Saturday, September 23, 2017

Anointed or Disappointed

Scripture reading: Ezekiel 37:1-14

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.  Many of his contemporaries, who were proven to be false prophets, proclaimed positive, feel good messages, but Ezekiel continued to proclaim the truth of God and eventually his prophecies came to fruition.

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.

Today, especially here in the United states, many in the church are discovering that they are in a valley of death much like the one in Ezekiel’s vision. 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. In 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 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 must 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 cannot have fellowship with the world, and with the Savior of the world at the same time. You cannot win the lost by becoming lost yourself. No matter how well-intentioned you are, my grandmother was right (she was always right), bad company corrupts good moral. 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. If you have fleshly connections, get rid of them, cut them off before they destroy you, your family, and your ministry.

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. Life in the presence and power of the Holy Ghost, or death in a valley of dry bones: It’s a choice we must make, anointed or disappointed!

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 Ghost!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

You Shall Be Witnesses!

It doesn’t matter how “good” you think you are, how much time you invest in your community, or how much money you give to charity, you’re not getting into to heaven unless you are born again!  Jesus told Nicodemus in John chapter 3 that unless a man is born of the water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Acts 2:37-38
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Following Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost, they believed his words, that God had made Jesus whom they had crucified both Lord and Christ, they believed and were convicted, and asked: What must we do? Peter gives them a very clear answer: Repent, be baptized in the name of Jesus, and receive the Holy Ghost.

Many Christians begin the process, but never complete it. They live powerless lives, constantly struggling with the same weak and defeated existence. Never overcoming their temptations, they constantly struggle with the same sins, year in, and year out. Their life is weakened by sin, and their witness for Christ, well it is non-existent. Because they never seek the baptism of the Holy Ghost.

Jesus believed the Baptism of the Holy Ghost to be so important that he commanded his disciples not to leave Jerusalem until they had received it. (Acts 1:8)

Acts 2:1

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Why is this Holy Ghost so important?  Because the Holy Ghost is the power of God, filling the human vessel with the very presence of the indwelling Spirit of Jesus, allowing us to live lives that reflect His image (Romans 8:29). The only way we can become His witnesses, and advance the Kingdom of God, in through that indwelling presence.  The Holy Ghost is God’s supernatural way of equipping us to fulfill the great commission and to carry on the ministry of Jesus.

What was the ministry of Jesus?  “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.  He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the captive free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’” (Luke 4:14-19)

Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost, to comfort the sick, to reach out to those in need, establish the Kingdom of God and to destroy the works of Satan.

I John 3:8 – “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil.”

Hebrews 13:8 – “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

Jesus ministry has never changed and we have been commissioned and anointed to continue his ministry in the earth.  If you read the book of Acts you will discover that is an account of the NT church in her infancy, it is the record of how the Holy Ghost operates through yielded vessels.  The book of Acts is the pattern for the church.

Mark 16:17-18 - And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they 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.”

Signs, wonders, miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost are the defining characteristics of the NT church. To put it more simply, the Church acted just like Jesus; they healed the sick, they cast out devils, and they performed signs and wonders. How?  Through the Power of the Holy Spirit!

There are a lot of things that are lacking in our lives today, but of all the things that we need, it is a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit!  We need an invasion of the Holy Ghost!  We need God to storm our services, we need a divine interruption to “our” agendas, and we need the Holy Ghost to show up like He did on the day of Pentecost and fill God’s people with power from above, power to be His witnesses!  We need a sudden, undeniable, supernatural stirring of the Holy Ghost! 

We need to pray like they did in acts 4:29-31, “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.  And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”

Come on Lord, stir us up!  We need an invasion of your Holy Ghost today!  Something that originates from heaven, something that will shake us up, something that will wake us up, something that will stir us up, and set us on fire! 

We need a divine interruption!

You can be saved right now, you can be set free right now, you can be healed right now, you can be delivered right now, and you can get your miracle, or your breakthrough right now!  Everything you need is a breath of God away, but it can only come to you through the power and anointing of the Holy Ghost.

I started with Paul’s words to Timothy, but he might as well been speaking to us.  If there’s one thing we’re missing in many of our lives today, it is the vitality, the life, the fire, the power and the anointing of the Holy Ghost.

