Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Day of God's Power

Psalm 110:3
“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.”

Matthew 28:18
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”

God is a God of power, might, dominion, He is omnipotent, and there is nothing that He cannot do. He can bring rivers of water out of a rock, divide the red sea with the breath of His nostrils, He can cause the sun and moon to stand still, and He can calm the raging storm with a word.  God can heal cancer, He can deliver the drug addict and the alcoholic, and He can restore broken marriages. The Word makes it clear: All things are possible to them that believe.

I think I could stop here, most who are reading this are in agreement with me that our God is a God of Power and of Might. The Psalmist wrote, “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power…”
This makes a distinction that Although God is all powerful there is what is recognized as a day of His power. A day of His power - a specific time of visitation, revelation, and manifestation of his power through the anointing of the Holy Ghost.

We sing about it this day of power, we preach about it, we talk about it, and shout about it, and yet so many people remain slothful, cold and indifferent in their worship, and in their walk. But when there is a visitation of the presence of God, with revelation and manifestation of his power, when the ‘day of His power is upon us, it produces a willingness of heart.

The day of Gods power changes everything. The revelation and manifestation of the power of God causes the heart to do willingly what it had done grudgingly. When the power of God shows up people pray willingly, sing willingly, give willingly, attend church, read the bible willingly. A hundred years of programs could not accomplish what one day of Gods power will do. What we need in 2018 in our churches, more than anything, is a day of Gods power! Without the power of God calling ourselves Apostolic and Pentecostal is false advertising!

Power is not power until it makes a difference! There are all kinds of power: solar, nuclear, atomic, hydro, steam, or electrical. Power is the ability to change things, and to make a difference. We can tell the world we have power, talk about the Holy Ghost and even speak in tongues, but if it hasn’t changed our lives and made a difference between us and the world it’s just talk.

We recognize the power of God in His Word because it always made a difference, it always changed the situation. God looked into the darkness and said let there be light, and Jesus looked at death and said let there be life! Jesus looked at the storm, and said Peace be still and the wind and waters ceased to rage. He looked at the leper and said be clean, and instantly he was made clean; He spat into the dirt made a little mud ball rubbed it into a blind man’s eyes and said go wash in the pool, and a man who had never seen the flowers or looked into his mamma’s face came back with perfect sight.

That was a day of Gods power! A time of visitation, of revelation and manifestation of the power and anointing of God!

When God visited the 120 in an upper room in Jerusalem and filled them with the Holy Ghost on the Day of Pentecost, that was the day of Gods power! When God visited a humble shack, on a street named Azusa in Los Angeles, Ca., and filled his people with the Holy Ghost and started a great revival, that was a day of Gods Power!

The Good news is, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever. And I am prophesying to you right now, and the church better be ready, because the day of God’s power is upon us again! It’s time for another day of Gods power!

What is it going to take to see another day of Gods power? We’ve got to fast, we’ve got to pray, we’ve got to pray as if life depended upon it! Because, it does! Life hangs in the balance for those who are lost, and it is up to the church, the Apostolic Pentecostal church to worship like we believe, to pray like we believe, to live like we believe that the day of God’s power is here! We need a hunger for God’s power!

Isaiah had a hunger for a day of his power, it began with a desire just to know that God was watching over him.

Isaiah 63:15
“Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? Are they restrained?”

But his hunger kept growing until he could no longer be satisfied just to know that God was watching him.

Isaiah 64: 1-2
“Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, 2 As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!”

I don’t know about you friends, but I am hungry for a day of Gods power. Like David my soul is thirsty and my flesh longs to see the power and the glory of God in the sanctuary. We need a hunger for God’s presence.

Along with a hunger for His presence, we need a hunger for holiness. If we are ever going to see a day of Gods power in the church and in our lives, we are going to have to sanctify ourselves. I know it sounds old fashioned, but it’s the old paths that lead us to the power.

Joshua 3:5
“And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.”

Hebrews 12:14
“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:”

Matthew 5:8
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”

Psalm 101:2
“I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.”

I am concerned today because I see something happening across the land, I see so many people who are becoming drunk on the pleasures of this life. Christians who are filled up with junk, allowing things in their homes and lives that are grieving the Holy Spirit, and then wondering why we don’t experience the power of God.

Luke 21:34
“And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.”

The devil has deceived many of Gods people into believing that if something is funny then it’s not wrong. Sin is sin, filth is filth, and perversion is perversion, and it doesn’t matter what setting it is in. We will never experience the day of God’s power without holiness.

