CAN THIS BE THE WILL OF GOD? – – Part Two…


James 1:2-4 – “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  NASB

Let’s look at James and the message in a little more detail.  I feel directed by the Holy Spirit to embark on a journey through the Book of James to learn how to ‘Rejoice’ in times of trial and testing.  I want to discover how to come to full maturity in Christ and thereby be the of the greatest use to Him and His Kingdom that I can become.  Are you with me?

In verse one we find a very interesting and necessary word to unwrap before we proceed.  It is the world ‘bond-servant’ or the Greek (dulos).  He is self-identifying as a willing servant of God and thereby as a servant to the rest of the Body of Christ.

This James, in the natural, is the half-brother of Jesus. He is the son of Mary and Joseph, the eldest natural son, as in the listing seen in Matthew 13:55.  In Galatians 1:19, we know that he was apparently a leading figure among the apostolic leadership in Jerusalem.  It appears from everything that we can discern that he may not have been a believer until after the death and resurrection of Jesus. (1 Corinthians 15:7).  History and scripture reveal that James was a man of devout character and a man of prayer.  Some have suggested that James prayed so much that his knees became hard and calloused like camel’s knees. 

He is a bond-servant (dulos).  He is a natural relative in the eyes of man and yet he calls himself a ‘dulos’.  That means, “I have nothing for myself, I am totally His and I joy exquisitely in carrying His name.”  He spoke to the twelve tribes scattered.  He was not writing to natural Israel within the confines of the geographic boundary but to all people everywhere.  In verse two he speaks to ‘brethren’.   This is not a corrective message to the world, but a message to believers.

Let me offer this thought, “The Character of the Believer is perfected through testing.”  Before you reject that consider verses 2-4.  Then, in that context verse 5 and we discover that God desires to make us fully cognizant of what and why.  It not only touches us but those we minister to as we go forward in life.

None of us like times of testing and trial.  But God allows us to have times when our faith is tested and our resolved exposed.  This is designed to help us be steadfast and confident in Him and His provisions.  He works on us bringing us to the place that we are spiritually mature, lacking nothing. (vv 3-4).

I believe that God wants us to know that the trying of our faith is working something specific and wonderful in us.  It is not designed to frustrate or anger us, which is of no value.  It is designed to bring us to maturity and enable us to help others as they face tests, trials, and difficulties hard to explain.  The word in the KJV is ‘temptation’ and in its usage does not mean temptation to sin but carries the idea of testing directed toward an end.  What is the end?  The end is that we will become stronger, purer, more mature, and if you will, perfected.

The word in verse two in the KJV ‘divers’ or ‘many-colored’ means we are going to have trials of all shapes, sizes, duration, and appearance.  How we respond will determine if we take another lap around the mountain as did Israel in the wilderness or if we move on to the next level of maturity and victory. 

Let me illustrate it this way: 

You may have some Blue Mondays when you are discouraged.  You may get depressed and things don’t seem to work out exactly as you wanted or expected or think they should.  At that point you get offended. 

You may have some Black Tuesdays.  You thought Monday was hard, but Tuesday is even worse and all you see are the dark clouds and no relief in sight. 

Then, those Tuesdays turn into Red Wednesdays and you see ‘red’ all day long in anger, frustration, and disappointment.  Everything that can go wrong goes wrong and you are like a volcano ready to explode.  Things are bad and you are mad at everything and everyone including God. 

Next comes Green Thursday, where you are filled with envy.  You are jealous of the seeming ease and success of others who do not seem to be as devoted as you.  They get blessed and you struggle. It is just not fair. 

You transition to the Golden Sunday where you discover that sometimes even the good days are a time of testing. When things are going bad you are diligently pressing in, seeking God’s presence, but when things are going well you say, “It’s been a long time since I’ve had a good day, I don’t know how to handle it.”

God shows us through the message of James, how we will act in our natural carnal man when tests and trials come.  We will have those days, in the flesh, but God’s purpose is to bring us to a new dimension spiritually and enable us to mature and lack nothing.  He wants to move us out of a flesh view to a heavenly view of life. 

Time and space demand that we tap the brakes and pick this up in the next devotional. 

God bless you richly as you press in and enter His presence on this beautiful day!

CAN THIS BE THE WILL OF GOD?


