Watch and Pray

20931167_1754424497918224_1024887147_oTwo simple words that carry such power. Why? Because the power is not in the words, or the action of them, but in God Who works with power to perform His will in the earth. Of all the LORD’s commands, I believe these to be the most difficult to obey, not because they are difficult to do, but because it is difficult to do that only and not want to do something more. When an expert says, “watch me and learn.” It’s always a good idea to pay close attention to what they do and how they do it. Much can be learned by watching a professional do a task. I feel just like this sitting at the feet of Christ. Completely in awe of Him, as He does what only HE can do! I know that I will never be able to attain to His perfection and abilities (at least not on my own), nevertheless I desire to learn as much as I possibly can from Him! So what does He tell us we can learn from Him?

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”‭‭ – Matthew‬ ‭11:28-30‬ ‬

So first He tells us to come to Him! Then He tells us to rest from all our own labors (because that profits us nothing), then He tells us to take His yoke upon us (because without Him we can do nothing), next He tells us to be meek and lowly like Him (for He came to serve not to be served), then He says we’ll find rest for our souls (no more needless striving for things we could never hope to achieve), just rest (be still and know that He is God) leave those impossibilities to our all powerful God and learn to trust Him with all our hearts and yoke up with Him in prayer How? Simply agree with Him! Agree that if He said it then it shall be! Stay connected to Christ Jesus and move when and where He does. Then and only then, can we become useful to Him! All we need to do is trust and follow walking in complete covenant agreement with all He wants to do, when, where, and how He wants to do it! The difficulty comes when we think we know what He is doing and want to help Him! (Great intentions but that only slows down or halts the process) The difficulty is in doing all this and nothing more! Of all the lessons of Scripture, this, at least in my opinion is the most difficult. Trust, pray, and obey! Nothing more and nothing less! This is truly being led by the Spirit and not walking in the flesh or emotions of our soul. I know in my own life, when I get excited about what God is doing I want to press that gas pedal and go a little faster, but if I feel fear, or am simply lacking in faith, I want to hit the breaks a little. Both of these responses are wrong, they throw you out of God’s timing and may cause you to have to repeat the course, instead we should cling to Jesus and trust Him in every moment of the journey. Only He knows best how to get you to the finish line right on time!

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.”‭‭ – Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-7‬ ‬

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”‭‭ – Romans‬ ‭8:2-8‬ ‬

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”‭‭ – Galatians‬ ‭5:16-25‬ ‬

“And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”‭‭ – Romans‬ ‭8:10-15‬ ‬

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”‭‭ – 2 Timothy‬ ‭4:7-8‬ ‬

“See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.‭‭” – 1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:15-24‬ ‬

Submitted by @ Heather Wright

How You Respond To God’s Reproof Matters

shutterstock_111482312-smaller“I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.” – Habakkuk‬ ‭2:1‬ ‭

We all, like children make mistakes, and God knows this. That’s why Jesus said that at His leaving, He would send us a teacher, the Holy Spirit. God is ever patient to teach, even through our mistakes, even by our mistakes, as long as we are willing to learn. For what good is a teacher to someone to refuses to learn His lessons? Therefor, it is not so much our mistakes that cause the Holy Spirit to depart from us, but rather our reaction to His reproof of them.

“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” – Hebrews‬ ‭12:5-8‬ ‭

If we are God’s children He will correct us because He loves us and wants us to finish the race of faith unto eternal glory. For as Paul so clearly stated, it’s not who starts the race that wins but who finishes it. To which he warns that even he, after all his preaching to others, if he not learn the lessons of the Lord’s reproof and put himself in subjection to them that he might avoid the pitfalls of sin, that even he himself would be cast away and fail to receive the prize that only comes once your race is run.

