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

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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 

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 ‭

Faith In Your Friend

“Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.” – John‬ ‭12:9-11‬ ‭

Lazarus, having had the life giving resurrection power of God displayed through him began to share his testimony. Now only by faith in Jesus could these people be saved, yet it was because of Lazarus’s testimony and from witnessing him walking in this newness of life that their faith was stirred and they began to believe on Jesus.

This miraculous work of God in Lazarus’s life demonstrating the very real and present power of heaven not only drew the attention of many people as they turned their ears toward him and their faith toward Jesus, but it also drew the attention of the enemy. The Pharisee’s, the religious insurgence of the devil, those same people who Jesus called “vipers” and “children of hell”, those ministers of Satan masquerading as ministers of light, actually began plotting to kill Lazarus, whom God had just raised.

Think on that for a minute. God himself raised this man to life, and the priest are trying to kill him again to hide the power of God. Because you see, by God demonstrating His power in someone else it showed that these priest didn’t have it themselves because they could not do what God had done through these men. Oh how the pious leaders of many a church seek to spiritually kill those who God has demonstrated the real and present power of the kingdom through because it shows their own lack of relationship with God.

Remember that Lazarus had this testimony because that he was “a friend of Jesus.” He was very close to Christ, He supped with him and his family, he visited with them, he ministered with them, he laughed with them, and in their time of deep trial and pain He wept with them. They were friends of Christ. In these times of visitation they had listened to Jesus, believed Him, followed Him, ministered with Him, sacrifice for Him, and suffered beside Him. The Pharisee’s on the other hand, had resisted Him, rejected Him, distanced themselves and their congregations from Him. Even to the point of forbidding and shunning them from seeking after, or listening to, this miracle working man of God, Jesus.

Yet, though not just his comfort but his very life hang in the balance, still did Lazarus boldly proclaim that which God had said and done! How could he so fearlessly do this? First of all he was fully persuaded that heaven, hell, and the resurrection were real and that this was the Christ, the only way to attain it! When you KNOW of whom you speak, you can faithfully and unwaveringly say, “to live is only to serve Christ and to die is still yet gain”! Secondly, he was able to stand in the presence of all the onslaughts of hell and fear no evil because the LORD was with him. He had faith in the love, power, protection, and plan of this man who had become both his savior and friend. When we come to know Jesus in that same way, then we will be driven to do that same thing.

When God opens up heaven and pours His life giving resurrection power upon your life in miraculous ways, it demonstrates the reality of our real and present Christ! However, only when you boldly tell others about it does it then stir their faith and turn many people to Jesus. Yes the more you turn others toward the real present living Messiah in all of His Glory that they may have a personal relationship with Him also, the more the enemy will rise against you. (Usually by those who claim to represent Him but don’t actually know Him because that when He came to them, they resisted him.) 

Yet if you will but simply trust in your faithful friend Jesus and stand for Him, professing what He has done and spoken, then He will stand with you and nothing outside of His plan will overtake you. In this unshakable faith is the enemy overcome and eternity gained, not just for you, but for many who witness you being a witness of 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

“Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.” – John‬ ‭12:9-11‬ ‭

Beware of Dogs

“Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.” – Philippians‬ ‭3:2‬ ‭

Paul warns the church of Philippi to be ware of dogs in this, his letter to them. The word translated to dog here in the original Greek was “Kyon”, which referred to either a dog or a man with impure thoughts. Paul, explains further how to identify the character of these dogs among the sheepfold that they might better recognize them by their mindset. In doing so he instructs them in this simple truth. 

God is no respecter of persons, of prestige, of ritual right, or carnal knowledge. He is a respecter of faith and faith only. Not faith in what you think you know, in who you think you are, or even in what you think you believe, but faith in what He says. This alone impresses and pleases God. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Therefore, only those who believe in what He did so that we can hear from Him directly and then once hearing have faith in what He has said to them (even as Abraham did), have laid down their own righteousness (what they think is right) to take on and walk in true righteousness, God’s righteousness (what God says is right). In this, obeying God’s voice and spoken word to him, was Abraham counted righteous for our example. 

