Monthly Archives: November 2013

~What Makes A Healthy Church?~

river church

This is a metaphor that paints a clear picture of two very distinct church models.

 The River model, and the Lake model.

First off, what is church? How do we define it? How we think about church and what makes a successful church will determine how effective we are at pastoring and leading God’s people. Do you have “Lake” vision for the church or “River” vision?

A River and a Lake are made of the same stuff, water, but Rivers and Lakes work very differently. Lakes are limited to either growing or shrinking while Rivers change and move. They have momentum and power and they transport people and goods, taking them further along than where they entered the River. Also, a river can change course, which is an option available only to moving things.

Lake model churches are static and they lack the vital process of discipleship, of developing and maturing people to the point that God sends them out to go make more disciples. They lack direction on how members should progress in faith. The measure of success is a larger congregation, not a fruitful one, and if a pastor looses a mature member of the body that is answering God’s call they see it as a loss, not a victory.

The Lake model forces you to invest a lot of attention, time and finances on material things and programs that the people can attend. Success is measured in attendance and growing a congregation not the healthy growth of the people.

The thing that I appreciate most about my pastors is that they are committed to investing in people. They get excited about seeing people fulfill their purpose, grow in their gifts, function effectively in the body of Christ and answer the call to ministry. They measure success in reproducing people of like faith. They understand the “River” process.

“How many people showed up?” …is Lake thinking.

“What happened to the ones that did show up?” …is River thinking.

Ezekiel 47:9 ~ And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes.

If pastors have a heart to invest in, and develop people, knowing they will leave, they will have an urgency to help them through the process. By getting everyone in their church ready for a possible departure they will ensure the health and vitality of those whom God decides to keep in their church. If they remember that their responsibility is to produce fruit, they will rejoice when God decides to ship the fruit.

The challenges that we face today in building a strong body of equipped believers is greater than ever. The commitment to invest in, and disciple people must be foremost in our thinking. How we measure success in our church will help determine how successful the church will be.

Matthew 28:19 ~ Go therefore  and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Are We Really The New Testament Church?

Are We
REALLY The New Testament Church?

If we look at the Model of the New Testament Church in the book of Acts and the epistles, we see a big discrepancy in what we see in scripture and what we are experiencing today. Why is that? Have you ever wondered? Are you satisfied with this huge discrepancy?

I for one am NOT satisfied. I can see the model. I can see the possibilities and I know that the Lord Jesus Christ had a different idea of how HIS BODY should function. That may be the key word, “function.” The body of Christ for the most part is in dysfunction. Most Christians that would read this would agree, yet at the same time they would deny that this applies to them, and therein lies the problem.

You see, we live in an age where virtually anything you need to know is just a few mouse clicks away. So we fill our heads up with knowledge until we are able to talk intelligently on any given subject in the bible and we equate that with us gaining revelation, experiencing spiritual growth, and developing in maturity. IT IS A LIE!

Revelation only comes by the anointing. Spiritual growth comes by you functioning in the anointing for a period of time. Maturity only comes by being a doer of the word of God and continued pursuit of Gods purpose and His will for your life.

There are two types of people to consider. The first are Christians that can talk, expound and teach on any given subject in the bible. They can teach you about the gifts of the Spirit, how to be led by the Spirit, how to pray and how faith works and why it isn’t working for you. The problem is: they have no experience in the things that they “know” so in reality all they have is a theory on Christianity. These are the people who think they know what it is to be a
mature Christian, they are SURE they know and will even lay down their life for it.

This is the difference between mental apprehension of things IN the Word and a REVELATION OF THE WORD, Jesus Christ. Until you experience some of the wonderful, amazing things that we read about in the early church you are seriously lacking in spiritual development and understanding. I am talking about laying hands on the sick and seeing them recover, seeing miracles, seeing people delivered from demons, and yes, raising people from the dead. Supernatural signs and wonders, the demonstration of the Spirit that confirms God’s word, and lets not forget good old fashion repentance. According to Hebrews 6 these are foundational doctrines.

Hebrews 6:1-3 ~ 1Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3And this will we do, if God permit.

If  these are foundational doctrine, why don’t we see more of it in the church? Is it because we have built the church on little or no foundation? We should be modeling what we see in the New Testament … ALL OF IT!

The thing is, we only know what WE know. The goal is to know what HE knows and until we “function” as HIS body, operating in the gifts of the Spirit, healing the sick, working miracles, raising the dead etc. We just don’t know much. We surely don’t know HIM as He wants to be known. It will take some faith in Him to really know Him. We are HIS body, we should be doing the same things He did as He walked this earth AS A MAN! Which brings me to the second type of person.

The second type of person you can read about in the Gospels. His Name is Jesus Christ and THAT, my friends, IS OUR MODEL. All we have to do … is believe on HIM.

