Provoking God

“Ye have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?” – Malachi‬ ‭2:17‬ ‭

God truly does delight in mercy. Yet there are a few specific things that scripture states which provoke Him to anger. Surely it would be good that we make ourselves familiar with these things that so displease and anger our Lord that we might purge ourself of them. After all, if we truly love Him we will desire to please Him in every way we can and never seek to hurt, offend, disrespect, or provoke Him.

Though God is very patient, not desiring that any should parish but that all should come to repentance, our opening passage makes it very clear that God does eventually get tired of continual sin. In particular, ministers and those who call themselves by His Name calling that which is evil good and excerptible in the sight of the Lord, in other words implying that sin is somehow ok by either word, action, or omittence. Sin is never ok to God. Jesus paid a very high price to redeem you from the power of sin, therefor making lite of sin is making lite of the sacrifice God made and the price Jesus paid to overcome and set you free from it. 

The passage then clarifies that those who do this, in their heart do not believe that God will judge them. They do not fear judgment nor do they earn others of the reality and severity of it. This lack of the fear of the Lord and His judgement has made them very wreckless with their own souls and with the souls of others whom they lead astray by their justification of Sin. They heap damnation upon themselves, and not being content with their own rebellion, drag others to hell with them by professing that God tolerates, overlooks, or even approves of these fruits of sinful selfishness and unbelief when He most certainly does not. They profess that God will not judge sin and that those who willingly commit it are still good in the sight of God. This is absolute unbelief of His words, a deafening of your ear to His voice, and a hardening of your heart to the conviction, leading, pleading, and truth of the Holy Spirit. 

“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

“What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 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 ‭6:15-16‬ ‭

“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” – 1 John‬ ‭3:7-8‬ ‭

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived:…,” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭6:9‬

“Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.” – Hebrews‬ ‭3:7-15‬

“He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” – Revelation‬ ‭21:7-8‬

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

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” – Proverbs‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭

“Ye have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?” – Malachi‬ ‭2:17‬ ‭

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I Hear The Sound Of An Abundance Of Rain 

“Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the Lord will do great things. Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength. Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.” – Joel‬ ‭2:21-23‬ ‭

In the early verses of this chapter we see a depiction of a land laid waste by relentless attacks from the enemy. It seems as though all hope is lost, the ground lay barren, the walls are down, the food stores are gone, the beast of the field (the sheep and oxen) cry out for help. All because of the onslaught of the enemy and selfish devourers.

All hope seems lost, what good can come from all this waste? Yet in verse 21 everything turns around with the sounding of this one prophetic proclamation! 

“Fear not oh land, for the Lord will do great things.”

The land is still ravaged, there is nothing yet to see, but a cry went up, and in response to the cry a Word came down, and as soon as that prophetic Rhema Word was spoken it released promise, and the promise released hope, and hope stirs faith, and faith opens the gates of grace, and grace brings life! 

“Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.” – Proverbs‬ ‭13:12‬ ‭

When God speaks, it is assured, for His Word will not return void. Once He speaks it, it’s already released and nothing can stop it for He knows the end from the beginning and would not speak that which would not be so. If He said that it will be, it will be! Therefore you can stand in faith for it, no matter what comes against it, no matter how impossible it seems, no matter how barren the land looks, remember that God specializes in bringing dead things back to life. So how does He bring a seemingly dead promised land or territory that has been trampled under foot by the enemy to its utter ruin to life? By sending the rain.

Whether it be a home, church, a ministry, a school, a geographical region, or a nation, there is no territory that God cannot take, there is no land that He cannot make fruitful, just pray for rain.

When someone, or some flock finally gets desperate enough for change, gets hungry enough for the truth and cries out, truly faithfully cries out, God will answer their cry. And His answer was, “I’ll send the rain“. 

“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. Yea, the Lord will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen: But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things. Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the Lord will do great things.” – Joel‬ ‭2:17-21‬ ‭

Yes the enemy had done great things, but the greatest that the enemy can do cannot compare to the least of what God can do. Therefore when God promises to do great things in response to the enemy doing his own great things, you can rest assured that God is preparing to release the greater things! 