We can look at the world, we can try and blame the government, we can claim religious persecution or the atmosphere of our society, but the truth is that we have no one to blame but ourselves.  We are the keepers of our flame.  Every person is responsible to stir up the gift, the flame that is in them and it is our job to keep the fire burning.  We have to stir up the gift!

There is an anointing in you, a fire in you, it may be low, and it may seem like just a flicker, you may think it has gone out, but if you’ll begin to stir the embers a fresh wind of the Holy Spirit will begin to blow again and the fire will burn.

We can’t afford to let the fire go out, it’s too close to midnight, too close to the end and the bridegroom is drawing closer.  There are people who are falling asleep all around us, still singing the same songs, still saying amen and hallelujah, but the fire has gone out!  It’s time for us to stir up the gift that is in us, time to wake up our calling, time to wake up our destiny, to stir up that anointing and wake up that fire!

I’ve worked on some pretty high-performance engines in my secular job, some that give you goose bumps just listening to the sound of them roar and you can tell that their power is intimidating to every other car on the road, but one thing is true about every one of them; if the battery is dead, you’re dead in the water.

It doesn’t matter how much destiny is in you, or how many gifts or callings are in you, unless they are activated by the Holy Spirit, they’re dead.

I doesn’t matter how many God given dreams you have, or how many prophecies you have been spoken over your life, they are not going to come to fruition without the stirring of the Holy Ghost.  When we allow the fire to be stirred in us, we can activate the flame in others and then we become a threat to hell.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Put Up Your Dukes!

As most of the descendants of Abraham moved into the Promise Land and took possession of their inheritance, there were seven tribes, that for some reason had failed to receive their inheritance. It is important to understand that when it says they had not “received” their inheritance, it means is that they had failed to drive out the enemy.  

The land that had been promised to them by God was inhabited by people who opposed their right to the land.  For them to receive their inheritance, they had to take it from the enemy.  The land belonged to the children of Israel by right of inheritance, by promise, but it was occupied and dominated by their enemies.

Listen to Joshua’s words:

“How long are you going to sit around on your hands, putting off taking possession of the land that God, the God of your ancestors, has given you? (Joshua 18:3 MSG)”

The point is:

·        The land had been given to them by God
·        It had become occupied by an enemy force
·        Now, it was their responsibility to take possession of it.

Joshua was asking them how long they were going to hang back, and put off, possessing their inheritance.  How long were they going to be lazy, afraid, and unwilling to engage the enemy and take possession of their birth-rite?

We find this same spiritually lazy and fearful culture in the church today.  The word of God is full of His promises toward His children.  We are also by faith the seed of Abraham, and we are heirs to the blessing of Abraham, Gal 3:29, “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

We have been filled with the Holy Ghost, and we have received power to drive out our enemy. Oh yes, friends, I said enemy! Our enemy is real, his name is Satan, and he roams about like a roaring lion seeking to devour those who allow him to.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (I Peter 5:8)”

As it was then for Abraham’s seed, it is true for us today, our enemy does not want us to take possession of our inheritance, and unless we enjoy living substandard spiritual lives, receiving only the crumbs that fall from the table, wandering about in this world like spiritual nomads, we must be willing to fight for what is ours. Not just make a meager defense against the enemy’s constant attempts to devour us, but we must be willing to pursue our enemy, through fasting and praying, and tear down the devil’s strongholds and drive him from our lives forever!

Jesus told us that He has given us authority over all the power of the enemy, and nothing can harm us (spiritually). He said that we would receive power when the holy Ghost comes upon us. So we have the authority of God over the enemy, and the power to defeat him.

“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. (Matthew 11:12)”

One reason many of Gods people are cheated out of their inheritance is: because they do not know what belongs to them, they are unfamiliar with the will, Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”

Another reason is: we are just plain slack, lazy, unwilling to fight for it.  Many Christians would rather live the mediocre self-preserving life of a spiritual pauper, than to have to engage the enemy in spiritual warfare.  It’s time to recognize and start admitting that we “have not” because we ask not, and won’t stand up and fight for what is ours! 

Our inheritance is not in heaven waiting for us to die so we can go and get it!  Our inheritance is in Christ, it has been paid for by His blood, now all we must do, is drive out the enemy in the mighty name of Jesus, and take back what the enemy has stolen!