James 1:2-4 – “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  NASB            

I strongly suggest that you read the first twelve verses of James 1 as you consider this discussion. I ask that after you have done that you look at verse two with me.  This is an amazing and almost incredulous declaration, “Consider it all joy…”  The word is ‘chara’ which means exuberant joy.  Wow!  “…when you encounter various trials.”  The KJV uses the word ‘divers’ which means many colored and the word ‘trials’ is tests. 

I suggest that for impact, you read that one more time very slowly.  If you are like me, your initial reaction was, “Hold it just a cotton-pickin’ minute, James, how can this be the will of God or what God wants me to do?”  There have been times, when I would read this that I would think, “James, are you seriously telling me that in my Christian walk, development, and maturity I am supposed to express ‘exuberant joy’ when I face trials, tests, and difficulties?”  My next thought was, “How in the name of sanity am I supposed to do that?”  Can we all acknowledge that most do not like trouble?  Some seem to enjoy causing it, but virtually nobody likes to experience it, right?

Let’s put the rubber on the road and lay this straight.  According to these verses we are expected to, and it is the desire of our heavenly Father that we come to the place that we can express joy, exuberant joy in our times of testing and trial.  I discussed this with a Bible college professor and said, “Then, there must be something I have missed in my study of scripture and my walk in Christ, thus far.”

I’m sure that some can relate to the trepidation, I had and expressed.  When was the last time you danced for joy over your problems?  In verse one, the word, “greetings” is not simply a salutation, a ‘Hi, how are you?’  It is imperative!  The word ‘chario’ means rejoice.  The idea conveyed is that Joy is the direct result of God’s Grace and the picture painted here is that of a young lamb skipping and jumping around for joy or dancing! 

Let’s take this one step at a time and see if we can reach a reasonable conclusion.  We have the injunction to ‘Rejoice’ in our trials and tests.  We also must realize that God asks nothing of us that He does not enable us to do. (1 Thessalonians 5:24).  If James, through the Holy Spirit, gives this injunction, he must also tell us how to achieve this and enable us to realize why we are not successful now, if we are not. 

With that in mind, James (The Book) becomes a very important study for all who want to progress in the Lord and come to full maturity and victory.  In Romans 12:1-2 we are encouraged to give our entire selves to God.  We are instructed to not become conformed or pressed into the mold of the world but to be transformed (metamorphized) into Christ’s image by having our thought processes renewed or reprogrammed.  We are to have the mind of Christ in us and walk in total submission and obedience to the will of God. 

The question then is, “Does God allow and even ordain times of testing in the lives of believers?”  If so, why?  I believe that God has a divine purpose for each of our lives and in that process of testing, He is working on our character enabling us to progressively come or be transformed into the Image of Christ. 

That does not mean that we look for, long for, or hope for trouble, trials, and tests.  That would be sadistic, and God is certainly not sadistic.  That does not mean that when trouble comes, we passively accept it and not aggressively seek to defeat it or get out of it.  However, it does mean that we look to see and listen to hear what God is saying to us.

Hopefully, I have inspired a bit of interest in digging deeper into this subject and we will investigate it a bit more in the next devotional. 

Until then, may the rich and bountiful blessings of our Lord be upon you!

BINDING AND LOOSING – Part Four…


Matthew 16:13-20 – “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”  14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”  16 And Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it. 19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  20 Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.”  NASB

I believe that God’s Revival, Renewal, and Restoration are in full progress today.  I believe that He is still building His Church and that the Gates of Hell are unable to stand against it.  I do not believe that the Church is simply a fort holder waiting for Jesus to come on a rescue mission and save us from the devil.  I believe we are ‘more than conquerors’ through Jesus and we have ‘authority over all the power of the devil.’ 

Revival is a world word, but Renewal is a Church Word.  However, the world cannot be revived until the church is renewed.  We, Christians, are in a Covenant Partnership with God.  If God is going to manifest Himself as the Bible promises the church MUST realize that we have dominion over the devil.  If God is going to come into our world, He is going to come through us.  The world will go to hell if the church does not get renewed and restored.  Therefore, God is working on His church today and in a sense waiting on us!

One of the things God is doing, is restoring order.  We have allowed people to become shoe-horned into wrong offices, ministries, and positions.  We have assigned to them, duties and positions that demand a gift they do not have.  I believe that one of today’s move of the Holy Spirit is to redo much we have done.  He is seeking to set things in order so that He can move and manifest His presence in power.

