Watch and Pray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Submitted by @ Heather Wright

Has Your Promise Died?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If You Trust Him, You Will Praise Him!

Praise stromPraise God in the storms. Most of the time we say that we trust God, but really we are just merely speaking words and our hearts really don’t trust Him. We say, “God give me faith”, but when the first little wind blows and messes up our plans we say, “No God, not this way!’, or “Why God why?”. Why is that? It is because we don’t actually trust Him.

We acknowledge trust with our mouths but deep down inside trust is really not there. We serve a big God but yet we think He cant help us physically or spiritually, or we just don’t believe that He wants to. In reality we are just leaning on our own understanding. We serve a God who spoke the world into existence, but yet He can’t provide for us? Whether it’s to help us spiritually, financially, health wise, or whatever may be the case. How many times do we put God in a box? How many times do we hinder our own blessings and victories? All because we truly don’t trust Him.

“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” – Matthew 6:25-34

Praising Him in the storms will bring us to a deeper trust in Him because we are drawing closer to Him and if we truly trust Him at all, we will praise Him. Praising God gives Him what He truly deserves. whether He pays that bill or heals that sickness, its trusting that no matter what happens, He is worthy to be praised. Not just so that He will move on our behalf, but because we truly love Him and if we truly love Him we will trust Him and we will praise Him, no matter the outcome.

“Praise ye the Lord : for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.” – Psalms 147:1

I would say that no matter what we go through, praise Him because you love Him and you trust Him. Praise Him because He is worthy to be praised, and no matter what, He will take care of His children. It may not be the way we want it to be but we have to trust that His way is better. He loves us and He truly knows what is best.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord , He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” – Psalms 91:1-4

Submitted by @ Priscilla Bazer

It Is Well

girl_reading_bible“Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well.” – 2 Kings‬ ‭4:26‬ ‭

The context of this verse is truly remarkable, because when the story surrounding it is taken into account you realize that at this point the situation was most definitely not well, yet her faith was. Therefore the outcome will be accordingly.

You see, this woman had recognized the presence of God in this man Elisha and wanted to make a place for him in her home. She built for him an upper room, which in the culture of the day was a place of honor. Therefor, God rewarded her with a promise. In one year, she would bare a son.

God was faithful to His promise (as He always is), but one day the child fell ill in his father’s field and died. The woman did not scream, yell, complain, curse or blame God, or put on any public display. In fact she told no one, but simply laid the child in the upper room and pursued the presence of God on his behalf.

She told all that asked that “it was well“. All the while she pressed on as hard and fast as she could to find the prophet Elisha. Yet even when his servant called to her from a distance, asking if they were ok, still she replied, “it is well“. She would not speak against her faith! She would not speak to what was, but rather she spoke to what would be. She would not let herself even for a moment live in the fear and doubt of what was, nor would she allow it to be shown and spread to others, but chose in faith to plant herself firmly in what would be.

She knew that no matter how much the enemy fights and how bad it looks in the moment, God is faithful to His promises. She chose not to be ruled by her emotions but by her faith, therefore she could say “It Is Well“. She knew that what God had given her, even if the enemy comes and tares it all down and steals it all away, God who gave it is able to give it again, revived, renewed, restored, and more. Not only did she get her son of promise back, she got him with a testimony that glorified the manifest character of God Almighty and has built the faith of thousands for generations. All because she trusted the impossible power and faithfulness of God more then what she saw, heard, and felt. She stood in faith that God is more able to give then the devil is able to steal, that God is more able to heal then the devil is able to kill, that God is more able to preform miracles then the devil is able to crush your faith in them. She chose faith over fear and was able to say with all surety in the face of what seemed like udder defeat and betrayal, “It is well“.

She pursued God in faith knowing that He is faithful to fulfill His promises even if He has to raise something from the dead to do it. She was fully persuaded, therefor in the midst of what should have caused her emotions to overtake her, her faith was able to overtake her emotions and stand knowing that it will be well, therefor it is well. She understood that if all things work together for the good of those who love God in the end, then if the situation isn’t good, then it’s not the end. Keep believing and pursuing God! Even when the current situation isn’t well, if your faith is, then the outcome will be.

