Biblical Prosperity

IMG_1577945D3CB4-1

“Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Joshua 1:7-8

In a day and age where we are all pressured in climbing the ladder of financial success and prosperity, (even now in the church unfortunately), it is a rare treasure to find people who define success & prosperity the way God truly defines it in His word. Even now as a pastor, I’m having to re-shift some career priorities due to the pressures of climbing the monetary ladder of prosperity. We’ve all felt it; some ways different than others, but the in the end, it reaches to every young adult in college, every middle management personnel, etc.

The historical context of this scripture is God speaking to Joshua the apprentice (now in command) immediately after Moses dies. You can read this passage from verse one through to verse nine. No doubt that Moses was deep “shoes to fill,” so one could only imagine what pressures Joshua was feeling to step up to the plate leading the people of Israel, and not fail. God knew this, and fervently encouraged Joshua that He would be with him “whithersoever thou goest” (vs. 9) So God does something truly profound: He tells Joshua just exactly how to be successful and prosperous in his new position.

Let’s take a real look at the opening passage again, and notice EXACTLY WHAT GOD SAYS is the criteria to “make your way prosperous” & “have good success”

  1. “observe to do according to all the law” (obedience to God)
  2. “turn not from it to the right hand or to the left” (consistency & endurance)
  3. “meditate therein [the book of the law] day and night” (devotion & worship)

I find that one of the biggest heartaches within the modern church is that the message of the gospel has become so unapologetically selfish pursuing more money, wealth, and “things” of this world that don’t amount to anything eternally speaking. The devil has without a doubt crept in swaying the minds of our pastors enticing them to pursue what is pleasing to the flesh and somehow attempting to justify it by twisting scripture out of context; just like Satan does so regularly.

“The early church was married to poverty, prisons and persecutions. Today, the church is married to prosperity, personality, and popularity.”
Leonard Ravenhill

Remember: When we came to God, it was about us surrendering to Him, and giving our lives for His will; not us treating God as a “genie in a lamp” to do our bidding. It’s no different each and every day for us to take up our cross and follow Him.

“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:” 1 John 5:14

If we truly want to be successful, we start by recognizing where true success comes from: God.

  1. Love Him
  2. Live for Him
  3. Stay the course!

It’s that simple!

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” Matthew 24:13

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

Visit our website & download our mobile app!

http://www.heartofworshipchurch.com/

When God Chooses You

esther“And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother. In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the Lord, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the Lord of hosts.” – Haggai‬ ‭2:22-23‬ ‭

All through scripture we see examples of God doing great things for those He has “chosen“. We see these individuals that are “chosen by God”, we see the close personal relationship He has with them, all the ways He defends them, and the many miracles He performs, seemingly on their behalf.

“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” – Jeremiah‬ ‭1:5‬ ‭

To the “average joe” or new Christian, this may seem unfair. Why has God chosen this person and not me? Why do I see God manifesting on their behalf and not for me? Why does He always defend them and not me? Well, I’ll tell you a secret. It’s not that they are chosen and you are not, it’s simply that they are walking in obedience to the plan that God has chosen for them and perhaps, as of yet, you are not.

The truth is that we are all chosen for something. God has a plan for every life laid out before they were even formed. This is the essence of what the bible refers to as “predestination”. It is the destiny that God has prepared for your life. However, it is up to you rather you choose to walk in that destiny or not.

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” – Deuteronomy‬ ‭30:19‬

‭The bible is full of examples of people who chose not to walk in the destiny (or plan) God had for them. Esau was one such man, who for a bowl of stew gave up his birth right, his destiny. He chose to indulge the desires of the flesh whether then trust in God, and therefor forfeited all that God had planned for him.

An other great example of this is Saul. At the beginning of his kingship we see God telling Saul His great plans for him, coupled with His great provision, protection, and favor, for God had chosen him. Yet by the end of his reign, we see him rejected by God and stripped of everything, his kingdom, his favor, his blessings, and even his protection as he is killed while trying to commit suicide. All because he detoured from God’s perfect plan and trusted his own plans more then God’s.