We read in Hosea 4:6 – “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”  Also, in Proverbs 29:18 – “Where there is no vision, the people perish…”  We cannot command the devil, bind or loose without knowledge of God’s promises and provisions.  It is as we KNOW that we are able to progress toward the goal and learn to effectively apply that knowledge.  Binding and Loosing are directly connected to the Cross and the Victory of Jesus there.  We must LEARN what He did, how it affects us, and our Authority. 

The ministry of the Local Church must include recognizing Gifts, Callings, and Abilities.  It must then raise them up, equipping the saints for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4), and release those ministries in the proper time and the proper place.  God is doing that in every congregation that will allow the (Zaw-kan) to function.  In a very real sense, Jesus is saying (my paraphrase): “I have overcome the enemy for your sakes, so whatever you bind on earth shall be as having been bound in the heavens.”  (Matthew 18:18 – Original).  It says, ‘heavens’ plural ‘pois-quinois’. 

Therefore, whatever you bind on earth is bound in the heavens and whatever you loose on earth is loosed in the heavens.  You bind and loose based on God’s word and the authority of Calvary.  It is the authority Jesus gave us.  It is from our position in Christ that we can ‘bind’ and ‘loose.’  When you and I, from our position in Christ, speak God’s Covenant, the angels of heaven go to work in heaven, and the Holy Spirit makes it a reality on earth.

You have power and authority over all the power of the devil, not some of the power of the devil. Therefore, I call on all believers and say, it is time that we become who God said we are and begin to ‘bind’ and ‘loose’ in the name of Jesus and for the cause of the Kingdom.  Our binding and our loosing must be with restoration and redemption in mind never personal power, prominence or prestige.  It is all about Him and not about us!  He must increase but we must decrease.

God bless you as you enjoy this walk in Him!

BINDING AND LOOSING – Part III…


Matthew 16:13-20 – “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”  14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”  16 And Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it. 19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  20 Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.”  NASB

God is doing a work in the church today and there is going to be a whole lot of shaking in the near future.  One of the things that God is doing is called a ‘merismos’, a separating of the soul and spirit, joint and marrow, thought and intent of the heart.  (Hebrews 4:12-13). 

Let me venture out on thin ice and say that some of what took place in the movements of the 60s and 70s was purely flesh.  It was, too frequently, more about the psychic man than the spirit man.  It was, too often, deeply rooted in emotionalism and idealism rather than the life-changing power of the Spirit of God and reality.  Some drifted into intellectualism rather than into the depths of the Spirit of God.  I believe that God has been correcting that and bringing the Body of Christ to a new awareness of His Person and Power and conditioning us to receive His Release in a new and powerful way.

What I see, is the Holy Spirit taking strands of truth from various movements and groups and putting them together in a new way.  In that, He is taking truth from the mainline denominations, restoration, Pentecostal, charismatic, and evangelical churches and blending them into a more full revelation of Him and His Purpose.  God is moving us from our self-imposed identifications, as was the problem and hindrance of the Church in Corinthians.  He is moving us away from sects, schism, camps, and tags and forming us into His Body, the Body of Christ.  You may disagree, but that is what I see.

One of the problems God is overcoming and correcting is, what has happened over the past 100-150 years. In that time-frame pastors have often been culprits, unwittingly at times, in promoting and allowing error and disorder in the churches.  Some have given in and are controlled by boards rather than the Spirit and Word of God.  Through this system and process, we have watched the church, in many ways, become fouled up and powerless.

I know what it is to have a program that needs a body to lead it and nobody has a burden for that program.  Tragically, too often we sought to find somebody willing to fill the gap.  We even coerced, pressured, or collared somebody to do the job.  We would say, “Just do it for Jesus.”  We didn’t concern ourselves with the Gifts or Calling of that individual only that the program needed someone to lead it.  We allowed things to be called “offices in the Church” that were not offices of the Church but the Organization.  What we need is to have God establish the eyes, ears, hands, feet, noses, etc. of the Body and put them where they need to be.

But what does this have to do with Binding and Loosing?  We will get there, just bear with me.  God is restructuring His church in terms of biblical gifts and offices, therefore, someone who has been a Sunday School teacher for 30 years might truly be an intercessor.  God is seeking to change positions and put people into the ministry and function He has called and anointed them for rather than simply to perpetuate a program.  He is seeking to put the ear back on the head where it belongs in the position the foot has been occupying.  That is not without disruption and some pain and difficulty.

