Tithing, The stumbling block of organized Churches.

  First off, there is nothing wrong with tithing. I am not against tithing. Tithing is honorable if that is what you purpose in your heart to do.

        People tend to have strong opinions about the subject of tithing because of the relentless teaching they have been exposed to from the pulpit.

          A Stumbling block is an obstacle to progress, an impediment to belief or understanding. It is a problem that stops one from achieving something.

          Tithing is not a Stumbling block if that is how you choose to give. Compelling others to believe it is a New Testament Doctrine and they should give that way is.

If Pastors would teach Love and generosity and stop depending on the tithe to keep “the gospel ship” afloat, we would see an increase in giving and an increase in influence and anointing.

We can’t properly lead and disciple God’s people if we are teaching Old Testament Law as a New Testament practice.

Teaching tithing as a New Testament doctrine, insisting that this is how all believers should handle their money according to “Kingdom Principles” is exactly what the Pharisees and tax collectors did. In fact, it is likely that this false doctrine entered the early Church through Pharisees that were converted to Christ.

I was taught tithing from the first few days of being born again in 1988. I tithed faithfully for almost twenty years. Almost every Church I attended taught a mini teaching of tithing and giving before every service. Because of this practice, I heard more teaching on tithing than any other subject in the Bible. I was thoroughly indoctrinated.

During the 20 years I practiced tithing, I had many occasions where I desired to give more, be involved with certain projects, and support specific missionaries, but I could not do it. I was taught that the tithe must go to the local church, and I was expected to give offerings over and above that as the Lord led or as I purposed in my heart.

For two decades, the most I was able to give was 14.5% of my total income to God’s work. That was my tithe plus 4.5% more in offerings. I desperately wanted to give more and be a greater financial blessing to those less fortunate. I was frustrated and a little confused. I had been faithful in my giving, I desired to give more, and yet the blessing and prosperity that the tithe teaching promised me never seemed to come to pass.

Our New Testament giving should far outdo giving under the Old. If we follow the principles of love and generosity in the New Testament, we will find that we give way more than 10% of our money, resources, time, effort, commitment, etc. If we don’t see ourselves giving like that, then it is likely that money and things have a hold on us to some degree.

We have a new and better covenant with better promises. Giving in the New Testament should be more dynamic and relational than the Old Testament law. This brings me to my first point. Tithing is Old Testament Law. Jesus said so.

The tithe predates the Law

Tithing was a part of Old Covenant law. Believers that teach tithing as a New Testament standard argue that tithing pre-dated the law; therefore, it is still a current and valid New Testament command. The problem with that line of thinking is other commands in the law pre-dated the law. For instance, circumcision pre-dates the law. Yet the apostle Paul repeatedly corrected the Church not to bring old covenant practice into the covenant of grace. How do we differentiate between what practices we bring, or do not bring into the New Testament that pre-dates the law? We don’t! If we live by the law, even on one point, we are going to be judged by the law.

I was frustrated that I could not financially bless others like I wanted to. Then one service at Church, the pastor taught tithes and offerings as he did before virtually every service. During his teaching he made this comment, “Don’t take my word for it; study it out for yourself.” God must have put some supernatural unction on those words when he made that comment because they pierced my heart. I knew the Lord was trying to teach me something.

After praying and asking the Lord where I was going wrong and what adjustments I needed to make, the Lord told me to ask myself why I believe what I believe. If I didn’t learn it directly from His word, I should examine it and verify it by the scriptures. Not just tithing, but everything I believe.

I started reading everything in the Bible that had to do with tithing, for years. What I found was a deception and strategy of the Devil that has kept the Church in financial and spiritual bondage for over two thousand years.

Tithing in the Old Testament

First, let’s look at what the tithe was used for in the Old Testament.

      The tithe, although it predated the Law,  was later formalized in the Law that God gave to Israel through Moses, in passages such as Leviticus 27:30-33, Numbers 18:20-32, Deuteronomy 14:22-29, and Deuteronomy 26:12-15. One of the purposes for which the tithe was to be used was to support the priestly tribe of Levi, which (unlike the other eleven tribes of Israel) did not receive an allocated portion of the land of Canaan for its possession. All the other eleven tribes tithed to support the Levitical priesthood. While the other tribes received a portion of land for their inheritance, the Levite’s inheritance was the Lord. The Levitical priesthood is a type of the New Testament Church.

