Category Archives: Being Led By The Spirit

How God leads His people, How to be Led By The Spirit, How Peace works in your life, Things that hinder you being led by the Spirit.

The Balance to Biblical Prosperity

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           I have continually interacted with many different denominations and have been exposed to their various doctrines and traditions. After a few decades of this, something becomes glaringly obvious; No 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. I don’t call myself a “Pentecostal,” or any other church group moniker, but simply say that I am a friend to all who believe on Christ and serve Him.

          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 many times, “If I am in a group of people who agree with every word I say, then I should probably find a new group.” Not that I am just naturally contrary, but I see the value of relationships that challenge me to be better, stronger, and clearer on what I believe.

          Over a period of 29 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 doctrine that God wants His people to prosper are completely ignorant of God’s Word concerning the matter. On the flip side, most Christians that are gung-ho about prosperity are equally as ignorant. I see both groups spending entirely too much time defending their position and not enough time pursuing the truth. So I have decided to put my 2cents worth in and I welcome any comments or insights… as long as you have scripture to back it up. Your personal opinion is meaningless if not founded on the word. So, Here we go!

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.

          That’s 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 first principles of being prosperous is being a liberal giver. That disqualifies most Christians right there! Being a liberal, cheerful giver is the first step to enjoying biblical prosperity. If you don’t get this right, you will never have faith to receive the promises of material and financial blessings.

          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 many 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, paying taxes, etc. 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 televised preachers teach a twisted “prosperity message.” To every truth there is a road and there are ditches on each side. The predominant message on prosperity has the tendency to get people in the ditch of either excess, selfishness, and abuse, or the ditch of ignorance and 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 one ditch or the other.

          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, (which make up the majority of the Body of Christ)

          If you give a ten 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 relative that has been in and out of prison all his life. He’s 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 himself 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. Many Christians have this same mentality. They seek and pursue financial blessing far more than their own spiritual progress and live a life full of frustration and disappointment, always looking for blessings that never come. 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 to 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 principle that we see throughout the bible and still 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?

          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 12 to 18 years old. Everything I have, they will inherit. If my 12-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 people THINK they are. I will just say this point-blank; If you have been a Christian for only a few years, say, less than ten, 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. Spiritual growth does not happen automatically.

          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.

           Another twisted belief we see prevalent in the  Church is that IF someone is blessed financially, they are mature and understand biblical principles concerning prosperity. This is a huge problem in the church for many reasons. One mistake  I see Pastors make continually is putting a person in a position of authority based solely on the fact that they are prosperous, and are big givers to the ministry. Pastors feel that because of big financial support, a person should have some influence and a voice about the workings of the ministry. Or they allow them a title and position to insure their continued financial support. You will find that NO WHERE in the Bible. This is a recipe for disaster, and more Church splits and other hardships have come from this mistake than any I can think of.

          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.”

          In a nutshell, I think this is a balanced understanding of the prosperity message as God intended it, and I will leave you with this one thought that will help put it in perspective;

“If your primary focus as a Christian is health and wealth for yourself, you have reduced the gospel to a self serving, powerless theology that brings a reproach on Christ.”

          That being said; 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.

JC

~ How To Develop Your Spiritual Ears ~

The Lord asked me recently, “How does faith come?” I immediately said “By hearing Lord.”  The Lord asked: “So then how does hearing come?”  (By the way, anytime the Lord engages you in conversation, know this: He is wanting you to pursue HIM, to engage Him in relationship, but that is another teaching.)

I was reminded of all the scriptures that states: “he who has ears to hear let him hear.” I began to see why people who have the “appearance” of faith are getting no results, They don’t have a hearing ear … so faith never comes.

The common teaching is that faith comes by hearing and hearing and hearing etc. And there is absolute validity to that line of thought. The thing that has not been taught is that there are different ways to hear and there is a difference between natural hearing and spiritual hearing.

Look at the verse that we all know and quote in faith circles. The answer is RIGHT THERE!

 Romans 10:17 ~ So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Let me give you a more accurate translation of the verse to make it clear.

