Monthly Archives: February 2014

Hardness of Heart

Mark 3:4-5 (KJV)
(4) And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.
(5) And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.

In the above scriptures, Jesus is confronting the religious leaders and legalistic believers who like to pretend they’re holy, but inside they’re full of criticism, deceit and vengeful thoughts. Notice also, how when confronted, they simply ignore Jesus? It’s because their answer would convict them of their sin or expose their ignorance of their beliefs which they use to lord (rule) over/judge people. Interestingly the Lord asked me some questions which I couldn’t ignore, so I’ll ask you them as well. :-)

  • Has God ever asked you anything and you ignored Him?
  • Are you being reminded constantly about your anger, submission, love, criticism, lying, gossip, etc.?
  • Do you pray and ask God to help you in getting rid of these sinful habits and choices?
  • Do you feel justified because of past or continual wrongs done unto you?
  • Do you determine your growth and change by what changes you see in your circumstances or the people around you?
  • Do you thank God that you’re not as bad as so and so?
  • Do you find the effort to be Christian too hard and so you think about throwing in the proverbial “towel” and living life your own way?

I have to admit I’ve said in my heart and or done at least one of the things on the list…I won’t tell you which ones 😉 or at what point in my Christian walk. However, there’s only one problem…the scriptures don’t give us the luxury of excuses or justification and once enlightened, going back is equally difficult. Trust me, I’ve tried.

So what do we do? It’s either we have a heart for God (all in) or we harden our heart; which is evil in His sight. A hardened heart only spurs on His anger which will be released on the children of disobedience at judgement. If you try to live in-between you’ll be frustrated. Again, I’ve tried. :-(

Revelation 2 and 3 speaks addresses seven types of churches, one in particular about being lukewarm and another about holding fast (being pure) to the doctrine of Jesus Christ. Each admonishment is followed by, “to him that overcometh” followed by a particular reward. I don’t know about you, but want the rewards of heaven and to that end, on January 1, 2014 I decided that I’m all in. It has not been perfect, but the journey is getting easier and the price is worth it.

Last question: Are you ready to pay the price of dying to self, serving God and being an over-comer? Let’s pray.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I’ll be honest, I don’t know all the deep areas of hidden hurts and sin that needs to be cleaned up. I know they exist because circumstances and stirring brings them to the surface. Lord soften my heart that I may overcome the evil one who presents himself in my life through those around me. Work in me your marvelous power so I may be clean and of good works. Purge me so that your miracles, signs and wonders can work through me without blockage as it is recorded, those that believe shall lay hands on the sick and cast out demons. I’m never turning back, so guide my way forward. Amen.

Walk in the Spirit

2 Corinthians 10:1-6 (KJV)
(1) Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you:
(2) But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.
(3) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
(4) (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
(5) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
(6) And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

Although we could talk about many aspects of these scriptures I want to focus on two types of people Paul briefly outlines – one that walks in the flesh and another that is meek and gentle like Christ.

In the context Paul was giving the Corinthians warning that if he were to come there in the “flesh” they would receive his wrath for their poor conduct in the faith. However, Paul knows that the Spirit of God that is within him would pity them and constrain him to be meek and gentle just like Jesus who on the cross said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

In the first letter to the Corinthians Paul had already admonished them for the carnal ways (chapter 3) even though they lacked no spiritual gift (chapter 1). By chapter 13 he explains that the greatest of all the gifts is love. And this must be true because John 3:16 says “for God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son.”

So, let us also walk in and with the Spirit giving grace and showing love one to another. No longer being carnal (in the flesh) with envying, strife and divisions. Similar to the natural where we wash and put on clothing each day, so it is in the spiritual. It’s a daily walk and we must put on Christ being clothed in righteousness and washed by His Word.

Prayer: Holy Spirit cleanse my mind and cover me with truth, faith, love, kindness and peace. Fill me with your wisdom as I interact today with those who don’t know you and are still ruled by the kingdom of darkness. Open my eyes and heart to see how much they are lost and give me compassion to reach even just one. I do this knowing that you are with me and that I am your ambassador. I will act accordingly to be found faithful by you. Amen.