In a day of Gods power the supernatural becomes natural, Hard things become easy, The Holy Spirit flows freely, sinners are convicted of their sin, and the Saints of God live Holy lives.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Jesus Said It Clearly, "I Am Willing,"

Matthew 8:1-3
“When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him.  2 And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
3 Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”
Jesus had just finished his Sermon on the Mount. His words were spoken with an authority and power that none had known before.  It had been a long time since a prophet had entered the land of Israel and spoke with such power.  John the Baptist had come preaching, but even his powerful preaching could not compare with the power behind the words that Jesus spoke.
I have often wondered what it felt like to have been there, to walk with Jesus, to hear Him speak, to see Him heal the sick. and set those oppressed by the devil free.  What power and anointing there must have been in His voice!  This was God in the flesh, not just a mortal man.  I believe that the closest we can come to that experience is when we preach the Word, or hear the Word of the Lord preached and taught under the anointing of the Holy Ghost.
It is unfortunate, and it saddens me, those so many do not regard the preaching of the Word as important as they should.  I often wonder how many miracles people miss out on because they aren’t close enough to see them, how many blessings they miss because they aren’t hungry enough for them, or how much anointing they’ve lost because they didn’t give place to the leading of the Holy Ghost.
As Jesus descended from the mountain to enter into the city of Jerusalem, the crowds pressed into hear and see what He would do next. Would He perform some great miracle?  Would He heal a sick body, or maybe even raise someone from the dead? You can almost feel their anticipation as you read the accounts of Jesus in the gospels.
When the Holy Ghost is moving and people are being healed, when addicts and alcoholics are being set free from the chains of addiction, delivered from the oppressing powers of hell, being saved by the mighty name of Jesus and their sin is washed away by Blood of the Lamb, crowds will begin to gather.  When the Word of God is preached under the anointing and power of the Holy Ghost, you won’t have to beg people to come, they will come just to watch the fire burn.
As he walked along there came a leper and fell at his feet with a humble spirit, seeking to be healed and cleansed.  From a natural perspective, there was no hope for the leper.  He was trapped in a prison of rotting flesh and was slowly dying. No doctor, no priest, or any power on earth could release him from this death sentence.
But then came Jesus!  Oh how I love that phrase!  When all things seem impossible and all hope seems lost, I have learned to lean upon that phrase, “Then came Jesus.”  The disciples were out in the middle of the sea in a raging storm, and they feared that they would all perish, but then came Jesus!  There was a woman with an issue of blood: all the doctors had failed her,all her money was gone, and all hope seemed abandoned, but then came Jesus!  Three Hebrew children were thrown into a fiery furnace, it appeared to everyone that they would die,and that their God had abandoned them, but but then came Jesus!  Lazarus was dead and buried in a tomb for days, but then came Jesus!  I was lost, had thrown my calling aside, most everyone had written me off, but I found an altar.  I came to that altar weary and heavy laden, I cried out to God for help in desperation. I had tried everything within my own power and nothing could set me free from the addictions that had nearly destroyed everything and everyone I loved, but then came Jesus!  The Lord spoke to me that day, regardless of what Ruth Behar thinks, and said that if I would surrender my life to him, he would set me free - I did, and He has!
The leper was unclean! According to the Law of Moses he could never enter the gates of Jerusalem for it was the Holy City, dedicated to God. That leper had to get to Jesus before he entered the gates and so he came as fast as he could. With every step he took, faith would grow a little stronger! With every step hope grew stronger!  Hope – that little 4-letter word that carries such a powerful meaning.
Hopelessness is a terrible empty feeling.  And hopelessness is what those who are held captive by the chains of sin face every day.  There is no hope for a better life, no hope for eternal life, or for deliverance from the bonds of sin that have trapped them to their lifestyles.
The Alcoholic is taught that he will always be an alcoholic!  The drug addict is taught that he will always be a drug addict!  The thief is taught that he will always be a thief!  All the world can do is attempt to control how much alcohol, drugs, or criminal activity that people do. The world does not have the power to set men free from anything!
But then came Jesus – there’s that little phrase again!  Jesus can set them free, and Jesus will set them free!
When that leper, representing the absolutely hopeless condition of the sin-sick soul, came to Jesus and fell down before him, and worshipped the Lord, and confessed that Jesus was the only one who could set him free, and cast himself upon the mercy of Christ, he was showing us just what it takes to be set completely free from all the bondages of sin that hold us back.
You can’t whip the devil on your own, but Jesus has already conquered him! You can’t defeat all the powers of darkness in your own power, but Jesus’ blood has already beaten them once and for all.
We must cast aside everything that holds us back. Cast aside your pride! Cast aside your own abilities! Cast aside your hopelessness! Cast aside the teaching that you can’t be delivered that has been given by the world! Cast aside every little weight and every sin that so easily drags you down and then worship the Lord Jesus Christ!
I believe that Jesus not only has all power in Heaven and in Earth to set you free once and for all but I also believe that it is his perfect will do to just that!  Jesus looked back at that leper and said, “I will, be thou clean!”  
What power there was in those words! Instantly the prison bars of leprosy were broken!  Instantly, that leper was a leper no more! Instantly he was made whole!  He may have been told, “Once a leper, always a leper,” but Jesus set him free!
Jesus doesn’t deliver halfway! If we aren’t completely delivered it’s because we are holding something back ourselves! We can’t expect Jesus to set us completely free if we aren’t completely surrendered and committed to him.   All too often we come to the Lord seeking deliverance, but all we want is just enough deliverance to make life tolerable again. We don’t want to commit fully so we just take what Jesus will give and go back to doing what we want to again.
It’s so wonderful that Jesus is full of grace, mercy and love, so much so that he will reach out and touch us sometimes, even when we really don’t mean what we say! But he knows the heart, and if we will fully surrender, then he will fully deliver!
I’m not saying that every Christian who has a problem in some area of their life is lost. I’m not saying that they won’t make Heaven their home. What I am saying is that, until they are fully committed to serving the Lord, placing him first in their lives, they will never know what it is like to be completely delivered and fully walking in victory!
What do you need from the Lord right now?
Healing?  Jesus says I will - Isaiah 53:5, "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."
Rest?  Jesus says I will - Matthew 11:28, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
Deliverance?  Jesus says I will - Isaiah 46:4, "And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you."
Encouragement?  Jesus says I will - Deuteronomy 31:6, "Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."
Salvation?  Jesus says I will - John 3:16-17, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."
Cleansing? – Jesus says through the Apostle Paul, I will - 1 Corinthians 6:11, "… but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."
Wisdom? – Jesus says, I will - James 1:5, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
Faith? – Jesus says I will - Romans 12:3, "For I say… to every man that is among you… God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."
Power? – Jesus says I will - Acts 1:8, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you..."
Guidance? – Jesus says I will - John 16:13, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth..."
Jesus says I will meet your need but don’t just focus on the miracle, focus on the Miracle Worker and give it all to me.  The leper was in a prison that he didn’t choose and didn’t want but one that he could not get out of, but Jesus had the key.
What do you need from the Lord right now?
Are you willing to cast yourself at his feet in total surrender?

