Tag Archives: Thoughts

The Gift of Righteousness

  giftof right        How do we become righteous, holy and blameless in His sight? The simple answer is “by faith,” but what does that look like? How do I exercise faith to become what God says about me?

        Salvation, grace, righteousness. These are all gifts. Not something we deserve, not something we work towards. These are gifts, they cannot be earned, they must be received.

Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

        We don’t seem to have a problem believing that Christ has made us all these thing positionally, we have a hard time believing that we ARE these things ACTUALLY.

        God said He made us righteous. This is not just a declaration of our position in the Kingdom of God and our right standing with the King, but also a promise to become righteous in thought and deed. We tend to follow Abram and try to help God out by trying to do good, behave better, sin less, etc. and in doing so, we become so aware of sin and conscious of our own shortcomings and our ability fail, that we walk around with a sin consciousness and actually war against the grace of God that is meant to change us.

We must believe that God has made us righteous, not just in theory, not just positionally, but actually righteous in behavior and thought, even in the face recent, or even ongoing sin.

        By believing this, we are actually laying ourselves down on the great Potter’s wheel so that grace can mold us and shape us into that very image. This is not a denial of sin, nor does it accommodate sin.

 Romans 5:17  For if by the one man’s  offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

        God’s word contains the creative power within itself to become a reality if we will set ourselves in agreement with it. This takes the stewardship of our thoughts and words, speaking only faith and refusing to speak words of doubt and unbelief.

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        Any concept of grace that makes us feel more comfortable sinning is not biblical grace. God’s grace never encourages us to live in sin; nor does it make room for us to stay the same, on the contrary, it empowers us to change so we can say no to sin and yes to truth.

 

Leadership Basics: Power vs. Authority

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Leadership – The ability or skill of influencing people to willingly follow you toward a common goal.

          The best Leaders in any capacity are, without fail, the best of servants to those he is leading. When we hear the word, “servant” we tend to think of a slave or a hired hand. In the case of leadership it takes on a much higher and more noble meaning. A servant leader is one who is devoted to meeting the needs of those he is leading

“If you are not willing to serve, you are not qualified to lead.

Power vs. Authority

Power – The ability or right to force or coerce people to do your will, regardless of their willingness to do so, because of your title, position, or might. or skill.

          Maybe you have heard phrases like: “Do it or else!” or “Do it because I said so!” or “Do it or you’re fired!” This is the use of Power. Power forces people do your will. Power can be given and taken away. It can be bought or sold. People can attain a position of power by any number of unjust means. Not so with Authority.

          The use of Power has its place, but continued use of power will erode relationships and create tension. You may be able get a few seasons out of Power, you may even accomplish some great things, but it is usually at the expense of healthy relationships.

Authority – The ability or skill of getting people to do your will because of your personal influence in their life just because you asked them to.

          We are all called to lead in some capacity. In our families, at our jobs, or maybe on a sports team. Although we may not see ourselves as leaders, we are all called to live a life that leads others to Christ.

          How we live our daily lives determines the amount of influence we have on those around us. When we are examples in speech, conduct, and character we build confidence in others to follow us and create a desire within them to help us.

          Pastors and ministry leaders that work primarily with volunteers must be skillful in leading with authority because the use of power will drive volunteers away.

          Authority grows as respect for the individual grows. Once you have earned respect your authority will begin to increase as long as you are consistent.

          Power can be handed from one person to another. Authority must be developed and maintained.

          When power is used consistently, resentment and discord will surely follow.

          Consistent development and use of authority is what builds winning teams.

JC

More Life Changing Christian Quotes

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“The Smallest world you will ever live in is the one you are the center of.”

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“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”

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“Where love is, God is.”

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“In order to be happy with oneself you must

Make at least one other person happy.”

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“Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.” Proverbs 21:21

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“When we ask God to do what He has already done, or ask Him to do what He told us to do, we war against His purpose and provision for our life.”

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quo7“It’s not enough to be delivered from sin.

It is enough to be delivered to righteousness.”

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“WHEN GIVEN THE CHOICE BETWEEN BEING RIGHT

OR BEING RIGHTEOUS,

CHOOSE RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

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“The people who really rule the world are those who know how to pray.”

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“Rule with the heart of a servant, serve with the heart of a King.”

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“Gifts are free, but maturity is expensive.”

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“Anyone who knows who God made them to be

Will never try to be someone else.”

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“When you know who you are

You can’t be seduced by who you were.”

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“Being willing to do what you are not qualified to do

is sometimes what qualifies you.”

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“If you can’t be free from sin until you die, then Jesus isn’t your Savior, death is.”