Stewardship

Luke 16:8-10 (KJV)
(8) And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.
(9) And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.
(10) He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

A week or so ago I was asked about the meaning of this scripture and my first inner reaction was “oh boy, this one had me stumped and I’d been meaning to study it out since last year”; but true to human form, I decided to give it a shot, so as not to seem unknowing.

Thankfully I was only partially inaccurate when I explained that this was about stewardship and how we handle the things of God and that making friends of the mammon of unrighteousness meant that we should not burn bridges because if we fail, or lose everything, we may need those people. I also explained that the unjust steward was wise because he knew his future and took action accordingly. He put things in order before he was put out by his boss.

After I got off the phone, I continued to meditate on the scripture for the rest of the day and when I got home from work I decided to pull out all my study tools – Holy Spirit, different translations and cross reference scriptures in my study Bible. For the sake of brevity it’s important to note that Jesus tells several short stories in the verses surrounding these verses so I was accurate on the context of Stewardship…actually hard to miss because verse one starts out with “a rich man had a steward” (paraphrased).

In any event, the area where I went astray was in verse 9, “make to yourself friends of the mammon of unrighteousness”. It’s actually speaking about giving to those who are less fortunate, so that when you are without (when you fail), they will receive you into their homes for the good that you showed them. In Daniel 4, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that no one could interpret except Daniel.

Daniel 4:24-27 (KJV)
(24) This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king:
(25) That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.
(26) And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule.
(27) Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity.

Do you see the parallels? Nebuchadnezzar (steward) will lose everything because of the decree from the most High (God = rich man); Nebuchadnezzar is instructed to show mercy to the poor (break off thy sins by righteousness = make friends of the mammon of unrighteousness) so it may be a “lengthening of his tranquillity” (eternal habitation – heaven – will be tranquil). Another way to put it is to “store up your treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:20).

We are called to be stewards of the grace and all that God has given us. We are to serve others, even in the smallest way (faithful in little) which will build us into people that God can trust with His work (faithful in much). How we consistently handle the things of this world is how we will handle the things of God. The keyword is consistently.

Prayer: Holy Spirit make me wise in my generation that I may be found faithful in all that you’ve given me. Lead me into habitations of peace an tranquillity for your glory. Amen.

Shout out! A special thank you to my friend, Karen, who asked this question and caused me to study and show myself approved.

No Condemnation

Romans 8:1-2 (KJV)
(1) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
(2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

I used to think this only meant that we shouldn’t condemn ourselves or that Satan can’t condemn us, but then the Lord opened my eyes to another truth found in 2 Corinthians 3 which talks about the ministration of condemnation and the ministration of death written on stones (THE LAW!!!!!!). It says that it has been replaced with the new testament (covenant) and is more glorious because it takes away the veil on our hearts and brings life by the spirit.

The last part of 2 Corinthians 3 contains a verse we’ve become all to familiar with, but I’m not sure we have fully understood it:

2 Corinthians 3:16-18
(16) Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.
(17) Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
(18) But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

It may seem elementary to you, but the more I grasp this truth, the more I’m set free from sin – anger, lack of love, stubbornness, etc. Are you getting it? No condemnation means we’re are no longer under the LAW! We’ve been made FREE by the cross and resurrection from the dead, of Jesus Christ!

If we read Romans 8:1 with the truth in mind it could read “there is therefore no law, for them that are in Christ” or as Galations 5:22-23 states:

Galations 5:22-23
(22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
(23) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Task: Read all of Romans 6 to Romans 8 for a more detailed picture of what Christ has done. Man it’s good food! Hallelujah!!!!

Overcome by the Word

Revelation 12:11 (KJV)
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

I hope you don’t get tired of me using the story of Jesus in the wilderness because He is our best example of how to overcome and live victorious in the will of God. To that end, when Jesus was tempted each time he said “it is written” and used the Word to defeat Satan and overcome the temptation. We too must develop the habit of confessing the Word as it is written above we overcome by the blood and the Word of our testimony. If that is the truth (and it is) then I don’t know about you, but I’m going to start confessing 24/7/365!!!