The Lord is our great reward, not what He can do for us. All of the New Testament promises become a reality when we have this perspective.

What Jesus said about tithing

Matt 23:23-24
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices-mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law-justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.”

Jesus clearly identifies tithing as Old Testament law.

Matthew 5:17-20
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

          Keep in mind that the OT was still in full force when Jesus spoke these words, even though we find them in the NT. Jesus fulfilled the law in every point because we were not able.

          Hebrews 7 is the other place in the New Testament that the tithe is mentioned, and the writer isn’t talking about the tithe, he talking about a change of priesthood. It uses tithing to make the point about the superiority of the priesthood of Melchizedek and the superiority of Jesus as the high priest. It says “Consider how great this man Melchizedek was” in vs 4.

          In Jewish culture, bloodlines were very important. Genealogies were meticulously recorded. That is why we see the “begats” in Matthew and Luke because those letters were written to a Jewish audience.

         Certain bloodlines had certain responsibilities, specific prophecies attached to them, etc. Hebrews 7 mentions Levi paying tithes (in Abraham’s loins before he was born) and receiving tithes as a priest. The bloodline of Levi was the only bloodline allowed to be a priest. Melchizedek didn’t have this bloodline because Levi obviously wasn’t born yet. He was likely not even a Jew. He certainly wasn’t from the Levitical order.

          It tells you the “order” of that priesthood in verse 3 “Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.”

          If the Jews couldn’t trace your bloodline you were considered, “without genealogy” with no beginning and therefore no end. This is the order of Christ’s priesthood. Neat, how God snuck that in there before the Law was ever written.

          So, the topic is not tithing, it is just used to make the point about the priesthood.

The other side of the coin.

          The common belief and perceived benefits of the Church are that if every Christian tithed the Church would have all the money needed to carry out the great commission.

          The tithe, instead of being a blessing and an answer to the Church’s money needs, has become a hindrance to the people in more ways than just finance. Spiritually speaking, it has hindered the growth and fruitfulness of the Church for over 2000 years.

It becomes a stumbling block to the poor because it puts them under bondage, and a stumbling block to the rich because it enables them to be a withholder. How many people could give 20, 40, or 60 percent of their income and still live a comfortable life with all their financial needs well exceeded? The truth is, some people don’t even miss 10%, while for some it takes every ounce of faith they have to tithe. It puts a terrible burden on some and not others. Is that fair, equal, or just?

The Bible says to give as YOU decide in YOUR heart. ( 2 Corinthians 9:7)

The worst part about teaching tithing is the deception to keep one foot in the Old Testament while trying to embrace the New. You never fully leave the Old, so you never truly embrace the New.

          Instead of our giving being a beautiful, relational expression of love, it has become a legalistic, rigid practice that is a burden to some and an excuse to withhold for others.

The Malachi misconception

Malachi 3:8-10 “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say,
‘In what way have we robbed You? In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation.
10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.

          A big misinterpretation of Malachi is that the “storehouse” is a type of the Church, and you should bring all the tithes into the “Church storehouse” so that the ministers, staff, and facilities will have what is needed to keep the salaries paid, the lights on, the maintenance of the facilities up to par, etc.

          Just a surface study of tithing will prove that wrong. If the Church is a type of storehouse, then the temple must be a type of the Church building. The thing is… WE are the temple. Not the church building or organization.

Are houses of worship wrong? NO. Should we have a place to gather, worship, and fellowship? YES. Should we support our local assembly and ministers? YES.

          So, should we keep tithing? Or should we embrace the New Testament principles of love and generosity?

          New Testament giving should be relational and organic, more fruitful, and a far more beautiful expression of Love than the practice of tithing.

Did tithing become part of the new covenant?

          No. There is no New Testament command or standard for tithing taught anywhere in the New Testament. No matter how hard you try, you must use the Old Testament to teach it.

          A common argument is that tithing was before the law, part of the law, and in force now also. Where is the New Testament Scripture for this?