Friday, February 9, 2018

Only The Altar, Will Alter Our Course

1 King 18:14-30
Ahab comes at Elijah with this question, “Art thou he that troubeleth Israel?”
The people and King Ahab had drifted so far away from God, that Elijah’s commitment, consecration, and love for God caused so much agitation that Ahab called him a troublemaker.
If you’re going to live for God when most of the country has decided to live for themselves and do what is right in their own eyes, then you better know this: When you are serious about serving God, when you consecrate yourself to live a holy life, and when you refuse to be sit silently by when the choices people are making around you are wholly ungodly then you, like Elijah, will be viewed as a troublemaker.
Why?  Because most people are satisfied just living in the vicinity of the altar.  What does that mean?  Most people are satisfied just being religious.  They want to look Christian and sound Christian, but they don’t want to live a surrendered life; they don’t want to be “living sacrifices.”  When you choose to live on the altar and to make your life a living sacrifice, you upset this worlds system and you will disturb religious people.
Romans 12:12:1-2
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
In 1 kings 18 Elijah called the nation of Israel back to the altar.  Elijah is not known through the scriptures as a great preacher, but when the bible shines the spotlight on Elijah, we see him on the ground with his head between his knees praying.  He was showing us what the altar looks like.
The great need of our day is for men and women who will rebuild the altar: I'm not talking about a wooden piece of furniture.  That long piece of wood in the front of most churches cannot save anyone, or heal anyone, or deliver anyone; it cannot pick you up when you get knocked down, or carry you when you're too weak to walk, It can't mend a broken heart or restore a ship wrecked marriage, it can't break the power of drugs over your life or drive cancer out of your body!  It’s just a piece of wooden furniture, separated and set apart for sacred purposes, but still just a piece of furniture.
The altar I am referring to is the altar of the heart.  A heart that is humbled before God, surrendered to God, consecrated to God, and faithful and obedient to God.  The altar I'm speaking of is a life that has been laid down in sacrifice to fulfill the will of God.
Where there is no altar, your faith will falter!
What does falter mean?  To falter is to move hesitatingly as if you are about to give way, to be unsure or weak, to walk unsteadily or stumble, or to lose faith and abandon the cause.
This is the message I want to get across to you, so many in the church are faltering; because they have forsaken the altar.
Jeremiah 2:13
“For my people have committed two evils; they have (forsaken) me the fountain of living waters and they have hewn them out cisterns, broken cistern's that can hold no water.”
Let me ask you a question: what good is it to have a new house, a new car, a great retirement, money in five different banks, and lose your soul?
The greatest need of the world we live in is not natural, or physical, our greatest need is not financial prosperity, its spiritual prosperity.
Mark 8:36 – “For what doth it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his soul?”
I believe God wants to prosper us in every way including financially, but the danger is when we substitute natural prosperity for spiritual prosperity.
3 John 2 – “Beloved I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health even as thy soul prospereth.”
The bible says that the children of Israel lusted exceedingly in the wilderness and tempted God in the desert, then it says: that God gave them their request but sent leanness to their souls.  That means they were physically and naturally satisfied, in other words they were fat and happy, but their souls were starving to death.
This is happening today to people all over America in our modern politically correct churches.  Church members are getting fatter and fatter engorging themselves on the natural, the carnal, the desires of the flesh, and their souls are starving to death.
Many churches today do not even have an altar. Many of the ones that do are mostly covered with dust because they're hardly ever used. They're just for looks.  Again, I know that the altar is just a piece of furniture made up of a few pieces of wood, but it is often the place where we meet God.  The altar is where we climb our Mt. Moriah and give our Isaac's up to God.  The altar is a place of sacrifice, it is where self is put to death
The altar is where the sinner comes to find a savior, where the broken come to find a healer, where those in bondage come to find a deliverer, where the prisoner comes to be pardoned, where the weary come to find rest, and where saints come to find power.
Why is there such a low state of spiritual power in the church today?  Because so many have forsaken the altar.
