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

Advertisements

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

Be More

“For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:” – 1 Peter 2:19-21

All through scripture you see this principal of God’s character expressed. He is pleased with those who give the more then expected. The easiest example of this for us to grasp is expressed in the tithe and offering. The tithe (10%) already belongs to God and is expected as simple obedience but the offering (anything above the 10%) is given of your own free will and truly blesses God. Because it is given above what is expected God is pleased by it and blesses it all the more. Yet does He state that both are our duty as saints because it reflects His good character.

However, this principal applies in every area of our Christian faith. Not just finances, I only use that as a clear illustration of it. In our opening passage we see this principle laid out in a much more humbling area of our lives. That of rebuke, ridicule, revile, rejection, oppression, and attack for the sake of our obedience to God or expression of faith.

To this the scripture says that if we be buffeted (resisted, opposed, or rebuked) for doing wrong and we take the buffeting with patience and humility then we have merely done what is expected of us by God. We often pat ourselves on the back when we humble ourselves to take rebuke gracefully that we needed and deserved but God says, that this is simply not being rebellious and is expected by Him.

However, when we are buffeted (resisted, opposed, or rebuked) for doing good, for obeying His voice, for standing in faith in what He has told us, for sharing His testimony or our own, for serving Him, or for ministering to others, and still take it with patience, grace, faith, and humility, then He is well pleased. This goes beyond what is normal and common and enters into what reflects His character to others. Now this does not mean that you stop doing these things but that you keep doing them in love, without offense. Just like Jesus did, who is our example.

You just keep doing these things for the sake of the very people who are buffeting you. Not opposing them, not fighting against them, but fighting for them and humbling yourself before them willing to even lay down your life for the sake of their eternal soul. Speaking kindly to those who have spoken harshly to you. Praying for those who have persecuted you. Washing those who have betrayed you. Serving those who have buffeted you. This is the more that God blesses because it demonstrates His more then normal character to a subnormal culture who desperately needs to see something more. After all, this is exactly what we were created, redeemed, and called for, to show them that there is more. So don’t just cry for more, be the more.

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” – Matthew 5:43-48

Bold as a Lion

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, like a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” – 1 Peter 5:8

Yes the devil is ever on the hunt therefore we must be ever vigilant not to fall pray to him. He watches, studies, and picks up on your weak areas hoping to attack at the right moment when you are at your weakest so he can plan fear, offense, doubt, unbelief, selfishness, apathy, and then rebellion… Do you see the tactic?

Nearly all breaches in the wall begin with some form of fear and progress from their to agreement with the enemy, followed by compromise, then sin, and eventually out right rebellion. Fear of man, fear of what others think, fear of being alone or rejected, fear of being attacked by the enemy, of trial or tribulation, of physical or emotional hurt, fear of missing out on something, fear of not being successful, fear of not being understood or believed. Pretty much every lie of the enemy is rooted in some form of fear. Why? Because it’s all the devil has left.

Christ already defeated the devil at Calvary when He took his “authority” (keys) away. Dominion of the earth was given back to man through the redemptive power of the blood of Jesus who atoned for use and restored the physical dominion that we were created to walk in, then expanded it to include spiritual dominion as joint heirs with Christ as well. Do you know what that means? The devil now has no authority over man except that which we give up and surrender to him through agreement and fear is usually how he gets us to agree to give up our authority against him.

If you agree to be silent then the devil has already won because only the Word can silence him. Jesus spoke against the devil’s temptations when he said “it is written” and then quoted scripture. Jesus also said that the enemy, no matter how big, could be cast out if you will “speak to that mountain”. Jesus further tells us that the devil is overcome because of His blood and also the word of our testimony. So if the devil can make you afraid to speak then he has disarmed you and given himself place. If you agree with him to the point of obeying him and sinning then you forfeit your dominion and make him your master according to Romans 6:16, but it need not be so.

You see, the devil is “like” a roaring lion. In other words, he is “not” a roaring lion, he just pretends to be. Remember that he has already been defeated, through Christ you have all authority against him but he bullies, he bluffs, he pretends to be more then he is hoping to make you fearful of him so that you won’t stand your ground against him and speak.

“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

Of all God’s creatures, why does he pretend to be like a lion? Because he is jealous of the real lion, the Lion of the tribe of Judah! Because he hates the kingship (authority) that has been stripped from him and given to the righteous sons and daughters of God who are now bold as lions! So he pretends that he hasn’t lost it in hopes that you will be bluffed! He seeks to imitate, infiltrate, and intimidate the true Kings of the earth into laying down their authority and kingship so that he can walk in the void. He only has the authority that you give up and you give it up when he intimidates you with his counterfeit roar!