John 14:12 ~  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these
shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

~ What Is Character? ~

Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. Excellence in character does not come from a singular act, but a habit. You are what you repeatedly do. 

Habit is either the best of servants or the worst of masters.

Character is who you are when no one else is looking. Character is what YOU know you are. Character is the sum total of all of your choices to this point in your life.

The quality of your life is tied to the strength of your character.

 Character is developed by thoughts, words, actions and habits and is defined by your consistent behavior. 

 It is hard to talk your way out of what you have behaved yourself into.

Watch your thoughts because they become words.

Watch your words because they become actions.

Watch your actions because they become habits.

Watch your habits because they become your character.

Watch your character because it shapes your destiny.

Truthfulness is the main element of character. ~~~ Jesus Christ is THE TRUTH.  ~~~ The more truthful you are, the more like HIM you shall be.

Remember, there is no studying for a test of character, it is always a pop quiz.

Character poem

You must maintain your strength of character to make right choices in life,

For tests will come when you least expect it to tempt you to get into strife.

When difficulties arise and the choices get tough, decisions must be made on the spot.

You will surely see when it comes to character it is better to have it than not.

Strength of character is not just an item that can be purchased right off the shelf.

It comes from years of doing what is right and constantly dying to self.

Our example for character is the Lord Jesus Christ, our life should always model His

For you cannot study for a test of character, it will show up as a pop quiz.

~ Our Kingdom Authority ~

christ-in-you reflection

Self discovery is a powerful thing. Finding out who you are in Christ is THE most powerful revelation you can attain after salvation.

Most of the Apostle Paul’s writings were focused on helping believers understand who they are in Christ.

In Christ you have been repositioned, relabeled, renamed, re-categorized, and redeemed. You have a new family, a new status, a new nature, a new purpose, and a new destiny. You have a new heritage, a new identity, with new rights, new power, new authority, and new responsibilities. The old is passed away, and all things are new!

2 Corinthians 5:17 ~ Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

The New Testament reveals the model of who we are supposed to be, what a living church should look like, and yet, if you search the earth you find very few bodies of believers living up to that model. Why? I believe that it stems from an identity crisis.

We, the church, don’t really know who we are. We don’t understand our heritage and the royal bloodline that we were birthed into when we made Jesus the Lord of our life. Jesus emptied himself of all His kingly privilege and power and LIVED HIS LIFE for us … then he GAVE HIS LIFE for us. Now He wants to live His life through us as the KING of KINGS!

We must awaken to the marvelous truth, that Christ is not in the heavens only, seated at the right hand of the Father, but Christ is in us. Our main function in this life is to manifest Christ to the world in all His glory. It is Christ’s body that validates Christ to the world. Without His body reigning in life as a king the world will be limited to only hearing about Christ instead of experiencing Him. There must be a SHOWING FORTH as well as a TELLING ABOUT. To Show Forth the kingdom we must function in the authority that has been given us.

1 Peter 2:9  ~ But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

Romans 5:17 ~ For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.

Revelation 5:10 ~ And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

Revelation 1:6 ~ And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

The life that Christ lived qualified Him for the death that He died …. and the death that He died qualifies us for the life we now live … as Kings and Priests unto our God. Are you living like a King, with a King’s authority and resources? That is available to YOU AND I.

~ understanding The Kingdom ~

kingdom-of-god2

  Understanding the kingdom will not only help you understand the parables of the kingdom spoken by Jesus, but help you see how the kingdom functions and grows in your life. 

Without going into a lot of detail I think I can give you a couple of observations that will help you define exactly where YOUR rule and reign as a King is to be.

 “The Kingdom of God is not just the place where God dwells, but the place in which, at any given time, God’s rule and reign is acknowledged.”

 Luke 17:20-22 ~ 20And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. 22And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.

When we hear the phrase;  “kingdom of God”, our minds immediately think of another place such as heaven. The truth is, according the verse above, the kingdom is within you.

Because of God’s grace and goodness, he has allowed me to experience some wonderful, supernatural, and even spectacular demonstrations of His Spirit. One was an open vision that I had in the middle of a home fellowship. It was about the kingdom of God and it helped me understand some principles of His kingdom. I think it is pertinent to this teaching so I will share it.

A group of about 12 of us met for the fellowship at a friend’s house. We were worshipping the Lord with songs that were picked by an associate pastor. All of the songs were about The “King” or the “Kingdom”. After worshipping through 5 or 6 songs the presence of the Lord was very strong and everyone got quiet. After about a minute of the silence I see this picture materialize in front of me.

It was like a transparency that you would use in a projector. You know the clear plastic sheets with words on them? It looked similar to that, only it was in color and alive! hard to explain.  As I was looking at this “transparency”, I reached up my hand to touch what I was looking at and my hand passed right through it and back. I could see this thing clearly yet I could see everyone in the room at the same time. Strange, but very cool. I had not experienced anything like this before or since. 

