Sunday, December 26, 2010

God’s Christmas Gift



This week’s blog covers the topic of God’s great love. Being Christmas time, we reflect on the love expressed when God sent His Son to this earth as a sacrifice for our sins. God not only has love, He not only operates in love... but He is Love.

He who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love.
1 John 4:8 [AMP]

Your Christmas edition of the Powerhouse Blog features teachings by Pastor Jake, Brotha DC, David River, and Judypie. Merry Christmas... and happy New Year!

God’s Love

by James C. Sanford


It is only by the love of Christ that we can experience and appreciate the love of God:
  • The love of God for man moved him to give Christ for his redemption (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:4)
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  • Christ’s love for man moved him to give his life’s blood for his salvation (Galatians 1:4; 2:20; Ephesians 5:2; Ephesians 5:25; 1 Timothy 2:6; Titus 2:14).
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  • The gift of Christ to man is the measure of God’s love.
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  • The death of Christ for man is the measure of Christ’s love.
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  • Christ loved us, and gave himself for us.

We can know all these things, yet God’s love surpasses our full comprehension; therefore we can only speak of it in terms of the depth of our experience and what has been revealed to us from the Holy Scriptures. Therefore God’s love is not known but is experienced through a personal relationship with Him through His Son Jesus.

There is something about God’s love that is so tender, so sweet—so beautiful; one who has experienced God’s love has enjoyed the pleasure of it as a soothing ointment flowing over his total being; and is a healing for the soul. His love is like eye-salve that allows one to see God’s beauty through the eyes of Christ. To experience God’s love is to know joy and peace that surpasses all understanding. To experience God’s love is to know life and perfect rest. To be perfected in love is to be filled with love, meekness, gentleness, goodness, justice, holiness, mercy, and truth---to be made perfect—to be filled to all the fullness of God. Heaven and earth hold no greater treasure.

Love is the supreme attribute of God and is the very core and nucleus of His glory. Love is also a state of being, a living life form---or as the Bible declares, “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16). God is love just as truly as He is “light” (1:5), “truth” (1:6), and “spirit” (John 4:24). Just as Spirit and light are expressions of His essential nature; love is the expression of His personality corresponding to His nature. This love is the highest expression of God and His relation to mankind, so it must be that this love be the highest expression of man’s relation to his Creator---and to his fellow man.

The love of God is that part of His nature which leads Him to express Himself in terms of endearment toward His creatures, and to actively manifest that interest and affection in acts of loving care and self-sacrifice (John 1:1-2) in behalf of the objects of His love. Thus we can think of God as the fountain of love.

God not merely loves, He imparts this nature to be the sphere in which His children dwell, for “he that abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16).

Not only do the children of God dwell in the presence of His love the very nature of God is thus imparted to His children. Love directed to both God and man is fundamental to true believers. For this reason the reality and power of God’s love are properly executed only under the infilling and guidance of our Heavenly Father’s own Holy Spirit.

The Apostle Paul writes,

The love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Romans 5:5

Thus we understand love is the first and foremost element of the fruit of the Spirit -- a divine impartation to God’s children (Galatians 5:22; see also 1 John 3:14).

If God is the fountain of love, then it must be that His Son, the living Word of God, is the expression or out-flowing of that love (John 3:16).

While we were yet sinners and did not know or love God,

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21 [NASU]

God made Jesus (who was innocent) to be a sacrifice on the altar of the cross for the sinner. In other words, Christ died in our stead that by repentance (Acts 2:38) and faith we might through this act of grace (Ephesians 2:8) be partakers of eternal life; there is no greater love than this.

All virtue springs out of divine love; hence the love that is presented in the Gospel as the mainspring of holy living is grateful love. A revelation and conviction of sin and the punishment that is due followed by a revelation of God’s love and the price He paid for man’s deliverance and redemption, humbles the heart to the point of gratefulness. This impartation of grateful love is the highest motive or ground of moral actions. All other self-effort motives fall short of furnishing the true stimulus for obedience leading to righteous living. “We love, because He first loved us” are words that rightly express the whole matter (1 John 4:19; 2 Corinthians 5:14; Romans 12:1-2).

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
1 John 4:7 [NASU]

Selah.


Hesed

by Brotha DC

By day Jehovah commandeth His kindness, And by night a song [is] with me, A prayer to the God of my life.
Psalm 42:8 [YLT]



The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17 [AMP]


Do you know
That I love you
Can you feel
My Presence near?

How I long
to love you
Hold you close
And calm all fear

More than a mother
with a baby at her breast
I want to hold you
and forever give you rest

Don’t you know it hurts Me
when you pull away

Come to the peaceful waters
My precious son, My daughter
Come to the peaceful waters

Do you think
I’d forsake you?
Have you read
My promises?

Come to Me,
My children
You will be
Forever blessed

More than a mother
with a baby at her breast
I want to hold you
and forever give you rest

Don’t you know it hurts Me
when you pull away

Come to the peaceful waters
My precious son, My daughter
Come to the peaceful waters


Agape

by Brotha DC

20 But you, beloved, build yourselves up [founded] on your most holy faith [make progress, rise like an edifice higher and higher], praying in the Holy Spirit;
21 Guard and keep yourselves in the love of God; expect and patiently wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah)--[which will bring you] unto life eternal.
Jude 20-21 [AMP]

After my songwriting partner Cameron Towner and I completed the song on the Hebrew word for God’s love (Hesed), I began work on one using the Greek version of the same word (Agape). This is a supernatural love... one that is difficult to achieve but invaluable to practice.

How many times have you heard someone say, “I love you?”
Tell me, how bad did it hurt when you found it wasn’t true?

But there’s a love
Unlike any other
Love that won’t wear out...
it’s always new

Know that I have a love for you
Agape
Uncompromising love, it’s true
Agape

I’ll love you when your heart turns black
I’ll love you if you don’t love back
And even if you turn away from Me
There’ll always be Agape

How many times has your heart longed to hear, “I love you?”
Tell Me... how bad did you feel When your love turned his back on you?

