Tag Archives: Jesus

~The Role of Godly Relationships ~

Ephesians 4:16  ~ from whom (Christ) the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

          Notice it says, “by what every JOINT supplies.”   What is this joint that Paul is talking about? What exactly is the supply coming from this joint?

          I think most of us understand that God uses the human body as an example of how the body of Christ works. With that in mind, consider what a joint is. It is not a body part, but the connection between the parts. it is the joining of one or more parts together. The “joint” is the relationship between the parts. We are “joined and knit together” by what every relationship supplies. The supply of the Spirit comes through the relationships we have with other believers.

          This supply of the “joint” will cause growth and edification to the body according to the effective working of every part doing its share. So, what if we, the parts, are not “effectively working?” What if  we are hurt, confused, misunderstood, or deceived? What if we are simply the wrong part in the wrong place? What if we are just ignorant of how all this works so we don’t put enough emphasis on the relationships and make it all about how each part is functioning or not functioning.

In our physical bodies, when there is pain and injury to any joint it affects all the surrounding parts. It limits mobility, reduces overall strength, severely limits the function of all the surrounding parts. It is the same with a spiritual body.

While praying one day I said by the Spirit, “Lord, I thank you for the Body of Christ that validates you to the world.” As soon as I said those words, I saw in the Spirit an Arab man sitting in a wheelchair with his head down. In bold white letters, written across this image was the word, “INVALID.” As I looked closer at the image I saw that it was Jesus in the wheel chair. I cried profusely at what He was showing me. He gave me understanding of what He was telling me.

The Lord was showing me how our behavior has made Him an invalid (not valid) to the world. The world sees us put ourselves first, instead of Him and others. They see the selfish ambition that causes envy, jealousy and every evil work. It is no different from their own behavior. We must be separate. We must be different.

When I was a young boy, I remember my grandmother, who was a nurse, using that term to describe someone bound to a wheelchair, whether temporary or permanent. I began to think about the significance of that word, INVALID… Not valid. What a terrible thing to say about a person.

James 3:14-18

 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

        We can be the right body part in the right place, but if we are not relating properly with the other parts of the body, we actually cut off the supply of the Spirit coming to us and through us. Furthermore, if we are selfish and prideful in our relationships we become a landing strip for demonic activity according James 3.

         When the parts are effective at doing their share, with humility and deference, right relationship and true fellowship occurs inviting the Holy Spirit to provide a supply that brings growth and edification. It is how the parts relate that brings the supply, not the strength of the part. It is the fellowship of the parts that bind and knit us together. It is the “joint” of fellowship that allows us to experience God on a level that goes beyond what we can experience on our own.

Fellowship isn’t just a bunch of fellows in the same ship, its a bunch of folks called to community by divine appointment to be an expression of God to the world.

Hebrews 10:24-25

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

We need to celebrate our local church and the relationships we have there. If we are broken and separated from the body we should reconnect. Be a peace maker, gather with an awareness of the importance of right relationship. Come with humility, come with expectation, come to join in God’s work and be a blessing to God and all you are in relationship with. Lets make Jesus a valid option to the world.

JC

The Pruning of the Lord

If it isn’t producing Life it needs to be pruned, and pruning hurts! God prunes us as we incline our hearts toward Him, but HOW does He prune us?

Hebrews 4:12 

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

        God is the great Vinedresser and His Word is used to help prune us and shape us into His image.

His Word is sharp, cutting clean and deep when we incline our heart to it. It is a discerner of our thoughts and intentions, separating light from darkness, exposing things in us that need change. The Word challenges what we think and believe as it exposes us to God’s will for our lives.

The carnal man’s response is to run from the Vine Dresser and try to heal himself from the cutting…. Because pruning hurts! The New Man’s response is to run to the Father and hide under His wings. We can’t consummate our marriage to Christ while our “old man” is still alive.

 In Exodus 33:20 God said to Moses, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.”

        Our carnal, fallen nature (“old man”) cannot look into the face of God and live.