 In this vision I was looking down from a bird’s eye view, very high in the air. What I saw was an enclosure with high walls like you would see at a castle. Inside these walls were lush green vegetation, flowering plants and trees that were healthy and full of life and crystal clear streams. Not a blemish on any leaf, not one sign of decay on anything, absolutely perfect. Outside these walls was a dry desert with no sign of life as far as you could see.

As I looked I saw these huge letters appear written from one end of the enclosure to the other:  “KINGDOM” Suddenly it was as if I was flying down or zooming into this enclosure and as I got closer I saw that the high wall had many doors at intervals all around it. On each door was written the same word: “OBEDIENCE”.

 As soon as I saw this, the Lord spoke to me and said; “This is the Kingdom of God in every believers heart. Every time my people obey my word, whether written or spoken, a door of obedience opens and my kingdom is expanded in their heart”. Then I saw one of the doors open up and all of the beautiful life filled scenery flooded like water immediately into another area and the same kind of walls, with the same doors of obedience, were raised up around it. I spoke this out to the group and the vision ended.

 Note: Any vision should be judged in light of God’s Word and you should judge this one accordingly.

There have been many kings throughout the ages. Some with vast kingdoms, and some with very small kingdoms. The size of the kingdom determines the power of the king. The kings with the most land, resources, influence, and people were the most powerful and were able to overcome and overthrow other weaker kings and thereby expanding their own kingdom. The most powerful kings were respected and feared. Those with small kingdoms, very little resources, very little land and fighting men were not feared or even respected by some.

The point is: You have complete control over how big the kingdom of God is in your life. The King lives in you, but He is not a tyrant. He will only reign where His rule is acknowledged. If you acknowledge His rule in EVERY area of your life, then 100% kingdom authority resides in you and Jesus will be manifest to the world. The Kingdom of God is within you!

The expansion and advancement of the Kingdom of God on earth is directly tied to our obedience to His Word and the leading of His Spirit. We are instruments of His Kingdom. He bought us so that He could live through us. For Him to do that we must walk in obedience. How much Jesus we can expose people to can be helped or hindered by how much obedience we are walking in.

We must be carriers of the Kingdom of God, knowing that everywhere we go, people can encounter the King.

Luke 11:2 ~ And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.

For the church to awaken out of their religious stupor that has the form of godliness but denies the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5 ) we must embrace this truth and act on it. 

I will leave you with a quote from one of the greatest healing evangelists of recent times. A person who really understood kingdom authority.

“I surrendered unto Him all there was of me; everything! Then for the first time I realized what it meant to have real power.”   ~Kathryn Kuhlman~

~ Hope Deferred vs. Tactical Faith ~

Proverbs 13:12 ~ Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

This is a very important verse for us to understand if we are going to live and walk by faith. Understanding what hope is and how it works will help us be more effective when using our faith to get results. Understanding how deferred hope hurts our faith will keep us from hopelessness, and ultimately, making shipwreck of our faith. So first lets define hope and see how it works.

Hope has been defined as “earnest expectation” derived from Philippians 1:20 and I think that is an accurate definition … up to a point. You see, hope and faith are tied together just the same as fear and hopelessness are tied together. They operate on the same principles and are governed by the same spiritual laws.

I think a better definition of hope is: “A vision of good and blessing obtained from God and His Word”.

In contrast, here is my definition, as I understand it, of hopelessness: “A lack of establishing and maintaining proper vision.”

The Lord said this to me:

“Hope is a picture that God paints on the heart with brushstrokes of revelation.”

Hope is the vision, or picture, of our faith. It is the blueprint for what we are believing for. Hope is the spiritual eyes of our faith and our faith gives the substance to our hope, and is the evidence to us, and others, of the things hoped for.

Hebrews 11:1 ~ Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Hope does not see with the natural eye. Hope sees with the heart, or more accurately, the inner man. Hope sees things finished before they even start. Hope sees the future, the end result, the goal, the vision. Hope is the eye of faith.

Hopelessness sees with the natural eye. Hopelessness sees with the 5 physical senses and it has more faith in the current circumstances and the bad reports than in God’s promise. Hopelessness sees the future too, and it is dreadful. Hopelessness is the eye of fear.

What does it mean to have hope deferred?

Proverbs 13:12 ~ Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

When something is deferred it is put off, postponed, or moved from one place to another. When our hope is deferred in means that we begin to look away from the vision of hope in our inner man, and begin looking at another blueprint, another picture, another vision, one that is contrary to our hope. When we defer our hope for another vision, another blueprint, another end result, we hurt our heart and do damage to our inner man … we make our heart sick.

