Saturday, December 30, 2017

Them That Believe

Hebrews 11:1
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Faith is the believers sixth sense. It is the believer’s ability to see what cannot be seen with the natural eye, to hear what cannot be heard with the natural ear, and to taste what cannot be tasted with the natural taste. Faith, a supernatural manifestation of the Holy Ghost, is the supernatural sense that is birthed in the human heart when Gods word is heard, received, believed, and acted on.

It enabled Elijah to hear, the sound of “an abundance of rain,” when not one drop had fallen from the sky in over three years. Faith sustained a widow woman through the famine, her meal barrel wasted not, and the cruse of oil did not fail until the Lord sent rain according to the word of the Lord by Elijah. By faith a widow woman went from nothing but a small pot of oil, to an abundance that satisfied her creditors, fed her family, and blessed her community.

By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after they were compassed about seven days.

Notice the action words connected with faith in those sentences: Moses moved, the walls of Jericho were compassed, or walked around for seven days. Faith is not a generic mental assent to the truthfulness of the word of God. Anyone can say: I believe in the strength and the ability of that bridge to support the weight of my car and myself, but it’s not faith on your part until you are driving across yourself.

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.

If we believe that God’s Word is true, why do we not see more of the power of God manifested in our lives? I believe the answer is in understanding what Jesus meant when he said, “Believe.”

Are we really believers? I look around today and I get a sense that we’re raising a generation of mental assenters. Christians that are not true believers, they do not have true Bible believing faith, they agree in their mind that the word is true, but they take no action to show that they truly believe. The Apostle James said, “Faith without works is dead.”

Jesus was teaching His disciple here in Mark 16, that faith turns into people of action. ‘Believers,” are more than simply those that agree with the Word, they act upon what they hear, and receive, and become doers.

The Apostle James tells in James 2:19, that devils believe and tremble, but they don’t do any righteous works of faith. The plague that has infected the church world is that of calling the agreement of the mind a vital and living faith, calling it believing, but it is not believing without corresponding actions. That weak mental assent makes one no better than a devil.

According to the scripture faith has corresponding works, and without works it is dead. That means that a believer is a doer. For example, to agree that tithing is a biblical principle, that transcends both old and new covenants, does not make you a believer, it just makes you an assenter, and you can assent and not be a doer. But the minute you act on what you agree with, you have become a biblical believer.

The same with Prayer, to agree to the great need of prayer in your life does not make you a praying person. 

To merely agree to Jesus words, does not give you power over demons, but a relationship with Jesus through prayer and the baptism of the Holy Ghost makes you a threat to hell! 

To agree to liberty of the Spirit to worship the Lord by praising, clapping the hands, shouting, dancing, does not make you a liberated worshiper, unless you begin to enter in and truly worship the One True God. 

To agree to Jesus words concerning self-denial and taking up the cross brings us no closer to resurrection power, unless you die to yourself and begin to live for Him!

Believers are Doers. And Doers are Seers. In other words, we will see the manifestation of God’s power in the doing, not the agreeing. The reason so many haven’t seen more of the power and the glory of God in their lives, is because they have mistakenly accepted a mental assent, an agreement of the mind for Bible believing.

Many people will say they believe the Bible, but if they are not living according to its principles, they don’t believe they just agree. When we Believe we will do, and when we do or become doers of what we are agreeing with we will see the power of God .
At the tomb of Lazarus Jesus says to Take away the stone

John 11:40

“Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?”

What was between the believing and the seeing? The doing, removing the stone.

We can talk about prayer, sing about prayer, write songs about prayer, preach about prayer, teach about prayer, but we will not experience the benefits and the power of prayer until we pray. The same with fasting: We can preach and teach about the need for fasting, and how Jesus and his disciples fasted, and the great benefits of fasting according to the bible, but until we actually push the plate away, and deny ourselves, there will be no release of power.

The will be no signs: no one will be healed, no one will be set free from addictions, no families will be restored, no chains will be broken, and no one will be filled with the Holy Ghost – no one will be saved until the church demonstrates true belief. None of the things Jesus said will follow them that believe, will follow us, until we believe!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Dead Man Walking

Luke 2:6-11
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Many years ago, there was a book (the book was adapted into a Hollywood movie in 1996), "Dead man Walking."  The book title comes from the phrase that is exclaimed as the inmates in the state of Louisiana are marched from the death row cell block to the death chamber. I must be forthright and honest, I support capital punishment, in fact I don’t think we use it nearly enough.  But I also must admit that when I read about this practice, I developed a sense of abhorrence at the seemingly callousness of this practice, which is probably what the liberal anti-capital punishment author, Catholic nun Helen, Prejean, intended.