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” – John‬ ‭14:12‬ ‭

Now let’s talk rain. In Israel the rains come twice a year. The former rains come in October right before their planting season. This rain comes to soften and prepare the ground to receive the seed. The former rain comes moderately, or just as much as is needed to prepare the ground for the seed and no more, less it spoil the young plant. After this season of moderate rain and seed sowing, there is a season of dryness that only sees random sporadic showers only every now and then as the plants grow. However, in April the latter rains come. These rains are greater then the former and serve to cause the plant to put on fruit and bring in a mighty harvest!

Scripture parallels these outpourings of rain to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The former rain can be paralleled to the day of Pentecost where the Holy Spirit was poured out to prepare the soil (the hearts of men) to receive the seed (which is Jesus and His Words according to Galatians‬ ‭3:16‬ and Matthew 13).

Now though they both give access to water, understand that rain is different then springs and wells. Jesus said that for those who thirst and would ask to drink of Him, He would give them springs (or wells) of living water within them that they never need to be thirsty again. This is a personal indwelling of His Holy Spirit that allows the believer to draw up the words, gifts, power, and revelation of the Holy Spirit of God for themselves even in times of external drought. For there is indeed a famine in the land, but not one of food and water, one for the word of God. However, rain does not have to be drawn up it just pours out. It is not hidden, it is external for all to see and it falls on all manner of plants, including the tears. So while the well within the believer pours out of the believer to further their believing, the rain pours down on everyone causing dry parched ground to spring to life and ushering in new believers. The well sustains you through the dry season but when the rain comes, fruits manifest, and the harvest becomes plentiful! So pray for rain! 

Even though that internal well of the Holy Spirit is available to any believer that ask it of Christ, there have only been a few actual outpourings of this Holy Spirit rain through history and they have all been utterly astonishing. After the outpouring at pentecost (the former rain) the few scattered showers of this Holy Ghost rain have come to be known as the great Revivals of the past such as the Hebrides, Welch, and Azusa Street Revivals. Yet there is still a latter rain coming and the latter will be greater then the former for the latter rains purpose is to bring in a great final harvest of souls for the Kingdom.  

“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.” – James‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭

Now let’s make this personal. We can clearly see this prophetic parable for its over all message, yet I also see this same cycle of seasons play out in the lives of God’s faithful servants and the ministries (or lands) they labor in. Many have experienced such devastation from the onslaught of the enemy. The devourer came in and wrecked their lives and stripped them bare. Then in desperation they cried out and God answered. He spoke hope, life, and a promise to them. Then He sent His Holy Spirit to rain personally upon the garden of their heart and planted His truth in it. In this season they see such mighty moves of God both toward them, and through them toward others. The rain is falling. Everything they need just seems to fall into place. This is their former rain. However too much rain on a plant that is too young to handle it will only serve to spoil and kill the plant. So the former rain is given moderately. Then out of nowhere the dry season comes. It’s not so easy now but the plant is growing even though it seems at times that it might die, God sends a sporadic shower every now and then just as needed and the plant gets stronger and stronger. The plant might even question at times what it has done to chase the rains away, how ridiculous a notion that a tiny plant could run off the mighty rains, not understanding that “to everything there is a season.

Finally when the plant is strong enough to take the weight of the real outpouring, the latter rains come in their proper season, the plants stand strong in the midst of it, and their fruit fully comes to bare as the harvest begins. At last, the fruit they bare in this mighty harvest is then spread out abroad to start new fields in new lands laid waste by the enemy that they too may become fruit and bare harvest in their seasons, if only someone will cry out in desperation and be faithful to pray for rain, both the former and the latter. And as soon as God speaks the promise of a harvest, proclaim it and stand on it! Even while the ground is yet dry, for you always hear the Spirit of God before you see it manifest. This is why we walk by faith and not by sight, faith in what He says, not in what we see! So pray, listen, and stand in faith, because though I see clear skies and dry ground, what I hear is the sound of an abundance of rain! 