“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭9:24-27‬ ‭

Therefor, if you stumble and fall during the race and He shouts at you from the finish line to get back up, watch your footing, and avoid the stumbling blocks, it’s only because He loves you and wants you to make it to the finish line where He is. He can see the whole course, we can barely see where we’re putting our next step so remember that often times His reproofs come to not only teach us not to make the mistakes of our past again but also to avoid the pitfalls and snares being laid before us by the enemy. In this is the great love of His reproof manifested. It is also why it greatly offends Him when we react with pride and rebellion against His loving reproofs and it’s good intentions for us. You see, it’s not as much the sin that He is concerned about (the stumble) but the consequence of it (falling into the pit), the failure to complete the race and meet Him at the finish line.

“Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth.” – Isaiah‬ ‭24:17‬ ‭

“Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” – Isaiah‬ ‭14:15‬ ‭

An example of this can be seen in King Saul’s life. God told him to destroy all the Amalekites and take no spoils, but Saul made some mistakes. He took a lot of spoils and kept many of this enemy alive. This is a type of holding on to people and things in your like that God has told you to get rid of. God was not pleased and sent the prophet Samuel to give a word of reproof to Saul for Him. Now, God knows we make mistakes, His displeasure was in knowing how this sin of disobedience was just a trap of the enemy to destroy Saul. His love compelled Him to correct Saul! However, Saul’s responds to the reproof was one of pride, arrogance, refusal, and rebellion. This was an insult in the face of God’s great loving intentions, it grieved the Holy Spirit and because of this God removed His Holy Spirit from Saul.

“But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, ….” – 1 Samuel‬ ‭16:14‬ ‭

You see what Saul failed to understand in his pride is that God could see the whole course and he knew that by Saul’s refusal to kill the Amalekite would in the end result in the Amalekite killing Saul. If you won’t kill the sin and rebellion in your heart it will eventually kill you, because the wages of sin is death and a wage is something that you yourself earned by the work you did. It is the fruit of your labor and Jesus said that we will all be judged before God, the Angels, and all the saints by our fruits. So allow Him to reprove your actions and receive that reproof with sincerity, humility, and thankfulness for the loving intent that it was given unto you that it might restore you to the race from which you have fallen.

“Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew‬ ‭7:19-21‬ ‭

Now eventually David replaced Saul as King, but David made some mistakes too. However, his response to God’s reproof of those mistakes was very different then Saul’s. David’s responds was full of humility, brokenness, faith, love, concern, and above all an eagerness to receive the correction, learn the lesson, and get back on the path that God had laid before him.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” – Psalms‬ ‭51:10-12‬ ‭

Where Saul insisted on going his own way and taking his own course, David (having veered off track) received the Lord’s correction with gladness and quickly got back on track that He might finish the race. Remember that it’s not those who start the race that receive the prize (the gift of eternal life in the glorious presence of Almighty God) but those who finish it. So when you get tripped up along the way, listen to the reproof of your Heavenly Father, He’s a good coach, He wants to help you win. Yet if you, in pride, refuse His loving council thinking that you know better and can see and understand what’s around you as well as He can, then He will depart and allow you to take your own course right into the pit, for pride always comes before a fall.

“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.” – Proverbs‬ ‭16:18-19‬ ‭

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame.” – Hosea‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭

“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:12‬ ‭

“I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.” – Habakkuk‬ ‭2:1‬ ‭

Waiting On God’s Perfect Timing

IMG_1534“But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.” – John‬ ‭7:10‬ ‭

It’s a lesson to be learned that not everything God tells you is to be spoken and not everything He ask you to do is to be seen by others. To everything their is a time and a season and when God moves against the enemy His victory blows, timing is everything. This is why you see Jesus keeping certain aspects of what He knew to be coming secret until it was time for it to be revealed.

“Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine time is not yet come.” – John‬ ‭2:4‬ ‭

Often times demons tried to reveal who Christ was before the stage was fully set, all the prophecies had been fulfilled, and His disciples prepared. They tried to flatter and fluff and promote hoping pride would cause Him to allow things to be taken out of God’s timing.

“Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ.” – Luke‬ ‭4:40-41‬ ‭

“And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.” – Luke‬ ‭4:33-35‬ ‭

They tried to trick and deceive, and at times right out proclaim it. You see, if the devil can’t stop you, sometimes his next best tactic is to help you. What? Yes, he will send people to help you run ahead of God’s plan and timing. He will send people to fluff your pride and get you to step out onto an unfinished stage while not only the stage is incompletely set but you and or your supporting cast are not fully prepared for your roll on it.

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

So you think you know the script? You think you are ready and know exactly what God would have you do? Maybe, maybe not, but regardless, are those called to be around you ready also? You see Christ was born ready for His purpose, but His disciples were not. There were things they had to experience to prepare their character, their were things they had to see to prepare their faith, and there were things they had to endure to prepare their will to endure God’s.

For example, had Christ died sooner then He did, then not all of the Old Testament prophecies about Him would have been fulfilled and it would have left room for doubt, leaving many waiting for an other. If his followers had not experienced all what they had they would not have had the confidence (faith) to play their part when it came. For example, do you know why Mary and Martha (and the other women with them) had the faith to run and preach the gospel, the good news that Christ had risen and the tomb was empty to people who did not believe them and thought them crazy? Because God had prepared them for this roll by causing them to experience the impossible resurrection of their own brother Lazarus!

“And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go. Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.” – John‬ ‭11:43-45‬ ‭

O chosen vessel of God, their is a plan for your life and a purpose in the positioning. Let it do it’s humble work. If their be one thing I can get through to you today, it’s wait on God, work behind the scenes, and don’t rush onstage before He has fully set it, lest you fall before all. God’s timing is perfect, trust it. He is hiding a checkmate moment in you that is meant to astonish all to the glory of God, don’t let the enemy cause you to expose yourself before all the pieces are laid in place. He will use people (even those you love and trust), he will use false words and false prophets, he will use flattery, he will use your own pride, hurt, or desperation to convince you that you are ready before God has laid everything in place. Never self promote, for in it is a snare laid by your own hand against the plan of God for your life. Go hide thyself, pray, obey, and wait on the Lord.

“Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.” – 1 Kings‬ ‭17:3‬ ‭

“Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause. Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait…” – Psalms‬ ‭25:3-5‬ ‭

“And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.” – John‬ ‭12:23‬ ‭

“As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.” – Psalms‬ ‭18:30‬ ‭

Are You Ready For War?

hqdefault“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” – Revelation‬ ‭12:17‬ ‭

So you found out about this Jesus, you fell in love with His selfless sacrifice on your behalf, you were astonished at His deity, wisdom, love, humility, and compassion, you believe in what He taught, what He did, and who He was, and you got saved… Congratulations, like it or not you’ve just been inducted into an invisible army and stepped right into a war.

Wait, what? I didn’t sign up for this!? I thought being a Christian was all about love, piece, and blessings… My friend, those things are merely the spoils of war and make no mistake about it, whether you like it or not, you are in a war. However, as our childhood heroes, GI Joe, often said about their own battles against that old serpent (Cobra), knowing is half the battle.

“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” – Revelation‬ ‭12:7-9‬ ‭

In the verses leading up to our opening passage we read of a war in heaven between Satan, fallen angels, and the heavenly host and how it carried on through events that transpired on the earth. A prophecy is given that this war would be won by Christ and that in the end, Satan would be overcome by Jesus’s faithful followers. The woman mentioned in this passage is Israel (represented in this Eve type character of whom it was prophesied in the garden that “her seed” would crush the head of the serpent), therefor her seed is Christ, and the remnant of her seed that have the testimony of Jesus Christ are His followers, the Christians. In this we see that to be a Christian and hold the testimony of Jesus Christ (or the gospel) is to be at war with Satan and have all the host of hell be at war with you.

