Monthly Archives: June 2015

JESUS SAID

make us glad

GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT

1 Corinthians 12:
1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:
2 You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led.
3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:
8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,
9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,
10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

Andrew Wommak  in his article  How To: Flow In The Gifts Of The Holy Spirit writes:

I believe that one of the biggest reasons that the body of Christ hasn’t made a greater impact on our generation today is because of our failure to operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Without a doubt, Jesus and the first apostles used the gifts like a bell, calling men to their message and confirming that God was truly the One speaking through them.

Hebrews 2:3-4 says, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?” The Lord bore witness to the accuracy of their message through miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit.

In Mark 16:17-18, Jesus said all true believers would flow in the miraculous: “And these signs will follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” If a Christian’s life isn’t supernatural, it’s superficial.

Mark goes on to say that messages based in God’s Word would be confirmed by signs following: “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.”

Jesus even said, “If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not” (John 10:37). That’s a strong statement. If we were to apply that standard to ministers today, most wouldn’t be believed.

The vast majority of preaching done in the name of the Lord today is without the power of the Holy Spirit manifest through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This is not the way the Lord intended it to be.

The “main line” denominations have developed doctrines to cope with this obvious discrepancy. However, regardless of the rationale, it’s absurd to think that we can be effective without the power of the Holy Spirit confirming the preaching of God’s Word. If Jesus and the early apostles needed their preaching validated, how can we do any less?

Even the non-denominational churches have fallen away from ministering in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The gifts that operate in most “Spirit-filled” churches are simply words of exhortation or prophecy. There is much more.

The Lord has used the gifts of the Holy Spirit mightily in my life and ministry to confirm His Word. There are countless times when people were still skeptical after hearing me teach, but the demonstration of God’s power through the gifts turned them into believers. It’s like the teaching fills their mouths with God’s Word, then the gifts of the Holy Spirit slap them on the back and make them swallow it. Hallelujah!

One of the most important steps to flowing in the gifts of the Holy Spirit is to earnestly desire them. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12:31, “But covet earnestly the best gifts.” He repeated that thought in 1 Corinthians 14:1 when he said, “Desire spiritual gifts.” Another way of saying this is, as long as you can live without flowing in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, you will. You have to seek these gifts with all your heart (Jer. 29:13).

It’s also very important to understand that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are always flowing. God doesn’t turn them “on” and “off.” We are the ones who are “on” or “off.” That’s a startling statement to many people and one that verges on blasphemy to some, but it’s true. The Lord is always ready to flow through us in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

It’s just like praying in tongues. We don’t have to wait for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to come on us to speak in tongues. We can pray in tongues at any time. It’s not us turning on the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is always on and giving us the ability to speak in tongues. Therefore, whenever we turn ourselves on, the gift of tongues is there to allow us to communicate with our heavenly Father. Praise the Lord! That’s the way it is with all the gifts.

I remember one time that I was teaching along these lines in our Charis Bible College. One of the students said, “So, you are saying that you can flow in the gifts of the Holy Spirit at any time?” I said, “That’s right and I’ll prove it to you.” I then started down each row and just started “reading the students’ mail. I was telling them things that had to be coming from the Holy Spirit. It was awesome.

No one has received everything that the Holy Spirit has for them. Therefore, the Lord is always seeking to release more to us through His supernatural gifts. Whenever we put ourselves in a mode to be His channel, His gifts will flow. The old “Pentecostal” doctrine of the anointing coming and going is not a New Testament truth. First John 2:27 says, “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you.”

Another great truth about flowing in the gifts of the Holy Spirit is what John Osteen called “the divine flow.” This is based on, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Therefore, whenever we discern the love of God flowing through us toward someone, God is reaching out to them through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. All we have to do is follow that flow through faith.

Once when I was pastoring a little church in Pritchett, Colorado, my heart just went out to a woman in the back of the room. I’d never seen her before, and there was nothing natural that drew me to her. It was just the love of God flowing through me to her. Because of that love alone, I told her that God had a word for her. I didn’t have one single word to say to her, but I knew God’s love was flowing; and therefore, God and His gifts were flowing to her. I just started by saying, “God loves you.” God then flooded my mind with things to minister to her.

It was a long word from the Lord, but I specifically told her about how she was grieving over the loss of someone and was confused about why God allowed it. I kept saying, “It wasn’t God that allowed it. It was the Destroyer.” I said that a number of times. She broke down in tears and was really ministered to.

After the service, she told me that she had just lost her son to leukemia. They believed that God allowed this disease. But just before her son died, he saw this huge demon over their town, which the Lord told him was named the Destroyer. They didn’t know how to interpret that until I spoke to them through the gifts of the Holy Spirit and put it all in order. They were set free.

This was the word of knowledge and the word of wisdom in operation. God gave the knowledge of what had happened and then gave words of wisdom to instruct them on how to deal with it. This all came because I followed the love that I felt in my heart.

This has happened to us all, but most of the time we don’t understand this is a gift of the Holy Spirit, and we miss an opportunity. I’ve learned this the hard way.

There was a man who had been my youth director when I was just a young boy. He left our Baptist church before I was a teenager, and I heard how he had been baptized in the Holy Spirit and was seeing great miracles happen. He had one room in his church that was filled with the wheelchairs, crutches, and braces of people who were healed and didn’t need them anymore.

During a three- or four-month period of time, I thought about this man often. It was usually while I was in prayer that he would just come to mind, and I would feel the compassion of God toward him. I would just wonder what was happening with him and then dismiss the thoughts. Later, I found that he had died in a freak accident where a red ant bit him on the thumb.

As soon as I heard of his death, I knew that the reason I had been thinking of him so often was because the Lord was trying to get me to intercede for him. Over a decade later, I met this man’s son, and I confessed to him my failure to pray for his dad. He told me that I was at least the twelfth person who had told him a similar story. The Lord had impressed many of us to intercede for this man, but none of us recognized it as the Lord.

It is imperative that we learn to recognize and flow in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It’s not only a blessing to us, but the lives of other people may depend on it. You are carrying someone’s miracle. Don’t let it stay inside. You have to learn how to release it.

EXTRACT FROM Be Not Ignorant
http://walthope.tripod.com/ignorant.htm
https://walthope.wordpress.com
https://plus.google.com/u/0/100302133262254344211/posts

HOW TO

the lord will helpHOW TO

God Was With Him

“how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38

Andrew Wommack  in his article How To Receive A Miracle writes

A miracle — the supernatural intervention of God. All of us have needed a miracle in the past, need one now, or will need of one in the future. The problem is that most Christians don’t know how to receive a miracle from God.

The best advice is don’t wait until a storm hits to learn how to believe God for a miracle. During a storm, emotions will cancel out your faith.

It’s good to clarify the difference between a blessing and a miracle. A miracle is a supernatural intervention of God in a crisis situation. A blessing is still God’s power, but it flows through natural channels. Blessings are better than miracles. If you live your life from one miracle to the next, you will live from crisis to crisis. It’s better to be blessed with good health than to always need divine healing. God’s will is for us to walk in blessing.

We all need a miracle at some time to simply jump-start our faith. If it weren’t for miracles, we wouldn’t grow to the point where we could walk in the blessings of God. Most Christians believe that God does miracles, but simply believing God is able to do it is not enough. You must know how to receive it.

Many Christians just wish and hope it happens. They think there is no way to grab a hold of miracles and make them happen. That’s not what the Bible teaches.

God is predictable and orderly. He doesn’t do one thing this time and another thing another time. God created this world and everything physical around us, and the physical world is orderly. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is forever faithful.

Faith is governed by laws. Romans 3:27 says, “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.” The kingdom of God operates under law. It is consistent. When someone is killed due to the law of gravity, we may wonder why God did that. He didn’t, but there are laws that He put in place.

Gravity says that if you jump off a building, you will be killed. If you cooperate with God’s laws, you will be fine. If you ignore those laws, you can be killed by the laws intended for your good. It’s the same with the spiritual laws of God.

So, how do you receive a miracle from God? First, you must recognize that miracles are not just hit and miss. You can tap into a miracle. You learn the laws of God and how they work, and miracles will happen. I’m not saying you can push a button and God pops out or you can make God do whatever you want. I’m saying God is turned on all the time and any time, you get turned on, you can see the power of God operate. God is always wanting to move on your behalf. God is for you — He is a good God.

God’s desire is for you to prosper (Ps. 35:27). God’s will is for you to be healthy (3 John 2). God’s will is for you to be above only and not beneath (Deut. 28:13).

You are the one who controls God’s ability in your life. God doesn’t. It is God’s power and His ability, but it’s up to you. The Scripture says in Ephesians 3:20, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” Many people leave off that last phrase, “according to the power that worketh in us.” If there is no power in you, you can stop God’s intervention in your life. God has chosen to never violate your will. God has chosen to flow through you. Satan can’t stop God’s power, but you can. God wants you to have a miracle, but you have to stop waiting and start believing.

The most important miracle in the Bible is the virgin birth of Jesus. God came and lived in a physical body — now that’s a miracle. The account is found in Luke 1.

The angel came and spoke to Mary of this miracle. The miracle happened when Mary answered (in verse 38), “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” When God creates, He speaks it into existence by His Word.

God did all His miracles by the spoken Word. In Genesis, He created the world by the spoken Word. Hebrews 11 tells us, “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” The important point is that your words are involved in your miracle.

