The Pastor And The Prophet

Living on a small farm with livestock such as sheep, we often have predators come to disrupt the herd and snatch away the little lambs. The best way to keep our territory safe for the flock to grow and flourish is for us to have a few dogs.

To this end we have two very different dogs with very different gifts, skills, and builds. First we have a small beagle named Hanna. Beagles have the strongest nose of any of the dog breeds. So much so that it’s practically an extrasensory perception. Beagles see more with their nose then with their eyes. They can pick up when a predator is lurking when no one else knows anything is happening. They know when it is approaching before it even gets their. Once the foe is there the beagle knows its paths, tactics, and tricks and can track it down when others (judging by sight and limited smell) still think that all is well.

However, for all her discernment, tenacity, devotion, and bravery, she would get herself killed without some help. So while Hanna is the hunter and “point dog”, our second dog, Theophilus, is the guard dog. He is a huge dog, being a mix between the lion hunting Rhodesian Ridgeback and the very protective Louisiana Catahoula Cur. Living in Louisiana we have a lot of different large predators here and while our little beagle is great at picking up on dangers, sounding the alarm, and tracking it down, when she finds it, there’s not a whole lot she can do, so this is where Theophilus’ role steps in.

The scene usually unfolds something like this. The sheep are in the pasture oblivious to any threat, but a predator has begun to plot and stalk in the unseen. Hanna picks it up! Nothing out of the ordinary can be seen but she sees what can’t be seen and trust her nose. She takes off running at full speed yelping and baying and sounding the alarm. Theophilus, trusting in her nose, runs behind her, covering her, and protecting her as she tracks the threat down. Eventually they find the threat and though she continues to bark, she falls back and Theophilus steps up to take care of business, remove the threat, reclaim their territory, and return peace and safety to the flock. Then they return to wait for the next enemy that try’s to come and steal, kill, and destroy within their territory.

Believe it or not, this is exactly the relationship and the importance of the pastor and the prophet within a congregation. One without the other is severely handicapped leaving themselves, their flock, and their territory open to the enemy. They can each do something’s well but only together can they truly keep the flock safe, healthy, and growing.

Through out biblical history, when the shepherds over the congregation of the people stopped listening to the voice of the prophet sounding the alarm of approaching danger, they all fell into the enemies hands and the flock was scattered. It’s no different today, but likewise, the prophets words and warnings are of no use if there is no pastor that will trust them, defend them, and act upon them, and enforce them to the safeguarding of the flock.

Understand this, a prophet is not a pastor anymore then my beagle is a guard dog. Neither can a pastor assume to pick up on the unseen in time as well as the prophet can anymore then my Cur could ever hope to out trail my beagle. God has designed it this way on purpose, to keep us dependent on Him by keeping us dependent on His gifts in others. No one person can effectively lead a church body other then Christ Himself, because we are all part of the body ourselves. Each part has its part and no one part can do it all. They all must learn to trust in and be led of the head (which is Christ/the Holy Spirit) who works through all the different parts of the body as it functions together as a whole to achieve the will of God (the head).

All the parts are important, all the parts have their strengths and weakness, all the parts have their place and their purpose. Therefor, it is important for us to learn when to step up into our role, and possibly even more important to learn when to fall back and let those who have been built for this fight, step up and take their place in theirs.

The number one thing that prevents this from happening the way it should is pride and that is why pride always comes before a fall. Pride will cause you to be overtaken by your foes, pride will cost you your flock, pride will cost you the territory. Learn when to step up and when to fall back and you will function in the fullness of how God created you to. A body of different members all being led in different ways using different gifts by one Spirit to achieve one will, the Father’s will; all of it in all it’s scope and perfection, hinging upon these few things, humility, obedience, unity, selflessness, love, and faith.

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

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” – Ephesians 4:11-16

Advertisements

Sin Opens Closed Doors

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” – Galatians‬ ‭5:1‬ ‭

Temptation in itself is not sin, for even Christ was tempted yet the scriptures record that He was without sin. However, Jesus was not continually tempted by the same temptation as many people are because He took authority against it, resisted it, rebuked it, and overcame it.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” – James‬ ‭4:7‬ ‭

We can do the same because the same authority that Christ had, He has given us through His blood and Spirit and the power of the adoption that it afford us, which is grace, the authority of sonship!

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; …” – Romans‬ ‭8:16-17‬ ‭

“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 you are a blood bought, born again, Holy Ghost filled child of God then you not only have the authority to kick sin of your life, you have the authority to also chase away the temptation and not allow it to linger at the door of your heart!

