Joshua 14:6-12 – “Then the sons of Judah drew near to Joshua in Gilgal, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know the word which the LORD spoke to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh-Barnea. 7 “I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh-Barnea to spy out the land, and I brought word back to him as it was in my heart. 8 “Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt with fear; but I followed the LORD my God fully. 9 “So Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden will be an inheritance to you and to your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God fully.’ 10 “Now behold, the LORD has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the LORD spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today. 11 ” I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in. 12 “Now then, give me this hill country about which the LORD spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps the LORD will be with me, and I will drive them out as the LORD has spoken.” NASB
I recently began to think about Caleb and his exploits at 85 years of age. “Give me this mountain….” and Moses who spent 40 years being schooled and trained, 40 years getting Egypt out of him so God could use him, and 40 years leading the people of God. Two men that did great exploits after the age of 80 and yet we have a society who considers the elderly throw away items to be discarded. I am appalled by that and believe that God is too.
I have believed all my life that while we can retire from our jobs we cannot retire from life and the service of the Kingdom of God. Oh we may not lead churches, we may not travel in extended meetings, we may not do many of the things we did in our younger days but we have knowledge that only comes from years and experience, we have niches we can fill that no one is filling and often no one wants to fill.
We all have our sphere of influence in which we can operate and have an impact for the kingdom of God. We should bloom where we are planted! If God has planted us in a particular spot for a season, then bloom there and let the fragrance of His presence be known. It matters not how large or how small the service it only matters that we are obedient to His voice and faithful in His call!
My wife’s battle with Stage Four Metastatic Breast has renewed my desire to see those who have begun to enter the years of life where much of society views them (us) as not being useful any longer, become fruitful in their labors! If you only touch one life for the Kingdom that is a victory! If only a few know your name at the end of your journey but recognize the Lord in you, that is a victory! Refuse to allow age or even physical limitations to restrict or deny you. The Lord will make a way where there seems to be no way!
I am so blessed to have this forum to reach out and touch others and be touched by them. You minister to me far more than I minister to you and I treasure each day that I get to interact with you. Thank you for allowing me to come into your lives and thank you for coming into mine. For those of us who are seasoned citizens, I say, “NEVER GIVE UP!” God has a place, a time, a ministry, and a work for you to do until the time He calls you home! As you hear His voice, follow His command, do it with your all, and with joy!
Blessings to you today as you walk in the presence of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
Esther 4:13-17 – “Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” 15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, 16 “Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.” 17 So Mordecai went away and did just as Esther had commanded him.” NASB
We all know the story of Mordecai and Esther and how the evil Haman convinced the king to allow him to slaughter the Jews. Haman had effectively purchased the destruction of God’s people out of his hate and animosity over not being respected as he thought he should. His estimation of his worth far exceeded reality and in this account, we find his being held accountable. That comes toward the end of the story but is not the heart of what Esther’s words reveal.
No one could go before the king without being summoned and to violate that protocol could and likely would mean death. Esther knew that based on what Haman had done, the money he agreed to pay into the king’s treasury and uncertainty as to how the king would respond meant she was taking her life in her hands. Her uncle, Mordecai made her aware of the issue and the certain death and destruction that would come to him, the other Jews and could impact her life too.
Esther’s approach was to call for a time of fasting and prayer. It was a corporate prayer meeting that included all the Jews in Susa and they were to fast and pray for three days. She not only requested the prayer for God’s protection and intervention but made a commitment. Her position reminds me of those in American’s beginning history that knew rebelling against the king would mean certain death if they failed to win. It reminds me of the three Hebrew children standing before the king and saying, “Sorry, king, but whether we are delivered by God or not we are not going to bow.” Their commitment was complete, and it was “If I perish, I perish.”
In our Christian walk, there must come a point when we say, “Sink or swim, live or die, I am going to do what God wants.” I will either see His hand of deliverance or I will be ushered into His eternal presence, but “If I perish, I perish.” When we make that level of commitment to God and His purposes, no devil in hell can stop us. No edict from man can discourage us. No difficult, trial, tribulation, or obstacle seems too large. We reach a point that we have a settled confidence in God’s Ability, Person, Power, and Promises. At that point, we are ‘vessels’ God can and will use for His purposes.