There are many words in the Old Testament Hebrew that we translate sick. This particular word means to crack open and split apart as with an opening wedge. If you have ever seen someone split firewood with an axe or a maul, this is the picture of what happens to our heart, when our hope is deferred. Not a pretty picture is it? Furthermore, we don’t just hurt our spirit, but our entire inner man.

Without going into a long lesson of the three parts of man, understand that we are a triune being. We are a spirit, we have a soul, and we live in a physical body. The word heart used in Proverbs 13:12 doesn’t just refer to the spirit man, but the entire inner man. We have and outer man, (our body) and we have an inner man, (our spirit and soul). Our inner man is the eternal part of our being. The body is the temporal, or temporary part of our being.

The inner man is our spirit and soul, which includes our mind, our will and emotions, the seat of our thoughts, appetites, passions, and desires. I like to call it, “our believer, thinker, and our chooser.” This is what gets damaged when our hope is deferred. Are you beginning to see how serious this is? Can you see why we have multitudes of believers that are sick on the inside? This is serious folks … and it can be avoided!

Tactical Faith 

 Being tactical is characterized by being strategic, efficient, smart, and skillful. I learned a long time ago that when it comes to faith, tactical is practical. One of the greatest tactics we can learn is how to establish and anchor our hope so that it is immovable, and unshakable. there is only one way to do that, and only one place to drop the anchor, the Word of God.

Hebrews 6:18-20 ~ 18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

 Hope, in this passage, is refered to as an anchor of the soul. Your soul is the eternal part of your inner man that consists of your mind, emotions and will. If hope is the anchor, then the ship that the anchor is tied to is your thinker, feeler and chooser. If that anchor is not properly set, when the storms come and the going gets rough (and it will), your thoughts, emotions, and will, are tossed around and driven by the winds of circumstance. Your hope is not anchored to anything solid so you begin to entertain the possibility of a different outcome. The vision that you have of victory becomes blurry and indistinct. The picture that is most clear to you now is the storm and the damage that it is doing. Your hope has been deferred … and you become heart-sick, divided, split in two, a wedge of doubt driven into your inner man … you become double minded!

James 1 ~ 5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

This principle doesn’t just apply to wisdom, but anything that you ask God for. So how do we stay strong in our faith, nothing wavering, even in the midst of great storms, bad reports and terrible circumstances? Strong faith always begins with clear, strong hope.

Remember that hope is the blueprint for our faith. If you were going to build a house, the first thing you would do is get the blueprints for the house you want so that the builder would know how it is supposed to look. Every detail of that house is on the blueprint so that the end result, when it is put together, looks exactly like the house you envisioned.

Without a blueprint the builder does not have the ability to give you what you want.  If you tell the builder to build a house and don’t specify exactly what you want, he may build you a doll house, a dog house, or an outhouse! Give the builder the right blueprint and as he builds it and gives substance to the blueprint you will have ongoing evidence that your house will be built exactly the way you had hoped.

Hebrews 11:1 ~ Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

F.F. Bosworth made this statement: “Faith begins where the will of God is known.”

I love that quote. If you are not fully persuaded of God’s will BEFOREHAND, and get a blueprint of God’s desire for you concerning what you are hoping and believing for, then you are basing your faith on a shaky foundation. When tests and trials come you will be easily discouraged and your hope will easily be deferred. You WILL become wavering and double minded and will not receive what you are believing for.

The mistake most people make is that they never establish God’s will for their situation in their own heart and mind before releasing their faith. Their hope is not a clear picture of God’s desire for them, but a blurry nondescript picture formed by beliefs based on other people’s knowledge and revelation of God’s Word. We MUST know what we believe and WHY we believe it before exercising our faith.

I see many people who are physically sick that have become discouraged, hopeless and even blaming God because of deferred hope. They can’t understand why God did not answer their prayers for healing. Their beliefs have been shaken, they are confused, and even angry at God. And yet they can’t even quote one scripture on divine healing. They have not familiarized themselves with God’s promises of healing that are literally everywhere in the bible. They are NOT convinced that it is God’s will that THEY should be healed. They never had a clear vision of hope to base their prayers and faith on. They never bothered to get a clear blueprint for their healing, so they wavered in faith and became double minded. They used poor faith tactics and they got no results. So what does good faith tactics look like?

Joshua 1:8 ~ This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Proverbs 4 ~ 20 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. 21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. 22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. 23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

 These scriptures, and many others, tell us how to establish and maintain hope. It tells us how to get the blueprint of our faith on the inside of us. Hope must be established before true faith can be released and true faith begins where the will of God is known.

God’s Word is His will for you. Whatever it is you need, find out God’s will for YOU in His Word. Wether it is healing, favor, wisdom, direction, or provision, you must be fully persuaded from God’s Word that it is His will FOR YOU.