I remember a cartoon when I was a kid, Snagglepuss. The cartoon feature a lion, and whenever the lion faced opposition from an adversary, his favorite line was, “Put up your dukes, put up your dukes.”

But then when his opponent stood their ground, he would flee the scene with another famous line, “exit stage left!,” and then he would run away!

It’s time to tell the devil to put his dukes!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Don't Be Afraid to Holler For Help

Mark 10:46-52

46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”  So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.  The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” 52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

Verse 46 says, “then they came to Jericho,” and then it says, immediately, “As Jesus and His disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city.” In One verse Jesus came, and then he was leaving. This is a great passage to show how quickly His presence can pass us by, how easy it is to miss being touched by Him, if we are not prepared to cry out for help. We must prepare ourselves for His coming, or He will come and go, and we will forfeit the opportunity to be touched by His presence and receive nothing.

Only one man in this story was desperate enough to reveal his true condition, He was willing to let down the walls that kept him from God’s blessing and admit his true emptiness.  He was beyond caring what anyone thought of him, what they might whisper behind his back, and he was prepared to endure their persecution for admitting that he had a need.

Bartimaeus “heard” the crowd.  Praise God!  The Lord always gives us something to work with.  He was blind and could not see, but he could hear, he couldn’t see but he still had a voice, and so he worked with what God gave him.

“When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout”

Bartimaeus had come to the point of desperation and he was willing to admit he was powerless, it had cultivated within him a spirit of desperation.  His shouts for mercy were cries of desperation for deliverance.

Meanwhile all the “good” followers of Jesus told him to shut up, after all he was a beggar and they were the true followers, but he was desperate and he wouldn’t be kept from his blessing and so he shouted even louder.  It was his shouts for mercy that stopped Jesus in his tracks.

Interestingly enough, those who had told him to shut up, now said, “Cheer up, on your feet, He’s calling you.”  Does it ever amaze you, it does me, how quickly people can change their tune when it will make them look more spiritual?  If they had had any concern for Bartimaeus they would have taken him to the Lord to begin with instead of trying to silence him.

“And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.”

His garment was a symbol of his past, of the lifestyle that he had lived in this garment, the life of a blind beggar. It represented his restrictions, his limitations and the impossibilities of the infirmed life that he had been stuck in and it was symbolic of the mentality that had held him captive and led to his desperately determined actions.  This robe said, “I am blind therefore I am helpless, I am unable to do anything for myself, to provide anything for myself, I am a beggar, my life and my existence are determined by the generosity of those who can see.”

I wonder, how many are spiritually blind to the things of God and are spiritual beggars in God’s Kingdom.  How many in the Church know nothing of the spirit of revelation, and truth made alive within their spirits through the Holy Ghost.  Too many of God’s people choose to live like beggars and settle for receiving everything second hand.  They are blind by choice.  Why?  Because to have their eyes opened comes with the obligation to change!

Bartimaeus knew that to receive his sight would end his right to beg, he would now have to work and provide for himself, and he publicly made that decision.  Jesus called him beyond his condition and convinced him of a fuller life. His faith gave him spiritual sight and he began to see himself whole.  He threw off the bondage of his past and he rose and came to Jesus.  He chose to be changed, he was determined to be different, and he made a declaration to be healed.  He was leaving the position that defined him as hopeless, he was leaving the condition that defined him as a beggar, and he was stepping into the unknown.

Every phase of growth in our spiritual lives requires us to step into the unknown. Like Capt. Kirk, we have to go where we’ve never gone before, to leave the comfort zone for the opportunity to receive a greater blessing.

As the children of Israel prepared to cross the Jordan into their inheritance, they were told to leave a space between them and the ark so they could see which way to go because they had never passed that way before. So many are missing what God wants for them:

Because they are not willing to trust Him, if they cannot see or make sense of what He is asking, they refuse to follow.

Because they are not willing to throw off the robes of their past, Jesus said you can’t put new wine into old wineskins, we have to be willing to let go of the old to receive the new.  As Elijah’s mantle fell to the ground Elisha took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.  What was he doing? He was removing the old to make room for the new.

Because they are not willing to admit that they live in spiritual poverty.

Because they are not willing to change.

