Are You Praying For The Lost?

“I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.” – ‭‭John‬ ‭17:9‬ ‭

John chapter 17 is a beautiful, inspiring, and touching piece of biblical history. This is Jesus’s actual prayer to the Father for His followers, both then and to come. When we think of Jesus praying we often think of the “Our Father”, but it’s important to remember that the our Father was not actually Jesus praying. The disciples had asked Jesus how we should pray and Jesus gave the Our Father as an illustration or instruction in how we ought to pattern our prayers.

For example, in the Our Father He shows that we need to express thanks and worship, pray for forgiveness of our sins (trespasses), acknowledge our forgiveness of others, submit to His will, and cry out for His return. These are all principles that our prayer life should readily consist of, but are not things that He Himself needed to pray.

Jesus prayed to the Father for Himself in the garden of Gethsemane crying out for mercy, then submitting to the Father’s will, then for strength and was strengthened for the trial to come. However in John 17 we see Jesus praying not in a teaching mode, or in a petition for help and strength, not seeking for wisdom, (which we should all do daily) but in intercession. We see Jesus praying a genuine prayer to the Father, for us!

“But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” – Hebrews‬ ‭7:24-25‬ ‭

Those who have believed in Jesus’s Words and have come to salvation and restoration of the Father through his atoning blood now have Jesus as their High Priest! This means that Jesus Himself intercedes on their behalf and this chapter is a glimpse into that eternal intercession! But hold on! The scriptures tell us that Jesus is our High Priest (the head of all the priest) but it doesn’t stop there, it also says that we (who are redeemed) are all priest under His order also.

“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” – Revelation‬ ‭1:5-6‬ ‭

So then if we are priest also then what is our job? A portion of that answer can be found in our opening passage from within Jesus’s own prayer. Jesus says something very strange in verse 9. He tells God the Father that He is praying for His followers, but not for the world. You see, as High Priest, Jesus ever liveth to make intercession “for us” (His Priest), and then as His priest we (the redeemed) live to make intercession for the lost!

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;” – 1 Timothy‬ ‭2:1‬ ‭

While we do help to bare the burden of Christ in praying for the saints, we also exclusively carry the mandate to pray without ceasing for the lost. The Bible is very clear that except for the prayer of repentance, God does not hear the prayers of a sinner. However, if you are a saved, sanctified, blood bought, Holy Ghost filled child of God, then He does here yours. Therefor, you can “intercede” on their behalf. In other words, they cannot stand boldly before the thrown of God and make petitions or plead for mercy, but you can. So do it for them! The fervent prayers of a righteous man avails much!

“Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.” – John‬ ‭9:31‬ ‭

So redeemed mothers, pray for your unsaved children, the Lord hears you! Godly father’s, pray for your ungodly leaders, the Lord hears you! Sanctified Church, pray for the apostate church, the Lord hears you! Christian families, pray for your community, the Lord hears you! Saints of the living God, pray for the lost, the Lord hears you! Pray and keep praying for them, even as Christ keeps praying for you!

“I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil of it.” – John‬ ‭17:15‬ ‭

“Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? Then will the Lord be jealous for his land, and pity his people.” – Joel‬ ‭2:17-18‬ ‭

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For The Love Of God!

“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” – Romans‬ ‭13:8-9‬ ‭

Jesus often expounded that He left use with the same law that was given to use from the beginning, only with more power to fulfill it. By showing us His great love for us, if we then truly believe it, (who He is, what He did, and why) then we will love Him for it!

“We love him, because he first loved us.” – 1 John‬ ‭4:19‬ ‭

Once we gain, embrace, and grow this love for God, we will then keep his commandments out of love, desire, and appreciation, rather then out of bitter obligation. In this are His commandments not grievous to us, but joyous. Even as a bride joys in laboring to adorn herself for her groom!

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” – 1 John‬ ‭5:3‬ ‭

Furthermore, if you truly love your spouse then because of your love for them you will also love their family (no matter how unworthy or dysfunctional they are). Your love for your spouse (if it’s truly a selfless love = biblical love) will cause you to care about what and who they care about .

