Thursday, June 25, 2015

Get On Your Knees And Fight!

Joshua 10:24-25
“So it was, when they brought out those kings to Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said to the captains of the men of war who went with him, “Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings.” And they drew near and put their feet on their necks.  25 Then Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; be strong and of good courage, for thus the Lord will do to all your enemies against whom you fight.” 
I want to start by telling someone today that in the name of Jesus you are not what the enemy wants you to think you are.  Satan wants you to think you’re a zero, but with God on your side you can stand up to your enemy and be a hero.  In Acts 1:8 Jesus said that you would receive power when the Holy Ghost came upon, so today you can go from a wimp to a warrior, from a worrier to a worshiper, from the fearful to the faithful, from the recliner to the battlefield.  I want to tell you that today the tables can turn for you.  You never have to see yourself through the eyes and the lies of the enemy again.  Today can be your day of transformation.
Luke 10:19
“Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”

These passages tell me something about the strategy for victory over the enemy:  you have to go on the offensive, you have to go after and engage the enemy in battle.  The door to the promises of God is marked “Push.”  God never promised you a victory without a fight, He promised the victory in the fight.  Jesus clearly said that in this world we would have trouble, but He also said to take heart because He had overcome the world.
It amazes me to see how many lazy people that there are in the church today, they expect God to hand them everything on a silver platter.  They want victory in their battles without any effort or struggle on their part.  Jesus told us that He has given us power over all the power of the enemy, but He also said that we must do the treading.  It is our job to put the devil under our feet.
In II Corinthians 10:3-5 the Apostle Paul tells us that the weapons of our warfare are mighty, that they are given to us by God so that we can pull down strong holds, so that we can cast down imaginations and high arguments and theories that exalt themselves above the knowledge of God, and so that we can bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
In the Joshua 10, Joshua told his captains who were representatives of the entire nation of Israel: do you see these kings under your feet?  God will give us this kind of victory over every enemy that we fight against.  Again we see that God promised victory, but it is depends upon our action.
I’m reminded of the great wall that surrounded the city of Jericho in Joshua 6, it’s fresh on my mind because my pastor preached about those walls last night.  In that passage the Lord promised Joshua and the children of Israel that the victory was already theirs, but they had to do the work and bring the walls down to receive their promise.  They had to march around the city for seven days without saying a word, then on the seventh day and the final time around they were to blow their trumpets and shout the victory shout.
One of the greatest problems in the church today, is that many of Gods people are not properly trained and equipped to engage the enemy in battle.  I am not saying that they have not been told or taught, but because so many seem to be unwilling to embrace the mindset and the attitude of a warrior.
The majority of people in the church are very comfortable with a father child relationship with God, they are comfortable with the relationship that says, “I’m His child and He’s takes care of me.”  And that is absolutely true, and what a privilege it is to have such a wonderful relationship with our Heavenly Father, but we are not called to just wait on our Daddy God to do everything and give us everything, at some point we got to grow up and stand up and fight.
He teaches us in His Word, He equips us with the Holy Ghost, and dresses us in His armor, but we have to pick up the sling shot and the stones if we want to bring the giants down!  I am talking about a devil who hates us, who has a host of demons at his disposal, who is absolutely set against us, and who wants to destroy us.  There are giants in the land, they are great, they are threatening, but greater is He that is in you than he that is in this land.  Stand up and fight for the Lord your God has already promised you the victory!
We are supposed to be walking in Jesus footsteps, doing the same things he did, healing the sick cleansing the lepers, casting out devils, preaching deliverance to the captives and setting people free from Satan’s power.
Mark 16:17-18
“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
That is why we must put on the Whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  We need to grasp and understand from scripture that the child of God is not supposed to lose in life:
II Corinthians 2:14
“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.”
This scripture stands wholly upon the premise that you and I are going to fight.  My intent is that this message will stir up the warrior in you, I want you to realize you are more than a conqueror, I want you to understand and believe without a doubt that greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.  I want you to get angry about what Satan is doing to your family, to your ministry, to your finances, and to your health.  I want you to stand up on and tell him. “Enough is enough!”
I want you to realize that in the mind of God you are victorious, that you have the advantage, you have the Word of God, and that you have the power of the Holy Ghost, you are anointed!
Satan is like the bully who kicks sand in the face of the little skinny guy on the beach and then walks off with his girlfriend.  Eventually the skinny guy got fed up with the bully kicking sand in his face and stealing his happiness, so he started working out.  Finally the little skinny guy wasn’t so skinny anymore and He took back what the bully had stolen from him.
If you don’t like the circumstances you’re dealing with in your life, then what are you going to do about it?   If you don’t like what the Satan is doing to your finances, then what are you going to do about it?  If you don’t like what the devil is doing in your family or against your ministry, I have one question for you, what are you going to do about it?  Are you going sit around and whine or are you going strap on the armor and grab a sling shot and some stones?
It’s time to take back what the enemy has stolen from you, but it’s going be kind of hard if you keep throwing a pity party in your recliner.  The difference between a warrior and a wimp is the whisper of a prayer and then by faith, believing that “thus the Lord will do to all your enemies against whom you fight,” a then shout for your victory is at hand.  Get out of that wimpy mindset, get on your knees and fight!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Victorious Church