Temptation is sin at the door! Think of it as a devil knocking on the door of your heart offering an unholy council. You do not have to open that door! You can tell it to go away and it must obey! This is where “resisting” the devil comes into play.

If you choose to open that door and let it in you have given place to the devil and sin has entered your heart. When you receive the devil’s council you have opened the door and let him in. When you act upon that council you are in open sin and have chosen to give the devil place on the thrown of your heart.

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

This is all by your own choice because Jesus suffered and died to grant you the power to say, “no, get ye behind me Satan. You are under my feet. I Am above and you are beneath, I’m not trading places with you. You are a defeated foe! You have to go, in the Mighty Name of Jesus Christ, my King!” Rebuke him, cast him out.

In the same manner we see in scripture that Jesus stands at the door of our heart and knocks also. Yet still, you have to choose to let Him in, to give Him the thrown of your heart, to listen to His Holy council, and to obey it unto righteousness. It’s your choice, it’s all your choice, you have the power to make it. You have been given dominion over your own heart, it is your choice what you give access to it. Even Jesus won’t force His way in, you have to choose to open that door and let Him in. It is the same with sin. It has no dominion over you, the devil only has the authority that you give him. Start believing that and stop giving him dominions that he has already lost. Your victory has already been won, believe it, live it, and by that faith you will overcome.

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. (the power and  authority of sonship)” – Romans‬ ‭6:12-14‬ ‭

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” – Revelation‬ ‭3:20-22‬ ‭

The Hands of Christ 

“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭12:27‬ ‭

We’ve all heard the phrase, “we are the hands and feet” of Christ. This phrase is an indirect quote that summarizes chapter 12 of the book of 1 Corinthians. The chapter as a whole explains that though Christ’s Spirit still remains, His physical body is no longer in this world. Therefor, until He physically returns on that fateful day, we are to allow our physical bodies to be used by His Holy Spirit to continue His work and ministry in His stead. 

This is why the chapter begins with Paul identifying the spiritual gifts that Christ functioned in and explains that those who have His Spirit will allow themselves to be used as His body continuing His physical work by continuing to function in these gifts, as He did that the overcoming power of the Kingdom of God against the works of the kingdom of Satan would continue to be demonstrated in the earth to the freeing of souls from it’s lies, bondages, and limitations. This is why, “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom!” It is the power to set at liberty those that had been captive! Liberty from fear, from sin, from sickness, from demonic oppression, from torment, from all the works of the devil, because it is authority!

“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” – 2 Corinthians‬ ‭3:17‬ ‭

This is the truest since of what it means to be the hands of Christ! Demonstrating the authority of the Kingdom! Through out the New Testament when the command was given to “lay hands” on someone, the Authority of the Kingdom of God was about to be demonstrated in the Name of Jesus! The sick were healed, the oppressed delivered and set free, demons cast out, the dead raised, the lame made whole, the Spirit of God was given, gifts were stirred up, callings manifested! The power of Christ’s authority became alive causing people to have faith in the grace (or power) that had been made available to all through Jesus Christ! 

“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant… But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to EVERY MAN to profit WITHAL.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭12:1, 7‬ 

Here’s the exciting news! Nothing has changed! It still works the same today! Only our faith in it has changed so that you see only the rare few who dare to read the bible for themselves and belief it actually walk in the truth and power of it! A lot of people talk the talk but only the few who know who their God is and truly believe actually walk the walk in freedom bringing, hell overcoming, demon stomping, territory taking, life changing, faith stirring, miracle working power and authority! 

“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” – Mark‬ ‭16:17-18‬ ‭

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

Until Christ returns, we have been given the commission to continue His ministry in every aspect that He preformed it, functioning as His body led by His Spirit moving in His gifts by the power of His grace that He made available to us by His sacrifice. Upon His return, we will all have to face Him and give an account of what we did, or didn’t do with this great gift and commission that He suffered so much to give us. I for one would like to hear those words, “well done, My good and faithful servant. Inter into rest.” Yet I fear for the many who will hear, as the unfruitful servant who buried his talent did in Matthew‬ ‭25:30‬, “cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Note that this was a servant of God, a believer in God, yet he did not make it in because He did not bare fruit for the kingdom. He hid and wasted that which Christ had given all to give to him. Yes, he called Him Lord, yes he believed in Him, but he did not do His will, he trusted in his own ability and buried the gift that God had given him, that had he used, would have allowed him to do greater things then he could have ever done on his own. God would have multiplied and compounded the return of souls for the kingdom like interest on money in the bank if he had just used the gift that he had been given access to. Don’t let other people’s fear and unbelief rob you of your faith unto the hiding of your talents. Let your faith rob other people of their fear and unbelief by the digging up and using of your talents. 