I urge you to examine your heart and dig deep inside and draw out the commitment to God that, “If I perish, I perish” and begin your journey toward the fulfillment of His purposes for your life.
God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!
1 Corinthians 9:19-23 – “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more. 20 And to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law, though not being myself under the Law, that I might win those who are under the Law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, that I might win those who are without law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. 23 And I do all things for the sake of the gospel, that I may become a fellow partaker of it.” NASB
What is Winning Christianity? I believe that it is required for us to win the world to Christ and be good soldiers of the Cross. Our lives must be filled with the life that is in Jesus and charged with the divine presence of God. We must manifest Christlikeness and the Joy of the LORD in all things.
Today’s world is extremely unsettled. I have observed that both Christians and the lost are unsettled and often unsure. Many are seeking and needing something to give their lives purpose, meaning, and direction.
What is it that causes some people and churches to be more prolific soul winners than others? What makes them more evangelistic and therapeutic? I believe it is Winning Christianity! What they have is magnetic and draws others to Christ in them. It motivates them to go forward and share the Good News with the world.
But back to the original question, “What is Winning Christianity?” I believe the answer is in several things and I’d like to share them with you briefly. I hope you will expand upon them and become more mature and empowered in your Christian walk.
What is Winning Christianity – – It is Living a Bible-centered Life.
A Bible-centered life takes the Word of God seriously and views it is a vital element in life. A Bible-centered life does not see the Bible as a book of laws and rules but bread and life. It is seen as a guide to navigate the troubled waters of life. A Bible-centered life seeks to abide by the standards of God and stands on the promises of the Father. It clings to the promises and partake regularly of the Food of the Word.
What is Winning Christianity – – IT is Manifesting the Joy of Salvation.
We read in Nehemiah 8:10, “…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” In Isaiah 12:3 we are reminded that we draw waters from the well of salvation with the Joy of the Lord. In John 15:11, Jesus reminds us that it is God’s desire that His Joy be in us and bring us to spiritual fullness. And in Acts 13:52 we discover that the disciples were filled with the Joy of the Lord and with the Holy Spirit. In 1 Peter 1:8, the apostle tells us that this Joy is ‘Joy Unspeakable.’ It is Joy that is beyond anything the world can know or give.
What is Winning Christianity – – It is Displaying an Understanding Heart.
This person is compassionate, tender, comforting, patient, concerned, understanding. They exalt Jesus rather than being overly critical. They manifest the incredible depth of the love of God and are always far more willing to help than to condemn.
What is Winning Christianity – – It is Providing a Patter That Leads to God.
Consistency in manifesting Jesus in one’s life is a powerful weapon against slothfulness and is a powerful evangelistic tool. Demonstrating faithfulness to God’s Word and Work attracts the attention of the lost. Manifesting a genuine concern for the welfare of others touches hearts powerfully. When we are able to manifest the ‘agape’ Love of God we open doors not easily opened.
Winning Christianity is Wise as the Bible says, “He that wins souls is wise.” I want to be a person that manifests Winning Christianity and become one with Jesus so that I abide in Him and His Word abides in me. I want to manifest Jesus so that others can see His reality and receive His provision of Life.
Galatians 5:13-15 – “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ” You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care lest you be consumed by one another.” NASB
This passage highlights a truth from God’s word that has been lost on too many in this world, believers, and non-believers. The grand finale of the message is in verse 15, “But if you bite and devour one another, take care lest you be consumed by one another.” What a message that is relevant for 2020 America. We are biting and devouring one another inside and outside the church and the result is damage and destruction for everyone and everything around us. In many ways, our world is in shambles.
I love the way the apostle begins in verse 13 as he speaks of Freedom. Freedom is a concept and a word that seems terribly misunderstood in today’s world and even in today’s church. We have been called to ‘freedom’. That is a declaration that stands alone, yet it is brought into context to an even larger truth, Love.