“The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.” – Haggai‬ ‭2:9‬ ‭

“And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain.” – 1 Kings‬ ‭18:41‬ ‭

Take Authority

Most believers have a passion to see the nations taken for the Kingdom of God. Give us the Nations Lord, cries an eager and enthusiastic people. Yet I heard the Lord say to me once, “how can you expect Me to send you out to take the land if you won’t even take authority over the territory I’ve already given you?” 

So what is the territory that you already have authority over? The first territory is your own mind. This is your land, your dominion, your camp, and you have full authority over it to kick the enemy out. You just have to do it. 

Once you have exercised your authority in the territory of your mind and emotions, then you can expand to the territory of your house. Your physical land is your dominion and you have all authority to determine what can stay on it and what cannot. Kick the devil off of your land and throw all of his stuff out with him so that he doesn’t have a right to come back for it later. Throw his music out, throw his movies out, throw his books, magazines, and websites out, throw his idols out, throw his drinks out, throw his stuff out, and throw Him out with it! It’s your house, take authority, throw him out of it and move God in.

Now that your own land is secure you can start strategizing to reach out and take the land around you. Start praying and warring for your friends and family. Once you start to gain some ground there, start joining forces and locking arms with them to war for your church family and their families. 

Your really expanding the territory now! So start praying for your community, your schools, your state, your nation, for world wide revival, for the state of the church as a whole, for persecuted believers, for signs, wonders, and miracles. Get your marching orders and follow them exactly in faith and see miracles begin to manifest as you take territory after territory after territory…. But it all starts by taking authority over what’s already yours. Your mind, your body, and your home. Take authority, then take the land.

“(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” – 2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:4-6‬ ‭

Only Those Clothed In Wedding Garments Will Enter In

bride-of-christ_n“And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.” – Matthew‬ ‭22:11-14‬ ‭

Scripturally the Wedding garment always represents RIGHTEOUSNESS (Revelations 19:8). We cannot expect to approach GOD OUR KING without being properly clothed!

“I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 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. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”‭ – Revelation 3:18-22‬

Today, after reading this, I was amazed at how similar the “Marriage dinner” parable was to this, then I thought how the Pharisees would’ve known that also.

“The word of the Lord which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hizkiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah. I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the Lord. I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the Lord. I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarims with the priests; And them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship and that swear by the Lord, and that swear by Malcham; And them that are turned back from the Lord; and those that have not sought the Lord, nor enquired for him. Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God: for the day of the Lord is at hand: for the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests. And it shall come to pass in the day of the Lord’s sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king’s children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel. In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold, which fill their masters’ houses with violence and deceit. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord, that there shall be the noise of a cry from the fish gate, and an howling from the second, and a great crashing from the hills. Howl, ye inhabitants of Maktesh, for all the merchant people are cut down; all they that bear silver are cut off. And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil. Therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof. The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord’s wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.”‭ – Zephaniah 1:1-18‬

“Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”‭ – Hebrews 3:1-19‬

Submitted by Heather Wright

God Is Calling! Is Answering Your Priority?

6c1d9eb3a55ab0e218dee7bec82dad76“And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.”‭‭ – Matthew‬ ‭22:1-14‬‬

In the moment I read this, GOD began to cause me to examine my own heart and see that there were many times before that I had not put HIM first in priority and had allowed my attentions to be strayed to other things, even if those things were just in my mind. These things that occupy our hearts and mind (be they physical or just desires) actually hurt GOD and if not quickly repented of, move HIM to anger.

You see GOD is a jealous GOD! His great love for us causes great jealousy of us. HE WANTS A PEOPLE WHO ONLY WANT HIM! Is HE not worthy of that? Ask yourself, throughout your day where are the majority of your thoughts? Are they on the physical or on the Spiritual? Are we captured by HIS LOVE AND RETURN OUR LOVE TO HIM, or have we allowed the things of the world to draw away our hearts and minds?

If we are honest with ourselves at some time, we have all been there. Examine, what captures your mind? What consumes your thoughts, desires, time, and tasks?