“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” – Revelation‬ ‭12:17‬ ‭

So congratulations, you are now the enemy of the enemy of God. Now understand that we’re not talking about the fake Christians here, or the “Christian in name only” crowd. The devil’s not worried about those, they pose no threat to him, in fact they are one of his greatest assets in this war. No, we are talking about “those who keep the commandments of God“, after all Jesus Himself said that those who really love Me “will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). So we are talking about the real Christians, not those who call “themselves” Christians, but those who “God” calls Christians. Those who love Him and trust Him enough to seek Him and obey Him in all things, those who live the gospel, share the gospel, and demonstrate the gospel of Jesus Christ with their very lives. These are who God calls Christians and the devil hates them.

So if you have truly given your life to Christ then you can expect a fight. In fact if you have not faced obvious opposition from the enemy as of yet, I would question your salvation because the only people who never come face to face with the devil are those already at his side. Seek the Lord, get saved, obey His commands, and join the fight.

So great, I’m saved, I’m in a war, and all of hell is against me, what’s the good news? I mean, doesn’t the word “gospel” mean good news? So what’s the “good news“? The good news is that though all of hell may be against you, all of heaven is for you! The good news is that Jesus has already won the war and you have been commissioned to go forth and tell everyone that they are willingly staying in bondage to a defeated foe! They don’t have to! They’ve been liberated! The good news is that you have been granted rank and authority by the victor to take the land as a spoil of war from His defeated foe. No matter how much he fights, he has to go! The good news is that in this war, you out rank, out man, out gun, and out power the enemy immensely. He will come at you with fear tactics, mind games, lies, and minions desperate to bluff you into giving him back the land that he has already lost and if he can’t take the land, he will try to take you by way of temptations, sins, offense, or compromise. But if you hold your ground and keep the commandments of God (that is to say, to do what God says) victory is assured in every battle. So stand in faith (1 Corinthians 16:13), war in prayer (2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:4‬ ), advance with praise (psalms 68:1), proclaim the gospel (Mark 16:15), endure all hardship and tribulation (2 Timothy 2:3), set the captive free (Luke 4:18), be strong and courageous (Deuteronomy 31:6), armor up (Ephesians 6), and fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12).

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” – Revelation‬ ‭12:11‬ ‭

“Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms;” – Jeremiah‬ ‭51:20‬ ‭

“Of judgment, because the prince of this world (Satan) is judged.” – John‬ ‭16:11‬ ‭

“The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.” – Deuteronomy‬ ‭28:7‬ ‭

“(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)” – 2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:4‬ ‭

“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” – 2 Timothy‬ ‭2:3-4‬

What Must I Do To Be Saved?

e761a206c0a9500607e625d2c1af43ea“…and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” – Acts‬ ‭16:30‬ ‭

Jesus tells us in The book of John, chapter 14, and verse 6: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” This means that there is no other way, no other person, and no other god or deity that can save you from the penalty of sin, which is an eternal death (or separation from God) in hell. For only Jesus died to pay that penalty for you with His own atoning blood that you might be reconciled to God the Father and be able to inter into eternal life and your blessed rest with Him in Heaven. This is why scripture so clearly states in Acts 4:12 that, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” but by the Name of Jesus Christ only, the chosen and anointed one.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” – John‬ ‭3:16-17‬ ‭

“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” – John‬ ‭1:29‬ ‭

So scripture is clear Jesus is the only one who can save us, but what must I do to be saved by Him? In John chapter 3 a pharisee (a priest) named Nicodemus ask Jesus this very thing, to which Jesus tells him, “you must be born again“. Jesus explains that we were all born once into this natural world, naturally of water by way of our mother’s womb, but to be able to inter the Kingdom of heaven (which is Spiritual) we must be born again of the Spirit. This will allow us to be changed, to be cleansed, to be made pure and sinless, to be made new, to become a child of God.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;” – 2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:17-18‬ ‭

So to answer the question what must you do to be saved, it’s not really “what you do“, for there is no work or ritual that can save you, but rather it is “what you believe“. Not what you say you believe, but what you really believe, because what you believe you will obey with your very life. Because you see, while your actions won’t change what you believe, what you believe will most definitely change your actions. Therefor, are we saved by grace through faith and empowered unto good works.