Likewise, when you come to truly love God, you will care about what He cares about. You will hurt for what hurts Him and you will labor in love for those that He loves. In other words, if you love God as a bride loves her groom, then you must also love His family, no matter how unworthy or dysfunctional they are. When they stray you must labor to restore, when they fall you must labor to pick them up, when they hurt you or Him you must lovingly forgive and instruct, because the greatest desire of God’s Heart is to restore His lost loved one to the family and if you love Him, you will be driven by love to help. Not for attention, not for notoriety, not for reward, not for prestige or vainglory, but simply because you know this will ease the hurting heart of the one you love and in doing so will automatically fulfill all of the law, commandments, and instructions from God through the prophets.

“Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” – Matthew‬ ‭22:36-40‬ ‭

“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” – 1 John‬ ‭4:20-21‬ ‭

“Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” – Romans‬ ‭13:10‬ ‭

“He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.” – 1 John‬ ‭2:4-7‬ ‭

Let Me Make It Plain

“And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord:” – Genesis‬ ‭19:17-18‬ ‭

Lot and his family had chosen to live in the wicked cities that dotted the plain round about the Dead Sea. Abraham, his uncle had interceded on Lot’s behalf after being told by God that He was going to destroy these cities. God obliged the request of His faithful friend Abraham and sent angels to save Lot and his family.

Upon receiving word from the angels of the eminent destruction of these cities because of their detestable sins against the Lord, Lot gathered those of his house who would believe and were through great mercy delivered from the city.

Now let me make this clear, Lot did not deserve to be saved nor did his household. It was only because of the loving intercession of his uncle that he was even given the chance to be saved. In this we can see Sodom as a type of the sinful world, Lot as the undeserving sinner living in it, and Abraham as an archetype of Christ, our great intercessor.

However, as soon as Lot is delivered from the city (sinful world), being told to come out from among it because it will soon all burn…. something happens. The first mistake we see Lot make is that he thinks that his salvation is because of God’s favor on him, that he somehow deserves this. When in reality it was because of God’s favor on Abraham. This mind set that he was not just as worthy of destruction as every other vial person in Sodom led him to not appreciate his deliverance as much as he ought.

This then leads to him thinking that he has grounds to bargain with the Lord, that the Lord would harken to his compromise rather then trusting in the wisdom of the God who had just saved him. The word of the Lord to Lot was, leave the cities, don’t look back, get out of the plain altogether, and keep climbing unto you reach the top of the mountain.

Now Lot has been saved from the city (obvious sinful whirl fitted for destruction), but he is told “don’t stop there!”. Get as far away from it as possible, don’t go near it, avoid even the appearance of evil, don’t stop reaching for higher, keep climbing, get so far away that you can’t even see it or be reminded or tempted to go back or even look back!

At that point Lot says, “no”. Yes Lot wanted to be saved from burning (hell) but he didn’t want to give up the ease, comforts, and pleasures of the plain. He didn’t want the hardship and sacrifice of the wilderness, the labor of the climb, the separation from the things of the world, and the dependency on God alone that the path God was telling him to take would bring. So he chose to reject God’s word to leave the plain and though he left the city, he stayed just close enough to it to enjoy the fringe benefits of it’s pleasures and the since of (false) man made security that it provided.

God had just saved him from the city but he did not have faith that God could sustain him better then the things of man, so he opted to go to an other city on the same plain.

“And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord: Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.” – Genesis‬ ‭19:17-20‬ ‭

Oh Lord, I’ll give up this big sin because I don’t want to burn in Hell but surely I can get away with keeping this little one? It’s just a little thing on the same plain. I’ll give up the big sins of the world but I’ll stay as close to them as possible and indulge in these little things that don’t seem that bad. I can handle it, I won’t be tempted to go back to the big ones, I won’t look back to Sodom.

Here’s the problem. Lot was almost destroyed with Sodom because he stayed so close to it, but because he refused to get away from it completely he caused it to destroy those closest to him, his own family. Lot managed to not look back but his wife did not and was destroyed with the same fate as Sodom. It never would have happened had he obeyed God’s word and gotten himself and those who loved him completely away from it. Understand that his decision caused his wife to stumble with grave effects.