True healing can only take place when we are desperate enough to shout to the Lord, loud enough to stop Him in His tracks, admit our desperate need for His touch, and then once we are at His feet we throw off the past and allow the presence of the Holy Ghost to bring real change and to remove the scales from our eyes.  Do you want Jesus to stand still where you are?  Are you willing to do what it takes to get him to stop Him in His tracks?

Then your healing is just a shout away from you!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

You Got To Hate It, To Crucify It

Gibeon was a great city, but now Gibeon was a threat to the kings of the Amorites because it had chosen the Lords side. The leaders of the city of Gibeon recognized that God was with Joshua and the children of Israel and they had come into covenant with Joshua and the children of Israel. Now all hell rose up against them, but the good news is that by choosing Gods side, all heaven came to their aid.

Joshua 10:1-6
Now it came to pass, when Adonizedec king of Jerusalem had heard how Joshua had taken Ai, and had utterly destroyed it; as he had done to Jericho and her king, so he had done to Ai and her king; and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel, and were among them; 2 That they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all the men thereof were mighty. 3 Wherefore Adonizedec king of Jerusalem, sent unto Hoham king of Hebron, and unto Piram king of Jarmuth, and unto Japhia king of Lachish, and unto Debir king of Eglon, saying, 4 Come up unto me, and help me, that we may smite Gibeon: for it hath made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel. 5 Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, the king of Eglon, gathered themselves together, and went up, they and all their hosts, and encamped before Gibeon, and made war against it. 6 And the men of Gibeon sent unto Joshua to the camp to Gilgal, saying, Slack not thy hand from thy servants; come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us: for all the kings of the Amorites that dwell in the mountains are gathered together against us.

Just a word to someone who feels like you’re going through hell, that the devil is throwing everything imaginable at you. I want you to know that you are not alone, God knows what the enemy is trying to do, and he will not forsake you. The devil is not going to win. He may have won a round or two, but you’re going to win the war.

Joshua 10:15-26
15 And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to Gilgal. 16 But these five kings fled, and hid themselves in a cave at Makkedah. 17 And it was told Joshua, saying, the five kings are found hid in a cave at Makkedah. 18 And Joshua said, Roll great stones upon the mouth of the cave, and set men by it for to keep them: 19 And stay ye not, but pursue after your enemies, and smite the hindmost of them; suffer them not to enter into their cities: for the LORD your God hath delivered them into your hand. 20 And it came to pass, when Joshua and the children of Israel had made an end of slaying them with a very great slaughter, till they were consumed, that the rest which remained of them entered into fenced cities.    21 And all the people returned to the camp to Joshua at Makkedah in peace: none moved his tongue against any of the children of Israel. 22 Then said Joshua, Open the mouth of the cave, and bring out those five kings unto me out of the cave. 23 And they did so, and brought forth those five kings unto him out of the cave, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon. 24 And it came to pass, when they brought out those kings unto Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said unto the captains of the men of war which went with him, (Come near, put your feet upon the necks of these kings. And they came near, and put their feet upon the necks of them.) 25 And Joshua said unto them, Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage: for thus shall the LORD do to all your enemies against whom ye fight. 26 And afterward Joshua smote them, and slew them, and hanged them on five trees: and they were hanging upon the trees until the evening.

I have word for somebody today: The Lord told me to tell you to put your foot on it! You’re getting ready to change positions!

Someone who has been feeling down, someone who has been feeling distressed, disappointed, and confused is getting ready to change positions. You have felt as though something has had its foot on your neck, like it’s been trying to choke the life out of you, it’s not killing you but it’s cutting off your breath, making it hard to breathe, and taking the joy out of your life. The Lord told me to tell you that today the tables are turning, today your changing positions, you’re going from being under your circumstances, to being on top of your circumstances, and from being under pressure to being the one applying the pressure. God said, “You’re going to put your foot on it!”

Putting your foot on it means that you are in charge! It means that you’re on top of it, that you are in control. It means that whatever it is, has lost it’s power to affect you, it means that you have won.
I don’t know what “it” is for you tonight: These five kings could represent anything. They could represent financial problems, marital problems, physical problems, or spiritual problems. You’re problem may be labeled debt, sickness, or addiction, but no matter what it is called, it’s time to put your foot on it!