The cry as they walked from death row to the death chamber was, “Dead man walking.” How final, how seemingly irrevocable, and regardless of your view on capital punishment, most people cannot help but be left with a sense of uneasiness at the execution of a fellow human being.  "Dead man walking," a forecast of doom, the ultimate declaration of guilt, and an appropriate moniker to a deserving inmate on death row.

But how would you feel if you visited the birthing center at your local hospital, and amidst the cries of the newborn and the excited celebration of their families could be heard the cry resonating from the ward, "Dead man walking?"  And yet on that night in Bethlehem, as myriads of angels burst into ecstatic praise heralding the birth of a special Baby in that hastily arranged, and rustic labor ward, an alternative to that celestial composition entitled "Glory to God in the Highest" could very well have been "Dead Man Walking." 

For on that night in the little town of Bethlehem, while shepherds did what shepherds do and wise men studied the stars and kings assessed their political futures and priests sought to defend the faith by upholding the status quo and adhering to tradition, a baby was born to die.

The very announcement of His birth was also a proclamation of His impending execution.  Jesus was not born to live a charmed life, but He was born to face execution. It was not to receive the adulation of adoring crowds that Christ came into the world that night in Bethlehem, but it was to be slain for the sin of man. The King of kings did not come to ride in regal grandeur, but to be led like a lamb for slaughter.

The son of God was not afforded the mercy of lethal injection, the electric chair, or the hangman’s noose. No, nothing as merciful as that. But instead the one that came to bring light into the world was destroyed upon an object of abject torture. On a hill far away, on an old rugged cross, on an instrument of torture devised in the cauldron of hell by Satan himself and ultimately applied by human agents. Some of those human agents had raised their voices a few days prior to His death in shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David." They now joined the very forces of evil in human form standing in the courts of Pilate chanting "Crucify Him, crucify Him."

Born to die -- in agonizing tones of bewildered prediction the prophets had scratched out on tablets of clay, on papyrus sheets, and scrolls of parchment the sometimes-cryptic clues as to the destiny of the Son of God:

Genesis 3:15

15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel."

Isaiah 53:1-7

For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

The heavenly celebration of joy that appeared in that little town of Bethlehem did not initially allude to the ultimate purpose for His coming to this earth.

The writer Ellen White records for us:

“Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. "With His stripes we are healed."

This year, as the world focuses on the glamour and glitter, the glory and grandeur of the birth of the Babe of Bethlehem, let us recognize that His birth, death and resurrection had been determined from before the beginning of time as the ultimate solution to the problem of sin in our lives.  May we recognize this Christmas that the ultimate Gifts were provided by the Supreme Giver:  the gift of forgiveness for our sin, the gift of freedom from our guilt, the gift of unconditional acceptance, the gift of the assurance of salvation, and the gift of eternal life.

For on that night in the little town of Bethlehem, while shepherds did what shepherds do and wise men studied the stars and kings assessed their political futures and priests sought to defend the faith by upholding the status quo and adhering to tradition, a baby was born to die for you and for me.

Jesus was born to die, but he conquered death, and arose in triumph! This Christmas I want the whole world to know that God has made that baby from the manger, who grew up to be a man, was crucified for our sin, who rose from death and is alive forevermore, and whose name is Jesus, both Lord and Savior. The blood that was shed on that cruel cross breaks the power of sin. At the name of Jesus, the chains of addiction are broken, cancer is healed, marriages are restored, and the prodigal is led home. I urge you friends, if you have not yet, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

I pray to God that as we celebrate His birth this year that we will not reject His death on the cross for us, that we embrace the power of His resurrection, that we all gladly receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, the very power of God living in us, and flowing through us to reach others in Jesus’ name!

And friends, we must remain watchful, because as shepherds are still doing what shepherds do, as wise men are studying financial and economic indicators, politicians are still assessing their political futures, and many in the church seek to defend the faith by upholding the status quo and adhering to tradition: Jesus is coming again! No longer as a baby, or a suffering servant, but this time as a conquering King. And I echo the words of the John the Revelator – Even so, come Lord Jesus!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Midnight Hour

It has been really cold this past week here in southern Mississippi, we even got some snow a week ago. It actually feels like winter, like Christmas time. This morning I was reading the passage in Luke about Jesus’ birth and I was reminded that on a hillside outside the little town of Bethlehem there were shepherds, gathered around a campfire, yearning to drive away the cold. It was as the song proclaims, “a midnight clear.” Midnight was just a symbol of the condition, the darkness, that engulfed all of mankind on that night.

A religious spirit, and a supernatural darkness covered the land. It was a darkness that could not be driven away by a campfire. It was Israel’s midnight hour – the darkest hour it had ever known, and the atmosphere was ripe for the coming of a Messiah to bring light into the world once again.  While the rest the world slept in darkness that night, there was something wonderful that happened on that hillside where those shepherds lay.