Good faith tactics will find as many passages of scripture possible that speaks to your need.  Pay close attention to the ones that really jump out and stir you up. These are the blueprints of your faith. These are the passages that paint a picture of hope in your heart. This is what gives you a vision of victory.

This is where you drop your anchor!

After you have taken some time to establish that it is God’s will for you to receive what you are believing for, it is time to release your faith. Before you do that however, you need to make a decision on the inside that no matter what I see or feel I will not let up, back up, or waiver. I will not be moved by what I see or feel, I will hold on to God’s promise until I see it in my life.

Every time that you put your faith on something and it does not come to pass,  your hope was deferred, you hurt your faith, you damage your believer. The more you do that, the harder it will become to establish hope and walk in faith. You will not only lose confidence in your ability to get results by faith, but lose confidence in God.

Faith is a fight, it’s a good fight, but it IS a fight. The reason it is called a good fight is, we WIN if we don’t quit. Winning the fight of faith starts and ends with hope. Establish the blueprint of hope in your heart before you start, this is good tactics, and then resist any thought, feeling, or imagination that would turn you away from, and defer that hope. This is spiritual warfare.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 ~ 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

  This may sound a little carnal, but picture a big bouncer outside the door of your heart and mind. Every thought, feeling, or imagination that tries to enter must get carded by that bouncer. If the wrong picture is on the ID, deny it entrance and BOUNCE IT OUT of there!

~ The Balance to Prosperity! ~

imagesRXLDPREO

I continue to be involved in, and exposed to, many different denominations and their doctrines. After a few decades of this something becomes glaringly obvious; No ONE denomination has all the answers, not YOURS, and not MINE.

To give you some background on myself, I am currently involved in the Pentecostal denomination but I have been involved with Four Square, Full Gospel, Baptist, Methodist and Word Of Faith. Denominational titles mean very little to me because they were all birthed out of disagreement on doctrine.

Before I was married I led bible studies and mens groups that had a diverse mix of denominations and beliefs and I was constantly challenged to examine what I believe and why I believe it. Sometimes it would serve to strengthen my belief, and sometimes I would be forced to change what I believe based on my new understanding of the Word of God. I think this is a healthy thing.

I have come to love being around people who challenge my beliefs because it always points me back to the Word, and that is where all the answers are. I have said this before, “If I am in a group of people who agree with every word I say, then I am probably in the WRONG place.” Not that I am just naturally contrary, but I see the value of relationships that challenge you to be better, stronger and clearer on what you believe.

Over a period of 25 years I have been taught that it is God’s will for you to prosper. Over that same period of time I have been challenged just as much that the “Prosperity Message” is a false doctrine, a wrong emphasis, even a doctrine of devils. Because of this, I have continued to revisit the scriptures concerning prosperity and have come to the conclusion that people who resist the GOOD NEWS that God wants you to prosper are completely ignorant of God’s Word concerning the matter. The bible is absolutely LOADED with promises concerning financial and material blessings.

Before I prove this with the scripture, let me say this: I understand the bad taste people get in their mouth when they see abuse in this area. I also know that most Christians in the world never grow past being a spiritual toddler so they are very impressionable and easily influenced by others. They have swallowed the religious tradition and ignorant assumptions handed down by their leaders without question, without seeing what GOD has to say about the matter themselves. Furthermore, there is too much focus, from too many TV  preachers on the topic of prosperity that are NOT teaching it the right way. Do yourself a favor, don’t take their word for it and don’t take my word for it, search the scriptures yourself.

So lets open this up with some “in your face” scripture about YOU being rich.

2 Corinthians 8:9  ~ For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

Thats right, RICH is a bible word. To understand this scripture you really need to read all of 2 Corinthians 8. Paul is talking about ministry and liberal giving. This is bible. One of the principles of being prosperous is being a liberal giver.

The words “rich” used in this verse have been explained away as meaning spiritual blessing only. They are two slightly different words in the Greek, but look at the definition of rich in the latter part of the verse. This pertains to YOU.

RICH ~ plouteō  1) to be rich, to have abundance. a) of outward possessions.  2) metaph. to be richly supplied. a) is affluent in resources so that he can give blessings of salvation to all.

Notice the phrase,  “is affluent in resources so that he can give blessings of salvation to all.” Does it take money to give salvation? In most cases, YES. It takes money to do ministry! Even Jesus had a treasurer. It took money to feed and equip his disciples, it took money for travel and lodging, and it still takes money today.

One of the greatest tragedies of our time is that ministers who have given their life to the call of God and the tending of His sheep live in poverty or struggle financially. In some cases it is the ministers fault for not embracing the gospel of prosperity, in others it is the church council, the deacon board, or the sheep in general for not thinking enough of the gift of God in their lives to insure that finances are NEVER a concern for the minister.