I have seen it all too often. Someone gets saved for fear of hell’s fire, but when God tells them to not just get out of Sodom but to get away from even the plain they refuse and others pay the price for it and eventually they themselves also. God says to get as far away from sin as possible, don’t even participate in things that might appear to be close to sin or worldliness. Don’t do anything that might cause someone else to take sin lightly or desire to look back to the things of the world or the temptations of sin. I assure you that those you love most will suffer for it.

I’ve seen to often a parent that says, “I can handle a little wine with dinner, it’s not whiskey, I’m not getting drunk, it’s not Sodom, it’s just a little city on the same plain.” Then watch as their children look back to Sodom and become alcoholics because they were not willing to leave the plain.

I make a clear example of this principal with alcohol but it applies all the same to every other sin. Lot’s entire family was eventually destroyed because of his faithless and selfish decisions. Further more, He birthed a lineage (the Moabites) that would generation after generation tend more and more toward worldliness and wickedness and would forever hinder, pollute, and persecute God’s Holy people (those who were willing to be obedient to God’s voice and be set apart from sin and worldliness), those who desired to climb higher.

So let me make this plain, as plain as the plain of Sodom and Gomorrah. You’re life and your decisions will either create the floor that your children will stand on as they start their climb where yours finished or else it will create the pit that they fall in, that you dug yourself. Choose to give them the best possible example. Choose to give them the best possible ground to stand on. Choose the mountain, not the plain.

Good leadership in ministry, in life, or in your family is the product of absolute selflessness. This is why Jesus said that the greatest among His people will be a servant to others. Living for yourself will keep you and those who love you on the plain in the path of destruction. Living selflessly will send you and those who love you climbing the mountain. So choose, but know that you don’t only choose for you. Everyone effects someone else. Let it be for good and not for bad.

“Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to stumble.” – Proverbs‬ ‭4:14-16‬ ‭

“It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.” – Romans‬ ‭14:21‬ ‭

“Abstain from all appearance of evil.” – 1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:22‬ ‭

“… be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” – 1 Timothy‬ ‭4:12‬ ‭

“As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” – 1 Peter‬ ‭1:14-16‬ ‭

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,” – 2 Corinthians‬ ‭6:17‬ ‭

“Remember Lot’s wife.” – Luke‬ ‭17:32‬ ‭

A Sacrifice of Love

“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” – Revelation‬ ‭6:9-11‬ ‭

Many Christians, talking about tribulation and the end times, say that they will be willing to give up their very lives for Jesus, yet when halloween roles around they aren’t even willing to give up candy for Him. Jesus said that to be friends with the world makes you the enemy of God. Likewise to be holy set apart from the world unto God (as God has clearly commanded us to do (1 Peter 1:16) will make you a friend of God and an enemy of the world. This is why Jesus said that if the world hated Him, then it will hate you also if you choose to be among the few who truly follow Him, His instructions, and His example.

Today as I see so many churches and Christians buddying up to the world my heart and mind goes back to those who suffered and died taking a stand against it. Jesus first of all, countless martyrs through history, the persecuted church of today, and those who will one day stand against the full force of the antichrist system now being set in place. When I see the very things they died to free others from (like death, hell, and the grave) being celebrated by the church, it grieves my heart as I feel it grieving the Holy Spirit of God.

“Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my Holy day, and I am profaned among them. Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.” – Ezekiel‬ ‭22:26-27‬

When I see halloween and all it’s demons, death, witchcraft, fear, and everything anti-Christ brought into the church, I’m taken back 2000 years to when Jesus flipped tables and cracked whips for far less. What a sad state the church is in today when those who claim the Name of God, do not know the word or God, nor care for the heart of God; and worse yet, attack those who do calling them legalistic when in reality their obedience is based on love. After all, only true love for an other can overpower love of self and drive a man to willingly sacrifice without contempt, of which Jesus Himself is our example.