You may attend a church with great programs, with great worship, and great preaching, but if you as an individual do not have an altar, your life will falter!  It will be unsteady!  You will be unsure and weak, you will stumble, and ultimately you will lose faith and abandon the cause.
And let me say also that without the altar, the Church will falter
God said: my house shall be a house of prayer!  He did not say it would be a house of magnificent entertainment, or a house of awesome fellowship, or a house of dynamic preaching, but it is to be A HOUSE OF PRAYER.
No prayer equals no power!
I want you to know that the only hope for America today is to come back to the altar: There's no president, no politician, no legislation that can turn this country around.  The only hope for change in America is God!  We need God back in our homes, we need God back in our schools, we need God back in the White House, and this may offend but to a great deal, we need God back in the church house.
The only way we will ever get America back to God, is to get Americans back to the altar!
Malachi 3:7 – “Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts.”
The structure that needs to be rebuilt in America is not the world trade center, it’s the altar!
It wasn’t torn down by terrorists, there is no terrorist that could destroy the altar.  It was torn down through neglect, through decay, and through rejection.  It was torn down in favor of a more comfortable, less sacrificial, and more self-pleasing way. 
The Greatest sin of America is not homosexuality, it’s not abortion, and it’s not racism; the greatest sin of America is pride.  It’s not national pride that we need in America today; we need national humility and total dependence upon God.
Without the altar, America will falter!
2 Chronicles 7:14
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
I know there are wicked and evil things happening in the world, but God is not speaking to the world, God is speaking to the church.  He is speaking to “my people,” to those who identify themselves with God, those who go by His name.
Revival comes because we rend our hearts and not just our garments, Revival comes because we break up the fallow ground and seek God till he comes and rains righteousness down on us.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Victory Is Within Your Reach!

I Samuel 14:1-30

VV. 25-27 - “And all the people[g] came into the forest; and there was honey on the ground. 26 And when the people entered the forest, behold, the honey was dropping, but no man put his hand to his mouth; for the people feared the oath. 27 But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the people with the oath; so he put forth the tip of the staff that was in his hand, and dipped it in the honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes became bright.”

We don’t know how long Jonathon was in this situation.  We know that there were six hundred other men in the same situation he was in.  But Jonathon decided that something wasn’t right, he decided that it was not right for the child of God to be hiding in fear of the enemy and so Jonathon made a decision to do something, something the others may have looked at as insane.  He decided to follow the example that had been set by David, he decided to make a run at his enemy.

Jonathon decided to take a run at his giant.  I don’t know who the Lord got me out of bed for this morning, may be it was just for me, but I’ve got a feeling that somebody that has been knocked down is getting up, someone’s getting ready to fight, somebody’s getting ready to make a run at your giant.  The devil has been laughing at you, criticizing you, and harassing you and you’ve had enough.  Nothing will change until you get fed up!  It’s time to break out!

You may be the only one of six hundred, or six thousand, but one is all it takes if that one believes and trusts in the name of Jesus!  Moses, Elijah, Gideon, and David were all just one man when they decided to obey and trust God, but they overcame and defeated the enemy!

You may be in a difficult situation like Jonathon, a bad place, a painful place, or between a rock and a hard place.  You’re being pressed on every side, it seems like there’s no way out, but I prophesy to you, you are coming out!  You’re coming out of financial trouble, coming out of sickness, coming out of depression and discouragement, coming out of Marriage trouble, coming out of attacks against your ministry, you're coming out of the pit and you’re going to the palace.

Joseph was thrown into a pit and a prison, but he didn’t stay there, he came out and went to the palace.  The three Hebrew men were thrown into the fiery furnace, but they didn’t burn up they came out and got promoted.  Daniel was thrown into a den of lions but he didn’t stay there he came out and became one of the greatest men in the Kingdom of Babylon.