As I was praying this morning I felt the Lord say, “Tell my people, it's time for them to come to their senses.”
I asked the Lord what He meant, and my attention was directed to the parable of the prodigal son.  He reminded me how the prodigal son left his father's house and spent all that he had on “riotous” living, worldly living, or sinful living.  Then he found himself in the pig pen desiring to eat pig slop, but then it says “he came to his senses.”  He had not been acting like the person that he knew he was supposed to be.
Then I was impressed with the thought that the Church can be victorious.
I immediately recalled these passages:
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 10:19
“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
I John 4:4
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
Joshua 1:3-5
“Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.  4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory.  5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.”
I may not be what many would consider a “Bible Scholar,” but I can see in these passages that God identifies his people as victorious. The will of God for His Church is victory.  These passages of scripture and many others like them, paint the picture of a Holy Ghost filled, fire baptized church marching in victory, putting under foot anything that stands in its way.
We are not just survivors of sinful pasts trying to hold on and hang out till Jesus comes. We are not just a few leftover, beleaguered soldiers trying to hold the fort until Jesus comes and rescues us.  We are not the few, the weakened, the discouraged just trying to keep our heads above water and just treading water until we die.  Brothers and sisters, we are the victorious!  I read the last chapter of the book, I’ve had a peek at the end of the story, and I’m here to tell you this morning, we win!
Hallelujah, Thank you Jesus!  Thank God for that truth, but whatever you do, don't skip the rest of the book just to get to the last chapter, because the entire Bible, Genesis to Revelation, is a testimony of the victorious lives of God's people, and it’s a manual for the strategy of warfare and the key to victory over all the power of hell.
I know that most of us know these things, but sometimes we let them slip our minds, so today I want to remind you that the blood of Jesus is just as powerful today as it was the day that it was shed.  We must lift up the banner and we must continue to sing the victory march, “There is power, power, wonder working power in the blood of the Lamb.” 
The blood of Jesus is not just a defense against Satan’s attacks, the blood of Jesus is our spiritual weapon for busting through the gates of hell and setting the captives free. I may sound old fashioned but the Victorious army of the Lord is a people soaked in blood. There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from His veins, and sinners plunged beneath the flood lose all their guilty stains.
Too many of our churches today are anemic, the blood count is too low, and they have a blood deficiency. There is no blood in their preaching, there is no blood in their worship, there is no blood in their testimonies, and it is because there is no blood in their veins.  I know of one denomination that removed all hymns with the word blood in them because they were afraid of offending visitors.  And they wonder why they don't have victory in their lives, they wonder why they don't have any power, they wonder why Satan laughs when they try to bind him from their lives and doesn’t listen to them, and they wonder why they have no impact on their world for Jesus.
Revelation 12:10-11
“Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.  11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”
The life of the Church, the body of Christ, is in the blood.
Our only claim to victory over the Satan and the powers of this present dark age, is the blood of the lamb.  We have been saved by the blood.  We are healed by the blood, delivered by the blood, justified by the blood, protected by the blood, and we can only overcome by the blood.
God has not placed us here, in this generation, and in this place, just to survive and maintain.  We have not been placed here and called just to blend in. We are here to take over!  When the church is walking in holiness, covered by the blood, baptized in the Holy Ghost, it is the most powerful force in the world.
Satan has tried to burn it out, flood it out, beat it out, and kill it, but the blood washed church is still alive and it is still marching forward, and it is still assaulting the gates of hell.  I want you to understand today that a church covered in the shed blood of Jesus, and baptized in the Holy Ghost is a force to be reckoned with.
Too many times the picture we get of the church is like the game when all the kids pile on top of one kid, a dog pile, and the poor kid at the bottom of the dog pile would struggle just to breathe. But that's not what the bible teaches us. If there was a game that was more biblically correct it would be “King of the mountain.”  The bible says: We are the head and not the tail, we are above and not beneath.
I John 4:4
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
There's the secret to the victorious church, it' the power of the Holy Ghost, it's the power of the greater one in us.
Galatians 2:20
“I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live yet not I but Christ liveth in me and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Through the power of the Holy Ghost the greater one lives in us. Greater than what? Greater than he that is in the world.  He that is in the world is the devil He goes by a lot of different names: Drug addiction, pornography, lust, sickness, disease, poverty, lack, depression, and suicide. It doesn't matter what name Satan goes by, the Greater One is living inside of you!  He is greater than heart trouble, cancer, diabetes, homosexuality, fornication, or adultery.  God is greater, and he is in you.
The church is supposed to be victorious, it's unnatural for the church to lose, it's unnatural for a child of God to live a weak, discouraged, and beat down life. We were created to exercise power and authority over the enemy. We are commissioned to cast him out, to deliver those in bondage, to preach hope to the oppressed and set the captives free.
Mark 16:15-18
”And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. [16] He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. [17] And these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; [18] They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
Isaiah 60:1-2
“Arise shine, for thy light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For behold the darkness shall cover the earth and gross darkness the people, but the Lord shall arise upon thee and his glory shall be seen upon thee.”
We are the church victorious and we are taking our place, we are taking our position, and we are reigning in life by the name of Jesus.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Watch This!