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

The gifts are given as tools for the harvest, to continue His work and demonstrate the reality of the authority granted by the victory over Satan that was won for us at Calvary. If you truly believe that Christ overcame His enemy and put Satan under our feet then these signs will follow you because you will walk in victory and authority speaking, doing, and living the power of this good news! If you will only believe, then you will give His Spirit, your body, to do His will. Then will you truly be His hands and feet, then will His gifts and talents be used to the harvesting of souls with interest! Then will signs, wonders, and miracles follow you, because you have believed, truly believed. 

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” – Romans‬ ‭8:14‬ ‭

Christian, Stop Debating and Start Demonstrating

“He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot. Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” – Proverbs‬ ‭9:7-10‬ ‭

How often do we see believers getting caught up in debates with unbelievers? Is there any fruit in that? According to scripture, the answer is “no”. Unless a person has the fear of the Lord, which equates to an understanding of, and a belief in God’s just judgment and hell, and a reverence for His omnipotent wisdom, then they themselves have no wisdom. 

The truth is that non of us have any wisdom of ourselves, our world view is so limited and our minds, will’s, and emotions, are so easily manipulated, twisted, and confounded by the enemy who was by God’s own admittance, “the wisest creature God had created.” That means the devil is wiser then you, he is a lier, and a master deceiver. The devil will outsmart you every time, but he will never outsmart God. Therefore, to fear God will cause you to obey God, which will cause you to walk in His wisdom, which is the only wisdom that is wisdom because it’s the only wisdom that can outsmart the devil’s wisdom.

“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made…”- Geneses‬ ‭3:1‬ ‭

“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 ‭

So understanding this we can see that it is utterly pointless to try to instruct someone who does not fear the Lord and therefor honor His wisdom above their own. So believers, stop debating with unbelievers, they cannot know the truth until they have first come to know Him that is the truth. Don’t debate moral issues with people who do not have God who is the only moral standard. Don’t debate the deep truths of the bible with people who do not have the Holy Spirit of God, it is not yet open to them. Just give them the gospel, give them the good news, give them Jesus! 

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭2:1-2‬ ‭

Only once a person has truly had a real life changing, new creation, rebirth experience can they then walk in the humility to be instructed in the truth. Only after they have been made new and impossibly changed from what they thought they knew will the revelation of the reality that God’s ways are truly higher then their ways allow them to open up to the deeper wisdom of the way, the truth, and the life. Until then, you’re fighting a loosing fight. Trust God, He knows better. 

Stop debating and start demonstrating. You’re not demonstrating Jesus when you are debating Jesus. Show forth the good news and demonstrate the power of the the kingdom of God to set the captive free, transform lives, and do what cannot be explained or understood by the limited wisdom of man. No one can argue with your testimony, so stop debating Jesus and start demonstrating Jesus and you’ll see that the gospel  works on others when you show that it worked on you.

“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 I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭4:19-20‬ ‭

“Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” – Jeremiah‬ ‭17:5-10‬ 

The Personal Wilderness 

“(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)” – Numbers‬ ‭12:3‬ ‭

Did you know that scripture records Moses as being the meekest man on earth, but he didn’t start out that way. In fact one of his first actions after stepping into the knowledge of his call was to kill a man in anger. He defended the beaten Israelite by striking down the Egyption that beat him, causing Moses to have to flee into a personal wilderness. In this personal wilderness Moses found his wife and spent 40 years tending his father in laws sheep while his self and pride was stripped away and he learned to be a humble selfless obedient servant of God.

Only once Moses himself had learned these lessons in his personal wilderness season, was he then qualified and commissioned by God to lead others through their’s, where they would have to learn the same lessons.

The Israelite’s spent 40 years in the wilderness learning the necessity of laying down self will for obedience to the will and wisdom of God, but Moses had to do it twice. Once for Himself to learn and then again to lead others in the learning of it. At times on this journey the Israelites would come to challenge Moses or the decisions that God had led him to make. They often proclaimed that they were just as holy as he or just as qualified to lead because they were all in this wilderness together, but what they failed to realize was that this was not Moses’s first wilderness, however it was there’s. Furthermore, they didn’t see the reality that Moses (having already gone through his own wilderness) did not have to be in this wilderness with them but was there in humble sacrificial obedience only to help lead them through their’s. In this did Moses have to endure two wildernesses while they only had to endure one.