If we are going to be able to “Bind and Loose” in God’s order and according to His purpose we must allow the Holy Spirit to help us discover our Gifts, His Grace upon us, and His Call for us.  As we know what He desires we can be trained and developed and released to function in our Gift and Call.  If we are a toe. we cannot be an ear or vice versa.  Toes cannot hear but they are vital for the function of the body. 

I realize that I am taking the long way around to get to the heart of the matter, but in a sense, this is the heart of the matter.  We pray for God’s Kingdom to come and His will to be done but fail to understand that we might need to be reordered to get in His order so His Kingdom can come, and His will can be done on earth as it is in heaven.

God bless you as we await tomorrow!

BINDING AND LOOSING – – Part II…


Matthew 16:13-20 – “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”  14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”  16 And Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it. 19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  20 Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.”  NASB

Let’s look a little closer at this topic of “Binding and Loosing.”  As we make the transition that is experienced in moving from Praise to Worship corporately it enables the minister to stand like an “old man” (Zaw-kan), in a cathedral, with the anointing of the Holy Spirit, Power, and Authority. 

It is important to note that a Cathedral is different from a Regular Church or Temple.  Let me address that in this way:  When Jesus taught the Beatitudes or the Sermon on the Mount which was the constitution and by-laws of the Kingdom, He Sat Down!  That is important but seldom noted by readers of the Bible.  The Bible tells us that as He prepared to teach, He Sat Down to teach.  He sat on a Rock on a Mountain because He knew that He was going to be the culmination of the Plan of Redemption on another mountain about 3 years later.

The point is, He Sat Down!  Anytime a Rabbi spoke officially, he sat down.  Any time the Pope speaks officially, he speaks ‘ex-cathedra.’  Cathedra is a bench or seat, the place of authority.  Religion has corrupted this because God alone gives the authority and it is backed up by Life and Power.

A Cathedral has a bench that only the bishop can sit on. It is the place that he speaks officially for the Kingdom of God.  If he is a (Zaw-kan) man, he speaks, and the angels of God back up His words and Life flows forth in the Power of the Holy Spirit.  We seldom see this in today’s church and have corrupted it with form, ceremony, and pomp rather than power and purpose.

That is why anytime an ‘old man’ (Zaw-kan) stands behind the pulpit, the church (temple) becomes a cathedral.  The glory of God falls, heaven comes down to earth and the Power of the Holy Spirit is released.  We need more of this today. 

However, if the one who stands in the pulpit has not wrestled in the Spirit. If he has not had the angels ascend and descend upon him. If he does not come with the vision of God burning in His spirit, he does not have the authority nor will he be backed by the power of God.  He might be a ‘young man’ (visions) but he is not an ‘old man’ (Zaw-kan).  The anointing may be there, in a measure, but will not be there in the fullness as when the (Zaw-kan) stands.  When he stands and speaks as an ‘old man’, as a presbyter, as an oracle of God, God’s Power is released.

When you have an ‘old man’ (Zaw-kan) in the church, the revelation (Rhema) of God flows freely and fully and the church can become all that God has designed and desired it to be. 

Young men can be trained and developed and should be.  Ministries can be raised up and released.  The apostolic anointing flows forth.  Restoration and Renewal are present and apparent.  It is God who sets the ‘old men’ in place, not man.  As the Body recognizes and comes under the apostolic authority of the ‘old man’ or ‘old men’ (nothing to do with age), God’s order becomes established, the devil has no legal ground to operate and the Gifts and Power of God are released for God’s Glory, not for show.

That is a lot of foundation to get to where I feel the Lord would have us go, but in my heart, I feel it was needful.  Next time we will consider “Binding and Loosing” in a more detailed manner.  Hopefully, this will be inspirational and beneficial in your walk, work, and warfare in the Kingdom.

Until tomorrow, have a fantastic day in Jesus!

BINDING AND LOOSING…


Matthew 16:13-20 – “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”  14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”  16 And Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it. 19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  20 Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.”  NASB

I am convinced that one of the most powerful and important things that we can learn and develop in the Body of Christ is becoming fine-tuned to and sensitive to the Holy Spirit.  We need to develop an intimate, close, consistent and constant communion with the Father.  We need to do that to enable us to become adept at discerning the spirits we encounter.  We need to develop spiritual ears to hear the Holy Spirit and allow Him to reveal to us the mind, mood, direction, and desire of God.  I believe this would save a tremendous amount of heartache and frustration but would also keep us moving in the right direction as we follow the Plan and Purpose of God.