Exodus 14:1-30
Emphasis on V.13 (KJV)
“And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will show to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever.”
I want to tell somebody today, to encourage somebody in the Lord today, God said to tell you, “Today is your day!”
Today is your day of victory, today God is going to drop the hammer on an enemy that has been nipping at your heels, whispering lies in your ear, breathing down your neck, and making your life a living hell.  I’m telling you that today you are finally going to get the courage to put something that has been hanging over your head, under your feet where it belongs.
Today you get to forget about the enemy you left in the land of bondage and look ahead to the promises of God!
Philippians 3:13-14 (NLT)
“13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[a] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
God said to tell you, the “Egyptians” you see today, you will see them no more. I don t know what the “Egyptians” represent in your life, it could be sickness, financial trouble, unrest in your family, people who are trying to bring you down, attacking your ministry, a sin, or an addiction that you haven t been able to conquer.  Whatever it is, I’m telling you now you that today can be your day for victory.
Satan is opposed to you having victory, he doesn’t want you enjoying the abundant life that Jesus came to give us.
After the children of Israel have left Egypt the Pharaoh decides he has made a mistake and wants them back and now he’s in hot pursuit.  Look what the enemy says in v.3, “For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, ‘they are bewildered by the land; the wilderness has closed them in.”
The Pharaoh is saying, “I’ve got them right where I want them, they’re trapped, there’s nowhere for them to go.”
The enemy is thinking, you’re trapped, surrounded, hedged in, and there is no escape.  Satan thinks he has the upper hand, and everything is in his favor.  He has a sense of superiority, confidence, and assurance.  The enemy thinks that you are at his mercy, and now your fate is in his hands.
How many times have you been at the place in your life where it seems like all hell has broken loose against you, and you look around for an escape but it seems like there is no way out? It feels and looks like you are surrounded, Satan is coming at you from every direction, you hear his voice laughing with that attitude of arrogance and saying, “Now I’ve got you where I want you.”
We’ve all been there, and I believe I’m writing this for somebody who is there right now.  You are my assignment this morning, you are the reason God woke me at 2 a.m. and he told me to tell you, “Things aren’t always as they appear!”
The Lord told me to tell you this morning that there is more to your circumstances than meets the eye.  He told me to tell you that what may look like the worst circumstance you’ve ever faced in your life is preparing you for a brand new glory, a brand new anointing, a brand new level of faith and power, a level beyond anything that you could imagine or have ever experienced before.  He is getting ready to lift you to new heights!
God has sent an elevator your way, but it came in the form of an enemy.  God told me to tell you he is going to turn your haters into elevators.  Almost everyone saw Goliath as a hater, but David saw him as an elevator.  Most people saw the Romans and their crosses as haters, but God seen them as elevators!
Everything the enemy has sent to take you down, God is going to use it to lift you up.  Don’t give up, you are on the edge of a miracle.  God hasn’t brought you this far just to let you perish in the desert, He didn’t bring you out of bondage just to let Satan devour you, and He didn’t call you out on the water just to let you sink and drown.  I am telling you, your help is on the way and it’s closer than you think.  The Lord has heard your cries, He has felt your tears, and He told me to tell you, “Help is on the way!”
In the text that the Lord directed me to this morning, the children of Israel have found themselves in a predicament, a bad situation, a trap.  Let’s just be honest about it: We’ve all been there, we have all found ourselves at some time in a bad situation that we couldn’t get ourselves out of.
 Sometimes we are there because of foolishness, wrong choices, or wrong associations.  But sometimes there is no explanation other than that we have an adversary who hates us and is intent on destroying our lives: physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually.  But whatever the reason: we know what it feels like to be caught somewhere in something with no way of escape.  Somebody I’m talking to, you’re in that place right now.
The temptation is that when we find ourselves in such predicaments is to be just like the children of Israel and begin to whine and complain, to start looking backward, and begin to blame God for not making our life easy, and then to call His love into question for allowing us to struggle and suffer.
I’m trying to help somebody get out of your trap this morning. You’ve been crying out to God for His help, and it looks and feels like everything has taken one giant step forward from bad to impossible. But I want to tell you this morning, when it looks like you’re down to nothing, God is always up to something.  God is getting ready to show up and show out.
Oh there is no doubt in this story that there was a trap, but the point that we most often miss is that the trap wasn’t for the children of God, it was for their enemies!  The trap is not for you, the trap is for your enemies. 
The thing I’m trying to tell you today is this: God is getting ready to care of your enemies, God has been using this storm to draw your enemies together, to bring them out of hiding, God is turning the light on, and he’s uncovering them.  God is going to pull them out of their hiding places and he’s going to take care of them once and for all.
It was an impressive show of military might and strength when Egypt came storming down on the children of Israel.  All the chariots of Egypt, six hundred chosen chariots captains in every one of them, all the chariots and horsemen of Egypt with Pharaoh leading the charge.  And they followed Israel into the midst of the sea, with the taste of victory on their lips, they charged into the red sea, gaining on their prey.
Have you ever felt outnumbered, out gunned, like the underdog, and felt overwhelmed?
Israel was no match for the great Egyptian army.  Four hundred years as slaves, they didn’t know how to fight, they had no chariots, and no weapons.  It was like trying to fight the modern U.S. military with SCUD missiles.  But they had something Pharaoh had forgotten about, they had God on their side!
Romans 8:31
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”
Somebody is in that same place right now: The enemy is so close, you can hear the rattle of his sabers, the clanging of his guns, you can hear his voice saying, “I’ve got you right where I wanted you, now you’re trapped and you’ll never make it out alive.”
Look at v.24
“Now it came to pass, in the morning watch, that the Lord looked down upon the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud, and He troubled the army of the Egyptians.”
I want to tell somebody: The Lord has been watching, He has seen what the enemy has been planning, and He has seen the way the devil’s been treating you, and He’s takes it personally.
“And God took off their chariot wheels, that they drove them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fights for them against the Egyptians.”
All of a sudden the Egyptians lost all their momentum, nothing was going their way, everything that was working for them is now working against them, nothing is turning out the way they planned.  I’m trying to tell somebody that God is working on it right now, God is pulling off their wheels.
We talk a lot about being good soldiers and fighting the good fight of faith and all that is truth, but there are sometimes when God almighty steps in and says, “let me handle it.  This is beyond what you can handle, so I’ll take care of this one.  Just sit back and watch this!”
I want to tell somebody today: You’ve been fighting the good fight of faith, and you’ve been doing everything you know how to do, but it doesn’t seem like anything has changed, but God said to tell you, he’s going to step in and take over and he’s going to fight your battle for you and give you the victory.
I guess what I want to say to you is simple, it’s something my pastor has been saying to us a lot recently, God says to tell you today, “Watch this!”