This is a very real reason why scripture tells us not to envy spiritual leaders, teachers, and ministers. They can’t teach what they haven’t experienced for themselves, therefore must they endure great personal wildernesses that most don’t see in order to learn the lessons required to be able to lead others through their corporate wilderness that they do see. Not only are ministers held to a higher weight of accountability in eternity, but true called of God leaders also endure greater trial in this life for the sake of learning the deep lessons of God that they might transfer them to those that God entrust unto them. This wilderness college is God’s method of testing, training, and equipping those He desires to use. 

The wilderness is where you try everything your way and see how it doesn’t work, until you surrender to try it God’s way and see that it’s the only way that works. It’s where your independence is lost and dependence on God is gained. It’s where you learn to hear God’s voice, trust, and obey it. The first time Moses ever heard God speak was in his own personal wilderness, that by the time he had to lead others through their’s he was well versed in seeking, hearing, and obeying that he not act of his own will and lead them astray from God’s. 

Don’t try to get ahead of God and skip your wilderness or you’ll end up spiritually killing people instead of saving them. Before his personal wilderness Moses was rash, prideful, ambitious, arrogant, and he killed a man. After his wilderness he was the meekest man on earth and saved a nation. Don’t get ahead of God. Don’t forsake small beginnings. Don’t forsake the wilderness. 

“For who hath despised the day of small things? …” – Zechariah‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭

Not His Will

So often we hear the phrase “whatever is meant to be will be“, or “God’s will, will be done.” It gives us a great sense of ambiguity in not only the over all scheme of things but also in our own lives and convictions, or lack thereof. So where does this concept come from?

Well it surely doesn’t come from God. The bible is full of story’s where things didn’t work out the way they were suppose to. Death, murder, selfishness, immorality, wrath, judgment, all of which came solely as a result of people living in opposition to God’s will; for God told them not to do these things. 

“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” – ‭James‬ ‭4:17‬ ‭

In truth, sin is simply any form of rebellion against God’s will. If everything was God’s will then there would be no sin because there would be no rebellion, for the very nature of rebellion is to choose to act against the will of the authority over you. If your children are being rebellious, it means that they are not obeying your will for them.

Now hear me out on this, God is above all and in the end His promises will stand, God will do His part, it’s your part that is in question here. The Israelite’s that left Egypt are a great example of this. They left for the promised land, yet Paul tells us that because of the unbelief of God’s words that drove their constant rebellion to God’s will for them, they could not enter in. God still kept His promise to Abraham by sending their children into promise but they themselves lost their part in it because of a refusal to believe and obey God’s words, but it did not have to be; hence the warning to us not to make the same mistake.

“Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” – Hebrews‬ ‭3:7-12‬ ‭

Now, let’s take this concept of God’s will always being done straight to scripture and see what it plainly says:

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

Peter, a disciple of Christ, clearly states that God is very patient in His wrath and judgments toward us because it is “not His will” that anyone would perish but it is His will that everyone should come to repentance. Yet we know that very few actually do come to repentance in the over all scope of things because Matthew 7:14 tells us that “narrow is the way that leads to life and few are they that find it.” 

So if it is God’s will that all come to repentance unto eternal life, then why do so few do so? The answer is given just a few more verses down when it says clearly that it is because most do not do the will of the Father. 

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew‬ ‭7:21

You do have a choice to make, everyone has a choice to make. Will you be counted among the many or among the few. God is patient because it is not His will that any should parish, therefor He waits for you to choose to repent of your rebellion against His will and realign yourself with it, but many simply choose not to. The choice is yours, God will not make it for you, so I implore you, choose ye this day whom you will serve while there is still yet time. 

Jesus stands at the door and knocks desiring to come in, sup, talk with you, and tell you His will for you, but you have to choose to open that door and once you have, you have to choose to listen to what He tells you there. It’s all about a choice. It’s always been about a choice. From the garden of Eden, to the garden of Gethsemane, to the garden of your heart, it’s always been about a choice between saying “my will be done“, or “thy will be done.” It’s about a choice, and the choice is yours to make, choose the narrow path, choose to do the will of the Father, choose life.