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“Apostles govern, prophets guide, evangelists gather, pastors guard, and teachers ground.

We need all five of them, working together to properly equip the Church.”

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“Purpose to live in such a way that nothing ever gets bigger than your consciousness of God’s presence.”

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“Revelation is not the product of laborious search and study, but it is the fruit of your relationship with God.”

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“Every time we demean ourselves we are talking badly about the Artist and the Model.”

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“If you are too busy to pray, you are busier than God wants you to be.”

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“Worry is the darkroom

in which negatives can develop.”

Thanks for visiting.

JC

Why Christians don’t Prosper

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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. 

          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) metaphorically, 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?
T          hat 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

Your Words Make A Difference

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        Are you tactful and wise with your words? Slow to speak, and quick to listen? Or do you need to carry around a roll of Duct Tape to keep from sinning with your mouth and saying things you regret? 

          Oh, I am not pointing fingers at anyone, I have been known to need some of that miracle-working, silver sticky stuff myself.

          As a servant of Christ, we should immediately feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit when we say something that hurts people or tears them down. We should also feel convicted if we speak against anything that God has said about us. If we go for long periods of time and don’t experience those little pricks of conviction and correction in our heart, I would suggest that we are not even trying.

          We all have room to grow in this department; I don’t care how mature we are. One of the most important things we can learned is to trust our heart. Our heart (spirit man) has a direct line to God’s heart and mind, and the source of all wisdom and knowledge. If we take a moment to check up on the inside before we speak, we would see an immediate change in the quality of our communication, as well as the quality of our relationships. This is a principle that Proverbs makes very clear.

Proverbs 15:28 ~ The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.

In others words, give your heart a little time to tell your mouth what to say.


          Our words carry enormous weight, and can carry severe consequences. More than we sometimes think. They have the ability to impact people for a very long time, shaping and molding who they are and influencing the direction and path that they take. The bible says that faith comes by hearing, (Romans 10:17) So we should ask ourselves; “what are my words making people believe about themselves, and how are my words shaping my own beliefs?

          Words can build courage and strength or they can discourage and weaken. They can minister grace and life, or pain and death. They can build and edify, or they can tear down and destroy. They not only communicate, they also create. 

Luke 6:45 – A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

          What treasure have you been storing away in your heart? Did you even know that you had a store? Whether you know it or not, your heart is being filled with something. The things that you give attention to, look at, and hear fills your heart, and whatever you are full of comes out when you speak. A minister once told me, ” When you get squeezed with problems, what’s inside you WILL come out.” It is so true. So, when a Christian gets squeezed Christ should come out.

          God’s Word is the obvious choice if we are to store treasure in our heart. His Words are spirit and life, they are health and medicine, they are full of grace and they are truth. When you are full of God’s Word your communications carry a part of HIM with it. Your speech becomes a tool that God can use to build you up and impart grace to others.

Ephesians 4:29 ~ Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

The best definition of grace is: “The divine influence on the heart, and its reflection in the life.”

          There are few things more rewarding than to know that you have been used by God to influence another person for HIM. To impart His grace and leave that person better off than before you spoke to them. Man! It just doesn’t get any better!

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          “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). Every day, we are shaping reality for ourselves, and others who hear our words. The choice is ours. How will our words impact others? How will your words impact YOU and your family? Are you determined to make progress in this area? Do you see the need?

          I have a little saying that I try to live by. As my wife will attest, I don’t always do it, but I’m still growing, PRAISE GOD! The saying is this:

“Before you speak, make sure it is an improvement on silence.”

          Just doing that one little thing will keep you from all kinds of grief.

          The Word of God is full of commands to keep His word before our eyes and in our mouth. It’s clear that words must be treated as a stewardship. I will leave you with two of my favorite scriptures on the importance of stewarding words. Be blessed!

Joshua 1:8 ~ This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Proverbs 4:20-22 – My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. 21 Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; 22 For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh.

JC

25 Life Changing Quotes for Christians

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          Here are  a few quotes that have had an impact on me. I hope you enjoy.

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“Don’t get so busy confessing what you’ve been, and miss believing to become what He paid for.”

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” The fruit on your tree grows from your belief about yourself.”

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“If you don’t treat God as a good Father, you will never see yourself as a beloved son.”

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The difference between who you are and who you want to be

is what you do.”

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” Before you change your thinking,

you have to change what goes into your mind.”

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“If serving is beneath you,

then leadership is beyond you.”

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All Words have Prophetic Implications.”

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~ Faith is putting ALL your eggs in GOD’s basket, then counting your blessings before they hatch. ~

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“Servants serve FOR approval,

Sons serve FROM approval.”