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

God Told The Devil to Shut Up

Zechariah 3:1-5
“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan[a] standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand[b] plucked from the fire?” 3 Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. 4 And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” 5 And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord was standing by.”
Zechariah had a vision of Joshua, the high priest, standing in the presence of “The Angel of the Lord” with Satan at his right hand.  Satan was there to accuse him of wrong doing.  The devil was there to throw Joshua’s past in his face.  This is an example of Satan’s tireless efforts to discredit the people of God and hinder their desire to worship Him.
In the man of God’s vision, Joshua is clothed in “filthy garments” and the untiring accuser of God’s children was there to declare that he was tainted that no acceptable sacrifice could be offered to the Lord for his sin.  Satan is always anxious to suggest to the people that they might as well stop rebuilding and reinstituting the worship of the Lord God because it’s too late and their sins have taken them too far from God’s presence this time.
Satan’s effort to discredit Joshua were a failure, it says that the Lord rebuked Satan, God told the devil to shut his mouth and “The Angel of the Lord” removed the “filthy garments,” which were a symbol of sin, and the Lord took away Joshua’s iniquity he and clothed him with “pure vestments” and a “clean turban” was placed on his head.
There is much that we can appropriate for ourselves from Zechariah’s vision as we too struggle with sin and Satan’s accusations on a daily basis.  Sin can still a blight on our spiritual priesthood:
I Peter 2:9-12
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”
I Peter 5:6-9
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
Satan is still as persistent as ever to accuse and discourage us in our every efforts to serve the Lord.
Satan is always there standing ready to accuse us, but the “Angel of the Lord,” whom we know to be our Lord Jesus Christ, stands as our Advocate:
I John 2:1
“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Satan, the accuser is very real and we should take notice of an important fact mentioned in the text: the purpose for Satan’s presence was to accuse.  We would be wise to consider the admonition given to the believer by Peter and James:
“Be sober; be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him steadfast in the faith.”
"Resist the devil and he will flee from you."
The devil is a lie! He wants to keep us out of God’s presence and he will try anything and everything to accomplish his goal. He wants to get us to the point where we want to just throw our hands in the air and surrender to defeat and step back from the Lord.  But I come with a word of encouragement; don’t do it stand strong, throw your hands in the air and begin to praise God instead. Stand strong in the Lord and know that God will give you strength to endure.  The Lord tells us that He won’t allow more to come upon us than we can handle and Satan knows this, and he knows God’s burdens are light so he will take the smallest things and place it them a microscope to make your circumstances and burdens appear to be bigger and heavier than what they actually are.
Since I started this blog, I’ve really been battling the enemy.  It seems as though once I told the Lord yes, the enemy has been working overtime to stop me. He is constantly reminding me of the failure of my past, and I have to say I don’t always dismiss his reminders so easily.  I left the door wide open and Satan came in and stole from me what I should have been vigilant to protect.  He is always saying things like, “No one cares what you have to say anymore, you’re sins have tainted your ministry and silenced your voice.
A few years ago that may have been true, but now it is just another attempt of the enemy to keep me out of God’s presence, another attempt to silence the anointing that God has placed on my life through His Holy Spirit.  My pastor spoke a word over me last Sunday, “God is going to restore what Satan had taken from you.”
By the grace and mercy of my Jesus I have my voice back, I have the Holy Ghost’s presence and power back in my life, and I won’t let the lies of the enemy keep me from my calling.  The devil is the one who should watch out because the wind has blown into my life and the dry bones have been restored.  I am a born again Holy Ghost filled child of the Living God and a soldier in the Army of the Lord.  No weapon formed against me can prosper and I’m on a mission to kick in the gates of hell!  Who’s with me?