ROM 10:17 (paraphrase) ~ So then faith comes by what you hear, and your hearing comes from the Word of God that you act upon.

Just because you have ears does not mean you are capable of hearing the Word. … And that’s the rub! Your spiritual ears, your heart, can only be opened by the Word of God. That word will come from the written Word as well as the spoken Word, but ….

ONLY THE WORD THAT YOU ACT ON WILL DEVELOP YOUR SPIRITUAL EARS.

Throughout the bible, it is the disobedient and rebellious people who “had ears but could not hear.”

Deuteronomy 29:4 ~ Yet the LORD hath not given you a heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.

Jeremiah 5:21 ~ Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:

Ezekiel 12:2 ~ Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house.

 “Spiritual hearing” comes from the word of God that you act on.

There are VAST realms of understanding and revelation that you will never acquire if you are not a doer of the word. If you do not act on what you have heard, the bible says you are deceiving yourself. If you hear the word and do nothing about it you are spiritually deaf and disqualify yourself from the blessing of God. To have ears to hear takes action.

James 1:22 ~ But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Once action is taken concerning the Word of God, a wonderful cycle of growth and revelation begins. Acting on the word gives life to your faith and develops your ability to hear from the Lord, which in turn opens you up to hear more, which gives you more opportunity to act on what you hear, which gives life to your faith ….  And the cycle goes on.  It is called spiritual growth.

If the Word of God is sown in your heart and you refuse to act on it (rebellion), the devil has the right to come steal it from you. This is the condition that we see in  the parable of the sower.

Matthew 13:19 ~ When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.

There are too many “way side” Christians in the Church today. The spiritual condition of the Church as a whole is poor, in part because the inability to hear what the Lord is saying to this generation.

Matthew 13:9-13 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.10And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?11He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

When Jesus called the twelve He said to them: “Come.” They acted on that word and continued to follow Him. Because they acted on the word, THEY HAD EARS TO HEAR. According to verse 11 above …“it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven”…

You can know the mysteries of the kingdom too, just like the twelve, just begin to walk in the light of what you know. If the Lord has spoken to you in any way, through His word, through a still small voice, or just an unction of peace, obey that word. THIS IS FAITH! This pleases and opens your spirit up to hear more. This is His desire. This brings peace with God. This is relationship.

Peace is the “frequency” of God, and obedience tunes you into that frequency.

I have a short teaching on Youtube about “The Ear of Faith” that will help you better understand these principles @ this link>  The Hearing Ear

JC

~ Learning To Be Led By Peace ~

Years ago, when I found out that God actually speaks to His people, I had this thought; “If I can learn to hear His voice and be led by His Spirit, I’ve got it made,” because I had already made up my mind that I was going to follow Him, and I believed that anything He would lead me to do would be the best thing for me regardless of how it may seem at the time. I still believe that.

What I have learned over the years, in my efforts to be sensitive to His voice and His leading, is that the primary way that God leads His people, aside from His written word, is with the inward witness of Peace. Not the inward voice, not the audible voice, no angelic messenger sent with a light show and a message from the Almighty, just a subtle witness, an impression, a feeling that something either seems right or seems wrong.

God still communicates with the inward voice, the audible voice, angelic visitations, dreams and visions, but that is not the norm, God leads us primarily through the Spirit of Peace. It is important to understand what Peace is and how it works so that we recognize when the Lord is trying to show us something. Jesus was trying to convey this to His disciples in John 14.

John 14 ~ 22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. 25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. 26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Some would suggest that Peace, as mentioned in verse 27, is a separate subject than the previous verse where He talks about the Comforter, but it is not. Jesus is still on the same topic, and He is still answering Judas question about How He will manifest himself to believers and not the world. The answer is Peace.

Peace is the advantage that we have as Christians. It is the arbitrator of our decision-making process that works to lead us into the perfect will of God. It is the supernatural compass, the leader that is never wrong. It is the guide on the inside with a direct line to heaven, the connection to God’s thoughts and intents for your life.