People on all sides of political, social issues, and even religious sides are screaming for justice when we should be crying out for mercy! We are demanding our liberty and freedom to do whatever we want, whenever we want, however, we want. In that, we have turned our freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, lust, greed, hate, and envy. Our freedom was given to us so that we could ‘serve’ one another and thereby help others who are bound to become free. It is a perpetuation and progression that can transform the world, resolve the social issues we face, and make the world a great place to live.
In the last half of verse 14, he hits it out of the park in truth as he identifies that the entire Law of God can be summed up and fulfilled in one statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” What a different world we would live in if everyone followed that directive and we truly valued other people as much as we value our own lives, property, freedoms, and liberties.
In verse 15, the apostle brings us face to face with an inescapable reality and warning that too many no longer heed even in the church. He warned, “But if you bite and devour one another, take care lest you be consumed by one another.” Did you hear what he said? He did not say consumed by the devil, but by ‘one another.’ The old comic strip saying of Pogo, “We have seen the enemy and it is us” is germane and relevant. The devil is not our worst enemy, we often are!
I am not diminishing the influence of the devil, sin, and evil but declaring that if we adopted the mindset to fulfill the first part of this directive and used our freedom to help others become free and served one another we would see a dramatic change in our world. If we truly loved our neighbors as ourselves, we would see a timely shift in interpersonal relationships.
Too frequently, we bite, devour, hate, and rail against each other insisting that they are the problem and we are pristinely innocent, and they must change. We create chasms impossible to span and engender bias, prejudice, and hate that destroys and eats away like cancer on the fabric of society.
Beloved, it is time that we stop believing the lies of the enemy and realize that people are not our enemy, evil is! We need to realize that we have been redeemed and given freedom so that we can serve, reach others, and help them be free! It is time that we completely surrender our hearts, minds, souls, bodies, and lives to God! When we do, He will fulfill His promises and we will see the Victory of Jesus and the Love of God shine in the hearts of those we now consider our enemy.
God bless you as you allow the Holy Spirit to change your mind!
2 Kings 6:15-17 – “Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” 16 So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” NASB
This Old Testament account of the encounter of antagonistic forces against the prophet of God, Elisha is relevant for us today. He lived in a world where the open hostility to the Truth of God and Righteousness frequently resulted in the death of the followers of God. It is a reminder of God’s Promise to NEVER leave or forsake us. It is a reminder of the Truth, Revelation, and Promise of Psalms 91 and the comfort of Psalm 23. It is a reminder of the word of the New Testament that we are MORE THAN conquerors through Jesus.
Therefore, when I read of the trepidation and fear that flooded the heart of the attendant of the prophet of God, I see a condition in today’s world that needs to be addressed. Too many, followers of our Lord Jesus and believers in the Bible live in fear of the devil. They have been deceived and believed a lie that the devil is equally powerful with God or that he has unlimited authority in the earth and over men. HE DOES NOT!
When the attendant came to the prophet in total panic and said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He saw the massive army surrounding the city and believed that destruction was imminent. His eyes could only see the natural. His panic was met with a calm assurance and a simple request by the prophet, who knew God and His power. It is a prayer that needs to be prayed over Christians, Churches, and America today, “LORD, open our eyes, that we may see.”
When Elisha prayed this prayer, God responded and the attendant saw that the mountain was filled with horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha. God had not abandoned him, and He has not abandoned us. His promise to NEVER leave or forsake us is still valid today.
We always have a choice to be fearful or faith-filled. We have the choice to trust God or what we can see and do. We have a choice between the natural and the supernatural. We have the choice between good and evil and if we will TRUST God, He will NEVER do as He has always done, Protect His People!
Does that mean we will never face a crisis? No! Does it mean that we will encounter disease? No! Does it mean that we can passively sit back and say, “No problems, no worries and go prayerless and live haphazardly?” NO! It means that if we will follow the directive of our LORD Jesus as revealed in Matthew 6, in the manner of prayer and in the conclusion of the chapter and make God NUMBER ONE, seeking Him with a whole heart and loving Him with our entire being, He will prove Himself to be God.