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” – John‬ ‭14:15‬ ‭

Truly I tell you that in all things it’s comes down to love. You will either choose to sacrifice your love for God on the alter of the world or you will choose to sacrifice your love for the world on the alter of God. Let us love not our lives, will, lust, and world but let us through falling in love with Christ, overcome it in anticipation of a better one to come! This world is not my home and I won’t die for it, I’ll die to it. Jesus is my home, because home is where my heart is and that, I will die for. Money, notoriety, reveling, parties, ungodly friends, lust, candy (in relation to halloween), it doesn’t even register in comparison to my love for Christ, therefor I do not even count it a sacrifice but my reasonable duty as a faithful and loving bride. (Romans 12:1-2)

Relationships are harder to hold together when things are difficult then when they are good. Any relationship not based on selfless love will crumble under pressure. So it’s time to open the Word, get on your knees, get to know the real Jesus, and fall in love with Him. If you won’t stand for Him now when it’s easy, it’s because you don’t really love Him, and you if don’t really love Him, you surely won’t stand for Him later when it’s hard. If you truly believe His words, then it’s time to deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow Him.

“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 ‭

“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” – Revelation‬ ‭3:21‬ ‭

“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible….And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:“ Hebrews‬ ‭11:24-27, 32-36

Set Apart

I think that the disciples had a hard time wrapping their heads around God’s plan because they thought that Jesus had come to overtake the world system when really He came to overturn it.

I think many believers still have the same problem today. They want to be kings of the earth instead of kings in the earth. Paul said that we are in this world, but not of this world. We are kings and priest of an whole other Kingdom. The sooner we stop trying to over take the world system the sooner we can start overturning it by the power of a better one.

“And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” – Colossians‬ ‭2:15‬ ‭

God did not let Moses become pharaoh to save His people in Egypt (which he could have, being the next in line to do so), he called Moses to both forsake Egypt and be an example that would lead His people out of Egypt as they did the same. By calling for separation from the Egyptian world system God was then able to pour out His power two fold, in favor toward Those who had put their trust in Him and in wrath toward those who had put their trust in the things of Egypt (the world system).

“And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.” – Leviticus‬ ‭20:26‬ ‭

“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” – 1 Peter‬ ‭1:15-16‬ ‭

The Kingdom of Heaven it so far removed and superior to what is, that it does not come to take over what is, it comes to disprove and dispose what is. It’s time to stop trying to build a better pyramid, come completely out of Egypt, go out into the wilderness, and let God teach you how to build something that His presence can inhabit.

Yes Egypt is comfortable, yes Egypt is grand, yes Egypt brings glory to the works of your hand. Yes the wilderness is humble, yes it is plain, yes it forces dependence on God, often through pain. Yes it’s a sacrifice, yes it takes faith, but on the other side of the wilderness a promise awaits.

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,” – 2 Corinthians‬ ‭6:17‬ ‭

“And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night. And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.” – Exodus‬ ‭14:17-21‬ ‭

Jesus‘s Gospel

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” – Matthew‬ ‭7:13-15‬ ‭

The gospel that Jesus preached is the only true gospel. It is the only thing that can save you, deliver you, and empower you. Anything else is what the Bible calls a “damnable heresy” preached to deceive you by the antichrist spirit filled wolves in sheep’s clothing ministering doctrines of demons, or the well meaning misled masses speaking lies and hypocrisies with all deceivableness, void of the truth because they do not know their god.

I say that with a lowercase “g” because Jesus continues this very passage to say that the “many” that take the wide path to hell in this message are people who thought they were saved and serving God but were actually serving the devil by serving a god of their own will and making rather then serving the true God of scripture. Hence the warning to be cautious of wolves in sheep’s clothing who come to deceive you into leaving the narrow road that so few walk to join the masses on the wide path while still be leaving that you are going to heaven when you are actually marching straight to hell while still professing that Jesus is your Lord.

This is not my opinion, this is what Jesus Himself said. This is the real gospel no matter what you’ve been told by anyone else, Jesus’s Words are the truth on which we stand. We MUST believe Him is we claim to believe in the One who sent Him. (That is something that He said also).

So let’s ask ourselves today, is the gospel that you believe, profess, and live, easy? Does it leave you lots of options and wiggle room to do your own will? Is it the gospel that most people believe and follow? Then it’s not the true Gospel, you’re not on the right path, it’s the wide, easy, path of the many that miss heaven while thinking they are saved are on that Jesus warned about.