Don’t doubt, don’t give up, don’t loose faith for without it it is impossible to please God, and above all don’t turn on God, turn to Him and run to Him! Nothing is too hard for Him. If it’s not good, it’s not over, because God is good and His promises are yes and amen, if you don’t quit you win! So press on and press in and know that even if what you see, hear, and feel is not, you can still say, “it is well with my soul, for God will take what the enemy means to destroy me and turn it for my good if I only have the faith enough to speak life in faith and not death in fear!” When everything falls apart and doesn’t happen the way you thought it would or think it should, don’t turn on God, run to Him, pursue Him with all you are and let your mouth prove your faith! It maybe that He has a much grander plan then you did and this testimony is all part of it.

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

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” – Proverbs‬ ‭18:21‬ ‭

“And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” – Romans‬ ‭4:21‬ ‭

“(As it is written, I have made thee (Abraham) a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.” – Romans‬ ‭4:17‬ ‭

Let Love Cast Out Fear!

praise-in-storm“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” – 1 John‬ ‭4:16-17‬ ‭

When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus replied that it was to love God more then anything with all that you are and to love others more then yourself. He explained that by doing this you will automatically fulfill (or obey) every law, commandment, and word from the prophets. Because God is love, everything He tells us to do is based in love, love for Him and love for others. Therefore, when we choose to love we will be as He is, (love) and we will do as He does walking in obedience, holiness, and righteousness that we might stand boldly before Him on the day of judgment knowing that we will receive the rewards of righteousness.

I say that we must “choose” to love because “love” is a choice. Lust is an emotion, selfishness is an emotion and emotions are flesh, but love is a choice because real love is Spirit; for God is love and God is Spirit. Therefore when we choose to love we choose God and when we choose not to we are choosing to reject the leading of the Holy Spirit. Think about it, we are commanded to love God, we are commanded to love others, we are even commanded to love our enemies, would God have commanded us to love if it was not a choice we could make?

We can choose to love, yet many choose not to because of fear. Fear is the enemy of love. Fear of getting hurt. Fear of rejection. Fear of disappointment. Fear of betrayal. Fear of abandonment. Fear of disapproval. Fear of failure. This fear causes a death spiral because the only way to gain someone’s trust is to act in perfect love that they will then trust your love enough to choose to return that love with their love and break the bondage of fear. So when fear hinders love someone must take the first step and choose to act in love rather deserved or not, and the more perfect and undeserving the love the more power it has to break the lies, bondages, and curses of fear.

“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. We love him, because he first loved us.” – 1 John‬ ‭4:18-19‬ ‭

jesus-on-the-crossJesus took this first step. He endured the shame and agony of the cross to show His perfect, endless, unfailing, unimaginable, genuine, unbreakable, unfailing, love that the lies of fear might be defeated once and for all! This is a love we can trust and choose to love back! He proved it won’t abandon us, it won’t hurt us, reject us, betray us, or disappoint us! We can choose to trust (or put our faith) in this love because if He endured this much for us we can rest assured that He really loves and wants us. He chooses us! Therefore we can feel safe choosing to love Him and by His example we begin to see how we ourselves can help to break others free from the bondage of fear by loving them the same way He loves us. When we choose to love others even as Christ loved us, they begin to see that love is a choice, a choice based in trust (or faith) and someone has to step out and be the one that acts in undeserved love to start building the faith of others in love. It’s a chain reaction, Jesus started it and expects you to continue it. Don’t break the chain, keep it going!

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

When we feel safe in someone’s love we want to abide with them, please them, and serve them. In this, we are no more slaves laboring to obey the rules of a hard master solely to avoid a judgment, but are rather are a loving bride desiring to commune with and serve her true love at every opportunity. In this we realize that, though the fear of God might get you to the alter, only the love of God will keep you there.

18a2Choose today to believe in what Christ endured to when your heart. That God did it to prove His love for you and desire to commune with you. Choose to lay aside the lies of fear, and trust (or put your faith in) that love and receive it, then return it. Return it to Him first, then show it to others also. In this you will abide in Him and He in you, for He is love and the world will know that you are His by it.

