Stopping to pick wild blackberries in the mountains reminds me just how awesomely good our God is…
Stopping to pick wild blackberries in the mountains reminds me just how awesomely good our God is…
Prophesy is one of the spiritual gifts of the new covenant church, and one that is perhaps not practiced as often as it should be. However, it must be done with proper guidance and caution. The prophesy of the New Testament is NOT the “Thus sayeth the Lord” of the prophets of old, but we’ll discuss that in-depth in a different post. For that reason, I seldom publicly share personal prophecies I receive, but after some things that happened yesterday this is the word I received after prayer this morning. Since God is no respecter of persons, I feel an urgency to share this one because there is perhaps something contained within that may edify, strengthen, and confirm promises to others at a time they really need this. May you be blessed…
Be of good heart because I love you and I receive you as My own, yet you feel you are not good enough to be acceptable to Me. But I tell you that in you I am well-pleased. None are perfect in the Earth, but I have not called my children to be perfect – only to be perfected. And you, My son, are being perfected, and I love you.
You fall down often, yet you repent quickly. This is the true mark of My sons and daughters. Do not hold onto the sin, for this will only isolate you from Me. Not because I reject you, but because you reject yourself and then you pull away from Me in shame. Yet I am always willing to draw you near. You think that by repenting many times a week or even many times a day for your failings that it weighs heavy on me, and that I will soon tire of your failures. But this is not so. My holy scriptures say to forgive one another seven times seventy times each day. My beloved, if I can command My people to forgive, how much more can I forgive you? I see your failures and I forgive them as soon as you ask, never thinking of them again, but I see all the more your successes. When you fall am I not always there lifting you back up, setting you upright, and bringing you further up the slope of my holy mountain? Do I not with my own hand dress your mind with the armor and place within your heart the weapon you need for the battles you face? Have I not always been there to guide and protect you in even your most difficult trials?
You have sought My truth and I bless that. So many seek My hand and the promises of what I can do for them. But you have sought My face and have asked earnestly for My truth to be revealed to you, not for what it will gain you in this present world, but because it is indeed truth. You have sought relationship with Me rather than simply My blessings. You have asked to see My people as I see them, to look upon them with My eyes of grace, to hear them with My ears of understanding, and to accept them with My heart of love. Since you have sought My face and My truth, I will also extend my hand to you and grant what you ask and then multiply it exceedingly.
Your gifts will become stronger. You will prophesy My Word to many and will speak with the boldness of a lion, yet with the gentleness of My love. For My truth is sharper than the sharpest sword, and it will cut the sin from any who perceive it, leaving intact the good creature I originally created them to be. You will speak My words of knowledge and My words of wisdom that I place within you with holy authority, for I remember My promise that I will reveal to you the deeper mysteries. You will teach others and through your obedience they will receive My grace and the blessings I have for them. You will speak in yet other tongues, uttering the new words I place in your spirit, and you will know their meaning for you and for My people. It is from these new words that prophecies will arise as you build yourself up in stronger faith. For you have also prayed that your faith will increase greatly, and this thing I will do for you.
You will be witness to miracles that cannot be explained other than by the presence of My hand, and when you speak and touch people they will be healed in mind and in body according to their needs. And when this happens I will heal their spirit and draw them closer to Me. You will be My witness, and your hand will be My hands, and your voice will be My voice.
My son, you have long wandered in the wilderness, but I am now leading you into the land I have promised. To a place of abundance where you will drink the milk of My truth and eat the sweet honey of My blessing and healing. Doors that were shut are now opened and once you pass through the way back to your past is sealed. On the other side new adversaries await from which you have been protected until you have been strengthened to face them. But fear not, mighty man of valor, for I am forever with you, even unto the end of this age and beyond, and never will I leave you nor forsake you. These enemies will be slain by My hand as you face them in My name. These agents of the enemy are defeated by your standing boldly in the knowledge of I AM within you.
Arise, my son, and go forth in the promise that I give to you. Climb up My holy mountain and marvel at the things I am bringing forth in your life.
I love you forever, my son. In you I am well-pleased, and forever you will be in My presence. Your sins are forgiven. And forgotten.
The more a bow is bent, the further the arrow flies. There has been a sometimes painful and difficult stretching of God’s people over the past many years to prepare them with fresh anointings, manifestations of greater gifts, and the falling of new mantles to heed the callings in our lives to fulfill God’s ordained plan. 2012 is the year we are propelled forward as the Lord loosens the arrow of His people to hit the target of His glorious future.