Many Christians put prayer above all and believe that if you pray, it will happen. Prayer is like water or fertilizer that you put on the seed. But, without planting a seed, watering is useless. If God was moved by need, every person’s need would be met. Also, those in the worst situations would get their needs met first. That’s not true.

You must plant a seed, which is the Word of God. First Peter 1:23 says, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” We are born again of incorruptible seed — the Word of God. The word “seed” in this scripture means sperm. We are born of a supernatural union and the seed of the Word of God.

Farmers believe that if you plant wheat, you get wheat. If you plant corn, you get corn. They don’t question it — they are simply laws. Everybody agrees with that in the natural; but when it comes to spiritual things, most people don’t believe that.

But the truth is, if you aren’t reaping what the Word of God says, you haven’t planted what the Word of God says to plant. You reap what you sow. If the Word of God is primary in your life, you’re going to get the results of the Word of God. That doesn’t mean Satan won’t fight you and you won’t have problems. The end result will be you’re going to have what the Word of God says. Satan may fight you, but you’ll win. Many of us know this intellectually, but in our hearts, there is fear or reservation. We don’t have the absolute confidence that God’s Word is going to prevail in our lives.

Romans 8:6 says, “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” If all you think about is the Word of God, that’s all you’ll get. You may not be thinking, I want to be sick, but your thinking has been sick. Proverbs 4:22 tells us that the Word of God is “life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.”

When God wanted to bring Jesus into the earth, He couldn’t just create Jesus. God gave all authority over the earth to man. God did not rule directly over the affairs of the earth. After man blew it, God couldn’t come down here and intervene. He had to work through man. God was looking for a man to flow through but couldn’t find one. So, He had to come Himself (Is. 59:16). In the virgin birth, the Word of God was the seed. Everything else about the birth was natural. God spoke that miracle into existence.

I believe every one of us has a spiritual womb where the Word of God enters in and germinates, and we conceive a miracle. Sometimes you may receive a miracle as a gift through someone else’s faith. You can’t depend on someone else; God wants you to be able to conceive a miracle. Meditate on the Word day and night, and you will get spiritually pregnant and bring forth fruit.

It’s impossible to have a miracle without planting the Word of God. One farmer thought he could violate the laws of God. He waited to plant wheat until everyone else’s wheat was about ready to harvest. He planted $100,000 worth of wheat the month before harvest. When it didn’t come up and he lost his money, he came and wanted me to pray. I told him that’s not the way it works. You don’t sow a crop when you want a crop. Some of us haven’t had the seed planted in us, but we want the crop. There is a time of sowing and reaping (Gal. 6:9).

We don’t just naturally grow up believing God. It takes renewing our minds. God’s Word is the most important step to receive a miracle. Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” You can’t just know the Word intellectually. You must meditate on it so it becomes living and active on the inside of you. Most of us don’t meditate on the Word as we should. We are occupied and don’t have time, and we are upset with God when we don’t receive our miracle. That’s just as foolish as the man who didn’t plant his seed but was upset when he didn’t receive a crop.

If God’s Word is planted in your heart, you’ll receive. It doesn’t matter what you feel — God’s Word will produce a miracle.

Most of us have had times when we have prayed a prayer of faith, and our prayers seemed to go unanswered. Maybe you got into the Word of God, planted a seed, and prayed for a miracle. Then, nothing happened.

The problem is that many people stop believing at that moment. God’s Word says in Mark 11:24, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” This is where most Christians stumble. The Bible says to believe when you pray that you have received.

Most of us are familiar with Matthew 7:7, which says, “Ask, and it shall be given you.” However, when we don’t see an immediate manifestation to prayer, we say, “Well, not everyone receives.” That’s not scriptural because the next verse says, “For every one that asketh receiveth.” Most of us don’t really believe this scripture. We lose our excitement in the Word and don’t expect it to work like that.

We had a friend with leukemia, and she believed that she would be healed. We prayed that she would be healed. On her death bed, she still believed she would be healed at any time. She died and we prayed for her to be raised from the dead for a long time. Her father said that it couldn’t be God’s will for everyone to be healed, or she would have been healed. We didn’t understand and it was hard for me. It was several years before I figured out how we allowed the devil to beat us on that one.

We have a responsibility to bring about God’s will. Some people believe that God’s will comes to pass no matter what we do, but that’s not true. God is bound by His own laws. Second Peter 3:9 says that it’s not God’s will that anyone should perish. For that to happen, there has to be someone to preach the Gospel. God’s will does not automatically comes to pass. Psalm 89:34 says, “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.” God has bound Himself by His own Word. God gave us authority over the devil, and we must exercise what God has given us.

Most people interpret God’s Word by their own experience, “God’s Word says one thing, but here is what happened.” If someone doesn’t get healed, we make our own theology and say, “Well, not everyone gets healed.” God doesn’t say no to something He already said yes to. You need to learn to interpret your circumstances by God’s Word — not God’s Word by your circumstances.

Most of us have seen a promise in God’s Word and believed to the best of our ability, but it didn’t come to pass. How do we harmonize the fact that God is true to His Word and it didn’t happen?

There is a physical world, and there is a spiritual world. The spiritual world created this physical world. There is a spiritual reality for everything physical. In 2 Kings 6, you can read the story of Elisha. When the Syrian army had surrounded Elisha and his army, a servant asked Elisha, “What shall we do?” Elisha answered, “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” Verse 17 tells us, “And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.” There weren’t more physically but more spiritually. The angels of God surrounded them. Elisha spoke the truth.

Some people say it’s a lie to speak that you’re healed when you don’t feel healed, but that’s operating only by your five senses. You have to walk in the spirit. There are spiritual realities. John 6:63 says, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” The Bible is spiritual truth. We are limited when we only think in the physical realm. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean God didn’t do it. God always answers when you pray according to His will. When God answers your prayer, He gives it to you in spiritual form. If you ask for finances, God releases the spiritual power to produce those finances. If you pray for healing, He gives it to you in spiritual form. God’s operation ends in the spiritual realm, independent of you.

Faith is the key that brings the answer into the physical realm. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). Your faith brings what God has accomplished into physical reality. God gives it to you in the spirit, then faith brings it into the physical realm. Many times you don’t know God has answered your prayer because you can’t perceive it in the physical. You have to believe something is happening beyond your five senses. If you don’t believe it until you see it, you won’t receive from God. The Bible says you have to believe you receive when you pray.

What happens between the time you say amen and see the answer manifested? We learn something about this when we read about the prayers of Daniel. In Daniel 9:20, Daniel is praying, and the angel Gabriel appears and tells him (in verse 23), “At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee.” In only three minutes, God answered his prayer. Gabriel said at the beginning of his prayer God answered, but it took three minutes for it to become visible. Sometimes it takes a little time to manifest in the physical. Often, we step out of faith and stop the manifestation from coming.

In Daniel 10, Daniel is praying again. This time it says, in verse 3, he fasted and prayed for three weeks. In verse 10, God sends a messenger and answers. Why did it take three minutes the first time and three weeks the second time? Some people say that God is making them wait to teach them something. That is not scriptural. The Bible says that the Scripture is given to teach us. We can learn through trials, but God doesn’t send them to teach us.

In verse 12, the angel told Daniel that God heard his prayer the first day and sent the answer. What held up the answer? The prince of the kingdom of Persia did battle with the angel for 21 days. There was spiritual warfare going on for three weeks. Satan fought to keep the answer from Daniel. In the Old Testament, people didn’t have authority over the devil. That authority came with Jesus. If God had shown Daniel what was going on, he couldn’t have done anything. In the New Testament, the blinders are removed because we have authority over Satan. We don’t have to wait for the devil to run his course. When Jesus withstood temptation, the devil left because he had done everything he could do (Matt. 4; Luke 4). Satan doesn’t have a limitless bag of tricks.

If you pray and don’t see manifestation immediately, God is waiting on you to stand against the devil and bring it into being.

How can Satan hinder your prayer? He can use another person to hinder your prayer. Sometimes, other people are involved in your answer. If you are praying for finances, intercede for the people who will be used in your prosperity. If you are trying to sell a house, pray for the person who will buy your house. If you want a promotion at work, pray for the boss who will be used to give you your promotion.

Some of you may think you don’t have enough faith to believe for a miracle. The truth is that you can’t get any more faith than you already have. Romans 12:3 says that God has dealt to every man the measure of faith. God gave us all the same measure of faith.

In Galatians 2:20, Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Paul said that he uses the faith of Jesus. You have the same amount of faith that Jesus has. That should be enough.

EXTRACT FROM Be Not Ignorant
http://walthope.tripod.com/ignorant.htm
https://walthope.wordpress.com
https://plus.google.com/u/0/100302133262254344211/posts

PRAISE

showing mercy

The Effects Of Praise

Acts 8: 4 Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.
5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.
6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed.
8 And there was great joy in that city.

Andrew Wommack in his article The Effects Of Praise [ix]again brings out some very important truths:

Most Christians believe that praising God and being thankful is good; however, many think it is optional, something to do after they have served the Lord in other ways. Some Christians only praise God when their circumstances are good and they have a reason to thank Him. The truth is that praising God is not an option. Praise has a powerful effect on the believer, the devil, and on God. It is our highest calling.

In Deuteronomy, God pronounced a curse on the children of Israel: “Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things” (28:47). Even though we are not under the Law, this verse tells us that God wants us to have joyful and thankful hearts. Jesus was joyful. Hebrews 1:9 tells us that praising God at all times is part of the normal Christian life: “Therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”

How does praise affect the believer? When we praise God, we are acknowledging that it is not our own efforts that produce blessings and prosperity. In Deuteronomy, chapters 7 and 8, the children of Israel are told to remember to thank God for the abundance they will receive. God, not their own efforts, gave them wealth. Praise makes us humble.