          Spending time with our Father and His Word is our Old Man’s face to face encounter with Him. It is the surest way for dead things to get pruned out of our life. 

          If we are constantly in His Word and don’t practice intimacy, we will try to DO the Word in our own strength instead of becoming the Word by His grace.

           Embracing intimacy will always lead to healthy dose of the Word, and develop a Father consciousness. The more we see Him as a Father, The more we see ourselves as sons. When we have intimacy, coupled with the Word, our perspective changes about everything and everyone, including ourselves. Our identity is formed in intimacy. Without intimacy we will never bear the fruit of who He is.

          Our perspective of the Word will change as we pursue intimacy with God. We will find ourselves “reading” the Word less but digesting it more. The Word will become so alive it will be as if one phrase is speaking volumes and we will naturally, purposely slow down to thoroughly digest it, letting it cut us deep and clean, knowing that His embrace causes it to be less painful. The cutting is for our good, the pruning is needed for growth and health and healing comes immediately when we pursue intimacy.

                     Long-term exposure to only the Word without an intimate relationship will produce self-consciousness and self-righteousness. Exposure to only the Word cuts us and cuts us and cuts us, with no relief in sight. The cutting exposes darkness, weakness, and sin. Intimacy is one way God becomes strong in our weakness.

           Cutting off those things in our life that aren’t producing good fruit is HIS responsibility in this relationship, not ours. He is the Vinedresser, we are the vine. Vines NEVER prune themselves. He is the great potter and we are the clay. Clay NEVER shaped itself into anything, but that is exactly what we will gravitate to if we have only God’s Word in our life with little or no intimacy.

           Knowledge of the Father without intimacy will puff us up and make us think we know what to do and try to please Him with our own human efforts to “do better.” Without intimacy we become legalistic, frustrated, and sin conscious.

Sin consciousness is the fruit of being exposed to the Word of God and not pursuing intimacy with God. Sin consciousness is easy to identify. If we are constantly seeing sin in others and judging them, thinking about what they need to change, what they should do, and how they should behave, this indicates knowledge of God’s Word but ignorance of who we are. We must not try to do what we learn without learning who He is. Our identity is formed in intimacy. Without intimacy we will gravitate toward Old Testament law and never fully understand or embrace New Testament grace.

We are in the last days and we we all need to aspire to become everything Jesus paid for. We must embrace the pruning and the correction of the Lord in this season.

JC

God loves a Mystery

To understand the mystery of the gospel, we need to understand that

God loves a mystery.

          For us to embrace this thought we must realize that God does not always use His ability to see the future. He will always choose to lay aside His foreknowledge in favor of relationship.

Proverbs 25:2-4

It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.

          It is the glory of God to create a mystery. Jesus Christ is the greatest of God’s mysteries and it is our great honor to search it out. But God does not ask us to do anything that He hasn’t or will not do Himself.

As the heavens for height, and the earth for depth, so the heart of kings is unsearchable.

          God purposely makes the kings heart, our heart, unsearchable. Even for Himself.

          When we are born again, we are born of royalty. Within each of our hearts, God deposits His Seed and creates a new mysterious being that never existed before. Within that incorruptible seed, are gifts and graces to help shape and develop you. God is excited about that! He has great expectation of seeing how that seed matures and expresses itself through our unique personalities.

          While it is our glory to search out the mysteries of God. It is His glory to search out and discover the mystery of who we are in Him and watch it unfold in our lives. He loves the discovery process of our journey. He loves relationship.

          He loves surprises. He loves watching the milestones of our growth and development and experiencing them with us. He loves every little step we take toward Him. He loves it when we choose life over death. He loves it when we run to Him for help. He loves it when we believe. HE LOVES US!

Everything God does is relational.

God prefers the joy of relationship over His ability to see our every move and choice.

The mystery of who we are is one of His greatest joys.

He loves a mystery.