Monday, June 15, 2015

The Breath of Life

Ezekiel 37:1-14 (NLT)
“The Lord took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones. 2 He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. 3 Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?
“O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.”
4 Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! 6 I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
7 So I spoke this message, just as he told me. Suddenly as I spoke, there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons. 8 Then as I watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies, but they still had no breath in them.
9 Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’”
10 So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army.
11 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel. They are saying, ‘We have become old, dry bones—all hope is gone. Our nation is finished.’ 12 Therefore, prophesy to them and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 When this happens, O my people, you will know that I am the Lord. 14 I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live again and return home to your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken, and I have done what I said. Yes, the Lord has spoken!’”
Ezekiel was a very unpopular prophet when he first started his ministry.  He had been prophesying to the children of Israel for years that the sins of Israel were going to cause the fall of Jerusalem.  It was a message that didn’t tickle their ears, so they chose not to heed the warnings that He gave them.  Even though many of his contemporaries, who were proven to be false prophets, proclaimed positive, feel good messages Ezekiel continued to proclaim the truth of God and eventually it came to pass. 
Now as we find Israel captive, Jerusalem in rubble, we see God giving Ezekiel a new message, a message of hope in a valley of dry bones.  The man of God is surrounded by death, hopelessness, and despair. As far as his eye can see there is only brokenness emptiness, despair, and death. The valley that he is standing in, is the valley of death.
Ministries have died here, hope for healing has died here, marriages have died here, dreams have died here, and hope for a better tomorrow has died here.  The smell of the corpses is in the air, there is not one drop of blood or moisture anywhere because the altar has been torn down.  There is nothing, not even a hint that their situation could change.
But don’t you know that the God we serve loves impossible situations?  Why?  Because when the impossible becomes a reality, He gets all the glory! I want to tell somebody today who is facing an impossible situation:  God can turn it around!  It doesn't matter how impossible it looks, you just need to look at that mountain or look at the valley of dry bones and start speaking, “thus saith the Lord.”
The key to everything is in v. 9, it is the wind.  The wind represents the Spirit of God being placed back into their hopeless situation and v. 14 God says He will put his spirit back into their dead bodies and they will live again.  Without the operation and activity of the Holy Spirit’s power instead of a mighty army all that would have been there was a valley full of dead bodies with no power and no life.
The bones were connected and muscles, ligaments, sinews and skin were restored to them, but there was still no life in them.  There was no power in them until the wind began to blow.  When the wind began to blow everything changed.  When the wind began to blow power and life came.  As the breath of God filled them the valley of dead corpses became a mighty army of God.
The breath of God, the wind in Ezekiel’s vision, is the same wind that flooded the place where Jesus’ followers were gathered on the day of Pentecost, the same breath that filled the bodies of 120 men and women with the supernatural life of God.
One of the most important lessons we learn from Ezekiel 37 is that as far as God is concerned, if you leave the Holy Spirit out of the equation you have nothing.  Without the activity and operation of the Holy Spirits power instead of a mighty army of warriors ready for battle all we would have seen was a valley full of dead bodies.
We can put it together, we can dress the way that God expects, we can put on great Sunday School lessons, we can sing the right worship songs, we can preach all the feel good sermons you can imagine, but if we don't have the life giving anointing that comes from the presence and the power of the Holy Ghost we have nothing. 
Without the Holy Spirit's power, it doesn’t matter how many people are sitting in the pews of our church, it doesn’t matter how big our offerings are, or how big of a following we have, our church is dead, it's worthless, it's powerless, and it's impotent.  Without the Holy Spirit's power and presence and operation all of our activity is dead and all death can birth is more death.  Dead preaching kills, dead teaching kills, and dead singing kills.  Only the Anointing of the Holy Spirit can produce life.
Just as the body without blood is dead, the church is dead without the presence and anointing of the Holy Spirit.  Dead means void of the person, presence, and power of the Holy Spirit. Death is incapable of producing life.  It is powerless to lift, powerless to heal, and powerless to deliver anyone from the chains of sin.
We see here in Ezekiel’s vision that one of the first things that has to happen is a divine connection.  We must find our divine connections, God’s children don't fit everywhere with everybody.  One of the biggest hindrances to gaining the power and anointing that God wants for us is wrong connections.  Flesh connections, connections and relationships that are birthed by fleshly lusts, wants, and desires.  You will never have the full potential of God’s power in your life until you have broken your flesh connections.
Flesh connections war against the will and the Spirit of God.  Abraham had a great promise and destiny, but it could not come to pass until he cut off his flesh connection with lot.  Flesh connections will always war for first place in your life, they will always war against the Spirit.
Divine connections will always feed into your anointing and your destiny.  They will always strengthen your faith in God.
Now in the valley the bones are connected to their right bones and then muscles and flesh and skin come upon them, but they are still dead.  Why?  Because the Word alone is not enough.  Yes the word will put meat on your bones, yes the word of God will fatten you up.  But without the anointing the bones are still dead.  The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.  It doesn't matter how much Hebrew and Greek you have studied or how many verses of the Bible you have memorized, what matters most is that you have the Holy Spirit. 
The bones were placed in order, all the components were there, on the surface everything appeared good, but they were still dead.  The Holy Spirit is the life source and the life force of the church.  The Holy Ghost is not an optional accessory like power seats or power windows, or heated mirrors.
The Holy Spirit is a necessity, in fact the Holy Spirit is a command.
Acts 1:4-5
“4 Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. 5 John baptized with[b] water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
We need to understand that we have a very real adversary who is bent on destroying us.  The one who gives you power over the devil is the Holy Spirit.  The name of Jesus gives us authority to exercise that power.  Every believer has the right to the use of the name of Jesus to exercise the power of the Holy Spirit, but if you do not have the Holy Ghost you don't have power.  You're like a security guard with a badge but no gun.
The church that rejects the Holy Spirit and all His manifestations and operations will experience death.  Their building may be beautiful, their message may sound good, they may have a large congregation, and the services may be impressive, but without the Holy Spirit it is dead.
The Church can survive without a lot of things: we can live without stained glass windows, we can live without padded pews, we can live without great talent, and we can even survive without central heating and air conditioning, but we cannot live without the breath of life.  We cannot live without the power of the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Arise, Shine, Your Time Has Come