Romans 16:20
And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

From a God perspective, the devil has already been defeated, Jesus has stripped him of his authority and his power. He has no power over our will, he has no power over our mind, he has no power over our spirit. It doesn’t matter what he does, he cannot take us out of God’s hand.

But to believe that the devil has no power, or that he is weak and helpless, is to make a tragic mistake. The devil is defeated from a God perspective, but he is not dead. While he cannot affect our standing with God, he can mess with our circumstances and our emotions, and he can manipulate people and things. The devil attacks us through people, through sickness, through financial problems, and he attacks us by attacking the people we love.

In this scripture Paul is Prophesying that there’s a turn-around coming! Paul is saying that what Jesus accomplished in the Spirit is getting ready to be manifested in your world, and in your daily existence. It’s one thing to know that Jesus defeated the devil, but it is another thing entirely, to see that victory manifested in our own personal experience. I don’t know about you, but I want more than just a revelation of how Jesus defeated the devil, I want to experience the reality of the devil under my feet!

Joshua said to his captains: Come near and put your foot on their necks. This was to demonstrate that the victory was real and it was personal. The enemy was under their feet, and they could feel it for themselves. The victory wasn't conceptual, it was real!

Joshua said essence, “Today is your day! Instead of running from it, crying about it, or even praying about it: Today you’re going to put your foot on it, and when you do your going to choke the life out of it!”

We are often waiting for God to move in some great supernatural way and with one swipe, wipe out all our enemies, but the truth is, to a large degree God has done everything he is going to do until we do something. He has given us His Word, His name, His blood, His Spirit, the power of praise, and the armor of God.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Notice that Joshua himself did not put his foot upon the necks of the enemy kings, but rather let his captains do it, this was to represent the fact that this victory belonged to every single Israelite, and that every single one of them were subduing their enemies that day.

In Mark chapter fourteen we read the story of the disciples out on the sea, and a great storm arose and they feared for their lives, then Peter looked through the storm and saw the sea walker, he saw Jesus walking on top of the thing that was on top of them. Then Peter said Lord, “I want to be on top of it too.”

Then Jesus said, “Well then, put your foot on it.”

Then Peter Jumped out of the boat and stood on top of the thing that was trying to kill them. He walked on top of the water, on the top of the storm, and if he hadn't taken his eyes off of Jesus, and let the thing that sought to destroy him, cause fear and doubt, it would have stayed under his feet!

They brought these five kings out of their cave, out of their hiding place, and they identified them by name. Before you get the victory over that which has plagued you and robbed you, and oppressed you. You have got to bring it out of hiding, you have to admit it, and you have to identify it. You have to stop pretending that it doesn’t exist, or that it’s not a big deal, and that you can handle it yourself. Before you can put your foot on it, you have got to bring it out of the cave. Whatever you keep in the dark, grows, and intensifies and multiplies and will eventually bring you into bondage, and if not dealt with it will destroy your life.

Before you can put your foot on it, you have to identify it. Recognize it for what it is, expose it, get honest with God about it, and hate it! You will never quit drinking if you love it! You will never quit quarreling and arguing if you love it! You will never quit looking at pornography if you love it! You will never quit holding grudges if you love it! You will never quit gossiping if you love it! You Have to hate it to crucify it!

"And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." (Galatians 5:24 KJV)

Your evil desires will keep dragging you into sin as long as your flesh loves what your doing. That is why you have to die daily. You have to hate it, put your foot on it, and crucify it!

Your love for God must move you to hate the things that adversely affect your relationship with Him. My flesh may want to lean toward sin, but if it is harmful to my relationship with God, then my spirit should hate it. Before you can put your foot on it you have got to hate it.

You can’t tolerate sin and conquer it! You can’t pet sin and conquer it! You can’t cover it up and conquer it! You can’t deny it and conquer it! You have got to hate it with a holy hatred and when you do, you will go after it to destroy it, and you will put your foot on it's neck!

I don’t know what it is in your life today that is on top of you. I don’t know how big or small it is, but I know the Lord told me to tell you, “it’s time for you to put your foot on it!”

And when you do, something supernatural is going to take place: God almighty is going to fight with you.

Just like Joshua told those men: If you will just turn and fight your enemies, then God is going to fight with you and not one single one of your enemies will stand!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

What Meaneth This?

