Saturday, March 17, 2018

He Giveth Power To The Faint

Isaiah 40:29-31
“He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. 30 even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, 31 but those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
There are times when it can seem like the enemy is getting the best of us.  Sometimes it can be a serious struggle to maintain your faith and trust in God, especially when it seems like everything is going against us.  You know what I’m talking about, those times when we find ourselves in the middle of one of the toughest battles of our life.  But it is in these times that we need the Lord more than ever.  It is in these times that our faith and trust in God is really put to the test.  These are the times when the proverbial rubber meets the road in our walk of faith.
It is easy to live for God and trust in Him when everything is going well, but what about when it seems like the weight of the whole world is on our shoulders. Unfortunately it is during such times that a lot of believers abandon ship, they bail out on God, when the storms get rough.
If your life is in the middle of turmoil, if the waves are about to swamp the boat, then look up and put your trust in God for that is often the moment that God is putting your faith to the test.  That is the moment when your faith is built and your relationship with God will show its true depth.
I heard a story years ago about a Florida army training camp during World War II.  The daily training for the recruits included a run through an obstacle course.  The last obstacle on the course was a small pond of where they had to use a rope and swing across the water.  Under the blazing southern sun the water looked so inviting that the men soon developed a habit of only making it only halfway across the obstacle.  So an enterprising lieutenant made the pond the new home for a large alligator. From that day on, the recruits left the ground 15 feet from the water’s edge and fell sprawling in the dust on the other side.
Likewise, our behavior as believers must be shaped at times by the "encouragement" of unfavorable circumstances. Without God’s loving correction and faithful discipline we would never develop spiritual strength and endurance. If the Lord didn’t permit difficult circumstances to come into our lives, we would eventually develop feelings of self-sufficiency and become overconfident.
We must not forget that God has promised us that we would never be tempted above what we are able to bear, but with every temptation, every trial, every test, every trouble, He will make a way for us to escape and win the victory. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
God never promised that we wouldn’t have hard times. He never promised that we would sail through life without troubles. What He did promise is that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He promised that He would supply our every need. He promised in Psalms 55:22, "Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved."
In the passage above, Israel had become discouraged so God had to remind them of just Who He Is. God is still in control and those who would place their trust in Him would be renewed in their strength.
I don’t know about you, but there are times when my strength fails. I know that many of you suffer through these times too.  I know this because the most common prayer request I receive from others is for strength to stand for the Lord. There is nothing wrong with praying for strength. In fact, that’s the best thing you can do. But, if you really want to have more strength, God has already laid down the pattern for you to get stronger in Isaiah 40:29-31.
To most people it an seem like the trials they are facing are so personal and that no one else can relate or understand, but multitudes of people have faced, and are facing the same situations that you are going through. Your circumstances are no surprise to God. Your troubles don’t move God. He knew what was coming and He already has an answer for every one of them, but we will only see victory if we do it God’s way.
There is no limit to God’s ability to meet you need. There is no limit to His deliverance and provision for whatever you need. God never gets tired, never grows weary, and is always listening for the prayers of His children.
What will we do with the trials that face us?  Will we turn to our own devices and make decisions that will cause us to have less time for God, for the church, or even for our families?  Will we forget the Word of God and become depressed because we don’t have the faith to trust God’s Word.
Romans 8:28
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
Will we break the promises that we made in our times of victory?  Will we forget the commitments we made to Christ when all was well?  Will we forget the times in the past that God has brought us through some rough seas? Will we forget the blessings, the healings, the miracles and every good thing that God has done?  What will we do, and how will be behave now that things are not perfect anymore?
It is time to stop our pity party, quit acting as if it is the end of the world, and lift up our eyes to the mountains and see that our help is on the way, and that God is far above our troubles no matter how bad things seem at the moment, He will not allow us to fail if we will keep our trust and faith in Him.
So now that the test is on, the question is not one of survival, but whether you will pass or fail?  If you pass, your faith will grow stronger. If you fail, you will abandon the ways of righteousness, turn your back on God and put everything in your life at risk.
I have to admit, I have had it go both ways in my life.  Several years ago I went through one of the darkest times of my life because I didn’t trust God in my trial.  I was pastoring and I got very ill.  I was in and out of the hospital.  Over a period of a year I spent 7 months in the hospital.  I really wasn’t sure if I would live or die.  I became physically dependent on the pain medicine.  When I tried to stop taking it I became very ill.  I asked the presbytery of my denomination for help, their response was to take my church, and except for the letter I received in the mail a few months later, I never seen or heard from these men again. 