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers them out of them all.” - Psalms 34:19

Just knowing you’re coming out would be enough for most of you.  But God said to tell you that not only are you coming out, you’re going to do some damage on your way out.  You’re getting ready to put some stuff that’s been in your face, under your feet.  You’re getting ready to step on top of the thing that’s been on top of you.  God shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.

Shortly means quickly: the issues you been struggling with for a long time, and battles you’ve been fighting for a long time are getting ready to come to an end - suddenly!  Suddenly that court battle is going to turn around! Suddenly that medical condition that’s been dragging on for years is going to clear up!  Suddenly that strained relationship is going to be healed!  Suddenly that financial burden you’ve been under is going to be lifted!

You have been praying for a son, a daughter, a husband, and it looks like they’re farther away from God than ever before, but suddenly God is going to put a hook in their jaw and he’s going to do in an instant what you’ve been waiting years to see.  Somebody reading this is standing on the edge of a miracle.  It’s time to take run at your enemy!

Maybe you are in a place like Jonathon was at this very moment.  No matter which way you look there is no help in sight and it feels like the worlds closing in on you.  It feels like you’re all alone, people all around you are being blessed, but you’re going through hell. You look around you and see other people and it seems like their life is just a great big bowl of cherries.  Then you look in your bowl and all you see is the pits.

The pits are the left overs, the rejected parts, the hard inedible parts, but if I look in a bowl and see cherry pits, it tells me that there were cherries there, because no cherry tree produces only pits.  And it tells me somebody else got there first and somebody else got the sweet part.  They got the beautiful house, the new car, the best paying job, the best girl, the best guy, the best church, the best friend, the best calling, the best talent, the best gift and you got the pits.
I just want to tell somebody that has feels like the sweet things in life have passed you by: if you will keep on walking, keep praying, keep praising, keep confessing the word, keep believing God’s promises, then you are on a collision course with some sweet stuff!

I know I’m talking to some people that have been in some bitter places and you’ve tasted disappointment.  Some of you have experienced the bitterness of divorce in your life.  Some of you are acquainted with the bitterness of a long season of sickness.  I know there are those reading this who have watched their dreams slip through their fingers.  Some of you have cried bitter tears as you have watched your children choose a rebellious road and walk away from God and get tangled up in the ways of the world.  And I wish this part wasn’t true but it is: Some of you have been hurt, and it wasn’t the devil that did it, it was church folk.

I love the church with all my heart, but there’s a difference between being in church and being in Christ, and some of the meanest, most critical, and self-righteous people on earth are church folks.  And a lot of good people have been hurt by mean spirited lukewarm snobby nosed church folk.

When you look at your life all you see is the pits, but God told me to tell you, that he’s getting ready to give you sweet for your sour, beauty for your ashes, peace for your pain, joy for your sorrow, and hope for your despair.  Weeping may endure for the night, but Joy cometh in the morning and I see the sun rising on a brand new day for you.

As Jonathon and his armor bearer move out in faith, God gave them a great personal victory.  Not only that, it encouraged the rest of the army and turned the whole battle around.  After a good deal of fighting and knocking down the enemy; they come to a place where there was honey on the ground.  They didn’t have to climb a tree or fight the bees for it, all they had to do was reach out and take it.

Somebody needs to hear this today, all you have to do is reach out and take it. Jesus already climbed the tree, and let them nail him to it.  Jesus already fought the bees, and spoiled principalities and powers making a show of them openly.  All the blessings of God, all the provisions of God, are within your reach.  All you have to do is reach out and take them.  It’s time to take a run at your enemy!  The battle is the Lord’s!  Your enemy was defeated by Calvary and the honey is on the ground! Your victory is within your reach, reach for it!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

nos vemos en el cielo mi hermano Lenny

Ephesians 6:10-20

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, [c] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

It is with a heavy heart I write this morning, and I must tell you to start with, this is a word the Lord gave to comfort me this morning in my prayer time.  Yesterday I learned of the death of a man I had known and loved for years, and I am going through a deeply personal struggle. I really needed this word, but I can’t help but feel that there are others who need to hear it as well. So I am sharing it, believing that the Lord will comfort you and bless you as He has me today.

In the above scripture the Apostle Paul encourages believers to put on the armor of God.  Armor that is made available to all that believe.  In fact, as far as I can tell, being a believer is the only qualification one needs to adorn themselves with this armor.  But the Lord spoke this word to me in my prayer time this morning: a believer who has accepted the armor of God, but does not pray, is like a man who puts on a tuxedo on prom night, who has no date, who hasn’t purchased the ticket to get in, and whose car sits in the driveway broken down - all dressed up with no place to go.