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

You see, we look at those whom we can see the favor of God shining in their lives and think, “I wish I was chosen of God like them“. I’m here to tell you that, of a truth, you are! God chose them to walk out a certain destiny (or plan) laid out from the foundations of the world, that’s true. However, He has chosen you to walk out a certain destiny (or plan) as well! You cannot walk in their plan and they can not walk in yours, for we are many members of the same body, jointly fit together, acting as a whole to accomplish the will of God!

Stop pursuing someone else’s destiny, stop trying to create your own, and start walking in the one that God has created you for from the foundations of the world! Then and only then will you see Him move in your life to defend that plan, to empower that plan, and to favor that plan. You see it’s not that person that God is preforming miracles for, it’s His plan which they are walking out. It’s not that person (par say) that He is defending, it’s His plan that He is defending. It’s really not even that person He is favoring over you, it’s His plan that He is favoring over yours. So in short, God chooses the people that choose His plan!

When you choose to put your trust in God’s plan, God Himself will show up in impossible ways to help you walk out the destiny that He has planned for your life, but will not for the one you imagine for yourself. The good news is that the one He planned for you is far better then the one you imagine yourself. The sad news is that so very few choose to lay down their own plans and trust God’s enough to ever come to see that. So they that don’t, envy those that do, while blaming God and destiny for what is really up to you.

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is (God), and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” – Hebrews‬ ‭11:6‬

‭ “For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.” – Isaiah‬ ‭43:3-4‬ ‭

Strangers & Pilgrims [part 2]

enlight15

“[7] But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. [8] Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,” -Philippians 3:7-8 (KJV)

(Today is the second edition of a “part one” written previously. If you haven’t read that one, I would encourage you to start with that one first. Click here to read that one.)

I find it blatantly interesting & theologically appropriate that the apostle Paul chose the word “dung” to describe “all things” compared to winning Christ.

As a born again Christian that I’ve been most of my life (childhood, teen, young adult, etc.), I’ve found that this is one of the hardest focuses to maintain. Don’t misunderstand me, you know this truth if you have been radically saved by faith in Jesus; I’m referring to an unwavering, continual path of consistent mental dedication living every single day as though EVERYTHING else outside of Jesus is truly, “dung.” Let’s look at what the original text of the New Testament defined it as:

Dung: Original Greek Word “σκύβαλον” | Transliterated Word: “skubalon” | Phonetic Spelling (pronunciation): “skoo’-bal-on” which means, “any refuse, as the excrement of animals, offscourings, rubbish, dregs of things worthless and even detestable.”

I want you to see what I’m seeing this morning.  Two parts: Not just worthless, but even detestable, meaning even undesirable!  That’s a tough one there! Many things I know I have put “sweat, blood, and tears” into, I realize I don’t need to. If anything, I shouldn’t, especially if those things become idolatrous. (putting anything above the Lord). It’s ok to work to provide meals and shelter for you and your family, of course. What the issue can be is pursuit of no satisfaction putting everything monetary above our spiritual needs of maturity in the Lord, and personal growth.

Remember: The Lord has never seen the righteous forsaken (Psalm 37:25) We all have the same amount of time in every day; just 24 hours. We need to examine our daily time investment portfolio. In it’s assessment, what percentage of that time is invested into eternity?

When we put so much stress and anxiety over the littlest things on this life, I want us to start seeing our lives here on earth the same way Paul did: Nothing is of real value compared to Jesus. Our parking spots my get taken, our plans might be rescheduled or even canceled, we might not get that promotion at work, we might even have tragic loss of monetary things, but we have to be encouraged and remember that none of this will even be a glimmer of thought 100 years from now. (See Romans 8:28)The fist part to this message I described us born-again believers as “renters” temporarily living in this earth knowing the Bible tells us this is not our home.

John 15:19 – “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”

John 17:16 – “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

Colossians 3:2 – Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

1 John 2:15 – 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.

Today, ask the Lord to help you see our lives here for what it really is.  If we know the Word says that we will all be judged by our works, (Romans 2:6, Matthew 16:27, Ecclesiastes 35:19) then we really should have a re-shift of priorities. In eternity, it will not be whether we got that two-story house, or the in-ground pool, sports car, etc., but what will be known about you is whether you put Jesus FIRST IN ALL things or not.