Suddenly the angels appeared with their voices ringing to announce to the world that the Light had come because a Savoir had been born in Bethlehem.  The darkness of the midnight hour was broken by the glorious light of Heaven.  Sin was about to be conquered forever because God had robed himself in flesh, and a baby named Jesus was lying in a manger!

This wasn’t the first time that God had brought deliverance in the midnight hour.  God called Moses and anointed him as the Deliverer of Israel and sent him to speak to Pharaoh as God’s voice saying, “Let My People Go”! Six times Moses went before Pharaoh but Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he wouldn’t admit that Israel’s God was the only true God. But God was not giving up – the battle of wills was already won. God brought one more plague upon Egypt to convince Pharaoh that He was greater than Pharaoh was.

Exodus 11:4-6

"And Moses said, thus saith the LORD, about midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts. And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it anymore."

Here again we see the Lord doing a miracle at the midnight hour to bring about deliverance. I don’t know why God chooses the midnight hour, but it seems that He often does so.  Perhaps it’s the midnight hour because God must allow man sink to the very depths of despair before man will turn to Him. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that God will not share His glory with any man and when man is locked into the hopelessness of the midnight hour, that’s when God knows that no man can say God didn’t bring about a miracle.  Whatever the reason, God chose to bring about the final plague upon Egypt at the midnight hour.

Another time when we see something happening in the midnight hour is found in Psalms 119:62, "At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments."

King David knew what it was to be locked in the midnight hour of sin and despair. He knew was it was to feel the pain of sin and the agony of defeat at the hands of the devil. But he also knew how to pray in the midnight hour.

It’s often those prayers, those times when we cry out to God, when we have come to the end of our rope, that really touch the heart of God. All of us have prayed, at times, when we were just going through the motions, but when you really get down to business – when your grandchild is sick, and medicine won’t help; when death is knocking at the door, the doctors have said there is nothing that they can do, when all hope of deliverance is gone unless God performs a miracle – that’s when we really pray, and that’s when God really begins to move.

James 5:16, "… The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."

Those midnight cries, those wee hours of the morning prayers, when the Holy Spirit is bringing you on your knees before God and you really feel the heaviness of the burden, are the prayers that seem to get the quickest answers.

Paul and Silas had done nothing deserving of the place where they found themselves on this dark night. They were chained to the wall in the depths of a prison under Roman guard just because they had cast the devil out of a young girl.

You won’t always find yourself in the depths of darkness at the midnight hour because of some dark sin in your life. Sometimes it’s just a trap that the devil lays for you and that God allows you to go through for His name’s sake.

I am certain that Paul and Silas wondered why it was happening to them, but they didn’t blame God, get mad and quit the ministry, or curse the guards. They didn’t complain over their cold bread and water, if they even had that. They didn’t murmur because the air-conditioning was just right, or the heater wasn’t right, or the lights were too dim. They just started praising God in the darkness and waited for the will of God to be done.

Acts 16:25-26

"And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed."

Psalms 22:3, "But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel."

When the praises go up, the Holy Spirit comes down

 2 Corinthians 3:17, "Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."

Paul and Silas already had liberty in their hearts, but now they were going to experience the liberty that God gives in a very tangible way.

Another time when we see God working in the midnight hour is found in the Parable of the Ten Virgins found in Matthew chapter 25.

Matthew 25:1-13

"Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh."

Midnight - a time when we least expect anything to happen; a time when most of the world is asleep or trying to rest to forget the things of the day that has past, and not to worry over the things of tomorrow.   It’s the midnight hour, not just 12 o’clock by the clock, but midnight because of the powers of darkness that seem to engulf the whole world.  As our world is ever growing darker and falling deeper into the darkness of sin, I can’t help but believe that we are approaching the midnight hour for mankind. 

As Christians we understand that Jesus, the Messiah and Deliverer, has already come. He was born in that manger over 2000 years ago, He died and rose again, and is alive forevermore. Though the world grows darker, we see the light. We can hear the angel choirs singing in the realm of the Spirit and we understand what they mean whey they sing, “Glory to God in the Highest and peace, good will to all men.”

We hear the Lord saying, “Come unto me and I will give you rest.” We see the “Star of Bethlehem” as a light in our hearts for Jesus is that star, the Bright and the Morning Star, that has risen in us to give us the light of the gospel.

But I found myself weeping this morning, my heart breaking this Christmas, for those who are still trapped in the darkness of sin, and bound by chains that could so easily be broken by Jesus. We are approaching the midnight hour. Soon we will hear the trumpet sound, and the midnight cry will go forth, and where will they be when it sounds?