 Jeremiah 29:11 ~ For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Learning to be led by Peace is like learning anything else, you must practice. There is an old saying, “repetition is the mother of skill”. The more you do it, the better you get at it, it is as simple as that.

I believe that learning to recognize the subtle unction of peace is the first step in the learning process. Peace does not manifest with boisterous announcements and an earthshaking demonstration, it is soft, quiet, and serene like a gentle breeze or still waters.

We are all used to being stimulated to our 5 physical senses. It is important to learn how to shut out all external voices and noises in order to open up, and tune into, your spiritual ears. It is hard to hear a whisper if people, and problems are screaming  at you from every direction and over-stimulating all your senses.

Tuning in to the Holy Spirit’s leading is like tuning into a radio station, and the frequency of the Holy Spirit is Peace. We have to move the tuning dial of our spirit in such a way that the static of outside stimuli gets weaker and weaker (tuned out) and the inward witness of our spirit becomes clearer and clearer (tuned in). Once we discipline ourself to tune in to the Peace frequency, there are some other techniques that will help us be more accurate in being led by Peace.

Emotions are the strongest and loudest voice you will have to quiet in the battle for silence in your mind. Sometimes, no matter how much we try to tune out the world so we can hear our own heart, there are situations and circumstances that elevate our emotions to a level that make it very difficult to tune them out. In a situation like this there are a few practical things that we can do to help us be more accurate in our decisions. First is what I like to call the RAD technique. RAD stands for Reduce All Decisions to a yes or no answer.

No matter how detailed or complicated a decision is, even if it has a multitude of possible answers, break it down to a two answer question, a yes or no, this way or that way, or go ahead or wait questions. In reality, you may have to reduce it down to many two answer questions to get your answer, but this helps you focus your soul and spirit.

Once you have used the RAD technique and have identified all of your “two answer” questions, take each question and use another little trick I call TIP.

TIP stands for TOUCH IT with PEACE. Here is an example of how to TIP something.

Years ago I felt like God was dealing with me to sell my house. I could not get clear on the time I was supposed to sell it. This was my first home and it was a pretty big deal. I did not want to miss it on such a big decision and yet I was not clear if I was to sell it now or in the near future. Then the Lord said to “Touch it with Peace”. I had never heard that before but I knew what the Lord meant. I immediately took a FOR SALE sign and placed it in my front yard, went back in the house, got quiet, and listened on the inside.

Quickly I realized that I had an uncomfortable, scratchy feeling on the inside, a little buzzer, a check, a feeling that what I had just done seemed wrong. I knew that I had violated my peace. A half hour later I pulled the sign up and my struggles to be clear were over. I knew I was to wait.

On another occasion, I lost a receipt to a battery that I had bought for a boat. The battery was the wrong size and I had spent about an hour ransacking my house and garage trying to find it. I was getting frustrated and finally asked the Lord to help me. ( yeah, I know, should have done that first Ding Dong.) The Lord said “why don’t you do what you know to do?” I knew He was talking about relying on the Holy Spirit to lead me with Peace.

God cares about all the little things in your life and desires to get involved and help you. He is a gentleman however and will only get involved if asked.

So I was standing in the middle of my living room, looking up at the ceiling, and I just got real quiet and “tuned in” to my heart. There were three directions I could go from where I stood, out the front door, down the hallway, or through the kitchen. I hadn’t been out the front door so I could eliminate that without thinking, so I looked down the hall while listening to my heart. I got that subtle yucky feeling from staring at the hall so I turned to the kitchen and it seemed right. I stepped into the kitchen looking around at the opened drawers, the papers I had scattered on the counter, the dreaded trash can that I had pilfered through repeatedly, and that scratchy, yucky feeling was there again.

 I stepped to the backdoor and looked out the window at the garage and had a witness that this was the right way. It didn’t make sense to me. I had been through the garage several times. And then I got a revelation about a passage in Philippians.

Philippians 4:7 ~ And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

You must learn to trust Peace pass the limits of your understanding.