So this is what you must do to be saved according to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Truly believe in your heart that Jesus is the son of God who died to take away your sin. Believe that He is the only way to the Father and to Heaven. Believe that He can take away your sin and give you His heart and Spirit that you will be born again as a child of God freed from the bondage of sin and the penalty of it. Believe that by the power of His Spirit (or Grace) you can now resist the devil and overcome him and his temptations. You must confess these things with your mouth. Repent (or turn away) from your sins. Pick up your cross (which represents laying down selfish desires for obedience to God’s will and the leading of His Spirit) and follow Him. By this are men saved! That first by faith in who Christ is and what He has done is released by us, to which God then sends us His Spirit (the Spirit of Grace), to impart unto us His favor, power, and divine influence, that we might abstain from evil and do good works unto His glory and become a witness of the saving grace of the risen Christ to a fallen world.

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:” – Acts‬ ‭3:19-20‬ ‭

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” – Ezekiel‬ ‭36:26-27‬ ‭

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians‬ ‭2:8-10‬ ‭

“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” – Zechariah‬ ‭12:10‬ ‭

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” – Romans‬ ‭10:9-11‬ ‭

“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” – Romans‬ ‭8:11-16‬ ‭
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Has Your Promise Died?

prayerIn the book of 2 Kings chapter 4, you can read the story of a remarkable woman of faith. As often as the prophet Elisha would pass by, she would invite him in to eat with her and her husband. She even went so far as to petition her husband to build an upper room within their home for the man of God to lodge in when he passed, to which her husband graciously obliged. For all her faithful service and kindness to God’s servant, the prophet, she was promised that in a year she would have a son seeing as how she had no children.

All came to pass, but one day when the child was still young, he fell ill in the field, overcome by the elements of laboring in the field with his father, the child died. The woman had been given a promise from God, yet now her promise was dead in her arms. All hope seemingly stripped away. Yet when her servants asked what was wrong, she replied only, “it is well“.

You see, though her promise was dead, as long as her faith in it was not, “all really was well“. Instead of giving up, blaming God, or anyone else, she drove as fast and as hard as she could to God for help. For who can steal from God and not be made to repay what was stolen? This promise was from God, therefor she trusted that even though it had died, as long as her faith in it had not, then God would resurrect it; and resurrect it He did.

“Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. And he called Gehazi, and said, Call this Shunammite. So he called her. And when she was come in unto him, he said, Take up thy son.” – 2 Kings‬ ‭4:35-36‬ ‭

Has your promise died? What has God promised you that you have held close to your heart for so long? Has it only become more impossible then when He first promised it? Has the hope of it ever coming to be as it was promised become utterly hopeless, except by faith? Good! Because until it comes to this point, the point of utter death, of complete hopelessness of completion by natural means, by you, by anyone, or even any devil; will God finally step in and do what ONLY HE CAN DO! For only He has resurrection power and by it does He prove that He is God and none other!

You see our God specializes in bringing dead things back to life, therefor we need to specialize in believing that. The truth is that your promise has to die before He can bring it to life in all its glory and power. It has to die so that it can stop being “your” promise and be resurrected by His mighty hand and manifest as “His” promise. By this is He glorified and your faith secured!

Many years after this woman’s child of promise was resurrected, God sent an other promise into the world. A promise of hope, deliverance, salvation, Kingship, power, majesty, and might! That promise walked the streets of Jerusalem healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, causing the lame to walk, the captive to be set free, preaching, teaching, and proclaiming the acceptable year of the Lord! Yet while He labored lovingly in His Father’s field, He was nailed to a cross and the promise died.

“And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.” – Luke‬ ‭24:19-21‬ ‭

Yet again, all would seem lost, but for the limitless power of our God who specializes in bringing dead things back to life! Full of resurrection power toward those that believe! Dead promises, dead hopes, dead relationships, dead ministries, dead situations, He can bring life to anything, even to you! Are you dead in sin? Believe that He can even bring life to you by the power of His Holy Spirit! The more impossible it seems the more you can stand in faith that He is willing to do it, not just for you, but for the faith of others, and for His glory!