Thanksgiving is also a way to abound in faith. Any time we operate in a high degree of faith, praise is present. Colossians 2:6-7 says, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” When you are believing God for something and it is completed, praise is a natural response. What some people often neglect is that they can increase their faith with praise, and their answers will come more quickly.

By focusing on your problems instead of praising God, you become self-centered and prideful. Praise forces you to get your attention on God and off your problems. Some people say that they are praying, but they are so focused on their problems that they are actually complaining. If you focus on the Word of God, faith will come. How do you keep from focusing on the problem when you are in pain or have no money? The most important thing you can do is praise God. A negative, complaining attitude won’t change overnight, but beginning to praise God will start the transformation in your attitude. If you have always been negative, you must practice thinking on positive things. Philippians 4:4 tells us to “rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.”

When we pray, we should begin with praise and end with praise. The Lord’s prayer gives us this example, and Philippians 4:6-7 tells us, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” When you pray with thanksgiving, the peace of God will keep your heart and mind.

Praise will build you up spiritually and keep you from crumbling, “for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Neh. 8:10). The Apostle Paul was persecuted and suffered far more than most of us, yet he put it all in perspective in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” First, Paul said our affliction is just for a moment in light of eternity. He looked into the spiritual realm. Praise will push you into the spiritual realm to see what God has done for you. Paul and Silas praised God in prison. It was the praise that released the power of God and the earthquake that delivered them from their captivity.

Praising God doesn’t just affect us; it is a powerful weapon against the devil as well. Psalm 8:2 says, “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.” In the book of Matthew (21:16), at the time of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday), Jesus quotes from Psalm 8. When he quoted this verse, he interchanged the words “perfected praise” for “ordained strength.” This is a tremendous revelation: Praise is strength (Neh. 8:10)!

Some people are so involved in spiritual warfare that their attention is on the devil more than on God. There is a place for fighting and resisting the devil, but focusing too much on the devil is not good. Praise is a powerful weapon against the devil that has no negative fallout. In 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat appointed singers to lead his army into battle with praise unto the Lord. When they went into battle singing and praising God, the Lord set an ambush, and their enemies were defeated.

Why does praise defeat Satan? Satan’s sin was jealousy of God. He is still driven by jealousy today (Is. 14:13-14). Even if he can’t get people to worship him, his goal is to keep people from worshiping God. He seeks to draw attention away from God. When we worship God, we thwart Satan’s plan.

We have learned the power of starting a service with praise. Praise makes the devil flee and releases the anointing of God. Even the secular world knows the benefits of praise. The medical profession says that a person who is joyful is more healthy than a person who is morbid and depressed. Praise stops a negative attitude.

The most important reason to praise God is that it ministers unto Him. Acts 13 describes a situation at the church in Antioch. Verse 2 says, “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.” This is an awesome statement. They ministered to the Lord. How do we minister to the Lord? We often think we serve God only by ministering to other people. This happened in Matthew, chapter 8, with Peter’s mother-in-law. She waited on them and did household duties. That is a ministry; however, in this instance in Acts, they were fasting, praying, and ministering to the Lord. They were worshiping and glorifying God. That also ministers to the Lord.

The truth is that God desires ministry. God is complete and self-contained, but He needs us to love Him. Any person who loves has a need to show that love and a need to have that love returned. That is the reason for the creation of man in the first place. In Revelation 4, John saw a vision of what is happening in heaven. He saw twenty-four elders and four living creatures that don’t cease praising God. In verse 11, the elders said, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” This tells us that God’s original and current purpose for creation is for His pleasure. God created us to be full of praise, joy, and thanksgiving. He is blessed by His creation.

We are often so service-oriented that we think we have to minister to others or work at the church to bless God. We think our net worth to God is our service. We forget that if it blesses God, it doesn’t have to touch anyone else. He longs to know us personally and intimately. There are hundreds of times in Scripture that God solicits our praise. Psalm 100:4 says that we should “enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”

I married Jamie because I love her and want to share my life with her. Jamie is an excellent homemaker and keeps a clean house, which blesses our family. However, if she cared more for the house than for me, it would cease to minister to me. It is the same way in our relationship with God. Service is not a substitute for a relationship with God.

Our number one priority must be to love God personally. Praise is giving of yourself to God — an intimate communion with Him. If we would praise and seek God first, during our prayer time, other things would be added unto us. (Matt. 6:33)

John 3:16 tells us that God gave His Son that we might have eternal life. Christians often think eternal life begins when you die and go to heaven, but John 17:3 tells us differently. Eternal life is now. Intimately knowing God is eternal life. Praise is a way to begin this love relationship with God.

“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name”(Heb. 13:15).

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OUR HELP

our helpUnderstanding Spirit, Soul, And Body

And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled  in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight-  if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister. – Colossians 1:21-23

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23

Andrew Wommack in his article Understanding Spirit, Soul, And Body[viii] brings up some very interesting truths:

Did you know a Christian can actually die from sickness or disease while the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lies dormant within them? Or did you know that believers can be overcome with depression, anger, and bitterness, all the while possessing God’s love, joy, and peace in their spirits?

It’s true—they can and they do. Why? Because they really don’t understand what changed when they were born again, and therefore have difficulty receiving the promises of God. The Bible says that every born-again believer has undergone a complete inner transformation.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 5:17-18).

It doesn’t say that all things are becoming new or have the potential of becoming new; they are new, the moment you are born again. But in order for that to make sense, you must first understand how God created you.

God’s Word clearly teaches that we are three-part beings, but very few Christians have a functional understanding of spirit, soul, and body in their daily lives. Intellectually, most Christians believe they’re three-part beings, but functionally, they act as though they’re only made up of body and soul. They’re confused about the operation of the soul and spirit, seeing them basically as the same thing.

Even Strong’s Concordance fails to distinguish all three! It defines “spirit” (pneuma in the Greek) as “the rational soul.” However, in my study of God’s Word, I have found a very distinct difference between spirit and soul. Your spirit is your innermost part, not your “rational soul.”

First Thessalonians 5:23 makes it very clear: “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”.

If you were talking to me face to face, you’d be looking at my body but speaking to my soul. The word “soul” is defined by some as the mind, will, and emotions. While that’s certainly true, it’s incomplete. The “conscience” should also be included in that definition. The soul is really what most people call the “personality.”

You can feel both your body and your soul and are receiving information from them all the time. For example, if I put my hand on your shoulder, you would know that I touched you. I could also make you feel happy or sad, or even hurt you without any physically contact, simply by the words I speak. Those words are processed by your mind, and the result of their effect is often expressed in your emotions.

It’s easy to know how your body feels, what’s going on in your mind, and what emotions you’re experiencing. However, your spirit is much different. It cannot be accessed in any natural way.

John 3:6 says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

Jesus meant that there’s no direct connection between the spirit and flesh. They are interrelated, but spirit is spirit and flesh is flesh. You simply cannot contact your spirit through your five senses or through your mind, will, or emotions. Therein lies one of the great problems of the Christian life!

If you don’t understand that spiritual reality can’t be felt, then you’ll be confused when God’s Word declares that you have the same power that raised Jesus from the dead living in you (Eph. 1:19-20). If you think truth can be discerned through your natural senses, you’ll be baffled when the Bible says you’re a brand-new creature who can do the same miraculous works that Jesus did (2 Cor. 5:17 and John 14:12).

The apparent disparity between your natural experiences and God’s Word will cause you to throw up your hands in frustration and conclude, “It must not be true.” It’s understanding spirit, soul, and body that unlocks the spirit realm so you can experience who you are and what you have in Christ.

In the natural, the spirit realm can’t be seen or felt; the only way to accurately perceive spiritual truth is through the Bible. Simply take God’s Word and believe it!

Jesus said in John 6:63, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”

God’s Word reveals spiritual reality. If you want to know what your spirit is like, you must find out from the Word, not rely on emotions or other perceptions. God’s Word is spirit and life! When you look at your face in a mirror, you aren’t really seeing yourself; you’re viewing a reflection. Even though it’s only a reflection, you have learned to trust it and act on what you see. God’s Word is just like that mirror: it reflects perfectly who you are in the spirit.

“For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therin, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:23-25).

You must look into God’s mirror and trust the spiritual reality you see! It reflects your new born-again spirit, your innermost part. However, it does not reflect your body or your soul.

Although full payment has been made for your glorified body through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, you still have a corrupted body. One day it will be redeemed and changed into an incorruptible one. For now, you still must live in the same body you had before you were saved.

Your soul wasn’t saved either. You may have the same thoughts and emotions you had before you were saved. And because of that, some people seriously doubt whether or not they are saved. They don’t understand that the change took place in their spirits. Typically, your body and soul are both impacted by what happens at salvation, but that’s not where the complete change took place.

The good news is you can change your mind. In fact, we are commanded to do so. Romans 12:2 says,“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Your soul can be transformed to the degree that you renew your mind, change your attitudes, and conform to the Word of God. This should happen, and it’s in the process of happening, but it didn’t happen automatically when you were saved.

In your soul, old things did not pass away, and all things haven’t yet become new. For that reason, you could actually die from sickness or disease even though you have all of the power that raised Jesus from the dead residing untapped within your spirit. It’s like dying of thirst while leaning against a well full of life-giving water.