So I slowly walked outside, looking around, trying to be sensitive, and when I took the second step into the garage I knew I was in the right place. It seemed right, it felt good, I had a witness in my heart, … but I still didn’t see the receipt. I stood there with arms crossed and carefully scanned every area. I looked up to heaven to inquire of the Lord and … RIGHT THERE!

I was standing by a 6 ft. step-ladder that I had opened in the middle of the room to change a light bulb. As I look up to heaven I saw the corner of the receipt hanging over the edge of the top step, just over my head and out of sight. Peace had led me to it.

I use this TIP technique often, especially when I misplace my keys or phone, and this is great practice when learning how to be led by Peace. Repetition is the mother of skill. the more you practice on things like keys, phones and receipts, the easier it will be when the pressure is on.

Peace is one of my favorite topics, and what I believe to be one of the most valuable things to learn about if you are to live a life of the Spirit. Here are some scriptures to meditate on to help you grow in Peace.

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

Philippians 4:5-7 ~ 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:13-15 ~ 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

Isaiah 55:12 ~ For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

~ The Day I Heard God ~

John 10:27 ~ My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they
follow Me.

One of the greatest days of my life was when I discovered that God speaks to His people personally.

It was November 1988 and I had been saved about two weeks. I had almost no interaction with other Christians for those two weeks because after I was saved, I left town on a job. During those two weeks I had read a little paperback New Testament at night in the hotel room where I was staying. It was the only Bible I had ever been exposed to and I was reading it like a starving man.

When I returned home I sought out the people who had prayed with me and had a million questions. I wanted to know more about this wonderful thing that had happened to me called salvation.

They invited me to a bible study that night and I when I showed up, the house was full of people who were engaged in this discussion about how God had spoken to this one individual a few days ago. As I listened skeptically, one by one they all related stories of how God had spoken to them. I thought they were ALL NUTS!

My Idea of God was somewhat shaken by all this conversation and I wanted some answers. I had to know if this was real or just a bunch of weirdos that went off the deep end, so I politely asked, “what exactly do you mean by God spoke to me?”

A woman named Diane explained to me that God does speak in our hearts, and that we can learn to hear His voice. She went on to add that every night for one whole year she would lay in bed at night and pray, “God, you are my father and I am your child, and I should know my father’s voice, so I am asking you to speak to me.”

Many more words were said and a lot of instruction was given, but what she said stuck with me and I could not get it out of my mind. To help me in my new faith, the group gave me a brand new Amplified bible. I was so excited! I had never seen the Old Testament before and was looking forward to exploring it.

On the long drive home I was wrestling with all this new information about how God speaks to people and I just couldn’t bring myself to accept it. So when I got home, I went to the bedroom, dropped my new bible next to the bed, kicked off my cloths and laid down staring at the ceiling.

With arms crossed, laying there in the dark, I decided to put this woman’s method to the test. So I prayed, “God if you really do speak to people I have to know it for myself. So I am going to lay here until You talk to me if I have to lay here until daylight.”

I was not prepared for what happened. Immediately I heard this strong voice inside me say “Samuel 3.” I sat up on the edge of the bed and turned on the light. I can’t explain how I felt, but I knew one thing for sure, that did not come from me because I did not know what “Samuel 3” meant.

As I was sitting there wondering if that was God that spoke or just my overactive imagination, I looked down on the floor between my feet and saw the new bible. I picked it up and turned to the table of contents thinking this might be a scripture. When I saw the books of first and second Samuel, I was completely shocked! I asked the Lord, “which one?” and that same voice came again and said, “First Samuel,”

You may know the story. The prophet Samuel was just a boy. He was laying in his bed one night, (just like me) and the Lord came and spoke to him (just like me). The boy ran in to the priest because he thought the priest had called him. You see, Samuel did not know God’s voice either (just like me). This happened three times until Eli the priest had to tell Samuel that the Lord was talking.

It was at that point that I stepped over the line from believing that God is real, to KNOWING that God is real, alive, and speaks to His people. 

JC

~ 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~

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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.