As Christians, we truly are strangers here, so let us stop worrying about “fitting in”

As Christians, we truly are pilgrims here, so let us remember we are just “passing though”

Lord I pray for all who are reading this that know in their heart that if they put half as much effort in their walk with you as they do other goals or obligations, they’d have a much stronger walk with you. Teach us all daily this important truth. In Jesus name we pray, Amen!!!!  [Watch this video, and listen to the powerful message in it]

Come To The River

Are-You-Really-Born-Again-400x300“And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” – Isaiah‬ ‭12:1-3‬

What beautifully prophetic words spoken by the prophet Isaiah that were echoed many times by Jesus Christ. For example, to the woman at the well when He told her, “but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John‬ ‭4:14‬)

Later Jesus would speak this forth again, only with much greater clarification as His death and resurrection neared. In these passages in John chapter 7 we see with all clarity that He was speaking of the promise of the Holy Spirit which was to come after His return to the Father.

“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” – John‬ ‭7:37-39‬

Acts chapter 1 verse 8 tells us that the gift of the Holy Spirit was given to make us witnesses to all the world, while before this great gift was given, all the world had to come to the temple in Jerusalem to be cleansed. This is because of the law of transference. You see, in the Old Testament when something clean touched something unclean, the clean thing became unclean. Like a priest touching a dead body, or a clean person touching a leper. Often if a sinful thing touched a holy thing, the sinful thing died. For example, if a sinful or unclean priest interred the Holy of Holies, he died like the man who touched the Holy Ark of the Covenant when it began to fall from the cart.

However, when Jesus came and the Holy Spirit rested upon Him, He being Holy began touching unclean things like lepers, and sinners, and instead of Him, being clean, becoming unclean, the unclean being touched by the clean became clean. This same amazing thing began happening through the disciples and apostles after they received power from on High through the in filling of the Holy Spirit of God after Jesus’s resurrection on the day of Pentecost, as promised. This was a new thing that allowed the followers of Christ to become witnesses to all the world because it allowed the cleansing power of God’s Holiness to leave the physical temple in Jerusalem, and go into all the world!

This was foreseen by the prophet Ezekiel and is recorded in chapter 47 of the book that bares his name. He describes a vision of water flowing out of the temple that grows into a mighty river which cleanses and heals all that it touches. This takes us back to Jesus’s promise of a river of living water that is the Holy Spirit. Because of Jesus’s atoning Blood, we ourselves can be cleansed and our very bodies can become the temple of the Holy Spirit that God’s Holiness could flow out from, starting in Jerusalem and go forth, bringing healing to all the world.

“Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh.” – Ezekiel‬ ‭47:8-9‬

“And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” – Matthew‬ ‭4:19

Do you remember how in The old testament when a sinful thing touched a holy thing the sinful thing died? That still happens. When our sinful man truly believes on Christ and cries out to be touched by His Holy Blood, we die. Our flesh, our sin nature, our old self dies, but the Holy Spirit of God lives on forever through us and we become a new creature in Christ. Dead to who we were, buried with Christ through baptism, and resurrected with Christ in newness of life through the power of the Holy Ghost! Not only are we made clean, given a new Spirit unto eternal life, and granted sonship, but we are also empowered to then go out and be a witness that others who are now unclean might be made clean through the flowing of that mighty river of living water that is the Holy Spirit of God, made available to us through faith by the atoning power of the Blood of Jesus Christ! Now that is something to praise God about!

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” – 2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭

“Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 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 ‭36:25-27

“And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.” – Isaiah‬ ‭12:4-6‬

Receiving The Power Of Jesus’s Greatest Promise

14739“My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.” – Proverbs‬ ‭4:20-22‬

‭ I recently had a dream where I witnessed a man speaking to an other man. One said to the other, “do you know why God’s word must be written in your heart?” The second man asked, “why?“. The first man replied, “so that it’s just as close to your hands as it is to your mouth. To be a real Christian you must do more then speak the word, you must just as easily demonstrate it. It needs to come out of both your heart and your hands.