It won’t be only those who have never known Jesus who will remain in this world during its darkest hour.  There will be ‘church people’ who will remain who had the religious spirit of the Pharisees, but who really didn’t know Jesus at all.  

There will be those who once were on fire for God, but they have allowed the darkness to kill the fire and destroy the light in their souls, and if they do not repent, they will be trapped in that darkness forever.

There will be those who have ceased to pray, ceased to serve God, and ceased to read His Word who will suddenly, and without warning, find that they can no longer pray, serve or read, because Satan will complete the blinding process in their heart and mind.   There will be those who were once delivered by the power of God as the light of the gospel shone in them, but now they are locked down again, forever chained to the blackness of sin and despair.

There is a midnight cry coming. We are approaching the midnight hour! Right now, there are children all across the land who are being told about a fat, red-suited elf, riding a sleigh pulled by 8 miniature flying reindeer. They are told to go to sleep before midnight, so he can pass by their house. They are being told that he will give them what they desire.

But I wonder how many of those same children are being told that Jesus is also coming soon, in the midnight hour. I wonder if they are being taught that Jesus is riding on the clouds of Glory, or seated upon the Throne of God, or that He is carried about by the Seraphim of Glory?

We are approaching the midnight hour! Who are you looking for – an elf in a sleigh – or Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords? Don’t let the devil lull you to sleep now. The hour is growing late; the midnight hour is approaching; don’t let the fire die, don’t let the anointing die, don’t be caught unaware, or unprepared. Friends, I hope you all will be found watching and waiting, when Jesus comes in the midnight hour!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The devil Spelled it Wrong!

I Kings 19 (Read if you're not familiar with this story )

If you were to go back and read in I kings 17 you would find out that it reveals an important fact about Elijah, he was one of the inhabitants of Gilead.

I Kings 17:1
“And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.”

The point that I am trying to make is that Elijah was one of the people, in other words he was one of us, he was in the same mess as everyone else, he was surrounded by the same problems and the same sinful circumstances.  Elijah was in the world, but he wasn’t a part of it.  The importance of this fact should not escape us, because Israel’s spiritual condition was at an all-time low.  From generation to generation each of Israel’s kings had taken the nation “progressively” deeper into sin and farther away from God.  Sound familiar? 

The Bible says that Ahab, the son of Omri, did evil in the sight of the Lord above and more to provoke the anger of God than all of the other Kings of Israel that were before him.  And now, here stands Elijah, alone against this flood of ungodliness and perversion.

Have you ever felt like you’re all alone?  Has it ever seemed to you like you’re the only one trying to do right or the only one who is standing for righteousness?  You know what I mean, the only one on your job, the only one in your family, the only one in your school, in your town, or maybe even in your church.  Many of God's people have felt this way, even Elijah the prophet.

Friends the Lord gave me a word for you today: IT ONLY TAKES ONE! It only took One David to get rid of Goliath, one Moses to three million people out of Egypt, and one Ezekiel to turn an entire valley of dry bones into a mighty army! I want to tell you today, the Holy Spirit is urging me to tell you, IT ONLY TAKES ONE! Stop letting the devil lie to you! You can make the difference on your job, in your family, in your school, in your town, in your church, and in your world! Don't let the depression become your obsession! Hold onto the promise, "these signs shall follow them that believe!"

The devil wants you to believe that one person can never make a difference and he goes to great lengths to try and convince us, but the devil is a liar.  I remember what one of my professors in seminary told us, “Always remember: no matter how dark it gets one light changes everything.  The only way that darkness can overtake the light and win the battle for righteousness in each generation, is if that generation refuses to let their light shine.”

When it came to knowing and demonstrating the power of God, Elijah was no push over prophet.  He knew the power of God, through his ministry the dead were raised, the widow of Zarephath went into supernatural provision and was sustained through the famine.  He had a poverty crushing, death destroying anointing.  He was bold as a lion and mean as a bear, Elijah was a man’s man.  He stood alone against wicked king Ahab, and his wicked wife Jezebel, and an entire religious system that had turned against God.

I know a lot of people that can stand as long as they got someone to lean on, as long as people are backing them up, patting them on their back, and encouraging them.  But if you are ever going to do any real kingdom work, you might as well know: sometimes you have to stand alone!

It’s always nice to have friends that are willing to stand with us.  I’m not gonna lie to you, pats on the back feel pretty good most of the time.  I am always grateful when others bless and encourage me, but I have come to understand a very important principle through God’s Word - At some point you have to be able to stand on your own two feet.

You have to be able to praise when nobody else is praising, dance when nobody else is dancing, pray when nobody else is praying, and preach the Word when seems like everyone else is snuggling up to the world.  Last week's sermon from my pastor came in the nick of time to encourage me when I was in a dark place, it brought me hope. But I have also learned that sometime you have to preach yourself happy! 