Take away the dross from the silver, and the smith has material for a vessel;

          Our Father is the smith, taking away the impurities, the iniquity, the sin. He loves removing the things that weaken us while searching our heart to find the treasures He has hidden there.

          Our heart is revealed to Him through our words and actions. Faith is revealed in the same way. When our faith is tested our heart is revealed and He takes that faith and refines it. Therefore, faith pleases Him, and trials are important.

Hebrews 8:12

For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.

          If God can choose to remember our sins no more, at the very least we must entertain the possibility that He could choose to not use His foreknowledge.

Jeremiah 17:9-10

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
10 “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”

          Why would God search, and test if He already knows the answer? Why did He ask Adam and Eve four questions in the garden? Why did He stop Abraham from sacrificing Isaac and make the comment,” Now I know?”

          Because He didn’t know. He chose the mystery of relationship instead of using His ability to foresee what happens.

          He loves walking through the trials, and the fires, the purging and the pruning, the testing, and the valleys. All to see the brightness of our rising, the perfecting of His vessel.

          We are the glory of His great mystery. Vessels, being tested, shaped, and molded. We are no common vessels to be filled with common things, but vessels with a glorious purpose. To house the very presence of the Almighty God.

          Understanding this truth helps us see God in a completely different light. It gives us a better understanding of the scriptures and gives us a better understanding of ourselves.

          Everything God does is relational in its intent. He desires to be involved with us in intimate relationship during our journey. It is our journey, but His work. We must humble ourselves to embrace His work and allow Him the honor of sanctifying our journey with His involvement.

JC

The Unprofitable Prophet.

Jeremiah 23:29-32

Is not my word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? 30 Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, declares the Lord, who steal my words from one another. 31 Behold, I am against the prophets, declares the Lord, who use their tongues and declare, ‘declares the Lord.’ 32 Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, declares the Lord, and who tell them and lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or charge them. So they do not profit this people at all, declares the Lord.

          In these last days we are witnessing an abundance of false prophets and false prophecies. Although false prophets are speaking things they declare is the Lord, we also have inexperienced prophets that have not learned how to properly steward God’s word, speaking words out of season with wrong interpretations of what God is saying to His church. Then we have true prophets that are hearing from God and speaking His word in season to help shape the culture of the church and prepare her for what is coming. However, even a true prophet can make a mistake or be deceived.

          How are we to tell the difference? What can help us discern which voice to listen to? What is our responsibility as the hearer? What is our responsibility if we are a prophet?

          First let me say, we have a responsibility to hear God for ourselves. There are few things more tragic than to name Jesus as Lord and never experience intimacy with the Father. This is available to all. This is the reason Christ came.

          A terrible price was paid so God could get back inside us. He has given us everything we need pertaining to life and godliness. We can’t afford to blindly trust others to hear from God for us.

We must know our Fathers voice!

          Pride and selfishness has corrupted the beauty and dulled the hearing of the Church. With itchy ears she runs about seeking the next word, the next teaching, the newest revelation, with no intention of walking any of it out. Carrying a head so burdened with unused knowledge that she doesn’t know what she believes or why she believes it.

          We must turn to the Lord and lay everything we have and everything we are at His feet. Humility under the hand of Almighty God is our protection against the deception from false prophets and false prophecies. It is also protects us from giving false prophecies if we are a prophet.

Jeremiah 23:21-22

“I did not send the prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied.
22 But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their deeds.

          When we fail to stand in God’s council for ourselves we lack discernment and are easily deceived. It is His council we are after, not mans. The council of man is tainted with the fallen perspective of pride and selfishness.

Pride distorts and darkens.

Humility brings clarity and illumination making direction and timing clear. Intimacy is the answer to all the questions above.

          Intimacy with God is primarily where transformation takes place. The Great Potter shapes us into His image as we pursue the mystery of who He is. If we will embrace this truth and give ourselves over to this process we leave no room for deception and discerning the truth becomes easy.

JC

Preparing for Revival #6

Something Beautiful I learned about God.

