Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Are You a Branch Or Kindling

Acts 1:8

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Luke 24:49
“Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem[a] until you are endued with power from on high.”
I believe that the most critical need in the believer’s life in the age that we are living is the power of the Holy Ghost.  We are living in an age where preachers have stopped preaching the Holy Ghost.  Churches have opted to entertain rather than teach the word of God.  All because a group of statisticians have said traditional church turns people away from God. 
The largest attended church in the United States has a pastor who reads a short passage of scripture, then spends a half an hour spouting feel good non-sense, calling it a sermon, all to increase his own book sells.  Meanwhile thousands who sit in his church search for life changing power to overcome sinful habits that are destroying their families, ruining their health, shattering their finances, and sending them to hell.
Jesus knew that the number one need for the Church at its inception was the power of the Holy Ghost, and so He told His disciples to wait for it.  They were not to go out preaching, they were not to attempt to make converts, they were not to go lay hands on the sick or cast out demons, and they were not to start writing books (of course Jesus never mentioned writing books, but Paul later said that all scripture is God breathed) until they had been endued with the power of the Holy Ghost.  And I believe that still to be the case for the Church today, the number one need of the church today is the power of the Holy Ghost.
Regardless of what all the experts say about, “doing church,” the evidence in scripture is clear: when men and women are full of the Holy Ghost people are attracted to them, the sick are healed, the afflicted are set free, and people come to God daily.
Acts 5:12-16
12 And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.  13 Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly.  14 And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women,  15 so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them.  16 Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.
It’s right there in black and white, because they waited for the power of the Holy Ghost to come upon them, and He did (Acts 2:1,2): they performed signs and miracles, the people (The Worldly People) esteemed them highly, many were added to their number, the afflicted were set free, and the sick were healed. 
Maybe the church growth experts can answer why this is not happening in most churches in America today, maybe they can tell us why church attendance in America is decreasing, the divorce rate among believers is increasing, and our children are turning to drugs, alcohol, and suicide because they have lost hope.  No?  Well, let me answer that question for them.  Because we have turned off the power in our pulpits and in our prayer.  Because too many pastors and believers have opted for popularity of pop culture instead of being endued with the power of the Holy Ghost.
When need to find our way out of the darkness of popularity and back to the power of God’s Holy Spirit. The number one prerequisite for this power is hunger.
Matthew 5:6  
“Blessed are they, which do hunger, and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
The most dangerous thing that can happen to a believer is to lose their hunger and their passion for the presence and the power of God.
John 7:37-39
“37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow Rivers of living water.”  39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”
This is speaking of an abiding life, a life lived in connection and in communion with Jesus Christ, a life that is created by the infilling of the Holy Ghost, it is speaking of a life filled with power.  Power to live for God and power to lead others to God.
John 15 speaks of a life marked by the presence of God by using an illustration of the vine and the branches.  Jesus said that He is the vine and we are the branches and that if we abide in Him and His words abide in us, then we shall bear much fruit.  But He also said if we do remain in Him that we would wither and die and that we would be thrown into the fire and burned.
The secret to abundant life, is a life lived in fellowship with Jesus.  Our goal is to have the presence of Jesus, we do not seek for the power of God we seek for the presence of God.  In other words, we do not thirst for power but for a relationship with Jesus.  Through this relationship with Jesus the power of God flows through us just as the life of the vine flows into the branch and it produces fruit.   Without this life giving power of the Holy Ghost, the Church and the believer will wither and die and become useless to God’s kingdom.