When David and his men returned from war to find their homes destroyed and their families gone, David's men were so upset that they sought to kill him. He was being blamed for doing what God had anointed him to do. When David looked around and couldn’t get anyone to pat him on the back or speak an encouraging word to him, he encouraged himself in the Lord.

Elijah was a man who knew how to stand, but in our text we find the prophet hiding in a cave.  The cave is a place of isolation: most of the time when there is a strong attack against you the devil will try to Isolate you, cause you to withdraw from others.  The Cave is a place of Depression: one of the greatest signs of being in a cave is the spirit of depression. Isaiah calls it, “the Spirit of heaviness.”  The Cave is a place of Fear: fear is the opposite of faith, faith always mobilizes, but fear always paralyzes.  And the Cave is a place of death: the cave is where dreams, vision, anointing, and callings go to die.

Unfortunately, it seems, the cave is a spiritual reality.  At some point almost every single one of us, in our walk of faith, will experience the cave.  The cave is a spiritual condition: you can be rich and be in a cave, you can be surrounded by people and be in a cave, you can be anointed and be in a cave, you can be a pastor and be in a cave, and you can be a prophet and still wind up in the cave.  You can cast out devils on Sunday and be in the cave on Monday!  No one is exempt from the cave!

Most of you know what I’m talking about, you know what it feels like to be in a cave, to feel isolated and alone.  You know what it feels like to run as hard and fast as you can and feel like you haven’t moved.  You have to really strain your eyes to see anything good ahead of you.  Some of you are fighting feelings of discouragement because you haven’t seen the manifestation of your promise yet.  You’ve been faithful to God, but it seems like nothing is happening.  The devil has you questioning your calling and your anointing.

The great prophet, a mighty man of God, found himself in a cave.

1 Kings 19:9-10
“And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?
10 And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”

Notice Elijah’s Language, “I have been.”  Not I am, not I will be, but “I have been.”  Elijah was essentially saying: I’m done, I’m through, I’m finished, and I came here to die.  The cave is the place where dreams die, it is the place where visions expire, it is the place where passion and enthusiasm and desire surrender to apathy, indifference, and hopelessness.  It’s the place where fear reigns and doubt robs the heart of any expectation of better things.  Elijah Found himself in a cave, afraid of Jezebel, running for his life, wallowing in self-pity, mad at God, and mad at God’s people.  He was Ready to give up, throw in the towel.  But then something happened, the Lord passed by.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am glad in my life that the Lord passed by.  I was in a cave, a tomb of my own making.  I had given up on God, given up on righteousness, given up on my calling, but then the Lord passed by.  I was doing my own thing.  I didn’t care about anything or anybody, but then the Lord passed by.  I was doing the church thing, fooling myself and everyone around me, but then the Lord passed by.  I was lying in a hospital bed with the doctors shaking their heads, but then the Lord passed by.

One word from God turned Elijah’s cave, his tomb, into a womb.  One word from God and the old prophet came out with a new anointing, a new vision, and a new fire!

I am glad that my tomb became a womb and that God didn’t allow me to die in the cave.  And I want to tell you today that it doesn’t matter how long you have been in the cave, how far down into that cave you have traveled, Jesus is about to pass by.  Today is your opportunity to turn your tomb into a womb.

God told me to tell someone: you’re on the verge of a new revelation of the glory and power of God, of a new level of anointing, and you’re getting ready to see the greatest manifestation of the power of God you’ve ever seen.  The devil has tried to push you into a cave and roll the stone over the door and call it your tomb.  I want to make a small correction and turn the T into a W.

I am telling you today under the anointing of the Holy Ghost, the devil told you this is it for you, this situation, this struggle, this battle that you're going through is you end, it is your tomb. God told me to tell you, the devil spelled it wrong, this is not your tomb, it's your womb. The Lord is about to pass by, Jesus is about to pass by your cave, your cave is not your grave! Get up from this place and ask God for a fresh and holy anointing, then get out of this cave and destroy the works of the devil in the mighty name of Jesus!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Step Into Your Blessing

John 5:1-9
Multitudes of feeble folk surrounded that pool waiting for the moving of the water. Here was an entire group of people that testified, by their very presence, that they needed something at that place that they couldn’t get anywhere else.

Every time we come together to worship, our very presence in that moment is a revelation of the fact that we need something that we cannot find anywhere else. It’s not in a bottle, in a pill, and it’s not in drugs, sex, or money. The doctor can’t do it for you; you won’t find it in motorcycles, boats, or sports. What we need is nothing less than the supernatural presence and power of the living God.

