because he was afraid about what could happen. So he hid the talent in the ground.
The other two employees doubled their money because they went to the marketplace and began trading immediately. They quickly weighed the pros and cons. They researched various opportunities and invested the money.
A balanced approach is needed when pursuing goals. We cannot be hasty or hesitant.
Haste may lead to loss but perhaps loss via hesitation has a more devastating effect. Because the act of hesitating may become habitual, resulting in an unstable mind-set leading to an unstable life. The consistent doubt and uncertainty may rob us of peace, confidence and a stack of missed opportunities.
Due to the Pandemic many of us have the chance to make new goals and plans for a new future.
Will we immediately invest our time and talents wisely to write books, make informational videos, start a blog or podcast, revamp a business, or reach out to care for others?
We also have the choice to be hesitant, worried about the future and burying our talents; consuming instead of producing.
In Safe in the Shepherd’s Arms, Author Max Lucado noted sheep need protection from adders. Adders are small brown snakes that live underground, they pop out of the ground to bite sheep on their noses.
The small bite on the nose will cause an infection and the sheep may die. To prevent adders (snakes) from popping out of holes and biting sheep, the shepherd pours oil inside their holes. This prevents them from sliding out and biting unsuspecting sheep.
When we remain under the shepherds care the Holy Spirit prevents the serpent (that ole devil) from sliding out of his hole! He can’t get to us, to bite us.
In John chapter seventeen, Jesus prayed for his disciples, asking God to protect them from Satan (John 17:15).
He said, He was not praying for the world but for those God had given Him. (John 17:9)
As we look around and see the world in turmoil, fearful thoughts and emotions will try to attack us.
We must diligently reject them because fearful thoughts and emotions may cause us to make unwise decisions. Hence, the serpents goal! To get us out of the will of God.
If we follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance rejecting fear and trusting the word of God, the serpent can’t bite us.
Therefore God tells us “Do not call a conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it.” (Isaiah 8:12)
Don’t fear what the world fears nor dread what they dread but fear God instead!
To fear God is to respect or revere Him. Solomon said, “The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.” Proverbs 19:23
If we fear the Lord and follow the Good Shepherd we should fear no evil (Psalms 23:4)!
For He has given His angels charge over us to keep us in all our ways (Psalms 91:11).
There is much debate and consternation about immigration today. Yet, God has told us how to deal with the matter.
In the bible you will discover His instructions are fair and just for the nation accepting immigrants and the immigrants themselves.
In the book of Numbers, God addressed the nation’s leaders, telling them to treat immigrants/strangers fairly.
They were told not to oppress immigrants with unjust laws. And immigrants were told to obey the nation’s laws.
Listed below are five guidelines God gave His nation regarding immigration. He refers to immigrants as strangers, sojourners or foreigners.
Number 1: God designated sanctuary/cities of refuge for immigrants to flee to until they appeared in court for alleged crimes.
Numbers 35:11 Then ye shall appoint you cities for refuge from the avenger; that the manslayer die not, until he stand before the congregation in judgment.
Number 2: God wants immigrants to be treated fairly and not oppressed by the legal system.
Exodus 23:9 Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt
Leviticus 19:33 And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him.
Leviticus 19:34 But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Number 3: Since the nation is wealthy, God instructed them to provide financial assistance to poor immigrants when needed. The assistance wasn’t lavish but appeared to provide for basic necessities.
Leviticus 25:35 And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee.
Number 4: Immigrants must adhere to the nations laws.
Exodus 12:49 One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.
Lev 24:22 Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God
Number 5: Immigrants should embrace Christian principles.
Leviticus 18:26 But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you.
Isaiah 56:6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;
Isaiah 56:7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.
God Issued aWarning to the Nations Leaders:
In the book of Hosea God said Foreigners/Strangers would sap the nation’s strength but they would not realize it.
Hosea 7:9 Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not:
They would not realize their strength was being sapped because they joined hands with mockers (Hosea 7:5) They would be deceived and senseless as they failed to honor God.
Hosea 7:11 “Ephraim is like a dove, easily deceived and senseless—now calling to Egypt, now turning to Assyria.
Dr. Dwight L. Carlson said in his book “Why Do Christians Shoot Their Wounded” “Traumatic childhood experiences and traumatic events experienced in adulthood may manifest themselves in various ways throughout life; poor school performance, difficulty in trusting others, low self- esteem, hysterical symptoms, psychosomatic illnesses, obnoxious or antisocial behavior, difficulty establishing peer relationships, impulsiveness, violence, overly compliant behavior, eating disorders and the inability to enjoy a healthy intimate relationship that exists between man and woman, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, manic depression, panic attacks.”
Carlson said Christians often inflict more harm upon the wounded than helping them. He has an interesting interpretation of Ephesians 4:11-13. The text reads as follows: “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
Noting verse 12 Carlson said “God placed those people in the body for the perfecting of the Saints. Today the word perfecting is translated equipping. But this is misleading in many ways because the word perfecting comes from a Greek word meaning to”mend.”
Think about it, think about the difference between the words mend and equip. As Christians we are called to mend and bind up the broken hearted, those wounded by the traumatic events of child abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse and verbal abuse. We are called to loose those bound by difficult circumstances whenever we can.
To demonstrate this point Carlson noted Lazarus and how Jesus raised him from the dead. “In addition to being raised from the dead, the fact Lazarus walked is a miracle because his feet were bound. Lazarus was liberated by human hands (unbind him Jesus said).” Go liberate someone today by loving them and sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Please get a copy of this book by going to your local bookstore or click the link below.
I believe the Lord is calling us to consider 2 Kings 5:13. In 2 Kings 5:13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!”
Naaman almost missed his moment of transformation because of PRIDE & the Wisdom of Man. The Bridegroom, Jesus, is calling His Bride to the WATERS to wash and be cleansed! I truly believe the LORD is calling His Church to fill the baptismal tank and ask Him to make it a Baptism of Fire & Repentance. He’s calling us to CRY out and ask Him to burn away every belief, doctrine, system of religion that is not 100 percent His Image.
In Jesus day, a bride would be immersed into the Waters of a Mikveh (Baptismal Tank) right before she would get dressed for her wedding. The Lord raised up John the Baptist to ready the people for the Messiah. His baptism was a baptism of repentance for the present day covenant people of God. I tell you there is a Second Baptism of Repentance at hand for those that have an ear to hear. Even if you don’t immerse in actual water, which I truly believe the Lord is calling the church to! There is a baptism in the Fire of the Holy Spirit that will cleanse us & burn away 1,800 years of the mixture of doctrines and the agendas of man. The Lord is about to raise up people who Live for one Purpose, HIS PURPOSE, and LONG for the coming of their Bridegroom King, Jesus!
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,
that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:25-27
The Lord is raising up Bridal Preparation Centers that will Wash the Bride with the Pure Water of the Word of God and administer the Baptism of Fire.