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Get Plugged In To His Power

I woke up this morning to a dead cell phone, I had forgotten to plug it in and recharge it last night.  I wasn’t very happy about it.  I plugged it in and then decided that since it is Pentecost Sunday I would read the first two chapters of the book of Acts, it seemed appropriate. 
My plan was to prepare my spirit for a fresh outpouring of His, you know, get pumped up in anticipation of what I know will be a great service at church today. 
As I was doing my Bible study the cell phone thing was on my mind, I wanted to check Facebook, check my email, check the weather, but I couldn’t because the power had gone out of it, I forgot to plug it in. I was thinking to myself, “Hey dummy, cell phones weren’t designed to work without power.” 
That’s when the Lord whispered to me, “Hey dummy, neither were you!”
I wonder how often I am unable to be used the way God intends because I forget to plug in to His source of power?
Acts 1:8
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”(NKJV)
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”(NIV)
Throughout scripture there is a very powerful truth that can be seen to all who study it: We serve a God who manifests Himself to His people and He will make His power available to all who draw near.  In Genesis He actually walked in the garden and had conversations with Adam, face to face.  In the book of Exodus, He appeared to Moses as a flame in a burning bush.  David felt His presence and danced before Him when the Ark of the Covenant was returned to Israel. 
In 1 Kings 18 He was fire falling from heaven and consuming the sacrifice altar and all.  And after the worldly distractions were removed, the prophet Isaiah saw Him as Holy and wonderful and repented for having taken His presence for granted.
In the New Testament His presence appears to us robed in the flesh of man, first as a baby in a stable, and then ultimately as the suffering servant prophesied by Isaiah who brought us peace with God by taking our punishment to atone for our sins. 
In the book of John and here in the first chapter of Acts, Jesus promises that God’s power and presence will once again be given to all who draw near.
Then in the very next chapter of the book of Acts, that promise is fulfilled:
Acts 2:1-4
“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.”
Acts 2:15-19 tells us that this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel and that this is God, and God is a signs and a wonders God.
“15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.  16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.”
It is Gods choice to use us to manifest his power to the world:
Acts 5:12-16
“12 And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.  13 Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly.  14 And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women,  15 so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them.  16 Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.”
You were created for the power of God.
Through Christ, in Jesus name, we have been born of the spirit, through the baptism of the Holy Ghost we have been filled with the spirit, we are to be led by the spirit, taught by the spirit, kept by the spirit and empowered by the spirit.
There are only two essential powers in the earth, the power of God and the power of the Satan. Scripture makes it very clear that you cannot serve two masters, you cannot follow two rulers, and you cannot be a part of two kingdoms.  There are two worlds, but once choice: You cannot live in God’s Kingdom and derive your pleasure and your enjoyment from Satan’s.
1Corinthians 10:21 - You cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: you cannot be partakers of the Lord’s Table, and of the table of devils.
1John 1:6 - If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
Ephesians 5:11 - And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
You have a High and a Holy Calling on your life
Matthew 5:14 - You are the salt of the earth.
Salt has a healing influence, it preserves, it seasons, it makes thirsty. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ in you causes your life to be a channel of healing and comfort, a seasoning and preserving influence, it makes your life exciting and joyous, and it causes those around you to yearn for what is in you.
Matthew 5:14 - Ye are the Light of the world
Christ in you causes your life to be a beacon of light to those who are trapped in darkness.  Your life, your words, your attitude, your actions can be and should be a light to those who are searching for a kingdom that provides hope.
This is no time for an attitude of indifference, of who cares or what difference does it make, or I can’t make a difference anyway so why even try.
An old man was found at the beach throwing the drying star fish back into the ocean, the tide had washed them ashore, and they were dying.  Some young folks came by and saw it, they said you’re wasting your time you’ll never make a difference there are millions of star fish here.  As the old fellow lifted one star fish and threw him back into the ocean he said with a smile, “it made a difference to that one."
There is nothing Satan fears more than to see God’s people who are on fire to reach the lost, and there is nothing that he desires more than to see their energy perverted by pursuing carnal and selfish desires, or wasted wrapped up in an attitude of indifference.
God wants to set your life on fire, to fill you with his power, power to be a witness, to cast out devils, to lay your hands on the sick and see them recover.  You were created for power!
There is only one answer for the ills of this world, and it is not science, psychology, or political correctness, it is the Power of God!
You were created for the Power of God!
II Corinthians 4:7 - But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
As a fish was created to live in the water, we were created to live in the atmosphere of the supernatural Power of God.  As a fish living on land would be unnatural and abnormal, so is it unnatural and abnormal to be called a Christian and have no fire of God in our lives, and no taste or desire for the supernatural presence of God.
You were created for power!
Someone may say: “That’s too strong, we can’t handle this.”
The fact is, while we are content or satisfied to be powerless, satisfied not to pursue the supernatural power of God, we are leaving the door to the power of Satan wide open and multitudes of spiritually hungry people are marching in.
You were created to receive the power of God and to be a channel for his power to flow through to meet the needs of humanity.  I encourage you on this Sunday when we celebrate the outpouring of His gift of the Holy Ghost, plug into God’s power today!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Get Your Buckets Ready!