“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” – Romans‬ ‭8:11‬ ‭

If your promise has died, then stand in faith and praise God because it means that the promise is not just for you and that the faith of many will be effected by the impossible resurrection of that promise by His own hand! Have faith and He will turn your mourning into dancing! What began as impossible, through faith will end as the miracle that everyone around you has been needing to see to cause faith to rise up in them. In this is your seed of faith planted, buried, left for dead yet waited on until it springs up in newness of life, bares fruit and is multiplied in the hearts of others.

You see, if the woman had only received the promised child, it would have brought faith to her and blessed her alone, but when the promise died and it became completely impossible, she then had to stand in impossible faith in her God of impossible power in the sight of others! Then God was able to move in impossible ways to resurrect that promise, not only bringing the promise back to life, but the faith of others with it!

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” – John‬ ‭12:24‬ ‭

Being A Godly Leader

prayerdfsdf“And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Beth–el in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.” – Judges‬ ‭4:4-5‬ ‭

In the time before Kings, Israel was ruled by Judges. These judges acted as decision makers for the people, as head general over the armies, as protectors and deliverers, and as a proxy King. They were not like the judicial judges of today, but were more akin to Chieftains, tribal leaders of the fledgling nation.

A quick read through the book of judges will reveal two things. The first thing you might notice is a cycle of sin, which led to God removing His favor and protection, which led to the Israelite’s being conquered and oppressed, which led to them repenting and crying out, which led to God returning to them and raising up a deliverer (a judge), which led to deliverance and blessings, which led to them going back to sin, which started the cycle over again.

The second thing you might notice is that as things got progressively more wicked among the Israelite’s, so did it among the judges. Though God, in His faithfulness, still worked to bring about His promises with what He had available, nearly all the judges were wicked, corrupt, ungodly people themselves. Showing forth the very sad state of God’s people and the depths of God’s power to see His promises fulfilled.

The reason for this cycle of wickedness and corruption is expressed in the final verse of the book of judges which states: “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” You see, Israel was never meant to have a fleshly King, God was meant to be King over Israel and the judges His prophets and generals. However, though the people acknowledged God, they did not acknowledge Him as King, they did not seek Him, and they did not obey Him. Therefore, relying on their own wisdom (or lack thereof), sin abounded because God was not acknowledged as King and decision maker over the people’s lives in Israel, they all did what was right in their own eyes. Laying aside God’s righteousness (what God says is right) for their own righteousness (what they thought was right), wickedness and sin waxed worse and worse. For though they claimed to believe in God, they did not take the time to get to know who He really was. Because of this, they did not know His character nor did they seek, believe, or obey His words. So that many times they ended up in sin, idolatry, and even devil worship thinking they were still serving God.

“For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” – Romans‬ ‭10:2-3‬ ‭

“Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.” – Proverbs‬ ‭19:2‬ ‭

“And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord.” – 2 Chronicles‬ ‭12:14‬ ‭

However, during this time, a rare exception to this trend arose and her name was Debra. Debra was a good judge, a Godly ruler, a great general, and above all, a woman of prayer. She did not go out trying to make her way in the world, or force her will on the people. Instead she sat on her mountain under a tree and prayed, and as she met with the Lord there, the people came to meet with her. Not to hear her wisdom, but to hear the Lord’s.

You see, scripture records that Debra was a prophet. This means that she sought and heard from the Lord daily. Therefor, her wisdom was not her own and the people knew it, her judgments were not her own and the people knew it, her rule was not of her own hand and the people knew it, it was God’s through her. Therefore, when the people sought God’s wisdom, judgments, words, and decisions, they sought her.

