A Sacrifice of Love

“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” – Revelation‬ ‭6:9-11‬ ‭

Many Christians, talking about tribulation and the end times, say that they will be willing to give up their very lives for Jesus, yet when halloween roles around they aren’t even willing to give up candy for Him. Jesus said that to be friends with the world makes you the enemy of God. Likewise to be holy set apart from the world unto God (as God has clearly commanded us to do (1 Peter 1:16) will make you a friend of God and an enemy of the world. This is why Jesus said that if the world hated Him, then it will hate you also if you choose to be among the few who truly follow Him, His instructions, and His example.

Today as I see so many churches and Christians buddying up to the world my heart and mind goes back to those who suffered and died taking a stand against it. Jesus first of all, countless martyrs through history, the persecuted church of today, and those who will one day stand against the full force of the antichrist system now being set in place. When I see the very things they died to free others from (like death, hell, and the grave) being celebrated by the church, it grieves my heart as I feel it grieving the Holy Spirit of God.

“Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my Holy day, and I am profaned among them. Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.” – Ezekiel‬ ‭22:26-27‬

When I see halloween and all it’s demons, death, witchcraft, fear, and everything anti-Christ brought into the church, I’m taken back 2000 years to when Jesus flipped tables and cracked whips for far less. What a sad state the church is in today when those who claim the Name of God, do not know the word or God, nor care for the heart of God; and worse yet, attack those who do calling them legalistic when in reality their obedience is based on love. After all, only true love for an other can overpower love of self and drive a man to willingly sacrifice without contempt, of which Jesus Himself is our example.

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” – John‬ ‭14:15‬ ‭

Truly I tell you that in all things it’s comes down to love. You will either choose to sacrifice your love for God on the alter of the world or you will choose to sacrifice your love for the world on the alter of God. Let us love not our lives, will, lust, and world but let us through falling in love with Christ, overcome it in anticipation of a better one to come! This world is not my home and I won’t die for it, I’ll die to it. Jesus is my home, because home is where my heart is and that, I will die for. Money, notoriety, reveling, parties, ungodly friends, lust, candy (in relation to halloween), it doesn’t even register in comparison to my love for Christ, therefor I do not even count it a sacrifice but my reasonable duty as a faithful and loving bride. (Romans 12:1-2)

Relationships are harder to hold together when things are difficult then when they are good. Any relationship not based on selfless love will crumble under pressure. So it’s time to open the Word, get on your knees, get to know the real Jesus, and fall in love with Him. If you won’t stand for Him now when it’s easy, it’s because you don’t really love Him, and you if don’t really love Him, you surely won’t stand for Him later when it’s hard. If you truly believe His words, then it’s time to deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow Him.

“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 ‭

“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.” – Revelation‬ ‭3:21‬ ‭

“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible….And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:“ Hebrews‬ ‭11:24-27, 32-36

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 ‭

Spiritual Wartime vs Peacetime : Avoiding The Complacency Trap

CoveredbyCloudMany times it may feel like we are at peace in our walk with very light afflictions, burdens, sufferings etc. During this time we may as well receive a multitude of physical and spiritual blessings, prosperity, loved ones doing well, no one in your circle is in some major sin or in need of a dire healing or miracle, economy isn’t all that bad, your local church is doing well and you or your loved ones aren’t experiencing any major attack of the enemy. This is where everybody is OK. This is known as a ” Peacetime” season. This may be the reality for you. Or even worse (as many Christians do and I for one am one of them) MANY times we trick our minds (mostly in American culture) into believing this; “I’m OK, so you’re OK.” Which can lead to spiritual complacency.

God showed me this while explaining what a (US) military personnel does in a Peacetime scenario. “They hone both their combat and MOS skills, they train for war so they are still prepared for war. The military must be able to leap into action immediately, so their training focuses around this fact.” 

The truth is, we must treat our walk as if we are “ALWAYS” in Wartime scenario because truthfully, we ALWAYS are! If we are stuck for too long in our carefree complacency and then the storms of life suddenly come we can find ourselves standing in sinking sand headed for catastrophic peril. Jesus warns us in Matthew 24:43 “If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.