Jesus said to truly be saved we have to deny ourself, take up our cross, and follow after Him by His very example. We have to do as He did and in all things say “Lord, not my will, but Thy will be done.” We must give up everything that is us to take on everything that is Him. If you haven’t crucified the flesh, given things up, put sin to death, rejected the world, and suffered ridicule, slander, and persecution for the sake of the narrow path then it’s because you are not on it, you are on the wide one, the easy one, the wrong one.

The gospel that Jesus preached is not the popular gospel of the false prophets, the wolves in sheep’s clothing will lead the larger crowd on the wider path straight to Hell. Choose today to come out from among them and be ye separate says the Lord. Choose the narrow path of self denial of your own will, wants, ideas, logic, and desires. Rather replace it with obedience to God’s will in all things and receive the rewards of eternal life and glory in heaven with the Father forever. Don’t believe the lies of false prophets, teachers, and preachers. Jesus said that “many will come in My Name but I never sent them”. The ones He sent will be the ones teaching, preaching, and demonstrating the narrow path. This is the fruit by which you will know them. A Holy root will produce Holy fruit and to be Holy means to be set apart from the world, not like the many, but like the few. So check yourself today and determine, which one are you?

The narrow path is not easy, it is the one that is hated by the world. It is (like Christ) despised and rejected by the greater church most of all. Those many who falsely believe that they are saved who are actually fallowing false prophets on the wide road will always persecute those few who choose to walk the narrow road because their willingness to stay on the straight and narrow at all cost exposes the wide road and those who call you to walk it for what it really is. Therefore, the few that do walk the narrow road will be hated for it. It will cause separation. Friends, family, the world, most will not like you because your very life breathes conviction to their compromise, and exposer to the false teachers lies.

So again I ask you today. Is your Christian walk easy? Is it broadly encompassing of worldly things? Is it based on you surrendering to God’s will everyday, or is it based around allowing you to continue surrendering to your own will? Is it the path that many walk, or is it the one that very few walk? Are you persecuted for it? Is it the gospel that Jesus preached, or are you following another gospel straight to Hell?

“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. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:” – Matthew‬ ‭7:20-24‬ ‭

“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men (even when caused others to oppose, despise, reject, or hate you) him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” – Matthew‬ ‭10:32-39‬ ‭

It’s Not A Trial, It’s An Assignment

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew‬ ‭5:14-16‬ ‭

If you start looking at your trials as assignments allot of things will change, not only for you but for those around you. As a believer, what you go through is often not about you but about what God is trying to reveal to others through you if you will stand in faith, love, patience, and hold fast the mind of Christ so that others can see the character of Christ when it makes no earthly since to them.

It’s not a trial, it’s an assignment. Don’t make it about you and mess it up. Someone needs to see the love of God manifest when it makes no earthly since. Someone needs to see the peace of God present when it makes no earthly since. Someone needs to see the patients of God expressed when it makes no earthly since. Someone needs to see the righteousness of God professed when it makes no earthly since. Someone needs to see the Word of God confessed when it makes no earthly since. Someone needs to see faith arise when it makes no earthly since. Can God use you to do it? Will you take the assignment even if it takes you through Gethsemane?

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” – Philippians‬ ‭2:5-8‬ ‭

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” – 1 Peter‬ ‭4:12-19‬ ‭

Christians and Halloween: What Does God Say About It?

The Bible tells us that there is great power in agreement, but as with all things this power goes both ways for good or for bad. As we move into the Halloween season Christians should be reminded that you have no authority against that which you come into agreement with. Therefore, if you choose to participate in halloween in any form or fashion, you are forfeiting your authority against hell by coming into agreement with it.

As someone who has been in ministry my whole life I cannot begin to tell you how many people come to us in the weeks following Halloween asking for help fighting spiritual battles in their lives, families, and homes that often include all out deliverance ministry. They are usually at a loss as to why they suddenly became powerless to keep the enemy out of their homes when only weeks before they were willingly inviting him in while declaring agreement with all things demonic in the name of Halloween. What Does the Bible say about agreement with such things?