We see this in the following verses where Barak, a great general comes to her for orders and then refuses to go to battle unless she goes with them. She was a woman of great faith and prayer, talking with God and ministering His words to the people of Israel, however, though Barak had faith in her and in her faith, he showed a lack of faith in God. He believed that God was with Debra but doubted that God was with Israel. He believed in God but doubted what He said. Because of this lack of faith, he lost his chance of honor though the victory was still assured.

“And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedesh–naphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun? And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand. And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go. And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.” – Judges‬ ‭4:6-9‬ ‭

So what made Debra so different from Barak, the Israelites, and even the other judges? She sought the Lord and believed what He said. It really is that simple. Though all Israel believed in God at that time, only Debra actually believed God. She had enough faith in who He was to also have faith in what He said. Therefore, she found favor in His sight and He met with her and talked with her as she sat under that tree on that hill, an archetype of the cross of Calvary. So the moral of the story is this. God is no respecter of persons but He is a respecter of faith, not just in who He is, but also in what He says. In short, God chooses to trust those who choose to trust Him.

“I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” – John‬ ‭5:30‬ ‭

Is God Impressed?

1280x1024_mountain_top-1398227“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” – 2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:10‬ ‭

Do you take pleasure in your strengths? In your skills, abilities, or talents? In finances, friends, social supports, programs, or agendas? In your education, intellect, understanding, or manipulations? Or do you, as Paul did, take pleasure in your weaknesses, lacks, and infirmities?

You see, the modern Christian often thinks they need to be successful to serve God with their successes. When in reality, God is not impressed. Our greatest possible successes could not even begin to impress the architect of the universe.

“And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” – Matthew‬ ‭24:1-2‬ ‭

God sees the big picture of time and eternity. He is not concerned with our petty playing and empty empire building anymore then a ruler might be concerned about a toddler building a sand castle at low tide. He knows it will all soon be washed away.

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” – 2 Peter‬ ‭3:10-12‬ ‭

No God is not at all impressed with our big churches, our nice homes, our landscaping, our fancy stages, our flashy lights, or even our large crowds. There is only one thing that impresses God, and that is faith. Why? Because true faith proves to God that we are not impressed by these things either, but rather recognize that they fail to even register on the scale of comparison to what He can build and do. No God is not impressed with anything that we can do, He is impressed when we impress upon Him the recognition of how much more He can do then what we can.

In this, Paul chose to glory more in what he could not do, in what he did not have, and in what he did not know, knowing that in all that he lacked, God was more able to miraculously shine forth through him, His own great limitless divinity! For only in the areas that Paul was weakest was God’s strength made most evident.

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” – 2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬ ‭

No He is not impressed with eloquent speech, He is impressed with a tongue tied stuttering man named Moses who trusted what God told him enough to stand before the greatest armies of the earth and say, “let my people go”. No He is not impressed with large followings, He is impressed with a faithful preacher who preached his whole life and never saved anyone outside of his own wife and kids Named Noah, who trusted what God told him enough to keep preaching an un-excepted, unappreciated, and unpopular message of repentance and judgment all the while building and setting before them the only way of escape. No He is not impressed with money or possessions, He is impressed with a homeless, diseased, grieving Job who trusted Him enough to say, “yet though You slay me, still will I serve You!” No He is not impressed by prestige or strength, He is impressed by an old man named Abraham trusting what He told him enough to lay down what meant most in the world to him. To give up land, life, and promise trusting in God’s faithfulness and ability to give more back then he could ever hope to lay down.

No He is not impressed with anything that we can come up with to do of our own understanding, effort, logic, or labor; or else He would have been impressed with Cain’s crop, and He wasn’t. He is only impressed when we trust what He tells us to do, this is why He was impressed with Abel’s sacrificial lamb. No He is not impressed with our achievements, He is only impressed by His, and by our acknowledgement that His are far better then ours could ever hope to be.