Run to My arms
I will always love you
You have My promise
I won’t leave you

Know that I have a love for you
Agape
Uncompromising love, it’s true
Agape

I’ll love you when your heart turns black
I’ll love you if you don’t love back
And even if you turn away from Me
There’ll always be Agape

My love will lift you from the ground
My love will turn your life around
Fear reverently and you will always stay
in My Agape



A Letter from God

by David River





My Dearest Child,

When I created the heavens and the earth, I spoke them into being. When I created man, I formed him from the dust of the ground and breathed life into his nostrils. But you, woman I did not create from the dirt. I made you from man as a symbol that you are “within” man, just as my bride is “within” me.

I fashioned you after I breathed the breath of life into man because you are too delicate. I allowed a deep sleep to come over him so I could patiently and perfectly form you. As a surgeon would put a patient under anesthesia, man was put to sleep so that he could not interfere with my creativity. From man’s one bone, I fashioned you. I chose the bone that protects his very life. I chose the rib; that which protects his heart and lungs and supports him as you are meant to do. Around this one bone I shaped you... I molded you. I created you tenderly, beautifully, and perfectly.

Your characteristics are as the rib; strong yet delicate and fragile. You provide protection for the most delicate organ within man, his heart. His heart is the center of his being; his lungs hold the breath of life. The ribcage will allow itself to be broken before it will allow damage to the heart. I created you to support man as the rib cage supports the body. You were not taken from his feet, to be under him, nor were you taken from his head, to be above him. You were taken from his side closest to his heart, to stand beside him and be held close to his side and dear to his heart.

You woman are my perfect creation. You are my beautiful little girl. You have grown to be a splendid woman of excellence, and my eyes fill when I see the virtues in your heart. Your eyes are as beautiful as a golden sunset. Your lips; how lovely when they part in prayer. Your nose; so perfect in form. Your hands so gentle to touch. I’ve caressed your face in your deepest sleep. I’ve whispered tender words of love in your ear. I hold your heart here within mine. Of all that lives and breathes, you are most like me. Your pure heart is most like mine. You my precious angel are the climax of my creation. You are a representation of my pure and spotless bride. When man loves you, he loves me, and the more deeply he loves you, the more deeply he loves me.

Adam walked with me in the cool of the day, yet he was lonely. So everything I wanted Adam to share and experience with me, I fashioned in you as a physical representation of myself upon the earth. You possess my holiness, my strength, my purity, my beauty, my love, my protection and my support.

So man... treat woman well. Love her extravagantly; treasure her royally, for she is fragile. In hurting her, you only hurt me. What you do to her, you do to me. In crushing her, you only damage your own heart; her heart, and also my heart.

Woman, support man. In humility, show him the power of emotion I have given you. In gentle quietness, show your strength. In love, show him that you are the rib that protects his very life; that you the bone that shelters his very heart.

Signed,

The One Who Created and Loves You


God’s Valentine Gift

by Joanna Fuchs

God’s Valentine gift of love to us
Was not a bunch of flowers;
It wasn’t candy, or a book
To while away the hours.

His gift was to become a man,
So He could freely give
His sacrificial love for us,
So you and I could live.

He gave us sweet salvation, and
Instruction, good and true--
To love our friends and enemies
And love our Savior, too.

So as we give our Valentines,
Let’s thank our Lord and King;
The reason we have love to give
Is that He gave everything


Confidence in His Love

by JesusLover Judy

Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your goodness. In the name of Jesus I cast the whole of my care—all anxieties, worries and concerns—upon You.

I know that You love me and care for me, and those for whom I am praying. Today I make all my requests known to You with thanksgiving.

I know You hear me, and I believe Your best answers are on the way from the moment I ask. Amen.

Give thanks to the Lord because he is good.

       His love continues forever.
Psalm 136:1 [NCV]

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.
Philippians 4:6 [AMP]

1 Peter 5:7 [AMP]

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Saints or Aint’s?

When we wrote the book Spiritual Fruits or Religious Nuts, we were thinking about the Lord’s warning that many will come before Him on the day of judgement expecting a reward. Instead, Jesus will say He never knew them and they will be cast out from His presence.

That is a sobering reminder of the seriousness of this lifestyle that we who are Christians have been called to.  A reminder to not get so engulfed in the things of this life that we forget the pressing needs of the spiritual life. 

  • The need to communicate daily with God through prayer offered with a thankful heart (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18). 
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  • The need to feed upon the spiritual food in the word of God (Luke 4:4). 
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  • The need to walk in love with others… even when they are being hurtful and hateful towards us.  We must forgive, in order to receive God’s forgiveness (Matthew 6:15).
The truly good news is that Jesus has given His Spirit to us to help us live this Christian life.  And as Lon Solomon reminds us... the only way that we can live the Christian life is by allowing the Spirit of God to walk out the steps of Jesus in our lives.

In fact, it is impossible for us to live the Christian life in and of our own strength. We must rely upon Jesus to live it out by the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. To quote Phil Keaggy:

Yield to the Spirit. He has the right of way.
This week’s blog features the writings of Pastor Jake, Judypie, Brotha DC and Jolan. May these words be comfort and inspiration as you walk out your paths in this coming week:



Consider This

by Pastor James C. Sanford

Consider Adam, the first born of all mankind and the heir of God's kingdom on earth. Through disobedience he forfeited his sonship, lost his dominion and became sin in the flesh. Thus all born of Adam are heirs of sin in the flesh and death.

Cain was the first born son of Adam; Able was the second. It was Able, the second born, who by grace through faith became the heir of righteousness.

And then there was Ishmael, the first born son of Abraham; born of the works of the flesh. But it was Isaac, the second born son of Abraham, born according to the word of God who became the heir of the promises of God.