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” – John‬ ‭13:34-35‬ ‭

Laying Those Burdens Down

5522“Cast thy burdens upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved” – Psalm 55:22

Have you ever been to a junk yard? No matter how much random, large amounts of junk you have, there is always a place FOR that junk. There are even different piles for that junk. But mind you, there is always a place for it.

When I go to the Lord, and I just unload, I feel like this is the reality. I am unloading the junk of worry-doubt and fear. I am unloading the many concerns, small and great, whether it be of persons one or many, or it be different struggles I bear in my own flesh, I unload it all! And no matter how much, and no mater of what variation this load carries, I DROP IT OFF and I LEAVE IT THERE! When I walk away, I KNOW it is where it needed to be. There is a place for all of it, and that place is at the feet of Christ, no matter how big it is, no matter how much there is! Go and leave it at the feet of the Lord. PLEASE go. Empty yourself at his endless, load-carrying, junk-taking yard.

HE WANTS US TO GIVE IT TO HIM. We can’t carry it! We will break! We can’t move with all of that on us, ITS TOO HEAVY!Go to him and drop it off at his place.. this place where all of the troubles, no matter the size or story, HAVE A PLACE TO BE SET DOWN. And you walk away carrying nothing more than hope and reassurance.

Where is this place??? It’s wherever you are when in your heart you go to Jesus in prayer. It’s always open! Go there and and drop it all off. There is a place for everything in this load you are carrying.

“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” – Matthew 11:28

“Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you” – 1 Peter 5:7

Submitted by @ Amelia Barr

Trusting God vs Trusting Self

on-my-knees“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men.” – Hosea‬ ‭10:12-13‬ ‭

Roman’s chapter 8 tells us that all who are Christ’s are led by His Spirit. John 15 tells us that we must abide in Christ or else our fruit will dry up, wither away, and we will be cut off and cast into the fire. Herein, lies the reality of a victorious Christian life. Abiding in the presence of the King, tapping into the life giving, fruit baring power of God through daily prayer, worship, reading, communion, seeking, hearing, and obeying. By this does the grace of God flow out from the vine (which is Christ) into the branch (which is us) that we might produce the fruits of righteousness (which is obedience to the voice, word, and will of God). This brings life to us and others through the anointing backing up those words and actions with the power of the Holy Spirit of God.

The enemy of faith in God (faith that causes us to seek, trust, abide in, and obey the leading of His Spirit) is faith in self, which causes us to seek, trust, abide in , and obey the leading of the flesh. This is the struggle that wages war in our members described in Romans 8. It has been the root of every right and wrong action taken since the beginning of time. All the way back to the garden when God placed two trees in the midst of the garden, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge. One embodied trusting God unto life, the other embodied trusting self unto death. He set before us life and death, and told us to choose life, but we chose to lean on our own understanding and it led to death. It always does. Stop trusting in your own limited understanding, your plan, your abilities, your tree of knowledge. Humble yourself, crucify the flesh, trust in God, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, and choose life. God is not looking for people that can lead, when men lead they lead others into a pit, He is looking for men who can follow. Only once you learn to humble yourself and follow, can you then be led out of the pit. This is the test of faith, this has always been the test and few are they that pass it. Choose ye this day. Choose to humble. Choose to follow. Choose life.

“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness. The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.” – Proverbs‬ ‭14:12-14‬ ‭

“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.” – Matthew‬ ‭16:24‬ ‭

“Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” – Matthew‬ ‭7:14‬ ‭

“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: That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” – Deuteronomy‬ ‭30:19-20‬ ‭

Jesus’s Hard And Humbling Warning To The Church

14739“And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” – Matthew‬ ‭18:3-6‬ ‭

When this, “the millstone” verse is read or quoted, it is often used to illustrate God’s deep love for, sense of protection over children, and extreme distain for those who hurt them. While this application is surely true, when read within the context of the surrounding versus we see that he was actually speaking of spiritual children. That is to say, those who have just come to the faith and or new babes in Christ.