Acts 2 :1-12
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans?
And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

We Should live every day in the expectation that God will move ‘suddenly.’ We should preach every sermon, teach every lesson, sing every song, sow every seed, pray every prayer; with the expectation that, ‘suddenly,’ someone will fall under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and be saved, ‘suddenly’ someone will be healed, ‘suddenly’ the chains of alcoholism and drug addiction will be broken, ‘suddenly’ a marriage will be restored, suddenly hope and joy will be restored to someone who suffers from depression, ‘suddenly’ fear will be destroyed, ‘suddenly’ someone will be filled with the Holy Ghost!

The two identifying marks of Pentecost were and still are:

1.     “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

2.     “And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

The truth is we need some ‘what meaneth this’ moves of the Spirit in our midst today. Something that has no other explanation other than God. These men are full of new wine. This was spoken critically, but it was spoken truthfully, they recognized that they were full. The sad truth is today, most of us are not full like that. Most people in churches today are satisfied with just enough Holy Ghost to get them to heaven.

The prophet Elisha said to the little widow women who borrowed the empty vessels, to set aside that which was full. Full meant ready for service, we’re not truly ready for service until we’re full. That’s why Lu 24:49 Jesus told his disciples to tarry in Jerusalem until they were endued with Power from on High.

When the upper room got filled, the occupants of the upper room got filled. When the occupants of the upper room got filled, it overflowed out into the streets. And when we get full, we will overflow. When we are truly filled with the Holy Ghost, it will not be limited to church services. Jesus said out of your belly shall flow rivers of living waters.

“And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and spake with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

The first evidence of being filled with the Holy Ghost was, they spoke with other tongues. There are many other responses to the Spirit; shouting, dancing, running, jumping, crying, laughing, or all the above, but when we get full there will be an outward manifestation. Many of the Issues we struggle with could be solved forever by this powerful Baptism of the Holy Ghost.

One of the reasons so many continue to struggle with the sinful habits of their past, is that they are not filled with the Holy Ghost. It is not enough to just believe, you must be baptized of the water, and of the Spirit. (Acts 19 shows that you can believe and not yet have the Holy Ghost).

You may be asking yourself or saying to yourself, “why do you Pentecostals always harp on being filled with the Holy Ghost?” because, you cannot be full of the Holy Ghost and be full of lust, full of anger, full of hate, full of unforgiveness, or jealousy, and strife at the same time. The infilling of the Holy Spirit, is the indwelling presence of God in the believer, and God cannot coexist with sin.

This condition of being full must be maintained, it’s not a little dab will do you experience. You must keep in contact with the source. The Apostle Paul said, “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess but be ye filled with the Spirit.”

That means, keep being filled. Paul is speaking of being full of the Spirit in contrast to being drunk with wine. He is saying that when a person becomes full of the Spirit his or her life will show that they are under the influence. When you are under the influence of the Holy Spirit you live holy, you think holy, you talk holy. You sing different, preach different, you testify different, walk different, talk different, everything about you demonstrates that you are under the influence of the Holy Ghost. You are drunk on the New Wine!

They said on that day: What meaneth this? Somebody said: They’re drunk that means they are full, intoxicated, inebriated, under the influence of.

The crowd asked the question: What Meaneth This? What meaneth this, when a drug addict is suddenly free from the need and the desire for drugs? What meaneth this, when the alcoholic suddenly has no more desire for alcohol? What meaneth this, when a husband and wife are on the verge of divorce, but they walk out of church hand in hand, like high school sweethearts, head over heels in love? What meaneth this, when someone who has given up on life and given up on themselves and is ready to commit suicide, but suddenly hope springs up and joy fills his or her heart and they walk around singing and praising God and thanking him for the privilege of being alive?

What meaneth this?! How can these things be?!

My friends there are some things that have only one answer, it’s not technical and it’s not confusing, it’s simple: Jesus breaks every fetter!

When the church is truly full of the Holy Ghost, it will still provoke the same question today: What meaneth this?

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Two Patterns, Jesus' or the World's: One Choice

 Romans 12:1-2 (King James Version)
12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Conform: to take on the pattern, through pressure (to be pressed into the mold)
·       behave according to socially acceptable conventions or standards. "the pressure to conform" synonyms: follow convention, be conventional, fit in, adapt, adjust, follow the crowd;

This morning, in the light of the fact that school is starting all over America for many young people, and no matter how many years removed I am from youth ministry my heart will always lean toward the youth of our churches; so, I felt compelled to share.

