THE GOSPEL AS IT SHOULD BE…


1 Thessalonians 1:5 – “…our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction…” NASU

I never cease to be amazed at how frequently in church, spiritual things, and the life, we are willing to accept something less than the best available.  So many times politically we seem to be choosing between the “lesser of two evils,” and in life relegate ourselves to “average” and deem that acceptable. 

When it comes to spiritual matters and the church many have bought into the idea that the miracles and power that was exhibited in the Old and New Testaments were for another era and are no longer available for today.  I can only ask, “When did Jesus change?”  The Bible clearly says in Hebrews 13:8 – “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” NASU It also tells us in Malachi 3:6 – “…I, the LORD, do not change…” NASU  Then Jesus said to His disciples and to us generations later in John 14:12 – “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” NASU

WHEN DID THAT CHANGE?  I suggest that it has not and that the Power of God is still the Power of God today as it was in the yesterdays of our human history.  God is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent today just as he was in the beginning as we read about in Genesis and in the end as we read about in Revelation.  HE DOES NOT CHANGE! 

If He confirmed His word with “signs and wonders” in some bygone era will He not do the same today?  I can attest that I have seen the Miracle Working Hand of God in demonstration.  I’ve experienced it personally, seen it come for others and have two miracles of healing that I have documentation from medical doctors confirming. 

I’ve had broken bones healed and cancer driven from my body. I saw my mother healed of a broken back and the paralysis relieved.  I’ve watched people recover from sickness in which the doctors said there was no hope.  I cannot explain God and won’t try.  I’ve prayed for people to be healed and they weren’t and prayed for others and they were.  I can’t explain it and won’t justify failure to receive. But I feel like Peter and John as they came to the lame man at the Beautiful Gate and Peter said, “Silver and Gold have I none, but what I’ve got I’ll give to you.”  He then reached out his hand took the man by the hand and lifted him up only to see the power of God flow into his legs and he walked. I want to give what God has deposited in my heart to everyone in need.

I’ve seen hard-hearted men, physical giants, crumble before the power of God’s Word and their hearts melt. Tears would stream down the cheeks of those rock hard men as they wept before the Lord broken and repentant.  I’ve seen homes restored as the Power of God transformed hearts and brought reconciliation.  I’ve seen financial disaster averted by a miraculous supply. 

Yes, I’ve seen the POWER OF THE GOSPEL and long for more and more of it.  Not so that I will be noticed but so that lives will be rescued by the Power and Grace of God.  I get angry at what I see the devil doing in lives and cry out continually for the POWER OF THE GOSPEL to be manifest in my life and the lives of those I come in contact with.

May God be with you as you go through your day!

SERVITUDE I CAN ENDORSE…


Romans 6:18 – “Having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” NKJV

The Bible has much to say about our being “servants” or “slaves” to something or someone.  The only two categories that it allows are we are either servants to SIN or RIGHTEOUSNESS.  We either allow the flesh to have dominance or we allow the Spirit of God.   Here the apostle Paul identifies that the true objective of the Christian should be to become a “Slave of Righteousness”.    He identifies that this is possible, and I might add, only possible after we have been set free from sin.  It is only after we have been “born-again” and “transferred from the kingdom of darkness into God’s light” that we can hope to attain this lofty place of servant hood.

The Bible tells us that whatever or whoever we obey we are servants or slaves to that.  So, my objective and goal is to become a true a “dulos” to Jesus.  I want to be a “bond slave” to Him and that relationship comes from a willing and surrendered heart.  It is never forced for God will not accept that as an acceptable pathway into His presence.  I want to hear the words, “Well done my good and faithful SERVANT…” when I stand before Him on that final day and every day.  Notice, He used the word ‘servant’ to describe us.  We are called His BRIDE, His FRIENDS, His SHEEP, and His SERVANTS.  We are all that and more through the Grace and Love of God.

So, if you have been born-anew into the Kingdom of God you have been “set free” from sin and as a result the door is open for you to become a “Slave of Righteousness.”  It is your choice and if you make that choice the Holy Spirit will come alongside and come within your heart and enable you to fulfill that desire.  Will it be easy?  NO!  But it will be the most rewarding life you could ever hope to encounter. 

May God be with you as you go through your day!

DID JESUS REALLY MEAN WHAT HE SAID?


John 15:7 – “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”  NASU

From time to time, we come face to face with truths and declarations in God’s Word, from the Lord Himself that we confess to believe but do not see the practical application in our lives and worlds.  I have often questioned, in my own heart and mind, “Do I really believe that?”  I also, ask, “Did God really mean what He said?”  You may never ask those questions, but I have of myself and others.  I seldom challenge anyone else with a truth that I have not reconciled in my heart and adopted its implementation in my life. 