It is also important to note prior to Jesus being arrested in the garden he found his disciples sleeping several times and the moment he was arrested Peter wrongfully cuts off a soldier’s ear. Many times we tend to REACT like this when a crisis happens rather than having a PROACTIVE consistent readiness in our walk with Christ.

Some key scriptures about spiritual warfare:

“He teaches my hands to war” -Psalm 144

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

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

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.Ephesians 6:10-12

“preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” – 2nd Tim 4:2

And my favorite!… “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” – Matthew 11:12

Submitted by @ Jason Kennedy

Legalism vs Obedience

img_5061There is (and always has been) from its founding, a conundrum within the church. The disobedient call obedience legalistic, while the obedient call disobedience the same. At first glance it can be hard to decipher one from the other and even harder to decipher which one is true. So allow me, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, to clarify this issue with a simple definition. If you hold this truth in your heart and mind you will always know the difference between obedience and legalism, and that is this:

Legalism is actions taken to please men

Obedience is actions taken to please God

The same action can for one be legalism and for an other obedience. For example, fasting. If a person, church, or denomination mandates a fast and people fast to please that person, church, or denomination knowing they will be looked poorly upon if they do not, then it is legalism. However, if God tells someone, or even a group of someones, to fast then they are simply being obedient. In fact they are actually expressing their faith through their obedience and faith is the opposite of legalism.

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

So let’s break it down even further. If dead works are works preformed without faith, then dead works are simply works preformed that one never heard directly from God on. After all, “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). They might have heard from themselves, or from a doctrine or tradition of men, or from a pastor, or a friend but if they didn’t personally hear from God then it is a dead work. However, if you hear from God, either through His written word or personal revelation in the secret place of the most high (prayer), then you’d better obey, no matter what men say. For the word says that those who know what they should do and do not do it, to him it is sin (James 4:17).

“And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” – Acts‬ ‭5:27-29‬

‭In summery, faith is rooted in obedience to what God says, despite what men say. While legalism is rooted in obedience to what men say, despite what God says.

“He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” – Mark‬ ‭7:6-9‬ ‭

Again, the simple truth on this matter is this: legalism is when your heart is concerned with pleasing men. Obedience is when your heart is concerned with pleasing God. Please God, not men. Seek, pray, listen, and obey; no matter what the traditions of men say.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge (submit to) 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 ‭

When God Chooses You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Come To The River

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” – Ezekiel‬ ‭36:25-27

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

God Sends Miracles To Validate The Message

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ministry Of Helps, A Ministry Of Legacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Understanding Miracles, Ministry, And The Power Of God Through Loaves and Fish

14739“He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat? He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes.” – Mark‬ ‭6:37-38‬ ‭

We’ve all heard the story of how Jesus fed five thousand people with two fish and five loaves. However, what really stands out to me about this story is the amount of preparation the disciples had to walk out in faith and obedience before any inclination of the manifestation of God’s power ever showed itself. You see, Jesus’s point in all this was not to hand out free food. It was to teach His disciples how to feed His flock.

“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” – John‬ ‭21:15-17‬

‭ The disciples approach Jesus and tell Him that the people are hungry and the hour is late, to which Jesus replies, “feed them“. How often do we cry out to God for the lost to hear the truth and be saved expecting Him to tend to everything and leave no part in it to us but the glorying? In reality God’s answer to this prayer is straight forward and very unsupernatural, “feed them“. We cry out, “God the people are hungry for You!“, and He simply replies, “then feed them“.

“And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed: Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat. He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat….” – Mark‬ ‭6:35-37‬ ‭

Do you know that though all the power to do so came from God through Jesus, the great miracle that took place that day, in order for the people to receive of it, it had to pas from the Master’s hands, through the disciples, then out to the people. Not unlike the many miracles that would follow after Jesus death. That through the laying on of the apostles hand the Holy Spirit was given, the sick were healed, the blind see, the captive set free, and so on. Yet this only happened after they had acted in obedient faith and taken action to prepared the people to receive not only a Word from the Lord but a demonstration of His power backing up those words.