I know sometimes it’s hard to come to the place where we’re ready to admit our desperation and our impotency. But today admitting that I’m no different than the multitude gathered at that pool. I’m impotent, powerless, helpless, and without his touch I am nothing. Without his anointing I can do nothing. And I have found out that one of the greatest keys to that touch and that anointing is learning how to wait on God.

God doesn’t operate on my timetable, so I must wait on him:

Psalm 62:5 “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.”

Psalm 27:14 “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”

Lamentations 3:25 “The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.”

Luke 21:19 “In your patience possess ye your souls.”

Isaiah 40:31 “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

When I come before God in prayer and I get quiet before him and I just wait, I am saying to God, “I am powerless without you, I’m helpless without you, and I can’t even walk without you holding my hand.

But you must realize there is a time for waiting and there is a time for stepping. A lot of people sit around on their hands excusing their fear, their doubt and their laziness by saying, “I’m just waiting on God.”

There’s a time for waiting and there is a time for moving.

David was anointed to be king, when the philistines heard about it they all came to fight with David. David enquired of the Lord, shall I go up and will you deliver them into my hand, God said go up, David did and won a great victory. A short time later the philistines came back, David again enquires of the Lord, and the Lord says go up, I will give you the victory, again David wins a great victory.

Then a Third time the Philistines come up against David. Most people would have assumed that God was with them based upon past victories and rush into battle. But David understood the need to get Gods Help and Gods direction. When David enquires, God tells him,

“thou shalt not go up; but fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees.
And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself: for then shall the LORD go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines.
And David did so, as the LORD had commanded him; and smote the Philistines from Geba until thou come to Gazer.”

In other words, God said wait. If you want me to be with you, and you want my power on your behalf then wait. The revelation here is that there is a time for waiting and there is a time for moving.

When the water moved, there was an angel present, whatever their need was it was met immediately when they stepped into the water. When the water moved there was a miracle in the water, but only when the water moved.

In my imagination I see this crowd of people spread out around this pool waiting for the moving of the water. They did not know when it was going to happen, so they had to watch the water. I can imagine these people anticipating their miracle, concentrating on the water, and getting as close as they could to the place of Blessing. I can imagine the struggle to be in the front and how over a period those who started out in the back made it to the front.

I can also see in my imagination people becoming discouraged because it didn’t happen soon enough for them. I see them begin to lose interest and lose faith as their focus shifted to other things. They begin to grumble and complain that it is too cold, or too hot, their seat is too hard, the music is too loud, or the songs aren’t their style. And they start looking for another pool where there was more entertainment, and more activities for the kids.

Then suddenly, someone comes climbing over the top of a hundred people. I can see people getting angry at this person, this person has completely forgotten his manners he has not said please or thank you or excuse me, or what time is it, or isn’t this nice weather we’re having.

He’s stepping on fingers and toes, he’s bumping heads on his way. See this person I’m talking about is the one who saw the water moving. He recognized the presence of the supernatural power of God, and has made up his mind that he’s not going to miss his move.
He didn’t come for the company, he didn’t come just to get out of the house, and he didn’t come for the good singing. He was there because he needed a miracle and he was looking for a touch from God!

Many of Gods people have become too familiar with the presence of God. They’re too casual with his presence, and many times they miss his glory because they have forgotten how to entertain his presence.

What began as a ripple in the water became a tidal wave of blessing of healing of deliverance to the one who recognized the presence of the angel of the Lord.

I am convinced that many times we miss the miracles and the glory of God simply because we are insensitive to the gentle stirrings, the ripples in the water. We’re wanting earthquakes, wind. and fire, but many times God moves in the still small voice, many times he is in the gentle ripples and subtle stirring. But we miss it because we’re in such a hurry to get the buffet bar first.

My grandma used to say, usually when she was cooking fresh bread rolls and I was nagging for them to be done, “Anything worth having is worth waiting for.”

That means that the best things require some time, and if you want the best, you must have some patience. Good things come to them who wait, but not to those who wait too late. The bottom line is, there is a time for waiting and there is a time for stepping.

When the water moved the miracle power of God was present. The healing, the deliverance, the breakthrough was present in their midst, but the only person who got their miracle was the one who moved when the water moved. It was the stepper.

I don’t plan on missing my move. When the water starts moving I’ll be stepping. So, you might want to pull your feet in a little bit. I don’t mean to be pushy, or rude but I need a miracle, I need a breakthrough and I don’t have time to be worried about being cute or comfortable. When He begins to move, I don’t know if He’ll ever move like this again, and I am not about to miss it.

I don’t care what you think about me! I can’t let your opinion hold me back! I may seem a little undignified, but I need a move and I been waiting for a long time! I’ve been praying for it, I been believing for it, I’ve been expecting it, and when it comes, you better move with me, make a way, or get run over, cause I’m not sitting back and letting it pass me by!