          I love how God reveals Himself to His children. He knows just how to speak to us in a way that is so personal and intimate that it makes us fall that much more in love with Him.

          While listening to a minister teach on the fall of man, the minister made reference to Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve heard God walking in the garden and hid themselves. He went through the questions that God was asking in verses 9-13, “Where are you Adam?” “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” “What have you done?” The minister then made this statement, Of course God knew the answers to these questions, He knows everything. He was saying this for Adam’s sake.”

          Right after the minister spoke those words, the Lord spoke to me and said, “I don’t always use My foreknowledge.” I must say, that shocked me. However, I knew it was the Lord. I recalled in Genesis 22 how Abraham took his son Isaac to the top of the mountain to sacrifice him and the angel of the Lord stopped him and said, “now I know that you fear God.”

          Instead of using His foreknowledge. God, FATHER God, will choose the wonderful discovery process of relationship over His foreknowledge every time. He loves the spontaneity, the anticipation, the surprises of growing in intimacy with His children. Then He spoke this to me,

I gave man his creativity so I could be surprised at how he loves Me with it.”

We truly are here for His good pleasure. I am thinking of how many times God has surprised me and my family. Now I’m thinking about how I can surprise Him.

I’ve been crying for three days!

JC

Truth about the Rapture

           Let me first say, I am not attacking any person or ministry I am attacking what I now believe to be a false doctrine that is popular in many Church circles.

          My hope is that this will enlighten folks to the truth before it is too late.

          As far as I can tell there are only four passages in the bible that teach us plainly, openly, and directly about the rapture so I am only going to use those four.

        The first of these passages is found in Mathew 24.

Now, this is Jesus talking. Red letters in my Bible. I think He is the highest authority qualified to teach about the rapture. Pay attention to the text.

Matthew 24:29-31

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

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

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

Matthew 24:3-28

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

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

          I am not sure that I could help by elaborating on the stark clarity of the above text. However, I will make a few comments. In verse 15. The abomination of desolation spoken by Daniel standing in the holy place. This I believe is an obvious reference to the antichrist and his actions after his rise to power. After his rise to power, vs, 21 says there will be great tribulation, and those days being shortened for the elect’s sake. False prophets trying to lead astray the Elect. This sounds like tribulation to me. I know some pre trib doctrine say that the “elect” are the 144 thousand, and that is true but it is also the church He is talking about the ones chosen for the high honor of living in this extraordinary time.

Lets look at the other verses.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

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

1 Thessalonians 4:13-17

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

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

1 Corinthians 15:51-52

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

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

        To even start believing in this foolishness we first had to learn it from another man. Maybe a father or a pastor, or some teacher we trust, we just didn’t learn it from the bible. No matter what theological gymnastics we use we can’t get around this being the Last Trumpet. We can use other

passages of the Bible to imply or infer a pre trib rapture, we can even try and project or convey our interpretation of prophecy onto these text, BUT WE WILL NOT FIND IT IN ANY TEXT!

Here is a letter from Corrie Ten Boom. I think she is uniquely qualified to comment on tribulation and persecution. This is not to add weight to the text. She is just a saint that I admire. I think it is a worthy read.

Corrie Ten Boom’s Letter

          In 1974 Corrie Ten Boom wrote a letter to warn Christians about the false teaching of the pre-tribulation rapture.

          This is a portion of that letter. If you would like to read the entire letter click here: (Corrie Ten Boom’s letter of warning)

 “There are some among us teaching there will be no tribulation, that the Christians will be able to escape all this. These are the false teachers that Jesus was warning us to expect in the latter days. Most of them have little knowledge of what is already going on across the world. I have been in countries where the saints are already suffering terrible persecution.

In China, the Christians were told, “Don’t worry, before the tribulation comes you will be translated – raptured.” Then came a terrible persecution. Millions of Christians were tortured to death. Later I heard a Bishop from China say, sadly,

“We have failed. We should have made the people strong for persecution, rather than telling them Jesus would come first. Tell the people how to be strong in times of persecution, how to stand when the tribulation comes, to stand and not faint.”