God’s law residing only in one’s hands (or actions) is works, God’s words residing only in one’s mouth is dead faith, but God’s words and law residing in one’s heart is the grace that bridges the gap between faith and works and changes everything.

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” – Jeremiah‬ ‭31:31-33‬

‭This is possible because of the gift that Jesus promise to give us after His resurrection, and that gift is His Holy Spirit. Because of Jesus’s atoning sacrifice, we can have our sins washed clean by His blood through faith in Him and what He did and said. Then we are able to receive God’s grace, which is favor, power, and divine influence by way of the Holy Spirit of God coming to reside within us. This inward river of living water springing up from deep within promised by Jesus, brings us revelation, conviction, communion, authority and all the elements of God’s grace as it writes His words and desires upon our very hearts, empowering and driving us to do what we ourselves otherwise could not. That is, to not only speak God’s words, but to also demonstrate them with our lives and actions.

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” – Acts‬ ‭2:38-39‬

‭ “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

‭ “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” – James‬ ‭1:22‬ ‭

“For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭4:20‬ ‭

God Sends Miracles To Validate The Message

0bcdc23f205742664f5166df15eb8ee4“And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.” – Luke‬ ‭5:19-25‬

Scripture is clear that faith is required for salvation. We must believe that God is God, that He loves us and wants to save us, and that He is able to save us, in order for Him to save us. Jesus is the miracle that validates the message of God’s love and desire to see us saved. While the healing of the sick and the raising of the dead are miracles sent to validate the message that He is powerful enough to save you.

“Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.” – Acts‬ ‭8:5-6‬

‭ The power to do miracles comes only by way of the Holy Spirit and scripture is clear that the Holy Spirit speaks not of it’s self but glorifies Jesus. Jesus Himself tells us in Acts chapter 1 verse 8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Therefor, we see the purpose and the function by which this power is received.

So how to we receive this power? First we must repent of our sins, believe on Jesus and be saved (Acts 2:38). Then we must ask Jesus to send us the Holy Spirit (John 4:10), Jesus then petitions God for us (John 14:16), God sends the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:2), we then receive power for one purpose only, to be a witness of Jesus Christ. This is why the man with palsy was healed, as well those Philip preached Christ to.

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” – John‬ ‭16:13-14

‬“He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.” – John‬ ‭7:18‬

Though there are many counterfeits in the world seeking self glory, the Holy Spirit manifest to validate the deity and message of Christ alone, and to Glorify the love and saving power of Jesus only. Anything else will grieve the Holy Spirit and he will depart.

“Ye lust, and have not: ye kill (or hate), and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” – James‬ ‭4:2-3‬ ‭

“Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” – 1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:19-22‬

‭“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” – Ephesians‬ ‭4:30‬

‭The reason so few see the true power of the Holy Spirit is because: 1) they are not fully persuaded that God is able to do what He has promised to do even if He has to raise someone from the dead to do it, 2) the Holy Spirit only glorifies God and will not operate with power through those who’s heart’s desire to steal God’s glory for themselves, and 3) they are not preaching Christ, but an other Jesus.

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” – Galatians‬ ‭1:6-12

‬The Holy Spirit of God only performs miracles to validate the message, the message is Jesus, and Jesus is the Word made flesh. Therefore if you don’t believe the entirety of the Bible from Genesis to Revelations for exactly what it says, then you don’t believe Jesus, and if you’re not preaching it then you’re not preaching Jesus, which grieves the Holy Spirit. Stop trying to explain away the words of the bible and start preaching and believing them and God will move in miraculous ways to prove and validate them. Forget what you’ve been told, forget what you think you know, read what God says, and choose to believe.

“And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” – Romans‬ ‭4:19-25‬ ‭

The Ministry Of Helps, A Ministry Of Legacy

3-ways-to-determine-if-you-are-a-giver-or-a-taker-in-ministry012714“And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow labourers, whose names are in the book of life.” – Philippians‬ ‭4:3‬

‭ Jesus tells us that the least in the kingdoms of this world will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Perhaps of all the offices laid out in scripture, the one we might consider “the least” is the Office of the Ministry of Helps.