To this end does Paul state in this letter to Lydia and the elders of her church that of all men he was most worthy to trust his flesh but even he was deceived by it, therefor did he lay it down and if he could not trust to rely on it then no other can either. Nor should they judge in whom they trust by means of it. Paul’s pedigree, his degree, his perfect performance of ritual and knowledge of the law, everything he thought he knew, he had to count it all lost, that He might gain Christ. Christ didn’t die so that you could keep on assuming that what you have to offer in your own knowledge, strength, skill, talent, or zeal is worthy of God’s notice. He suffered and died so that you could be atoned for and enter in to His presence to build a real relationship with Him, so that you can hear directly from Him, and trust (or have faith in) Him enough to follow His voice and leading in every situation. Anything less is ritual, idolatry, pride, and unbelief wrapped up in a dead sheepskin. 

“Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” – Philippians‬ ‭3:2-11‬ ‭

Get To Know God

“And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” – 2 Thessalonians‬ ‭1:7-10‬ ‭

Do you know God? No, I didn’t ask if you know about God, I mean do you “know Him”? Do you personally know Him? Do you know His voice? His Words, His character? Do you have a personal relationship with Him? Does He come in and sup with you? Because if He does not regularly come in and sup, visit, commune, speak, teach, and fellowship with you, then He is still standing outside the door knocking. You haven’t actually let Him in. 

“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” – James‬ ‭2:19-20‬ ‭

Just knowing that He exists isn’t enough. Knowing that He is at the door isn’t enough. Knowing that He is knocking isn’t enough. You have to actually let Him in and fellowship with Him, talk to Him, listen to Him, get to know Him, love Him, and obey Him.

“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.” – Matthew‬ ‭7:21-23‬ ‭

A lot of people know about God, but very few actually come to know God. It’s heart breaking because Christ suffered and died that we might be reconciled unto the Father and inter in boldly before His thrown. We no longer need a priest to inter in for us but we ourselves can hear directly from God and fellowship with Him like Moses did. Yet with this great unmatchable gift laid before us, we choose entertainment, distraction, relationships, pride, worldly lust, gain, grudges, traditions, doctrines, ambition, and outright sin to keep us from it. We choose these poisonous gifts of the world over this precious gift from God just like Adam and Eve chose the serpents fruit over all that God had labored to make available to them. 

People this ought not be so, nor does it need to be. The choice is yours. Jesus made a way, it’s a straight and narrow way, but it is available to any who will choose to take it, and it leads straight the the thrown of God. It’s available now, open the door, let Jesus in, talk with Him, listen to Him, get to know Him, and He will teach you how to walk this thing out by faith. Not by faith in what you think you know, (for that is self righteousness) but by faith in what He says (which is walking in His righteousness). 

“For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” – Romans‬ ‭10:2-3‬

“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” – 2 Timothy‬ ‭3:5‬ ‭

“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 ‭

God is real, people! He is real right now. His power is real. The Holy Spirit is real. Miracles, signs, and wonders are real. Yet I urge you today to wake up and understand that Hell is real too, and Jesus really is coming back, but only for those who personally know Him and are known by Him. Knowing about Him won’t save you, in fact it will only assure you a greater damnation being without excuse for not getting to know Him. So how do you get to know Him? The same way you get to know anyone. You spend time with them. Personal one on one time “with” them. Jesus is knocking, take the time to open that door, invite Him in, sit and sup, visit, talk, listen, commune, and be taught personally by God. We are not promised tomorrow, we are not guaranteed another chance. We are only guaranteed damnation if we fail to take the chances given to us in the limited time we have to take them. Today is the day of salvation. Now is the appointed time. Open the door while He still knocks, because when He opens the door Himself it will be too late. Know that you will stand face to face with God one way or the other, better it be now by choice and loving invitation, then later by force to receive eternal damnation.  

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 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 ‭3:19-22‬ ‭

From Barrenness to Blessing 

“And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;” – Matthew‬ ‭13:3‬ ‭

Jesus spoke in a parable of one who planted seed in four different kinds of soil. To fully grasp the context of this parable we need to first understand what the elements of the parable represent. First the soil represents the heart. Their are four different conditions in which the soil in this parable are found. We will discuss that further later.