In Genesis 4:7 here is what God says to Cain after rejecting Cain’s sacrifice and Cain was angry…”If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” The door that the Lord is referring to is the door to the heart. David said in Psalm 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

David when heading into battle with Goliath, had these words “Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.” (1 Samuel 17)

Ephesians 6 says “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood…” and that we are to put on “the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day” and that we are to “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth” and John 17:17 says “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Are you looking for success? Joshua 1:8 says “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.” Instead of saying “I can’t afford it…or its not in the budget…” confess that my God provides all of my needs according to his riches in glory.

Notice also it says “day and night”, not a minute here, a minute there. The enemy doesn’t cease, so why should we? Remember, after Jesus was tempted in the wilderness the scripture says “satan left him for a time”.

Have pain or sickness? No need to bind and loose…simply confess…by his stripes I am healed over and over and over. Your soul is like the unjust judge, moved by whatever bombards it. Don’t let the enemy out argue you. Confess your healing. Confess your wealth. Confess your peace. Confess. Confess. Confess.

Tasks:

  • Find truths and speak them at all times. David said “I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
  • Get to know your God, for the scriptures says “…but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.”

The Church – Series Outline

On February 16, 2014 my wife and I, by the leading of the Holy Spirit, decided to begin having Sunday services in our home. We talked about vision, for our children and for ministry and I babbled about Life Freedom Dominion and Acts 2, but she wanted clarity (rightfully so). We reasoned together and I searched out my scriptures and found the best summary for the vision in Acts 4 – to which I promptly decided to revise Life Freedom Dominion Ministry’s vision statement accordingly.

From that discussion came the first sermon called Vision based on Proverbs 29:18 which says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” During the preparation of the Vision teaching the Lord gave me this outline for a series on The Church.

The Church

  1. Vision – Proverbs 29:18
  2. Old vs New – Acts 7:44, 48
  3. Foundation
  4. Structure
  5. Location
  6. People (Behaviour / Character)
  7. Leadership
  8. Christ’s Return

Note: At the time of this writing (February 23, 2014), this is what the Lord has said I’ll be teaching on during our Sunday services for the next several weeks. As each topic is delivered, I’ll update this page with anchor scriptures and links to the full teachings. I will upload numbers 1 and 2 shortly.

Wisdom from Above

James 3:17-18
(17) But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
(18) And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

This passage of scripture is fairly self-explanatory, but not easily accomplished because everything in and around us is opposite to it. Notice it is first PURE and then PEACEABLE. Yet from a very young age we are exposed to activities, movies, images and people who are not pure nor desire to be; especially in the era of the internet. Bullying (lack of peace) is at such a level that legislation had to be introduced to combat it. However, if you read the context from which this scripture comes, families and politicians both need to forget the worldly wisdom and start seeking Wisdom from Above.

Now that the bad news is out of the way, let’s talk about the good news which is found in two chapters before the above scripture. It reads as follows:

James 1:5
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

So, there is no excuse for the poor condition or behaviour of children and people in our societies. We have a God who is willing to give liberally, all the wisdom that we need to solve every problem and every issue that plagues the world.

Bad news again…I can’t change the world, but I can allow God to change me. You see, I’m still working on being guided by God’s Wisdom (Wisdom from Above) and in particular the peaceable part :-( – Let us pray.

Prayer: Father, as I lead my family and teach your people, I need your wisdom now more than ever. Continue to build me, purify me and fulfill my desire to be peaceable in every encounter with your creation. In my home, with my spouse and children, help me to exemplify your gentleness. Lord it is my desire to bear fruit worthy of your calling. Work in me, and fill me with your wisdom. Amen.

Accountability

Matthew 18:14-17 (KJV)
(14) Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
(15) Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
(16) But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
(17) And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

James 3 (KJV)
(13) Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
(14) But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (KJV)
(9) Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
(10) For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
(11) Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
(12) And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

One of the most devastating things in the Body of Christ is that there is little accountability. Rarely do we submit one to another or become our brother’s keeper. We are quick to be like the world and throw up the “who are you to judge me” banner. Or we dismiss the trials of others with “I’ve got my own stuff to deal with” mindset. However, that is not the way of the saints in old times. Their desire was to please God and not man or themselves. They looked out and prayed constantly for each other. They may not have liked correction, but they feared God and knew that the wages of sin was death.