I Kings 18:41-46

"41 Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.”  42 So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees,  43 and said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.”
So he went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” And seven times he said, “Go again.”
44 Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, “There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!” So he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.’”
45 Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel.  46 Then the hand of the Lord came upon Elijah; and he girded up his loins and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel."
If you are not familiar with this story, or what has taken place prior to the passage here, Israel was being ruled by the wicked King Ahab, he had not only led Israel away from God into Idolatry but he had also married a witch named Jezebel. Together the two of them have led the children of Israel into deep rebellion and idolatry.
God raised up a prophet, Elijah, who would not be shaken and would not compromise. God has sent him to confront this spirit of wickedness and false religion.  Elijah confronted Ahab and the false prophets of Baal and called fire down from heaven.  Now the people have repented and the false prophets have all been destroyed.
In the above passage of scripture Elijah prophesied the rain is coming. The drought is over. He tells King Ahab basically, “don't worry, be happy,” the rain is on its way. So the king goes up to eat and drink, but Elijah goes away by himself along with his servant and throws himself down to the earth and begins to pray. 
He sends his servant out to look toward the sea and see if there is any evidence of a change in the weather on the horizon, to look and see if the rain coming. His servant comes back with a negative report, an empty report, he comes back with nothing. He reports to the man of God, there is nothing.
Elijah sent his servant out seven times.  Seven times the servant leaves Elijah to plead with God while he scans the heavens for a sign, looking for any evidence that God has heard his prayer. Six times the report comes back the same, “there is nothing.”
There was no mistaking his words, they were clear, they were sharp, and they were to the point, “there is nothing.”
There can be no doubt that these words would have had an effect on Elijah’s spirit, but his faith was not shaken by what his servant seen or rather did not see, but instead of allowing discouragement to overcome him, Elijah turns up the heat, he presses his request toward God and he intensifies his prayer. Elijah takes the negative report as a challenge to the Word of God. God had told him to appear before Ahab and he would send the rain and so he stands on the Word of God, and it says, “He prayed fervently.”
Now on the seventh time his servant returns with what seems to him as a side note: There is still nothing, but I saw a little cloud the size of a man's hand rising up out of the sea. The servant was ready to hear those familiar words go look again. Instead Elijah jumps up off his knees and sends his servant a different direction with new instructions.
Elijah tells the servant to go and tell King Ahab to hitch up his chariot and get down off this mountain for there is the sound of rain. There is the sound of a down pour and the flood of abundance is on the way.
When I read this passage this morning this is the word God put in my spirit: In the place where they said there is nothing, there shall be an abundance.
I don't know who God gave me this word for, it may have been just for me but I felt the need to write so I think it is for others also, I don't know what it may mean to you, but you do. Somebody has heard those words, “there is nothing.” You have heard them spoken not once or twice, but over and over again.
You have been told repeatedly, “there is nothing.”
There is no money, there is no cure, there is no answer, there is no love, there is no hope, and there is nothing we can do.
These words are lies from Satan, they are intended to steal your faith, to rob you of the substance of things God has told you to hope for, they are meant to destroy your courage, and to end your prayers. 
You have been to the financial advisor and he said you’re out of options, the marriage counselor said there is nothing else I can tell you, the doctors have told you to plan for the end, and all signs say your children will never come back to God.  In other words, you might as well quit: you can quit praying now, quit confessing now, quit believing now, quit dreaming now, quit praising now, quit marching now, and quit expecting God to deliver you because He’s not coming.
But I want to tell you, don't quit! Because in the same place where they said there is nothing, God intends to pour out an abundance.
Allow me to use and old cliché, “it is always the darkest just before the dawn.” Warfare always surrounds the birth of a miracle. A woman never comes closer to dying then when she is giving birth. Just before your greatest breakthrough you will fight your greatest battle.
Let me say it like this: Your abundance is just beyond your nothing.
You may be going through the biggest struggle of your life, but you're in the perfect position for a miracle.
The disciples fished all night and caught nothing, but with one word from Jesus they went from nothing to abundance.
Your miracle, your healing, and your breakthrough are closer than you think. You're on the brink of a breakthrough, why do you think hell has been fighting you so hard. I know you can't see it, but God's been working in the dark. God still works the night shift. He does His best work in the night seasons of your life.
Even when you can't trace the working of His hands you can trust the faithfulness of his heart. And whether we can see it or not, all things work together for the good of them that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.
Isaac was dwelling in a land stricken with famine. That means no rain, severe drought, no crops. It was a desolate place, and horrible conditions. He thought to go to another place, to go and look for better conditions, to look for a better environment, to seek out better weather and better ground, but God said no. He told Isaac to stay put and sow his seed here where there is nothing.
No doubt Isaac was criticized and ridiculed, no doubt they called him a fool for wasting his seed sowing in a drought stricken land. But Isaac obeyed the Lord and sowed his seed in that land where there was nothing and there came forth and abundance. He reaped in the same year a hundred fold in the very same place.
I want to tell somebody who is looking for a better place, a better environment, and more favorable circumstances: Hold on, God is going to bless you right where you are. In the place where they said there is nothing, there is about to be an abundance.  Praise God!
I know it's hard to keep marching when there is no visible evidence of change. I know it's hard to keep tithing and sowing your seed when you're in a financial famine. I know it's hard to praise God for healing when your body is wrecked with pain. I know it's hard to stay positive when everything you see is negative. I know it's hard to believe for rain when you've been in a long season of drought.
I want to declare to you by the word of the Lord. The drought is breaking, there's a drought busting anointing in His presence! I hear the sound of the abundance of rain! I've heard all the negative reports. I've heard all the discouraging words. I've heard all the dream killers and faith assassinators. I've heard the dry bones talking about how dry they are and how hopeless it is. I've heard the weather report, no relief in sight. There's no rain in the forecast man of God.
But I'm believing like Elijah, I'm tuned in to a different frequency and I'm hearing heavens forecast and heavens forecast is predicting heavy amounts of rain.
Elijah standing in the place where he heard the words there is nothing, now turns around and says, I hear the sound of the abundance of rain. In other words, it's already been released in the heavens, it’s on the way.
It’s on its way and it's closer than you think. The anointing is changing your season right now. That yoke destroying burden removing anointing is on its way right now!
Your prayers have not been in vain, your praise has not been in vain, your sowing has not been in vain, your tithing has not been in vain, your faithfulness, and your obedience has not been in vain.
You may be standing in the middle of the desert and you may be staring at sand, or you may be standing in the middle of the valley of dry bones with nothing but death all around you. But let me remind you that it was into Ezekiel’s boneyard that the wind of God began to blow and put back together everything that had been stolen and everything that had been broken and God raised up a mighty army.
Let me say it one more time: In the place where they said there is nothing, shall come forth an abundance. The rain is falling, the wind is blowing and, the anointing is flowing.
Get your jars ready, the anointing of God is about to come where there has been nothing!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Deal or No Deal, Satan's Offer Is on The Table