In Flint Michigan our waters have been contaminated with lead so the blood of the people of Flint has become contaminated. But this is just a sign of a greater reality in the Body of Christ. The waters of the Church have become contaminated so the Blood has become contaminated, killing the Body of Christ. Where is the Power of the Blood of Christ in the USA? We see some instances of power, because of God’s mercy, but nowhere near the measure of the Book of Acts and what we see in 3rd world countries.
We see clearly throughout church history there are times & seasons when the LORD breaks in with light/revelation that begins a new move of God. I believe every generation from the time of Christ has been sincere in their practices but we see clearly through the lens of history that many were sincerely wrong. I know I have been very sincere in many things but came to realize that I was sincerely wrong, I just couldn’t see it.
There are many examples throughout church history that the old movement, that was revelatory at the time, ends up persecuting the new move of God.
I believe were at the Greatest Transition of Human & Church history that the Bible deems (the restoration of all things Acts 3:19-21). We are in transition from the 2nd day church to the 3rd day church “The Resurrected Body of Christ”.
We are NOT going into the promise land of revival but into the “PROMISED MAN”, the full stature of the Image of Christ. (Read Eph. 4:11-13 this will happen before He returns)
Is it possible that were asking the Lord to revive a system of religion that He is coming to tear down? The Lord once had me release a prophetic word amongst a group of pastors contending for revival in their city that “there would be No Revival until He first revived/Reformed the church because He loved the sinners too much to send them to the present state of the church.”
Jesus came to a Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-ff) who had five husbands and was presently living with a man who was not her husband. He did not come to judge her but to awaken her eternal purpose, read the story, she brought a whole city to the feet of Jesus. Throughout the bible God uses the analogy of a woman to represent His Covenant People (i.e. Book of Hosea). The woman/the church has had more than five husbands/denominations and is even presently non-denominational, apostolic & prophetic yet still unable to shift the culture.
The Samaritans were considered a people of mixture by the Jews and the Jewish people had no dealings with the Samaritans. (see John. 4:9) I believe this woman represents the American Church of mixture who’s waters are contaminated and who’s Womb is Barren, unable to produce the pure image of God!
I believe that, like the Israelites in the wilderness, we have crafted a Golden Calf, and call it Jesus. A Jesus that’s okay with living lives that do NOT model His lifestyle. Biblical discipleship in Jesus day was not about learning a Rabbi’s teachings but His lifestyle. Jesus lived for one purpose, His Father’s will to be done in the earth. We have an Americanized gospel that is powerless to shift the culture and transform cities. When a disciple refused to follow his Rabbis lifestyle after repeated correction a Rabbi would turn his head away from his disciple and say; “depart from me I have never known you”.
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ Matthew 7:21-23
We have made a doctrine out of one passage of scripture (Romans 10:9-10), we’ve told people if they only confess Jesus as Lord and believe in their heart, they will be saved.” We have failed to teach people about Covenant! Even more that they are entering a covenant with God through blood, the blood of His Son. What a weighty thing to enter into a covenant with anyone, but with God. We (the American Church) have led thousands of people into false conversions by telling them if they just ask Jesus in their heart and believe that God raised Him from the dead etc.
Hebrews 10:29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
The Apostle Paul addressed this Golden Calf Jesus in his day. He said just as the WOMAN Eve was deceived so has the church been deceived.
For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. 2 Corinthians 11:2-4.
In Jesus’ day, if a woman was unable to conceive children, (John 4, the woman at the well) she was deemed useless and passed from man to man. The woman, the church, has been unable to reproduce the pure image of the first born raised from the dead, Jesus! (Read Romans 8:28-29 Colossians 1 and Revelation. 1:5-f)
The woman has been passed from denomination to denomination, institution to institution, unable to truly produce the pure un-compromised IMAGE of the First Born from the dead. But, the Lord will Not relent concerning His Love for His bride, His people. Yet in His love He will NOT allow us to reproduce a mixed image any longer, it’s time to take all we think we know about Him and let in die in the baptismal waters of repentance & fire. If what we believe, preach & live by is of Him it will be resurrected, if NOT let it die! My prayer is that the Lord would circumcise the eyes of our heart so that we could see Him fully. (read Eph. 1:17-20)
The systems of religion as sincere as they are (we are) has enslaved the people of God and made them powerless to shift or shape the culture. The Body of Christ has spiritual leprosy, and like Naaman we stand in pride thinking we know the truth, how dare you tell me to immerse, don’t you know anything about baptism?
It’s easy to have pointy fingers of accusation believing we know the truth when it’s possible that we are just blind guides as Jesus declared to the leaders of His Day. I believe the Lord is looking for us to be like blind Bartimaus who shouted; “Jesus, Son of David have Mercy on me I want to see.” That DAY, His EYES were opened and he saw the image of Jesus clearly.
Jesus told the religious leaders of His day; “your blindness/sin remains because you claim to see”. (JN. 9:40-41) They chose in pride to sternly hold on to what they claimed they knew about the Christ/Messiah, instead of becoming like children/teachable and truly SEE who He was.
The Lord loves the people in the system, but hates the system that enslaves His People, like in Egypt. Make more bricks, build bigger buildings that are void of the manifested presence and glory of God. But as the Lord said through Moses; He’s saying it again, “thus say the LORD, let My People Go”.
Transition is very TUFF STUFF. Study church history and every time the LORD breaks in with light on the scriptures.
This transition we presently face is the greatest transition every seen since Jesus’ first coming. The question is will you & I become like children and allow everything we think we know about God to baptized in the waters of death & burial and let what is truly of the Lord be resurrected according to His Will?
In the Flint Michigan area we have 500 plus churches but have a city with all the worst statistics for violence & crime. In our nation we have myriads of churches but we have a nation in bondage and a church that is powerless to shift the culture. The culture has way more influence on the church than the church has on the culture.
The 1st church shifted the culture and turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6)
The Lord has overlooked times/seasons of ignorance (lacking the full knowledge) throughout church history but is NOW commanding all people to repent.
“Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof by raising Him from the dead. (Acts 17:30-31)
I have great hope for the Covenant People of God because i know that the Lord has saved the Best Wine for last. (see John 2:1-ff) He will turn our water into the best wine of His Spirit that the earth has ever tasted, but will we allow Him to do it? In Jesus day, those who knew the scripture, sang songs to God, fasted twice a week and gave 10% of their income to the temple ended up rejecting what He was doing because they refused to be baptized by John in the Waters of Repentance.
“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, Whom heaven must receive until the time of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.( Acts 3:19-21)
Repent & return is one word in the Hebrew, it’s teshuvah. Teshuvah means, return from apostasy. It’s the same word we find in (Jeremiah 15:19).