“For I (Paul) am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:9-10‬ ‭

“….for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.” – Luke‬ ‭9:48‬ ‭

“Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high, Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth! He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people. He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord.” – Psalms‬ ‭113:5-9‬ ‭

You Must Forgive To Be Forgiven

Black-Man-Praying-1“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” – Matthew‬ ‭5:44‬ ‭

We as Christian’s need to be an example, but how can we be an example to people if when they hate us we hate them back? When they persecute us we persecute them back? Thats not the right example. Out of all the people in the world that hated Jesus and persecuted Him ,did Jesus hate them back? Did He persecute them back? Well here’s your answer for those questions:

“And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” – Luke‬ ‭23:33-34‬ ‭

There is your answer after they beat Him and then crucified Him on the cross, instead of Him hating them, He said; “Father Forgive Them For They No Not What They Do“. If we are Christians, then we need to be like Christ. If you are a Christian, you have no excuse to not forgive somebody because we have to be like Christ!

“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” – John‬ ‭15:18-19‬ ‭

This is saying that the world will hate Jesus’s followers. You can’t expect the world to love you. The second you surrender your life to God you are no longer of this world, He adopted you into His family, and because He adopted you out of this world, this world is going to hate you. I mean, you can’t expect the world that is of the devil to love the people that are of God!! So being that the world is going to hate you (or already hates you), you have to learn to forgive because God did the same for you. So I will leave you with Jesus’s words in Mark 11:25-26 which says that you need to forgive people and if you don’t, then neither will God forgive you.

“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” – Mark‬ ‭11:25-26‬ ‭

Submitted by @ Marissa Bazer (age 12)

Seeking God or Playing Church?

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,” – Ephesians‬ ‭5:15‬

The word “circumspectly” means “exactly“. That is to say, to diligently seek out and follow God’s instructions exactly as He gives them that you walk in His wisdom and not as a fool, assuming your own understanding will be anything but foolishness. 

A child pretending to cook food in a toy kitchen can go through the motions they’ve seen others preform and use props that seem like the tools of real cooks, but they will never actually be able to feed anyone from that. Yet even that child, if it will ask it’s parents for help and learn to follow instructions, can be shown exactly how to make a meal. Any child that will focus, listen, and spend the time with its parents getting and following instructions, taking the ingredients and real tools they are given (as opposed to the functionless toys in their pretend kitchen), and follow the recipe exactly as they are told it (rather they understand why or how these ingredients will work together or not, most likely not), will be able to produce real food. The question is, does the child really have a heart to serve it’s family that will drive it to seek instructions and follow them exactly (as some children do), or does it just want to play. The child that is learning to follow it’s parents instructions is learning how to function in it’s parents world while the child that is pretending wants everyone else (including their parents) to fit into theirs.

As spiritual children our relationship with God and the Holy Spirit is the same as that of those children to their parents. We look at patriarchs of Scripture like Moses who was given exact instructions of how to build the tabernacle. He had to follow those instructions exactly in order to build something that God would inhabit. Just like the child in his parents kitchen, Moses’s willingness to focus, seek God, and obey His instructions exactly as given allowed him to be able to spend quality time with God and participate in his father’s world. While the Israelite’s built golden calves (toy props) and called services (pretend cooking in toy kitchens) and expected everyone (including God) to participate in their powerless, pointless, pretend world of vain imaginations. 

“And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the Lord. And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.” – Exodus‬ ‭32:4-6‬ ‭

The church in many aspects still does this today and it’s a huge waste of time. If the children of God would only grow up, stop playing foolish games and expecting God to participate in their vain imaginations and start seeking God for His instructions, follow them exactly, and finally produce something real. Many church services today are nothing more then children playing house, while God is looking for one child who will come be part of His world, spend time with Him, be taught by Him, follow His instructions, and be the next Moses. 

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” – Ephesians‬ ‭5:15-17‬ ‭

“A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent. In the house of the righteous is much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble. The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish doeth not so. The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.” – Proverbs‬ ‭15:5-8‬ ‭

“And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord.” – 2 Chronicles‬ ‭12:14‬ ‭

“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” – Ephesians‬ ‭4:14-15‬ ‭

“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah‬ ‭29:13‬ ‭