I read an interesting story about Corrie Ten Boom that intrigued me and inspired me.  She was flying over mid-America (Branson, MO.) in a jet, praying in the Spirit.  Suddenly she jumped out of her seat and yelled, “Stop the Plane!”  The pilot was startled and said, “Lady, I can’t!  We are flying at over 600 MPH I can’t just stop!”  She said, “Turn the plane around and land, land right here!”  He said, “I can’t land here!  I can’t land within 20 miles of here.”  She said, “Then land and get me a car!”  They landed got her a car and she gave them directions as to where to turn and when to stop.  Finally, she said, “Stop right here!”  She got out of the car and walked onto a strip of land and said, “This will be the site of a great revival center in the Last Days.”  Unknown to her a Christian Group had just purchased that land and were planning to build a Convention Cathedral that would seat 20,000.  That is amazing!

We must learn to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit.  He will work supernaturally through us if we are yielded and sensitive to Him.  He knows the mind of the Father and will convey the heart of Jesus and reveal to us what to do when to do it, and where to do it.  We must learn to listen for that “still small voice” rather than waiting for the megaphone declaration.  Sometimes God speaks in whispers, not shouts.

I have asked churches to do the following exercise with me.  I don’t do this kind of thing very often but when prompted by the Holy Spirit I have and will.  I asked that everyone stand, hold their Bible up and repeat the following declaration:

“In the name of Jesus, I bind the enemy today.  I bind all principalities, powers, and the rulers of darkness in this world and this place. I bind the spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places, and I ask God to loose the angels of heaven to minister.  I pray for the release of the Authority of God and the Power of Heaven to manifest itself in this place today.  I ask God to send forth His ministering spirits to lift burdens, bring deliverance, release authority, flood us with joy, power, and comfort.  In the name of Jesus, I pray this!”

I am never trite or flippant when I do something like this.  I believe that God has given us authority over all the power of the enemy.  I believe He has given us the authority to speak to the unseen world and speak release to the captives through the Holy Spirit and based on His Word and His Covenant.  I believe that Jesus won that for us at the Cross.

Anytime we attempt to bind or loose in the spirit realm there is an activity that must never be omitted or eliminated.  There are several including prayer, but the one that I am speaking of is Praise and Worship!  In Praise and Worship we make the progression from the outer-court (celebration – praise) into the Holy Place (adoration) and then the Holy of Holies (Worship).  It is then that we are in a position and condition to most effectively feast on the Word of God and enhance our ability to receive, assimilate, and digest His Word.  All that is directly connected to the effectiveness and sincerity of our Praise and Worship!

I am laying a foundation for the next devotionals in this series on ‘Binding and Loosing.’  I hope that in some small measure I am able to whet your appetite spiritually and cause you to desire to become more sensitive to the Holy Spirit and become a people who can ‘pull-down strongholds’ and can ‘bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.’  It is my prayer that we will learn to Bind and Loose biblically and become formidable forces for the Kingdom of God in this corrupt world.

God bless you until next time.  Have a great day!

THE COVENANT COMMUNITY – – Conclusion.


Ephesians 4:14-16 – “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” NASB  

[Please read verses 1-16 for the greater context]

What is the solution to the problems mentioned in the last devotional?  I believe that a significant answer and solution is found in examining the relationship between Moses and the Children of Israel in the wilderness.  Moses was a one-man show until his father-in-law offered him some wise counsel.  Once Moses saw the problem and the solution, he acted, and the result was good for everyone and provided us a pattern for today’s church.

Moses was wearing himself and the people out, holding court from daylight to dark.  He and he alone was ministering to the people.  His father-in-law, Jethro watched him and knew the incredible toll this was taking on Moses, his family, and the entire nation.  It did not require a special gift of discernment for Jethro to see the problem and God inspired him with a powerful solution.  If Moses continued in this manner failure was assured and Israel would never reach the Promised Land.