Paul tells us that as we take the shield of faith and the sword of the spirit it is to be done in the spirit of prayer.  It is this spirit: this heart, attitude, disposition, and lifestyle of prayer that qualifies us to use the sword of the spirit.  This clearly tells us that we are only qualified to use the sword of the Spirit in and through the spirit of prayer.  No one is properly prepared to use the sword of the Spirit who has not had their hearts and minds prepared through prayer.

The sword in the hand of a non-praying man or woman is as dangerous as a machine gun in the hand of a 3yr old - it can be a means of mass destruction.  But the sword of the Spirit in the hands of a praying man or woman, can break satanic bondage, open the eyes of the blind, bring healing to sick bodies, open doors that have been closed, close demonic doors that have been opened, shake nations and set up the kingdom of God in the earth.
The Lord showed me an important principle this morning through His Word: men of supernatural power in the earth have always been men of prayer.  Joseph, Daniel, Elijah, Peter, John, and Paul were all men of prayer.

We can see in God’s Word that Joseph went from the pit to the palace, from a prisoner to a prince because he had a dream from god which was developed through his close personal understanding of God’s plan for his life, which can only be achieved through prayer. We see Elijah on Mt. Carmel as he called down fire from the sky, and the heavens opened and gave rain, because he was used to talking with God and he knew that God would answer when he called. Daniel in a lion’s den was protected from certain death by the power of God: Daniel knew that God was with him because prayer had taught him how to recognize God’s presence.   can read in Acts where Peter and John spoke the name of Jesus and a lame man was healed in Jesus’ name, prayer had set the table for the outpouring of the Holy Ghost upon them and had filled them, baptized them in the Holy Ghost just days before. And Paul, unharmed by its bite, shaking off a poisonous viper into the fire.

But we must never forget that Joseph in the pharaoh’s house, Elijah on Carmel, Daniel in the lion’s den, Peter and John’s miraculous faith, and Paul’s overcoming power were the result of these men in a closet somewhere on their knees crying out to God. The power demonstrated in the lives of all these men to overcome was planted in them through prayer!

I am facing an ocean of sorrow today that is difficult to navigate, the death of someone very special to me, has taken the wind from my sails.  I know that God has guided me through the death of others I have loved, I know that He will bring me through this loss too, but it is only on my knees that I will find the direction to get through this dark hour and the strength to push on.  This new attempt of the enemy to bring me discouragement will not prevail!  My friend Lenny is with the Lord, I will see Him again, I know I will – remembering his smile today reminds me how God used him in my life to encourage me as a young minister over 20 years ago. His confidence in God’s anointing on my life, helped me to gain the confidence I needed to pursue my personal calling.

I might be knocked down, but I'm not out!  The Bible says that, "the name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous shall run unto it and be glad!"

Today I got a name, the mighty name of Jesus. And in that name, I will arise from this difficult hour of discouragement, like they used to say in the opening of the old TV show The Six-Million-Dollar Man, "better and stronger" than I was before and with the name of Jesus on my lips, the enemy of my soul will tremble in fear!  

II Corinthians 12:9-10

“9 And he said unto me, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

Thank you my friend, you made a world of difference in my life with your smile and kind words - I will miss you for now, but I will see you again and we will once again worship together, and this time it will be around God's Throne!

Adiós mi amigo Leonardo García, te veré en La Tierra de La Gloria!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Power to Change

I have experienced or witnesses many things in ministry that have had an impact on my faith: healings, prophetic words, and awesome worship. In fact, I can honestly say that I have witnessed all nine of the supernatural manifestations of the Holy Ghost listed by the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 12. But for me, by far, the most exciting thing about ministry is when the life of someone is truly and forever changed. When God saves a lost soul, when they repent of their sin, are baptized in the name of Jesus, and filled with the Holy Ghost! I have recently witnessed this take place in the life of someone very close to me, and I’m telling you, I am still walking on clouds this morning as I write this. I serve a God of transformation!

However, I am also concerned this morning. Lately, in the church, it seems that we have adopted some terminology of the world that implies that people don’t really change. Phrases like, “Oh he’s a controller.” Or, “She’s a pleaser,” and one of the most common, “They are co-dependent,” and let’s not forget, “We’re a dysfunctional family.”

I am not saying that these are not legitimate conditions, they do exist, I’m saying that we have been treating them like impenetrable walls that the gospel has no power over. We have been using them as excuses to tolerate situations that need to change.

Romans 1:16
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth;”
It is the power! What kind of power?

2 Peter 1:3
“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:”
Divine power for everything we need for life and godliness!

Luke 4:18
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,”
Jesus said he was anointed to preach and that preaching would have an effect – lives caught in hopeless situations would be changed. The gospel is the power of God to make changes! You hold that power and so do I, so then why are so many in the church living unchanged lives?