Always remember that there are more with us than with them! Only one-third of the angels fell not two-thirds. But, even if all the angels had fallen and followed the devil, God is still the Sovereign Living God, the Creator! God and one person are a majority, no matter the situation. God’s promises will never fail, and the work of Jesus on the Cross was a Total Victory!
God bless you as you live each day knowing, “There are more with us than with them!” Have a Great Day!
Proverbs 14:34 – “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” NASB
Many have asked me, “What do you see, or think is going to happen in America after the 2020 elections?” “What do you think is going on in the Church?” There is more in those questions than I could possibly answer in a short article or blog post. The truth is, I do not know what is going to happen, but have a sense of numerous things based on what I see, what the Bible teaches, and history.
I see two streams flowing at the same time in America going forward. When I say streams, I mean two pathways or series of events, actions, and activities. I see a stream of evil and destruction where the divide grows more pronounced and the violence escalates to the point of volcanic type eruption with massive and pervasive unrest. That could plunge us into another Civil War, and we could see Americans shedding the blood of other Americans in a literal war with gunfire. I pray that will not happen but am convinced it is coming regardless of who wins the presidential election.
I see another stream flowing in which the Spirit of God touches hearts with an outpouring of His love and grace beyond anything we have witnessed in our lives. I believe we will see gatherings of believers who commit themselves to seek God with a passion and commitment beyond anything we have witnessed. I believe that total abandon to the Will and Purpose of God will result in a Revival where we see literally millions converted. It will produce a healing, but that healing will not eliminate the festering wound in those who reject the Gospel and Love of God.
Those two eventualities will exist concurrently, and the stream of evil will desire and seek to eradicate all who follow the other stream. Depending on which political party is in control of the government there will be actions regarding Christians and churches. If those who follow the anti-God agenda gain control, there will be massive attempts to infringe upon our religious liberties as well as many other inalienable rights. The Supreme Court will be packed, if they have control of the Senate, the House, and win the White House. If they lose, we get a brief respite from the infringements.
I feel compelled to address the idea that we are to passively submit to human authority as believers. That is contrary to a number of precepts, principles, and direct reflections in Scripture, I will not attempt to elucidate or articulate them all. That will not find acceptance with those who disagree, but I leave it there and leave it for another blog and discussion.
It is my conviction and I believe the teaching of the Bible that the powers that God ordains are not a threat to the righteous. That demands the question, “What happens if the powers are a threat to the righteous and righteousness? What then?” I believe the disciples answered that when standing before the Sanhedrin and instructed to stop preaching Jesus. They said, “Who should we obey, God or man?” I believe that is still the needed response from believers today. We should always seek to obey God and say what His Word says and do what He commanded us to do. We need to warn of danger and wickedness. It is not political to identify the violations of biblical laws it is kingdom.
I ask you to consider these questions:
Who is a threat to the children’s education?
Who is a threat to a preacher’s right and ability to quote and preach the Bible?
Who is a threat to marriage and the family?
Who is a threat to life, the life of the unborn?
What is our commission and mission as Christians and preachers?
Are we not to warn the wicked and warn of danger?
Are we not to declare the Word of God?
Matthew Henry said that the greatest danger in the end times will be the corruption of the church not the immorality of those outside. Our mandate as Christians is not to avoid contact and association with those who are outside the faith or the church. They are our mission field. We win people by our lives not just our words. However, we are directed to turn away from those who have a form of godliness but deny God’s authority and power. A brother that is living immorally or in violation of God’s ways is to be turned away from.
I believe that the Christian vote could make this or any election a landslide in God’s favor. I have said that for more than a decade. However, I realize that many are silenced out of shame, fear, or misunderstanding. I have talked to Christians who are intimidated by their own pastors and people inside the church. We are to be light and salt in this earth. Are we?
In writing a blog that touches people of all religious persuasions and some that do not believe in the God of the Bible, I know that I am walking a thin line in my reflections as to how believers should live. However, if we love Freedom and America, we can unite in the common cause of keeping America the Free and One Nation Under God.