“Yet I believe that God sees it as one of the greatest. “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭12:28‬

‭The Prophet may be the mouth piece of God, the evangelist His feet, the pastor His heart, and the teacher His mind, but the ministry of helps are His hands and without the hands the mouth, feet, heart, and mind can get little to nothing accomplished. For this cause, great are the rewards in heaven for those willing to faithfully and humbly answer this unsung calling.

However their rewards are not only in the life to come. Very often they are seen in a very real way here. We see this exemplified in the widow woman that God called to help the prophet Elijah. God had a plan that had been set in motion for generations and He had called Elijah to walk part of that plan into reality, yet in order for that to happen, he needed help. Therefor, God called the widow to help. How do we know that this was her God ordained calling? Because God told Elijah that she was meant to help him before she even knew herself that she would. In her mind she was just a starving widow, but in God’s mind she was an integral part of God’s story and plan. She was invaluable to it all because the whole of the story could not have been without her part in it.

She was faithful to help the prophet, she was faithful to feed the prophet, and she was faithful to bring the prophet comfort. Therefore, God was faithful to feed her by miraculously multiplying the food in her storage jars through the time of drought. He was faithful to help her in all her times of need, and He was faithful to bring her comfort when her son died by bringing him back to life.

When I look back over my families 50 years of ministry, it’s those faithful servants, those unwavering hands of help that stand out to me the most. Many came and went seeking stages, titles, and positions; few of whom’s names are even remembered. However, those who did the greatest and most lasting work in the hearts of the generations that followed them had no title, just humble faithfulness, yet their names and faces are forever engraved on my heart. Always willing to help, to serve, to be an example of humility, faithfulness, steadfastness, and always willing to help advance the will of God in whatever big or little way they could. Hardly seen in their own lives and mind, yet rejoiced over in eternity. These are they that will be the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven in my opinion.

“And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.” – Mark‬ ‭10:44‬

‭ You see, God rewards those who serve Him with specific crowns for specific works of obedience. The Prophet will receive a prophet’s reward. The pastor will receive a pastor’s reward. The teacher will receive a teacher’s reward. The evangelist will receive an evangelist’s reward. The apostle will receive an apostles reward. But the one that helped the apostle, the prophet, the pastor, the evangelist, and the teacher, will receive the rewards of all. Therefore, he who is least among men will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and he that is a servant of all will be the greatest of all. Choose to serve.

“He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.” – Matthew‬ ‭10:40-42‬ ‭

Strangers & Pilgrims

“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;” – 1 Peter 2:11

This morning in my prayer time, I wept bitterly like a baby. If you’ve been saved by His grace, regenerated by His Holy Spirit, set established on the Rock of Jesus Christ, delivered from your sin, … You know it. You remember when His power and love hit you like a ton of bricks. Even the most hardened, stubborn, non-emotional person will weep in the presence of the Lord. The problem with us good-intending Christians is we get caught up in the cares of the world (education, better job, bigger house, nicer yard, newer cars, etc.) that we miss sight of what is truly important: Jesus. That’s it. Of course there’s nothing wrong with these ambitions; the issue I’m referring to is having these ambitions far above our ambition for the Lord, time with Him, our prayer closet, etc.

I’m hitting home the simple reality of what the Bible refers to us as “strangers & pilgrims.” If we tightly grasp this revelation, many things we place our focus on will no longer be seen so important anymore. Simply put, “This is not our home.” I’ve never seen anyone who rented a residence put a ton of finances or efforts into its improvement. Some yes, of course, but I’m talking a “full overhaul.” They don’t own it; it’s not theirs. The same is to be said of this world: We don’t own it, we are not of it; the only thing we look forward to, and invest our efforts into is the “end of our lease” here on earth.

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21

In another way to say the last embolden portion of that verse: Our investments are a direct reflection of what’s important to us. Whether the currency of time & energy, or monetary currency, we put energies toward our desires and focuses.