Here’s another one that’s not mine, but it’s far too good not to share with you. I wish I could credit the original author. Thanks go out to my good friend Terry for sending this to me.
Satan called a worldwide convention of demons.
In his opening address he said, “We can’t keep people from going to pray. We can’t keep them from reading their holy books and knowing the truth. We can’t even keep them from forming an intimate relationship with God. Once they gain that connection with GOD, our power over them is broken.
“So let them go to their prayers; let them have their covered dish dinners, BUT steal their time, so they don’t have time to develop a relationship with GOD…
“This is what I want you to do,” said the devil, “Distract them from gaining hold of GOD and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!”
“How shall we do this?” his demons shouted.
“Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds,” he answered. “Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow. Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6-7 days each week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their empty lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children. As their families fragment, soon, their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work! Over-stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice.”
“Entice them to play the radio or CD player whenever they drive. To keep the TVs, Blu-Rays, DVDs, CDs, and their PCs going constantly in their home and see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-religious music constantly. This will jam their minds and break that union with God.
“Fill the coffee tables with magazines and newspapers. Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day. Invade their driving moments with billboards. Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, mail order catalogs, sweepstakes, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering free products, services and false hopes.
“Keep skinny, beautiful models on the magazines and TV so husbands will believe that outward beauty is what’s important, and they’ll become dissatisfied with their wives. Keep the wives too tired to love their husbands at night. Give them headaches too! If they don’t give their husbands the love they need, the husbands will begin to look elsewhere. That will fragment their families quickly!
“Give them distractions to distract them from teaching their children the real meaning of life. Even in their recreation, let them be excessive. Have them return from their recreation exhausted. Keep them too busy to go out in nature and reflect on God’s creation. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, plays, concerts, and movies instead.
“Keep them busy, busy, busy!
“And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences. Crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from GOD. Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause.
“It will work!
“It will work!”
It was quite a plan! The demons went eagerly to their assignments causing people everywhere to get busier and more rushed, going here and there. Having little time for their God or their families. Having no time to tell others about the power of GOD to change lives.
I guess the question is, has the devil been successful in his schemes?
You be the judge!
Does “BUSY” mean:
Not mine, but too good not to share. Wish I could credit the original author.
A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending services regularly, suddenly stopped coming to church. After a few weeks, the Pastor decided to visit. The Pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire.
Guessing the reason for his Pastor’s visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited. The pastor made himself at home but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs.
After some minutes, the Pastor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent. The host watched all this in quiet contemplation. As the one lone ember’s flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and lifeless.
The Pastor glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave, he slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow, once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.
As the Pastor reached the door to leave, his host said with a tear running down his cheek, “Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I shall be back in church next Sunday.”
We live in a world today which tries to say too much with too little. Consequently, few listen.
Sometimes the best sermons are the ones left unspoken. What silent message would God have you share with someone today?
So many times we hear about those who are concerned with the “Big Issues”, such as poverty, war, global warming, recession, education, and the list goes on. But can you really make a change in the big issues? I think that the answer is unfortunately “no”. These things are too large for the individual to tackle. It’s like a person standing at the base of a mountain and putting up his hand to stop an avalanche. The result is obvious.
But does that mean we cannot solve or impact the larger issues?
Absolutely, we can. We just have to set our sights on the proper targets.
The large is comprised of the little. These small targets are still hard to hit, because our fleshly nature often stands in the way. But I challenge you this day, and from this day forward, to focus on the small things and do them in a Godly and holy fashion.
Help your neighbor. Give a kind word. Buy some groceries for the struggling single mother. Work 10% harder. Think well before you spend. Open the door for a lady or elder. Open the door for a man. Smile. Tell your children you love them. Give special honor to someone, especially your spouse and to those in authority.
If you continually do these things, the habit will reinforce itself over time and you will do it out of your nature rather than through your conscious desire. Once it becomes part of your inner being, it will spill over to all things that you do. Even the big things are affected. And that, my friends is a very encouraging thought.
As an avalanche starts start with a single rolling rock or snowflake, so will you impact the world on a large scale by being honorable and holy in your actions.
(Please don’t confuse holy with being perfect. In this context it implies being dedicated and devoted to the service of God.)