Therefore thus says the LORD: “If you return, (Teshuvah)Then I will bring you back; You shall stand before Me; If you extract the precious from the vile You shall be as My mouth.
Let them return to you, But you must not return to them. (Jeremiah 15:19)
The Lord is calling to His Remnant to Teshuvah. He will make us as His Mouth. We will see the greatest move of God’s Spirit that the earth has ever seen, but we must EXTRACT the precious from the vile. Or allow His Baptism of Repentance & FIRE to reveal & remove the vile. I believe the Lord will raise up Jonah Messengers with the word of the Lord in their mouths that cut whole cities to the heart! God gave me a word years ago that, “What I did in your life on December 12, 1990 I will do in whole families, churches, and even cities., contend for this and call My People to this”
I was raised in a very bad environment; my mother and father separated when I was 7 and my father passed away when I was 13. Because my mother worked outside the home my three siblings and I were unsupervised most of the time. They were 10, 8, and 6 years older than I and very much into the drug scene. During the 70’s our house became a daytime flop house for a group of druggies. Unfortunately, I looked up to them which led me to start smoking marijuana at age seven. By age 10, I was smoking pot regularly and experimenting with LSD, Angel Dust, and any drug that came my way. From age 10 on, I cannot remember one day I did not get high until my conversion.
By age 14 I was a drug dealer, heavy user, an alcoholic, a thief, violent, and a high school dropout with an eighth grade education. I was in jail several times and only the MERCY of God saved me from prison. By age 18, I was deep into addiction, sin, and darkness. I started using cocaine which few people can ever stop. Most of my friends from that era blew out their hearts (overdosed) smoking crack cocaine. I hung out with people who were drug dealers, thieves, murderers, very scary, and demonic. I had multiple drug related near death experiences from which the grace of God delivered and saved me. On December 12, 1990 I went to my mother’s church and God moved upon my heart. That night I responded to the gospel message and went down to the altar to surrender my life to the Lord. As I prayed at the altar, the Power of God hit my life and delivered me instantly from 17 years of drug addiction and 8 years of alcoholism! In ONE Moment everything changed. I went to God’s ONE STEP deliverance program and I have been burning with the Fire of God ever since.
The key to telling my testimony is a promise of transformation coming to regions. God is the God of Suddenlies, in one moment everything can be transformed. Can a nation be born in one day? Yes! (Isa. 66:8) BUT, will we allow Him to Burn Away all our Doctrines, Beliefs, and Systems that are NOT of Him?
The hour is Urgent and he will Not allow us to reproduce OUR PRESENT CONDITION!
The Hope of America is Not who’s elected this year but that the ELECT of God would arise to their appointed position to Stand before Him in His Council and hear His Word and turn His People back to Him. (Read Jer. 23:18-22)
I sincerely pray that I stay humble and teachable, so that after I have preached to others I myself do not become disqualified.
I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 9:27 & 1 Corinthians 10:1-12)
We are living in the days of great deception on demand, where we have a prophetic culture that serves encouragement at the expense of truth.
Jeremiah 23:11-12 speaks of this: “Both prophet and priest are ungodly; even in my house I have found their evil, declares the LORD. Therefore their way shall be to them like slippery paths in the darkness, into which they shall be driven and fall, for I will bring disaster upon them in the year of their punishment, declares the LORD”.
I hold a high value for prophecy and I’ve taught on it for years. I strongly encourage everybody to live a bold, active prophetic life. For we as God’s people are to be a prophetic people who hear his voice and speak when He tell us. One scripture among many that support this is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21:Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.
It would be easy for me to write about movements that are defying scripture by quenching the Spirit and despising prophecies. But this is a day and hour the church must live and walk in the Spirit as it hears God’s rhema voice, while reading and receiving revelation of God’s logos Word. God is absolutely talking and we must absolutely hear Him, as He reveals key end-time prophetic data to the church and the world. God’s Word tells us: “For the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets”. Amos 3:7
1 Corinthians 14:1 states that we are to: “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.” We have to be meticulous to ensure our prophetic revelation is accurate, and that we don’t modify it at all, even if that message will be harshly rejected. For the way we handle prophecy will result in people either knowing God in the clarity of truth, or in people living a life of deception that may very well lead to an eternity in Hell.
The Scripture instructs us not to despise prophecies, but it also instructs us to test it and to only hold to what is good. This is what we must do NOW in the this Kingdom Age Movement, for inaccurate prophecy (though good intentioned) is doing great damage as errant or misguided information will lead to false analysis. Today many prophetic voices are trending toward affirming people in their current condition via errant words. This results in people falling and continuing into deception. This puts their very souls at risk. I have often heard someone affirm somebody’s salvation in order to bring them comfort. We should never assure someone of their salvation. Why, because we don’t know the depths of their hearts. We don’t know what type of decisions they will make in the years to come. Have you ever read of “the great falling away”? Just like His disciples, we all wrestle with our own salvation. We just need to read roman 7 and 8 to acknowledge that. Yes, on the other hand, as with Gideon, I know that God will prophesy to a person’s potential while that person has not yet walking in what has spoken about them. In fact Matthew 19:23-26 has this to say:” And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, BUT WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.”
Much of the recent theologies and prophetic insights today rarely address the issue of salvation in any way other than affirming it, while requiring little or nothing on the part of the believer. Even for those who are only marginally devoted to Jesus, somehow, there appears to be a certain valiant effort associated with the idea of easy salvation (easy believerism). What this wrongfully communicates to many, is that Jesus is willing and able to save every person regardless of their personal commitment and relationship with him. This is great news for those who are not fervent in their relationship with Jesus. Unfortunately, that great news is not the Good News of the Gospel that Jesus and His disciples preached.
In the coming months, I will examine current world and church happenings as it relates to prophetic end-time events. For we are now transitioning from a “church age” focus to a “kingdom age” thrust. We are in a time of divine convergence which will come to us in stages orchestrated by Holy Spirit. We are moving into a new concept of “team ministry” with a fresh understanding of a covenant community that is not hindered by self-centered, individualistic ministry mindsets, but dynamically pursues true uncompromising “oneness” in the Body of Christ.
Some are saying this is the year of The Word. I have said that this is a year in which we will see signs, wonders and miracles because of God’s word. We are going to need them because of the events that are rapidly taking place. But there is one thing that we must come to recognize, and that is our purpose and destiny hinges on obedience.
Every preacher in the New Testament, including Jesus, emphasized conduct, behavioral change, and obedience. Many hyper-grace preachers calls those who believe this legalistic, and accuses them of being “sin conscious”. Well I have two questions for them, “What did Jesus say? And do you believe Him?” That is why we as God’s people should always seek a response when asking for people to act on what is said. John stated this: The world is passing away, and with it its lusts [the shameful pursuits and ungodly longings]; but the one who does the will of God and carries out His purposes lives forever. (1 John 2:17 Amplified) Hallejuah!!