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.”‭‭ – 1 John‬ ‭2:15-18‬‬

Submitted by Heather Wright

If The Church Wakes Up

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” – Ephesians‬ ‭6:12‬ ‭

It’s easy to forget the reality that we are not physical beings called to have occasional spiritual experiences. We are Spiritual beings having a very short and temporary physical experience, for this world is not our home. Therefor, though our fight is in this world, it is not of this world. Neither is our authority from this world or the things of it. The sooner we truly come to realize this the sooner we will start seeing real strategic victories.

“(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” – 2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:4-5‬ ‭

You see, ALL our battles are against principalities, which are spiritual. Whether they influence us, the people around us, or the circumstances we find ourselves in, if it’s bad it was influenced by evil powers and principalities for all good and perfect things come from God and all else comes from the enemy of your soul and those who follow Him.

Yet God did not leave us defenseless or hopeless but He sent hope to hang on a tree, to become the curse that we might have victory. To become the tail, even as we were the tail, that He might (being exulted) become the head and make a way for us to follow Him there into the victory seat with all power and authority to overcome these principalities that had previously so easily beset us.

“Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world (Satan) be cast out. And I (Jesus), if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” – John‬ ‭12:31-32‬ ‭

In humbling Himself, Jesus was exalted and given all authority by the Father, He then through the cup of the marriage covenant betrothed Himself to the Church (His bride) in the fashion of communion. Once having done this, He then willed everything that was His (including His authority) to His bride. Upon His death this New will and Testament became finalized and all that was His was passed to His bride granting is full power and authority over every principality that we are no longer slaves to sin (or the master of sin), but Children of God, brides of Christ, and join heirs with Him of the Kingdom being made the head and not the tail, all spiritual power and authority being granted to us so that sin no longer has dominion over us, nor do the powers of hell have any authority against us.

“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” – 1 John‬ ‭3:7-8‬ ‭

“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? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” – Romans‬ ‭6:16-18‬ ‭

If the bride of Christ ever wakes up and realizes what it really is and what it really has been given the devil will be in a world of trouble. Know that Christ was given authority over ALL principalities and then willed that power to you. Stand in true faith and use it. Resist the devil and he WILL flee from you. He has no choice, he knows who he is, his only hope is that you don’t realize who you are, that you don’t come to understand the scope of what Christ really did for you at Calvary. He gave you the power to put Satan under your feet and keep him there if you truly believe and walk in the authority of that faith, for if God is for us, who can be against us?

“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” – Ephesians‬ ‭1:18-23‬ ‭

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:” – Colossians‬ ‭2:8-10‬ ‭

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” – Romans‬ ‭8:16-17‬ ‭

Don’t Hide From God, Hide In God

“For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” – Colossians‬ ‭3:3‬ ‭

The bible tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God. Everything with God takes faith, because God works first in the hidden and in the waiting, then unto the revealing. Not unlike a great chess player or strategist, He has a plan but He hides it until it is no longer expected then once everything is perfectly positioned He reveals it unto victory! 

We see this through out the bible, in the life of Moses who was hidden in Pharaoh’s house until his revealing, in Joseph who was hidden in a prison until his revealing, in David who was hidden in caves until his revealing, and of course in Jesus who was hidden in poverty until His Kingship was revealed. Yet the grandest story in this God cherished tactic of hiding and revealing is still being played out right now, and you are part of it!

If you have chosen by faith to believe in the hidden truths that God revealed through Jesus, repent of and renounce your allegiance to sin, and set your heart to follow Christ, then you will follow Him right into an other hiding. Yet in this hiding we wait in faith for the greatest reveal since the resurrection of Christ, the resurrection and glorifying of the followers of Christ with Christ at the last trump! For it is this last event that the first event came to give us faith for! For if God was able and willing to raise Christ from the dead, then we can wait in hope during the hiding that surely he can and will raise us also. By Faith in what He did, do we have faith in what He will do that we might make ourselves ready for when He does it! Therefore, by faith are we able to endure in the hiding that we can be saved in the revealing and spared from the judgment to come. So I petition you now, choose today to hide in God with Christ that you not desire to hide from God at the return of Christ, for I tell you assuredly that the day draws near and is even at the door. 