“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

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” – Revelation‬ ‭3:20-22‬ ‭

“And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.” – Revelation‬ ‭2:21‬ ‭

“And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” – 2 Thessalonians‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭

“Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, …” – ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭7:37

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

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

THE BATTLE OF THE WILL

img_5061“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made.” – ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭57:15-16‬ ‭‬‬

Contrite: crushed to powder; destroyed
Humble: low, lowly, abase
Revive: quicken, restore to life
Heart: inner man, mind, will, emotions, character

As I understand the Scripture, GOD is looking for a people who ACKNOWLEDGE not in word alone, (but in action and deed) that HE IS GOD by a people who are destroyed in their own will, mind, and breath and lay low in disposition of character. In other words, NOT SELF-willed; but GOD-willed. Only this dead-willed people will our HOLY LORD GOD REVIVE! This is the BATTLE OF BATTLES, the war between GOD and man, and the sooner people decide to destroy their own self-will, self-desire, in humility and surrender, the sooner GOD will quicken, or revive our spirit and hearts to Himself.
GOD cannot revive what refuses to die! Even demons are more submissive to GOD than the self-willed man. The mercy of GOD waits for people to submit to HIM, but HE won’t strive with us forever, there is an end to this struggle between GOD’S WILL and self-will, but at the end of this battle which side will you find yourself on? The scariest thought for me is to be found in self-will standing face to face with GOD! For as Scripture states HE resists the proud, but gives Grace to the humble.

Compassion for the repentant:

“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made. For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners. I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him. But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” – Isaiah‬ ‭57:15-21‬ ‭‬‬

GOD desires to heal us and restore us to life in Himself, but those who refuse to give up their heart, will, and desires to Him, will come under His Judgement.

Judgement for the unrepentant:

“Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee. At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal 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 ‭11:20-30‬

Submitted by Heather Wright

Judgment Still Falls

“And I will set my face against them; they shall go out from one fire, and another fire shall devour them; and ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I set my face against them. And I will make the land desolate, because they have committed a trespass, saith the Lord God.” – Ezekiel‬ ‭15:7-8‬ ‭

The bible says that because the punishment for sin does not come quickly, it is in the heart of men to do evil. I’m other words, because people think they are getting away with it they set their heart to do it. Yet eventually judgment will fall for God is just.

However, the truth is that God does not desire judgment. The very reason that He takes so long to act in judgment is because He is allotting time for repentance in hopes that His judgement not have to come. 

“And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.” – Jonah‬ ‭4:2‬ ‭

So if God does not desire judgment, then why does it come at all? Because God is just, and He is not a man that He should lie. If He has said that the wages of sin are death then one who continues to work iniquity must be paid the wage they have been promised. Once God speaks something, it becomes law and His justice requires that He honor His words for better or for worse. This is why He sent Jesus to atone for our sin with His own life, to pay the price for us, that we might be given a clean slate, a new life, and escape the curse of the law.

However. A simple truth that few seem to realize is that unless you have been atoned for by the blood of Jesus, washed clean, born again into a new life, have repented and turned away from sin, and empowered by the Holy Spirit of God to walk no more there in, then you are actually still under a law and condemned by that law.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 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.” – Romans‬ ‭8:1-4‬ ‭‬‬

The law did not pass away, it was simply atoned for, paid for, and fulfilled by a better covenant. There is no law for those who are in Christ but for those who are not, the law remains, and the judgment of that law remains. Though God may tarry in hopes of your repentance that you might escape the wrath of the law, if you do not take the atonement that He has provided, judgment will eventually find you. 

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,” – 2 Peter‬ ‭3:9-11‬ ‭

God has been more then merciful, but we are not promised tomorrow, nor is He obligated to continue turning a blind eye forever. However, He is obligated to judge the sins of the unrighteous who have refused His mercy and done despite to the Spirit of Grace. Don’t push your luck, don’t waste God’s mercy, don’t mock His grace. He took your place that you might escape. Don’t take it for granted, for eventually judgment will fall. Whether God wants it to or not, He must pay out the wages of unrepented sin, because He said He would and therefor He must, for He is just. 

“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” – John‬ ‭3:18-20‬ 

“Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him: But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.” – Ecclesiastes‬ ‭8:11-13‬ ‭

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

THE RAIN IS COMING: ARE YOU READY?

img_6309“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” – Matthew‬ ‭7:21-27‬ ‭KJV‬

Storms in life come in many ways, but understanding it’s purpose can bring comfort to such an uncomfortable situation. First thing to remember is that JESUS CHRIST IS STILL LORD OF THE STORMS! They are not just attacks from the devil… they were actually allowed by GOD, sent by GOD, and they have purpose! See the storm is the test. When it comes, it will reveal what foundation that you have built your life upon; because unless that foundation is Jesus Christ, it will surly fall!