I am disturbed that some, if not much of the Christian church, have focused more on numbers, as one man said, “butts in seats and nickels in the coffers more than God and the Holy Spirit in people’s hearts.” I have often described it as ‘nickels and noses.’ I speak to the Christian now and ask, “What is our mission?” I believe that many outside the faith are turned off by the pursuit of nickels and noses. That must never become more important than righteousness and relationship. The church has moved from focusing on forgiveness and love to anger and attack. The Jesus Movement was launched because of the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the cry of hearts for love.
I agree with Mario Murillo that there is coming a new breed or brand of evangelist and prophet coming. In fact, I believe they are being released now in this present world. There is coming a revival that will fearlessly identify sin, danger, and speak about relationships, not sit and sing kumbaya… Mario also said, there is a “Lion Revival Coming.” That resonates with me and I believe the new breed of Christians are going to be bold as lions and will not go in enticing words of man’s wisdom, political correctness, and passiveness but in the Power of the Spirit of God. God’s Kingdom is going to become paramount.
The Purpose of the Church is “To Destroy the Works of the devil.” Our purpose is Jesus, He is our Purpose. What He did we are to do what He says we are to say. Christ has the Purpose we have individual assignments to fulfill His purpose. It is my ambition to fulfill the purposes of God for my life in my generation and then go home but not one millisecond before them.
Let me offer this observation and thought: “True Marxism has no conscience.” In his day, Charles Spurgeon rebuked Marxism from the pulpit and prevented Karl Marx from gaining a foothold in England Marx’s only recourse was Russia where there was no gospel opposition. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit is possibly the most essential key to overturning the destruction in America and the world. Not by Might nor by Power, but by My Spirits says the LORD. Jesus said, “The Spirit of God is upon me because He has anointed me to…”
The global force of the church gets its impetus from the Power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “It is expedient that I go because when I do, I will send the Holy Spirit and He will…” The church has lost its influence because it lost its purpose and power. It lost its morality and focus on ‘seeking God first.’ Christianity can move into a culture and assimilate. Not adopt their views but live among them and influence them. We change cultures rather than cultures changing us.
I believe that it is a demonstrated reality that a man will die for his convictions but not for his opinion or preferences. Sadly, the church has allowed the devil to steal our language and the political movement of the Left is stealing our words and our purpose. They are reshaping the narrative and redefining what it means to be an American and have become a virtual god to the masses. That is anathema to God’s Purpose and Word.
What do I see happening in America after 2020? I see truth coming to the forefront, and it will be a direct threat to those who seek to destroy our Freedom and Liberty. Anyone speaking the truth will be targeted and there will be an attempt to destroy if they cannot destroy them economically or influentially, they will seek to exterminate them physically. It is coming!
We are coming to a time when the flesh will be exposed, and the spirit of God will overwhelm. Many churches will rail against this movement and will turn their backs on truth to embrace self and the flesh. We are reentering a season of martyrs for the faith. Are you willing to be spent for the gospel?
We are to come out from among them and be separate. We are not isolationists, but we are to be other than the world. We cannot sit around the campfire and sing kumbaya when sin is destroying. We must SOUND THE ALARM! We must die to self in order to live to God. Virtue and morality are the cries of God for today’s church and world. Look on the fields they are white already for harvest. If we keep looking at the wrong fields, we will miss the harvest. Too much Bible? Impossible!
The power of social media has transformed the attitude of the nation. State and regional lines no longer exist there are no pockets of ideology untouched by those of a different ilk. What were once safe zones spiritually and ideologically are being reshaped because of the internet. What is happening in one part of the country can happen in every part. The internet and social media are like a virus that spreads ideas and agendas powerfully. We have to wake up and take advantage of the platforms available and preach the gospel of Christ and present the Truth, biblically, historically, and morally.
History is replete with examples of God aiding people when they turn to Him and pray. This is not Republican vs Democrats it is Good vs Evil. When one party takes positions that are expressions of hatred for Christianity, the Bible, and American History that means they must be rejected. We have a mission, an assessment, and a purpose.