Consider also Esau, the first born of Isaac who God hated while yet in his mother's womb. It was Jacob, the second born son of Isaac who was chosen of God to become the heir of the promises.

Consider also the sons of Jacob's son Judah, Perez and Zerah born of their mother Tamar; although Zerah who was the first born, it was Perez who became the heir.

And then there is Jesus, the second Adam born of God, who by grace through faith became the heir of God's kingdom.

What is our Creator trying to tell us in these things?

Consider this; it is not the first born, the sons of Adam, who become heirs of God's kingdom, but the second born, he that is by grace chosen of God and through faith born of Jesus, the Living Word, and the Spirit of God; these are His sons and are joint heirs with Jesus their Lord.

Flesh and blood does not inherit the kingdom of God, his inheritance is death; it is the child of the spirit that is the son of God, his inheritance is eternal life.



Whitewashed Sepulcures?

by JesusLover Judy

Have you ever met people who give the appearance of being really great Christians, but the things they do in the dark are sometimes so bad that it makes you wonder how they fool us, or even others?

I have, I know them well. I would not be surprised if you also have these kind of people in your life. I know people who say “if that is a Christian, than I don’t want to be one.” This is because of the things these people do outside of church.

Don’t you wonder how this can be? It is because their eye is bad.

Yes, if one part of you is bad than you are filled with darkness. Now this does not mean that we are free from sin. We all sin, but a true Christian repents of those sins and does everything he or she can to not do that thing again.

Those who have darkness instead of light within them continue to do the same sin over and over again. Often they become so caught up in their sin that they don’t even know they are doing it.

For example: Telling a lie is a sin. Now, everyone has lied at one time or another. We are imperfect people. However, a person who has darkness inside them lie to the point that they believe their own lies. If a Christian is caught up in this as a lifestyle they should desperately seek GOD for deliverance!

Who is the father of all lies?

Satan.

Therefore, we must try our hardest to be truth tellers.

Who is the Author of Truth?

GOD!


Open your heart today and ask GOD to make your eye good so that you may be filled with His light!


33No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or crypt or under a bushel measure, but on a lampstand, that those who are coming in may see the light.

34Your eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye (your conscience) is sound and fulfilling its office, your whole body is full of light; but when it is not sound and is not fulfilling its office, your body is full of darkness.

35Be careful, therefore, that the light that is in you is not darkness.

36If then your entire body is illuminated, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright [with light], as when a lamp with its bright rays gives you light.

Luke 11:33-36

Amen.

Sin Lurking for its Prey

by Jolan

Sin. Ahhh, how it takes control of us in even the smallest opportunity. I haven’t had a drink in close to a year not because of any problems with drinking, I just lost the taste for it. At my weekend visit there was lots of champagne at the Baby shower. At first I thought Nahhh, I won’t have any. But as the hours drew on I decided to have a small glass, why not I used to love champagne, I told myself. Well 1 glass turned to 2 and 2 turned to 3 (I shared the third glass with Primo) and for some reason I ended up with a very upset stomach. Something niggled at my brain, “Oh come on even Jesus drank wine.”

Isn’t that how it is?

We look for reasons to do the wrong thing. I didn’t get smashed but I did feel guilty afterwards. Where was the guilt coming from?

I read this passage today in church:

19 Or don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20

I believe that drinking caused me to have jealous feelings, and covet my neighbor. You see my family never gets together for anything (my grandparents are getting on in age and it is hard for them to drive. My aunts and uncles forget about it lol, and of course my loving family in Puerto Rico, they would love nothing more than coming to visit us but money doesn’t grow on trees) and here was my friends family together again. They get together all the time. Now I do not lack in love with my family, in fact I felt so ashamed because I wasn’t truly looking at the blessed life God has given me. I have never felt more love come from my immediate family and they would bend over backwards to make me smile.

I think that the devil looks for opportunities such as these, he looks for our weak moments to help us along in our sinful nature.

Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour.
1 Peter 5:8



For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness.
Ephesians 6:12

I immediately felt ashamed of my behavior and repented.

Psalm 38:18

But I confess my sins;

I am deeply sorry for what I have done.

1 John 1:9

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.

It doesn’t matter if we ask others for forgiveness if we haven’t asked our Father. He is the only one who can forgive and erase our sins.

I--yes, I alone--am the one who blots out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again.
Isaiah 43:25



Let the people turn from their wicked deeds. Let them banish from their minds the very thought of doing wrong! Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
Isaiah 55:7



In fact, we can say that according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified by sprinkling with blood. Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.
Hebrews 9:22



God has purchased our freedom with his blood* and has forgiven all our sins.
Colossians 1:14

Thank the Lord he knows we are not perfect. He knows we will be tempted and he also knows that as a Christian we will learn from our mistakes. Sometimes we have to learn the hard way.

Remember, Jesus said, Matthew 5:30 And if your hand—even if it is your stronger hand—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

But if we are living in the light of God’s presence, just as Christ is, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin.
1 John 1:7

To many drinking may not seem like a big deal but anything that causes you to do wrong in Gods eyes is a sin. Drinking the champagne, led me to sin in my mind which is just as bad as doing it in front of someone. I also thought how I may have appeared to some of the people at the baby shower. Many people didn’t know me, but some did and are we or are we not supposed to be shining examples of the Holy Spirit. Yes, I failed my Father that day and it made me sad. It made me very sad. But He has forgiven me. He always will because I died to my sins and became one with God.

For the Lord loves justice, and he will never abandon the godly. He will keep them safe forever, but the children of the wicked will perish.
Psalm 37:28



From then on, Jesus began to preach, “Turn from your sins and turn to God, because the Kingdom of Heaven is near.*”
Matthew 4:17


Don’t be fooled.  GOD hates sin.

And when we do not confess our sins to Him it separates us from him and damages our relationship with our Father.