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

‭ You see, after Jesus told the disciples to feed the people, they came to Him with all they had. It was not enough to get the job done. It was impossible for them to do what needed to be done with what they had. This is not unlike us trying to make a difference in this world with what we have. We simply can not do what needs to be done with what we ourselves have to offer. However if we are willing to give all that we have to God and trust Him with it, He will prove His limitless divinity by causing our limited mortality to achieve that which is impossible of itself that all may know that He is God.

“He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass.” – Mark‬ ‭6:38-39‬

‭Jesus instructs the disciples to seat the people by 100’s and by 50’s. Ok first off, we need to realize what an undertaking of faith this was in preparation of what they knew they could not do. They could not feed these people. They only had 2 fish and 5 loaves. In this time only men above the age of 20 were counted. Therefore, when it says 5,000 men, that’s not counting their wives and children. So in reality there were actually 5,000 families there, and only 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread.

“And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.” – Matthew‬ ‭14:21‬

‭Can you imagine the preparation this took in faith of the impossible and simple obedience to God to provide whatever was needed to get these people what they needed? To go around seating that many people in groups of 50 and 100. How long did that take? Long enough for questions, fear, and doubts to set in for sure. Yet they simply trusted and obeyed in faith that with God all things are possible, that He who began the work was faithful to complete it, and that He would supply all their needs. Though they knew they could not feed this multitude, they knew the one who could. True ministry isn’t about what you can accomplish through your limited resources and abilities, for that is very little in the scope of things, but rather it’s about trusting in what God can accomplish with His unlimited resources passed through your hands to the people when you stop leading and start obeying and serving.

“And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.” – Luke‬ ‭22:25-27‬ ‭

“And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.” – Mark‬ ‭9:35‬

‭ When we have a burden for the lost, that they be fed spiritually the bread of life, which is Jesus Christ. Our prayer will start to reflect that burden with selfless pleas to the Lord on their behalf, to which He will at some point reply, “feed them“. At this point we must first come to terms with the humble reality that we cannot. We do not have the resources in an of ourselves to achieve this great task of need. However we must also come to terms with the reality that we know the One who does! To this end, we must seek His instructions and follow them precisely in humble obedient faith, no matter how impossible it may seem. In fact, the more impossible it is for you to accomplish this thing the better. It grants the more opportunity for Him to back up His impossible Words with impossible actions of impossible power and amazing grace.

“And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. And they did all eat, and were filled.” – Mark‬ ‭6:41-42

‬Once you have stepped out in faith and obeyed in humility, then He will bless it and distribute Himself, the bread of life, to the people through your hands. Multiplied and magnified in miraculous ways. If you will just pray, submit, obey, get that word from the Lord and step out in faith on it no matter how impossible and believe that He can do it, then He will. “He will!” Not you!

Do not go buy 200 pennyworth of bread and try to feed them yourself with your resources. God receives no glory from that, only man, and He will not back it up with His limitless miracle working power. Trust in His ability to do the impossible, prepare the people to receive it, and He will provide it in miraculous ways that glorify His omnipotence, rather then man’s preeminence. You don’t need gimmick, you don’t need programs, you don’t even need finances. If you have Jesus and believe that He is who He is and can do what He can do, then you know that you have all you need and more. Furthermore, you also know that your physical resources could never compare to His supernatural ones. He can do what you can not, and more. Humble yourself, put your faith in Him, and believe.

God will ALWAYS back up what He says to do with power. His words cannot return void. Know that God will do what He says He will do, even if He has to preform a miracle to do it. Therefore, stop trying to figure out how to do it yourself, preach who He really is, believe in who He really is, Trust in who He really is, and you will see demonstrations of who He really is.

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

‭ “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city.” – Acts‬ ‭8:5-8‬

‭ When all was said and done, after the multitude had been fed, 12 baskets full of left overs were collected. God had blessed what was offered, multiplied what was poured out from Himself through the disciples, and in the end for their faithfulness and obedience, the disciples themselves were blessed by the abundant overflow of God’s miraculous prevision. When you are willing to step out in faith and minister to others, then God Himself will minister to you and in the end, it’s your soul that gets fed the most.

“The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” – 1 Peter‬ ‭5:1-4‬

‭ “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” – Romans‬ ‭14:17‬ ‭