At the same time, it irks me to see so many TV preachers that teach a twisted “prosperity message”. To every “road of truth” there are ditches on each side, and the predominant message on prosperity has the tendency to get people in the ditch of either excess and abuse, or the ditch of avoidance. People need to find the truth for themselves so that they can stay on the road., not letting spiritually blind leaders guide them into the ditch.

On another note, I need to address the popular doctrine of:

“It is God’s will for EVERYONE to prosper financially.”

Is this true? Yes, and no. Like any good Father, God wants only the richest and best for His kids. That being said, money may not always be the best thing for children, especially immature ones.

If you give a thirteen year old $1000. and told him/her to do whatever they want, spend it however they want, they would likely go crazy and buy a bunch of electronic devices, video games, useless toys, and enough junk food and candy to put them in a sugar coma. The money would not only be wasted, but none of these things are going to do anything to help them spiritually or give glory to God, and in truth, could actually hurt them.

I have a close relative that has been in and out of prison, never learned any responsibility, abused drugs, and has no respect for anyone. He only thinks of himself. The worst thing that could happen is for him to suddenly come into a large sum of money. He does not have the character or restraint to keep him out of trouble and money would just give him more opportunities to screw up and self destruct.

He believes that if he had money everything would change, but money doesn’t change your character, it only serves to magnify it and make it more evident. Look at a couple of verses and you will see God’s heart on this matter.

3 John 1:2 ~ Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

This is not just a letter from the Apostle John to “the beloved Gaius”, But for ALL people, for ALL time.

Prospering in your soul is important. The more prosperous you are in your soul is a reflection of how mature and developed you are spiritually.  A maturing soul indicates a growing likeness to the character of God and an increase in spiritual maturity. Notice that John stated his desire for Gaius to prosper and be in health AS HIS SOUL PROSPERS. John said this by inspiration of the Holy Spirit and it indicates that there is an important connection between YOU prospering and being in health and the prosperity of your soul. Look at another verse that makes this clear.

Joshua 1:7-8 7Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

In this passage we see that prosperity and success is dependant on keeping God’s Word in your mouth, meditating on it, and DOING IT. This is not just Old Testament Law, but a spiritual law and a principle that we see throughout the bible that applies to us today. This causes you to grow spiritually, prosper in your soul, and develop strong Godly character, and when you do this, God said THEN you will make your way prosperous, and THEN you will have good success. Why is it that so many believers that are hot on the prosperity message choose to ignore this? It is THE KEY.

That being said, just because you are a Christian doesn’t mean you have good character. Just because God has an inheritance for you does not mean He will give it to you knowing it will hurt you. He is a better father than that. You may be thinking of the prodigal son mentioned in Luke 15, how he asked for his inheritance, the father gave it to him, and then he wasted it and brought himself to total ruin. What you need to realize is, the son was a grown young man not a child. He was mature enough to leave home on his own. This is a warning to mature Christians.

I have three boys from the age of 8 to 14 years old. Everything I have, they will inherit. If my 14-year-old asked me for his portion of the inheritance now, should I give it to him and let him go and do as he pleases? I would be a terrible father if I did that. He has a lot to learn and a lot of maturing to do yet. I have to believe that God is at least as responsible as I am.  :/

This raises another issue that most Christians are completely confused on. Spiritual maturity and just how mature that people THINK they are. I will just say this point-blank; If you have been a Christian for only a few years, regardless of your commitment and how much you have learned, you are not a mature Christian. On the other hand, if you have been a Christian for 60 years, that does not mean that you are mature spiritually.

The point is, just because you have grown some spiritually and prospered in your soul a little doesn’t mean that you can handle the responsibility that comes with money. Regardless of that, the promise of prosperity is STILL yours.

Rarely will you see prosperity come all at once. When it does it is usually followed by destruction. Just look at most of the young entertainers in our culture.

“Prosperity is a journey that is travelled in the vehicle of faith, navigated by wisdom, and fueled by love for God and His people.”

The purpose of the journey is not prosperity in itself, but to ever be maturing into Christ-likeness. All of the experiences, the ups and downs, good and bad times, the rich relationships, the successes and failures, are all tools to help shape and define the character of God that is just aching to rise to the surface and show up in our life.

It is the life of the Spirit IN CHRIST and adherence and commitment to God’s word in all these circumstances that prospers our souls and insures our prosperity.

2 Corinthians 1:20 ~ For all the promises of God IN HIM (in Christ) are yea, and IN HIM Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

If your focus is prosperity and not the journey of living the Spirit filled life in Christ…you may never arrive at your destination.

Here are some rich promises from God’s word to show you what God thinks of prosperity.

Psalm 84:11 ~ For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

Hebrews 11:6 ~ But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Proverbs 3:8-10 ~  8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. 9 Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.

Deuteronomy 8:18 ~ But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.