If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9



Therefore this is what the Lord says, “If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve Me.”
Jeremiah 15:19




If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.
1 John 1:10



Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me again the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Then I will teach your ways to sinners, and they will return to you.
Psalm 51:10-13

Prove by the way you live that you have really turned from your sins and turned to God (Matthew 3:8).

Once God has forgiven us, we can then forgive ourselves:


Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14


This is an example of how sin can fool you.

It may fool you and those around you but it will not nor will it EVER fool God.

Remember he knows your heart:

Psalm 44:21

God would surely have known it,

for he knows the secrets of every heart.

Don’t be fooled by the lies of this world. Drunkenness (losing control of your body -- God’s body), Adultery (lusting after anyone with your eyes, your heart or even in actions), Murder (hating someone -- the same as killing someone), lying (that means any lie used to deceive someone), using God’s name in vain (bringing his name down to a level of disgust and in turn using it as a cuss word), idolatry (loving anything more than God -- money, possessions etc., making your own image of God).

The list goes on and on my brothers and sisters. How often do we try to justify our sins?

There is no justification for sinning against our Creator, our Father in heaven.

How we must break his heart again and again.

But we redeem ourselves when we admit our weakness, when we suffer for the bad decisions we have made and ask him to forgive us.



1 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him.

2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,

For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are those who mourn,

For they shall be comforted.

5 Blessed are the meek,

For they shall inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

For they shall be filled.

7 Blessed are the merciful,

For they shall obtain mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart,

For they shall see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers,

For they shall be called sons of God.

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,

For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:1-12


God has given me all I need.

I have love.I have happiness.

I have health.

I have GOD.

And in reality without God I would have nothing and with Him I have everything. I know where my treasures lay and they are with Him in Heaven. The only treasure I care about is my Father, the rest are just perks.

19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.
Matthew 6:19-21




Can They See The Light of Jesus in You?

By Brotha DC


Can they see the Light of Jesus in you?
Can they see the Light of Jesus in you?
Can they see Him in your life
Or, do they witness sin and strife?
Can they see the Light of Jesus in you?

Can they see the Light of Jesus in you?
Can they see the Light of Jesus in you?
in His glory, in His love
in His power enthroned above
Can they see the Light of Jesus in you?

Can they see the Light of Jesus in you?
Can they see the Light of Jesus in you?
Can they witness that He lives
That He saves, and heals, forgives
Can they see the Light of Jesus in you?

Can they see the Holy Spirit in you?
Can they see the Holy Spirit in you?
Not by signs you may display
but how you live from day to day

Can they see the Holy Spirit
In your words... do they hear it?
Can they see the Light of Jesus in you?

The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
Romans 13:12

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
2 Corinthians 4:6-7

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
1 John 1:5-7

And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb [is] the light thereof.
Revelation 21:23

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Lord Who Heals

God is our healer. God cures our diseases.

Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].  But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.
Isaiah 53:4-5 [AMP]

As we seek to follow His commands (which are exemplified by Christ as walking in love) and to obey His voice (as expressed in the written word) we will see His deliverance operating in our lives.

Then he said, " I am the LORD your God, and I cure your diseases. If you obey me by doing right and by following my laws and teachings, I won't punish you with the diseases I sent on the Egyptians."
Exodus 15:26 [CEV]

What a wonderful promise!  We can obtain healing!  This week’s blog addresses physical healing with entries from Annie Lobert, Judypie, and Brotha DC.

If you or a loved one is dealing with illness... perhaps these entries will feed your faith.


How Much Do You Really Trust God?

by Annie Lobert

These very words kept echoing in my head all last week...

The night before I heard the news about possible open heart surgery for my dad, I was in service at my church. At this point my family had only heard the news of the “stent” operation.

I was worried...and could not think!!! What would my mom do if my dad died, would she be okay? Was it God’s plan to take him home this week? Worship started...I was completely broken...crying, reaching out my hands and on my knees. I then received a vision as I was singing.

I saw a clear picture of the arteries that were blocked...and my vocal chords...singing “Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, our God reigns!” Every time I sang, the power of the sound was literally breaking the blockage apart. As I was singing I could taste the salt of my own tears...God told me to keep singing it...LOUD...and I did!

Was this a message from God?

I then received more bad news the next day...the news of the possible OPEN HEART SURGERY.

My dad, faced with the fact that he might be dealing with possible death, just to survive...and that he would have to get “sawed” open to reach his heart to stop the blockage--was scared. He told my mom that if he had to have heart surgery, he would rather die.

I did not want to hear that! My dad’s fearful thought and request left me in a panic---but mostly FEAR.

The doctor’s report was not good, the blockage was bigger than they had originally thought, and he was being prepped for the worst. There was a strong spirit of gloom and anxiety....worry....but mostly real sadness.

I was sad because the time that I wanted to spend with my dad might not happen like I had thought it would. Those special talks, and things that I needed to say, I might not have a chance to EVER express to him. If the operation did not go well, or if he could not recover from it (it was a very high chance) I would possibly lose him on this physical earth forever.

I was not ready for that! It just did not seem fair!!! (Oh come on, like you haven’t thought this in your life ever)

You are saying to me...“Annie where was your faith?”

I DO have faith! But the problem was the saying “goodbye” part. Sometimes we just do not want to let go, even though we know we will see our friends or loved ones again someday.

But I had something really good going for me. The vision that God gave me the night before. This gave me a revelation. I needed to TRUST God! After all, He had already showed me the outcome!

So I decided to believe all the way...and not let FEAR have a root in my thought. I decided to trust God--no matter what it “looked” like! I just KNEW God would pull through. I recited scripture to myself and reminded God of the promise He had given me...if He could give King Hezekiah an additional 15 years on his life, I was POSITIVE that he could do the same for my dad!