My response should have been to run into the arms of Jesus, instead I kicked him out of my life and invited the devil to come in and have a seat.  I abandoned the ways of righteousness, turned my back on God and nearly lost everything.  As I returned to old habits from before I knew the Lord of drinking and drugging.  My failure put everything in my life at risk.
God in His grace placed good people in my life that have helped me to recover and return to the path of righteousness and I have repented and once again have a deep personal relationship with Jesus.  I found the father running to meet me with open arms when I returned from my prodigal ways.  He was there waiting all that time for me to come to my senses.
Recently I faced a very similar trial.  I became sick, I had been losing weight for months and had gone from a size 40 waist down to a 36, and then the pain started.  I went to the doctors and after several weeks of testing my worst fear was realized, they told me that I had renal cancer. 
I wish I could say that I handled the news like a man, but I would be lying.  I was scared.  I didn’t tell my wife or kids because I wasn’t sure how to tell them.  But I told my pastor and enlisted him to pray for me.  I had the whole church praying for me too, even though they didn’t know what the doctors had finally told me.  I asked for prayer from my FB friends, also without sharing the details.  And I began to pray like I have never prayed before.
I never for a moment considered turning my back on God this time or blaming Him for my circumstances.  I didn’t allow myself to experience the pity and self-absorbed feelings that the enemy would have liked me to sink back into.  I prayed and I waited for the Lord to answer and my faith got stronger and my relationship with Jesus grew deeper as I became totally dependent upon Him.  And then the miracle happened, God healed me.
The lesson I learned wasn’t that if we trust Him that everything is going to go our way.  There are too many stories of people who are not healed for me to convince you of that lie.  But I learned that the three Hebrews that told king Nebuchadnezzar, “Our God is able to deliver us, but even if He doesn’t, we will not bow to your image,” understood that even if God does not remove us from our immediate circumstances He is with us and we can rejoice because He is still God and He is greater than our troubles.
“…there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.”
I wish I could say that I understand why God allows some things to happen. I wish I could but I can’t. His ways are far above my ability to understand. I can only put my trust in Him with faith and know that somehow God will take care of everything.
God will give you the power to overcome. He will take your weaknesses, your failures, your doubts and fears, and He will turn them into miracles of deliverance. In fact, God often does not move until we have given it over to Him completely because He will not share the glory of your deliverance with you. It is all of Him or none of Him. God is our source of strength. God is our source of provision. God is our source of power. God is our source for everything we need! We can’t do anything within ourselves.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
We may pride ourselves in our ability to take care of ourselves. We in America, have such a pride in our freedom and independence that we hate having to admit that we need help from anyone, including God.
But this scriptures tell us that no matter how strong or independent we may be, we cannot do it alone. God often has to bring us to the place where we have to stop trying, turn to Him and say, “God, that’s all I can do, now it’s up to you.” God is waiting for those words but they often aren’t said until we have exhausted our own ideas with no results.
The longer I live, the more I realize that everything is in God’s hands. When I was younger I was more inclined to solve everything with my own ability. Now, after many years of trials, tests and troubles, I am just beginning to get a real glimpse of what living by faith really means.
Faith says that everything will work out when it seems that everything is crumbling around me. Faith says that my bills will be paid when I can’t see how they will in the natural sense.  Faith says that God will take care of me and that I must force myself to stop being overly concerned with the future.  Faith says that I know, that I know, that I know, that somehow God will work it all out and that when He does I will be blessed for having faced all that is happening right now.
“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
This is a scripture that has been preached on so many times that I cannot count them. We quote it, we read it, we preach it, but do we really believe it?
Waiting upon the Lord requires true faith.  Waiting upon the Lord requires going through the fire sometimes and still trusting God to bring us through. Waiting upon the Lord requires that we believe in the impossible, look for the unseen answers, hope in the times of hopelessness and know, without knowing why or how, that God will take care of us.
The reason so many Christians fail the fiery tests of their faith is that too many are bankrupt spiritually.  When the trials come, there is no faith and trust in God built up in their spiritual account to draw strength from.  They have not spent time preparing and “saving up” our blessings for the “rainy day” of trials to come.  They haven’t spent time studying, they haven’t spent time praying, they not have fasted at all, and they have gone about their daily lives as though there would never come a time of trouble.
God won’t let you stay on the mountaintop for long because it’s in the valley that your faith and strength will grow.  There is a song that I love to hear that says this:
The God on the mountain, is still God in the valley.
When things go wrong, He’ll make them right.
The God of the Good times, is still God in the Bad times
The God of the day, is still God in the night.
That’s the God that we serve!