In 1 John 2:3 (Amp) it says, “And this is how we know [daily, by experience] that we have come to know Him [to understand Him and be more deeply acquainted with Him]: if we habitually keep [focused on His precepts and obey] His commandments (teachings).” After 38 years of observing mankind through the lens of Scripture, I am persuaded that there are a number of fundamental beliefs that the body of Christ needs to learn in order to transition from the “Church Age” into the “Kingdom Age” dynamic of power and authority in Christ.
Simply, the first truth to understand is that all behavior is based on one’s belief. For instance, if you get ready to take a flight to a distant place, you must believe that the aircraft will get you there safely or you would not set foot on that plane. For we all know that there is not an option of keeping one foot on the ground and one on the plane in the air and think we are going to arrive at our destiny! It must be all or nothing. It must be the same with our faith in God. A faith that is built over time not just by knowing about the Truth, but having Truth experiences. For truth not experienced will always remain in the realm of doubt, but truth experienced brings life.
The second belief is that behind every sin there is a lie that a person believes. You might be thinking, “I know God says to do this, but I’m going to do this.” What are you doing when you do that? You are believing a lie! I will say it again, every sin is based on a lie. We must start looking for the lies behind our issues and the issues of the church. When we start dealing with those issues, we’ll start seeing change. Titus 3:3 speaks this:For we too once were foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various sinful desires and pleasures, spending and wasting our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. When one looks at others in the “body of Christ” we do not see the individual lies that have stolen another’s faith. But one can observe behavior which speaks volumes as to what they believe. The difficult and sometimes complex part however, is figuring out what is the lie behind the behavior. The wiser (notice I did not say older) a person gets in his or her ministry and intimacy with God, the quicker one starts discerning accurately the truth from lies, for you start recognizing familiar patterns that keep repeating over and over.
A third fundamental belief is that change always starts in the mind. Romans 12:2 commands us: And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]. At one time I was a licensed private pilot. So let’s say that I decided to go out and buy or rent an airplane with an autopilot feature on it. I would preset the airplane on autopilot, so that the plane would go automatically in the direction I programmed it to. If I want to turn the plane around, I can manually grab the yoke and by sheer force and will power I can turn it around. But the whole time that I am forcing it, I’m under constant tension, because I’m going against the natural inclination of the plane. When I get tired and let go of the yoke, the plane will automatically turn around and go back to the way it’s programmed. This is true in life. When people have learned something over and over, being taught according to the world’s way of thinking, they’re programmed to go that way. there must be a re-programming or repentance that comes through His word and your relationship with Him.
What do most people think of when they hear the word “repent”? Do they think of a guy on the street corner with a sandwich board sign saying, “Turn or burn. Don’t die or you will fry.” Many would think of some kooky moron. But the word “repentance” is a an awesome word which is metanoia, and it means in Greek “to change your mind.” Repentance is just changing the way we think about something by accepting the way God thinks about it. Many in Christian circles today use the term “paradigm shift” in it’s place. As an apostle/ pastor, I am to be in the “paradigm-shifting” business. As a minister of the gospel, which every believer is, you also are called to be in that business. We are about changing peoples’ minds at the deepest level of belief and values. In 1 Corinthians 2:13 it says: We also speak of these things, not in words taught or supplied by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining and interpreting spiritual thoughts with spiritual words [for those being guided by the Holy Spirit]. In real ministry, God is working in the one ministering. We also find in 2 Samuel 23:2 (NIV) where it says, “The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me. His word was on my tongue.” Then in Zechariah 4:6 (NIV) it says, “‘Not by might nor by power but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” Remember you don’t change people’s minds or your own without the applied Word of God.
Another belief is that changing the way I act is the fruit of repentance. In the truest sense, repentance is not behavior change, but it is the result of repentance. John the Baptist exhorts us in Matthew 3:8 (NIV), “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”
Finally the last point I desire to make concerning our beliefs is that when deep calls unto deep the kind of preaching, teaching or witnessing is evident is the call for some form of repentance. Every week I try to communicate God’s Word in such a way that it changes the way someone thinks (myself included). The preachers found in the New Testament spoke often the same message again and again. John the Baptist: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Matt. 3:2) Jesus: “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” (Mark 1:15 ) When Jesus commanded his disciples to preach: “So they went off and preached repentance.” (Mark 6:12 ) Peter declared “Repent and be baptized everyone of you.” (Acts 2:38 ) Also John in Revelation preached repentance.
I believe that one of the great weaknesses of the preaching today and Christians sharing the gospel is that there are a lot of folks who are afraid to stand on the Word of God. They are afraid to humbly, but forcefully challenge the will of people. It takes courage to do that, because they may reject you. They may reject your message; they may get mad at you and talk about you behind your back. And because so many saints & pastors have been unwilling to challenge people and cause a change in belief resulting in behavior change, our nation is rapidly falling apart and in decline. Our churches are rapidly embracing doctrines of demons as warned concerning the last days. Proverbs 29:18 warns, Where there is no vision [no revelation of God and His word], the people are unrestrained; But happy and blessed is he who keeps the law [of God]. What the world is looking for today is an authoritative Gospel filled with power, but spoken with true humility.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
There are as many opinions about how Christian women should dress as there are women in the Body of Christ. If our hearts are submitted to the Father, then we will be open to the voice of the Holy Spirit when He puts His finger on areas of concern in our lives. One of those areas is how we as women (and men) represent our faith in the manner in which we dress.
Why is that important? you may ask.
God does care about how He is represented in the earth. Paul speaks clearly in 1 Corinthians 8:13 about doing things that will cause our brother to fall into sin. He continues his admonishment in 1 Corinthians 10:23 saying, “I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive. (NIV)
If we love and care for our fellow man, then we should be mindful not to willfully put a stumbling block in their way by the way we dress. Yes, as women we have the right to wear anything we want, but as Paul said, everything is not beneficial.
If you are looking for an exact dress code, down to lengths of clothing and what parts of your body should be covered, you won’t find it in the Bible. However, there are biblical principles that can guide you as a Christian woman in how to dress.
So let’s get down to business. The summer months are upon us and the temptation to “let it all hang out” is tempting. The following are some practical tips for mature women and younger women in Christ. The advice is the same for both age groups. Modesty and common sense. As you try on clothes and make your selections, your physical beauty and how you present it to the world is symbolic of the spiritual beauty of the church. Let’s represent our Lord with dignity and holiness.
Know Your Body Type. I’m not suggesting that you dress like you’re auditioning for Little House On The Prairie. There’s nothing wrong with wearing fashionable age appropriate clothing that compliments your body. Just be modest and don’t try to squeeze into clothing that is not designed for your body just to be fashionable.