Luke 6:38 ~ Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Psalm 35:27 ~ Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.

Proverbs 22:4 ~ By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.

2 Corinthians 8:9 ~ For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

Matthew 19:29 ~ And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

~ Don’t Vex Your Soul~

“Don’t break bread with a jackass!”

If you were raised in the country like myself, you may be familiar with this old saying. When I first heard it, I really didn’t know what it meant. I thought, “Why would anyone want to eat with a Jackass?” But then I realized, people do it all the time. The old saying simply means, don’t associate with fools, and don’t hang out with bad company.

I am not sure where this saying originated, but it is biblical. What we see and hear does have spiritual implications, and if we are hearing and seeing it constantly, being affected is inevitable whether it is good or bad.

1 Corinthians 15:33 ~ Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

Living in the communication age, we are constantly bombarded with various forms of media designed to shock, stimulate and influence you to think and feel certain ways. It is extremely effective, and mans carnal nature hungers for this kind of stimulation. The more it is stimulated, the more it wants. The lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh are never satisfied. (Proverbs 27:20)

Proverbs 13:20 ~ He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a
companion of fools shall be destroyed.

Certainly the company we keep matters. When I was first saved in 1988, I knew the Lord was leading me to separate from my old friends. However I did not obey those leadings and soon fell right back into my old destructive lifestyle. I had to learn the hard way. Later on, after I did separate myself from the “fools.” I took comfort in seeing examples of it in the Word. Samson was a great example of what NOT to do. 

Judges 16:15-1715 Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and have not told me where your great strength lies.16 And it came to pass, when she pestered him daily with her words and pressed him, so that his soul was vexed to death, 17 that he told her all his heart, and said to her, “No razor has ever come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaven, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.”

We are not supposed to be “like any other man,” we are called to be different. We should stand out. It should be easy for people to identify us at work or in the marketplace. We should be the ones that leave a conversation when it becomes inappropriate, take a stand for what is right, and refuse to take part in filthy conduct and things that are ungodly. If we don’t, we open ourselves up to torment and oppression. Not to mention bring a reproach on Christ.

Look at what happened to Lot:

2 Peter 2:6-8 ~ 6 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; 7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)—

Lot CHOSE to dwell among the ungodly and it cost him big time. If it were not for Abraham, it would have cost him his life. We have a choice too, we always have a choice, remember that. If we are seeing and hearing filthy conduct and lawless deeds all the time, our soul will be vexed and tormented. The more we allow, the less sensitive we will be to the Holy Spirit.

Don’t be afraid to be different and take a stand for Christ. Don’t break bread with Jackasses, you have a choice. Instead, choose to enjoy the bread of life.

John 6:35 ~ And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life.” He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

JC

~Dying To Live, The Mystery of Christ~

dying-to-live

The Lord has been leading me on an amazing journey these last several years. For the most part it has been a journey of self-discovery, finding the truth of who I am in Christ, while also seeing the weaknesses and inadequacies in myself. As one revelation grows, so does the other.

Through this growth and discovery process I felt this constant need for MORE. More love, more faith, more power. As I asked questions of God and searched the scriptures for some kind of answer to my feelings of inadequacy, I found some shocking truths that have changed my entire perspective. Not to mention how I experience God on a daily basis.

To start with, my thought was that God should improve me. I prayed constantly for God to make me a better man, a better husband and father, a better minister, a better servant. I thought He should just download some love and power in my heart, some faith and holiness – and improve me.

Then it hit me: Self-improvement is NOT the answer, and God
will NOT improve your “self”. He has asked you to DIE to “self”.

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Colossians 3:3 ~ 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

I had spent years of effort trying to improve a dead man, when all along I should have been focusing on putting on the NEW MAN!

Ephesians 4:24 ~ and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Colossians 3:9-11 ~ 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.

Christ is the NEW MAN! Instead of focusing on the dead man, we should be focusing on the new man. It is Satan who wants to resurrect the old man who is full of sin and death. He knows he can’t conquer the new man in Christ, so he distracts us from developing in the new man by keeping our attention on the old dead one. Pretty slick.

Romans 13:13-14 ~ 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

Galatians 3:26-28  ~ 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.   For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

We are made to be containers of God, carriers of Christ, allowing God to live through us, to express His love and power to a lost and dying world. This can only be accomplished by taking our place “IN HIM”. This is the mystery that eludes most Christians, that keeps them from walking in the fullness of God. To walk in the demonstration and power of God on this earth we must have a revelation of our identity IN Christ.

Colossians 1:27 ~ To them God has chosen to make known among the
Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

COLOSSIANS_MYSTERY_Web-2

Although it is a mystery, God is not hiding it from those who seek to walk in the fullness of Christ.