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” – 1 Peter‬ ‭2:2-3‬ ‭

In this we see God’s great disgust for those who offend and discourage those that are young and unlearned in the faith. Saying that it were better for them that they had tied a huge heavy stone around their neck and drowned themselves in the sea. The fact that He used a “millstone” for this expression was no coincidence, for you see, millstones were used to “crush wheat” and wheat has always been used by God to represent His people. Don’t crush God’s tender wheat (young believers) or the very thing used to crush them will be what drags you down into the abyss. Furthermore, He is pointing out that it will have been by your own hand that you tied this thing to you and dove in, to your own destruction and damnation.

Yes offense will come, all who will live Godly will suffer persecution, but woe to the person that causes the offense. Especially when it comes from those who should know better. You see, if you go back to verse one of this passage, you will see that Jesus was actually talking to His disciples here. Therefor, the intended recipients of this message build upon the point that Jesus was making. He was saying that God is so greatly offended when those such as themselves, who are more established in the faith discourage and cause to stumble those who are younger through pride, envy, arrogance, jealousy, selfishness, selfish agendas, or lack of compassion and patients.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” – Galatians‬ ‭5:22-23‬ ‭

Sinners will sin, the world will offend, but woe if that offense comes from within. For the passage continues by stating that God deems it better to actually cut off a member from the Body of Christ then to allow it to drag the whole body to hell with it because of offense. (Which is to say, discouraging or being a stumbling block to others by way of causing offense)

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” – Matthew‬ ‭18:6-11‬ ‭

The Anointing Brings Life!

the-risen-christ“And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.” – Exodus‬ ‭30:30‬ ‭

Through out scripture, when God chose someone to be set apart for His service (such as a King or priest), He would signify this importation of power and authority by anointing them with oil. This, of course, was only an outward showing for a stirring of faith of the Spiritual importation taking place that men could not physically see. You see, the oil represented the Holy Spirit, and the anointing of it expressed God’s choice to lay His Holy Spirit upon a particular person that they might be empowered to do His work through the power of the Holy Spirit. We know this because when David sinned against God, he cried in repentance and begged God saying, “take not thy Holy Spirit from me“. For he had seen God remove the power of the Holy Spirit from Saul’s life, stripping him of the anointing.

Old Testament or New, no man or woman in the true service of God ever walked in their own power, but in the power of the Holy Spirit, which is the anointing. When God calls someone, and they humble themselves to His call, He then equips them to do the work that He has called them to do. This “equipping” is “the anointing“. It is the power of the Holy Spirit backing up God’s will and words through His chosen vessel. Man may (for pride or envy) try to steal other men’s callings, but no man can steal the anointing. For the anointing is the power of God that breaks yokes, brings life, and bares fruit.

We see an undeniable example of this in Numbers chapter 17 in the account of Aaron’s rod. You see God had chosen Moses a prophet to lead the people to promise. He also chose his brother Aaron to become the people’s high priest and the son’s of Aaron to be priest of the tabernacle. As stated in our opening passage, He signified this with “the anointing” of these individuals.

Yet the people (overtaken with envy, rebellion, and pride) murmured against them. “What makes you so holy? We are just as worthy to lead as you?” They complained, though they were not, for God knows and judges the heart and chooses those who esteem His will above their own. These people wanted their way and Moses was simply relaying God’s way, therefor their hatred of Moses’s way actually reflected a hatred of God’s way. So God reacted to put a stop to this great sin before it brought more death into the camp. After all, if we have learned anything from the garden of Eden through out all of scripture, it’s that following mans will/intellect always leads to death. While seeking and obeying God’s leads to life. Hence the two trees in the garden of Eden, the tree of life (faith or trusting what God says) and the tree of knowledge (self or trusting what one thinks). One leads to life and the other to death.

“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;” – Deuteronomy‬ ‭30:15‬ ‭

So while God had given His plan, the people wanted to institute their own which would have brought a curse upon them as it did for Adam and Eve, and for all who do the same. So God instructed Moses to take a rod (wooden staff) from the head of each family, write their family name on it and lay it in the tabernacle so that God Himself could show who He had chosen by His own power. The next morning they return to find that Aaron’s rod, once dead, had come back to life! It had budded, produced blossoms, and even bare almonds! While all the others remained dead sticks.