The kingdom of Heaven suffers violence and violent men take it by force. God has used wrecking balls in history to bring people back to him. Sometimes God uses people with flaws. NO, most of the time He does. I believe He is doing that today and those He has chosen are not flawless but are being used as a catalyst to bring us to the purposes of God.
We are not fort holders we are victors! We either surrender to Christ and follow the Holy Spirit or we go in our own strength and power and will become deceived and fall. God is going to judge the corruption and we will see a shaking like we have never seen before.
The invisible and true church is going to enjoy special protection and given special unction. The two streams will be persecution and destruction flowing simultaneously with an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and blessing. Which stream will you be in?
The choice is ours! I have committed myself to seek God first and foremost and want to be 100% surrendered to His will and purpose. I desire His Kingdom to Come and His Will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. I want to be one with Him. I want to be a vessel He can use to ‘destroy the works of the devil.’ In the process, I believe we will also save America and Freedom.
What is your choice?I choose to walk with God and receive Him as LORD of All in my life. I pray that America will as well…
Revelation 3:20-22 – “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. 21′ He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22′ He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'” NASB
Notice the words “He that has an ear, let him hear…” If you are familiar with Chapters 2 & 3 you will quickly realize that this expression is the Common Denominator! All the churches are addressed in the same fashion – “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches…” This suggests that the Common Denominator of these churches was a Danger! A danger that they would ‘forget’ or become ‘too busy’ to Hear what the Spirit said or was saying! They all had the same root problem and today is really no different.
The apostle John, through the revelation of the Spirit, was saying: “All of you CAN hear.” You can hear IF your heart has been renewed by the Spirit of God. You can hear IF you have a spiritual ear. Jesus said: “This is the characteristic of My sheep – they HEAR My Voice!” Therefore, the warning came because they were in grave danger of Not Hearing!
That has been the ‘danger’ and ‘fault’ of every set of Christians since the beginning of the church. In fact, if you examine church history you will discover something quite disconcerting. You will discover that church history teaches us that church history teaches us nothing because we continually repeat the same mistakes!
An incredible fact is that if you examine history you will find that each revival had a life span of approximately forty years. By the time forty years transpired, those who were in the revival had gotten old and their children were taking over, but the children had only ‘heard it’ from their parents rather than experiencing it. Then by the time eighty years transpire the revival becomes a monument. Everybody has forgotten why it was there, to begin with, but it is still there! That is why all through church history we have the Great Mausoleums!
Simply, we are left with denominations that celebrate a revival that everybody has now forgotten what happened, but we still have the name and revel in the past! That raises the question – “Why is it that they and we continually miss it?”
For almost 2,000 years we see revivals come and go and last about forty years and then it is gone. Why?Because, in virtually every case, the revival began when people Heard God and God’s words became alive in their hearts! It became the Living Word and they responded to it making the revival one to one relationship with God. God has spoken and they knew it! Then, gradually it became a philosophy.
What had been a ‘Living Dynamic’ with God speaking and interacting with the people was now a form and ceremony. God had been put in a box and reduced to a set of rules, regulations, formulas, patterns of action, and ritual. The idea became that IF you’ve been in the revival you don’t do this/that/the other. Forgotten was the truth that the reason we did not do this/that/the other was because of LIFE springing up within not manmade regulation.
God help us to return to the altar of life and drink from the fountain of God’s Life again! God help us to move from the man-made to the God-breathed! God brings us revival again! It is relationship not theory that produces the Life of God in the Spirit!
Psalm 103:1-5 – “Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name.2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; 3 Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; 4 Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with loving-kindness and compassion; 5 Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.” NASB
I want to delve a little deeper into the subject of Praise and its worth to our Christian walk on an everyday basis if I may. Another dimension of Praise is that it opens a channel for God to speak to our hearts and be heart in our inner being. To me, that is awesome! Not only does praise bring pleasure to the heart of God it opens the door to change your situation positively and powerfully.
Psalm 29:1-2 – “Ascribe to the Lord… Glory and Strength. The Glory due to His Name: Worship the Lord in Holy Array. (The Beauty of Holiness).” Then in verses 7-9,we read of “The voice of the Lord.” It opens a channel for God to speak to our hearts and be heard.