“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” – Hosea‬ ‭10:12‬ ‭

The next element of the parable that is critical to understand is the seed being sown into these soils. The seed is God’s Word, but deeper then that it’s the one who speaks those words, who is the word. It’s Jesus, for Jesus is the word made flesh and it is Jesus whom is the seed of Abraham who was counted righteous because he listened to God’s voice. That is to say, he received God’s words, believed them, and acted upon them in obedience because of His faith in them. You cannot separate Jesus from His words, either logos (written in the past) or Rhema (spoken directly to you in the present). To believe in one you will believe the other, to reject one you reject the other for they are one in the same.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” – John‬ ‭1:1, 14‬ ‭

So we understand that the seed is the word and the word is Jesus but let’s go a little deeper. Abraham believed God’s voice (words) and received a promise that through his seed all nations would be blessed. That those who bless him would be blessed and those that curse him would be cursed, and that he would inherit a kingdom. The promise was to him and his seed. Most understand this to be the Jewish people by nationality, however that is not a biblically accurate interpretation. Scripture tells us that the kingdom being promised here was not to be given to many seeds (as in a people) but to Abrahams seed (singular, as in a person), and that person is Christ in whom all the nations of the world are blessed; whomsoever (of any people, gender, class, or nationality) chooses to believe in Him and in His words, for He is the word! 

“And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” – Genesis‬ ‭26:4-5‬ ‭

“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” – Galatians‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭

So now we can see that the parable of the sower in its deepest since being that of different people who have receive Christ (the Seed and the Word) in different ways and the outcome of it. 

The first is one who hears the word and receives the seed but is not discipled. Being unlearned they are unable to yet distinguish between the voice of the shepherd and the voice of the stranger, and following the stranger will be led astray before the seed really takes root and bares fruit. 

The second is one who hears the words of God and receive Christ with gladness! Yet they don’t go any deeper. They don’t let the word take root and breakup their heart ground, the environment of their heart is not changed by the Seed but resist it, they don’t break up their fallowed ground and seek after righteousness. They aren’t told that they have to ever seek to go deeper and to grow in the things of God, therefore they stay shallow never reaching for the deeper things of God and when the storms of trial, tribulation, disappointment, offense, and persecution arise, they are unequipped, unaware, and able to endure not having built that deep unshakable personal relationship with God that they might draw from the deep well that is the Holy Ghost ministering hope directly and personally to them and through them even in dry and desperate seasons.

“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

Though all of these situations are tragic, the third condition of the parable is possibly the most damaging to the faith of others. You see the third one received Christ, the seed took root, grew into a tree, and was even producing fruit! However, other things grew up around it and began to choke it out until it died and stopped producing. Distractions, worries, social status, money, possessions, positions, relationships, idols, vanity, anything that you allow to take your ear away from God’s voice is taking your heart away from it also and you will Bering to dry up and eventually die spiritually. We know that Jesus said that any tree that bares not good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire, and here we see a tree that once bore fruit yet now has become barren and fruitless. Let this sink in and never allow anything to choke out your connection to the root from which you draw your grace and thus cut off the fruitfulness of your faith. No compromise. No complacency. No idolatry. Remember, this world is not your home. 

Finally, the last condition is what Jesus called “good soil“. The heart that hears His words, receives Him (the Seed), allows Him to grow deep roots in you changing the environment of your heart, digging down and drawing up deep wells of living water, and baring much fruit that others might be blessed and more seed spread to the pleasing of the sower. 

So what condition do you find yourself in today? Does the enemy steal the words God speaks to you as soon as they are spoken? That seed was not buried, therefor do you need to die to self and be buried with Christ. Do you need to go deeper into the things of God and the power (and giftings) of His Holy Spirit that you be better equipped to withstand the wilds of the devil? Do you need to remove somethings from your life that are choking out your personal time with God, killing your relationship with Him, and making you unfruitful? Do you want to be counted by God as good ground baring much fruit that you might hear those long awaited words, “well done My good and faithful servant, come and inter into your rest.” 

All of these bad grounds can be transformed into good ground by simply spending time with the husbandmen (the tender of the garden). Determined to get alone with God and get to know God and He will make not only Himself known to you, but He will make the condition of your own heart known to you also, that it might be mended into greater fruitfulness that you might be blessed. For it is His desire to bless but He cannot bless unfruitfulness. So call on Jesus, seek the husbandmen, cry out for Him to plow your heart, soften it, remove the thorns (sin and distractions), attend to His words, seek to go deeper into the things of God, and watch your barrenness become blessing. 