Circumcision was before the law (Genesis 17:24), part of the law, but is it in effect now? No! Some New Testament apostles tried to argue that it was (Acts 15:5-11; Galatians 2:11) but Paul gave them a strong rebuke. Hebrews talks about Abram giving a tithe to Melchizedek but the same passage says there was a change in the law (Hebrews 7:12, Hebrews 8:13) talks about the “first covenant with regulations (tithing is a regulation of the law) made obsolete (tithing was made obsolete).” Hebrews 10:9 “takes away the first” (tithing was part of the first) “to establish second” (tithing is not part of the second)”.  

          The very first year I abandoned tithing as a practice, I was able to give over 26% of my income and was also able to give away one of the nicest cars I have ever owned as well as furniture, clothes, groceries, and other things that I didn’t even count. I still ended up supporting the local Church with more than ten percent of my income, but I was also able to be more accurate and strategic in helping others as the Lord led.

The car we gave away helped a family of four who just totaled their only car. The Lord also led my wife and me separately to give a certain amount to a specific family. We didn’t know it, but the husband got laid off and they felt like they were not supposed to tell anyone, just trust God. The amount we gave them was exactly what they needed to pay their mortgage and have money for groceries. We all knew without a doubt that God had done this. The man got hired in the next few days.

That was just the first year. I could go on with stories of supernatural provision like that, but I want to end with this:

Tithing is honorable if that is what you purpose in your heart to give. The problem arises when someone teaches you that tithing is the way all Christians are supposed to give. It is a lie! That is compelling a person to give like they believe. The person teaching becomes a stumbling block to those he teaches, and if the one being taught embraces the false doctrine of tithing, it becomes a stumbling block to them financially and spiritually.

People believe the lie because they don’t read the scriptures for themselves, allowing well-meaning, but misguided preachers to brainwash them and compel them to give legalistically.

2 Corinthians 9:7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

We are not to give under compulsion, and we are not to compel others to give a certain way. When we teach others that tithing is a New Testament command, we become a stumbling block to others. Giving should be relational and organic, not rigid, and legalistic.

Furthermore, God never wanted 10% of anything. He wants it all.  

The tithe was put in place to meet the needs of the Levitical priesthood and to teach spiritually dead people to always revere God. Deut 14:23

In the New Testament, we have the freedom to give as we purpose in our hearts, and we have the opportunity to be creative with how we love God and bless others with our money. If we embrace the New Testament principles of Love and Generosity, we won’t stumble over money to the degree we have by practicing tithing.

Thank you for visiting Truth Pressure Ministries. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

The Demonic Agenda of Pre-Trib Rapture Doctrine

          Let me first say; I am not attacking any person or ministry; If you believe in a pre-tribulation rapture, as I did for decades, you are deceived and believe a lie. I’m sorry.

In August 2021, I had several visitations, visions, and prophetic experiences over nine days. Many of these visions were for my own correction and instruction, but a few were of end-time events. You can read about the three visions that pertain to this post @ visions of end-time events

          I hope this will enlighten folks about the truth before it is too late. Our time is very short, and the Church is in a deplorable condition with itchy ears, pursuing a self-serving gospel.

          There are only four passages in the Bible that teach us plainly, openly, and directly about rapture. Reading these in light of the book of Revelation it becomes clear that we are here for most of the tribulation.

        The first of these passages is in Mathew 24.

Now, this is Jesus talking. Red letters in my Bible. I think He is the highest authority qualified to teach about the rapture. Pay close attention to the text. I will comment as we unpack it.

Matthew 24:29-31

 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

          Look at the opening phrase of verse 29. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days…”  Jesus is speaking to His disciples, and us, the Church, about what we will experience and go through before we are gathered from the four winds, or as we like to call it, “raptured.”

          To ensure we understand what Jesus was referring to when He said, “the tribulation of those days,” we will read everything in chapter 24 leading up to verse 29, so we are clear on what tribulation Jesus is talking about.

Matthew 24:3-28

As He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved.14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. 15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, 18 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 19 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 20 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22 And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.