I wonder, at times, if we, the Body of Christ and the world of Christendom, believe some things theoretically but not literally.  I know the answer to that but will leave it to you to answer in your own heart.  There are some statements in Scripture so powerful and life-changing that implementation and adoption of them in our daily lives would be transformative beyond our wildest imaginations.  This is one of them.

Any time Jesus said “IF” there was always a requirement on the part of His followers and a promise on the part of God.  Here He addresses becoming one with the Word of God.  I mean that literally, emotionally, experientially, mentally, ideologically, doctrinally, and spiritually.  He said, “If you…”  That is us.  We are the you of this passage.  The “If you” indicates an action and responsibility on our part.  There is something that we must do to enter the doorway or the storehouse of His Promise and Provision as indicated in this passage. 

I am 100% convinced that the reason this passage is not a current or constant reality in our lives is because we have not fulfilled our part of the equation.  He said, “if you abide in Me…”  We get that part right.  I believe that when we come to Jesus in repentance and receive His salvation we begin abiding in Him.  Of course, there are steps of maturity in our relationship, but we are either “in” Him or we are not.  There is no sort of saved any more than there is a sort of pregnant.  We are either born again or we are not.

The second part of the directive is where I have fallen short and would venture a guess that many of you have as well.  He said that we were to ‘abide in Him’ but also that His Words were to “abide” in us.  The word in the Greek is ‘meno’ and it means to stay in a given place, state, relationship or expectancy.  It has the idea of permanence laced in its meaning. 

Too frequently, we read the Bible but do not ingest that Word and allow it to become who we are.  Are we one with the Word?  Is the truth of what God says in His Word so much a part of our thinking and living that regardless of circumstances, conditions, situations, opinions, people, or anything, that Word is manifest in us as current reality?  I suggest that it is one thing to ‘abide in Christ’ and another to have His word ‘abide in us.’ 

What is the Promise for those who are both Abiding in Christ and His Word is Abiding in them?  It is mind-boggling!  He says, “…you will ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”  Let me clarify a pertinent point in this.  We must never forget the warnings of Scripture about asking amiss and for the purpose of feeding our own desires and lusts.  God’s promise to give us the desires of our hearts is in direct connection with this directive of abiding in Him and having His word abide in us. 

It is at this point that we have the desires of God as our desires and I dare not omit the incredible statement of I John 5:14-15, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the request which we have asked from Him.”

The bottom line for me is, Abiding in Him and His Word Abiding in me.  I believe that I have accomplished or am accomplishing the first part of that equation or directive.  It’s the second part that has caused me heartache and disappointment.  I keep seeking to know Him and asking the Holy Spirit to help me embrace the Word so fully that it becomes a part of me and becomes me.  I want to make no excuses for my failures and the lack of the demonstration of His power at any time in my life.  I want to press into the Promises and see the Atmosphere of Heaven a present reality.  I want to develop the culture of the Kingdom of God in my life and live there daily.  I want to be an Abider!

God bless you as you enjoy this day in Him!

THIS IS MY GOD…


Psalm 46:1-4 – “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; 3 Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah. 4 There is a river…”  NASU

Before someone takes me to task for not completing verse four it was with purpose, so bear with me.  The longer I serve God, the more I discover that I discover new things about Him virtually every day.  The longer I serve Him, the more I discover that I am hopeless and helpless without Him.  The longer I serve Him, the more I discover there is to love about Him and find new reasons to Worship and Praise Him!

It is a most wonderful truth to realize, believe, and embrace the present reality that God is our refuge.  When we study the Old Testament the word ‘refuge’ is always used in connection with a threat.  Something is wrong or dangerous and thus the need for a ‘refuge’.  The threat can be physical, emotional, financial, or spiritual, but it is real and if we are left to contend with it in our strength it will overwhelm us, thus the need for a ‘refuge.’

The word ‘refuge’, as used in the Bible demands that we turn our attention to God and His Power, Promise, Provision, and Protection.  He is our shelter from the storms of life.  Unfortunately, some believe that He fails if He does not keep us out of the storms, but God’s promise is to ‘go with us’ through the storms.  Jesus confirmed that in praying to the Father that He was not asking that His followers be taken out of the world but kept in the world. 

The ‘refuge’ not only affords safety and protection but divine enablement and power to handle the storms and difficulties of life.  It is in His Pavilion Tent that we are refreshed, and His Grace is infused into our beings that we are enabled to deal with those things confronting us.  We do not cope, we overcome, through Him. 