I believe that God is moving in some lives right now. As you read this can you feel the anointing? Do you feel a stepping anointing right now? Friends, I believe someone is getting ready to step into a breakthrough, you’re about to step into a divine connection, somebody’s getting ready to step into what you’ve been waiting for.

God is getting ready to move! Are you ready to step into your blessing? I know I am!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

I've Got a Testimony!

Joshua 4:1-9, 20-24
“20 And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal.
21 And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?
22 Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.
23 For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over:
24 That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the Lord your God forever.
In passage of scripture, it says that Joshua chose twelve men, one from each of the twelve tribes of Israel and commanded them to take every man a stone.  These stones were to become a memorial to the miraculous power of God that divided the Jordan and delivered the children of Israel. These stones were to be a reminder for future generations of the power of God to deliver His children, when it appears to everyone, that all hope is lost.  The stones were their testimony.
Don’t ever let the devil deceive you into believing that your testimony isn’t important. According to the Word of God you are made an overcomer by the blood of Jesus, and by the word of your testimony (Revelation 12:11).
Romans 8:37
“Nay in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
I am more than a conqueror: More because I didn’t just get delivered, I didn’t just get healed, I didn’t just make it through the Jordan waters, I didn’t just make it through the fire and through the flood, but God gave me a testimony.  It’s the blood of the lamb coupled with my testimony that makes me more than a conqueror, it has made me an overcomer!
It is our testimony that makes us valuable to the Kingdom of God.  Our testimony is what makes us dangerous, and it is because of our testimony we are a threat to hell.  You see it’s not just what you came through, or what you made it through that makes you a threat to hell, it is the fact that Jesus brought you through it all. 
Friends listen to me and understand that what I am about to say is spoken for your benefit, and for the benefit of all those around you that don’t know Jesus: Your personal victory, the fact that you’ve been washed in the blood of Jesus, benefits no one except yourself until you open your mouth and declare the faithfulness and the mercy of the God that delivered you, restored you, and set you free.  But when you open your mouth and begin to declare to others what God has done for you, your testimony becomes a weapon, it becomes a sword in your hand, it becomes an instrument of power to set the captive free, and it becomes a lifeline to someone who is sinking.
So many of Gods people have been shamed into hiding their testimony, some are afraid to give their testimony because the devil makes them believe that if they talk about it, it might open the door for it to come back, or they might fall back into the pit they were delivered from.  This is nothing but the spirit of fear manipulating and intimidating you because the devil knows the power of your testimony. Listen to me, the devil is a liar!
Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”
The devil wants you to keep your mouth shut because he knows your testimony has the power to bring life, to bring hope, to bring joy and peace, and to bring restoration and deliverance.
It is my story now, it was my heartbreak, and it was my confusion and fear, and my loss. It was my fall, it was real, it was hot, and it hurt.  There were times I felt like I wasn’t going to make it, times I felt like I was going to lose my mind, and times I felt like I was going to die.  But I am here today, and I made it.  My mistakes didn’t kill me, I was bitten but I didn’t die, the alcohol and drugs didn’t kill me, the sickness didn’t kill me, the motorcycle wreck didn’t kill me, my marriage survived, and I found my way back to God.
My ministry was destroyed, my character was destroyed, but it didn’t kill me. I walked through the valley of the shadow of death, but I’m still alive.  I walked through the fiery furnace, but I didn’t burn up.  I waded through deep waters, but I didn’t drown.  I heard Satan whisper time and time again, “I’m going to kill you,” but I’m still here! The blood of Jesus has set me free! I have repented of my sin, I have been washed in the waters of baptism in the name of Jesus, and I have been filled with His Holy Ghost. And listen closely, I intend to remain a threat to hell by shouting to the roof tops – Jesus Saves! I’ve got a testimony!
I’m still here, healed, delivered, set free, and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ once again!  I’ve got a testimony and I refuse to be silent and let others perish when God has placed such a precious gift in my hands. I’ve got a testimony!
For years I fought hell every day and there were times when I felt like giving up, there were times when I felt like I wouldn’t make it, there were people who said I wouldn’t make it, and many had written me off. But a praying woman kept on praying, and one day I walked in the back doors of a Pentecostal church and I came face to face with the power of God. That day, Jesus raised me up, He healed me, and He delivered me the gates of hell! I’ve Got a testimony!
I should be dead, but God has healed me. I was trapped in addiction, but God has delivered me. I spit in God’s face, I walked away from my calling, I committed unbelievable sins, but God has accepted me back with open arms, he pulled me from the pit of hell, embraced me, and God has anointed me once again to preach the gospel of Jesus! I’ve got a testimony!