“For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.” – Luke‬ ‭8:17‬ ‭

“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” – Romans‬ ‭8:17-21‬ ‭

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” – Titus‬ ‭2:11-13‬ ‭

“For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” – Colossians‬ ‭3:3-4‬ ‭

“And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.” – Revelation‬ ‭19:5-7‬ ‭

What’s Hindering Your Destiny? 

 “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.” – Jonah‬ ‭2:8‬ ‭

What a simple and profound truth. When you listen to the vane lies your soul (emotions) are speaking to you of how you deserve to complain, murmur, hate, disobey God, cling to pride, hold offense, or whatever your particular case at a particular time may be, you forsake your own mercy. By choosing to focus on, listen to, and be led by your emotions (soul/flesh) that is so easily influenced by the devil and your own pride, you are choosing not to listen to and be led by the Spirit of God. When you choose to listen to the soul (emotions), which are always self centered around what you think, what you want, and what you feel, it is causing you to stand in opposition to what God wants, what God feels, and what God knows to be the best for all involved. This serves only to prevent the goodness of God’s plan from manifesting in our lives and His mercies from doing their perfect work both in us and through us as we allow the lies of our vain emotions to keep us in a place of torment, pride, rebellion, or unforgiveness. 

This was the place that Jonah was in. This was his “belly of the fish”. I think that most all of us have spent some time in the belly of that fish. You see, Jonah ran from his call to bring a message of salvation to the Ninevites because he didn’t like them. Jonah had logical reasons not to like them, they were a vile, filthy, violent, selfish, and all out wicked people. Therefor, Jonah had no heart for the Ninevites and when God told him to go minister to them, he ran in the other direction. He listened to his flesh, his emotions, his soul which spoke to him only of bitterness, brokenness, wickedness, hurt, and fear. It justified how right he thought he was by telling him how wrong he knew they were. Yet God, through the Spirit was speaking to him of forgiveness, hope, redemption, healing, and love, but Jonah chose to listen to the soul instead of the Spirit and it caused him to reject the very mercy of the deliverance that God was ready and waiting to give him and the Ninevites alike. He was stubbornly choosing to sit in the torment of his own pride and bitterness that was holding him back from all that God had for him. 

The more Jonah listened to his emotion the worse things got for him because your emotions (being so easily influenced by the enemy) will always take you in a direction that is opposite of the word, will, and wisdom of God. However, God knows best what is best and running from the wisdom of God toward the logic of your emotions will always separate you from the presence of God which is always a dark and tormenting place to be. So things just got worse and worse for him. He went through storms, he got cast out of his boat, he was swallowed by a fish, he was drug to the depths of the sea, he wallowed in darkness, distress, and emotional torment until he realized the thing he missed the most was the Lord, the presence of the Lord. The moment he let his soul (self/flesh/ego/emotions) die and he put his heart, thoughts, and trust back in the Lord, His will, His words, His wisdom, and His love, immediately he was delivered from all his torment and finally he could feel God’s presence, hear His voice, rest in His peace, and see the light of day again. The soul (influenced by Satan) will always tend towards fear and self preservation, but the Spirit (influenced by God) will always tend towards love and the salvation and preservation of others. Choose today to crucify the flesh, and follow the Spirit into the destiny the God has for you.

“When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord. And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.” – Jonah‬ ‭2:7-10‬ ‭

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John‬ ‭4:18‬ ‭

“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 ‭5:24-25‬ ‭

“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 ‭8:13-15‬ ‭

The Two “R’s”

“And that repentanceANDremission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” -Luke 24:47

As a pastor now, having grown thus far from a child raised in God’s Word, there has been much maturing in the 34 years of my spiritual walk and even lessons gained from the “lack thereof” when I ran like that prodigal son from my Father’s house. For that (the maturing process), I am very grateful.

When I read the scriptures today, because of what I recognize was and is the Holy Spirit growing me in grace & mercy, I see the scriptures quite black and white. Specifically? The issue of sin. It’s because of this issue, that is it’s literally the whole reason the scribes of old were directed of the Holy Spirit to write which became the Holy Bible. Out of the entirety of the Bible, the whole of all scriptures comes down to teaching us these two undeniable principles:

Simply put…

1.) Sin is bad. -Romans 6:23

2.) Godliness is gain. -1 Tim. 6:6

I intentionally refer to sin as an “issue” realizing that sin is not only the cancer that plagues the world, but today unfortunately, even the modern church by in large willfully retains sin under the excuse of their humanity. Humanity should simply be the platform for desperation of God, the Lord Jesus, our Savior… Not the “ball and chain” that binds us to evil vices.