I feel I have a divine mandate to go and tell the people of this world that it is possible to be strong in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are in training for the tribulation, but more than sixty percent of the Body of Christ across the world has already entered into the tribulation. There is no way to escape it. We are next.

Since I have already gone through prison for Jesus’ sake, and since I met the Bishop in China, now every time I read a good Bible text I think, “Hey, I can use that in the time of tribulation.” Then I write it down and learn it by heart.

When I was in the concentration camp, a camp where only twenty percent of the women came out alive, we tried to cheer each other up by saying, “Nothing could be any worse than today.” But we would find the next day was even worse. During this time a Bible verse that I had committed to memory gave me great hope and joy.

If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. (1 Peter 4:14-15)

I found myself saying, “Hallelujah! Because I am suffering (for the name of Christ), Jesus is glorified!”

In America, the churches sing, “Let the congregation escape tribulation”, but in China and Africa the tribulation has already arrived. This last year alone more than two hundred thousand Christians were martyred in Africa. Now things like that never get into the newspapers because they cause bad political relations. But I know. I have been there. We need to think about that when we sit down in our nice houses with our nice clothes to eat our steak dinners. Many, many members of the Body of Christ are being tortured to death at this very moment, yet we continue right on as though we are all going to escape the tribulation.”

JC

~ Spiritual Ears ~

111ear1

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. I thought I had “arrived” at that point, because I had already made up my mind to do what God said. Unfortunately, I found that when you learn to hear God’s voice you then become a genuine threat to the Devil and he goes to work on you to disrupt and confuse the hearing process.

          Before we dive into some of the things I have learned to fight this attack on our spiritual hearing, I want to share a brief testimony on when and how I discovered that God speaks to His people. This is important, because before you learn to hear from God, you must first be absolutely convinced that He will talk to you.

The Day I Heard God

          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 the prayer of salvation with me and I had a million questions. I wanted to know more about this wonderful thing that 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 weirdoes 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 dead serious!

          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 exactly how I felt. I was a little shaken, a little scared, 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 on the edge of my bed, 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. At that point in my life, I had never read one word in the Old Testament, but 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 felt like my heart was about to pump out of my chest. I asked the Lord, “which one?” and that same voice came again, only this time it was not a strong inward voice, but a still small voice, and it said, “First Samuel 3,”

          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 to Samuel three times until Eli the priest had to tell Samuel that the Lord was talking. God brought me to a place in the bible that I was experiencing at that very moment! He affirmed that He was my Father and that He wanted to speak to me!

          It was at that point that I stepped over the line from believing that God is real, to absolutely KNOWING that God is real, alive, and speaks to His people. I was on top of the world! The creator of the universe had just spoken to me in such a personal way that even my pea brain couldn’t get confused about it.

          For weeks I was in this euphoric place where I was constantly talking to, and listening to God. He was fathering me, and I was doing my best to be a good son. Then I realized that it was getting increasingly harder to discern God’s voice. I blamed it on not praying enough, not reading enough bible, sin, etc. and this is where most Christians miss it. Like me, they believe all of that garbage and fall into the enemy’s trap of deception and confusion. In this lesson we will look at some things that impede your ability to hear clearly from God.

The Frequency of God

 111ear9         When you tune in to a radio station you have to adjust the dial to a specific frequency on your radio if you want to have a clear reception. If the frequency is off  by just a little bit, the reception becomes distorted with static and hard to hear. God has His own frequency that allows you to hear a clear, strong reception. That frequency is PEACE.

          Your heart is the radio, but that radio has to be tuned in to the right frequency to pick up the reception. If you drive your car to the radio station and park it so the bumper is touching the radio tower, you still won’t pick up a reception unless you tune the radio in to the proper channel.

          Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because you go to church and park your keister in a pew twice a week that you are going to be tuned in to hearing God’s voice. Your heart must be “tuned” to hear God’s voice.