In the ‘refuge,’ we find shelter, safety, and protection.  The first six words of this Psalm are powerful and so enriching we need to go no further but when we expand our consideration of the next six words we discover some incredible.  “a very present help in trouble.”  What?  When we get to heaven we will be relieved of the struggles of life?  When we get to heaven we will enjoy His promises and provisions?  Yes, but it says so much more than that, it says that God is our ‘Right Now Help’.  Present Help.  When?  In the time of trouble not when we are promoted to that world where there are no more troubles! 

THAT IS MY GOD!  He is the Right Now, God!  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  He is the Eternal, Living, and All-Powerful Creator of All Things!  He is the Only True God!  The Psalmist goes on to encourage us that even when things seem impossible to contend with and beyond our ability to handle, God is our Present Help.  Even if the world falls completely apart, He is our Present Help.  Even if Earthquakes send tall mountains into the sea, God is our Present Help. 

I love the beginning of verse four – “There is a river…”  Remember what Jesus said, “Out of your belly or innermost being will gush forth a River…”  Hallelujah!  That is My God!  He is my river.  He is my Present Help.  He is my Strength. 

My prayer and encouragement for each of you today is – God Is Our Present Help!  He knows, He cares, and He will not leave you helpless!  Rejoice even when you don’t feel like rejoicing because He Is!

God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!

MY SHIELD…


Psalm 3:3-6 – “But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head. 4 I was crying to the LORD with my voice, and He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah. 5 I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustains me. 6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me round about.”  NASU

Someone recently said something that I’ve heard hundreds of times, “Growing old is not for sissies.”  I responded, “Life is not always easy, but worth the effort.”  The person I was talking to said, “True, if.”  I waited, and they said no more.  Before I could ask what the ‘if’ was, the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart, the “If” is Me, the If is God!”

I have often thought about Life and Living.  As a minister and having served as a pastor of congregations it has been my joy and sorrow to deal with people in varying situations and stages of life.  Joy to see the work of God in bringing them to peace and victory, sorry when I was unable to help them find the solace and peace they craved. 

In life we encounter difficulties. That statement makes me Mr. Obvious but as simplistic and broad as it is, it is true.  None of us are immune from problems and none of us are exempt from having enemies who desire to rend us into nothingness.  Jesus declared as much in the Gospels.  However, He also said, that we were not to fear or fret because we could live in the confidence that it is our Heavenly Father’s desire to ‘give us the kingdom.’  Jesus promised to bring to us abundant life and make life worth living.  That is a tremendous comfort to me.

The Psalmist declared, in the midst of difficulties, “Lord, you are a shield about me.”   In Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance the word ‘shield’ is protection but one of the imageries was that of the ‘hide of a crocodile.’  I laughed and rejoiced when I read that.  The crocodile’s hide has historically been viewed by ancient civilizations as impenetrable.  That’s the clear message of the Psalmist, “God, you are like the hide of a crocodile, impenetrable, in your protective covering.”  That is enough to make me want to shout, Hallelujah!  Well, Hallelujah!

In the Book of Job, when the devil appeared before the Throne of God, God baited him with Job and the devil’s objection was, “But you have a hedge or a shield about him.”  God did not deny that.  In Zechariah 2:5 God said, “For I, declared the Lord, will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.”  That was His promise for Jerusalem and I believe His desire and promise for each of us.  He is our shield and buckler, our glory, and the giver and sustainer of life.  We do not have to fear what is outside when we fear, reverentially, God and serve Him.  That’s the “If” of my friend’s statement. 

Jesus said in Matthew 10:28, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”  Hell is not God’s desire for us Heaven and Life are!  Jesus did not come to destroy but to bring Life!  Therefore, when you are facing difficulty, disappointment, and even depression look upward and rejoice because our God is “A Shield About Us!”  And if God is for us it really doesn’t matter who is against us, they are no match for Him. No problem, disease, difficulty, person, or devil in hell is a match for Him!  

Put on the whole armor of God (which is to be united and one with Him) and allow the Holy Spirit to teach you how to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ Jesus.  Allow the Spirit of God to enable you to pull down strongholds.  Allow the Life of God to flow richly in your hearts and minds and as you do you will discover that Life is worth the effort!

God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!

TOMORROW’S PROBLEMS TODAY…


Matthew 6:25-34 – “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  26 ” Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?  27 “And who of you by being worried can add a single  hour to his life?  28 “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.  30 “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!  31 “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’  32 “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  NASU

This is always been a place I run to in scripture when things are difficult, because of its comfort, promise, and assurance.  Worry won’t fix any problems but it can affect our lives negatively, including making us sick physically and weak spiritually.  When we look at God’s creation and how He cares for the creatures, flowers, plants, etc. – How Could We Not Understand That He Will Care for Us Too?  