Our thoughts become our actions, our actions become our habits, our habits become our character, and our character determines our destiny. As the Word says, “You don’t get wormy apples off a healthy tree, nor good apples off a diseased tree. The health of the apple tells the health of the tree. You must begin with your own life-giving lives. It’s who you are, not what you say and do, that counts. Your true being brims over into true words and deeds. Luke 6:43-45 (The Message)”
Let us begin right now to change the world by changing ourselves. Pay attention to those small instances in life and keep them focused on goodness and righteousness. If we do that, you’ll see a miracle take place in the larger things around you. Capture the little foxes that spoil the vines, and we in turn will save our vineyard which is our world.
Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes. Song of Solomon 2:15 (King James Version)
Can you imagine the results if we got rid of those little foxes and we all did a thousand things even one degree better? We indeed have the God-given power and the authority to make a tremendous difference.
What will you do now?
We don’t have an assurance from God that we’ll win every battle. After all, even Christ Jesus hung on the cross and died there. One could argue that the “cross” won the battle on that one. But there is so much more to the story. God could have never shown His glory and ultimate authority in all things by raising His son on the third day had He not allowed His son to be sacrificed at Calvary. Although the cross won the battle, God through Christ Jesus won the war against death and overcame it.
It’s that way in your life as well. There may be battles that you lose, but take confidence that ultimately God is in control of all things. The “defeat” you suffer today is perhaps the venue through which God will bring about your ultimate victory.
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33 KJV)
I stayed home from church this morning.
It was hard, because I couldn’t really rationalize missing this time of fellowship with my brothers and sisters in the Lord. After all, the Bible instructs us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25).
In church, there would be singing, rejoicing, praising, and worshiping. The Word would come forth, edifying and correcting us in our walk with our Heavenly Father. There would be an opportunity to bring in our tithes and to sow offerings into good ground from which we would reap an abundant harvest. We would support and honor our pastor – our anointed shepherd – by being there to partake of the inspired teachings of the Bible and learn how to apply that wisdom in the conduct of our life.
But I’m not there.
I’m not sick.
I have reliable transportation.
The weather’s fine.
The laundry’s done. The bed’s made. Coffee’s still in the pot.
Life is good. I love God with all my heart. I’m not being rebellious.
So why am I not in church this morning?
Because the Holy Spirit is casting off a religious spirit that I didn’t even realize I still had.
When Paul writes about his old religion in Acts 26:5 he uses the Greek word thre¯skeia (thrace-ki’-ah), which according to Strong’s is “ceremonial observance: religion, worshipping”. He tells us he lived as a Pharisee – quite religious in their beliefs and in their actions. And many practiced ceremonial observance only, as the word implies, rather than having true faith in the Lord.
The Pharisees likely desired to obey God, but they had became so devoted to the Law (and to their interpretations and additions to it) that they failed to recognize Jesus Christ as the true Messiah even when he walked among them performing miracles and speaking divine truth. They were so blinded by their religion, they lost their faith and eventually through their ignorance had Jesus killed.
Jesus, recognizing their religious spirit, hurled these scathing words at the Pharisees:
Even so you also appear righteous to men outwardly, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets, and decorate the tombs of the righteous,… Serpents! Offspring of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? (Matthew 23:28-29,33 MKJV)
This was indeed a stern decree about having only the outward appearance of ceremony without the inward cleansing and obedience God requires of His chosen.
So why am I not in church today? While I was praying earlier in the shower, the battle began. It was time for church, but the Holy Spirit told me to write.
“You told me not to forsake fellowship, ” but the Holy Spirit said fellowship with Me.
“I don’t want the pastor to notice me not being there,” but the Holy Spirit said those who do things to be seen by men already have their reward from men.
“My wife and kids won’t understand,” but the Holy Spirit said he who will not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple.
“I’m supposed to be in church,” but the Holy Spirit said he who wins souls is wise.
“I don’t even know what to write,” but the Holy Spirit said I have made your tongue the pen of a ready writer.
“They won’t listen to me. Who am I to speak?” but the Holy Spirit said you are to go where I send you and to speak whatsoever I command you to speak. Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
God was teaching me two things this morning.
First, I cannot make the same mistakes as the Pharisees and do things simply out of “ceremony”, limiting myself to only a portion of God’s Word, making it my “Law” while ignoring or overlooking the rest of the things God expects from us, such as teaching, healing, and spreading the gospel. Did not Jesus on the Sabbath day ignore the Pharisee’s warning and still heal the man’s withered hand? (Luke 6:1-11)
Second, it’s not up to me to write about what I think or feel. It’s my job to simply open myself to God and let him guide my words. While I had nothing to write about today, It seems the page is filled with a good testimony that many will hopefully learn from. I know I certainly did.