          I am unsure I could help by elaborating on the stark clarity of the above text. However, I will make a few comments. In verse 15. The abomination of desolation spoken by Daniel standing in the holy place. I believe this is an apparent reference to the antichrist and his actions after his rise to power. After his rise to power, vs. 21 says there will be great tribulation, and those days are shortened for the elect’s sake. vs. 24, False prophets are trying to lead the Elect astray. This sounds like tribulation to me. I know some pre-trib doctrines say that the “elect” are the 144 thousand, but it is the Church He is talking about here. Let’s look at the other verses.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. (Note: according to Paul, the “the coming of our Lord, our being gathered to Him, and the day of the Lord” are the same day.)

Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.  (Note: We will see this great falling away and the Anti-Christ’s abomination of desolation with our eyes!) Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-17

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

          These last two passages speak about a trumpet blast, but 1 Corinthians makes it clear WHAT trumpet. Is it the seventh trumpet in Revelation 11? Or is the trump of God different from the seven trumpets in Revelation 11, as many pre-trib doctrines try to explain away? It is The LAST trumpet! Meaning there will be NO OTHER TRUMPETS AFTER THIS ONE. So, this is CLEARLY the seventh trumpet in Revelation 11. If it is not, the trumpet would have to come after the seventh trumpet, or it would not be THE LAST TRUMPET.

          To even start believing in this foolishness, we first had to learn it from another man. Maybe a father or a pastor or some teacher we trust; we just didn’t learn it from the Bible. No matter what theological gymnastics we use, we can’t get around this being the Last Trumpet, and we can’t escape the simplicity of the above texts.

Pre-trib believers use other passages of the Bible to imply or infer a pre-trib rapture. They try and project or convey an interpretation of prophecy onto these texts. Still, WE WILL NOT FIND IT IN ANY TEXT!

          You have to complicate things with assumptions to arrive at this escapist theology.

          There is a demonic agenda behind every false teaching. This teaching is not just a false doctrine but a doctrine of devils, designed to deceive the Church into being unprepared when tribulation comes.

Thank you for visiting Truth Pressure Ministries. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

Fasting and the New Wineskin

What did Jesus mean when He said, “No one puts new wine into old wineskins”?

Of the 40 or so parables we see in the teachings of Jesus, only a handful are recorded in all three synoptic gospels. The parable of the wineskins is one of those and deserves our close attention.

This parable was given in the context of answering a question about fasting.

Matthew 9:14-17 (NKJV) Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?” 15 And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. 17 Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

What does fasting have to do with wineskins? I think most of us have not made the connection between this parable and the practice of fasting. We tend to read over the passage without realizing that Jesus is teaching us a powerful truth about living with the fullness of the Spirit.

Here is Mark’s account.

Mark 2:18-22 (NKJV) The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were fasting. Then they came and said to Him, “Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?”

19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. 20 But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days. 21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; or else the new piece pulls away from the old, and the tear is made worse. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.”

Jesus is using old and new wineskins, and old and new cloth, as an analogy of our old and new natures. We are born into the old carnal nature under Adam, and born again with the new nature of God, received by the Holy Spirit at our new birth in Christ.

So, what significance does fasting have in the context of this parable? Jesus was explaining to them the purpose and importance of fasting.

I see people fasting for many different reasons. Still, when you boil it down, there is only one primary reason for fasting. To break through the veil of carnal flesh so the Spirit can find its highest expression in our lives.

We live in this incredible paradox of having two natures constantly warring against each other. Jesus tells us that fasting is how we fight and win the war.

Fasting is not very popular among Christians because it requires discipline and self-denial. Some fast for the wrong reasons with little understanding and have little results.

Let’s look at Isaiah 58 and see the purpose of fasting.

Isaiah 58:6-9 (NKJV)“Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? 7Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’

There is much more to this chapter, and I highly recommend reading the whole thing. Still, the point is that biblical fasting is not just about denying our physical bodies food but reaching out and helping others while denying ourselves.

There is something supernatural about the combination of denying ourselves while tending to the needs of others that brings powerful breakthroughs in our lives. It frees us from bondage, breaks yokes of unbelief, brings healing to our bodies, and sets us free from things holding us back in our relationship with the Lord.

A biblical fast is not just denying the physical body but the soul, mind, and will. Fasting should include denying every part of our being that is touched by the fall of man. Bringing our whole being into subjection, so our light shines brighter and ultimately gives God more glory.