Think of your soul like the valve on a faucet. It controls the rate and volume of the flow of the spirit into your body. If your mind is renewed and in agreement with the Word, the valve is wide open. But if it is in agreement with what your body is feeling or your emotions are experiencing, the valve is either closed or in the process of closing.

Your soul has the power to keep every drop of life-giving power from ever reaching your physical body or flooding it with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. If the valve is open, you’ll experience healing, deliverance, anointing, victory, power, joy, prosperity, and more. So, keep it open!

This revelation of the relationship of the spirit, soul, and body has transformed my life. When I realized that God had already given me everything I needed and it’s all contained in my spirit, it set me free. All I needed to do was release it. That simple understanding changes everything.

The Christian life isn’t a process of “getting from God”; it’s a process of renewing the mind and learning to release what you’ve already received.

If you don’t understand that you have already received all that you will ever need (in your spirit) at salvation, there will always be an element of doubt. You may know it’s possible or even promised in the Word, but you’ll be trying to perceive it in the mental, emotional, or physical realm. That’s a formula for failure.

That erroneous concept can also result in a performance-based relationship with God: “If I’m good enough, if I read the Bible enough, if I pay my tithe,” and on and on it goes in an attempt to motivate God to give you what you need. It’s the misconception that God hasn’t already given you everything and that somehow you have to make yourself worthy enough to get it.

You’re already worthy because of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice. He paid the price for everything you will ever need. In fact, you’ve already got it. It’s just a matter of understanding the relationship of the spirit to the soul and body.

Understanding spirit, soul, and body is critically important to every believer. It’s like the key that opens the treasure chest of God’s grace. It could be a matter of life and death, and it’s the foundation to understanding the rest of Scripture.

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AWESOME

follows

WE NEED TO GET BACK TO REAL CHRISTIANITY

ACTS 5:12  And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.
13 Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly.
14 And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women,
15 so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them.
16 Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.

Apostle Keith Barr

God is so awesome. He has been performing so many miracles through my ministry down in Mexico at the crowds are swelling. More and more people are coming all the time and they have been seeing miracles they can hardly believe, causing many to come to repentance . Revival is breaking out here in Mexico.
https://www.facebook.com/apostlekeith.barr/posts/10206969945428277?fref=nf

I have preached and minister and prayed in five services in less than 2 days in 108 degree weather and going to my 6th service in a couple of hours. I feel great. Hundreds have been healed, saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. one man’s leg was about 3 inches shorter than the other and he walked with a big limp but God instantly healed him while I prayed and he immediately began to walk straight. My interpreter said wow that’s amazing. This 82 year old woman was healed of many things including pain in the knees and other places. God healed her cataracts so she can see clearly after prayer.
https://www.facebook.com/apostlekeith.barr?fref=nf

The movie The Green Mile was on TV last night. It is a good movie with Tom Hanks from the late Michael Duncan Smith as John Coffey a innocent man with a gift of healing wrongly convicted and sentenced to the electric chair.

As I was watching it, I realize that I had just as great and many more miracles in each of my three services yesterday then they showed in this wonderful movie. Cancers were healed, tumors disappeared, cataracts disappeared, many were healed of various knee and back pains. Its too bad the world doesn’t understand or believe the power of God available to His servants today through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Over the past couple of months I have seen an incredible amount of people who were sick and suffering, their bodies wracked with pain and disease and sometimes twisted horribly by them. It is mind blowing and I’m seeing things I never thought of as people come to me desperate for a miracle. My heart goes out to them. Thankfully almost all of them are healed if not instantly or after a few minutes of continued prayer. One night while looking at so many desperate people looking for God to heal them I was reminded of something A.A Allen wrote in his autobiography. It was an exaggeration but he said he had seen so many terribly sick people who were suffering incredibly that it would be enough to make Satan aghast at his own handiwork.

https://www.facebook.com/apostlekeith.barr?fref=nf

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THE LAME WALK

SHALL DELIVER

Discipleship vs. Evangelism

Matthew 11:5 The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

Andrew Wommack in his article Discipleship vs. Evangelism[xii] writes

Most Christians believe that the primary purpose of salvation is to avoid hell. That may have been what you were taught, but it’s not what the Bible teaches. In fact, that kind of thinking serves to inoculate people from the truth of the Gospel concerning salvation.

If we simply ceased to exist at death and if there was no hell, I still believe that Jesus would have come to earth and died for us. Why, because salvation is about having a relationship with God. God’s main reason for sending Jesus was to restore fellowship. It just so happens that as we restore our relationship with God through salvation, one of the perks, one of the great benefits, is that we miss hell and gain heaven.

Nowhere in Scripture did Jesus tell us to go and make converts. Let’s look at what is commonly referred to as the Great Commission, found in Mathew 28:18-20. It says this: “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Jesus told them to teach them to observe all things He had commanded. The word “teach” is derived from the word that is translated “disciple” throughout the Bible. The New International Version translates this, “Go and make disciples.” The emphasis here is that the Lord commanded us to make disciples, not converts. Somewhere along the way, the church has changed the emphasis of this message from making disciples to people being born again, leaving discipleship for the “mature.”

Did you know that Jesus never preached on being “born again”? In the third chapter of John, He talked to Nicodemus about the spiritual birth compared to the natural birth, but He never taught or preached to the people about being “born again.” You may be asking yourself, “How can Andrew say that? That’s the centerpiece of every evangelistic effort.” You’re right, it is, but I believe the Bible teaches that the church has placed the emphasis in the wrong place. By making that the focus, we are actually lowering the standards, leaving people with the misconception that all they need to do is just be born again and discipleship is optional. That is not what Jesus commanded us to do.

Statistics tell us that thirty-three percent of all “born-again Christians” still support things like abortion and New Age thinking. That certainly does not reflect the attitude of a person who’s truly been born again. Billy Graham was quoted as saying that only fifteen percent of all the people who professed to be Christian are truly born again. Here is something else that may surprise you: Katherine Kuhlman said that only fifteen percent of those who were healed at her services kept their healing when they left the service. These numbers should tell us something about how we measure success in ministry.

I am not saying that being born again and living eternally with Jesus is not important; it’s essential! I’m saying that we have changed the message from the way Jesus taught it. We have reduced the definition of “born again” to the point that in our society today, it has actually become socially popular to say you’re born again and gain acceptance in certain circles. Jesus said that we are to make disciples, followers of Christ. When we ask people to accept Jesus as their Savior, we need to teach them that this is a total commitment of one’s life to the Lord. It means becoming a disciple of Jesus.

Jesus’ attitude toward evangelism is much different than that of most Christians. Jesus is more concerned with the quality of ministry than the quantity.

John 2:23-25 says, “Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.”

It says that Jesus did not commit Himself unto them although they believed on Him. The word “believe” and “commit” are actually the same word in the Greek here. So you could say that they believed on Him, but He did not believe in them. He knew they were not disciples. He wouldn’t commit Himself to them, because He didn’t want man testifying out of their own ability. When we hear that someone has been born again, we are ready to put them to work, especially if they are public figures with name recognitions. It’s like we are trying to sell a product by associating it with someone famous. That totally violates what Paul said in 1 Timothy, chapter 3, concerning placing a novice in a position of authority. These are the kinds of shortcuts believers resort to when they limit the true definition of being born again to a simple confession of Jesus as Lord.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “I would have been a Christian if I hadn’t met one.” Before leading the revolution in India, he was exiled in Africa. There, he was seeking the Lord, reading the New Testament. He had become convinced that Christianity was the true religion and that Jesus was the Christ. He decided to attend a Presbyterian Church service for the purpose of confessing Jesus as his Lord. But because of the color of his skin, they wouldn’t let him in. Those people who were so determined to evangelize did not have enough of the nature of God on the inside to look past his color. Gandhi then led 750 million people into a pagan religion.

On a trip to India some years ago, I learned there were 12,000 Methodists in the city of Ahmedadad, the result of a great revival in the 1890s. When I asked the head of the church in that city how many were truly born again, he responded by saying there were only two or three families. The rest were still worshiping other gods. All they had done was added Jesus to their list of gods to make sure they didn’t miss one. They were obviously not disciples. To those in India, Jesus was just another of the thousands of gods. That is not God’s idea of evangelism.

John 8:30-32 says, “As he spake these words, many believed on him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

We often say that if you know the truth, the truth will set you free. That is not correct. More correctly, these verses say that when you continue in the Word, then you will know the truth, and the truth you know sets you free. In these verses, Jesus was speaking to those who already believed on Him. Jesus knew that only those who became disciples would truly become free. There is more to believing than just mouthing words.

What we ought to be preaching is that God calls us into discipleship, and it begins with making a commitment to the Lord. If we understood that and acted on it, we would have much greater success evangelizing the world.

Consider this: If you evangelized 1,000 people per year for fifteen years, you would have 15,000 new believers, assuming they were all genuine conversions. If you led 1 person to the Lord every six months and spent the next six months discipling that person so they could reproduce themselves, what do you think would happen? In one year there would only be two new Christians. However, after twelve years, if each continued to reproduce themselves every six months, there would be no one left on earth to evangelize. Jesus’ method of discipleship would have produced nearly 6 billion disciples in less than thirteen years. Discipleship Evangelism works!

I really believe that the church has missed it in the area of evangelism. We have been making converts and not disciples. By now, you may be thinking, “Andrew is right, but I have no idea how to disciple anyone; that’s best left to those who are more knowledgeable in the Word of God.” Well, I have good news: If you can read, you can change a life!