“The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred. And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick? For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” – Mark‬ ‭4:14-23‬ ‭

Living in the Miraculous 

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.” – James‬ ‭5:16-18‬ ‭

Nothing is impossible for God, yet being just as He is, He is bound by His own words that what He has said He will do whether it be in reward or in judgment, He must do. 

James (the brother of Jesus being a son of Mary and Joseph) gives very clear instruction on seeing God move in the miraculous. In previous verses he says, “if there are any sick among you, bring them before the church, anoint them with oil, have the leadership pray over them, and this prayer of faith will move in healing upon them.” Faith requires that we believe in what God says and how He says to do things, it is trusting that He knows best enough to obey His instructions. 

The passage then continues going a bit deeper into why those prayers often don’t work, then gives us an absolute assurance that they can, if we will have the faith and humility to meet God’s conditions for it. 

First he states that we need to be humble enough to confess our faults/sins (failures), and seek Godly friends to pray with about these things with you as you press God for strength in repentance. God is clear that He only gives His grace to the humble because only the humble seek Him, trust Him, depend on Him, and obey Him. 

Grace is God’s divine favor, power, and influence, all of which are needed to preform the miraculous, and it is only given to the humble. So let your first focus be on cultivating humility toward God and reverence for His presence. Humility and reverence will cause you to trust and obey His voice and leading which will by default cause you to walk in righteousness (doing what He says is right instead of what you think or feel is right). Therefor, walking in righteousness is the second requirement to moving in the miraculous. 

If you have faithfully repented of (turned away from/ceased to do) all known sins (which are failures to obey God’s voice) as God reveals them to you, and are walking in righteousness (obedience), then the third requirement is fervent prayer. James tells us in no uncertain terms that Elijah was a man just like us. He was not super human, he was not made any different then you are I, nor were the temptations he faced any less. He simply chose to trust God, obey His voice, turn away from temptations to sin, walked in righteousness, and prayed fervently. He simply met all the conditions that God had laid out and if we will do the same, then we too will walk in the miraculous even as he did, for God is no respecter of persons, nor has His power diminished.

“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” – Acts‬ ‭10:34-35‬ ‭

God has not changed, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. What He does for one He will do for others if they will meet the same conditions. If they walk in the same humility, exhibit the same faith, endurance, selflessness, and trust. God is a good father that desires to give good gifts to His children. Yet we tie His hands from doing so because He, being just, cannot move against His own words. His word says that He resist the proud, therefor can He not work with the proud, only against them. His word says that He does not hear the prayers of the unrighteous, therefore He cannot move on their behalf. And above all, He cannot reward unbelief, therefore if we do not trust Him enough to seek His voice and believe it, no matter what we see, think, or feel, then He will not move; for it was because of unbelief that He withheld His promise from the Children of Israel in the wilderness until a generation arose who were willing to meet the conditions so that He could finally bring the blessing forth. 

“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. SUBMIT yourselves therefore to God. RESIST the devil, and he WILL flee from you.” – James‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭

“Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.” – John‬ ‭9:31‬ ‭

“But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?” – Hebrews‬ ‭3:17-18‬ ‭

No, nothing is too hard for God, nor has He changed or diminished, only our faith has, our willingness to submit to God and resist the devil; to seek, listen, hear, trust, and obey God at all cost. The conditions are simple, humble yourself, listen to His voice, repent of failures to do so, trust what He says, walk in that trust no matter what, and pray fervently. In other words, believe, really believe, and these signs WILL follow those that believe. 

“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 ‭

Is Anything Too Hard For God?

“The mountains saw thee, and they trembled: the overflowing of the water passed by: the deep uttered his voice, and lifted up his hands on high. The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear.” – Habakkuk‬ ‭3:10-11‬ ‭

Mountains tremble before Him, floods obey Him, the sun, moon, and stars stand still for Him, the very universe is the works of His hands, nothing that is would be without Him making it so, is anything too hard for God?

The heavens are silent in anticipation of His words, the dust of the earth comes alive at His breath, the seas part at His unrest, is anything too hard for God?

The sick are healed by His mere thought, at His command the dead are raised, the possessed and oppressed are set free with no battle fought at the mention of His Name, is anything too hard for God

Creation groans, the unknowable made known, the lost were called home, and the ages sewn when He rose to His thrown.