Isaiah 40:29-31

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Help Me want you Jesus, More Than Anything!

It seems that people are not naturally grateful.  Why do we struggle with gratitude?  One of the reasons is the pace of our life.  We get so busy with life that we forget to set aside time to be grateful.  We’re so wrapped up in everyday life that we never stop long enough see how blessed we are.
Another reason for a lack of gratitude is that we’re too consumer oriented, we approach life as if it’s a big shopping trip in which the name of the game is acquiring more.  We get so focused on acquiring the material possessions that we desire that we for get to be grateful for the basic things that God has blessed us with like hot water, a warm bed at night or health insurance. The primary reason that we’re so busy and given to consumerism is that we take everything for granted and we forget to show gratitude to God for all that he has given us. 
Ever notice that ungrateful people are always stressed out?  The reason they’re so stressed out is that they’re ungrateful.  People who are ungrateful believe that they’ve done it all themselves. If you believe you’ve done it all yourself in the past then you probably believe that it’s all up to you in the future.  You don’t need people. You don’t need God. You just carry the load yourself, the result is a stressed-out life.
Deut. 8:10 – “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.”
Ungrateful people seem to have no joy.   Ungrateful people are never satisfied and they’re always stressed out, the result is going to be a lack of joy.
Prov. 10:28 – “The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.”
Heb. 12:28 – “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”
How do you develop a life of gratitude and “so worship God acceptably, when the economy isn’t good, when things aren’t going your way, when our nation is at war, when the world seems like it’s going crazy?
The Bible gives us three keys to developing a life of gratitude.  First, recognize that everything is a gift from God. The first building block when developing a life of gratitude is to remember who gave us what we have in the first place.  We’re very good at getting, but we seem to quickly forget who gave us everything we have.  Have you ever gone to McDonalds with your kids or grandkids?  You let them order the meal they want. You pay for it. Then when you sit down at a table and reach out and take one of their fries, what do they say? They say, “Hey! Those are my fries!”  You made it possible for your kids or grandkids to be able to have them in the first place?  But those fries are now “they’re fries!” Likewise, we have a tendency to forget that everything we have isn’t really ours – it’s really God’s.
Along with recognizing that everything that we have is a gift of God, we should also, recall what God has done.  We sing: Count Your Blessings, Name Them One by One, I actually think that’s a profitable thing to do.  What is it that you’re grateful for? One thing that you notice when you read the Bible is how many times thankful people recall all that God has done for them
Ps. 103:2 – “Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits…”
Ps. 103:3, 10-12 – “3Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases…” “10-12 He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
 Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t give you what you deserve?  Instead aren’t you glad that God gives you what you need?  If you don’t understand God’s grace; if your heart doesn’t explode with gratitude when you contemplate His grace, then you don’t have a clue of the shape you were in before you met Christ.  I can sum it up in one word: HOPELESS, You had no meaning, no purpose in your life. Instead it was filled with guilt, fear, bitterness, worry, and regrets. You had nothing you could do to get rid of those things. You had no hope for the future. You were headed for hell instead of heaven. You could never have been good enough to earn your salvation. But God came alone in His wonderful love and said, “I’m going to show you grace.”
Finally, resolve to give thanks in every circumstance.  Many of us are waiting for ideal circumstances before we’re thankful.  I have to admit, sometimes I’m waiting for things to get better to be thankful or for God to demonstrate something miraculous.  What are you waiting on?  For your health to improve?  For your relationships to get better?  For your bills to be paid?  For the time that you can sit back in your E-Z chair and say, “Life is good. I’m finally thankful”?  But that’s not what the Bible teaches!
1 Thess. 5:16-18 – “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

On the way to work, I heard a song playing on the radio. The song was, "More Than Anything," by Natalie Grant. And as I listened intently to the words, this song began to blow my mind, I had heard the song before, but never really listened closely to the words. When I realized what she was singing, and being aware of her current circumstances, I began to weep. you see friends this artist is suffering from cancer, yet she sings:

"I know if you wanted to you could wave your hand
Spare me this heartache and change your plan
And I know any second you could take my pain away
But even if you don't I pray

Help me want the Healer more than the healing
Help me want the Savior more than the saving
Help me want the Giver more than the giving
Help me want you Jesus more than anything"
I felt ashamed that I complain about getting older and hurting more. I been sick lately and I complain about missing church. I been upset with God because he hasn't healed me. God forgive my ungrateful spirit, and heal my mind. help me want you more than anything, regardless of my circumstances, let my mouth be filled with praise. Lord help me want you more than anything.
So give thanks in all things, and remember, that without Him we are nothing!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

It's Time to Get Unwrapped!