Judges 16:4-5
“And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver."
The Valley of Sorek is where the spies had brought a bunch of grapes from as an example of the fruit that was in the land of Canaan.  Because it was a valley filled with many vineyards, it became known for having the best wine. This is where Samson would head to whenever he desired refreshment or wanted pleasure.
If we are not careful, we can allow the blessings that God provides for us to become a curse and they will lead us into sin. How can that happen?
Proverbs 20:1
“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise."
The wine here not only refers  to partaking alcoholic beverages, or “adult beverages” as they are called today, but it also speaks of anything in life that would can become intoxicating to the point that it has the power to change your way of thinking and your way of acting.
I’ve seen people lose their inhibitions in many ways. Some lose it in their manner of speaking and use profanity, some lose their inhibitions in their manner of dress, and some lose their inhibitions towards honesty and become liars and thieves.
1 Peter 5:8(NKJV)
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because[a] your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 
You must be aware at all times of this fact, the devil will try to buy your loyalty and he knows your price. He will find a way to give you what you want, and offer you a deal for your soul.
What’s your price?  What does the devil have to put in front of you to make you do his will?  Is it a title behind your name? Is it a house? What will it take to get you to sell out? What does Satan have to offer you to get you to forget righteousness, even for a moment?
Samson’s price was sexual pleasure and the intoxication of alcohol. Are you willing to sell for that, or even less?  I did, even when I thought it couldn’t happen to me, I did and it nearly cost me everything including my soul.  I, just like Samson, decided to depend upon my own limited wisdom and strength and that is the recipe that put me on Satan’s menu!
One thing that really strikes me is that Samson didn’t go into this temptation blindly. Delilah was honest with him right from the start. She didn’t hide her true intentions. Samson chose to ignore them. He knew exactly what was at stake, and he still decided to play with fire. He thought that he was stronger than anything that could be used against him. He presumed upon the grace and power of God.
I am convinced that every believer that returns to their vomit, knows exactly what they are doing.  The Holy Spirit is constantly speaking to them, drawing them to turn around, and yet they continue on. Every time they sin, I know that God speaks to their heart and presses them with feelings of condemnation, and yet they continue to travel on down the road to death.
From the day that I came to know the Lord as my Savior, there has never been a single time that I fell into any kind of sin that I didn’t know what I was doing. The Holy Ghost was always there speaking to me, warning me, and calling me to repent and turn back to God. Most of the time I would listen, but then, just like Samson, I ignored the voice of God, and did what I wanted to, thinking that I could stop and that I could beat it whenever I wanted to.
That’s the way every alcoholic thinks. That’s the way every drug addict thinks. That’s the way every habitual sinner thinks. They all think that they can beat it, even when it’s obvious to rest of the world that they are hooked.
One major step in Samson’s downfall was something that most people really don’t catch in this story. It was the fact that he began to lie continuously. He couldn’t tell the truth and be friends with the world, so his whole life became a lie.
That is the entrance to the road that leads to destruction, it begins by playing around with the world and flirting with sin, but pretty soon you have to lie just to maintain the appearance of Christianity. You lie about being caught in sin, then you lie and make pitiful excuses when your sin becomes evident. You lie about everything, and eventually you begin to believe and accept your own lies. No matter how we try to disguise our sin; no matter how we try to excuse it, and no matter how much we try to explain it away, sin is still sin and sin brings death. There’s no escaping that fact, no matter how much we try to manipulate things.
The first bondage that Samson flirted with was something he knew he could beat. “Just tie me up with a few green branches off of a tree.”