“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;” – 2 Timothy 1:6-8

When you hear that roar do not go silent trying to hide from it! In stead silence him by showing him what the real thing sounds like! When the devil roars at you “like” a lion, remember who he really is, who you really are, and stir up the Gift that is within you (which is the real Lion of the tribe of Judah) and roar back!

“And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed…” – Revelation 5:5

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

“The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.” – Proverbs 28:1

“Cherith Before Jordan”

“And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. So he went and did according unto the word of the Lord: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.” – 1 Kings 17:1-6

In the midst of a land where the Prophets of God we’re being hunted and killed by Jezebel (the king of the territory’s wife), Elijah dared to trust God enough to stand before the king and boldly prophesy against them. Think about this. All the prophets where running and hiding from these people and Elijah (trusting in the mandate that God had given him) runs toward them and decrees with all confidence that it will not rain anymore except by his word.

How could he have such courage? Because he had faith. He did not go of his own will, strength, purpose, or decree but by God’s. God had spoken and he had obeyed. From the outside looking in that might look like courage, or even arrogance, but really it’s confidence, it’s obedience, it’s faith.

What a bold assignment God had entrusted to Elijah. What powerful words. What authority he wielded. What power he represented… Elijah might think it’s all up hill from here! He might think it’s time to take the kingdom! He might think that since he was the only one faithful to do this bold and dangerous thing for God that he would be catapulted into a mass ministry of glory and grandeur!

Then God speaks again! Elijah might have thought, “You just used me to speak to Kings, rebuke the rains, and shut up the heavens! What’s the next assignment Lord!” But what God speaks next is not what most of us would want to hear having just been used so mightily by God.

God tells him to “go hide thyself”, and He tells him where. “Go live in a cave in the wilderness next to the brook Cherith that is before the Jordan.” … Wait, what, why?

First off there had to be a season of time to allow the words that he had spoken under the unction of the Holy Spirit to come to pass that they might prove God’s approval of him and power through him. The prophetic works through a speak and retreat pattern. Men must choose to except or reject the word of the Lord for themselves. Therefore is the word given then time allowed to pass in mercy as the Lord confirms it and waits for it to be submitted too.

“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

“Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.” – Revelation 2:20-21

However, God’s mercy on the wicked is not the only reason for this wilderness, but also His love for the obedient and desire to protect and refine them further. To prepare them to cross over into new territories, to pour into them revelations and to cut out temptations. To tune their ears, to build their faith in His provision that they not fail to fear and submition to the enemy or worldly needs or desires. To learn that God is their provider, supplier, meat, bread, shelter, and fire. To remove the temptation to compromise for the promise of carnal provision because that they have learned to rely on God’s supernatural prevision! It’s where a small mustard seed of faith grows into a great and mighty tree of faith. He had faith in that one original area but rather then just keep using him there, God was growing his faith and branching it out into many different areas for greater things to come! You see it’s not so much about the small size of the mustard seed but more so about how big a tree it has the potential to grow into. It’s not about a small faith that can do big things, it’s about a growing maturing faith that can do greater things!

“Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.” – Matthew 13:31-32

God told him to go hide himself to protect him from the enemy while He cut somethings away from him that would hinder him in where God was going to bring him next. You see, God told him to stay by the brook “Cherith, which was before the Jordan”. “Cherith” means “cutting”, and the “Jordan” is “the place of crossing over into promise (purpose/destiny)”. There has to be a time in the wilderness where you allow God to cut some things away, to circumcise your flesh and heart, before you can cross over into the destiny that God has for you. He may give you a little taste of it first to plant that seed of faith but then you need to let it grow like a tree planted by the waters, like the waters of the brook Cherith. There is impossible provision there, there is spiritual circumcision there, there is revelation there, there is cultivating of your gifts there, there is growing, branching out, strengthening, and maturing of your faith there. Once the Lord has done His work on you there, He Himself will move you by removing the provision that He supplied to keep you there in the first place.

“And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.” – 1 Kings 17:7-9

So until that happens, don’t move yourself! If you cross the Jordan too soon you won’t be strong enough to handle the storms that await you there. Elijah might have thought it a mighty thing to stop the rains, but the real battles didn’t begin until after the rains had begun again and when they did, he knew where to go to get the revelation needed to survive and cross over to the next assignment… back to a cave in the wilderness, back to that place of faith building communion with God where instruction flows like a river to your soul. It’s all about learning, maturing, and growing before the going. The first cave, God had to put Elijah in to teach him, the second cave, Elijah put himself in because he had learned.

“And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?” – 1 Kings 19:9

Born of the Spirit

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” – John 3:6-8

Jesus reminds us in John 4:24 that God is a Spirit, and those that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. The Kingdom of Heaven is also Spiritual. Therefor to see (or discern) the things of it we must be born into the realm of the Spirit.