As Christians, we have to ask ourselves, “Do we ‘invest’ an adequate amount of our ‘currencies’ in our spiritual ‘portfolio?’ ” I know I haven’t been the “investor” I’d like to be. But the Lord is showing me day by day just how depraved I am without the time I need with Him.

So many things in our life we invest into that aren’t necessarily bad, are the biggest distractions because we have a sense of justification toward them more than we atually should, especially if it falls in the “need” category.

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” – Matthew 6:33

I would sincerely ask that if you are reading this right now, though this devotion is short and simple, play this song at the bottom of this message while spending some much-needed resources of time in intercession with Jesus. If you do this with all your heart, (and if need be repent of loosing sight of the priority of Him over other cares of this life), I would be shocked if it won’t bring tears to your eyes. If He is or was your first love, make Him just that today. He is the ONLY one who can bring you true peace.

The Desired Gifts

“Follow after charity [love], and desire spiritual gifts, …” – 1 Corinthians 14:1a

In meditating in God’s Word, this single verse stands out; not in the way you might be expecting. I’m not writing a message on “tongues,” or “prophets/prophecies,” and/or it’s relevance for today, I’m simply talking about GIFTS… GOD’S GIFTS. That’s it. In every capacity of quantity, quality, and measure. I’m simply going to give you the Word.

I’m coming from what I call the, “Two Principles of Gifts”:

  1. Gifts are given with the intention of the recipient receiving. (At least a genuine one from a “cheerful giver.”)
  2. Gifts are given with the expectation of stewardship by the receiver.

Whether it’s a birthday, holiday, or for whatever occasion, the gift given is given with the expectation that the intended receiver would receive it. In addition to that, no one appreciates giving a gift to someone who after having received it, you find out later that the recipient wasn’t “all that appreciative” in caring for it.

Imagine if you cared for, fed, and loved a litter of puppies that once weaned, you gave one of them to someone who received it, but didn’t take care of him/her at all. It would at most be upsetting, and at very least be disheartening.

Think of how God might feel when as He is described as the “giver of life,” who gave us the best gift of all, His only Son (John 3:16), we having the opportunity, either rejected it, or received it, but eventually loosing a sense of good stewardship with His “gift of life.” (Hebrews 2:3, 10:38, & 12:25)

Understanding those very simple, yet very logical principles, there is by-far, no greater giver than God Himself!

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” – James 1:17

If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? – Luke 11:11-13

So God is the best giver? Yes; without a doubt! Any Christian, from any doctrinal background would agree! And He desires to give unto us that we would receive and utilize! It is undebateable that whatever the gift truly coming from God, it is with intent to empower, equip, and improve us spiritually. God’s gifts in any measure are purposeful! Not a single one is given in vain. So if we know and believe that, regardless of our theological upbringing or denominational alignment, we should always approach God with a heart that says, “Lord, WHATEVER you desire for me to have AND utilize for your glory, I WANT IT!

The Word today is for us to “DESIRE” His gifts! Regardless of what gifts they may be, or what gifts you think may, or may not be “available” for today. Whether it be prophecy, interpretations, gifts of faith, joy, peace, temperance, …whatever it is!

What’s also great is understanding that phrase in James 1:17, “…with whom is no variableness…” meaning, God is just and righteous! The Bible tells us that He doesn’t “play favorites” (Romans 2:11)

(Note: It is to be perfectly clear that no divine gift, whatever it might be, is given to be received for selfish reasons. Unfortunately, in today’s modern Christianity, we are bombarded with this idea that we are to “name and claim” these monetary or financial “blessings.” So for sake of genuine clarification, I am not referring to these “gifts.” We know the Bible tells us not to prioritize that above spiritual blessings. (1 Timothy 6:10, Matthew 6:19-24) Regarding any gift given by God, His Word is clear: It is for serving others.)

“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” – Ephesians 4:12

As said by a mightily-anointed woman of God I know (my wife), true Christianity & holy living is rooted in “selflessness,” while true worldliness & sin is rooted in “selfishness.” This couldn’t be a more accurate “measuring stick” of theological discernment.