1 Kings 19:11-13 Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. 13 So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

111ear3        Just like a radio frequency, storms can interfere with your reception. In the verses above we see that God was not in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire. This was not an “act of God,” but an attack of the enemy to take Elijah out. To keep Him from hearing from God and make him continue down this pity party road that he had started on. Elijah even asked God to let him die. This was right after his famous showdown with the prophets of Baal where God consumed 400 false prophets with fire.

          It doesn’t take long to go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, but as Christians we are called to shine through it all. The enemy knows that if he can cause enough static he can keep you from being clear on God’s plan for your life. The more he can disrupt and interfere with the communication between you and God the less successful you will be in fulfilling your created purpose. That is what Satan is after, your purpose.

          Your created purpose is son-ship. In the Garden of Eden, Peace with God was lost, and therefore the father child relationship was broken. Jesus restored Peace, and through Him we now have the Father son relationship restored. When we begin to walk in the fullness of our son-ship the enemy is rendered powerless. This relationship between you and God is ALWAYS Satan’s main target. If he can keep you from being Fathered, he can keep you from becoming like your Father.

Many Voices

          When trying to hear from God, we must be able to filter through all the other voices that are speaking to us. If you have ever been in a crowd of people where everyone is trying to talk to you at once, you know that it is very difficult pick out and hear just one voice. That is when you raise your hands and yell “ONE AT A TIME PLEASE!” Often we need to do that spiritually. We take one voice at a time, one thought at a time, and bring it into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5  For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

          Cutting through all the thoughts, bad reports, symptoms, and strongholds of wrong thinking is the spiritual battle that we are engaged in. This never stops. The enemy, your carnal nature, memories of bad experiences, and just life in general are constantly speaking to you. You must learn to find that quiet peaceful place in the presence of God that His voice can be clearly distinguished above all the clamor.

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          Worship is the best way to make this happen. I’m not talking about your worship service at church once or twice a week, although that is important. I’m talking about you, all alone in your bedroom, when no one else is looking, worshiping God from your heart. Desiring Him enough to spend time with Him alone, telling Him how much you love and appreciate Him. Pouring out your heart and being open and vulnerable. No effort you make toward God will ever go unrewarded. If you draw close to Him, He will draw close to you.

James 4:7-8  Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

          Christians tend to focus too much on resisting the Devil. Constantly praying about the devil, binding, loosing, rebuking. Don’t spend time resisting the devil, spend time submitting to God. This is the best, and only way, to resist the devil. By submitting to God, you have automatically resisted the devil. You now fight in His strength and not yours. You acknowledge that Satan is a defeated foe, that the victory has already been won. Now take your stand and enforce the victory by submitting to your Father.

STOP FIGHTING A FIGHT THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN WON FOR YOU!

Willingness to Obey

 111ear4         One of the biggest thing that prevents people from hearing from God is unwillingness to obey what He says. If you ask God for something and you are not willing to hear a “no,” He may not even talk to you about it because He knows your mind is already made up.

          There is a popular teaching that’s been around for years called “The five love languages.” It teaches you to identify and recognize your spouses needs so that you can better meet those needs and prevent tension and strife in your relationship. Well, God has a love language, and that love language is obedience.

John 14:16  If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever

John 14:21  He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

John 14:23-24 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.

          These three passages are from one chapter in the Bible. Jesus is trying to prepare His disciples for a life in the Spirit. He is giving clear instructions about how our love for God is to be expressed. He is also teaching them that this is the key to having God manifest in your life.

Isaiah 1:19 If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land.

          Willingness and obedience are a cornerstone of the Christian faith. It is the number one way to express love for your Father. Love is the fulfillment of the Law. It is THE New Testament commandment. (Mark 12:30) It is THIS love that makes your faith work.

Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

          Read more about how to develop your spiritual ears Here

~ Walking in heavy F.O.G. (Favor Of God) ~

Psalm 5:12 ~ For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield.