~ The Peace Of God … works on commission ~

Peace is available, but NOT automatic.

You have a part to play if you are going to walk in the Peace of God.

Philippians 4:6-7 ~ 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be
made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all
understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ
Jesus.

The word “guard” in verse 7 is an interesting word. The literal translation is: “a watcher in advance.” It is a military word that describes what we understand to be a “point man.” If you have been in the military, you know that a point man has the responsibility to lead his team safely through enemy territory while detecting and avoiding the enemy’s traps. The point man keeps the team safe while maneuvering them into the most advantageous position. The point man is ultimately responsible for every life on the team. If the point man fails, the team could die.

God has given us the greatest Point Man available, the Peace of God. The same Peace that Jesus had with the Father.

John 14:27 ~ Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not
as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

I was working a job years ago that paid me on commission. I was thinking about a sale I had just made and the Lord spoke to me out of the blue and said, “Peace works on commission.” I was confused for minute, and then I realized that God didn’t mean “commission” as in being paid a percentage for a sale, but this:

commission, definition: the act of granting certain powers or the authority to carry out a particular task or duty.

You have an opportunity every day to ask God to lead and guide you by His Holy Spirit. Peace is a present day ministry of the Holy Ghost and you must commission your Point Man (Peace) into your future by prayer. Prayer changes the NOW by preparing your future with Peace. No matter what you are doing or where you are going, you can travel in Peace if you pray before you leave.

Prayer paves the road with Peace. Don’t walk into a future that is not prepared by prayer and conditioned with Peace.

~ Are We Making Jesus An Invalid? ~

While praying in the spirit one morning this phrase came out: “I thank you Lord for the body of Christ that validates you to the world.”

That was a new thought to me, however it makes perfect sense. He is the head. We are the body. Without His body, He is incomplete. As I thought on this and asked the Lord what He was trying to show me, I thought of a person that was an “invalid,” with no use of his limbs, paralyzed. Then I thought of the word “invalid”. NOT VALID!

I realized that this is a picture of the present day body of Christ. Without power. Not valid in the worlds eyes.

The body does not have the understanding, nor the power, to carry the Head to a lost and dying world.

We MUST become the body of Christ that we were designed to be. We must walk in the fullness of the Spirit. We must stop thinking and acting independent of the Head.

If I want a drink of water, My head tells my hand to pick up the water bottle and put it to my mouth. If Jesus (the head) wants to heal someone and he tells you (the hand) to go and minister to that person and raise them up by His power  … and you don’t do it … You have just made Him an invalid, and to the world, you have just made Christianity “NOT VALID.”

Jesus is very clear on what He wants us to do:

Matthew 10:8 ~ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

Do you really have the guts to walk that out? Do you have the faith to take Him at his word and believe that He will back you up? I am not pointing fingers, I am asking myself. You ask yourself.

JC.

~ God said: “You Are A Dirt Bag?” ( it’s not what you think :)~

YEP! That’s what He said.

First let me explain what “dirt bag” is in this context. As you may know, you are a spirit being, with a mind and soul, and you exist on this earth in a body, your “earth suit” so to speak. Your earth suit is made up of basic elements that are found in dirt. (Remember, God created Adam from the dust of the ground so this should make sense.)

Your skin, the largest organ of your body, is the “bag” that all of this “dirt” is contained in. That being clear, let me share an important revelation that can help you in your walk with God.

Years ago I remember struggling with this one particular sin that I just COULD NOT seem to overcome. I was praying and asking forgiveness for the umpteenth time and being disgusted with myself I said “LORD, I am such a DIRT BAG!” The Lord spoke back to me very strong and said: “Yes Jack, you ARE a dirt bag. As a man thinks in his heart, so he is.”

I was shocked!
All I could think about was that the Lord called me a “dirt bag” and then gave
me scripture to back it up by quoting Proverbs 23:7 ! I was like … Lord!? … for real!?