Tragically, sometimes in prayer, we are unable to Hear God because we have locked the ‘talk button’ on and are locked in a ‘transmit mode’ rather than having an open channel of reception. In Praise the reverse is true in True Praise we become like a ‘radio receiver’ and there is an open channel for God to speak and we are become so focused on Him without making a petition. We being to hear Him!
Proverbs 27:21 –“As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold: so is a man for praise.”
It is quite normal, in times of Praise, when our spirits become so heated spiritually and so touched and moved by the Spirit of God and the Presence of the Lord of Hosts, that hidden thoughts, motives, and desires rise to the surface. As we become broken in His presence those foreign impure elements are separated from the precious metal of our lives and THEN we can take them to the Cross and be cleansed, washed, purified, and delivered!
God wants to skim away all that defiles where He can see His face in the molten metal of our hearts! Praise opens the door to purification within!
In Psalm 29:4-9 we see a beautiful truth:
Verse 4 – The Voice of the Lord is powerful and full of majesty.
Verse 5 – The Voice of the Lord breaks the cedars (royal trees).
Verse 6 – The Voice of the Lord divides the flames of fire. (Fiery darts).
Verse 7 – The Voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness. (Place of testing).
Verse 8 – The Voice of the Lord makes hinds to calve. (fruitfulness).
Verse 9 – The Voice of the Lord discovers the forests. (people). It is in God’s temple that everyone speaks of His Glory.
Isaiah 33 informs us that the Voice of the Lord defeats the enemies. Isaiah 66declares that it is the Voice of the Lord that brings recompense to the enemies of God.Joel 2tells us that God utters His voice before His army and Psalm 46:6 tells us that the Voice of the Lord causes Kingdoms to be moved!
Praise is one of the most powerful endeavors we can engage in and provides unlimited benefit spiritually and even physically to our lives.
I encourage you to make Praise a daily portion of your life! Blessings as you go through your day!
Psalm 103:1-5 – “Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name.2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; 3 Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; 4 Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with loving-kindness and compassion; 5 Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.” NASB
Sometimes, when I am around other believers the topic will turn to Praise and how important and valuable it is! Yet too often we make it an option rather than an essential in our walk. For some, it is a part of the Sunday morning ritual rather than a cornerstone of daily life. It is relegated to a brief time during the Sunday service rather than a fixture in life. That strips it of much of its power and benefit and robs the individual of an endeavor that God has offered to lift us into His presence in a more pronounced and powerful manner.
Praise is a natural and normal part of life! It is only considered ‘abnormal’ or in need of ‘restriction’ when it is associated with religious gatherings. Manufacturers praise their products. Parents praise their children. Men praise their automobiles. Women praise their hairdressers or wardrobes. Children praise, sportswriters and coaches praise. Politicians praise, preachers praise.
If you think about it, life is filled with praise of one kind or another. It is normal and natural. It is ingrained into our nature to ‘spontaneously’ give praise to whatever or whomever we value. Therefore, if God is among the things we value it is normal and natural to release our inner being in praise to Him!
It is not because God needs our praise but because we need to offer Him praise. We need to hear ourselves praise Him. There is a ‘release’ in our spirits that is incredibly powerful as we do. Something happens inside of our innermost being in the activity of praise!
Let me give you an example in the natural. The crowd at a football game would go crazy if they were not allowed to express themselves when their team scored a touchdown. The team did not need the praise to score they scored before the crowd began praising. It was the spectators who benefited by clapping, yelling, standing, waving their hands, hats, and/or banners. Yet, when it comes to religious gatherings that are forbidden and often frowned upon as being inappropriate! Did you ever question how a touchdown is more deserving of an outward demonstration of appreciation than God?
I’ve noticed that it is the humblest of souls, the most balanced and open-minded that praise the most and the cranky, malcontented praise the least. Praise seems to be ‘inner health’ made ‘audible.’ The very word Hallelujah demands an outward demonstration of praise. Hallel – praise. Oou – Our. Jah – God. Praise is an expression of ‘inner health’, but it wasn’t ‘inner health’ that caused the crowd to praise at the ballgame. There was an outward stimulus! The praise was in direct proportion to the stimuli. That is another reason why the more we talk about Jesus, focus on Him, His person, and work the easier it is to Praise Him!