My good friend and associate minister for over thirty years, Don Krow, has developed a discipling tool to help you fulfill God’s command to go and make disciples. Don has entitled it Discipleship 101, but I call it “Discipling for Dummies.” It’s simple, it’s easy, and it’s effective. It’s made up of thirty-four powerful real-life stories. All you do is read a short story, ask prepared questions, give the prepared answers, and watch God work in the life of another. You can’t miss with this. I believe it will be a big blessing.

EXTRACT FROM Be Not Ignorant
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GAVE THEM POWER

before your face

The Power Of The Gospel

Mark 6:7 And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits.
8 He commanded them to take nothing for the journey except a staff — no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts —
9 but to wear sandals, and not to put on two tunics.
10 Also He said to them, “In whatever place you enter a house, stay there till you depart from that place.
11 And whoever will not receive you nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!”
12 So they went out and preached that people should repent.

Andrew Wommack  in his article Grace: The Power Of The Gospel[xi] writes

Many people around the world who embrace “Christianity” have never heard the true Gospel. They believe Christianity is nothing but a different set of rules, substituting Christian “dos and don’ts” for those of other religions. They continue to believe they must earn their way to God and then do their best to deserve the benefits of salvation. That’s not the true Gospel.

Accepting Jesus as your Savior with the belief that you are now going to abide by a certain set of rules, or exchange one set for another, is not the good news. Why? Because it still depends upon your performance. And I can guarantee you that the devil will make sure you know that your performance is not quite good enough. He is the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10).

The truth that makes the Gospel the “nearly-too-good-to-be-true news” is that we are accepted by God through what Jesus did for us. The revelation of God’s grace will deliver you from a performance mentality to a total trust and reliance upon the Lord. Salvation is all about God’s faithfulness, not ours! This is foundational for maintaining a close relationship with God and receiving all the benefits of your salvation.

Romans 1:16-17 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”

The book of Romans communicates that the Gospel is the power of God. It’s what produces the life of God in people. However, the word Gospel has become a religious term that has lost a lot of its meaning today. Many people associate “Gospel” with anything that has to do with religion, specifically the Christian religion. But “Gospel” literally means “good tidings,” or “good news.”

The Greek word euaggelion, which was translated “gospel” in seventy-four New Testament verses, was so rare in writings outside of the New Testament that it’s only found twice in extra-biblical manuscripts. The reason for this is because this word not only meant “good news,” but was actually describing “nearly-too-good-to-be-true news.”

Much of “Christian culture” today associates the Gospel with these statements: “You’re a sinner. If you don’t repent, you’re going to hell.” Now, these are true statements. There is a heaven and a hell, a God and a devil, and you will go to hell if you don’t repent and receive salvation, but even though all of that is truth, it’s not “good news.” It’s not “the Gospel.”

As a matter of fact, it’s the complete opposite of what Paul was teaching. Roman 2:4 says it’s the goodness of God that leads us to repentance, not judgment and condemnation. That is what Paul was talking about, and that is “good news.”

The Gospel is directly related to the grace of God. That’s the only way this forgiveness of our sins can be obtained. It isn’t through our holiness or good works. God doesn’t take the “good” people and save them; He justifies (extends salvation toward) the ungodly (Rom. 4:5).

This causes many problems for religious people. They say, “Wait a minute! I believe you must do this and that to be holy.” Religion—false religion, man’s concepts—teaches that right standing with God and His blessings come as a result of our own goodness and works.

Religious teachers say, “You must come to our church. You must pay your tithes, read your Bible, and pray more, to mention a few. Then, if you do all these things just right, God will accept you.” That’s anti-Gospel! It’s against the “good news” of God’s grace because it’s putting the burden of salvation on your back—and you can’t bear it. Nobody can save themselves.

That’s basically the false “Gospel” that religion preaches today. They may talk about the one true God and use terminology like “God the Father.” They may even mention that Jesus is the Savior of the world who died for our sins. But at its core, it’s another “Gospel”—which is no Gospel at all (Gal. 1:7).

The Gospel isn’t only the belief in salvation, but it’s also the understanding of the means by which this salvation is obtained. “If you’ll act good and do good, then you’ll be good” isn’t the true Gospel. Notice what Paul said while addressing the very first ministers’ conference at Ephesus:

“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).

Another way Paul could have said this is, “I am testifying of the Gospel—which is the good news of the grace of God.” The words “Gospel” and “grace” are terms that can be used interchangeably. The good news—or Gospel—is the grace of God.

Even the word salvation is misunderstood. Evangelical Christianity says that salvation is a one-time occurrence, an experience when your sins are forgiven. That’s true, there is a moment when you pass from death to life, but that is not all that happens. It’s an incomplete definition. Salvation isn’t limited to the initial born-again experience.

Salvation is everything Jesus purchased for us through the atonement. Sozo, the Greek word from which “salvation” was translated means more than forgiveness of sin; it also means healing, deliverance, and prosperity. It’s a word that summarizes everything that Jesus provided for us through His death, burial, and resurrection.

James 5:14-15 vividly illustrates how salvation includes both healing and forgiveness of sin: “Is any sick among you? let him call for this elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save [sozo] the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him” (brackets mine).

Salvation is a package deal and it’s all accomplished by the grace of God, not our works. However, Satan is always trying to deceive us. He is the one who wants us to believe we must earn things from God. He is the one causing us to doubt the Lord’s willingness to use His ability on our behalf, and unfortunately, the church is often reinforcing that belief.

I’ve had many believers come up to me in the prayer lines asking, “Why am I not healed? I’ve fasted, prayed, and studied the Word. I pay my tithes and go to church. I’m doing the best I can. What does God demand?” When I hear that, they have just given me the answer to their question. They aren’t pointing to what Jesus did; they are pointing to what they have done, and that always leads to failure.

Most people believe that God moves in their lives proportional to their performance. That was the error Paul was dealing with in the book of Romans. When Paul came along and said “I’m not ashamed of the Gospel!” he was saying “I am not ashamed to tell people about the goodness, grace, and mercy of God. The Lord loves us in spite of who we are and what we’ve done.” Now that’s “good news!”

The religious folks of Paul’s day thought this was terrible. They believed what he was preaching was heresy. People needed to recognize and relate to God based on how sorry they were. God wasn’t happy with them or the way they were acting. They were just worms in His sight. Sound familiar?

On the surface it looks like a humble position. In reality, it’s actually making a person’s relationship with God dependent on self. “Look what I have done for the Lord, how holy I’ve been, and how much I’ve denied myself.” This is actually a very self-centered, self-dependent way of approaching God that never produces any fruit in your life.

Religion wants to make sure that people know they are sinners and on their way to hell. However, the truth is that they already know that.

Romans 1:18-19 says, “For the wrath of God is revealed [not going to be, but already is revealed] from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath [past tense] shewed it unto them” .

God’s wrath has already been revealed intuitively inside of every person. Each individual has within them the knowledge of God’s wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. So when someone wonders If I just tell people about the goodness of God, what will make them understand that they are sinners in need of salvation? Paul’s answer was that they already knew. In their hearts, people already know that they aren’t good, but sinners in need of salvation. The point is that you don’t have to bombard people with the fact that they are sinners; deep in their hearts they already know. You may need to spend some time on that issue in order to make your point and strike that chord in their hearts, but not by condemning them and restricting them to religious dos and don’ts. Paul was saying, “That’s not the true approach.”

It’s the Gospel—the nearly-too-good-to-be-true news that God has provided. It’s salvation for us by grace that empowers men to receive the forgiveness of their sins, the healing of their bodies, the deliverance from Satan’s oppression, and more. We don’t need to convince people they are sinners; we need to show them the way out. That’s the Gospel!

Do you need to be healed? The power for healing is in the Gospel. Do you need to be prospered financially? The power for financial prosperity is in the Gospel. Do you need to be delivered from the power of demonic influence, from depression, from yourself, or from something else? The power for deliverance is in the Gospel! The Gospel is the power of God. It’s “nearly too good to be true.

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HIDDEN RICHEST

will break

Perfect In Christ Jesus

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. Colossians 1:28

Andrew Wommack  in his article A Place Called “There” writes:

The Bible says, “Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are” (James 5:17). Yet he was mightily used of God. This reference is talking about the time Elijah became so despondent that he asked God to kill him (1 Kin. 19:4).

Elijah wasn’t perfect; yet he called fire down from heaven three times; he was the first person to raise someone from the dead; he caused the greatest revival in history up to that point; his word started and ended a three-year drought; he multiplied food miraculously; and he is one of only two men who never died—he was caught up alive into heaven. There is a lot we can learn from a man like this, both positive and negative.

The Bible gives little background on Elijah. It wasn’t his pedigree or education that brought him into a position of influence and power. Elijah was nobody until he received a word from God. It was the revelation God gave him that put him into a position of leadership.

Likewise, anyone who is born again, or baptized in the Holy Spirit, or has a good relationship with the Lord, has a revelation from God too. Just as Elijah’s revelation from God put him into a position of influence, anyone who has a revelation of God has the potential to influence others also. The only difference is that Elijah knew what he had and was bold enough to speak.

Many of us have been intimidated by the ungodly. We aren’t boldly speaking the truth we have from the Lord. What if Elijah hadn’t spoken that prophecy to King Ahab? The drought may have occurred anyway, but Elijah wouldn’t have been able to use it to affect the nation. The people would have dismissed the drought as a natural occurrence.