It seems that most of this week God has been bringing this message back to me over and again. I have thought about it and prayed about it and I am convinced that the Lord would have me to tell you what He has been telling me.

John 11 – Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.

All through this chapter there is a richness of material from which I could draw this morning. Every Word in this Book carries such a powerful message. Every word is alive and glorious and seems to literally jump off the printed page, go through your eyes, through your mind, and right down into your very heart and soul. The more you read it, the more you want to read it. The more you read it and hear it and meditate upon it, the more it comes alive to you. This Bible is not just a book – It’s a living word. It’s not just ink on paper for there is a living power, inspired by eternal God and penned under the anointing of the Holy Ghost. I pray today that God’s Word will perform His work in your heart as you read.

Today I want to direct your focus to the last verse in the eleventh chapter of John’s gospel, verse 44, “And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, loose him, and let him go.”

Lazarus’ story has been the inspiration for innumerable sermons, and I know that you have heard it time and again. Lazarus was a friend of Jesus. His family had no doubt entertained, provided lodging and had extended their hospitality many times to our Lord. I know that Jesus loved them, and I know that their love for Jesus was just as real.

But in chapter 11 of the Apostle John’s gospel we are stricken with the fact that no matter how much Jesus loves this family, and how much they loved Him, there came a time when tragedy struck, and the power of death seemed to prevail.

The story of Lazarus’ death reminds me of the story of another man’s death as well and that’s the death of Adam. I know that Lazarus’ death was a physical death and Adam’s death was a spiritual death but don’t ever forget that it was Adam’s spiritual death that brought about Lazarus’ physical death.

God created man that he loved in His own image and breathed the breath of life into him and man became a living, eternal soul, but Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden, brought death to his eternal soul and by proxy to every man, woman and child that would ever be born into this world. Just as God’s love, mercy, grace and goodness did not keep Adam from tasting death, neither did it stop Lazarus from dying. If death were the final step in this grand scheme of life, then we would all be left with a feeling of absolute hopelessness.

For those who refuse to serve the Lord, who will not allow Jesus to be the Lord of their lives, and won’t fall before Him in repentance, accepting Jesus’ blood that he shed upon the cross for their sin and recognize that Jesus died for them – DEATH IS YOUR FINAL STEP. You will die in your sin, and then you will experience something far worse than physical death. You will experience what the Bible calls, “the second death!"

That second death, eternal death, ever in a state of dying but never really dying at all – forever and ever while you suffer in the Lake of Fire and brimstone. I can think of nothing more horrible than to experience the moment of dying over and over and over, forever, but never finishing the pain and suffering.

But death doesn’t have to be the final step for any of us. If we accept the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and live for Him, then death will only be a steppingstone into a glorious eternal life. Just as He did for Lazarus, Jesus will call you by name and you will come forth from the grave, alive forevermore by the resurrection power of God!

All of us were like Lazarus at one time in our lives! Oh, we weren’t dead physically, at least not yet. But we were all spiritually dead, with one foot in the grave and the other on a slippery step, just one quick slip and it will mean death forever as I have already described. No, we might not have experienced physical death like Lazarus, but we all were dead in trespasses and sin. We were all dead spiritually.

Mary said that Lazarus had been dead for four days and that he was surely beginning to smell terrible. How many of you had a smelly, sticking, nasty attitude when you were spiritually dead? Did you curse the very God who created you? Did you hurt the people in your life that you thought you loved most of all? Did you love the deeds of darkness and shun the things of God like a plague? Did you have stinking thinking and a heart full of sin? WELL, DON’T THINK THAT YOU DIDN’T BECAUSE WE WERE ALL GUILTY OF SIN!

The Bible says that there is none righteous, not even one! We were all dead in sin and we were all corrupted by unrighteousness and bound for hell just as fast as we could get there. It’s only by the grace and mercy of God that we aren’t all there right now!