We all desire to be filled with the new wine, but God’s mercy withholds it. If He filled us with the fullness of the Spirit with our old wineskin, it would destroy us.

The fasting that Isaiah describes creates a new wineskin to contain that new wine. It increases our capacity in the Spirit and empowers us to live a sustained life of power and demonstration of the kingdom of God.

Let’s look at Luke’s account because he brings out a fascinating point that Matthew and Mark do not address.

Luke 5:33-39 (NKJV) Then they said to Him, “Why do the disciples of John fast often and make prayers, and likewise those of the Pharisees, but Yours eat and drink?”

34 And He said to them, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? 35 But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days.” 36 Then He spoke a parable to them: “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise, the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old. 37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. 39 And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.”

Look at verse 39. Luke recorded Jesus as saying, “no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.’”

Jesus tells us that our flesh will resist the required change brought about by fasting. We are not going to desire to live by the Spirit immediately. Our flesh will always argue that the old way is better, leave things as they are, the old wine is good enough, and fasting is unnecessary.

When things didn’t always go smoothly for the Israelites, they started complaining and desired to return to Egypt. Even after seeing the daily provision of manna, a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night, they still desired the old way, the way of bondage, the old wine.

Fasting will not be easy for anyone, but there would be no significant rewards if it were easy. The promises we see in Isaiah 58 are mind-blowing. We desire and pray for new wine, but we ask God to put it in our old wineskin. It isn’t going to happen! He loves us too much!

Because of our fallen, broken nature, we seek more of God without making the necessary sacrifices to receive more. We desire the new wine but don’t want to release the old. We are craving change, yet allowing things to remain and stagnate.

In our present culture, we are inundated with the constant temptation to consume more. More food, more stuff, more entertainment, etc. Excess results in nothing but a strong, well-developed carnal nature. We feed the monster of flesh that wars against our soul.

We must choose God if we want new wineskins with new wine. It will require the new wine to become everything Christ redeemed. New wine is vital to our lives, but more importantly, it is essential for His glory! We must choose to believe.

Are you satisfied with the old wine of your sensual nature? Most churches are pleased with the status quo of living a carnal existence while claiming Jesus as Lord. I don’t have the stomach for it anymore.

There is so much that our Father desires for us to be and to have, but it cannot co-exist with the old fallen nature. The old wineskin must be put off, and the new wineskin put on. We either choose to be who our Creator designed us to be or remain the same. The choice is new life in Christ with full kingdom power and authority or remaining distant and separate from the Father, which is described as spiritual death. (Deut. 30:15-20)

Choosing life is easy. Living the life that God has provided takes a certain amount of discipline, resolve, and self-denial. It will require us to maintain a new wineskin. It will require biblical fasting. It will require dying to self.

Matthew 16:24 (NKJV) Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

It is impossible to follow Jesus without denying ourselves. Without this self-denial, we will not have the strength to pick up our cross.

Jesus said, “But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days.” We are in those days.

It’s not our wineskin anymore. Jesus purchased it with His blood. Who are we to deny Him the right to change us?

Thank you for visiting Truth Pressure Ministries. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

The Mystery of Praying in the Spirit

One of the greatest tragedies in the Church is the confusion we have about the Holy Spirit. Even among groups that emphasize the Holy Spirit and His role in the Church, we see different beliefs, expressions, and practices, many of which are contradictory.

The Bible shows the mishandling of holy things brings serious consequences. How much more severe is it when we have the Holy Spirit of God living inside us?

It is essential that we rightly divide truth concerning the Holy Spirit.

In this lesson, we will address the practice of praying in the Spirit and define what exactly praying in the Spirit is. While some limit praying in the Spirit to praying only God’s written word, others say that praying in the Spirit is only praying with other tongues. Still, others reject praying with other tongues altogether. Our lack of agreement reveals our overall lack of understanding.

Effective spiritual warfare requires an understanding of praying in the Spirit, so let’s bring clarity to this from God’s word.

          We must first understand that praying in the Spirit is any prayer under the inspiration and direction of the Holy Spirit. Look at our instruction in Ephesians.