I then proceeded to tell the story of the King to my dad, and how King Hezekiah REMINDED God of the good deeds he had done, and how God gave him a longer life. My dad was very quiet. I told him that he was just like King Hezekiah...that it didn’t matter what mistakes he had made in his life, if he believed in Jesus and reminded God of the change he had made in his life, God would grant a longer life it to him!

After praying for him and telling him how much I loved him (in tears) I knew that I needed to line up my faith by my actions, so I contacted my church, my dad’s church, my spiritual mom, wrote a blog on my space (prayer chain) and started interceding ALL day for my dad.

This was crucial! The doctors were getting ready to make their decision--but there was one last test that they decided to perform...in the very last minute!

We all waited around the phone, anxious to hear the results! The docs put a camera inside my dad’s main artery to look at the blockages to find out what direction they would take in “open heart surgery”

Was it a coincidence that they decided to check one last time? Hmmm.

Do you want to know how good our GOD is???

The doctors said, “We don’t understand, it is MUCH smaller than we thought--we can put two stents in after all—WITH NO OPEN HEART SURGERY.”

WOW. Talk about a victory dance!!! I was so happy, my family...EVERYONE that knows my dad! I then told my dad that I had everyone praying for him. He started to cry...he even said that I shouldn’t have done it. That it wasn’t necessary!

Oh, BUT IT WAS!

Because look what God did! And how He showed off to me, my family, but mostly to my dad!

God showed up...made a miracle happen...through PRAYER.

TRUST! I want you all to get something--The love of Christ and the power of prayer should never be under rated! I truly believe that my dad had a complete miracle because we were all praying for him with true hearts!!!

So I ask you...how much do YOU trust God?

If you were faced with similar circumstances...worse or better...what would you do? Would you REALLY trust God and not waiver in your faith--one bit?

I thought I trusted God before this happened. But when it came right down to it...I was questioning Him. How you ask? I gave into fear and panic for a short time...and even though the outcome was good...I should still have never gave the devil an inch. Because the night before the surgery...I did not sleep!

What have I learned from all of this???

To put my faith and trust in ACTION...by choosing to believe EVEN when the odds are against me in the natural!

Also, that death is nearer to us than we think...that our loved ones, WE are mortal, and we will ALL die physically one day. Yes we will see each other again if all believe in Jesus...but it might not be for a very long time!

I think that we forget this. I think we take for granted just how special our gift of life is on the earth...and we tend to go about life as if we will never have to face heartache and pain of losing someone close to us. My sister died at 31 when I was 27. Her death was tragic...because I never had the chance to say good bye.

Make sure that you tell the people in your life just how much they mean to you!!!

Also make sure when you are facing a “storm” in your life, trust that God is willing and able to rescue you out of it through the power of prayer and singing!!!

I want to dedicate this blog to all the people that interceded and prayed for my dad. I am going to print out all the prayers for him, and give it to him--I told him and my mom about how many my space prayers went up for him and they couldn’t believe it!

Thank you all so much for your prayers! Thank you for reading my blog and request...but mostly THANK YOU for all of your love! You were all part of a miracle of extended life in my dad to keep living!

How is my dad doing? He is HAPPY to say the least! He has been given a “second chance” !

He is doing great and is finally at home recovering from the operation of “stents”. He will be part of a new exercise and eating program from the facility that my mom works at to help heal his heart. Please keep praying for continued healing and also a re-newed strength in belief in God and what He can do if he just believes.

ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD!

“The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my keen and firm Strength in Whom I trust and take refuge, my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my High Tower. I call upon the Lord, Who is to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.” Psalm 18:2-3


Healing Scriptures

by Brotha DC

So many people have written about sickness and disease in their families. John 10:10 tells us that satan comes to kill, to steal, and to destroy. But, praise God that Jesus came that we might have and enjoy life in abundance... to the full... until it overflows!

If you have been challenged with health problems, then you can take hold of the word of God and see Him work in your life.

Dodie Osteen, mother of Pastor Joel Osteen, was diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer years ago. She read a number of healing scriptures three times a day and God miraculously healed her. She is still alive, still serving the Lord... still sitting in Lakewood Church week after week, watching her baby boy pastor such a large congregation.

Are you challenged with illness?

Take courage! The following scriptures will bless you mightily!

Exodus 15:26
He said, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.”

Exodus 23:25
Worship the LORD your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you.

Deuteronomy 7:15
The LORD will keep you free from every disease. He will not inflict on you the horrible diseases you knew in Egypt”

Deuteronomy 28:1-14, 61
If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God: You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock--the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed. You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out. The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven. The LORD will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The LORD your God will bless you in the land he is giving you. The LORD will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the LORD your God and walk in his ways. Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will fear you. The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity--in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground--in the land he swore to your forefathers to give you. The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.

The LORD will also bring on you every kind of sickness and disaster not recorded in this Book of the Law, until you are destroyed.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20
This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

1 Kings 8:56
Praise be to the LORD, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.

Psalm 91:16
With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.

Psalm 103:3
Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits--who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.

Psalm 107:20
He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.

Psalm 118:17
I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done.

Proverbs 4:20-23
My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 53:4-5
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Jeremiah 1:12
The LORD said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.”

Jeremiah 30:17
But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the LORD, `because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares.’

Joel 3:10
Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weakling say, ‘I am strong!’

Nahum 1:9
Whatever they plot against the LORD he will bring to an end; trouble will not come a second time.

Matthew 8:2-3
A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.

Matthew 8:17
This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.”

Matthew 18:18-19
“I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.”

Matthew 21:21
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.”

Mark 11:23-24
“I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Mark 16:17-18
“And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Romans 4:17-21
Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead--since he was about a hundred years old--and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

Romans 8:11
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Galatians 3:13-14
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

Ephesians 6:10-17
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Philippians 2:13
...for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 1:7
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10:35
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.

Hebrews 11:11
By faith Abraham, even though he was past age--and Sarah herself was barren--was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.

Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

James 5:14-15
Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.

1 Peter 2:24
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

1 John 3:21-22
Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.

3 John 2
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.

Revelation 12:11
They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.


God is Faithful. Believe and Receive.

by JesusLover Judy

Receiving the Promises

Father, Your divine power has given me all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called me by glory and virtue. I receive Your exceedingly great and precious promises that through these I may be a partaker of the divine nature. In the name of Jesus, I give cheerfully as I purpose in my heart. I sow bountifully and I shall reap bountifully according to Your Word. Amen.

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
2 Peter 1:4 [KJV]


6 Remember this saying,

   "A few seeds make

   a small harvest,

   but a lot of seeds make

   a big harvest."

7 Each of you must make up your own mind about how much to give. But don't feel sorry that you must give and don't feel that you are forced to give. God loves people who love to give. 8 God can bless you with everything you need, and you will always have more than enough to do all kinds of good things for others. 9 The Scriptures say,

   "God freely gives his gifts

   to the poor,

   and always does right."

10 God gives seed to farmers and provides everyone with food. He will increase what you have, so that you can give even more to those in need. 11You will be blessed in every way, and you will be able to keep on being generous. Then many people will thank God when we deliver your gift.

12 What you are doing is much more than a service that supplies God's people with what they need. It is something that will make many others thank God.
2 Corinthians 9:6-12 [CEV]


God Answers Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, I come into your presence with thanksgiving. It is by fearful and glorious things [that terrify the wicked but make me sing praises] that you answer my prayers in righteousness (rightness and justice).

You are the God of my salvation.

You are my confidence and hope.

I know that in the morning you hear my voice, O Lord; in the morning I prepare [a prayer, a sacrifice] for you and watch and wait [for you to speak to my heart].

Thank you for answering me from your holy heaven with the saving strength of your right hand. For in you, O Lord, do I hope; you will answer, O Lord my God. I love you with all that is within me, and I praise your holy name.






4 May He grant you according to your heart's desire and fulfill all your plans.

5 We will [shout in] triumph at your salvation and victory, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners. May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.

6 Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand.

Psalm 20:4-6 [AMP]


Releasing Cares

In the name of Jesus, I cast all my anxiety on God, my Father, because He cares for me.

I am self-controlled and alert. The devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. By the power of the Holy Spirit, I resist him, standing firm in the faith...

And the God of all grace, who called me to His eternal glory in Christ, after I have suffered a little while, will Himself restore me and make me strong, firm and steadfast. Thank you, Father, in the name that is above all names.

6-7 So be content with who you are, and don't put on airs. God's strong hand is on you; he'll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.

He Gets the Last Word

8-11 Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You're not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It's the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won't last forever. It won't be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.
1 Peter 5:7-10 [MESSAGE]


Don’t Give Up...

If you haven't fully stepped into God's promises for your life, don't give up! God can do in one day what man can not accomplish in a life time.

Put your focus on the promises that God has spoken over your life and fully expect them to be realized. Remember that the Bible says that He is able to do "...exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us..." (Ephesians 3:20). In other words, nothing is too difficult for God!

So remember to keep His promises for your life in your heart and in your mind. Renew your mind on a daily basis with His Word. Speak His Word out loud. Remember that "Death and life are in the power of the tongue..." (Proverbs 18:21).

My desire Lord is for people to see You in me… may I reflect your love and grace and mercy… may I be more like You Lord everyday with a heart of compassion… You are the reason I live and breathe…

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

by Brotha DC


We all remember that passage from The Pater Noster.

Give us day by day our daily bread.
Luke 11:3 [KJV]


This request is most often interpreted as asking God to provide us with food... to satisfy our mouths with good things (Psalm 103:5) and to save us from starvation. That is true. But let us consider it from another perspective.


21And going away from there, Jesus withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon.

22And behold, a woman who was a Canaanite from that district came out and, with a [loud, troublesomely urgent] cry, begged, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is miserably and distressingly and cruelly possessed by a demon!

23But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, Send her away, for she is crying out after us.

24He answered, I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

25But she came and, kneeling, worshiped Him and kept praying, Lord, help me!

26And He answered, It is not right (proper, becoming, or fair) to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs.

27She said, Yes, Lord, yet even the little pups (little whelps) eat the crumbs that fall from their [young] masters' table.

28Then Jesus answered her, O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you wish. And her daughter was cured from that moment.


Matthew 15:21-28 [AMP]


In verse 26, Jesus told the woman that healing was the children’s bread. Aren’t you glad to be a child of the Living God?  Aren’t you glad that God satisfies your mouth with good things?


Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle's [strong, overcoming, soaring]!
Psalm 103:5 [AMP]



You open Your hand and satisfy every living thing with favor.
Psalm 145:16 [AMP]


As a child of God through the reconciling sacrifice of Jesus Christ, trust Him to satisfy you with your daily bread... and what accompanies that bread. Perhaps that might include the communion elements that you take as you make a commitment to walk in faith, believing God for your healing.


"But you—you serve your God and he'll bless your food and your water. I'll get rid of the sickness among you; there won't be any miscarriages nor barren women in your land. I'll make sure you live full and complete lives.
Exodus 23:25-26 [MESSAGE]


Amen.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ambassadors for Christ


am·bas·sa·dor [am-bas-uh-der, -dawr]
–noun
  1. a diplomatic official of the highest rank, sent by one sovereign or state to another as its resident representative (ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary).
  2. a diplomatic official of the highest rank sent by a government to represent it on a temporary mission, as for negotiating a treaty.
  3. a diplomatic official serving as permanent head of a country's mission to the United Nations or some other international organization.
  4. an authorized messenger or representative.



As we watch the Secretary of State flying around the world, representing the interests of the United States, and others providing support to disaster zones like Haiti... or negotiating peace in volatile areas such as the Middle East... or with froward leaders like the President of Iran... we see an embodiment of the dictionary definition of the word Ambassador.