Just offer me a little bit of sin. I’ll take it, and then I’ll easily leave it and get back to God. Just offer me a little more of anything, a little bit of anything taken in moderation won’t hurt me. I can drink a beer once in a while and it won’t hurt me. I can smoke a joint once a month. It won’t kill me.
Listen to me very carefully, it has nothing to do with the amount of sin you commit. It has nothing to do with how much you get or how often you get it, the real problem is a problem within your heart. It’s wasn’t right with God to begin with or you wouldn’t have desired whatever it was that Satan wagged in front of you.  Only hungry fish hit the bait.  If your heart is filled with the Spirit of God it won’t desire the things of the world.
Samson managed to break free that time, but Satan, and Delilah were not finished yet. The plans for Samson’s demise had been laid and nothing would stop the enemies of his soul from bringing him to destruction and absolute bondage. Let that be a lesson for all of us. Satan isn’t satisfied with you sinning once and then breaking free and coming back to God. He won’t stop until you’ve lost it all for good.
Now the temptation becomes a little harder. Samson fell the first time. What do you think will happen this time since he has already become fascinated with Delilah?
Just like Delilah, the worldly crowd, and the voice of Satan, will become even more enticing. The world will begin to draw you even stronger into their ways of sin. Satan will offer you even more if you will only take another sip and taste just a little bit more. He will begin to tell you that you’ve already failed once and got away with it, so why not do it again, and again, and again. No one will ever know. Satan, like Delilah, just keeps drawing you into his web of lies.
Still, even though he knew beyond any doubt now what Delilah’s real objective was, Samson just knew that he could overcome her tricks and still stay close to God, so he played her game, on her turf, just a little bit more.
In Samson’s mind, he was making a mockery of Delilah’s trickery, and the Philistine’s plans. But what he didn’t realize was that Satan was really making a fool out of him. What could not be bound on the outside by new ropes was already bound on the inside by sin in his heart.
One more time Samson laughed as he walked away a free man. God was still on his side. He was still strong in the Lord. Sure he played around with sin, but he still had the “power”. He still felt the “Spirit” in his life. I wonder if he might have kept saying the words over and again, “greater is He that is in me than these people in the world who are trying to trick me.” He was still counting on past experiences but it had been a long time since he had truly heard the voice of God.
Now, with each passing temptation and each flirtation with sin, Samson is getting a little deeper in, and closer to the point of no return. Child of God, it may look like you are still strong, still winning, still a part of the Body of Christ, but be sure your sin will find you out. And when the day comes that the secret sins in your life have become strong enough, you will no longer hear or feel the Lord in your life.
Samson went one step too far, just one time too many playing with sin, and just one time too many to the gates of temptation. This time he didn’t come back in victory.  The sad thing is that he was so blinded, so deceived and so in love with the world that he never even realized that God had left him. That’s where nearly all backsliders are today. Sadly there are many who don’t realize that God’s Holy Spirit has left them.
All over America, there are powerless churches, with powerless preachers, preaching powerless messages, to powerless people.  They have compromised too many times and that the Spirit of God has left them. When it comes time to shake loose from the bondages of this world at Christ’s return, they will realize suddenly, how far from God they have gone. The same holds true for many who are in a backslidden condition right now. Many will be “left behind” while sitting on the pew when Jesus comes again.
Notice now that the bondages that hold Samson are not bondages of green limbs, new ropes, or braided hair, they are now bondages of brass. Brass is a symbol of judgment in a number of places throughout God's Word.
In Samson’s life, and in the life of all sinners, the brass fetters that hold them in prison are the judgment of God for the sin in their lives. Samson couldn’t break these fetters because God wasn’t with him there in his sin. Neither will you have the power on your own to break free from the sin that binds you once it has you in its shackles.
The wonderful thing about this story is that God still had plans for Samson even though he had failed so miserably.  Even in the prisons of sin, bound by the chains of sin, there is still hope, if we will allow the Holy Spirit to draw us back again.
As Samson’s hair began to grow, symbolizing his coming back to the place of his consecration and promises to God, so did the hope of deliverance.  Though he could not see with his natural eyes, Samson could see things more clearly now, than ever before, and he knew that God was his only hope.
I made it back from my bondage as well.  In the depths of the circumstances that I had created for myself, in the middle of the storm that I had no business going out in, I was able to find a piece of wreckage to hold on to.  Thank God!  I made it back to the shore of His love where I found Him waiting with grace and mercy.
I hope and pray that I will never forget that lesson. I hope that I never have to go to those depths again, before I turn back. 
If you will just turn back to God, renewing your vows to Him, and repenting of your sin, and allow God to come back and clean out your heart, then you too can see the victory one more time.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