Jethro suggested two changes that are important for us today.  He suggested that Moses begin teaching on a Corporate Basis rather than dealing with the issue individually.  He was to teach the people in three specific areas and in doing so would ‘equip’ them to make many of their own decisions and solve many of their own problems drawing out of the Truth taught corporately.  Jethro suggested that Moses teach, The Word of God, the Way of God, and the Work of God.  In doing that, Moses was equipping the people to have the spiritual resources needed to handle most of their own problems. 

Change Number Two was that Moses was to bring others into the function of his assumed job.  He was to find qualified men from among the people, whose lives were in order and begin delegating responsibility and authority to them.  That is interesting for, in a sense, he was giving Moses the old method of ‘divide and conquer.’  Moses was to teach these men the principles God had taught him and put them over groups of people.  Moses would then only be involved directly with the most difficult cases.

If the principle or suggestion that Jethro gave is only an Old Testament Principle, it is of little use today.  But we see it in the Early Church and the Ministry of Jesus.  The apostles were overcome with the same problem that Moses faced they were being spread too thin to be effective.  They followed the exact prescription Moses followed.  They acknowledged a problem and sought practical solutions.  They understood that if they continued, in the same way, it would reduce their personal prayer and study time and thereby reduce the spiritual ministry to the people.  Following the Jethro principle, they found qualified men and placed them over the work.  The result was that the needs of the people were met, and the Word of God spread, and the Kingdom was enhanced.

Moses established captains of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens.  Each group was shepherding the group they gave oversight to.  The captains of thousands ministered to the captains of hundreds, the captains of hundreds to the fifties and the fifties to the tens.  It was a power progression and enabled the entire nation and to function.  That principle was embraced by the Early Church and is needed in today’s Church, local and universal.

Training is a two-way street.  Those being trained must invest themselves in both time and commitment to the training.  We will never become what God wants, a Covenant Family and a Covenant Community if we remain isolated individuals.  We are to be, and God says we are a Kingdom of Priests, a Chosen Generation, and His own special people. 

If we see the Church as a Body, we will care for all the members, cells, and organs.  If we see the Church as a Family, we will develop a deep love and loyalty.  If we see the Church as a Community, we will work toward the common good.  If we see the Church as an Army, we will eagerly and willing train and become equipped.  If we see the Church as a Nation or Kingdom, we will understand our purpose.

We have been given power over the power of darkness.  We are more than conquerors through Jesus.  We are commissioned to take the Good News to the World and then to equip them to become functioning members of the Body of Christ.  God bless you as you commit yourself to become fitted and framed into a Living Building and Body for God and His Kingdom!

Have a great day in Jesus!

THE COVENANT COMMUNITY – – Part Three…


Ephesians 4:14-16 – “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” NASB   [Please read verses 1-16 for the greater context]

Today I want us to focus on the deficiency of development in the modern church. Tragically our approach is to spend too little time in the development, fitting, framing, and joining together the body into a Covenant Family and a Covenant Community.  In years gone by we would meet twice on Sunday and then have a mid-week service, now maybe once.  We had prayer meetings, various other functions to unite and link people.  Today much of the Church world meets on Sunday mornings and that is the extent of their gathering together. 

I suggest that the only organization that is willing to accept that approach is the Church.  The many secular or cultic religions of the world do not allow that.  They develop train and seek to link their people to each other for function, not just identity.  They demand more.  They demand a certain level of discipline and discipleship. 

Whether you have one service per week or a service every night and day, is not the issue, the issue is discipleship and incorporation into Covenant Family and becomes a Covenant Community.  The Early Church was noted for their daily gathering together in pursuit of becoming one. 

A danger in today’s church is that we have become an institution that is designed to be self-propagating and self-sustaining rather than a community.  The result of that can be seen in numerous realities.

The church has, in a large measure, become Program Oriented rather than People-Oriented.  Programs are for people not people for programs.  Too frequently all the energy and focus of the pastoral staff is keeping those programs going and hoping that somehow those programs touch lives.  It is tragic when programs become more important than actual ministry.

Today’s church, has become guilty of Pulpit Pastoring rather than Personal Pastoring.  That is expounded when the local congregation has an unbiblical understanding of the idea of The Pastor.  If it becomes a clergy/laity distinction that is a weak position and condition spiritually.  Many today view the minister as a professional rather than a sheep leading sheep and a man or woman commissioned following a call, not a vocation.