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When you judge another, you do not define them,

you define yourself.

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“When you know who you are

you can’t be seduced by who you were.”

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“God has given you the ability to house Him.”

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“The devil isn’t afraid of you entering the building,

He’s afraid of you becoming the building.”

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“Intimacy with God requires your constant involvement.”

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“Don’t make peace with the part of you

that doesn’t glorify God.”

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“Be a master of your mouth or you will be a slave to your words.”

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“What you feed your mind determines your appetites.”

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“If faith isn’t strong enough to move your mouth,

It won’t be strong enough to move your mountain.”

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“The once born die twice;
The twice born die once.”

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God will only reign in your life where His rule is acknowledged.”

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“If you’re NOT HUNGRY FOR GOD,

You’re probably FULL OF YOURSELF.”

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“The ability to speak many languages is an asset, but the ability to keep your mouth shut in any language is priceless.”

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Jesus is either Lord of ALL 

or not Lord AT ALL.

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“The only thing that can defile you
 is what comes out of you by word or action.” – Mark 7:15

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“Obedience is the act of FAITH.
Disobedience is the act of UNBELIEF.”

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          If you enjoyed the quotes and would like to see more, please like and leave a comment.

Thank you!

JC


 

 

 

 


 

 


The Word was God!

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THE WORD WAS GOD!

Just take that in for a minute…..

John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

         So, “in the beginning was the word,…”

          What is a word? Why was Jesus called “The Word?” Why are words so powerful? Why, according to Proverbs 18:21, is death and life in the power of the tongue? We see in this first portion of John the incredible creative power that the word possesses.

WORD def:

“A word is a physical expression (by verbal, written, or other actions) that carries ideas and “CREATES IMAGES” The very nature of the word shapes the image that it produces.”

GOD def: Merriam Webster,

the supreme or ultimate reality: such as

1) the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe.

2) a being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship; specifically: one controlling a particular aspect or part of reality.

         If the Word is God, then God is the Word, then both definitions should accurately describe both the Word and God. If these definitions are not interchangeable in our minds, then our understanding of God and His Word are lacking.

Make Your Tree Good!

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A Tree Is Known by Its Fruit

Luke 6:43-45  For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

          Fruit comes out of the heart, good or bad, through our words and actions. Our mouth plays an integral part in what kind of fruit we bear, for out of our mouth comes the fruit of our tree. Whatever is in us in abundance will eventually come out as fruit in the form of words and actions.

          Fruit is intended for consumption and nourishment.  We are the ones that consume most of the fruit that we bear. Our minds must be renewed so that we will be transformed into a good tree.

Matthew 12:33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.

          Make the tree good and its fruit will be good. When the fruit is good, we increase our ability to nourish, increase and sustain our spiritual health and growth.

          The key is: WE MUST MAKE OUR TREE GOOD! Spiritual growth and development is not automatic. We must cooperate with our Father to grow into the child that He paid for. We have been adopted, and that adoption came at a great price. He paid for our past and gave us a down payment on the future, the Holy Spirit.

2 Corinthians 1:22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

Ephesians 1:13  In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

          The Holy Spirit is here as a helper, and advocate, an intercessor. To help us embrace the life and nature of God that now dwells in us as believers. It is our cooperation with the Holy Spirit that makes us good trees, bearing the fruit of holiness.

Isaiah 61:3 calls us; “trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord. That He may be glorified.” We have been grafted in to the root of THE good Tree. Because of that, we ARE righteous, holy, and blameless in his sight. We have been made righteous by the blood of Christ! When we set ourselves in agreement with that truth, and believe that we are righteous in spite of our performance, we make the tree good, and the righteous tree is empowered to produce righteous fruit. Until you agree with what god has said about you, you will not be empowered to live out the righteousness that Christ paid for.

root.jpgColossians 1:21-22  And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight

          The fruit that you see is ALWAYS a result of the ROOT that you cannot see. We tap into the life in the root by keeping God’s word in our hearts and minds and being obedient to what we learn. Looking into God’s word, and obeying it, is like looking into a mirror. If you stop looking in the mirror, you will forget that you are a good tree.

James 1:23-24 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.

JC

 

The Grace of God, and the Graces of God

111grc          The gospel of grace is a core message of the New Testament. In fact, grace is a thread that can be traced through the entire Bible. But what exactly is grace? How would you define it? The New Testament has much to say about the topic so it’s important to know exactly what is being said when grace is mentioned.