“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” -Romans 6:22

The POWER of God’s grace not only forgives sin, removes our sin, but overcomes the power of sin’s enticement by His saving and equipping grace! Grace isn’t the ability to excuse our sin, but the power to overcome!

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? -Romans 6:1-2

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; … Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” -Titus 2:11-12, 14

From our opening verse:

The Two “R’s”

1. Remission

2. Repentance

Remission is God removing and forgiving us of our sin.

Repentance is us turning away from our sin (also done by the empowering work of God’s grace given at salvation)

It is literally heartbreaking that when I talk to “the churched” about simply living for God by obeying His Word, I get accused of teaching a “works salvation.” Of course we can’t earn our salvation; it’s free, however once saved by grace through faith, we live for God, and not for any sinful desires.

Let’s look at what the Bible says:

“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

Did we catch that in verse 10? The popular quote is verses 8-9, but verse 10 completes the picture: “Created unto good works” The whole of salvation is not only FORGIVENESS of sin, but removal and abandonment of sin.

The woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11), is a regularly referred passage by people who attacked anyone who calls out sin for what it is. Yes we are not to “cast stones” of condemnation, but offer the love of God that leads to repentance. (Ephesians 4:32) But let’s not forget the end of that passage…

“When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” -John 8:10-11

Even though the Pharisees were out of line in their approach, we have to still realize that adultery was still sin, and sin needs addressing. Jesus addressed it; not excused it.

He forgave her:

“Neither do I condemn thee”

Then He exhorted her unto righteousness:

“Go and sin no more”

The messages taught today that it’s Jesus that saves us by faith alone without or not needing any choice on our part to repent (abandon) our sins once forgiven and having been saved, is a very dangerous one.

The word “Repentance” is so much more than a “change of mind,” but also, a “change of lifestyle.” If you change your mind on something, naturally your change of actions will back up your change of mind. Example: If I change my mind about the order of my desk, I’ll actually change it! Changes of thought are always preceded by changes of action. Remission AND Repentance.

“I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” -Luke 5:32

“Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” -James 5:19-20

“And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.” -Jonah 3:10

“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” -Isaiah 55:7

“Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:” -Matthew 11:20

Remission of sin isn’t much good if you leave the door of your heart wide open for you’re old master, sin. You cannot serve two masters. You will either love one and hate the other. (Matthew 6:24)

Choose today!

I choose Jesus!

I choose remission AND repentance!

The Joy Of The Lord

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” – 3 John‬ ‭1:4‬

As a parent who is walking in the truth there truly is no greater joy then to know that your children or walking in the truth also. Likewise, as a minister (which are little more then spiritual parents) l can attest that nothing brings you more joy then to see your disciples walking on their own firmly planted in the truth. How much more then does it bring joy to our Heavenly Father when His children also walk in the truth? And since the joy of the Lord is our strength, then our faith in His truth brings not only Him joy, but us power! For when we come to read the truth of God’s word and walk it out in faith, we align ourselves with God. When we try to make things work our way, we are telling God to align Himself with us. He will not, but I assure you that another spirit will. This grieves God greatly. In this we can see the simple truth of both what grieves God and what brings Him joy. Trusting in what you think and expecting God to align with it grieves Him, while trusting in what He says (which is the truth) and aligning yourself with Him in faith brings Him joy which causes Him to joyfully send you the gift of His Holy Spirit and all the strength of it, which at its root is grace, God’s favor, power, and divine leading influence filling your heart, changing your life, and making all things new. 

“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” – Revelation‬ ‭21:5‬ ‭

“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 ‭

“If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” – Ephesians‬ ‭4:21-32‬ ‭

“So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law. Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” – Nehemiah‬ ‭8:8-10‬ ‭