Galatians 2:20 ~ I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

~ Why Is Peace On Your Feet?~

battle

How does Peace fit into Spiritual warfare? It almost seems like a contradiction in terms doesn’t it? Without this vital part of your armor you are at a terrible disadvantage when engaged in a battle for you and your family’s life. Know that your enemy is real… and the battle is real!

Let’s define Peace so that we understand what we are dealing with.

Peace has similar meanings in the Old and New Testament. The Hebrew word “shalom” and the Greek word “Irene” are beautiful words and do not translate into the English language with anything less than a paragraph or two to give them justice.

Basically, “shalom” (Hebrew) means complete wholeness and oneness with God, nothing missing and nothing broken. “Irene” (Greek) means oneness with God and comes from a root word that means “one”. It also means “to set at one again.”

The point is, everything that Peace does or produces in your life has just one purpose: To create a oneness, a unity and an intimacy with God. That being said, we should desire Peace to be in full operation in our lives at all times so that we are prepared for any battle that may arise.

Peace is a manifestation, a ministry, and a fruit of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is called “the Helper,” (John 14:26) so it makes sense that the number one thing He wants to help you with is your relationship with God. Your unity with God is the single most important thing you need when facing the enemy. Peace is the way the Spirit helps you with that.

Years ago, while seeking the Lord for more understanding on Peace, He showed me that peace has a “position” in your life. That position is always in front of you. You should always be pursuing Peace and following His lead. Lets look at some scripture that verifies this.

Isaiah 55:12 ~ “ For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with
peace; …

Psalm 34:14 ~ Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue
it.

Luke 1:79 ~ To give light to those who sit in darkness and the
shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.”

 1 Peter 3:11 ~ Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it.

Hebrews 12:14 ~ Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without
which no one will see the Lord:

Colossians 3:15 ~ And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to
which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.

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See the pattern? Seek Peace, follow after Peace, pursue Peace, be led out with Peace. These scriptures indicate the position of Peace, the position of a guide, a leader, and a point man. Peace should have the final say in every decision we make. Colossians 3:15 says we are to let Peace rule. That means that we should always take a position to submit to and Follow His leading.

Ephesians 6:15  ~ and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

hard shoes

I wondered why something as important as Peace was put on our feet,. It is a “not so pretty” body part, I knew there had to be a reason. When I questioned the Lord about it, He asked me, “Why do you wear shoes?” I immediately knew what He was talking about. We wear shoes to protect our feet when we walk. Peace protects us in our walk with God, steering us away from things that hurt or hinder us in any way. This only works if you give Peace the proper position in your life, as your guide, your point man. By giving Peace the proper place, you HAVE shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace.

 2 Peter 3:14 ~ Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;

~Your God Inspired Answer~

God_Answers_Knee_Mail_by_smilejustbcuz

Proverbs 20:5 Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.

The “counsel” that Proverbs is talking about is the counsel of God that resides in the believer. Now just think about that for a minute. Any time you needed to ask God for His counsel, His opinion, His take or His will on a matter, you have that available ALL THE TIME, resident in your very being.

So with this realization, knowing that you can get the RIGHT answer when you need it, why don’t more Christians use this priceless resource? What keeps a man from getting counsel when He is seeking it? I have some thoughts.

First we must be humble enough to realize that even when every bit of information, conventional wisdom and all of your life’s accumulated experience points one way, He may have a different plan. His ways truly ARE higher than our ways.

I think that sometimes we get so involved in OUR desires, OUR goals and OUR personal interests that we ignore our responsibility to seek Gods input. We neglect our responsibility to get Him involved in the decision-making process. The problem is that we become so invested with our time, resources and energy that it becomes harder and harder to admit that we may have missed it. We don’t like to admit that we did all this in vain.

The key to the passage in Proverbs is not the availability of Gods counsel, but that only a man of understanding can draw on it.

Look at this verse in Job. I believe it holds the key to “understanding” by Gods definition.

Job 32:8 8But there is a spirit in man: and the
inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.

        The understanding that we must seek is God inspired, God breathed. This understanding cannot be attained through worldly knowledge and human reason. This understanding is not available from a drive through window
or a lottery ticket. It will only come when you have chosen to seek Him until
HE inspires you to make a decision. Until God inspires you, you don’t have the
counsel of God.

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Counsel is in the Heart or spirit of man because God lives there. Lets seek those things that inspire the heart like The Word of God, prayer, fellowship with
other believers, the counsel of your leadership and praying in the spirit.
These are all things that inspire you in your heart. They feed your spirit and
give life to the inner man. These are the safe avenues to seek Gods counsel and
you will find that most of the answers you seek can be attained through one or
more of these.

God is not hiding His council from you. He is not hiding answers from you. He does however desire you to pursue Him to get the right answers. The thing is to seek the inspired counsel of God and understand that you are to keep seeking that inspiration until you get it.