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

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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.

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