Now, here is a thought: have we ever considered the fact that Christians, as members of Christ’s body, are also ambassadors?  That is what the Apostle Paul said to the church at Corinth:

So we are Christ’s ambassadors, God making His appeal as it were through us. We [as Christ’s personal representatives] beg you for His sake to lay hold of the divine favor [now offered you] and be reconciled to God.
2nd Corinthians 5:20 [AMP]

God has called those of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of our lives to be His ambassadors in this world. We are to be instruments of His will in a world that has become so twisted and torn by the wicked schemes of the devil.  We are to minister healing to those who are hurt.  We are to show love to those who feel hated.  We are to offer hope to those who are without hope.

We are Christ’s personal representatives -- representatives of His anointing to a dying world.

Jesus is the Christ, the Anointed One.  The title Christian means one who is Christ-like.  Someone who is a “little anointed one.”  Given the understanding that Jesus is the Anointed One, those who are in Christ are in His anointing.

Jesus is King of Kings (1st Timothy 6:15, Revelation 17:14, Revelation 19:16).  As such, He has made us kings and priests.

And You have made them a kingdom (royal race) and priests to our God, and they shall reign [as kings] over the earth!
Revelation 5:10 [AMP]

Easton’s Bible Dictionary says that anointing a king was equivalent to crowning him (1st Samuel 16:13; 2nd Samuel 2:4). Psalm 103:4 tells us that we are crowned with His loving-kindness and tender mercies. We are kings and priests.  We need to be both -- a king has authority and a priest has access. 

Authority

Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you.
Luke 10:19 [AMP]

When a man or woman is given a uniform and a firearm, they have the authority of the government to enforce its laws. That man or woman can use the power of their imparted authority to arrest or stop a criminal and incarcerate that person.

Their authority is symbolized by the uniform... the badge... the gun belt.

The power to enforce that authority is in the gun...

Luke 10:19 tells us that we have His power and authority to arrest the devil and incarcerate him.

That authority is not symbolized by a badge or a uniform.  Our authority is realized by the spiritual armor, available to all who have accepted Christ, that the Apostle Paul enumerated:

Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil. For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place]. Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God, And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace. Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one]. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God.
Ephesians 6:11-17 [AMP]

When we were given our spiritual armor, we received the power and authority to trample over all of the wicked works of the enemy.  We have the ability to quench the flaming missiles launched toward us by the enemy.  We have the offensive weapon empowered by God’ holy word.

But then, we have to ask this question... are we truly operating in our capacity as an ambassador?

Access

Before Jesus paid the price for our sins on the cross, a priest had to go into the temple to offer sacrifices before God.  The priest was the only one with access to enter into the presence of God.  The average citizen could never do so and live.  But now that we are in the dispensation of grace... now that we are covered by the blood of Jesus... we can boldly go where no one could ever go before!

Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God's unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].
Hebrews 4:16 [AMP]

We have free and unfettered access into the very presence of God.  But is that just so that we can present our wants and needs before Him?  While we can do so... that privilege carries so much more!  We can now take the needs of other people before God!  And, also important, we can take the word of God into the lives of those who do not know Him.  As God’s representatives, that is our prime directive.

By the way, that was the second Star Trek reference.  Did you catch the other one?

If we are to be God’s ambassadors to this world, let’s make sure we are living before the world in an honorable manner.  That doesn’t mean to be all stuffy and smug and self-righteous.  That doesn’t mean to twist your mouth around and speak like you are in a Vincent Price movie.  Au contrare, you need to represent Him by following His commandments!

I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].
John 13:34-35 [AMP]

Walking in love will do more to show people the mercy of God than, well...than anything.

Just do it.

When I was a teenager, my friend Harry Bristow used to play this song by The Hawaiians on his radio show. I learned later that the song was the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

What a great prayer. What a great lifestyle. What a great resolution as the new year and new decade continues to unfurl before us. What a great way to be an ambassador of the Kingdom of God.

It is also a great way to avoid feeding the atheists.

Our book, “Please Don’t Feed the Atheists” is required reading for all ambassadors.

Even a Child Can Be an Ambassador

Our friend Judypie heard of a man giving his testimony at a Salvation Army meeting.  There was a heckler in the crowd shouting, “Would you shut up? You’re just dreaming!”

The heckler felt a tug at his coattail and a little girl said, “That’s my daddy up there. He used to be a drunkard and beat up my mommy. We didn’t have enough food to eat. But then he got saved, and my daddy’s life is changed. See that woman over there? See how happy she is? That’s my mommy. Mister, if my daddy’s dreaming, don’t wake him up!”

What a Savior Jesus is.  He can take a poor lost sinner and wash him, save him, and make him new. Hallelujah!

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow ...
Isaiah 1:18a



Prayer of Entreaty for the Lost

If you are an ambassador for Christ, you will be aware and mindful of the need for the lost to come to personal knowledge salvation through Jesus Christ. We will close with this prayer from JesusLover Judy, a prayer every ambassador might say:

Father, thank You for the Gospel of Christ because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. We pray for those who are yet blind and do not know You. Open their ears to hear the preaching of Your Word. Open the blinded minds of them, which believe not, that the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. In the name of Jesus we bind them — spirit, soul and body — to the mercy and goodness of God that leads us to repentance. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
Romans 1:16 [NIV]

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
2 Corinthians 4:4 [KJV]

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Safety in the Suburbs?

Rockin’ the Suburbs


The original idea behind the suburbs was to create a place to escape the undesirable elements that live in the cities. In other words, people in the ghetto would not acquire the means to move out to the suburbs... thus making the bucolic and homogeneous communities safe from the crime and debauchery that would seem to be indigenous to the... erm, riff-raff.

This thinking has been debunked, however, by a number of disturbing trends... such as sex, drugs, and your diverse manifestations of immorality.