There's No Question, God Is 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.

I spent the last two days at a motorcycle rally with my wife and two of my brothers that are in our motorcycle ministry.  While we were there, we came across a vender that sold patches for biker vests.  As we were looking through the various patches, I came across one that I really liked, we all did, so my brother Pumkin paid for them and we all had them sewed on our vests.  The patch says, “FAITH IS NOT BELIEVING THAT GOD CAN, IT IS KNOWING THAT GOD WILL.”
Many in the Church, like the leper, have put a question mark where God put a period.  It has been said that this leper had some sort of insight that in the purposes of God, it may not be Gods will to heal everybody.  A view that is held by much of the church world.  However, Jesus’ willingness to heal him, shows us that it was not insight into God’s purpose that the leper had, but ignorance of God’s purposes that he had.
It is sad that so many hold the thought that it is God’s will that they stay sick based on the statement of this leper, “If you are willing?”  When they should be standing on the entire volume of the scripture, and the promises contained therein, that clearly teach that Jesus healed all that came to him, and lay claim to Jesus’ answer to this man, “I am willing.”
John 5:19
Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.
Everything Jesus did and said was a perfect revelation of the Fathers Will.  Jesus willingness to heal the leper is proof that it is Gods will is to heal everyone that will come to Him and receives Him as their healer
Acts 10:34
Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.
When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with His word, and healed all that were sick.
But when Jesus knew [it], he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all;
LUKE 6:19
And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed [them] all.
PSALM 103:3
Who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases.
But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and by his stripes we are healed.
1 PETER 2:24
Who His own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed.