It was at that moment that it seemed like He downloaded this huge revelation into my “hard drive” about how we see ourselves. What you are mindful of has tremendous impact on our spiritual growth and our ability to walk in the spirit. Today I saw how it impacts our ability to minister to the needs of others. Romans 8 holds the key to understanding this.

Lets break it down.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

(You see, it is not enough to just “be saved” (in Christ Jesus) but you must be “after the Spirit.” Notice the capital S in Spirit? We must be ever conscious of the Holy Spirit and His agenda.)

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.  3For what the law could not do, in that
it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 
 4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

There are two laws mentioned here; the law of the Spirit of life in Christ and the law of sin and death. We are FREE from the second law because God CONDEMNED SIN IN THE FLESH.

When the devil is successful in getting you into self-condemnation and thinking of yourself as a “Dirt Bag,” you are in essence saying: “What God did was not enough, I have to condemn sin myself.” This can be as simple as you just focusing on the carnal, fallen nature most of the time instead of being mindful of spiritual things. This renders you helpless and powerless. (Which is the devils goal if he can’t kill you.)

 5For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.  6For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

We understand that actively pursuing sin brings death, but did you know that condemnation does the same thing? Condemnation IS “minding the things of the flesh.” We can’t be effective at helping others with death working in us.

 7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Having the “Dirt Bag” (carnal) mindset is enmity against God. You cannot please Him. It reminds me of another scripture.

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.

It takes faith to break free of the “Dirt Bag” mindset.

 9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the
Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.

Do we really get it? That we are NOT in the flesh? Just because we live in a flesh and bone “earth suit” and walk around in a fallen world does not mean we can’t be spiritual. Obviously I did not get that when the Lord spoke this to me.

Condemnation quenches the Spirit and puts the focus inward instead of upward and outward. It renders the Christian powerless, ineffective and no threat to the devil.

We MUST walk in power. That power is for OTHER PEOPLE. It is not for you. It is not for you to execute your own agenda or for you to market it so you can be financially secure. It is not to play with or for you to draw attention to yourself. The devil tries to keep you from walking in this power by substituting it with an
opposite power, the power of condemnation. He tries to get you focused on the
“DIRT BAG” so much that it is all you can see. Instead of being mindful of
spiritual things that can help others, you become only mindful of you, and you
can’t even help yourself.

DON’T BE A DIRT BAG! (CARNAL)  BE  SPIRITUAL!

1Corinthians 2:15 ~  But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is  judged of no man.

~ You Need A Comforter ~

So …why did God leave us a comforter? He DIDN’T. He left us        THE Comforter.

John 16:7 ~ Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

Jesus said it was “expedient for you” (that means us) for Him to go away so He could send the Comforter. Most folks, including His disciples, would argue that it would be better for Jesus to stay. They really didn’t know what He was talking about when He mentioned the Comforter.

The word expedient means: suitable for achieving a particular end in a given circumstance. Jesus knew that it would be necessary to have the Comforter if we were going to fulfill the Lord‘s plan. So why is that? Why would we need a comforter? God obviously foresaw that we would need to be comforted. Why? 

Because God will call you to do things that are, or seem to be, beyond your ability to accomplish. Because of this, you need the Comforter to constantly testify to you that you ARE doing the right thing, you ARE on the right path, and you did hear My voice or obey My leading. Without this comfort we would be at the mercy of our doubts and the knowledge of our own limitations.

If your vision can easily be accomplished in your own strength and efforts I would question if it actually came from the Lord.

God gave you the Holy Spirit to comfort you, to teach you, and to bring you to remembrance of what the Lord has spoken to you in His word and by His Spirit. If you are not living in constant need of a comforter then chances are, you are falling short of fulfilling His purpose and plan for your life.

 To know who you are in Christ is to know that you will be called to do the seemingly impossible at times, and to do this, you WILL need the Comforter.

John 14:16 ~ And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

 We have the Comforter for eternity but we need to learn to depend on Him and cooperate with Him NOW. Earth is “Faith School”. If you don’t learn it here, you will have to learn it in heaven. Why wait when you can enjoy a supernatural life here? Cooperate the Holy Spirit … The Comforter.