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” – 2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Notice that God says here that He won’t actually receive you until AFTER you have come out from among these things and decide to be separate. He will not be counted as your Father until you have chosen to deny yourself and to take His side over the world’s.

“He that is not with me is against me; (Jesus’s Words)” – Matthew 12:30

The Bible says that to be friends with the world makes you the enemy of God. You cannot serve two masters, who you agree with and agree to associate yourself with, you choose to obey and serve. Therefore when you choose to be friends with the world you cannot be God’s and instead become His enemy by coming into fellowship and agreement with His enemy. You must choose a side and unless you choose to separate from the world you have chosen fellowship with hell and God will not receive you.

“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” – James 4:4

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:” – Hebrews 12:14

Yes the Bible really says that without holiness you will not go to heaven. Holiness means to come out from among them and be ye separate, different, set apart. If you walk in agreement with the world and the works of the devil, you are not separated from it and are therefore not holy unto God and you will not see the kingdom of heaven. It doesn’t matter what you’ve been told by your friends or your church or even your pastor, this is what you have been told by God Himself and this is what will bare weight and witness against you on the day of judgment.

“He that rejecteth me (Jesus), and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” – John 12:48

When you stand before God you will not be judged by your opinion, by what others did or told you to do, by what your church or your pastor told you to do, but by what God told you to do in His word. He has spoken and it’s up to us to choose to obey or reject His Words.

So all the world is doing it (that’s probably a pretty good sign that you shouldn’t), so all your friends are doing it, so all the churches are doing it! Just because all of Israel danced before a golden calf does not mean that Moses and Joshua should have too. Someone has to take a stand, choose to obey God’s words, and take God’s side.

“When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee.” – Deuteronomy 18:9-12

Jesus never once said that those who say a prayer or call themselves Christian are saved and will go to heaven. In fact He said that many will call themselves by His name and go to church and think they are saved but when they die He will tell them that He never knew them. Why? Because they did not do His will, they did their own. They did not do what He said to do, they did what they wanted to do. They did not obey His words, they worked iniquity, they did not separate themselves from the world. Jesus‘s alter call had nothing to do with what you say but with what you do. After all, an alter is where things go to die. What Jesus did say was that in order to be truly saved you must deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow His example, and that if you do the world will hate you for it because you will no longer agree with it and it will not agree with you.

The simple truth is that if you are in agreement with the world, then you are still the enemy of God. If the world hates you for your separation from it, then congratulations you are in fellowship with Christ. I say it in love because many do not know the truth of God’s word but ignorance will not be an excuse when He has made it available to you and you simply choose not to read it or believe it. Stop basing your eternal soul on Facebook memes and the silly things that other people say. Pick up the word of God, read it, believe it, and live by it, because one day you will surely be judged by it.

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 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 5:11-17

“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

Click here to hear a powerful teaching by this author on the power of “Agreement”!

The Mercy Of Affliction

“For God doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.” – Lamentations 3:33

Lamentations is a record of wrath, a book of lamenting torment, trial, and brokenness. A chronicle of weeping and sorrow. A memory of affliction and judgment. Yet right in the very center of the book we have this beautiful truth, that God does not delight in judgment nor does He willingly afflict. God is love and He truly does love His creation. After all, for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever should call on Him should be saved. (John 3:16)

Why then does affliction come? Because that God is Holy and just and must judge sin with a righteous judgement. Therefor, in His desperation to bring His creation into right standing, He must allow lamenting afflictions to come upon the ungodly in hopes that it will wake then from their selfishness, their apathy, their carnality, their childishness, and their outright rebellion.

Even in judgment there is mercy in that God is allowing men to see the consequences of their own decisions that they might come to realize the wisdom, love, compassion, and glory of trusting in God’s over their own. That they might have fleshly pride and desires burned away that they learn to lean not on their own understanding but trust in the leading of His Holy Spirit. That in allowing them to touch the fire they might finally see that all His correction was meant to be protection and not control or condemnation. This is the lesson of lamentation.

“Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” – Isaiah 48:10

“Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.” – Micah 7:18

Even in affliction there is mercy for while God does not delight in judgment, He does delight in mercy. We will all stand before God one day to be judged but no one will stand not having been given every chance and opportunity to humble themselves and repent in this life. First through the word of truth, then if that doesn’t work through the lamentation of affliction. Yet it is all because of mercy and mercy is because of love.

“Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” – Lamentations 3:19-23

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:9

However, love does not negate justice and all those who refuse to humble in this life will be humbled in the next when they are turned over to the master they chose. You see this is the real mercy of earthly affliction, that God allows men to get a small taste of the cruelty of the master they are choosing in serving the devil by turning them over to his evils and oppression in some measure in hopes that they will flee from him now while they still can. For there is coming a day when all hearts will be tried and those who choose to serve sin will be given to the master of sin in whom they have chosen to make themselves bound and will be cast into his final holding place with him by their own choice. God gives us the truth, He gives us the choice, He shows us the way, and He leaves the rest to us, because that’s what love does. It lets you choose, or else it’s not love, because love is a choice.

“To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” – 1 Corinthians 5:5

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” – Romans 6:16

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:15

Pick Up Your Cross : Jesus’s Alter Calls

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” – Matthew 16:24-26

We commonly see the “if you believe in Jesus and want to be saved raise your hand” message given in church. We see many hands go up but few lives changed. Why? Jesus never told anyone that they could be saved by a raised hand or even merely by what they said. In fact He often warned not to believe what people say outwardly professing to be sheep when inwardly they were actually wolves. So how did Jesus give an alter call?

Jesus’s alter calls when something like this: “if you want to follow Me, deny yourself, pick up your cross, follow Me and My example. If you are willing to give up everything in the life you have you will be saved. If not, then you won’t.”

If you have not died to self then you are not alive unto Christ. When the rich young ruler came asking Jesus to be counted among His own, Jesus pointed out to him the one thing that He knew he was not willing to give up attempting to show him that anything you are not willing to give up for Jesus is idolatry. For him it was his money, he was not in any open sin but because he loved his money more then God and when He asked him to lay it down he would not then Jesus did not accept him.

Salvation is a surrendered will in all things that will reflect in a transformed life. When Nicodemus asked Jesus what he had to do to be saved, Jesus told him that he had to be “born again”. In other words, you have to be changed into something totally new, you can’t hold on to anything of your life and be saved, not your sin, not your desires, not your plans, not your ideas, not your comfort zone, not your logic. Or else you will end up just like the Pharisees who rejected the salvation of the Lord while claiming to already walk in it and were called by Jesus, “vipers and children of hell”.

When Jesus offered salvation it was salvation from sin, from selfishness, from self service and self will, from idolatry, and because they were saved from these things they were by proxy saved from hell. If the person was not willing to be changed then they were not willing to be saved and Jesus never made them think that they were. He told them the truth for the sake of their soul. True salvation is a laying down, or surrender of your will for God’s. If this exchange of wills has not happened then you are not saved. As the old hymn says: “All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give. I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live.”

You see most people want Jesus to save them from hell, but not from themself, they want to be saved from punishment for sin but not from the sin that brings the punishment. The reality is that if you’re not saved from sin, you’re not saved from hell either. In fact the Bible says that if you choose to remain in your sin after that you have received the knowledge of the truth of Jesus’s sacrifice to liberate you from it and have been sanctified by His blood washing you of it, that not only does His sacrifice not continue to apply to you but hell will actually be worse for you because that you have by your actions (regardless of your profession) trampled His blood underfoot treating it as powerless, common, worthless, and unholy.

God’s warning to the believer that believes they can remain in their sin, self will, self centeredness, and idolatry and still be saved from hell:

“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” – Hebrews 10:26-31

God’s warning to the minister that teaches such things:

“But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” – Matthew 23:13-15

God continually warning against the rise of these sinning self willed believers, their lack of fear of God, their willingness to speak against the pure things of God and the power of His Holy Spirit sent to overcome sin, and the devil’s purpose through them to filthy the bride of Christ with spots making her unfit for the Lord’s return:

“The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government (God’s authority against the kingdom of hell and all its works). Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities (this who exercise God’s authority against the kingdom of hell and its works) . Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;” – 2 Peter 2:9-15