The good news is that Jesus is still calling people to “come forth” just like He did for Lazarus! If you haven’t heard Jesus call you name, get ready because He is going to call you this morning. If you are still stuck in the grave clothes of your sin, He is calling you right now, but it is up to you to come out when He calls you!

Now let’s look at what happened to Lazarus after he came forth from the grave for a moment. This is where God wanted me to take you this morning. This is where each of us, who have been born again, are living right now. We are living in the new life, after the resurrection.

Don’t forget that when Lazarus came forth, he was already resurrected, he already had a new life, and he was already delivered by the Word and power of God. Death had no hold on him now, but he still had a problem – and it’s the same problem that all of us have too – he was still bound in grave clothes!

There was only one who was resurrected who came forth from the grave and left the grave clothes behind. IT WAS JESUS! But that wasn’t the case with Lazarus and it isn’t for you and me either, mainly because we have a hard time releasing ourselves from the grave clothes. Lazarus was bound hand and feet and could barely move, but he was alive. He could take very small steps and follow the light that came through the napkin that covered his face, but at least he could see some light and he “walked in the light” as he could see it.

Are you beginning to get the picture of what God is trying to say to us this morning? After you have been resurrected to eternal life in Christ, after you have been called by name and you have come forth by the power of God, and after you have had the light of the gospel come alive in your heart – there is still more work to be done! Lazarus couldn’t get his grave clothes off without some outside help! Jesus commanded his family and friends to unwrap him and set him free.

Does that tell you something? It tells me that you can’t be set free sitting at home alone! It tells me that we need each other, iron sharpening iron, brother helping brother, and sister helping sister, under the direction and anointing of the Holy Ghost! That’s why the 5-fold ministry is in the church! That’s why God has ordained that we come together, and don’t forsake coming together, as a Body of Christ, to help one another get unwrapped from our grave clothes.

Can you see it? Do you understand? We are here to help one another get unwrapped, untangled, to remove the things that keep us from seeing clearly, to help us walk better, talk better, and experience real freedom in Christ. Nothing has been clearer to me this week, a week in which work has overwhelmed me and excluded me from fellowship – I need you, and you need me!

I don’t have any power to forgive sins! You don’t have the power to resurrect me from the dead! We don’t have the power to give each other new life, but we all have the power, under the anointing and leading of the Holy Ghost, to unwrap one another from those things that bind us. Jesus does the resurrecting, Jesus does the delivering, and Jesus does the setting free, but we must help each other unwrap the grave clothes!

What do I mean by “unwrap”? It’s simply this – all of us have things in our past, and things in our lives that are holding us back, limiting us in our ability to move and work for the Lord, and limiting us in having a vision for the work that God has called us to do.

We are walking in the light as we see it, but there’s more than what we see! God wants us to have a greater vision! We are walking under the power of the Holy Ghost, but there’s always a greater walk, where we can make bigger strides in serving the Lord. We are working for the Kingdom of God with our hands, but God wants you to have a greater work! A work that requires more freedom for your hands and your arms as you put them to work for His calling upon your life.

All of us need some unwrapping. The grave clothes of our past, when we were dead in sin, are still hanging onto us, binding us up, keeping us from having real freedom in Christ, limiting our walk with the Lord, limiting our vision of Calvary, and limiting our vision for the work ahead.

Some of you are wrapped in grave clothes of unforgiveness to someone else for the way they hurt you or treated you in past. It’s time for you to get unwrapped.

Some of you are wrapped tightly because your heart has been wounded, your spirit has been broken, and your heart is broken from the hurt and pain of past experiences. It’s time for you to get unwrapped.

Some of you have grave clothes of an injured faith because you just can’t seem to get an answer to your prayers and you wonder if God is listening. Oh, precious child, God is listening, Jesus is calling, and it’s time for you to get unwrapped.

Some of you are wrapped up in the grave clothes of your past, the devil keeps reminding you of your failures, and you keep listening. It's time for you to get unwrapped!

I am praying this morning that you walk in a greater awareness of God’s love, and that you begin to experience more freedom this morning. I am praying for your grave clothes to fall off so that you can walk in the light and the power of the Holy Ghost!

If you haven’t been set free from the grave of sin and death, Jesus is calling you by name today to "come forth" in repentance and give your life to Him. Don’t ignore his calling.

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.