Don’t Dress To Distract. Choose clothing that covers your cleavage. If the top is so low that your “girls” are spilling out, then it’s too low. By wearing attire like this, you can cause others to take their eyes off God to look at you. Although many argue that saved people won’t be distracted, that is not always the case. A believer that is not mature or still struggling in their flesh, can easily be distracted by sexually suggestive clothing that reveals more than should be seen. Also, it may be trendy, but don’t let your underwear peek out of your pants and tops.
Wearing four inch heels is not a sin. However, when you wear exceptionally high heels (especially with a tight dress) it automatically thrusts your behind out and up and this can cause a major distraction when you walk into a room. If that is your goal, you will accomplish it. But if your goal is to honor God in your choice of garments, you might want to rethink that choice.
Liberty vs. Legalism. Wear clothes that represent your God-given sense of personal style. If the color yellow makes you feel good when you wear it, don’t let others tell you it’s not your color or that it’s not “Godly.” God did not intend for his daughters to be put in spiritual bondage with legalistic, unbiblical rules (such as not wearing red). He made the rainbow so pick your happy color and work it!
There is no shame in a woman displaying her beauty, and there is no shame in men appreciating the beauty of the female form. But be diligent to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you select clothing that honors Him.
When my son “Junior” was born he was as handsome and as cute as can be. His father and I wanted nothing but the best for him. As junior began to grow into a toddler, we noticed he had some speech and slight physical delays. As time went on and more and more was expected from him (tying shoes, using words etc.) it became apparent we needed some intervention.
We took Junior to the Early On program for testing. At this time junior was around 4 years old and had the speech pattern of a much younger toddler. He was extremely hyper jumping around on things uncontrollably. He also had very weak hand muscles and did not have enough fine motor skill strength to even flush a toilet or open a door.
After extensive testing with Early On it was determined that Junior was delayed by a few years in many areas. He was placed in a program called Pre Primary Impaired or (PPI for short) for 4/5 year olds. While attending PPI Junior was blessed with a teacher, Miss. Dee who loved her job. It was very apparent that her heart was very much into what she was doing. PPI offered many resources to a child dealing with issues like our son. He had Speech therapy almost daily from a certified Speech Therapist. Miss Dee, the teacher also incorporated speech activities into the daily routine continuously.
Well it wasn’t long before Junior’s speech was up to Par. He still remained “somewhat” on the quiet side at school, which was due more to his personality than anything else- because when he was home we definitely could see the advances he had made in his speech.
Coincidentally Miss Dee also joined our church and was Junior’s Sunday school teacher as well. See I told you Miss Dee really loved helping children develop. She truly was a blessing in our life.
Junior was tall for his age. At 4 years old he looked more like a 6 year old. This created higher expectations on him from other people. I felt I had to constantly make excuses for him and say things like he can’t help it. He’s delayed. One day while we were at church, the children’s dance teacher (Ms. Rose) asked junior to tie his shoes. Right away I started to defend him. “I said he can’t tie his own shoes, he’s behind on his fine motor skills.” Ms. Rose corrected me right away. She told me to stop saying that over him. She grabbed his hands and prayed over them. She told me to speak over my son. I listened and began to do so.
When Junior’s 1st year of Pre Primary Impaired (PPI) preschool ended, he was invited to a summer school class by Easter Seals (The favor of God). They were awesome! They continued working with Junior on his speech so that he wouldn’t lose what he had learned over the school year and started giving him occupational therapy for his hands. Over the course of that summer program my son gained the full use of his hands.
As time went on junior advanced in areas but he continued to be hyper. He was extremely hyper! Junior was so hyper that when I would take him to the doctor it was just like dealing with Tigger (the character from Winnie The Pooh). He would jump all over the doctor’s office while we waited on him. He was so fast that I could not catch him. I remember we were in the doctor’s office and Junior was snatching all of the character decals and wall paper off of the doctor’s walls. I promise you I could not catch him in time to stop him for doing this. When the doctor entered the room, here was all this wall paper hanging and falling to the floor. I was so embarrassed.
I told the doctor, “I can’t handle him, I’m overwhelmed, and I don’t know what to do.” After seeing his wall I’m sure he could only imagine the intensity of junior’s energy at home. The doctor gave me a medicine he said would calm him down. It was called clonidine. I personally am not big on meds, but this had become a last resort.
I started giving my baby the clonidine and he became an absolute zombie. None of his personality was even visible anymore and he would be rocking in and out of consciousness throughout the day. I said oh no! I’m not doing this to my baby. No amount of stress relief for me is worth these effects on him.
During this time my husband worked and I stayed home to take care of our children. This left finances lacking as you can imagine. We ended up needing help with food so I went to a Christian organization. This organization gave away food and clothing after you had a prayer session with them. When it was my turn to see the prayer warrior/counselor I told him I had already accepted Jesus as my savior and didn’t need prayer for that. I’m glad he continued to press. Somehow the things that had been bothering me about my son Junior surfaced and I told him about that. We prayed and the counselor gave me a scripture that Paul often used to address others. “Grace and peace be unto you.” He told me that whenever my son is jumping all over the couches (as he did at home), for me to speak grace and peace be unto you Junior. You are a calm child in the name of Jesus.
I began speaking this over my son. I also began speaking that he had favor everywhere he went. Let me tell you the Good News! My son became calmer and calmer. He continued to stay in special education, but his teachers always admired him. He was even fortunate enough to receive free tutoring over a summer when he was in middle school. His reading and writing skills elevated to his current grade level in just that one summer. Not only that but junior received so much favor from this teacher that she started tutoring him in math, during the school year for FREE!
God is so good. By the time my son was in high school, his teachers remarked he was the most well behaved student in their classes and when they look back over his old Special Education reports (or Individual Education Plans) they can’t believe he was EVER diagnosed as Attention Deficient Hyper Disorder. They always commented “But he is so laid back”.
God is so good. He is faithful to His word. I urge you to speak the word over your children. I sometimes tell my son—whenever he is feeling discouraged about a situation: “God has never left you in any condition you were in, I spoke over you and he brought you out.”
Imagine if I had not spoken the word of God over my son and how very differently his story could have turned out. Your words are POWER—–Speak LIFE—Speak the Word of God.
When your teenager starts to get out of hand you have to ask yourself some hard questions. The first step is to honestly evaluate how you think you’re doing when communicating with your teen. Do you feel you are sharing valuable information and time? Or do you feel there is a communication gap and he’s hiding something?
Look for these warning signs:
Out of touch with reality
Sudden personality changes and mood swings
Drop in grades and school performance
Self destructive actions or language (suicide threats or extreme diet & exercise)
Any of those behaviors done on a frequent basis can indicate a problem. At this point you should seek outside assistance. Don’t be too proud to ask for help.