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What is Favor? How do I get some? How do I know it when I have it?

It is available to everyone in the body of Christ, but not all Christians experience it. Favor is not automatic, we need to learn to experience heavy F.O.G. (Favor Of God) in our lives.

Romans 8:31 ~  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Having the favor of God in your life means that GOD IS FOR YOU! Favor makes a difference! It helps you, sustains you; it means you are “preferred,” and it’s noticeable! Webster’s Dictionary (1828 edition) defines favor as: “an advantage for success.

Have you ever heard the old saying: “If you see a turtle on a fence post there is one thing you know for sure,

  He had some help!”

The point is; favor gets you to places you couldn’t get to by yourself. The favor of God takes you places that you could not go in your own strength and your own abilities.

Our culture, and our government try to equalize everyone—everything “politically correct,” everybody’s a winner, we don’t keep score…. The reality is, everybody is not a winner. That doesn’t work in the real world. We all have different capacities, different abilities, different strengths and gifts. Yes, we all have the same created value. We all bear the same price tag; The blood of Jesus. However, we see in scripture that there are different levels of rank, authority, and capacity.(Read the Parable of the Talents, Matthew 25 )

Favor is a major theme throughout the Bible. It goes along with grace, mercy, peace, etc. We see favor in the lives of Moses, Noah, Abraham, David, Joseph, Mary and Jesus, and many others.

There is a way for us to find favor with God and with men:

 Proverbs 3 ~  1 My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands;  2For length of days and long life and peace they will add to you. 3Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, 4And so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man.        

Many Christians don’t experience the Favor of God because they don’t esteem the Word of God properly, they don’t put it first place and they don’t make it final authority in their lives. Being a person committed and submitted to the Word of God is THE quickest way experience favor. Not to mention all the other benefits like spiritual strength, growth, wisdom, understanding, etc.

There are two brands of favor that comes from God: unmerited (we don’t deserve it and we can’t earn it) and merited (we qualify for it). As you cooperate with God, He will put favor on you! And trustme, you don’t want to go bumping along in this life without the favot of God on you.

Psalm 5:12  ~ “For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.”

To “surround” means “to encircle,” “encompass,” or “protect.” The favor of God will protect and preserve you. We need the favor of God to surround us as a shield!

 Look at what God’s favor did for Israel when He delivered them out of Egypt;

Exodus 3:20-2220 So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go. 21 And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed. 22 But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.”

They exited with silver, gold and cloths—loaded up!—because God gave them favor with the Egyptians, their enemies, the ones who enslaved them!

When you have heavy F.O.G. (Favor of God) in your life, you will never go away empty-handed (at a job interview, at the store, on a sales call, as you travel, in a difficulty, etc.).

Psalm 41:11 ~ (AMP) says, “By this I know that You favor and delight in me, because my enemy does not triumph over me.”

Your enemy is not always a person; it may be a situation, a symptom, a diagnosis, but when you have the favor of God in your life, it means the enemy will not triumph over you!

If favor seems missing from your life, you need to check on it! If you are living without favor, or if you are assuming you have no favor, you’re not looking for favor, or you’re not cooperating with God. If that is the case then you are making it is easy for the enemy to keep you down and hold you back.

Favor is rooted in God’s grace. Everything that God has promised, prepared or provided is contained in His grace—salvation, peace, provision, and favor….

Favor is contained in the grace of God. Favor is divine influence that leads you to success. God will give you unmerited favor, but there’s a merited favor that you qualify for as you cooperate with God. By faith you release the favor that grace contains.

 Daniel 1:9 ~ Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs.

Daniel had been conquered and taken captive, but he did not fret, complain, get depressed or compromise. He made godly choices based on God’s Word. God gave Daniel favor with his captors, and Daniel ended up in a better place! He received promotion, preservation, restoration and increase because of the favor of God that got him through.

The favor of God will not only get you through but it will get you ahead. Whether it’s promotion, preservation, restoration or increase, favor will find you!