          From my own observation and experience, I see that Christians, for the most part, don’t really understand what grace is. They define it as “unmerited favor” or “God’s love and compassion.” While those are certainly true, they are just a few aspects of grace.

Grace, by definition is Divine Influence. Specifically, the Divine Influence upon the heart of man and the expression, or reflection of that influence through the life of man.

          In simple terms, grace is God’s way of influencing your heart, mind and soul so that the decisions you make in life will enable you to become more like Him and accomplish His purposes through you life.

divine in        Grace is God’s influence. That influence varies, and is unique to each individual. God tailors His grace according to your gifting, your place in society, your influence over other people, etc. Look at what Paul writes in Romans;

Romans 12:6-8 ~ Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

          The understood topic here is GRACES not gifts. What Paul is talking about here is the differences in our gifts are produced by the graces that are on our life. In other words, our giftings look different because the divine influence (grace) in our heart is unique to the individual. Look again at the above text, and pay close attention to the underlined wording. Then look at Ephesians 4 where it lists the 5-fold ministry gifts. When introducing the idea of ministry gifts, Paul begins with this statement:

Ephesians 4:7  But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

Compare that to the Statement in Romans 12:6.

Romans 12:6  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 

          In both passages the language is virtually the same, yet the order is changed. Ephesians says “grace according to the gift,” and Romans says “gifts, according to the grace.” If Ephesians is clearly talking about gifts, then Romans is clearly talking about graces. When you put the two together you see this:

          The measure of grace differs according to the measure of the gift, and those gifts will look different because of the grace, or graces in operation in your life. There are 7 GRACES mentioned Romans 12: 6-8

1) Prophecy

2) Servant (ministry)

3) Teacher

4) Exhorter

5) Giver

6) Leader

7) Mercy giver

          To understand what a GRACE is and how it affects us, let us view them as glasses with colored lenses. When you are looking at life through those glasses, everything you see will be tinted with that color, and your actions and responses will be influenced by it. Your GRACE affects how you see things, how you deal with problems, and how you express yourself in your gifting.

          For instance, if you have the grace of SERVANT (ministry), you see the world through that “colored lens” (GRACE). Maybe your gifting is an Evangelist. So it would be natural for you to engage in “Servant Evangelism.”

          Your Grace determines how you think about things, how you approach things. For example: If your grace is a GIVER, and you are ministering to someone who needs healing, you automatically think of what you can GIVE to help them. Like buying them some books on divine healing, or sending them to a healing crusade and paying for the whole thing.

          If your grace is EXHORTER, you may encourage them in faith, read some healing promises from the bible, tell them “this is nothing for God, you can beat this thing easy.” You see the answer as just needing to be encouraged in the Lord.

          If your GRACE is TEACHER, you think that all they need is to understand and learn more about divine healing and faith principles so you try to teach them anything and everything you know on divine healing.

          Look at the rest of that passage in Romans and notice how Paul starts the dialogue.

Romans 12:3-8 ~ For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as
we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same
function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry (servant), let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

          When Paul says that he speaks “through the GRACE that is given him,” he is talking about the divine influence upon his heart as a leader and exhorter. When he teaches, that influence is reflected in his life.

          Pay attention when you see the word GRACE used from now on. I think you will see that this may be a key to understanding why we do what we do.

          I don’t expect everyone to grasp this right off. It is something to be contemplated, and meditated on. I pray this helps in understanding who you are and how God is influencing your life.

JC

Start Where Jesus Finished

          What does that phrase mean, “Start where He finished?” I heard a minister say that some months ago and the phrase stuck with me, although I wasn’t quite sure what it meant. After some meditation on it, I believe I understand.

 cross2         Jesus was on the earth for approximately 33 years. His intent and focus was singular. To restore mankind back to his original created purpose. To do this He had to show the greatest act of love ever known to man. He paid a terrible price and laid down His life for us so that we could be restored. I remembered that on the cross Jesus said, “It is finished.”

John 19:30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

          What was finished? He still hadn’t descended into hell to pay the price for our sins. He still hadn’t ascended to the Father and presented His blood on the mercy seat. The Holy Spirit had not yet been restored to man. So what was finished? The act of love necessary to fulfill all those things previously mentioned. He laid down His life to obtain all that for us. cross

          That my friends, is where we must start, where He finished, laying down our life and picking up our cross. This is the only road that leads to full Kingdom authority. This is what it takes for our relationship with the Father to be completely restored. Jesus did his part, now its our turn.

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 

John 16:24-26 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 

To live this Christian life successfully, to its fullest, we must start where He finished, at the cross. This is the only way we truly overcome in this life.

Revelations 12:11  And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

JC