The three Hebrew children benefitted from a great miracle when God delivered them from the fiery furnace. But the most valuable thing that they received that day was not the miracle, it was their testimony.  Because the miracle was theirs alone and only benefited them, it was just for that day and for that problem, but their testimony is still bringing hope to the hopeless, it’s still bringing strength to the weak, healing to the sick, and deliverance to the captive.  We overcome today by the blood of the lamb, and by the word of our testimony.
I believe now that somebody is going to be delivered because of my testimony, to be healed because of my testimony, and somebody is going to receive boldness and strength to try again because of my testimony.  Somebody who was going to quit the ministry is going to stay, somebody who was on the verge of a nervous breakdown is going to find peace, and somebody who was ready to quit on life is going to keep on living because of my testimony.
No wonder the devil is trying so hard to kill us, no wonder we’ve been going through the fiery furnace. He wants to shut us up; he wants to kill our testimony.
God is going to make the devils plan backfire in his face. If you will hold on God will deliver you and he will put the enemy's sword in your hand and you will cut off your enemy's head with it, and God will give you a testimony.
You need to know, there is no miracle without a problem, no victory without a battle, no crown without a cross, no resurrection without a death, and no testimony without a test.
God gave me this word for someone who is going through the fire right now.  You’re in the fight of your life, for your life. You’re walking through the valley of the shadow of death.  You’re being attacked physically, spiritually, and financially.  Your family is under attack, your marriage is being attacked, your ministry is being attacked, it seems like all hell has been unleashed against you.  But the Lord told me to tell you, “You’re going to make it!  You’re not going under, you’re going over!  You’re not going to burn up in the fire, but you’re coming out with victory and you’re coming out with a testimony that will shake hell, and will break down walls and set captives free.”
When the children of Israel crossed the Jordan River, they set up two pillars.  One was in the middle of Jordan and one was on the other side of Jordan.  The first one in the middle of Jordan was a midway praise, “I’m going through it praise.”
I’m going through sickness, but I’m going to praise him anyway.  My marriage is on the verge of a divorce, but I’m going to praise him anyway.  I’m going through financial problems, they’re threatening to foreclose on my house, but I’m going to praise him anyway.  I’m going through it with my children, they’re on drugs, they’re rebellious and hateful, but I’m going to praise him anyway.  You may be in the darkest times of your life, but give God praise. You’re going to make it!
Paul and Silas were beaten, and humiliated publicly, and they were bound and cast into the inner prison.  They could have murmured and complained, they could have been angry and bitter, or they could have slipped over into self-pity, but they didn’t.  The Word of God says that at midnight, Paul and Silas began to pray and sing praises unto God, and God shook that prison off its foundation, shook the doors off their hinges, and broke the shackles off every prisoner.
I just want to tell somebody, God works the night shift, in fact He does his best work in the dark.  You may not see it, but He’s working, you may not feel it, but He’s working.  He doth work, He’s working on the left hand and He’s working on the right hand and when He gets through with what He’s doing, He’s going to flip the light on and you’re going to see what’s He’s been working on in the dark.
When the children of Israel got to the other side of the Jordan: Joshua said, now take those stones that you carried out of the Jordan River and build a pillar here. This is your Thank God, I made it Praise.  This is your, thank God, I made it testimony.
Psalm 119:92 Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction.
Psalm 40:2, 3 He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.  And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.
David said: I was stuck in a horrible pit, I was sinking into the miry clay, all joy and all peace was fading from view, it looked like I was going to die, it looked like I would never be happy again, It looked like the devil had won, but God reached down into that horrible pit and he pulled me out of that miry clay, and he set my feet upon the rock, and he gave me back my joy, and he gave me back my peace and he gave me back my song,
What David was saying is that God has given me a testimony and when people hear my testimony they will honor God and put their trust in him for their own deliverance, and their own miracle.
Do you have a testimony? Do you have a midnight praise? Do you have a thank God, I made it praise? Does anybody know how to give God Praise?
Then open your mouth and give God praise, and tell the devil he’s a liar, and tell the devil he’s a loser.  Tell the devil your God is greater than divorce, your God is greater than cancer and heart trouble, Your God is greater than sugar diabetes and high blood pressure. Your God is greater than arthritis, and deafness and cataracts.  SCREAM IT IN THE DEVIL’S FACE!
My God is greater than drug addiction, He’s greater than homosexuality, He’s greater than perversion.
Now testify…I was sick, but God healed me. I was lost but Jesus found me. I was bound by drugs and alcohol, but God delivered me. I was oppressed by a spirit of fear, but God set me free. I was about to lose my marriage, but God brought restoration. I was about to lose my mind, but God stepped in and spoke peace!

There’s life and power in your testimony!