Elijah was bold enough to speak before there was any proof that what he was saying would come to pass. That took faith and great courage.

When the drought came as promised, Elijah became the most sought after man in the nation:

“As the LORD thy God liveth, there is no nation or kingdom, whither my lord hath not sent to seek thee: and when they said, He is not there; he took an oath of the kingdom and nation, that they found thee not” (1 Kin. 18:10).

If we would speak forth the truths God has shown us, just like Elijah, the truths we speak would ultimately prevail.

Elijah didn’t have all the answers or know what would happen next when he spoke the prophecy to King Ahab (1 Kin. 17:1). Ahab had forbidden worship of the true God, instituting Baal worship. He killed the prophets of the Lord, and Elijah was putting himself in harm’s way by obeying the Lord.

It wasn’t until after Elijah delivered the word of the Lord, that God spoke to him about how He would protect and sustain him.

First Kings 17:2-4 says, “And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.”

One of the great lessons we can learn here is that God doesn’t reveal His complete plan immediately. He reveals His will to us one step at a time. After we obey the first step, He shows us the next. Why should the Lord show us step two or ten if we haven’t obeyed step one? That would just make us more accountable. So, don’t try to figure out the next step until you have acted on what you know to do now. That’s a powerful truth.

The Lord told Elijah to go to the Brook Cherith. He had already commanded the ravens to bring Elijah bread and meat “THERE” every morning and evening. This was miraculous! What a provision during a terrible time!

But notice this: The Lord didn’t send Elijah’s provision to where he was. A quarterback doesn’t throw the football to where the receiver is, but where the receiver is going. Elijah’s miracle wasn’t where he was but where the Lord was sending him. That’s awesome!

Each of us has a place called “THERE,” where the blessings of the Lord are waiting. The Lord never fails to provide, but people often fail to receive because they aren’t all “THERE.” If Elijah had not gone to his place called “THERE,” his disobedience would not have stopped God’s faithfulness; however, he would not have received the provision; it was over “THERE,” by the Brook Cherith.

This is exactly what is happening to many of us. The Lord has placed something on our hearts to say or do. But, if we haven’t obeyed, we aren’t in our place of “THERE.” We aren’t seeing God’s provision, because we aren’t in that place of obedience.

I’ve heard many people say the Lord told them to attend Charis Bible College. But they just can’t see how it could happen. They want to see the Lord’s provision before they go “THERE.” That’s not how it works.

Some of you are not seeing God’s provision because you aren’t doing what He has told you to do. This doesn’t mean the Lord is punishing you. If Elijah hadn’t gone “THERE,” he would have lost his provision. The Lord has provision for you too, but it’s “THERE.”

This place called “THERE” changes. God changed the place and method of Elijah’s provision:

“And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee” (1 Kin. 17:8-9).

You can’t just seek the Lord once, hear His voice, step out in faith, and then stop listening. The Lord brings us into His perfect will step by step. Elijah moved when the Lord told him to move.

This led Elijah to the city of Zarephath where he asked a widow to give him the last of her food. It looked like he was taking from this woman, but he was actually giving to her. Instead of this being her last meal before dying, the Lord multiplied this woman’s supplies, which kept her, her son, and Elijah alive for about three years (1 Kin. 17:15-16). What a great miracle!

That wasn’t all the widow received. Her faithfulness in giving caused her son to be raised from the dead (1 Kin. 17:17-23). She had been operating in faith every day. She would use the last bit of oil and meal for Elijah and then find that there was always enough to make a cake for herself and her son. This was a great faith builder, which I’m sure figured into the miracle of her son.

Elijah went on to call fire down from heaven and consume a sacrifice in the sight of all of the people of Israel (1 Kin. 18:36-38). The people who saw it cried out, “The Lord, He is the God. The Lord, He is the God.” They killed all the prophets of Baal, and the whole nation turned to the Lord.

That same day, Elijah prayed and ended the drought by a great rain storm (1 Kin. 18:41-45). He was so pumped, he outran Ahab’s chariot in a twenty-mile race after Ahab had a head start. Elijah was excited!

Here is a very important lesson: After great victories come great temptations. This is primarily because we lose our sense of humility and dependence upon God (1 Kin. 19:4). Elijah had successfully defied the king, his armies, his prophets, and all the people in the nation. But the next day, a note from a woman caused him to run in terror (1 Kin. 19:2-3).

The Lord appeared to Elijah and asked, “What are you doing HERE, Elijah?” (1 Kin. 19:9). Elijah wasn’t “THERE” anymore. His place called “THERE” was back in Samaria. People were now worshiping the true God, but Elijah had run away in fear, leaving the people without a leader.

This resulted in the Lord replacing Elijah with Elisha. Elijah’s ministry fell short of what it could have been. The Lord actually spoke to Elijah in an audible voice. He told him to do three things, one of which was to anoint Elisha to replace him (1 Kin. 19:15-16). Elijah anointed Elisha (1 Kin. 19:19), but didn’t do the other two things. That means Elijah failed in two-thirds of the things the Lord told him to do. That’s amazing.

You might think this meant Elijah was washed up and was never used of God again. That’s not the case. Elijah went on to prophesy (1 Kin. 21:17-24), and he called the fire of God down two more times (2 Kin. 1:9-12). And most impressive of all, Elijah never died; he was caught up into heaven by a whirlwind (2 Kin. 2:11).

This man, who failed miserably, still walked so closely with God that he never died. This speaks volumes to us. The Lord has never had anyone working for Him yet who was qualified. He uses us in spite of what we do, and not because of what we do. If we will hold on to our faith, we can still experience wonderful things from the Lord even after failing BIG TIME. What powerful truths.

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LOOK UNTO JESUS

Hebrews 12:2 – looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…
What does it mean to look unto Jesus? Well, we can think of it like this: If you are drowning and somebody walks past you, you do not look at him. You look unto him. When you look unto him, you are turning to him and expecting him to rescue you.

In the same manner, you look unto Jesus expecting Him to save, heal and protect you because you know His mighty power and sacrificial love for you. God’s Word says that we are to keep “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith”. That is how God wants us to live.

So if you have a recurring migraine, keep looking unto Jesus. See Him taking that migraine upon His body on the cross and say, “Lord, I thank You that by Your stripes I am healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) As you keep looking unto Jesus, your healer, that migraine will have to bow to His finished work!
If you have a financial lack in your life, just keep looking unto Jesus with confident expectation that He will provide for you and deliver you from your lack.

“But Pastor, is it really so simple? All I have to do is look unto Jesus and He will bless me financially?”

Yes, it is that simple. The problem with us is that we tend to look unto ourselves. But we cannot save or deliver ourselves. Even the apostle Paul struggled when he depended on his self-effort. That is why he said, “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.” (Romans 7:19) It was only when Paul looked away from himself and unto Jesus that he received his deliverance.(Romans 7:24–25)

My friend, if you have been looking unto yourself, it is time to start looking unto Jesus. Look unto Him, the author and finisher of your faith. And soon, you will be looking at your healing and provision!

Thought For The Day

Look unto Jesus, and expect Him to save, heal and protect you because of His mighty power and sacrificial love for you.

 HEARING GOD’S VOICE

But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out – John 10:1-21

This verse promises all who are God’s sheep that they not only can, but that they do, hear His voice. Many born-again people doubt the truth of this statement based on their experience. They don’t think they can hear God’s voice. However, the Word of God is true – not our experience.

The harmony between what this verse says and what our experiences say is that it is our new born-again spirit that hears God’s voice. Although God has spoken and still does speak in an audible voice at times, very few people experience this. God speaks to our inner person (spirit) and our inner person hears Him. The problem comes when we aren’t sensitive to, or controlled by, our spirit but are walking in the vanity of our mind. The Bible calls this walking in the flesh instead of the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-18).

Man is a spirit, soul, and body. Our spirits are as perfect as they will ever be in heaven. If we will change our thinking so that we believe what God says in His Word about who we are and what we have, then this agreement between our spirit and soul forms a majority and our flesh will experience the life of God that has been deposited in our spirits.

Prayer, Bible study, fasting, fellowship, etc. are ways of refocusing our mind’s attention away from the voice of this world and back to the voice of our Shepherd who is constantly communicating with our spirit. If we fail to renew our minds, we can live our entire time on this earth without experiencing the abundant life that Jesus provided for us. Listen, and you will hear His voice speak to you through His Word today.

Because of the cross, God is able to turn your minuses into pluses

God’s Word is alive & is health to all of our flesh & life to all that find it. He sent His Word to heal & deliver us from all destruction

CHOSEN TO BE HOLY …

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight – Ephesians 1:4, NIV

Did you know that God had a plan for you before He ever made the earth? He created you to be holy and blameless in His sight. Why? He chose you to be His ambassador, His representative. He created you to reflect His glory, His character, His righteousness, His holiness. Think about that for a moment. Part of your purpose on this earth is to be a representative for the King of kings and the Lord of lords! What a great honor! Knowing that should make you want to walk a little differently. It should make you want to talk differently. It should make you think a little more carefully about where you go and what you choose to do with your time.

Are you representing God’s holiness today? Remember, what God has called you to do, He’s equipped you to do. If there are things in your life that aren’t holy, God wants to empower you to overcome those things. Receive His strength and power today so that you can walk in holiness all the days of your life!

ELIMINATE EVERYTHING UNNECESSARY

1 John 5:21 says, Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. The Amplified Bible elaborates on this: Little children, keep yourselves from idols (false gods)–[from anything and everything that would occupy the place in your heart due to God, from any sort of substitute for Him that would take first place in your life]. (AMP)

It is imperative that you prevent any sort of substitute from becoming first place in your life. Fill your life with the true, living God, not a phony substitute.