Time was divided, hell’s fate was decided, sin was requited, and love reignited. It’s time to get excited that nothing is too hard for God!

He is smarter, wiser, stronger, more fierce, and more faithful. Whatever you’re facing, our God is able. Believe that He is that which He is and nothing will shake you knowing that He won’t forsake you. And if He be with you, what can overtake you? He’ll make you to breakthrough, He will prepare you a table in the presence of your enemies.

Kingdoms fall before those who believe, if only more had ears to hear and eyes to see the great and mighty things that happen on your knees they would be more eager to run to the King, if they truly believed that nothing is too hard for God.

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” – Jeremiah‬ ‭32:27‬ ‭

Christ’s Warning About The Doctrine Of Balaam

“Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;” – 2 Peter‬ ‭2:15‬

Many times in the New Testament we are warned of God’s destain for the Spirit of Balaam. Of how God sees those who allow themselves to be led by it as filthy spots on the bride of Christ that must be removed. So what is this Spirit of Balaam that Jesus Himself often warned of, and how does one fall to it? 

Balaam was a biblical prophet who once walked in the truth having a true revelation of Jesus Christ (one of the clearest in all of scripture). Yet thinking that once he had obtained this revelation that he could not loose it, he sought the easy path. 

“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:12‬ ‭

Balaam chose to compromise with the enemy and led others to do the same by teaching them that they could ignore the things that God had spoken to them, reject the revelations that God had given them, and partake in things that God had called them away from and nothing would happen. He taught them that God would not reject a people that had rejected God’s words as long as they still called themselves by His Name. He convinced them that nothing would happen because they were chosen and would not loose their right standing with God, but something did happen. God’s wrath waxed hot against this people and Balaam who taught this error most of all. Balaam (and all those who follow the leading of this demonic spirit of error) forfeited his eternal gain and encouraged others to do the same for the sake of earthly gain, comfort, and social status; and God takes this very seriously. 

“But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” – Revelation‬ ‭2:14-16‬ ‭

Jesus literally says in the book of Revelations that He hates this doctrine, and those who choose to willingly hold it make themselves His enemy. Yet Jesus, in His great mercy, always offers an opportunity for repentance but once offered (if refused) then begins to move against those that hold it Himself. The saddest part about this spirit is that it comes on those who once held the truth. They once had a real revelation of Jesus Christ, they were once saved. Yet for selfish reasons of pleasure, ease, gain, or social standing they strayed from the path, teachings, and revelations that God had given to them and in doing so turned their face to follow after the enemy and their back to God. 

Worse still, they did it all on the very steps of the temple still professing to be God’s people when in reality they had become His enemy, causing Him to war against them not understanding that what you serve to obey you are the servant of and agree to make it your master, for what you come into agreement with you come into covenant with. Therefor anything or anyone that you are willing to sell your soul for and obedience to, you are deeming of greater value to you then the price Christ has already paid for it and like Gomer, you sell yourself back into bondage.  

“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 ‭

“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 this person 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 ‭10:29-31‬ ‭

In the end, Balaam’s punishment was death as is the punishment for all those who steal from God (be it anything from money to souls). God takes this very seriously and so should we. Stand fast on the things that God tells you. Do not compromise with the world or those of it. Pick up your cross, die to selfish needs, wants, emotions, and desires, and follow after Christ’s example less you fall after the example of Balaam and be counted among the spots and not among the faithful who have endured to the end on the day of judgment. Remember that over two million people left Egypt and crossed through the sea, but only two of those people stayed the course and actually entered into the Promise Land, for straight is the way and narrow is the gate that leads to life eternal and few are they that find it. After all, as Paul so clearly states, the reward is not to those who start the race, but to those who finish it. Therefor, choose to take Christ’s warnings seriously and heed them diligently because the doctrine of Balaam is alive and well in the church today spotting the brides garment with this great deception of convenience that will promise you much, but in the end will actually cost you everything. Seek the Lord, walk in wisdom, trust what He tells you, do not compromise it, and stay the course no matter the cost. 

“But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” – 2 Peter‬ ‭2:12-22‬ ‭

“Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” – Revelation‬ ‭3:2-6‬ ‭


Full Audio Teaching on: “The Spirit of Balaam”

http://heartofworshipchurch.com/podcastgen/media/spirit_of_balaam.mp3