Today, with a heart of selflessness for God and His perfect will, genuinely ask God to give you EVERYTHING He desires to give you. (Even if it may be a gift you were taught wasn’t “applicable for today.”) Remember, if it’s truly from God, it is a “GOOD GIFT.” Crucially, God does not give a “stone” if you’re asking for bread, so whatever you ask of Him, you won’t get a “stone” or “serpent” (See Matthew 7:11).

The more you study the scriptures, the more you will find that literally EVERYTHING we receive from God (divinely) is a gift! Starting with salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9), all the way through our sanctified life (Ephesians 2:10). He justifies us through His grace in salvation, (Romans 3:24, Titus 3:7), and He also empowers us by His grace in sanctification. (Titus 2:11-12)

“… for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6

Lastly, like God is accurately characterized as a giver, we too are to be “givers.” Of course that is to be true of all actions or characteristics attributed to God…We are to be like Christ!

“Be followers [imitators] of me, just as I also am of Christ.” – I Corinthians 11:1

“…Be ye holy; for I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:16b

“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7

Christ Jesus, the most precious gift, was given that we might receive life eternal, and that we would be transformed from selfish receiving/taking, to selfless giving preferring one another above ourselves. (Romans 12:10-16; Philippians 2:3)

Prayer: “Lord, I thank you for ALL your gifts you’ve given me, including the ones you wish me to have; whatever they may be, Lord, I ask that you would in your mercy and love bestow them onto me that I may be equipped by you and for you to do the work of the ministry you have called me unto.

O My God, I Trust in You! [part 2]

Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” -‭‭Psalms‬ ‭37:5‬‬

In yesterday’s manna, we looked deep into just how trustworthy our God is! We know that when we have trials that overwhelm us, we can turn to the Lord, and we can be restassured that He is able to deliver! Today however, I’d like us to look at our relationship with our trustworthy God, and ask ourselves if we have truly “committed our way unto Him?”

If you’ll notice in Psalms 37:5, it does give us our “end of the bargain” by committing to Him as well as trusting in Him. Yesterday I referenced the Biblical reality of the scriptures giving conditions. Examples: “IF you abide in me,” (John 15:7) “You will seek me and find me WHEN…” (Jeremiah 29:13) “IF any man purge himself…” (2 Timothy 2:21) and countless more! A time when the Philistines were I continue threat against the Israelite nation, the prophet Samuel spoke the word to God’s people and this is what the Lord said regarding His desire to deliver His people:

“And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, “If ye do return unto the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtoreth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” -‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭7:3‬‬

You see there’s absolutely no doubt that God wants to deliver us from peril or trials, but it is equally imperative that we realize our commitment to God it is just as important as our trust in Him. This verse in 1 Samuel 7:3 shows the conditions before God will deliver them out of the hands of their enemies. 1.) returning to the Lord 2.) put away other gods 3.) prepare their hearts unto the Lord 4.) serve Him ONLY.

Throughout my life I’ve found that sometimes God, though wanting to deliver us, will allow us to remain in “the pit “simply to get our attention to call out to Him. King Hezekiah is one of many perfect examples of this life principle.

“In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, ‘Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.’ Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the Lord, saying,’I beseech thee, O Lord , remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight.’ And Hezekiah wept sore. And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the Lord came to him, saying, Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, ‘Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the Lord.” – 2 Kings 20:1-5

There is no doubt that God delights in mercy (Micah 7:18-19), but His mercy is designed for us to receive when we submit, surrender, and commit to Him! God’s desire is to “cast all our sins into the depths of the sea” as stated in the same reference of Micah chapter 7. We have to remember that Christ came to die on the cross to pay the penalty for sin not that we can be forgiven and continue life as usual, but that we would be forgiven and we would abandon our trespasses total commitment and trust in Him!

“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

“Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.” -‭‭1 Kings‬ ‭8:61‬‬

“The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them. The Lord preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.” – Psalms 145:18-20

You see I not only trust the Lord in His power, might, and mercy, but I have committed my life to Him in service to His ministry. As human beings, yes we will fail, however we have an advocate with the Father and His name is Jesus! Bible assures us that if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness! (1 John 1:9)

Today, trust AND commit.