You can tell what is important to you simply by examining how you spend your time. If you are spending so much time trying to make money that you don’t spend any quality time with God, then wealth is more important to you than God. Likewise, if you are always spending time with friends and don’t have any time to spend with God, then your social life is more important to you than God.

How you use your time is so important, because you can either invest it or waste it. However, if you waste your time, you’ll never get it back. On the other hand, if you invest your time into forming a deep, close, personal relationship with God, then you will reap the rewards of such an investment for the rest of eternity.

Decide to put God first in your life: spend significant, quality, personal time with Him. Put the first, most important thing (God) first place in your life.

OUTER VS INNER LIFE  

It can be easy to compromise one’s inner life in hopes of maintaining a good outer life. While there is certainly nothing wrong with a good outer life, we can’t allow our reputation with others to become more important than our reputation with God — He desires to be the most important thing in every person’s life.

King David knew the importance of putting God first in order to maintain a good inner life. In Psalm 27:4, he wrote, One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life. David made God — and spending time in God’s presence — the one thing he wanted. For David, his inner life was more important than his outer life.
1 Peter 3:4 says that your beauty should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

While it is by no means wrong to have a good outer life and to look good outwardly, God values inner beauty much more. That’s because your outer life is your reputation with people, but your inner life is your reputation with God

SAYING YES TO GOD

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness”. – Isaiah 41:10 (KJV)

Your decision to seek a deeper relationship with God won’t remove all problems from your life; to the contrary, it may bring about a series of personal crises as you constantly seek to say yes to God when the world pressures you to do otherwise. Each time you are tempted to distance yourself from the Creator, you face a spiritual crisis. A few of these cries may be monumental in scope, but most will be the small everyday decisions of life. In fact, life can be seen as on test after another and with each crisis comes yet another opportunity to grow closer to God, or to distance yourself from His plan for your life.

Today you will face many opportunities to say yes to God and you will encounter many opportunities to say no to Him. Your answers will determine not only the quality of your day but also the direction of your life. Step out in faith, and just say yes!

HIDDEN MYSTERIES

Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them. —2 Kings 6:16

Most of what goes on in the universe we never see. Many things are too small or move too fast or even too slow for us to see. Using modern technology, however, filmmaker Louis Schwartzberg is able to show stunning video images of some of those things—a caterpillar’s mouth, the eye of a fruit fly, the growth of a mushroom.

Our limited ability to see the awesome and intricate detail of things in the physical world reminds us that our ability to see and understand what’s happening in the spiritual realm is equally limited. God is at work all around us doing things more wonderful than we can imagine. But our spiritual vision is limited and we cannot see them. The prophet Elisha, however, actually got to see the supernatural work that God was doing. God also opened the eyes of his fearful colleague so he too could see the heavenly army sent to fight on their behalf (2 Kings 6:17).

Fear makes us feel weak and helpless and causes us to think we are alone in the world. But God has assured us that His Spirit in us is greater than any worldly power (1 John 4:4).

Whenever we become discouraged by the evil we can see, we need to think instead about the good work God is doing that we cannot see.

Lord, I’m tempted to fear what I cannot understand or control. But my security rests in You and not in what happens to me or around me. Help me to rest in Your unfailing love.

Eyes of faith see God at work in everything.

JESUS FOUND HIM

Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? – John 9:35

It is one thing to seek God; it is quite another thing to have God seek you. Jesus sought this man out when others had forsaken him. The acceptance of Jesus is worth more than everything this world has to offer This is what enables the believer to endure and even leap for joy amidst persecution.

When our sufferings in Christ abound, then the consolation of Christ abounds much more. Notice that this man’s parents, who knew the truth, but refused to share it for fear of persecution, did not have Jesus seeking them out (Jn.9:22). They chose the company of the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees, which is exactly what they got.

Even though the believer is redeemed and delivered from many afflictions that were a result of sin and its power, we are still called to partake in what the scriptures call the “sufferings or afflictions of Christ” (2 Cor. 1:5; Col. 1:24). However, these afflictions are not sickness and poverty as some religious teachings suggest. These afflictions are described as the “fellowship of sufferings” that the believer will encounter for doing the will of God, or the sufferings brought on by one’s allegiance to Christ.

Persecution for righteousness’ sake is not something that we can rebuke (2 Tim. 3:12). We must remember that as we live godly lives, suffering will follow. The Apostle Peter reminds us that these trials of our faith will result in praise, honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1:7). Jesus’ comfort, strength, help, and love are ready to “overflow” into every “trial” that we face if we will only look to Him (Heb. 12:2).

ONLY JESUS IS ALTOGETHER LOVELY

Leviticus 2:1 – ‘When anyone offers a grain offering to the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour…

I love the symbolism of Jesus as fine flour. Fine, even flour comes from wheat that has been pounded and beaten again and again, and sifted several times. Doesn’t that remind you of Jesus’ sufferings and sacrifice for you?

And like fine flour, there is nothing coarse about the person of Jesus. Everything about Him is in even proportions. Every word that He spoke when He was in this world, every thought of His, every action of His, was so fine! When He was kind, He was not soft. When He was assertive, He was not overbearing. He is steel and velvet, meekness and majesty. Like a perfect diamond, every which way you turn Him, you see flawlessness, beauty and brilliance. There is no one altogether lovely like Jesus!

What about Bible greats like Moses and Abraham, or Peter, John and Paul?

Moses, whom the Bible says was more humble than any man on the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3), was once so furious with his people that he struck a rock twice, something he was not supposed to do. (Numbers 20:1–12) His temper got the better of him on that occasion.

Abraham, whom Christians regard as a man of faith (Hebrews 11:8–10), lied about his wife being his sister when a king coveted her. He endangered her life just to save his own skin. (Genesis 20:1–18)

Peter, who was deeply zealous for Jesus, denied Him three times. (Matthew 26:33–34) John, the beloved disciple who leaned on Jesus’ bosom, was all ready to call down fire from heaven to destroy the inhabitants of Samaria who had rejected Jesus. (Luke 9:52–54)

What about Paul, the apostle of grace, who blazed the missionary trail which future missionaries would follow? Even Paul went to Jerusalem when he was told not to by the Holy Spirit through some disciples and the prophet Agabus. (Acts 21:4, 10–11)

Beloved, the best of us can miss the mark. The only one who is faultless, flawless and altogether lovely is Jesus. And because He never misses the mark, you can look to Him. He will never disappoint you!

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Apostle Keith Barr
Tonight we had another powerful Holy Ghost service with souls being saved and many miracles of healing. I preached from 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. (KJV) Matthew 10:8. The people seen so many miracles these past three days in Manzanillo that they ask me will I go to the leper colony and pray for the lepers to be healed. I said certainly. Can’t wait.

Be Not Ignorant

BOTH RICHES AND HONOR

 The Perfect Will Of God

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.  Romans 12:1-2

There are many doctrines of demons in the church today including “Once saved, always saved” as well as the Sovereignty of God which is a doctrine very common amongst the Muslims that God wills everything, good or bad, to happen to us. Andrew Wommack in his article THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD [v]writes:

The word “sovereign” is not used in the King James Version of the Bible. It is used 303 times in the Old Testament of the New International Version, but it is always used in association with the word “LORD” and is the equivalent of the King James Version’s “LORD God.” Not a single one of those times is the word “sovereign” used in the manner that it has come to be used in religion in our day and time.

Religion has resulted in the invention of a new meaning for the word “sovereign,” which basically means God controls everything. Nothing can happen but what He wills or allows. However, there is nothing in the actual definition that states that. The dictionary defines “sovereign” as, “1. Paramount; supreme. 2. Having supreme rank or power. 3. Independent: a sovereign state. 4. Excellent.” None of these definitions means that God controls everything.

It is assumed that since God is paramount or supreme that nothing can happen without His approval. That is not what the Scriptures teach. In 2 Peter 3:9, Peter said, “The Lord is…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” This clearly states that it is not the Lord’s will for anyone to perish, but people are perishing. Jesus said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat” (Matt. 7:13). Relatively few people are saved compared to the number that are lost. God’s will for people concerning salvation is not being accomplished.

This is because the Lord gave us the freedom to choose. He doesn’t will anyone into hell. He paid for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2; 1 Tim. 4:10), but we must choose to put our faith in Christ and receive His salvation. People are the ones choosing hell by not choosing Jesus as their Savior. It is the free will of man that damns them, not God.

People virtually have to climb over the roadblocks that God puts in their way to continue on their course to hell. The cross of Christ and the drawing power of the Holy Spirit are obstacles that every sinner encounters. No one will ever stand before God and be able to fault Him for withholding the opportunity to be saved. The Lord woos every person to Him, but we have to cooperate. Ultimately, the Lord simply enforces the consequences of people’s own choices.

God has a perfect plan for every person’s life (Jer. 29:11), but He doesn’t make us walk that path. We are free moral agents with the ability to choose. He has told us what the right choices are (Deut. 30:19), but He doesn’t make those choices for us. God gave us the power to control our destinies.

Typical teaching on the sovereignty of God puts Jesus in the driver’s seat with us as passengers. On the surface that looks good. All of us have encountered the disastrous results of doing our own thing. We desire to be led of the Lord, and teaching that nothing happens but what God wills fits that nicely. However, the Scriptures paint a picture of each of us being behind the wheel of our own lives. We are the one doing the driving. We are supposed to take directions from the Lord, but He doesn’t do the driving for us.