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” – John 3:3

Flesh births flesh and flesh only sees what is fleshly or carnal. It seeks after that which feeds the flesh trying to keep itself alive. But when a man is truly born again of the Spirit, he will began to see that which is of the Spirit and seek after that which feeds his Spirit. To the man who has not yet had this new Spirit birth and had the spiritual eyes of his understanding opened to this whole new realm of reality, the actions of those who have seem foolish to him. He hears their words but cannot tell where they are coming from with what they speak. He sees there actions but cannot understand where they are going with what they are doing. He is leaning on His own understanding, on what he can see with physical eyes which cannot comprehend the capacity of what God is revealing to those who are walking in the Spirit.

“But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.” – Jude 1:10

“He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” – John 8:47

Do not expect men who are carnally minded to understand spiritual actions. They oppose each other. Scriptures says to be carnally minded makes you an enemy of God because it will cause you to always be in opposition to what the Spirit is doing. Don’t bother trying to make them understand what you are doing in obedience to the flow of the Spirit for they cannot see what you see, hear what you hear, feel what you feel, or discern what you discern. Instead pray that the eyes of their understanding be opened, which will only happen when they are truly born again of the Holy Spirit. Not when they make fleshy claims with no fruits of the Spirit to evidence it, but when they have truly been born into a realm of Spiritual revelation and impartation of sight bringing insight into the things of God and the Kingdom of God that goes far beyond the physical carnal world and their mundane daily interactions with it.

To those who have tasted of the deeper revelations of the Spirit Of God, the silly, shallow, meaningless task and distractions of this life become bland at best and often quite repulsive. Don’t judge too harshly the man that does not understand your operations of obedience to a realm that he does not really know, even if he thinks he does. Pray for him. Pray that he be born again so that he can enter in and then he will begin to see what you have been seeing. Deliver not the deeper revelations of the mysteries of the Spirit of God and expect him to discern the truth in it. He is not led of that Spirit but of the flesh who wars against that Spirit. Determine, as Paul did, to give him only the good news of Christ and Him crucified until his flesh dies and the Spirit Of God be born in him… even if he already thinks it is. No matter what they say or think, until their eyes and ears are open to the Spiritual world, they have not yet been born into it. Keep giving them Christ and Him crucified. Once that a baby is born, immediately are their eyes and ears opened and they begin to learn how to hear, see, and discern the things of this new world that they have been born into, not before. So judge the fruits and determine what you should say and how you should pray, believing in faith that the lost will be saved.

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” – 1 Corinthians 2:12-14

Passion Prioritizes

If you are more drawn to the things of this world then to the glory of God’s presence then you either never experienced the Glory of God’s presence or (like Adam) you are listening to the lies of the devil meant to rob you of what really matters in exchange for a temporary piece of bad fruit that looks good in the moment but rots away in the next. Don’t be so easily tricked. Set your priorities and prove your preference.

If exercising your body takes priority over exercising your faith. If entertainment draws you more than intercession. If the pleasures of the flesh pull harder than the joy of the Lord’s presence. If what you want outweighs what the Lord wants. If you give more of your time to that which is carnal than to that which is spiritual, and more of your energy to that which is temporary than to that which is eternal, then your priorities expose your passion and declare that you are a friend of the world and not of God. To which I say that anyone who would choose to prioritize the things of the world over the things of God is either horribly deceived, inexplicably foolish, or has never truly experienced the things of God.

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also, and home is where the heart is. If God is truly your treasure and love, then you will only feel at home with Him and will prioritize your time and service to Him. If you prioritize your time and service to the world then it’s because that is where you feel the most at home because that is where your heart determines that the greatest treasure really is. If so, then it’s time to repent, set some priorities, get into God’s presence, and fall in love with the right treasure.

“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.” – 1 John‬ ‭2:15-17‬ ‭

Why Does God Tell Us To Pray?

If God is all powerful then why do we need to pray?

No, God does not need our permission but He is just, and His word does not return void. If He said it, He will not break faithfulness with that which He said, for He is not a man that He should lie.

Knowing that I remind you that God created man to have “dominion” over the earth. Man forfeited that dominion to Satan in the garden, Christ came and got it back in an other garden, and then gave it back to His bride. So do you see the point here? It’s all about dominion. God gave us dominion and prayer is were you use it.

“…ye have not, because ye ask not.” – James 4:2

Know that from the beginning God wanted a family for fellowship, not servants for service. We were always meant to be His sons and daughters. So As any good Father does, He causes His children to be trained on the small things before He entrust them with rule over the greater things of His Kingdom. He allows us to (and actually commands us to) exercise authority and take dominion over spiritual things (principalities, powers, and rulers in dark places) in this small earthly realm so that He can train us to one day to rule and reign with Christ in grand Heavenly places.

“Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?” – 1 Corinthians 6:3

“His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” – Matthew 25:23

This life is your training ground, your class room, your job interview for eternity. Don’t skip class, don’t be found sleeping on the training ground, don’t take the interview lightly. The only thing that really matters in this life is how seriously you took it’s ability to position you for eternity.

So yes God can do it all by Himself, but He doesn’t want to. That’s why He created you. So do what you were created to do. Pray. Pray so that you can fellowship with Him, pray so that you can be taught by Him, and pray so that you can exercise the authority and dominion granted to you by Him. Pray, because prayer proves faith and faith pleases God. Pray because anything less is not just lazy, it is rebellion against your Fathers instructions. Pray because it’s your mandate. But most of all, pray because it’s your privilege.

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16

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

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs‬ ‭22:6‬ ‭

No Weapon Formed Against Me!

warrior-angel-help“O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones. And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee. Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake. Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.” – Isaiah 54:11-17

When you look up “afflicted” in the Strongs, it means “depressed of mind” and “Tempest” means “anger”. Many people exhibiting these emotions or told that they or bipolar, depressed, or angry. I can relate, that was me! But let’s read on, it gets good. 

All our borders will be pleasant. All our children shall be taught by God and great shall be the peace of our children. This is a promise from God! Verse 4 says, “in righteousness shall we be established”.  RIGHT STANDING with God! It says that oppression shall be far from us! We don’t need medications to find peace! We need Jesus who is the Prince of Peace! All we need is to be in right standing with Him. Mental illness, as it is called, is nothing more than us needing God not medication or any other substitution. 

I can speak to you today on this subject with authority, because I have been completely delivered from what the world called mental illness. I was told that I was bipolar and depressed, would forever be so, and would need life long medications. However my God said otherwise and I now live completely free from that oppression. All I have to do is trust God and stay in right standing or alignment with Him. However if I choose to step out of alignment with God and willfully return to sin then I would give the devil access by agreement. So stay in line with God, His words, and His will with full trust and you will walk in peace. 

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” – Isaiah 26:3 

The passage continues however to say that people will come against you, but God says in verse 18 that whoever comes against us will fall for our sake. Boy we serve a good God exclamation! He is our protector! And of course, the last verse should be one that we all memorize and stand on! NO WEAPON formed against thee shall prosper! 

So anyone suffering with depression, anxiety, oppression, sadness, or anger, it’s time to get into right standing with God and then tell those things to “Go in Jesus Name!” You can be free! Whom the Son sets free is free indeed! I am free! By the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony is the enemy overcome. I’m here to testify today that I overcame and you can too! Amen!

“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

Submitted by Wayne Aucoin

Presence Before Presentation

It’s easy to fall into routine. It’s easy to repeat what we’ve heard. It’s easy to mimic what we see others do and make excuses about why that is enough. Oh how we love to complain that nothing changes but get upset when we are asked to change?

So what exactly needs to change? Priorities. Paul tells us that prayer comes first. Before we sing we need to pray. Before we preach we need to pray. Before we work we need to pray. Before we play we need to pray. Before we do ANYTHING we need to pray. Prayers should be prioritized in our lives and in our churches and I’m sorry, but for the most part, it is not.

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

What you do in front of people should be an overflow of the infilling from what you’ve gotten in the secret place of prayer. If you have not first taken time to be poured into by the Holy Spirit (which is life), then all you have to pour out on others is flesh (which is death). Jokes might be spoken, but no yokes will be broken.

You must spend time in His presence so that you can receive something from Him to present or else you’re just preforming. While performances might be entertaining to the flesh it won’t break the yoke of bondage off the soul. People might leave feeling good but they won’t leave changed.

Get into God’s presence and let Him speak to you, lead you, guide you, correct you, teach you, change you, and fill you up. Visit His throne and get a word straight from Him Himself. Then stand in faith on that word as all hell comes against it to break your faith in it and watch all of heaven come to your defense and preform miracles to bring it about. It’s that simple. Stop trying to move people and start moving the mountains that are hindering the people from moving!

Jesus died so that we can come boldly before the throne of grace, commune with God Himself, and obtain first mercy, then authority to face all the wilds of the devil with confidence because “we know our God”! We know Him personally, we don’t just know of Him or know about Him. We know Him and he knows us because we have communed with Him, talked with Him, heard from Him, and believed.

“And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” – Luke 11:1

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” – Psalms 91:1

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” – John 15:4

“And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me…” – Matthew 7:23

“And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” – Daniel 11:32