Praise, for most people, much of the time, does not flow easily. It is something that must be pressed into because most people begin in the ‘outer court’. The temporal is so large in our thinking and living that Praise and entering the ‘inner court’ requires an act of our will. It is when we instruct our flesh to come to attention and determine that we will praise the Lord! We make the choice to rejoice and enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to help us bridge the gap between the heavenly and the earthly realms and this is accomplished through Praise!
If we could grasp the truth that Praise brings pleasure to the heart of God, it would dramatically affect how we view it. We read in Psalm 149:41, “For the Lord takes pleasure in His people.” In Psalm 104:1, “Bless the Lord, O my soul.” In Revelation 4:11, “Thou art worthy, O Lord to receive Glory and Honor, and Power: For thou hast created all things, and for Thy Pleasure, they are and were created.” Then in Ephesians 1:12, we read that we are to be the Praise of God’s Glory!
We need to understand that God literally derives pleasure, gratification, and enjoyment out of our praise. Imagine that, we can do something that brings pleasure to God not to mention what it produces within our inner being.
So allow Praise to become a normal natural part of your daily relationship with God! Blessings as you go through your day!
Proverbs 12:25-28 – “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad. 26 The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray. 27 The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, But diligence is man’s precious possession. 28 In the way of righteousness is life, And in its pathway, there is no death.” NKJV
The Book of Proverbs provides a plethora of wisdom and too often we read for quantity rather than quality and skim over some incredibly powerful words of wisdom. I have been guilty and I’m reasonably sure that most of you have as well. The Spirit of the Lord has been challenging me more and more to cease doing that and carefully muse upon each word, sentence, and paragraph as I read and study the scripture. It has proven to be a dynamic endeavor and I’ve gleaned more from passages that I formerly only gave a cursory reading to.
The words of wisdom, found in these four verses, are an example of the pearls found in the Book of Proverbs. Each could be examined solitarily but I will highlight them and allow you to do further study and examination to find that which the Lord would speak to your heart from these treasures.
Anxiety in the heart produces depression contrasted to a good word bringing a vivacious spirit.
When we allow anxiety, fear, or worry to take a dominant place in our thinking the result will be depression, but if we give or receive a ‘good word’ from God’s word we will find that our spirits soar and become alive with excitement and anticipation. Depression arises from an ‘inward focus’ or a ‘focus on self’ but the spirit soars when the focus is on God.
Careful selection of friends or those you come into an alliance with is critical because those of ill repute and walk-in wickedness will bring you down.
The old saying ‘birds of a feather flock together, and a little leaven leavens the entire lump’ is applicable and factual. I’ve known many a young person who became so infatuated with a member of the opposite sex that they wanted to enter into marriage thinking and declaring that they could and would change the other person only to discover the reverse was true and endured a miserable relationship. It is important to surround yourself with people who demonstrate a positive faith and character.
The contrast between laziness and diligence.
The translation of this word to ‘roost’ is a most interesting one. The Hebrew word is ‘charak’ and comes from the primitive root – ‘to braid, entangle, snare, or catch in a net.’ Some translations render it as ‘the slothful man will not secure (keep in his net) what he takes in hunting.’ He will let whatever he gains slip from his hands through a lack of effort and attention. Laziness produces lack and diligence produces abundance or adequate provision at the minimum.
Righteousness leads to life whereas unrighteousness leads to death.
No wonder Jesus said, ‘Straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life and few will find it.’ The path of least resistance is seldom the best way to go. The pathway to destruction is broad and wide with few visible obstacles but the pathway to life is filled with obstructions placed there by the evil one in an attempt to discourage and shipwreck our journey.
I am quite sure that as you read these and give them thought the Holy Spirit will highlight some areas for you to delve deeper into and embark on a journey to implement them into your life.
Therefore, as you imbed yourself in God’s truth, I bid you a good day and pray God’s blessings upon you!