2 Kings 2:13-14
“13 Elisha picked up Elijah’s cloak, which had fallen when he was taken up. Then Elisha returned to the bank of the Jordan River. 14 He struck the water with Elijah’s cloak and cried out, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” Then the river divided, and Elisha went across.”
Judges 15:15
“Then he found the jawbone of a recently killed donkey. He picked it up and killed 1,000 Philistines with it.”
When it comes to the heroes in the Bible, Elisha and Samson were very different kinds of men, but they did have two things in common.
1.       Both of them were used mightily by God
2.       They both had what they needed within their reach, but they had to pick it up.
You can have all the power sitting right before you and all around you, but it won’t change your life or the lives of anyone around you until you reach out and pick it up.  Lying on the ground Elijah’s cloak was just and old used piece of clothing, but once it was picked up by Elisha it became a powerful tool that led to many miracles and many lives being touched.  On the ground it was just an old bone, but once Samson picked it up, it became a weapon of mass destruction against his enemies.  Two ordinary items, or so it seemed, that became useful for God’s glory, but they had to pick them up.
I have decided that no matter how bad it gets, I’m not going to whine and complain about how bad the economy is, I would like to say that I’m not going to criticize our government or pass judgment on our present administration, but everyone that knows me would know I was lying; however I’ve decided to try not to spend so much time focusing on the evil they’re doing.  There’s a lot of evil things happening in the world, but I choose not to focus on them.
People may say that you can’t just bury your head in the sand, I’m not burying my head in the sand, I am burying my heart in the word, I’m lifting up my eyes to the hills where my help comes from.  I want to tell you that the Devil is not in charge!  I don’t care what’s going on around us in the world, or what it feels like or sounds like all around us, God is still in control.
In the name of Jesus I speak against the spirit of fear and dread and I bind the spirit of hopelessness and despair.  We are not going under!  I don’t care how high the price of gas and eggs go, it doesn’t matter how bad the health care system gets, and it makes no difference whether Social Security goes bankrupt, or if you can get a government bailout.  God is still in control and the greatest bailout of all time took place over 2,000 years ago on a cross at the top of a hill, and it wasn’t Capitol Hill!
Just like God had Noah build the ark so that when he flooded the world and when the waters began to rise the ark rose above the water.  The waters rose until they covered the highest mountains, but the ark rose with them, in the worst of the storm the ark rose to its highest place.  The Church of Jesus Christ is just like the ark.
This can be the finest hour for the church!  We have been chosen by God to live in these difficult times, if God has chosen us to live in this season, it is because he has a plan for us.  God is on our side!  God placed the prophet Ezekiel in a valley full of Dry bones because God knew that Ezekiel possessed the power to transform the bleak situation he was faced with.  One lone man, armed only with the sword of the Spirit, spoke the Word of the Lord and that valley of dry bones was transformed into a mighty army.
You may be the only Christian in your family, you may be the only Christian on your job, in your class or in your neighborhood.  But what you need to do is quit pouting and start praising!  If you are the only believer there, it’s because God has confidence in you.  Enough of God’s people walking around with their heads down, their backs stooped, stepping on their bottom lip and crying about how bad it is, enough I say!
I am not trying to say that things in this world right now aren’t terrible, that our government isn’t doing a terrible job, and I am not unaware of the terrorists that are causing havoc all around the world right now.   What I am saying is, Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world!  I am saying that I know whom I have believed in and am persuaded that He is able!  I am saying that if God is for us, who can be against us!  We are citizens of an unshakable Kingdom, which is built upon an unshakable foundation, and ruled by an unshakable King!  Praise God!
Ps 46:1-7 (NLT)