You will find repeatedly in Scripture people who “found favor.” To “find” something, you have to “look” for it. Part of looking for something means that you are expecting it. Look for favor, expect it, and cooperate with God and you will experience heavy F.O.G. in your life.

JC

~Faith that is ALIVE!~

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The book of James speaks about two kinds of Faith, a living Faith, and a dead Faith. Obviously a living Faith is to be preferred over a dead Faith because dead things produce no fruit. The problem is, many people truly believe that they are operating in a living faith but they see no fruit, and get discouraged because their faith is dead. Here is why:

James 2:26 For as the body without t he spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
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In this passage we see that faith is likened to the body, and works is likened to the spirit. It
is making the point that spirit is what gives life to the body. The word “Works” simply means corresponding action that indicates that you actually believe.
So the question is: How do I apply “works” or “spirit” to my faith to insure that my faith is a alive and capable of producing fruit? The answer is found in 2 Corinthians 4:13.
2 Corinthians 4:13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak,
The “Spirit of Faith” is the primary way we apply “works” to bring life to our faith. It is simply speaking the answer, the end result, the desired outcome. Declaring that you have (present tense) what you are believing for is an indication that you believe you have the answer. For instance; if you are believing for healing in your body, you should be declaring “I AM HEALED!” You should be declaring the Word of God that states “By the stripes of Jesus, I AM HEALED!” ( 1 Peter 2:24)
This makes folks extremely uncomfortable because they feel like they are lying. It seems like foolishness to them. They don’t understand the creative power of the spoken word. There is a basic principle of faith that God has established from the beginning that calls things into existence. It took God over two decades to teach Abraham this principle. God even changed his name from Abram to Abraham so that every time he said or heard his name, he was speaking or hearing that he was a father of many nations. Abraham means, “father of nations.” God called him this before he ever had a the promise child,  Isaac. God had to get Abraham into agreement with Him before the child could be born.
We must set ourselves in agreement with God’s word if we want to see it come to pass in our lives. Here is the principle in the New Testament:
Romans 4:17  (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; 
You see, God established this method of believing and speaking and He expects us to follow His example if we are to have a living faith. If we do not follow his example and be “DOERS” of THIS word … we deceive ourselves.
James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Notice that the devil does not get credit for this deception, YOU DO!

It is not enough just to know God’s word, we must be doers of the word. This is the works of our faith. Corresponding action that indicates we actually believe it.

We must take control of  our tongue and force it to do its due diligence.
James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
There, we see that “self deception” again.
Understand that bridling and taming are two different things. Your tongue IS untamed, and the implication in scripture is that it CAN’T be tamed.
James 3:8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
taming

We bridle untamed horses and force them to do our bidding. We must treat our tongue in the same manner. WHY? Because the power of life and death rests in one of your members that is untamed!

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
faith1We have our hands full keeping our faith alive because we have our hands full controlling our tongue. The good news is that the number one way that you apply WORKS (spirit) to your faith is speaking the word. In many, and I would venture to say MOST instances, it is the ONLY action required for you to get results with your faith. As we declare the promises of God they become established and manifest in the physical realm.
Job 22:28  You will also declare a thing, And it will be established for you; So light will shine on your ways.
 
Mark 11:23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.
 
In the process of growing in your ability to bridle the tongue I will leave you with three rules that I try to apply to my life. It will help you stay in faith if you apply them to yours.
1) Give your heart time to tell your mouth what to say.
Proverbs 16:23 The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, And adds learning to his lips.
Be slow to speak, put a bridle on your tongue and don’t allow yourself to speak words of unbelief
2) When you speak, make sure it is an improvement on silence.
If you can’t speak words that agree with your fait…keep silent.
3) Make sure your mountain is hearing your voice. Mark 11:23
Throughout the New Testament we see Jesus speaking to things like wind, waves, trees, fevers, demons, dead people, etc. They all obeyed Him. He is our example. Make sure you are speaking faith to your problems and circumstances.
JC