The first thing to note is that, the dividing line is whether we actually DO the will of the Father or not. This one thing determines what foundation we are building upon. Hearing God’s voice is one thing (and very necessary), but it’s the actual DOING IT that counts.

Another interesting thought is this: GOD made us all from the dust of the earth… so as I think on this, what is revealed to me, is that the “sand” in this passage actually represents man or self. Most people are so busy going about doing works all for themselves, even many doing “Good works” are doing them for the purpose of easing their conscience to feel better about themselves. In essence, those who are building their house upon sand are building their own kingdom, for themselves, upon themselves, making even the good things they do complete vanity! In judgement all this will burn up in smoke.

Hear what the Apostle Paul tells the church of Corinth who were boasting in men:

“I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭3:6-23‬ ‭KJV‬‬

As Jesus speaks, so we do, this is what pleases the Father. But those who do NOT do the will of the Father will be destroyed by the storms. Therefore I can conclude that the storms come to clear the stage of all the ungodly kingdoms of man, and to rain down blessing to grow the Kingdom of GOD in the earth through faith in Christ Jesus!

“And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. The Lord shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, and walk in his ways. And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee. And the Lord shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers to give thee. The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them: And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them. But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store. Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The Lord shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me. The Lord shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it. The Lord shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish. And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron. The Lord shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed.” – Deuteronomy‬ ‭28:1-24‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Therefore let us choose obedience to the VOICE OF THE LORD GOD that the blessings may fall upon us.

Submitted by Heather Wright

Stirred Up

Today I had to clean out our swimming pool. The water looked clean, it was clear and pretty. However, there was some debris that was settled deep on the bottom where the filter didn’t reach. So I got in there with the pool vac. As I did it stirred up the water and by the time I had finished, even though I had gotten a lot of stuff out with the vac, the water was no longer clear and the whole pool actually looked worse then before. I thought, “man, I didn’t know how dirty, and in need of work this pool really was until I got it all stirred up”

You know, our soul can be a lot like that pool. We think we’re doing pretty good when things are calm. We seem pretty clean spiritually, but what happens when something “stirs you up“? What filth rises up that had been settled deep down in your heart that you didn’t even realize was there? I think that sometimes God allows the enemy to rise up against us to stir us up and show us how dirty and in need of work we really are. 

You are growing spiritually, you have allowed God to remove many big things from your life, and your feeling pretty clean. You just know that you are ready to be that refreshing pool of Holy Spirit living water to others. Then a friend betrays you, your spouse pushes you over the edge, someone comes against your kids, something happens that really stirs you up and stuff that you didn’t know was in you starts to come to the surface. It is in these moments that we need to stop and run to the thrown room. It may be the time that you feel the least worthy to be there but it is when you most need to be there, so you can humble yourself, acknowledged these formally hidden heart issues (such as offense, pride, anger, unbelief, control, unclean lips, self centeredness, vain glory, etc.) as sin before God, confess it, repent of it, and ask His grace to overcome and remove it!

Don’t become discouraged by the stirring. I would not have known how desperately the pool needed my attention had it’s issues not been brought to the surface by it getting stirred up. Likewise we would not realize how much we need to get before Jesus and let Him work on cleaning us up had our own junk not come to the surface by the things that stirred us up. The goal is to be so completely pure that, just like the pool, even when stirred up it still stays crystal clear because there is no filth left to surface. 

The fastest way to achieve this is with a different kind of stirring, by stirring up the Holy Spirit in prayer daily so that He can reveal and remove those things hidden deep within you. You see, I began to realize that the bottom of the pool had gotten so dirty because I had not been spending time in it stirring up the waters so that the pump could do its job. Likewise, if we do not spend time every day in prayer stirring up the Holy Spirit and letting him do his cleansing work in us, then the water will fall still and junk will begin to accumulate and settle in. 

So in this I see that we will face a stirring that will cause to surface that which is deep within us one way or the other. Either gently by daily time stirring the waters of the spirit in prayer, or chaotically by something stirring the emotions of the soul. Ether way, what’s in your heart will eventually come to surface. Clean it up and keep it clean by keeping it stirred up in the private place of prayer to your glory that it doesn’t get stirred up in public to your shame.

“…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” – Luke‬ ‭6:45‬ ‭

“… and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” – Genesis‬ ‭1:2‬ ‭

“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy‬ ‭1:6-7‬ ‭