The whole of scripture teaches us that it is just as much Gods will to heal all those who come to him in faith as it is to save all those who come to him in faith.  In fact God tied them together in the atoning work of Christ.  It is sad that instead of possessing by faith what Jesus provided for us in his atoning work, religion has put a question mark that has robbed us of our inheritance.
Jesus said, ‘It is finished.”
That statement ended with a period, not a question mark.  But religion and tradition have left us to question whether God really meant it when He said, “It is finished.” 
Our lack of faith that God will heal us shouts, “Is it really finished?  I believe He can, but will he?” 
We’ve put question marks where God put a period. We act as though some are special chosen ones and some are not.  It may not be leprosy but much of the church has adopted this question mark mentality concerning the things of God.  We often act as though healing is something we have to try and convince God to give to us, or as though we have to prove ourselves worthy enough to receive, as though we have to overcome Gods reluctance when His word clearly states, “I am willing.”
This question mark mentality wears a real religious looking robe, it attributes it’s religious sounding teaching to the sovereignty of God by saying things like, “God knows what I need, or when the time is right, or it’s in God’s hands, or if he does its okay and if he doesn’t its okay because He’s God and He knows what’s best for me, or if it’s His will He will and if it’s not He won’t, or well maybe God hasn’t healed me because He knows if He did I wouldn’t serve him.”
This is no different than the poor leper who was living under guilt and shame and condemnation and therefore uncertain concerning Jesus’ willingness to heal him.
You say, “Well He is a sovereign God.”
Yes He is, and the sovereign God already told us in His Word what His will is, and His will does not change, because His Word does not change and so it is forever settled in heaven.
It’s time for the Church of the living God to remove the question mark that religion has created concerning the will of God and put the period back where it belongs!
There are some things that we as the church need to understand, they need to be settled once and for all, with no more question marks
The moment you received Christ you were born again, you became a new creation. 
·         At that moment, all that Jesus died for became your birthright

·         At that moment, you became the righteousness of God

·         At that moment, Satan’s dominion over you ended

·         At that moment, you received authority over all the power of your enemy

·         At that moment, you were healed

Mark 16:15-18
15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;  18 they[b] will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
These are new creation realities, they are facts of faith.
In the mind of God he looks at you through the finished work of his son and he sees you as a possessor of all that Jesus paid for in his atoning work.
Satan doesn’t want you to enjoy your inheritance, he doesn’t want you to prosper, he doesn’t want you to walk in health, so he doesn’t come right out and deny Gods power to save, heal, and deliver.  What he has done is he has gotten the church to put a question mark where God put a period, and to deny Gods ability and power by questioning His willingness.  This question mark has keeps many of Gods people bound in sickness and disease.
We learn from this encounter of the leper and Jesus that as soon as the question mark was removed, what God was willing to do all the time was immediately manifested.
When we question Gods willingness to do that which He has clearly said in His Word that He will do, faith is crippled because it has nothing to stand on, and it withers and dies because it has no soil in which to sink its roots.  Faith with a question mark behind it is like a bucket with a hole in it, it is impossible for it to hold the blessings and promises of God that need to be stored up for the days of drought that come into every life. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Look Expectantly, It's Coming Back!

II Kings 6:1-7
And the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “See now, the place where we dwell with you is too small for us. Please, let us go to the Jordan, and let every man take a beam from there, and let us make there a place where we may dwell.”
So he answered, “Go.”
Then one said, “Please consent to go with your servants.”
And he answered, “I will go.” So he went with them. And when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. But as one was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head fell into the water; and he cried out and said, “Alas, master! For it was borrowed.”
So the man of God said, “Where did it fall?” And he showed him the place. So he cut off a stick, and threw it in there; and he made the iron float. Therefore he said, “Pick it up for yourself.” So he reached out his hand and took it.