If you feel your efforts aren’t working (or aren’t good enough) first enlist the assistance of your extended circle of friends and family. Get everyone involved to bolster the spirits of your teen. Show him that he has a support system in place that he can count in. Work on building back trust in your relationship. If your child opens up to another family member better than you, keep your resentment inside, the focus should be on helping your teen.
Sometimes you need to bring in professionals. Don’t wait too long on this step if your child is getting out of control. A delay can be costly. But where should you turn next? Consider these options:
School guidance counselor
This person deals with teenagers (especially troubled ones) on a daily basis, they are an excellent resource for insight into what might be happening among the social scenes at school. They also have quick easy access to your child during the day.
Outside counselors and psychologists
These professionals have degrees in counseling and therapy. Some specialize in therapy while others focus on testing. Its best to find someone who deals with teenagers a lot, they usually relate better to the younger generation.
These individuals are often called in to work with families as a group and are quite familiar with emotional problems in a social setting. They can help identify issues related to family dynamics. This can be helpful if there are frequent conflicts at home.
These are medical doctors (yes, they went to medical school) who are allowed to prescribe medication and can hospitalize patients. Generally you would reserve this professional for a later step as licensed counselors are often a less expensive and personal approach to teen troubles.
Therapy can become expensive so check with your insurance plan to see which services are covered. Some companies impose limits on the type of services available and/or the frequency of visits. If cost is an issue don’t forget that school counselors are typically free. You could also contact a local university or college, free clinics, counseling training programs, and state run offices. Some offices offer sliding scale pricing for lower income families. It’s important not to let money stop you from seeking help. The wellbeing of your child and your family depend on it.
Author Bio~troubled-teens.topicreviews.com seeks to provide assistance for teens and their families to help during stressful times. All information in this article is the opinion of the author and not meant to replace sound medical and professional advice. Always seek the assistance of a professional in dealing with a troubled teen.
Some of you “old school” music aficionados remember that song from yesteryear!
Well, actually it just might be good to come forward and confess that as men we actually do see and notice the women that cross our paths. I know, our mind tells us to pretend to the wife, or fiancée, that we don’t see when we actually do!
I have been given the task to address this type of issue as it relates to women and their choice of revealing attire during the warm months of the year. How are we men to posture ourselves and at the same time not miss God?
Without being over simplistic, let’s look at a couple of scriptures. First, Matthew 5:28 KJV
“But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
I do realize that the referenced scripture deals specifically with adultery, but the principle is the same. It is not the looking upon the woman that is the sin; rather the purpose of the looking!
We must set our heart everyday to prepare for the encounters that we are to have with women during that day. We can look, it is okay and it is natural. God blessed the earth with the gift and the beauty of females for men. But looking upon with the intention of lusting, which can lead to further acts of the mind and spirit, is off limits to the man that wants to please God in his life!
One more reference. James 1:14-15 KJV
14) But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15) Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
In these verses, James lays it out pretty clearly. We will be tempted, but there is an order and purpose that temptation comes. The enemy wants to tempt us that we will be drawn away from the will of God. A thought is not the sin! Paul encourages us to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Rather, it is when we allow our thoughts to dominate and travel to and convince our heart to lust after what we see and ignore the safeguards of the Word and Holy Spirit. Then we are snagged and begin a pattern and history of sinful lusting and behavior.
I encourage you, stay on the right path this summer. Stay in the Word of God and train your eyes to not linger on the things that would cause you to slip!
Image courtesy of Aleksa D at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. Antoine de Saint Exupéry
Walking in the mall I passed a woman with such a polished look! Stylish hair, tailored clothing, tasteful make-up and carefully manicured hands and toenails- she was impeccable! It was evident that her appearance was not at the bottom of her priorities and she invested quality time. I admired her!
It provoked me—for a season to get on the ball. I get by with my outward preparation. It’s acceptable. I get a fair share of compliments—but I certainly could pay greater attention to details. I would love to be one of those “not-a-hair-out-of-place” women. How does one find the time?
As a single seasoned woman; I find that I feel better and interact with the world with increased confidence when I invest time into putting myself together. Sometimes when singles take time to get spiffy others will give you the twice over and ask, “Are you seeing someone?” Like you do not value yourself enough to look your best—just for YOU! It is okay to be impeccable. Just because. Just for you. Because you are sons and daughters of a Great King who so loves you.
God is more concerned with the inner adornment of our spirit. Though impeccable on the outside many are betrayed by speech and actions. The shagginess of their character and spirit blurs the impeccable outer presentation. As I work on improving my outward appearance my greater priority is presenting to God an impeccableheart. But hey, it is okay to be impeccable inside and out! Right?
Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.1 Peter 3:3,4 KJV
Walking to my car while leaving the library I turned my head abruptly and gave the young woman I had just passed a double take. Her frame jiggled in laughter. It was glorious. She looked fully present and fully alive and in the moment. This image lingered in my head. How I craved the healing properties of laughter to manifest in me once again.
volleying in and out of despair the past few weeks. Genuine laughter seemed as
unlikely as looking down and discovering a million dollars. It seemed foreign like
an activity practiced by aliens from a distant planet. Or something read about,
dreamt about or perhaps seen in a Sci-fi flick. Trying not to stare I wondered,
“God, will I ever laugh again- like that?
Nah, it will never happen, I concluded.
Blinded by desperation
I could not see beyond my present disasters and emotional stagnation. One day my son and his girlfriend (now wife)
took me out for dinner and a movie. While chatting, I attempted to describe a
scene in a comedy I had recently viewed. It happened! A full-blown manifestation of outrageous
laughter! I couldn’t finish the story. “Ha- ha- ha!” And more, “Ha- ha- ha-ha!” And more, “Ha- ha- ha-ha!” The gift of
laughter, it wouldn’t stop!
“I don’t think
that we are going to hear the conclusion of this story!” His friend giggled while waiting for me to
regroup and deliver the punch line.
“This is just
like the woman at the library,” I thought. My heart lightened, my mind cleared,
and the darkness engulfing me scattered.
God maneuvered me through this difficult season and on the
other side I became reacquainted with laughter.
healing properties. It temporarily
speeds the heart rhythm and improves circulation. It leaves an afterglow on the
faces of participants. It increases the body’s calorie consumption and much
more! Proverbs 17:22 NIV says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Who knows what healings would
manifest if we would just indulge with hefty doses of God’s medicine— laughter? Has the practice of laughter been
absent in your life? Pray and ask God to restore this precious gift unto you
Jeri Darby is an author speaker and songwriter. Jeri teaches on Facebook Live at Jeri Darby Mondays at 2PM EST. Follow this link to visit her online store to order books or CDs.
The “Just” shall live by faith (Hebrews 10:38). But what is faith? Harper’s Bible Dictionary says faith is:
“An act or state of acknowledging the existence and power of a supreme being and the reality of a divine order.
“The acceptance as real or true, that which is not supported by evidence of the senses or by rational proofs.”