Man has been given the authority over his own life, but he must have the Lord’s direction to succeed. Jeremiah 10:23 says, “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” God created us to be dependent upon Him and our independence is at the root of all our problems. As if it wasn’t bad enough for man to try to run his affairs independently of God and His standards, it has been made even worse by religion teaching us that all our problems are actually blessings from God. That is a faith killer. It makes people totally passive.

James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” This verse makes it clear that some things are from God, and some from the devil. We must submit to the things that are of God and resist the things that are from the devil. The word “resist” means, “Actively fight against.” Saying “Whatever will be will be” is not actively fighting against the devil.

If a person really believed that God is the one who put sickness on them because He is trying to work something for good in their life, then they should not go to the doctor or take any medicine. That would be resisting God’s plans. They should let the sickness run its course and thereby get the full benefit of God’s correction. Of course, no one advocates that. That is absurd. It is even more absurd to believe that God is the one behind the tragedy.

Acts 10:38 says that Jesus healed all those who were oppressed OF THE DEVIL. It was not God who oppressed them with sickness. It was the devil. It’s the same today. Sickness is from the devil, not from God. We need to resist sickness and, by faith, submit ourselves to healing, which is from God through the atonement of Christ.

I know someone is thinking, What about the Old Testament instances where God smote people with sickness and plagues? There is a lot I could say about that if I had the space, but a simplified answer to that question is that none of those instances were blessings. They were curses. God did use sickness in the Old Testament as punishment, but in the New Testament, Jesus bore our curse for us (Gal. 3:13). The Lord would no more put sickness on a New Testament believer than He would make us commit a sin. Both forgiveness of sin and healing are a part of the atonement Jesus provided for us.

Deuteronomy, chapter 28, should forever settle this question for all who believe the Word of God. The first 14 verses of Deuteronomy 28 list the blessings of God and the last 53 verses list the curses of God. Healing is listed as a blessing (Deut. 28:4). Sickness is listed as a curse (Deut. 28:22, 27-28, 35, 59-61). God called sickness a curse. We should not call it a blessing.

Knowing that God is not the author of my problems is one of the most important revelations the Lord has ever given me. If I thought it was God who killed my father when I was twelve, and some of my best friends before I was 20, if it was God who had people kidnap me, slander me, threaten to kill me, and turn loved ones against me, then I would have a hard time trusting God, if He was like that.

On the contrary, it is very comforting to know that God only has good things in store for me. Any problems in my life are from the devil, of my own making, or just the results of life on a fallen planet. My heavenly Father has never done me any harm and never will. I KNOW that.

Andrew Wommack  also in his article The Believer’s Authority[vi] writes

The truth is, there is a battle raging every single day in the spiritual realm. That battle is for your heart and the hearts of every other person on earth. God is trying to influence people and draw them toward righteousness and toward Himself, to live consistent with Him so that His blessings can manifest in their lives.

Satan, on the other hand, is waging all-out war trying to steal the hearts of people away from God. He wants to fill their hearts with his trash and corruption. And honestly, although most Christians recognize this to a degree, I don’t think they realize how intense the warfare really is and how much their actions are contributing to it.

If I could sit and talk with each of you reading this, I would find that many of you aren’t aware of the spiritual significance behind what’s going on in your lives. You attribute much of what is happening to circumstances and therefore passively accept what comes your way. When you do that, you’re ignoring the intense battle that is being waged for your heart every single day.

The choices you make, the things you say, the actions you take, and what you believe about what is happening around you determines whether God or Satan dominates in your life. Satan cannot control you outside of your will. He cannot do anything without your cooperation and consent. But you need to recognize that you’re in a battle.

Many people choose not to believe that, but whether they do or not, the fact is that it’s taking place. Your unwillingness to engage in battle doesn’t mean that the battle isn’t raging; it just means you’re going to lose. But once you realize the battle is real, you can then learn to recognize what’s going on and take the proper action to improve your situation. You can resist the devil.

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

Ephesians 6:10-12 reads, “Finally my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

This is referring to demonic powers. There’s a chain of command, an authority structure in the demonic realm, and this is listing these different levels. But notice that it says you are not wrestling against flesh and blood. Much that goes on in your life is not just human.

I’m not going to get into this thing about, “Are people possessed, oppressed, or depressed?” I believe it’s useless to debate that. In the Greek where the Bible says a person was demon possessed, the word literally means “demonized.” It just means they were under the control of the devil. Christianity has tried to make something out of possessed, oppressed, or depressed. But it’s not in Scripture.

The fact is that people are being influenced and controlled and used by the devil; they really are. This needs to be said because there are a lot of people who honestly believe that all the demons are in Africa.

It’s not the person sitting next to you at work, it’s not your neighbor, and it’s certainly not your husband or your wife that’s the problem. Anyone who is not paying attention can be influenced and inspired and used of Satan to come against you. If you were to recognize that, it would make a huge difference in the way you respond to them.

…I can guarantee you that there are times that Satan is speaking directly to you through people. He is using people to get at you. Whether you recognize it or not, this goes on much more than you know. You are in a spiritual war.

I tell you there is a supernatural war waging today for your heart and mind. In fact, for some of you right now, the devil is trying to oppose the words you are reading in this letter. He wants to discredit them and cause you to ignore or reject them. The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is bearing witness in your heart and trying to get you to open up and receive these words. It’s spiritual warfare.

To win in this war, you must know who you are and the authority you have as a believer. To help, I have a teaching series called The Believer’s Authority. Don’t go another day without understanding how to defeat the real enemy. You have the power and authority to do it, and now it’s time to use it.

Andrew Wommack  also in his article Dealing With Temptation[vii] writes

Before He was tempted by Satan face to face, He was anointed with the Holy Spirit at His baptism by John in the Jordan River. Jesus went into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, full of the power of the Holy Spirit.

Being filled with the Holy Spirit is an absolute necessity for overcoming temptation. There are many Christians who received the Holy Spirit years ago and haven’t been full of the Holy Spirit a day since. It’s not about what happened to us long ago; we have to stay full of the Holy Spirit. One way of doing that is to speak in tongues on a regular basis. Jude 1:20-21 says, “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

Praying in tongues builds us up on our most holy faith. How many times have you needed your most holy faith to take you through a certain trial, and yet you haven’t used this gift of the Holy Spirit? Verse 21 also says we keep ourselves in the love of God when we speak in tongues. Have you ever asked the Lord to pour out His love on you? I imagine you have, but this doesn’t say to pray that way; it says we are to keep ourselves in the love of God. We do that by speaking in tongues. We don’t ask God for that which He’s already given, we simply stir up the love that has already been commended toward us, by speaking in tongues. This is a powerful gift. Isaiah 28:11-12 says, “For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.”

Do you ever need rest or refreshing? I guarantee that you do, and this verse says speaking in tongues is the way to get it. We have a tremendously powerful gift available to us through the Holy Spirit, but few people take advantage of it. Instead, we ask God to do what He told us to do. We need to use this gift of speaking in tongues to stir ourselves up, or we risk sinking to the bottom.

You must also know who you are. Matthew 4 and Luke 4 record the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. One of the most amazing aspects of those temptations was that Satan began two of the three temptations with the words, “If thou be the Son of God.” Many people have missed this point. The real temptation was Satan’s attempt to get Jesus to doubt who He was. That’s the same way he attacked Adam and Eve. The serpent told Eve that if she would eat the forbidden fruit, she would be like God (Gen. 3:5). The truth was that she was already like God, but she didn’t know it. The first Adam sinned, because he didn’t know who he really was. The second Adam, Jesus, didn’t sin, because He did know who he was. Knowing your true identity in Christ is one of the greatest defenses you can possibly have against temptation.

Jesus had just heard His Father speak to Him in an audible voice saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17).

There was also a visible sign from God when the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus in the shape of a dove. Jesus had to anchor His faith in who His Father said He was. But immediately, Satan came to Him saying, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread” (Matt. 4:3).

The real temptation was never about turning stones into bread. It was Satan’s attempt to manipulate Jesus into doubting His Father’s Word and doing something to prove who He was. Satan was trying to find and exploit any insecurity in Jesus.

When you were a kid, I’m sure someone at some time dared you to do something stupid. The real issue wasn’t whether or not you could do it but whether you were “afraid” to do it. And sad to say, many of us took the dare and did something that hurt us or shamed us just to prove that we weren’t. All we really succeeded in proving was that we feared their disapproval so much that we weren’t willing to do what was right. The truly fearless response would have been to walk away, secure in who we were, earning their respect through character rather than performance.

Satan was daring Jesus—”If You’re really the Son of God, if what You heard from the Father in an audible voice is really true, then prove it, and turn this stone into bread.” Turning a stone into bread would not have been sin. It would have been sin if Jesus had doubted the words of His heavenly Father declaring who He was by placing more faith in what a miracle could say about Him. You must know who you are if you want to overcome temptation. No matter what form Satan’s temptations may take, they are all directed at causing us to doubt who we are.

It’s also important to understand that all temptation is rooted in selfishness. In fact, our selfishness is really Satan’s beachhead. Jesus stripped him of his power two thousand years ago, so the only thing he can really do is deceive us through our own selfish desires. The Bible tells us exactly what they are in 1 John 2:16, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”

And in James 1:14 we read, “But every many is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”

EXTRACT FROM Be Not Ignorant
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