It took me awhile to get my pride out of the way and receive correction from others. I’m thankful for God’s grace while I grew and I recommend you be at least willing to receive correction from God and His Word – lie not against the truth. Remember, in the judgment, we will all have to give an account of how we handled the grace of God in our lives. (2 Corinthians 5:10-11)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I pray the Psalm of David – “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24) Holy Spirit activate the Word in me so I won’t sin against my Lord and my God. Amen.

Resisting the Devil

James 4:7
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, you would have invariably heard “resit the devil and he will flee”, but rarely do we look at how. We also seem to think we can do it in our own strength or by our own will power. I don’t know about you, but if you’ve ever tried, you probably can testify with me, that eventually your will power wanes. So how do we resist the devil?

The first thing is not to take this as an expression and/or out of the context. Notice the first part is “Submit yourselves therefore to God.”

Jesus resisted the devil with the Word when tempted in the wilderness. However, Jesus didn’t start reading the word when he was being tempted, it was already in him when he needed. Also, remember when he was 12 and his parents were looking for him after celebrating the Passover? When they found him he was in the temple reasoning with the religious teachers (Luke 2:46). When his parents admonished him because they were worried, his answer was “didn’t you know I had to be about my Father’s business?” You see, Jesus was already submitted to God and when he in the desert, he was lead by the Holy Spirit, fasting and killing the flesh.

So to resist the devil, we must submit to God, have his Word in us, be spirit lead and not controlled by our flesh (earthly emotions).

Prayer: Father I know I can’t resist the devil on my own. However, because your Holy Spirit and your word is within me I know that I am victorious. I submit to your Word, your will and draw close to you. Draw close to me and I know the devil will not be able to stand in your presence or in my life. Amen.

So You’re the Messiah?

Luke 23:39-43 (NLT)
(39) One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!”
(40) But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die?
(41) We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.”
(42) Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”
(43) And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.

When I read these verses of scripture so many thoughts and questions flood my mind. Questions like…

  • What would have happened to us if Jesus had been prideful and decided to “prove” who he was to the condemning thief?
  • What if Jesus had replied to the believing thief, “I’m not really the Christ (Messiah), there is no Kingdom or paradise, I’m a fraud and a false prophet.”?

I’m also reminded of the times I’ve been that condemning thief, “Jesus if you’re really real, then do such and such, heal so and so, etc., etc.”

However, what I’ve come to see in these verses and in my own life, is that Jesus is merciful and is always proving who He is. WE SIMPLY NEED TO BELIEVE MORE. If you have a testimony of where He has brought you from and taken you through, say a big “AMEN”!

Today, there are many people in the same state as the first thief; they are sentenced to die and don’t fear God. The whole world has been judged and sentenced to die. No one is exempt. Although many walk around as living breathing creatures, there is no “LIFE” in them. Their conversations are death and cursing, their minds and spirits are shrouded in death, pride, arrogance, unbelief, stress, despair and hopelessness. However, there is a way, ONE WAY, to escape this death sentence and it is through the life and blood of Jesus Christ the Messiah.

No one will argue whether Jesus was a man. Very few will deny him as a great teacher, spiritual leader or even a prophet. The question that is of most contention and importance is whether Jesus is the Messiah. Even the Quran acknowledges his virgin birth and his prophetic gifting, but it rejects the fact that He is the Son of God and died on the cross and rose from the grave.

The truth is Jesus doesn’t leave any room for doubt as to who He is.

Luke 22:67:71 (KJV)
(67) Art thou the Christ? tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe:
(68) And if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me go.
(69) Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God.
(70) Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am.
(71) And they said, What need we any further witness? for we ourselves have heard of his own mouth.

John 14:6 (KJV)
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

You either believe or you don’t. The choice is yours as God says…

Deuteronomy 30:19 (KJV)
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

If you are not sure where you stand with God, pray this prayer with belief in your heart.

Prayer: Jesus, I know that I’ve not been living and believing right. I now believe that you are the Son of God and I want you to be my guide in life and truth. Cleanse me of all my wrongs and hurts. Thank you for dying for me and forgiving me. Amen.