I pray that those who read this will see the truth that was revealed and not misinterpret what was written. I’m certainly not saying that it’s okay to skip church on a whim. Picnics, ballgames, and lounging in the park are not excuses to skip service. I assure you the Holy Spirit will not move you to hook up the boat trailer while your pastor is preaching. That’s a different voice speaking.
What I am saying is that we should always be about our Father’s business (which is saving souls) and heed the instructions of the Holy Spirit however and whenever those instructions many come.
And NEVER, NEVER, NEVER make the mistake of believing that attending church is the same as having a close personal relationship with God. There will be those who have never set foot inside a church who will be rewarded for their faithfulness with eternal life, and there will be many who sat religiously in church pews every Sunday and Wednesday who will look up in agony from the burning pit below and ask why.
1 Samuel 15:23 tells us to obey is better than to sacrifice. Today, I obeyed and followed the guide of the Spirit. It is my fervent hope that if you are bound by religion and doing things out of habit and “ceremony”, you will be liberated right now by faith. We truly serve a wonderful God who loves us beyond all we can imagine. And He wants to spend quality time with us.
So what about church?
I guess I really went after all. For in truth the church is us, if only we allow God to reside in us and rule from our hearts. Today I was ministered to by the greatest pastor the world will ever know. I sang His praises in my heart and I heeded His call. And there is no greater calling than to obey His voice and to take the hand of My Father as He lifts me up to show me His glory.
God doesn’t want religious people. He wants people who have faith and love Him. He doesn’t want people to only go through empty motions because everyone around you is doing the same thing. He doesn’t want people to “go” to church, He wants people to “be” the church.
With that said, I’m really looking forward to tonight at 6:00PM when I can once again fellowship with my brothers and sisters, sing songs of praise, and hear my pastor speak the ever-living Word of God. I will go to church tonight and, more importantly, I will be the church tonight.
All glory to God.
And, dear brothers and sisters, may you be blessed in all ways every day.
Dark waves swelled like a great black claw, ravaging the small craft, threatening to capsize it as each oscillation crested across the bow. The cruel wind thundered in their ears and bit savagely into their flesh as the disciples fought against the storm, battering their oars against the unrelenting sea, struggling to reach the far-off shore until they were drained of all strength. In the darkness, they saw a spirit atop the water, heading toward them. They huddled together, crying in terror. They did not know the ghost was the Son of man.
“Be comforted. I AM,” said Jesus. “Do not fear.”
Peter was unsure and bid the Lord to order him to walk out upon the water to where Jesus stood if it was truly him. “Come,” said Jesus, and Peter stepped onto the waves, buoyed up by the divine and miraculous grace of God, walking toward his salvation. But then Peter looked at the storm instead of keeping his eyes upon Jesus and failed his test of faith, crying out for the Lord to save him before he drowned. Jesus reached down with his strong arm and pulled Peter from the frothing sea, calling him, “you of little faith!”
Jesus showed Peter the miraculous when he asked. But Peter’s mind strayed to the world instead of focusing on God. Perhaps if Peter had been closer to the shore where his feet would have been able to touch the sea-bed he would not have faltered. But that wouldn’t have been the faith Jesus was looking for. Jesus wants “deep water” faith. And you can’t have deep water faith in the shallow end of the sea.
Every Christian knows it’s sinful to be an idol worshiper, putting false gods in a higher position than the one true God. But many do not realize the spiritual danger of being an “idle worshiper” and not acting on the gifts and callings God has placed upon our lives.
Although we are saved by the grace of God through our profession of faith, once we are transformed by His Word our Heavenly Father calls us to do something more than merely hold down a chair in church on Sunday. We are called to do the work of His kingdom – and there is indeed a sin of omission. “Whoever knows what is right but doesn’t do it is sinning.” (James 4:17 GW). See also the parable of Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31.
James tells us, “You see then how a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
(James 2:24,26 MKJV).
Genuine faith is never alone – it will always manifest itself in action. What would Jesus do? Simple. He would be about his Father’s business. If the mind of Christ be truly formed inside us, can we do any less? Don’t be an idle worshiper. Work your faith.