Ephesians 6:18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

Our instruction is that all prayer and supplication are to be done “in the Spirit.” The prayer of salvation, prayers of sanctification, prayers of dedication, prayers of intercession, prayers of repentance, the prayer of faith, prayers of thanksgiving, and yes, praying with other tongues. They are all to be prayed “in the Spirit.” Supplications are specific requests. They are also to be prayed in the Spirit. So, what does that look like?

Everything God does is relational. Many of us have allowed our prayer life to become mechanical and lifeless, not relational at all, just religious and dead. We run through a prayer list and read our daily devotional, never spending time in silent reverence so we can connect with the one we are talking to. Having a daily devotional is commendable. Having a daily devotional and never actually connecting intimately with your Father is tragic. Praying in the Spirit requires communion, not just conversation.

com·mun·ion – the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level.

If all we do is pray from our limited thinking, our prayer life will lack the authority to bear much fruit. I am not saying that praying with our natural understanding is wrong, but let this be a launching point, a positioning of the heart and mind to a place of stillness and quiet so we can be receptive to the influence of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians makes it clear that we need both.

1 Corinthians 14:15 (NKJV)What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.

Praying should be viewed as a partnership. It starts with natural understanding, but as we approach God, coming into step with the Spirit to partner with Him, we should expect supernatural utterances to come from our lips. Praying in the Spirit requires us to connect our thoughts and attention to the Holy Spirit inside us, praying out and praying into what rises in our hearts. Spirit-led prayer requires dependence upon His leading and a willingness to follow even when it doesn’t seem to make sense.

Although we are to come boldly to the throne of grace, we should approach it with humility. After all, we have an audience with the King of the universe. Hearing His voice and sensing His direction becomes easy when we have a humble heart. Humility gives us a higher perspective and brings us to the place with the most extraordinary light. It is the place of greater sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. Humility brings His grace to the scene, and our prayers become filled with His divine influence and direction.

James 4:6 (NKJV) But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

We partner with God in prayer, recognizing that we are here for His good pleasure. We pursue His will, plan, and purpose even when we pray for ourselves. We provide the vessel in this partnership, and He fills it with His divine will and purpose. We then pour out the mystery of His will with our prayers, inviting His influence and expecting His involvement. When approaching prayer with an expectation of partnering with God, we are more likely to have a listening ear than simply a running mouth. 

A mindless recital of prayer should become a thing of the past. Effectual, fervent prayer should become a lifestyle of supernatural engagement that partners with God to shape our future and impact the world around us.

James 5:13-16 (NKJV) Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

When we find ourselves at a place in prayer with the perspectives described above, we are praying in the Spirit, whether in a known or unknown tongue.

Praying in tongues

There is more confusion over praying in tongues than any other type of prayer. Praying in tongues is a New Testament doctrine. I see no scriptural evidence of it ending or being “done away with.” However, I continue to see a lot of misunderstanding and unbiblical demonstrations throughout the Church, which need to be addressed. First, I will share my personal experience with the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

On November 7th of 1988, I was born again. a few weeks after my conversion, being completely unchurched and having had no exposure to any teaching about praying in tongues, I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues while alone in my bedroom.

I was reading the book of Acts for the second time. I saw that there was more available to me than what I was currently experiencing, so I prayed, “Lord if there is more of You available to me, I want it.” The Lord then baptized me in His Holy Spirit.

When the Spirit of God came on me, I felt power like electricity all over my body, and it felt like my tongue was as big around as a soda can. I could hear these crazy-sounding words and syllables in my head but resisted saying them out of my mouth because this was all too strange. When I finally yielded to what was happening inside me, I said a few sentences in an unknown tongue and then stopped because it freaked me out. I could not deny that I had a genuine experience and felt the power of God all over me. I just didn’t understand what happened.

No one taught me, no one prayed over me, and no one laid hands on me. I simply saw it in His word and asked for it. God is good!

Here is my concern from over 30 years of observation. Many who claim to have the baptism of the Holy Spirit speak a sentence or two in “tongues” and repeat the same things. This is the limit of their so-called “prayer language.” I have also seen people repeatedly give “messages from the Lord” by tongues and interpretation but use the same few words in tongues, maybe changing the order of the words a bit. However, the interpretation is always different.