If we are to enforce the victory of Jesus at Calvary, we must follow the biblical prescription and engage in ‘equipping the saints for the work of ministry’ and becoming ‘fitted and framed together into a body, a family, and a community.

Today’s church sometimes often becomes an Assembly Hall rather than an Assembly Line.  We hear about God rather than hear God.  The church must become a place where people’s lives are put together and where that which is missing is restored and replaced.  We must cease gathering to gather and become united in purpose growing together for edification, exhortation, comfort and allow ourselves to be equipped, developed, trained, commissioned and sent forth for the work of the Kingdom.

That cannot become a reality until and unless we are ‘Assembled Together’.  I am talking about far more than meeting for meetings.  I am talking about being assembled as putting together a building or a machine.  That assembling must be consistent and regular else the continuity of the effort is doomed to fail and leave the people with a sense of defeat, disappointment, dissatisfaction, and disarray.  We are a Body and an Army!

The church sometimes becomes an Orphanage rather than a Family.  Everybody must be fathered naturally and spiritually.  It is difficult to raise children in a group.  Imagine one or two parents with fifty children.  How would they ever develop an intimate relationship or fellowship with those fifty children?  The children would, likely never feel close to one another or the parents.  Parenting or fathering must be done in small groups focusing on the person, the problem, the potential, and the promise.

It is needful to remember that Jesus chose 12 and out of that group had 3 that he had the closest intimate relationship with.  Think about that.  If Jesus did that, He is our example and pattern, what makes us think we can parent a thousand or ten thousand?

Sometimes the church becomes a Ministry Center rather than a Ministry Factory.  It becomes a place where we think ministry happens rather than a training ground for development and release.  It encourages Spectator Christianity rather than Involved Disciples.

I have identified a significant problem. It is good thing to identify problems, but what is the solution?  Is there a solution?  What can we do?  We will deal with that in the next devotional, so we pause here.

God bless you as you enjoy His beautify day!

THE COVENANT COMMUNITY – – Part Two…


Ephesians 4:14-16 – “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” NASB  

[Please read verses 1-16 for the greater context]

Without rehearsing all of the discussion of the previous devotional let’s jump into the water and begin to address what is in my heart regarding ‘Covenant Community’ and where we are in today’s Church.

We mentioned major changes that could and would have to occur in the Church for us to become a Covenant Family and a Covenant Community, walking in the fullness of His Power in this present world.  One of those changes is our understanding of The Church as well as the individual’s role and function in the organism called The Body of Christ. 

I believe that requires the fitting, placing, and developing of the Individual Stones into a rightly framed and built house.  It will require a clear view of the vision and purpose of our Lord for His Church.  It will require a total commitment and surrender to that Vision and Purpose and He will, of necessity, become Lord of All and First before Everything or Anything.  It cannot be a casual relationship, it must be All In. 

It is my conviction that we in the Last Days that the Bible predicted. We could focus on the negative, but I choose to focus on the Harvest that God has Promised and Predicted.  The Bible tells us that many will ‘fall away’ but it also speaks of the Great Harvest and Ingathering of Souls that will occur. [Matthew 13;17-20, 29].

Too often we focus on the numeric but the Bible identifies that the End Times will be marked by a Church that has come to full stature (Ephesians 4:13-16), is without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:25-27), and is a sharp threshing instrument moving mightily against the powers of darkness (Romans 16:20).  That is exciting!

The Last Days will be marked by a Great Visitation of the Holy Spirit and will result in the ingathering of multitudes into the Kingdom of God.  It will be the Greatest Harvest the world has ever experienced!  That is exciting!  I believe that is illustrated and emphasized in Peter’s miraculous catch of fish, Joel’s vision of the latter rain outpouring, and all indicates that the Latter House (Church) will far surpass anything that has existed heretofore.  That is exciting!

Regarding the Harvest, it is clear, the vehicle God will use is the Church, universal and local.  The harvest is to be caught and kept.  That means that the Church must become a Covenant Family and a Covenant Community.  It becomes the vehicle through with the Army of God is fielded and funded.  It will provide real answers to real problems for real people.  It will no longer be about noses and nickels but lives and victory.  Transformed lives impacting their world for the Kingdom of God in a Covenant Community.