Just like the three Hebrew children in the book of Daniel, we live in a foreign land, a hostile environment, we are strangers and aliens to this place. God never intended that we would fit in or blend in. But that we would stand up and stand out. As Christians, not just those that profess the things of God with their mouth, but actual Christians seeking to live lives that are pleasing to the Lord; we are supposed to be exhibiting an entirely different nature than the world. The worlds nature is darkness, The Christians nature is light.

Ephesians 5:8-13

For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

Darkness cannot over power the light; the only way darkness can prevail is for the light to refuse to shine. The devil’s strategy is to convince you to put out your light. How does he do this? Through peer pressure. He tries to make you feel like what you are standing for is foolish, and that you are all alone.

They separated Daniel and the 3 Hebrew children from their own land, houses and families, and then they changed their names. Why? Because their names tied them to their spiritual heritage, and defined their destiny in God:

Hananiah = God has favored (changed to- (Shadrach)
Mishaal = Who is what God is (changed to- (Meshach)
Azariah = Jehovah has helped (changed to- (Abednego)

Satan hates our spiritual heritage, he hates the Holy Ghost, and there is nothing that grieves the devil more than to see our young people, filled with the Holy Ghost shouting and dancing and speaking in other tongues. 

Last Sunday our pastor baptized one of our teenagers who had decided to follow Jesus. I stood there and wept, why? Because all too often, as I spent 18 years in youth ministry, I’ve seen one young person after another destroyed by sin and I couldn’t stop thinking, “In your face devil, this is another one for Jesus; another child that you don’t get.”

For these four Hebrew young men there was pressure from their enemies., but Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the kings’ meat. This is the easiest battle to win, because it’s natural to fight against our enemies.

There was pressure from their friends. This is where our commitment is really tested, there were many of those who were carried into captivity who were of Daniels brethren, yet they were content and happy to surrender their names and their identities to fit in and be accepted.

There is the pressure from within - this is the most dangerous and destructive of all. All the other pressure was external, but there is internal pressure to conform. This is when like Nebuchadnezzar we set ourselves up an image, and we create in our minds the kind of god we choose.

Worshipers of the image can be identified by phrases like these:

·       Everybody’s doing it.
·       I don’t see anything wrong with it.
·       It’s nobody’s business but mine.
·       I don’t feel any conviction over it.
·       It’s not hurting anybody

What is happening in the hearts and minds of these people, is that they are bowing down and worshiping a false image. They are bowing to a god of our own making.

But when the trumpet sounded, when the world’s music began to play, the young men who had committed not conform, refused to bow down and worship an image created by man. They chose to offer themselves as living sacrifices. The king’s wrath was kindled. Friends this is important to note: For anyone who dares to stand for God, there will be criticism.

The music today is playing, it’s seductive and destructive, it leads to self-will, rebellion, perversity, and violence. Be careful what you allow to entertain you, because once sin fascinates your mind, it will assassinate your soul.

When you turn down that cigarette, that beer, that joint; when you turn down that invitation to a party, and purpose in your heart that you will keep yourself pure, and maintain your virginity; when you refuse to listen to and laugh at dirty jokes, there will be criticism. But you never go through the furnace alone.
Young people you are not alone, Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

If you will stand up for Jesus, he will stand up for you. But it is also true that Jesus said:

Mark 8:38
“If you are ashamed of me and my words, in this wicked and adulterous generation then I will also be ashamed of you when I stand before my father and all the holy angels.”

Saturday, July 29, 2017

From Desperation, to Manifestation

Mark 6:45-51 – Suggested Reading

This morning while reading this passage I was reminded of the positive power of desperation. As difficult as it is to goes through some storms, and as hard as it is to accept that they are part of God’s plan, many times the desperation that is created by the storm is exactly what we need to position us to receive the help and revelation that we need to, “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (I Peter 3:18)

Desperation is where we come to an end of ourselves. Desperation is where I was when God delivered me from the bondage of drugs and alcohol. The best part of coming to the end of myself, I found Jesus.