This is not praying in tongues, it is a repetition and a parroting of what once may have been an actual utterance by the Spirit. I am not saying these people have not been baptized in the Spirit. I just question their understanding and their expression to the body of Christ. I believe that some things are out of order.

Praying in other tongues is a practice of listening with the heart, not the mindless repetition of past utterances. Speaking in tongues is a supernatural experience in which we should grow and develop. It should always be fresh, dynamic, and alive.

I still remember the first few sentences I spoke in tongues, but I rarely repeat them. Instead, I listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit on the inside and practice repeating what I hear. The utterance is almost always different. Some times the utterance is so unique and funny sounding that I laugh at myself.

Praying in tongues should be done with an understanding that we are handling holy things and representing a sacred God. Is what we are doing done in the fear of the Lord? Are these things edifying us and the Church? It is a serious thing to speak publicly in tongues and claim these words are from the Lord.

My understanding of scripture is that praying in tongues should be limited in public unless accompanied by an interpretation. 1 Corinthians 14 addresses this issue.

1 Corinthians 14:22-25 (NKJV) Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe. 23 Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. 25 And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.

How we represent God in any setting is a serious thing. We are responsible for being an example to others to the best of our ability. We are all at different places in our journey with the Lord. We should not be too quick to follow others’ examples unless we are confident that they represent the Holy Spirit well.

We can all grow in our understanding, humility, and fear of the Lord. Let us not put God in the tiny box of our limited experience. Instead, let’s ask Him to elevate our experience and understanding to match what the Bible teaches.

Praying in the Spirit is a beautiful thing. It is yielding to the influence of the Holy Spirit, letting Him define us and shape us as we pray in the Spirit with all prayer and supplication.

Quoted from the book, The Spiritual Warfare Manifesto

Thank you for visiting Truth Pressure Ministries. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

Review of KJV Thompson® Chain-Reference® Bible

          First, A big thanks to Bible Gateway for sending me this beautiful, free hardcover copy of the Thompson, Chain-Reference Bible in the King James version. As a Bible Gateway Blogger Grid member, I am excited to do this review. I have used this Bible study system for decades and have found it to be the fastest tool available for referencing specific topics in the Bible. It is as fast as the internet without commercials, ministry agendas, and marketing scams to distract you from studying. When I need to gather scriptures on any given Bible topic, this bible is my first stop. The chain reference makes Old and New Testament scriptures readily available and easy to navigate.

As a teacher and student of God’s word, I have found the Thompson® Chain-Reference® Bible a valuable study and teaching tool and I am excited to explore the revised and updated edition and give you all an honest review.

With 8000 topics and over 100,000 references organized alphabetically, and numerically, the study system is easy to use and lists scriptures from the Old and New Testament on each given topic.

The edition that I bought in the early 90s had incomplete study chains that have been revisited and updated for accuracy and consistency. Each topic is now represented in the margins to make topic reference faster and easier.

This new revised and updated version provides an introduction at the beginning of each book instead of a book analysis used in the former versions. I like this feature because the book analysis in older versions gets lost on me and is rarely used. Putting the intro/analysis at the beginning of the book better prepares the user for the content they are about to read.

In addition to the topical chain study, the Bible is full of other study tools and resources including Bible character studies, color maps, the harmony of the gospels, messianic prophecies and their fulfillment, the history of the apostles, full-color maps, and much more.

This particular hardcover copy was put together with the reader in mind, making it a valuable and enjoyable tool for study or casual reading. The comfortable 9.5 font makes it easy on the eyes. The two-color page design is inviting. The column references are big enough to make it easy to read without having to squint or wear readers.

When opened to any page, the Bible lays flat, making it easy to handle and easier to read. While there is usually enough room for notes in the reference columns, there are a dozen blank note pages in the back of the Bible for convenience. Two satin ribbon markers to save your place is the final touch on this outstanding study Bible.

Zondervan raises the bar again in their improvement on an already outstanding study Bible. Keep up the good work. You are greatly appreciated.

Thank you, Zondervan for a truly outstanding Bible and valuable study tool.

Thank you, Bible Gateway for the free review copy of the Thompson® Chain-Reference® Bible, and for equipping the world with access to God’s living word in so many translations.


Jack Coley @ Truth Pressure Ministries. #BibleGatewayPartner.