We worry about things that are not worthy of worry.  We have so many assurances from the Father regarding all these things we should NEVER allow worry to stick its ugly head up and trouble our lives, minds or hearts.  Instead, He gives us the clear prescription to Today’s and Tomorrow’s Problems – – “Seek FIRST His kingdom and His righteousness and ALL THESE THINGS will be added to you.”  [Emphasis mine]

God’s plea and instruction are Don’t Worry about tomorrow’s problems today, today has enough problems of its own.  Tomorrow has not yet arrived and if and when it does it will be today and we will deal with it, under the guidance and care of God at that time.  We face many issues individually and as a nation, but we cannot go into Fear!  We dare not become Worriers.  We must be people of Faith, Confidence, and Trust!  We must be those who rest in the Promises of God, which are as solid as the Character of God, which is impeccable and indisputable. 

Pray over your problems but don’t let them control you or your thinking.  Pray over your needs but don’t let them dominate your thought processes.  Lift up your heads and rejoice for your Father in heaven knows that you have need of all these things and He Will Provide!  Lift up your head and rejoice because He is still on the Throne. 

May the Blessings of Heaven be yours today!

THE RELEASE THAT COMES FROM TOUCHING JESUS…


Luke 6:19 – “And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.”  KJV

This was repeated in Luke 8:46 where Jesus said, “Somebody hath touched Me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out from me.”  The word used for virtue in the Greek is ‘dumanis’ and is most frequently used to describe supernatural power.  There is another word used in the New Testament that reveals God’s power working in those of us who believe and have received His Grace.  That word is ‘energeia’ and indicates efficiency, energy, power, and effectual working.  It was used in Ephesians 3:7; Colossians 2:12; Colossians 1:29; Ephesians 1:19; Ephesians 4:16 and Philippians 3:21 to name a few.

It is descriptive of the virtue or power of God flowing out from Him to and through us in the working of the Gifts of the Spirit and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  It is descriptive of a Church, a Body, a People, and a Person that is fully connected to Jesus and literally becoming, “as He is, in this present world.” 

It is reflective of the realization of the directive of Jesus in Matthew 6 to pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  It is reflective of Jesus’ promise that we would do the works He did and greater because He went to the Father.  When He went to the Father, His Promise was another comforter, the Holy Spirit and the Power, Energy, Strength, Wisdom, and Virtue that flows through Him to us and through us.  That’s who we are, in God’s eyes and who we need to become in the sight of the world.

There is a song I have sung in the past that resonates powerfully with me regarding this truth.  That song is “Touching Jesus” and the chorus is incredibly powerful. 

“Touching Jesus is all that mattersThen your life will never be the sameThere is only one way to touch HimJust believe when you call on His name.”

People, in that day, knew that if they could somehow touch the hem of His garment they would receive that for which they long.  There were examples of people risking personal injury and judicial angst to touch Him.  Those men who seeking healing for their paralytic friend found the crowd so massive they could not break through, so they dug a hole through the roof.  They lowered him on ropes in front of Jesus and the compassion of our Lord released the Energy or Power of God and healing came.

Church history is replete with examples of people desperate to “Touch Him” and endured incredible hardships to simply enter His Presence knowing that once there, whatever they needed would be received.  Today, too often we pray simple little sanitized and scripted prayers without pressing into His presence. 

The account in Matthew 17 when Jesus came down from the mountain with Peter, James, and John and the other disciples were in a discussion with a desperate father, He released the power to free the son from demonic control.  They could have assumed it was the sovereign will of God for the boy to remain in bondage, but they didn’t.

The disciples asked our Lord why they could not cast out the demon.  They had become accustomed to exercising authority over the devil and this was disconcerting to them.  Jesus spoke a reality that has often been overlooked and lost in today’s Christian world.  He said, at the end of His explanation what is the key.  He said, “This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” 

To me, that is a revelation of the level of desperation needed.  By desperation I do not mean fretting, fear, or lack of confidence in God, I mean desperation as the Psalmist said in Psalm 42:1, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God.”  It is desperation and dissatisfaction with anything less than the answer.  It is an earnestness that digs a hole in the roof or presses through the crowd.  It is an earnestness that determines that God’s Promises and Provisions are not fictional or theoretical but literal and to be experienced today.  It is a remembrance that Jesus is Never Changing!  It is the truest expression of faith and confidence that refuses to let go until God blesses us. 

How long has it been since you determinedly pressed into His presence and touched the Hem of His Garment?   I sense a call of the Spirit of God for the Body of Christ to once again become so determined to see the manifestation of God’s Grace, Peace, Power, and Person that we will fight the fight of faith in fasting and prayer!  The world needs for us to become those who are desperate, determined, and dedicated to having nothing less than the manifestation of His presence.

God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day He has provided!