“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.  So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.  Let the oceans roar and foam.  Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!  A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High.  God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed.  From the very break of day, God will protect it.  The nations are in chaos, and their kingdoms crumble!  God’s voice thunders, and the earth melts!  The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.”
Even while all these bad things are happening David says, “There is a river that is making glad the city of God.”
In the midst of all the ugliness that is taking place in our world, despite the natural disasters that seems to be increasing in magnitude every year, in the face of economic uncertainty, God is pouring out His Spirit and His power: This is our time to shine!
Isaiah 60:1-3
“Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see.  For the glory of the Lord rises to shine on you.  Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth, but the glory of the Lord rises and appears over you.  All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see your radiance.”
In other words we should not be surprised by the things that are going on, God said it’s going to get real dark in the world, but He is going to put His spotlight on the Church.  And when He puts His spotlight on us and they see the glory of the Lord on the Church, they will be drawn to His glory.
Listen to me children of God: this is not the time to tone it down, this is not the time to quiet our praise, and this is not the time to worry about being politically correct or socially acceptable.  This is the time to arise and shine, to stand up and stand out, and it is the time to speak the Word of God with boldness, authority and power! 
It is time for those in the Church to declare ourselves: 
·         Moses demanded in the book of Exodus, “Who is on the Lord’s side, declare yourself, make your choice clear.”
·         Joshua demanded it, “choose this day whom you will serve”
·         Elijah demanded, he told the Israelites to choose one side or the other, either serve God or serve Baal but quit limping back and forth between the two.
·         Jesus also demanded it: He said, “He that is not for me is against me, and if you are not gathering with me, then you are scattering abroad.”
Let me put it to you another way, we can either be part of the solution or we can be part of the problem, there is no in between.
The spotlight is on you.  Do you have the Power?  The mantle has fallen at your feet, are you going to pick it up?  Are you filled with the Holy Ghost?  If not, it’s right there at your feet, pick it up!
Do you have what you need to heal the sick?  Are you bold enough to speak the words of truth?  Are you courageous enough to pick up that mantle or are you satisfied with being a wannabe?
You can look at it, dream about it, preach about it, shout about it, sing songs about it, write books about it, but nothing will happen till you pick it up.
Mordecai told Esther, “Who knows but that you are come into the kingdom for such a time as this.”
But the Words that cut like a knife were these, “If thou altogether hold thy peace at this time then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place, but thou and thy fathers house shall be destroyed.”
In other words he was telling Esther that if she didn’t pick up this mantle of responsibility, God would use someone else, and you, your generation, and your family will suffer for it.
God said to tell you Church, the mantle has fallen during this hour at your feet, if you don’t pick it up, and if you’re not willing to answer God’s call and pay the price then someone else will.  Someone else will walk in the anointing that you could have been yours.  Someone else will heal the sick and cast out devils and work signs and wonders, and someone else will possess the presence, the glory and the power of God.
As for you, you will deprive your generation of your ministry.  Your family, your loved ones, and people that live around you will be robbed of the anointing and the power that God reserved for you.  Someone that should have been healed may die sick, someone that should have been delivered and set free may continue to live in bondage, and someone that should have known the joy of salvation may be eternally lost.  You will miss the blessing of being a good and faithful servant.
Arise! Shine!  It’s at your feet, will you pick it up?