In the text from Mark 6:45-51, the disciples had received an instruction from Jesus, a word from the master, but not just any word, it was a prophetic declaration of destiny, “Cross over to the other side.”

As they were obeying the Lord, don’t miss this aspect of the story it’s significant, the storm arose. If you plan on doing anything for God, you better get ready for the storm. Pew warmers, those who never do anything for God, don’t have to worry much about the storm. But those who walk in obedience to His voice will find themselves constantly facing opposition. I’m talking about satanic opposition! When you start moving in destiny hell will resist you, and the satanic forces of this world will try to stop you.

Anyone can serve God when the sky is clear and the seas are calm, but it takes committed people of faith to stay the course through the storm. It takes courage to stay on board when everything around you is telling you to abandon ship.

God allows the storms, because they benefit his children and make them stronger. The storm tests our level of commitment, helps us see what is important and what is excess baggage, it shakes loose the things that aren’t connected in the spirit of Christ, it exposes your best and your worst. The storm brought these disciples to a place of desperation.

Why did they need to reach this place of desperation? Because Jesus was coming to them in a different way than they had ever seen him before and if they had not been desperate they could have easily missed this fresh revelation. Jesus waited until they were exhausted, worn out, and desperate. In other words, they knew that self-effort was useless, and without God’s help, they were going to die. It’s amazing how far we must go sometimes to run into grace.

They saw Jesus on the water but Fear almost kept them from receiving him. Fear hinders us from receiving from God: Fear of the unknown, fear of what other people might think or say, fear of breaking a tradition, but desperation forces us to overcome our fears. Their desperation became a positive force in preparing them for this awesome revelation and manifestation of the power of God.

Friends, I know God gave me this word today specifically for some of you, I feel in my spirit what God is showing me today. Many of you have sensed a growing desperation in your spirit. You have not known which way to turn, nothing seems to be working anymore, and your exhausted. The word that He gave me for you is simple, ‘don’t give up, Jesus is on the way.’

I believe you’re on the verge of a revelation that is going to bring you into a deeper relationship with God than you have ever known before, and you are about to experience a greater manifestation of the power of God in your life than you have ever imagined was possible. He can do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we can ask or even imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)

Nobody likes to feel weak, or unsuccessful or like they don’t know what they’re doing, but sometimes we must reach that place before our ears open to really hear what God is saying, and our eyes are open to see how to do it Gods way.

Like the woman with the Issue of blood for 12 years, it wasn’t until she had spent all her money and exhausted every avenue at her disposal that she came to Jesus. Had she had more money, or another doctor to turn to she may never have come to Jesus.

It was desperation that caused Jairus to risk his reputation by coming to Jesus because his daughter was dying. It was desperation that caused Bartimaeus to cry for mercy, despite the persecution of those around him. In 2 Kings 4, it was desperation that brought the widow woman to the prophet, her husband had died and left her in debt, and her creditors were coming to make slaves of her two sons. Her desperation created an avenue for a miracle of divine provision, as she poured from her pot of oil into many borrowed vessels.

Friends I know what it’s like to struggle with the feelings of desperation, when you’ve done all you know how to do. You have prayed, fasted, you’ve confessed, and it seems like nothing has changed. I’m on a mission from God this morning to tell you to get ready, because on the other side of your desperation is a miracle, is a greater revelation of Jesus than you have ever known.

Desperation is like the last stages of pregnancy. You’re uncomfortable, nothing feels quite right, you cry for no specific reason, your emotions are right on the surface all the time, none of your clothes fit you, you can’t sit where you used to sit, and you’re desperate to get it over with. Meanwhile, something inside is growing, you may not be able to see what it I or touch it, but everyone can see your pregnant.

That’s the way it is for those who follow the voice of the Lord, even in the storm that creates desperation. There is a ministry growing inside you, a new anointing growing inside you, a special gift, a new vision, or a new level. Something is getting ready to be birthed, and desperation is that last stage before manifestation, and it is here that you either break down, or break through.

It is at this point that the devil will try to convince you that it’s not worth it. That God has changed his mind, that you misunderstood God, or that you just dreamed your own dream. I feel I need to let you know, to help you understand, that delay is not denial and desperation is a positive power when it causes you to surrender yourself completely to the one who, “even the winds and waves obey.”