And the wide reach of the internet has made it so much easier for perverts and predators to reach into your home and to cause harm to your precious children... like the 12-year-old who was abducted and sold into prostitution on Craigslist and other web sites.

Sex... drugs... prostitution?

Not in my neighborhood!

After all, my kids go to church every Sunday.

Consider this, however... that going to church won’t make your kids Christians any more than going to McDonald's makes them hamburgers. And, if you are not exercising wise stewardship over them, then...

So take the talent away from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will be furnished richly so that he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have will be taken away.
Matthew 25:28-29 [AMP]

Wait a minute, are you saying someone is going to take my kids away?


That’s right!

Who?

The devil!

The Bible tells us:

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).
John 10:10 [AMP]

Whoa... wait a minute, you mean I moved my kids to a safe neighborhood... away from crime, away from poverty... and the devil can STILL get them?

When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it roams through waterless places in search [of a place] of rest (release, refreshment, ease); and finding none it says, I will go back to my house from which I came. And when it arrives, it finds [the place] swept and put in order and furnished and decorated. And it goes and brings other spirits, seven [of them], more evil than itself, and they enter in, settle down, and dwell there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first.
Luke 11:24-26 [AMP]

In Luke 11:24-26, Jesus explains that a person set free from demonic possession is only temporarily free. The way to permanent freedom is to have something occupying that space where the demon previously lived... something bigger and stronger than that demon... bigger and stronger than the seven others he brought with him. And who is bigger and stronger than satan himself?

Little children, you are of God [you belong to Him] and have [already] defeated and overcome them [the agents of the antichrist], because He Who lives in you is greater (mightier) than he who is in the world.
1st John 4:4 [AMP]

So just moving your kids to a safe neighborhood doesn’t cut the mustard. They are better off in the deepest darkest ghetto with Christ in their hearts and the baptism of the Holy Spirit than to be in the most exclusive gated community with nothing protecting them from the enemy.

Cases in point:

The Lost Children of Little Rock

While more than a decade has gone by since the original PBS Frontline broadcast, the message still rings true:

Teens left to their own devices... even in affluent suburban climes... got involved in all kinds of immoral behavior.

This came to light, as reported by the PBS Frontline team, when an outbreak of syphilis derailed the “fun times” and reality hit the parents in the face like one of Soupy Sales’ custard creme pies.

Kids need more than $1,000,000 homes in gated communities.

They need Jesus as their Savior and Lord.

They need the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

To put kids in such nice surroundings and spend so much time away from home, working to pay for everything, is just a disaster waiting to happen!

It happened in Little Rock... and in many other places around the world.

Sex Is The New Goodnight Kiss

Journalist Sharlene Azam did a book and video report on how Canadian teenagers in nice neighborhoods are selling themselves into prostitution to have the money to buy the latest fashions.

This was (and likely still is) a huge phenomenon in the affluent areas of Asia such as Japan and Singapore... but now we have old guys in North America buying sex from teens for a pair of designer shoes or whatever.

And, as the economy continues to drag... people are going to all kinds of lengths to satisfy their materialistic lusts...

In teens, those lusts are fed by the media and peer pressure.

Overall, society is materialistic... you aren’t anything, the world tells you, unless you wear clothes by this designer or jewelry by that jeweler, or shoes with those logos on them... etc. And in these days of recession and bailouts, what other option do your kids have to feel good about themselves?

This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
1st John 5:3-5 [NIV]

If your teen knows who he or she is in Christ, then they can have self-esteem in knowing that their name is written in the Lamb’s book of life, and not in knowing that some designer’s logo is written on their backside.

Murder in the Nation’s Capitol

For decades, gang wars over drug turf and etcetera was a huge problem in the District. A year ago, the DC police had to literally impose martial law over the Trinidad section of the District because homicides were becoming a daily occurrence.

One mother wanted to raise her child away from all of that, so she and her Ex moved to the nicest suburban area that money could buy. She also hovered over him both physically and electronically. Still, while her 14-year-old honor student was riding his bike not very far from their home, he was beaten to death by schoolmates who had organized into gangs.

Unfortunately, the local police are busy swimming up the Egyptian river called “de-nial” to accept that gang activity exists there. The sad story appeared in the June 2nd edition of the Washington Post.
If you have left the violent suburbs for the more safe exurbs... don’t worry... trouble will find you.

Why?

Because evil is not a matter of geography, it is the spiritual nature of fallen man. And when we realize that we need to put something into the souls of the youth, we won’t have to worry so much about the zip codes of the youth.

God’s Prescription for Protection

Pray Psalm 91 over your children every day... and have them put that scripture in their hearts. That is your protection.

Then, when the enemy wants you to worry about them... try sending this to your child as a text message (right after you send it to the Throne of Almighty God as a faith-filled prayer)...

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?

My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;

indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;

the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121 [NIV]

Safe in the Suburbs?

You and your family can be safe anywhere... but your safety is not in man made fortifications or structures... but in the Living God.

That clinches it—help’s coming, an answer's on the way, everything's going to work out. See those people polishing their chariots, and those others grooming their horses? But we’re making garlands for God our God. The chariots will rust, those horses pull up lame— and we’ll be on our feet, standing tall.
Psalm 20:6-8 [The Message]

Some trust in horses and chariots. Some trust in Smith and Wesson. But your family will be safe when you put your trust and confidence in the Creator of heaven and earth.

No Christ, No Peace. Know Christ, Know Peace.

If you have never asked Jesus to be the Savior and Lord of your life... or of your family... say this simple prayer right this moment:

Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have put my trust in things that are untrustworthy. I have spent my life worrying over things that I can not control, when I now know that I can put my faith and trust on You, because You have the power to control all things. So Jesus, please take control of my life. Fill me with your Spirit... in love, and in power... so that I may make the right choices in my life, and in the lives of those whom I love. Thank you, Lord, for saving me.