First, they do not recognize the need to change. The watering down of the Word, weak preaching, the lack of standards of holiness in many churches has lead people into the captivity of a deceived mind. They have been led captive through philosophies based on human tradition rather than on Christ (Colossians 2:8).

Romans 12:1-2
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
I am not okay, you’re not okay! We need to be transformed! We need to daily die to our flesh, so that we can be alive in Christ -we need transformation! Being transformed takes time, a lifetime in fact. We need to be constantly growing through relationship with God advancing on our knees, here a little, there a little; line upon line. I am talking about honest relationship here, not rhyming off dead repetition.

This is not about becoming more and more worthy, as though by our efforts we win God’s favor. It is not about becoming more and more righteous, or about comparing ourselves to others. It is about getting as close to Jesus as I can and having that closeness rub off on me.

I have learned a few things in this life, and recently I have come to understand that change is inevitable, but growth is optional. Are you one of those people who refuse to see the need for change? Are you critical of every new idea? Are you negative about everything, about how the world, or the church or the leadership is going? Do you see yourself as a victim? You need to wake up to the need for change because God has empowered you to do it!

The second reason people don’t change is simply because they don’t want to. Once you see the need to change, then you need to want to change. I mean REALLY want it! Why? The simple reason is that it is way easier not to change. You are the way you are because it’s the easiest way for you to be. The fallen nature of man resists positive change of any kind. If you don’t believe me just try suggesting a change in the order of service at your next church service, but be prepared to run for cover!

Have you ever prayed half-heartedly for something? Half-hearted prayers do not result in change.

James 5:16
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
What is an effective prayer? A prayer that is in line with God’s will, a prayer that is offered in faith.

I want you to notice the fervent part. It speaks of urgency doesn’t it? It speaks of desire, of really wanting this thing done.

Hebrews 11:6
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
The diligent seekers are rewarded. Have you not noticed that when you get serious with God things happen? Think about the things you really prayed through, the things you woke up in the night to pray about, the things you fasted about; these are the things that get done.

How do you get to that place of really wanting change? I think you must spend time on it, thinking, meditating, write it down. Envision how your life will be different once you’ve changed, think about the future if you don’t do it.

Once you have recognized the need to change, and you have decided that you really want to change, then you take the step to really change:

Acts 2:38
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

And once you have allowed the Holy Ghost to begin your transformation, once faith has taken root in your life, you must fight the fight of faith to keep it. “Keeping the change” has a whole new meaning in this instance! Friends listen to me! Here, is the sad truth, if you take a break, if you lie to yourself and say just a little won’t matter, you will go right back to your vomit.

This is the fight of faith! You have an enemy who does not want God to be glorified by the changes in you. He does not rest; he will continue to yell lies at you.

2 Corinthians 10:5
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”
I know that God can change you, because He changed me, and I have seen Him change so many others. There are no chains that He cannot break! There are no addictions that He cannot deliver you from! There is no sin that He will not forgive. God loves you, and He’s waiting for you to surrender to the power that saves.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

If We Only Believe

John 2:1-11
And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2 and both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. 3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, they have no wine. 4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come. 5 His mother saith unto the servants, whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. 6 And there were set there six water pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. 7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the water pots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. 9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, 10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. 11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

Joel 2:23
Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.”

Haggai 2:9
“The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.”

We serve a progressive God, everything about Him is progressive, He is always moving forward, always building, and always outdoing Himself.  He never changes, but He never ceases to amaze us with His awesome power.

Jesus had a ministry full of miracles from the beginning to the very end.  Jesus’ ministry began with a miracle that most would call insignificant, He turned water into wine, certainly this was no life or death situation, but His earthly ministry quickly progressed into opening blind eyes, making the lame to walk, casting out devils, feeding the multitudes, and raising the dead.

Jesus, “who being in very nature God,” was completely unfamiliar with the word impossible.

Matthew 19:26
“But Jesus beheld [them], and said unto them, with men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”

Mark 9:23
“Jesus said unto him, if thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”

Most of the time when we look at difficult circumstances and conditions of the world around us we tend to see impossible conditions: darkness, confusion, hopelessness, perversion, and corruption. We naturally tend to consider these situations impossible.  I remember a conversation I had with my pastor a few years back, during which he shared with me that he had been invited to speak at the local high school for the anniversary of 9/11 on the topic, “Hope for America.”  I am ashamed to confess that my reply was very cynical. I asked him, “There is no hope for America, is there?” 

He quickly replied, “Only God brother, only God.”

I look at the news and see how now we have begun putting Christians in jail for refusing to violate their faith and I see a nation that in my mind has gone beyond the reach of truth.  I see the impossible, but Jesus looks at what we consider the impossible, and He sees a perfect opportunity for a miracle.  He sees the perfect backdrop for a display of His glory.  What appears to me, in my natural mind, to be a breakdown in the fabric of our society, may just be a setup for a Holy Ghost breakthrough!