Friday, June 5, 2015

It's Time To Write A New Chapter

Genesis 37:3-24; 41:41-44

Anyone who has ever read the story of Joseph has to come to three undeniable conclusions.
       1.       Joseph was anointed by God

2.       Joseph was favored by his earthly father 

3.       Joseph had a God given destiny over his life.
But the truth is that this same man who was so anointed and had so many things in his favor also had some bad chapters in his life.
1.       Joseph was hated by his brothers

2.       He was rejected and betrayed by his brothers.

3.       He was sold into bondage
This was a bad chapter, a sad chapter in the life of Joseph, and he probably shed some tears in that chapter.  Someone reading this right now might feel a lot like Joseph. You've been lied on, rejected, stripped, betrayed, hurt, abused, beat down, beat up, knocked down, and thrown into a pit and left to die.
I have word for you today: you're going to disappoint some people, you're not going to die in the pit.  In fact the Holy Spirit wants me to tell you that today can be a “New chapter.”  What looked like and felt like a sad end is just making room for a new chapter.  I don't know who that’s for but you know.  
Some chapters in a book are long and some are short, some are happy and some are sad, and some make you laugh and some make you cry.  But whether it's long or short, happy or sad, all chapters of a book have one thing in common: they all eventually come to an end.
God told me this morning to get up and tell someone who has had a bad chapter in your life, “it's not over, your story is bigger than one bad chapter and the best is yet to come!”
I want to say something to everyone reading this: Never judge a person by a bad chapter in their life.  My last chapter may have been long, it may have been disgusting to watch, and it may have been sad, but don't try to finish my story based on a bad chapter.
If you read the chapter of Joseph in the pit, Daniel in the lion's den, Jonah in the belly of the whale, or the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace you may have thought their story ended there, but that was just a bad chapter in their lives.
I want to remind someone: Joseph went to the pit but he went from the pit to the palace, Daniel came out of the lion’s Den with all his fingers and toes, the three Hebrew boys came out of the fiery furnace and were promoted, and Jonah came out of the belly of the whale and preached a revival and 120,000 people got saved.
Don't judge me by a bad chapter in my life.
I want to tell someone today who has had a bad chapter in your life: you've felt like Joseph in the pit, you’ve felt the fire, you’ve felt the hot breath of the lions on your neck, you've heard them growling as they stalked you day and night, or maybe you’ve felt like Jonah in the belly of the whale like God was a million miles away. 
Maybe for you it's been a long chapter like the woman with the issue of blood who suffered for twelve long years. Maybe it’s been one of those extended chapters that seem like it will never end like the man at the pool Bethesda who suffered for thirty-eight years.  I don't know how long it’s been for you, but I know this, God said to tell you a new chapter is about to begin!
The devil wants to kill the dreamer in you. He knows that if he can kill the dreamer in you, you’ll be no threat to him. But God gave me an assignment today, He told me to wake up the dreamer in you, to speak to the Destiny God put in you, and to speak to the anointing in your belly. God told me to stir the embers and fan the flame.
I rebuke and bind the spirit of hopelessness, discouragement, and despair in the lives of God’s children. I speak against and cast out fear and disappointment and disillusionment.
I believe I'm talking to someone who has a great need to hear this right now, something in your belly is waking up. Like Joseph you may have been stripped of your coat of many colors. You may have lost your job, you may have gone through a bad divorce, you may have lost your house, or you may have lost your health and your peace and joy.  Maybe you even lost your faith for a while, you may have been places and done things that you knew were wrong, and you may have let anger and resentment fill your heart.
But that was the last chapter.
When you looked at me in my last chapter I was broken, I was humiliated, I was miserable, I was lame, I was angry, I was hurt, I was disappointed, I was lonely, I was crying.
But that was my last chapter.
I want to remind you that today’s dreamer is tomorrow's deliver.
You may have seen me in the pit, in my last chapter but that was then and this is now!  God has delivered me and given me a new chapter and He can do the same for you if you keep on dreaming!
The Bible says Joseph dreamed again.
Someone is coming out of the pit today!  Someone is coming out of the fire today!  Somebody is coming out of the lion’s den today!  Let me make it a little clearer to you: you’re coming out of depression, you’re coming out of darkness, out of disappointment, and you’re coming out of anger and unforgiveness!
It wasn’t Joseph's coat of many colors that brought him out of the pit, it wasn't even his dreams that brought him out of the pit and I know this will come as a surprise, but it wasn't even his anointing that brought him out of the pit.
It was Judah, Judah means praise:
Isaiah 61:3
“To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
And l remind that Paul and Silas in the midnight hour, both of them beaten black and blue! They had been thrown into prison, and their hands and feet were chained yet the Word of God says that they prayed and sang praises to God and God shook the prison off of its foundations and the doors off of their hinges and every prisoners chains were loosed.
There's power in your praise. God told me to prophesy to you a new chapter!  He said to tell you: this is your season of restitution and restoration.  He said this is your season for a new anointing.  And this anointing is going to take you out of the pit, to shake the foundations of your prison and to break whatever has you in its chains.
He said this new level of anointing is not going to come on everyone.  It’s not coming on the moaners and the groaners, it’s not coming on the critical and judgmental, it’s not coming on the religious and self-righteous, it’s not coming on the condescending, it’s not coming on the hypocritical and it’s not coming on the lazy and the indifferent.
But this new anointing for a new chapter is coming on the hungry and thirsty!  It's coming on those who love God and hate sin!  It's coming on the passionate! It's coming on those who praise!
Just like Judah brought Joseph up out of the pit, Praise is going to take you into your new chapter.  Praise is the introduction to your new chapter. 
God said if you'll praise him he will start a new chapter in your life today.  He said if you'll praise him like you're already there he will turn things around for you.  If you'll give him a palace praise from the pit, He'll take you to the palace.  There's a prophecy hidden in your praise.
Your praise is dressing you for what God is going to do next: when the pharaoh called for Joseph he was still in the prison but he changed his clothes and he shaved himself and he got himself ready for the next level.  Your praise is dressing for your new chapter!
Your praise is dressing for where you're going next.  If you want to know what's coming next in my life just look at my praise.  If you want to know where I'm going next in my life just listen to my praise.  Praise God!  There's a prophecy hidden in my praise.
My friend let me ask you, is your praise preparing for more prison time or are you dressing yourself for the palace?  Does your praise tell God you’re ready for an appointment with the King?
Lift your voice wherever you are right now and praise God for a new chapter in your life!