“An affirmative response to the will of God as revealed, especially by Jesus Christ. It is thus a compound of belief, trust, and an attitude of mind, will, or spirit.”
What Jesus said about faith:
“When Jesus departed from there (the ruler’s house), two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us!”
“And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”
“They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.” Matthew 9:27-29
Notice in verse 27 the men were following Jesus crying out “Son of David have mercy on us”.
It appears they cried out for some time before Jesus answered them.
Albert Barnes said“They had followed him, but thus far he had not seemed to heed their cries, and he entered the house as if he did not intend to regard them in order to try their faith.”
Determination and Perseverance Rewarded:
They followed him into the house, although it appeared as if He had not heard them or had declined to help them. “They showed a determination to persevere until they obtained what they asked.”
Jesus said to them: “Believe ye that I am able to do this? “To work such a miracle. Though they had followed him and cried after him, yet he required of them an open profession of their faith in regard to his power.”
They said unto him: “Yea, Lord, We have no doubt of this. We came with that assurance: we have followed thee with that belief. It was on this simple profession of their faith that the miracle was performed.”
Answering life’s challenges with an open profession of faith will be rewarded by pursuing Christ with determination and perseverance.
Scripture says, all sins are forgivable but one. Do you know which one? Just in case you don’t know it is the sin of Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, even if you blaspheme His name it will be forgiven but if you blaspheme the Holy Spirit it will not be forgiven.
So, what is “blasphemy?” In general, blasphemy is evil speaking. Fausset’s Bible Dictionary says, Blasphemy is a “railing accusation against someone.
Railing is basically verbal abuse. In modern terms railing means to scold, lambaste, rant, censure or berate.
So, one can blaspheme the president, husband, wife, friend or foe, preacher, article writer, television journalist, store clerk, parent, etc. This type of blasphemy will be forgiven.
What about blaspheming God? Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries, says, blasphemy is “vilification (especially against God) evil speaking and railing.”
Blasphemy is common among atheists, they vilify Him, they rant, rave and lambaste Him especially when it comes to His claims to ownership/creation of mankind which gives Him the authority to tell them what they can and cannot do, with their bodies. They deny the fact that the bible is God’s testimony to mankind. Testimony is a legal term referring to a “solemn declaration or affirmation for the purpose of establishing or proving a fact.” With the bible we have God declaring himself to be a witness to the facts stated in scripture. (1 Corinthians 2:1, Psalm 19:7)
To deny the texts, its laws, precepts, commands and statues, is to call God a liar. This is blasphemy.
Jesus said, David inspired by the Holy Spirit wrote Psalm 110:1. Peter said in, 2 Peter 1:21 that the prophets of old spoke by the Holy Spirit. So, in essence to attribute the bible and the Holy Spirit’s work as the work of mere man and not worthy of honor or obedience, is blasphemy.
Not only do their words and beliefs keep atheists from experiencing God’s saving grace represented by Jesus’ shed blood, they may prevent others from experiencing God’s saving grace as well. As some are lured away from God by the atheist’s words and views. Perhaps if they kept their views to themselves they would only be responsible for their own souls but if they lure (Luke 17:1) others away with their ideology they will be responsible for those souls as well.(Ezekiel 3:18, 33:8)
All sins of blasphemy is punishable by God but He is patient and merciful when rendering judgment because He wants all to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9).
Evil speaking, evil blogging, evil trolling, evil Facebook posts and Youtube videos should not be taken lightly. Don’t speak evil of things you don’t understand or know about. I knew a man who claimed to be an atheist but had not read the bible. I asked “How can you seek to discredit a book you haven’t read.” Jesus will judge sinners for their ungodly deeds and “all their hard speeches spoken against Him (Jude 1:15). Two things are certain you will die and you will stand before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10).
Avoid the Curse of Unbelief
Paul said, “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha” (1 Corinthians 16:22). Anathema means cursed. There is a curse upon those who do not believe the word and love Jesus. Atheists don’t believe in curses or blessings, heaven or hell, God or Satan but that doesn’t nullify their existence nor keep them from joining Satan in his abode since they chose to follow him. (John 8:44, Matthew 25:41)
Sometime ago, a friend dreamed he died and went to hell. He said, while the demons were pushing and dragging him into hells flames, they were laughing at him saying, “You’ve been had”, “You’ve been had.” Although he read the bible, he did not believe certain parts of it and discounted large portions of it. So, the spirits that encouraged him to doubt the validity of scripture mocked him for believing their lies.
I was surprised to discover many atheists used to be believers/Christians. Although surprised, I shouldn’t be as scripture says, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1).
I pray you will never hear demons laughing and mocking you saying “you’ve been had” because you hardened your heart and failed to believe the bible is trustworthy and that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
John F. Craghan, author of Psalms for All Seasons says, “fidelity to God means deliverance from any and all forms of distress. Notice Craghan says, this benefit belongs to those who are in a state of “fidelity.” To be a person of fidelity, means to be faithful and loyal in character.
While many are fainting with fear God has instructed Christians not to be fearful or dismayed. The faithful Christian may proclaim as David did in Psalm 18:6. “In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.”
The text goes on to say that, after God heard David’s prayers He got in a Cherub, bowed the heavens and came to earth to rescue him. He fought His way through the heavens shooting lightning bolts, dropping hailstones and hot coals of fire upon David’s enemies! David’s human enemies did not see of feel the hail or great balls of hot coals fall upon them but his spiritual enemies saw and felt them. Remember scripture says, we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and power, against rulers of darkness and spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12).
Sometimes we forget our human foes are mere instruments of our spiritual foes. Satan enticed Judas to betray Christ.
Even when we are down on ourselves (Mark 5:5), like being depressed, withdrawing from others, having suicidal thoughts and cutting/ wounding ourselves; Satan is behind it. However, when we humble ourselves and pray about our situation God intervenes and the enemy shakes in fear. When we are faithful to God and resist the devil he will flee.
The Treasury of David reminds us that our enemy “The prince of the power of the air is soon dislodged when the cherubic chariot is driven through his dominions; therefore let not the legions of hell cause us dismay. He who is with us is greater than all they that be against us.”
God can deliver you from any form of distress or trouble. Take time to present your troubles to Him for it is He who fights for you!
In Psalm 24 verse 7 David said, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.”
This is a simple verse loaded with meaning for those dealing with depression. Commentator Robert Hawker notes the word gate or gates is figuratively used to denote a place, person or people. So in this passage David is encouraging the children of God to lift up their heads-not to be cast down with sadness and depression and the King of Glory will come in.
You must lift up your head, you must shake off sadness, depression, and regret for the King of Glory to come in and change your situation.
In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said the gates of hell will not prevail against the church as a member of Christ’s body (Colossians 1:18), you can rejoice because the “gates of hell” the principalities and powers, Satan and his demons will not prevail against you. So lift up your head! Put a smile on your face. Rejoice in the Lord your God.