No wine at the wedding: the reputation of the groom was at stake. The people were expecting a party that would last for days, and they wanted more wine, but there was no more wine in their cups or in the kitchen.  Here we see a need, a desire, and a potentially embarrassing situation.  Then Jesus takes the case.

Then there was the case of Jairus the ruler of the synagogue, whose daughter was at the point of death: Jesus heads for Jairus home to heal her, but a messenger interrupts them on the way there with the message, “Trouble the master no longer, thy daughter is dead.”

Now the stage is set:  Guilt is the first response, “why didn’t I come sooner, why did I let my pride stand in the way, I should have listened to my wife.” 

Now grief sets upon him, “My daughter is dead, only 12 yrs. Old.” 

Followed by anger, “We might have made it if that woman hadn’t stopped Jesus, now she’s healed and my daughters dead.”

And then finally hopelessness, “He was my last hope.  I heard how he turned the water into wine, and healed the nobleman’s son and delivered the demoniac, but my daughter is not sick, nor demonized she is dead and now there is nothing that can be done.”

Then the words of Jesus penetrate his thoughts, “Fear not only believe.”

The house is filled with mourning, weeping and wailing, death is hanging in the air, and all that the man sees is darkness, hopelessness, grief, sorrow, and pain.  But Jesus sees the perfect opportunity for a manifestation of the God’s glory…”Little girl I say unto thee arise!”

What a mighty God!

Through the Apostle's gospel accounts we have seen Him turn water into wine, feed the multitudes, heal the lame, restore sight to the blind, walk on water, cast out devils and raise the dead.  Surely we have seen Him at His best, surely we have seen the greatest manifestation of His power and glory, right?

No!  Our God is far greater than that!  Let me tell you something He told me in prayer today, “You ain’t seen nothing yet man of God, the best is on the way!”

One day when Jesus was doing ministry with His disciples the news came to Jesus telling Him that, “He whom thou lovest is sick.”

So Jesus and His disciples headed to Bethany.  Upon their arrival Lazarus had already been dead for several days, not seconds, not minutes, not hours, but days.  The stone has been rolled in front of the tomb.  The stone speaks of finality. The stone says, "Call the fat lady and tell her to start singing because it’s over.' the Stone tells us the situation is beyond our reach, the sickness is incurable, the chains of addiction are unbreakable, the marriage is beyond repair, and the rebellion of our children is irreversible.

His sisters told Jesus that if He would have come earlier, He could have healed Lazarus, we believe you could have kept him from dying, but now it’s over.

Isn’t it amazing how we so often put limits on God?

He can do this but not that, He has the power to stop something from happening, but He can’t turn it around.  Nonsense!  My Friends listen to me this morning! Brothers and sisters that’s where we so often miss the point! The entire Bible from the front cover to the back is a book about turnarounds.

In our carnal minds we say, “You’re too late Jesus.”

But Jesus says, “Take away the stone!  Lazarus come forth!  Loose him and let him go!”

When we watch the news today we are seeing a society that is out of control.  America is no longer a Christian nation.  Every single day we hear of how God is being rejected and removed from our schools, our holidays, and in some cases even the church.  

Christmas has become a time for parades, and celebrations, but Christ is left out. 

Easter is a time for egg hunts, and rabbits, and dinners, and parties, but the power of the resurrection and the miracle of eternal life are left out.

We are seeing the spirit of perversion, worldliness, and corruption, not just sneaking into our churches, not hiding in our pews, but filling our pulpits and preaching their perverted self-serving gospel that is leading people into greed and lust.

Jeremiah spoke of a similar time in Israel’s history:

Jeremiah 5:31
“The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love [to have it] so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?”

Another scripture that clearly defines the spirit of this generation:

Isaiah 5:20
“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

If we allow ourselves to, we can look around and see what’s happening in the world, we can assess how terrible it is, we can get depressed, go into hiding, and say it’s hopeless.  Or we can look in the Word of God and see that our best days are ahead of us, we haven’t seen anything yet, God is just getting wound up.

The devil may think he’s winning, he’s thought that before… 

When he had all the children killed by Pharaoh to try to keep God’s promise from being fulfilled, but God put His promise in Pharaohs house, and let the Paharaoh raise him!

When the children of Israel were trapped at the red sea entangled in the wilderness, the Egyptian army behind them, but God turned the red sea into a highway!

Yes the devil is working hard, and yes we see the evil and the wickedness and the perversion, but don’t turn off the switch of faith - God is up to something big!

We must recognize the truth that was spoken at the wedding in Cana, "You sir have saved the best for last!"

Let the devil paint the darkest, saddest, the most perverse and corrupt picture of hopelessness and despair, and sin that he has ever painted, and then if we 'only believe,' we can sit back and watch Jesus turn it into a backdrop for the greatest display of His glory this world has ever seen!