It goes without saying that in this Harvest many are going to be saved and come into the local churches throughout the world.  Here is a problem in that vision.  The multitudes that are born-again and come in will bring with them a multitude of problems.  No one of us got rid of all our problems when we came to Christ, they won’t either.  We all came in with baggage and hang-ups, questions, and fears.  All of us!  If you recall in Acts 6 that as the number of disciples increased the number of problems increased proportionally.  It is automatic that with more people there are more problems and the need for more answers.  Real answers, not theoretical postulations.

How do we handle that problem?  When you have multitudes of people with a multitude of problems that means more work, ministry, and a greater need for the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.  That cannot be achieved with the One-Man idea of church ministry or even a single team, it requires a Body Ministry effort. Unless we become a Body and a Covenant Community this effort will fall short of God’s design and desire.  I am not sure how we arrived at the place where we became satisfied with one-hour or a couple of hours a week and call that the church and its ministry.  As a result of one-hour weekly, many are left weak. 

I know that I am treading on thin ice but want to dig a little deeper and even then, know that I will not scratch the surface of the problem, the promise or the potential.  However, hopefully, it will inspire thought and personal investigation and introspection. 

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

THE COVENANT COMMUNITY…


by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” NASB   [Please read verses 1-16 for the greater context]

What is in my heart may not win friends and may not influence people the way I hope. I see something that is existent in the Church today and one few seem to be willing to address.  My devotionals are designed to be encouraging so for me to venture into something that would require the detail and length to adequately address, such as this, makes me cautious and concerns me. 

In the Body of Christ, we have the Church, the Ministry, and the Problem!  Of course, that demands explanation because on the surface it is meaningless and could lead to a terrible misunderstanding of what I am talking about.  The idea of ‘Covenant Community’ is a belief that consumes my heart, as a Christian and a preacher.  It burns in me like a fire that refuses to abate.  Therefore, regardless of how it may be received or understood, it is a message that I cannot avoid. 

Incorporated into this thought of ‘Covenant Community’ are some important facets of Truth and vital pieces of the spiritual puzzle.  I believe that I see with a significant amount of clarity where God wants to take us as the Body of Christ. I also have a sense of inadequacy in knowing exactly where to begin in addressing this reality. I sense a certain level of inadequacy in presenting what I see.  I am a very small fish in a very large pond and others with renown could present this with more receptivity, I am sure.  However, it is burned into my heart and the Holy Spirit won’t let me walk away, so we dive in.  I hope and pray this will be beneficial and ultimately a blessing to you.

I know what it is to have enormous physical and emotional pain.  I know what it is to feel that you have been abandoned by God and man.  I may not know the pain you feel or have felt, but I know what I feel and have felt.  In some measure, what I am going to address has a prophetic tone and anytime there is a message that has that tone there is great danger of it being misunderstood or misapplied.  It most assuredly opens the door to harsh criticism of those who disagree or disbelieve the message.  But, before you render a judgment, I ask that you hear the whole matter and then decide.

All of us need to engage in reevaluation and reexamination of our hearts and our positions from time to time.  That is not an unusual condition for me to find myself.  In days gone by, the Lord has challenged me to reevaluate everything in my life.  He has challenged me in my views of ministry, life, my dreams and purposes, everything.  That can be and, at times, was painful because of the honesty He required.

Covenant Community – – What is it?  Why do we need it?  How do we attain it?  All questions that are valid and hopefully in some measure I will answer satisfactorily.  I believe that it is the desire of God for the Church today to become His Covenant Community in every local expression.  He wants us to become a Covenant Family.

Let me make this declaration:  “Unless the local expression of the Church becomes a Covenant Family it can never become a Covenant Community and will never be fully assimilated into the Body of Christ in a universal sense.”  What I mean is that it will never become the Church Triumphant, enforcing the Victory of Calvary in this world until it becomes a Covenant Family and a Covenant Community. 

Lest anyone think I am saying that the Church of Jesus will fail, IT WILL NOT!  We may fail individually and in the local community, but the Church Universal will not fail.  The Church Jesus is building will pull down strongholds and defeat the authorities and powers of darkness.  What I am saying is, we may have to make some changes in our attitudes, understanding, and actions to become a viable part of that Church Triumphant.  I hope we all want that desperately. Today’s pandemic is opening the door for that to become a reality in a larger measure than most would have thought or believe.

I am going to pause there, knowing that I have not adequately defined my objective and may have left you wondering where I am going with this.  However, if you will join me in the next devotional, we will consider some major changes that need to occur in many hearts and local congregations.

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