In the following verse (Psalm 24:8) David says, Who is this King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty! The Lord mighty in battle! Yes, you have the Lord of Hosts on your side, the one who is mighty in battle waiting to fight for you but you have to open the door (v7) by lifting up your head in expectant hope instead of being bowed down in bitter defeat.
If you lift up your head that is no more walking around with head your hung down or staying in bed for days because of your problems, and the King of Glory will come in.
So, Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah. Psalm 24:9-10
“It came to pass, when they had done circumcising all the people, that they abode in their places in the camp, till they were whole.”
And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day (Joshua 5:8-9).”
In the above verses we notice a very important principle. The passage says, after they (children of Israel) received the mark of the covenant (circumcision), God rolled away the reproach of Egypt off them.
The word reproach means- the act of finding fault in disgrace, to treat with scorn, or condemn, criticize with an attitude of fault finding with the intention of shaming.
God had delivered the Israelites from Egypt with a mighty hand and promised to take them to a land that flowed with milk and honey. However, 40 years later they were still wandering in the wilderness. How embarrassing! The Egyptians were laughing at them, they had become a joke. Not only could they see them wandering in the desert but some of the Egyptians left Egypt with the Israelites, the bible calls them the mixt multitude.
When God set the Israelites them free from the Egyptians, they were so impressed by the miracles some of them left Egypt with them.
However, when they arrived in the desert and all they had to eat was manna they were not happy and encouraged the Israelites to whine and complain (Numbers 11:4-6).
Perhaps some of the Mixt Multitude, left the Israelites in the wilderness and went back to Egypt and said “Let me tell you about what’s going on with the Israelites and their God. They don’t have any real food all they have is Manna. It’s some weird stuff that falls from the sky at night and it’s on the ground on top of the dew in the morning. They can’t have left overs or save any of it for later, they can only take what they can eat or the rest will spoil (except on the Sabbath). They are still walking around in the desert with the same old clothes and shoes they had when they left Egypt.”
Sometimes when we are going through challenging situations and other people know about it and are watching us, we feel embarrassed. And this makes matters worse because we have the outward pressure of unmet needs and the inward pressure of embarrassment and anger because we are worrying about what people are saying and thinking about us, then add the fact that we might get angry with God, because we think if He’s God Almighty why is He letting us go through this.
But on this day God said I have rolled away the reproach of Evil off you. You will no longer have to hang your head in shame. This is the day the promises of Deuteronomy 28 will overtake you. This day you are the head and not the tail above and not beneath a lender and not a borrower.
If we stick with God long enough we will see things turn around for He said He will never leave us nor forsake us.
Notice in Joshua chapter five, that after they kept the Passover the Manna ceased, it stopped coming down. They reached the promised land and it was time for abundance.
And so it is with us when we receive the mark of the covenant. Jesus our Savior, our Passover lamb, said “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
It is time for us to reach the promised land but we can’t if we have a reproach on our lives. Don’t let people scorn you because you are not where they think you need to be in life. Through Jesus Christ, we will receive the promises of God whether it is healing in our bodies, restored relationships or financial means.
Yes, God will roll the reproach off you of you today. Receive it by faith!
For some of us, the haunting misery of depression is a familiar story. Up until two years ago, I spent the majority of my adolescence and adulthood clinically depressed and suicidal – but undiagnosed. When I look back, I see that my problems with depression started much earlier than adulthood or adolescence.For me, the stage was set early in childhood. I was a solitary child, (not by choice) and didn’t have many friends or adults around, so no one noticed it was a problem, and nothing was done to help me. My parents abused me for being moody and difficult, and told me to “snap out of it, you’ve got nothing to be miserable about.”
As a child I had to deal with the loss of my birth mother, the challenges and differences of my disability, a over-protective and possessive mother, and dysfunction in my adoptive family. By the age of eight I was taken through a battery of tests to find out why I had stomach pains all the time. There was no physical cause, I was a lonely, depressed, hurting child. My family put it down to not fitting in at school, which they expected would happen to a disabled kid, and nothing else was done. Some of my depression was caused by an undetected chemical imbalance in my brain, as some cases of clinical depression have arisen from, but most of my problems with depression were directly related to my inner pain.
Clinical depression isn’t a short term emotional state that lasts a few days or weeks. It goes on endlessly for months and years, dominating your life and sapping your energy. It can’t be overcome because things are looking brighter, or concretely improving. You can’t fix clinical depression by positive thinking. It is a disease, in the same way cancer is. You can’t re-programme yourself out of it, or change your routine and hope it disappears. With the increased pressures our children have on them, plus the onslaught of hopelessness the media brings into our homes, plus our mounting social problems, (all of which our young people are only too aware), not just younger adolescents, but children are now frequently being diagnosed and treated with clinical depression. A study done by the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University, found that depressed adolescents had a five fold increased risk of making a suicide attempt than an adolescent who hadn’t experienced long term depression. Logically, if the depression starts in childhood rather than in the teenage years, that risk increases as the problems are exacerbated by the onset of puberty, and it’s additional emotional and social challenges. Parents need to be aware of how their children are really feeling. Willing to look at avenues to getting them professional help, rather than trying to talk them out of their misery, or pretending it will all blow over in a few weeks. That is what my parents did, and it didn’t work, it made me feel guilty, and even more miserable.
The National Institute For Mental Health (U.S.A.) lists the symptoms of depression as:
Persistent sad or “empty” mood
Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that you once enjoyed
Insomnia, early-morning waking or oversleeping
Appetite and/or weight loss, or overeating and weight gain
Decreased energy, fatigue, being “slowed down”
Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches,digestive disorders, and chronic pain
In children and teenager’s terms of reference, also consider:
Have they lost pleasure in interests they loved such as sport, video games, band,being with their friends?
Are there more problems at school or at home?
Do they want to be alone more than usual?
Have they started cutting classes, or dropped hobby and/or activity groups?
It’s worth mentioning that this Institute also points out that “Though depression seems to occur generation after generation, in some families it can also occur in people who have no family history of depression.”
If you can see signs of depression in your children or teenagers, or even if its you who is battling with these symptoms yourself, please, don’t judge or try a quick fix. It isn’t anyone’s fault, it is a sickness that does have treatments (not necessarily all drug treatments either), and it needs to be properly identified and treated. Find someone who will understand and knows how to deal with depression in an effective way. Someone in whom you have confidence will stick with you, and be constructive. Don’t stop looking until you find the support you need, and answers that are satisfactory.
My relationship with God and the support of my friends, finally helped me to overcome my depression, plus later I did identify some medication related causes. However, I never could have come out of it all by myself. There are answers, and for each individual, they may be different, but they are out there. I pray you will find the answers to meet your needs.