The Lord woke me this morning for some people who have lost some things. I don’t know who you are, but you’re going to be reading this.  Like the young prophet in this passage you’ve lost something essential.  The Lord told me to tell you, “It’s coming back!”
From all the evidence, it's missing.  You’ve tried to locate it, but you can't see it.  There's a principle here that you need to understand: just because you can't see it doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. It may be lost from your sight, you may not be able to touch it, and you may not be able to hear it or feel it, but that does not mean that it’s not there.
Many times I thought that I had lost something, I would look and look, and look and not be able to find it.  When I finally found it, I discovered it was there all the time.  Like grandma used to say, “If it was a snake it would have bit you.” 
In This passage young prophet immediately recognizes his loss, he immediately knows that without the axe head his efforts will be ineffective. He knows that to continue the work without this tool would be a fruitless.
Let me ask a question, how many of God’s children are like Samson?  They’ve lost the power, the anointing is gone, or like the young prophet, the axe head is gone. But like Samson they continue to shake, but it’s all fleshly human effort.
They continue on with their axe handle in hand, still going through the motions, still swinging, still trying this program and that program, still shouting and clapping their hands at the right places, and even speaking in tongues, but there's no presence, no power, no anointing.
Too many in the body of Christ fall into this category. There are many who have lost the axe head, but they keep on swinging.  A lot of effort, a lot of activity and noise, but no power. They fool a lot of people, they even fool themselves, equating action with anointing.
This passage reminds me of the prodigal son.  The lost son fell into a hole, a pig pen.  The parable doesn’t tell us how long he was gone, but we do know how low he went. He went to the bottom, just like this axe head, but then he came to his senses.  The father couldn't see his son, he was out of sight, and in an unseen place something happened.  He got up from the bottom of the pig pen, he came to his senses and he headed home.
And I’m telling some moms and dads right now: You have may have prodigals that are living in the pig pen, but don't quit praying, don't give up, something is happening.  You might not be able to see it, but something is happening. They may be at the bottom of the pit, as low as low can go. But something is happening right now, right where they are in that pit, God is working to bring them to their senses!
Just like the axe head rose up and started coming to the expectant prophet, the prodigal started coming toward an expectant father. We know that's true because he saw him coming from, “A great way off.”
That means he was praying, praying is watching, that means he was expecting.
I don't know what it is that is lost to you today. I don't know what it is that is out of sight in your life.  But the Lord told me to tell to you, “It's coming back!”
Start expecting it!  Pray for it, look for it, believe Him for it and prepare for it because, it’s coming back!
The father already had a calf being fattened for his son’s homecoming.  He already had a ring ready for his finger, shoes ready for his feet, and a robe ready for his back. When you expect something you make preparations for it. 
Prayer gives you the right to expect an answer!
The axe head swam within the reach of the young prophet, but he still had to reach out his hand and take it. The hand of faith must reach out and take it. Faith is the substance of things hope for the evidence of things not seen. Faith has actions, one of the greatest demonstrations of our faith is to praise God before the manifestation of the blessing.
Anybody can praise God after the victory, that's not faith!  Start saying:  I'm praising God for my healing, there's pain in my body but his words says by his stripes you are healed so I'm praising him for healing me.
I'm praising him for the breakthrough in my finances, I'm in a bind right now, but the Word says my God shall supply all your needs, so I'm going to praise Him!
I praise him for my children coming home!
I praise him for restoring in my marriage!
I praise him for fighting my battles!
Satan get behind me with your lies, I’m praising God for victory over hell!
In the midst of all my trouble I can’t see the things that are lost to me, but I’m going to praise Him for restoring them right here, and right now!
I praise him for a new anointing!
I praise Him for restoring  joy in my life!
I praise Him because my fire is coming back!
Speak it!  Proclaim it! Believe it! Expect it!  It's coming back and it’s already on the way!
I believe something is happening in the body of Christ today, I believe there is an awakening taking place. Just like that axe head, and like that prodigal son, the church has also sunk very low.  We have subjected the Lord to public disgrace!  Sin has found its way into the church and found a comfortable place in the pews. Social drinking, gambling, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, pornography, hate, and gossip can all be found in our churches today.
We’ve lost the power we once had with God. Miracles, signs and wonders are relegated to the past.  Many justify our lack of spiritual power by saying those things have passed away and that they were only needed in the beginning to establish the Church in its infant stages.  That is a lie right straight out of hell to cripple God’s people, don’t you dare believe it!
Many of our churches don't even believe in speaking in tongues anymore, much less practice it. The church has become anemic. We're weak blooded, we have a blood deficiency.  In many of our churches it is out of order to talk about the blood, sing about the blood, or preach about the blood.  The life is in the blood!  If you have a bloodless church, you have a lifeless church!
Jesus said: Except you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life in you. (John 6:53)  A body without blood is dead, and so is a church.
Revelations 12:11
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.”
I believe the church has been like the prodigal son, it’s gone a long way the wrong way.
It’s time to come back!
The church needs to come to her senses. It’s time to wake up! It’s time to come back to the father's house. It’s time to come back to holiness, it’s time to return to the cross and the blood, and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Somebody right now you're on the verge of your miracle, on the edge of your breakthrough! Now is not the time to give up! It’s not the time to murmur and complain.  It’s not the time to doubt God and His promises. It’s not the time to give up and give in.  Now is the time to break out in praise! It’s time for faith to express itself through action!
Now is the time to put out the hand of faith and take back what the enemy has stolen from you!
God told me to tell you, “It's coming back!”