Therefore, God Himself proved His approval of Aaron through the life giving, fruit baring power of His anointing, which is the power of the Holy Spirit. Many may claim to be worthy, many may even carry a rod or title (even the magicians of Egypt did so), and can talk the talk and put on a show but only the anointed of God are backed up by the power of God which is the anointing and only the anointing breaks the yoke.

You see, a rod represents power and authority. However, power from any other source then from the Holy Spirit is a dead stick. You can beat something with it but it can only bring more death. It will never produce life or bring forth fruit. So as we look at God’s perfect plan verses those men’s plan encompassed in that wooden staff of life and those dead sticks, we come back to the garden and those two old trees. One of life and one of death. Choose ye this day. Choose Christ, the very embodiment of obedience to God, so much so that He was called “the Word made flesh“. Obedience to the Word, Aaron’s dead rod brought back to life, the very tree of life, it is all encompassed in that one word that is, “Christ“. Which means: “The Anointed One“.  The Anointing Brings Life.

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” – John‬ ‭14:6‬ ‭

“And the Lord said unto Moses, Bring Aaron’s rod again before the testimony, to be kept for a token against the rebels; and thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from me, that they die not.” – Numbers‬ ‭17:10‬ ‭

“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 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 ‭12:10-11‬ ‭

The Gift Of God

bowing-down“Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?” – John‬ ‭4:9-11‬

‭ When Jesus came to the woman of Samaria and asked for a drink, she was surprised for two reasons. For one she was a gentile and also she was a woman. This was a double portion of lowliness, so to speak. Therefor, she was baffled that He would even choose to speak with her at all. Yet, Jesus’s reply reveals something very interesting about what was about to come.

Jesus tells the woman that if she knew about the gift that God was going to give to the world through Him, then she would ask Him for it and He would give it to her. This is important in several ways. First of all, this “gift of God” that Jesus referred to which would come as a river of living water from within, was the Holy Spirit.

“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

‭ “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

‭ Now that we understand that Jesus was talking about the gift of the Holy Spirit, the next important thing we can glean from this is that you have to ask for it. Jesus told this woman and many others, “if you ask Me“.

However, one of the most astonishing things that Jesus reveals through this exchange is the very thing that caught this woman by surprise (as it would catch the world by surprise and still does today) is this: The fact that she was both a Samarian and a woman, the lowest of the low, yet Jesus Himself says that if she ask, He would give this great gift of God to her.

In Acts 1:8 we read that the power of the Holy Spirit is given to make us witnesses for Jesus. To empower us to spread the gospel and testify of Jesus. So for this gift to be offered by Jesus to a woman of Samaria was very surprising. Yet after her conversation with Him she did just that. She ran to town and told all the people about this Jesus and brought them to His feet!

“But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:” – Acts‬ ‭2:14-18‬

‭ Through this great Gift of God, given for all generations to whomsoever would humble themselves, repent, believe, and ask for it, all the week, meek, and lowly are filled and empowered by the Spirit of God to do His work and will. Therefore, their limitations no longer matter because it is God’s limitless power working through them. Male, female, young, old, weak, strong, feeble, whole, it doesn’t matter anymore because it is the power of this gift of God, His own Spirit, working through us that does it, and not we ourselves, (though we must submit to it).

“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” – Luke‬ ‭24:49

‬ ‭ “And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 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. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.” – Acts‬ ‭1:7-9

‬ ‭ Lastly, the woman ask Jesus a question. She says that this well is deep, how then will He draw this water up. Well, for Jesus the water flowed from His side when he humbled Himself unto the obedience of the cross and was pierced for our transgressions. However, for us it flows when we humble ourselves before God in prayer, fasting, worship, adoration, and obedience.

“And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.” – Acts‬ ‭1:13-14‬

‭ “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” – Acts‬ ‭2:1-4‬ ‭