The Source of Self-Deception
The worst kind of deception is self-deception. When people have been deceived by someone else and that deception is discovered, most of us deal with it swiftly and decisively. However, self-deception is rarely dealt with because many people feel they are right and will never look inwardly.
The Bible describes it like this: “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise” (Prov. 12:15).
All through God’s Word, we are warned about deception. Deception is the tool that the serpent used against Eve. (2 Cor. 11:3.) It is still a tool of the enemy. Self-deception, however, is a result of the flesh and ignorance. The term self-deception denotes that the deception comes from within, rather from without. The enemy is a deceiver. In the same way God wants us to be holy like He is holy, Satan wants us to be like him and he is the father of deception. (John 8:44.)
Because of pride, Satan rebelled against God. When pride enters into the heart of man, he is a candidate for self-deception. Obadiah 1:3 says, “The pride of your heart has deceived you.” According to the Word, we have been warned against self-deception. The following are eight basic ways we deceive ourselves.
1) By hearing the Word but not doing it:
Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves (James 1:22).
2) By thinking too highly of ourself:
For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself (Gal. 6:3).
3) By not acknowledging sin and repenting:
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us (1 John 1:8-10).
For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me (Rom. 7:11).
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9,10).
4) By placing faith in the world’s wisdom:
Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness” (1 Cor. 3:18,19).
5) By not bridling our tongue:
If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world (James 1:26,27).
6) By not understanding sowing and reaping:
Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life (Gal. 6:6-8).
7) By having worldly associations:
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? (2 Cor. 6:14).
Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Cor. 15:33).
Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression (1 Tim. 2:14).
8) By not understanding the source of good and evil:
Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning (James 1:16,17).
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly (John 10:10).
The bottom line to avoiding self-deception or deception by someone else is this: God’s Word is true. If we walk in the truth of His Word instead of the opinions of worldly people, we will not be deceived
There is an old fable about a man who found a small snake in the cold and because of compassion, he brought it into his house, warmed it, and nurtured it. After a while, the snake grew and eventually bit the man. He looked at the snake and said, “Why did you bite me? After everything that I have done for you, why did you bite me?” The snake looked back and said, “I’m a snake. You knew I was a snake, and that’s what snakes do.”
Likewise, a thief steals. Why does he steal? Because he is a thief and that’s what a thief does.
Recently, a man entered our ministry and church offices and told the receptionist a story about how he was moving into the area and wanted to walk around and look at the church that he had heard so much about. As he ran from the building, a staff member noticed that he had stolen the children’s church funds from the auditorium.
Over the last few months we had a five gallon water bottle sitting at the edge of the stage marked “Children’s Church” where people dropped in their loose change. Obviously, the money was to be used for our children. It had been sitting there for several months and was only about half full of coins and bills. But now it is gone. The thief took it. That’s what a thief does.
Of course, the office called the authorities, and the authorities are on the alert for a thief with a five gallon water jug full of coins and bills. In the natural, it appears that the thief will have vending machine money for the rest of his life.
I have spent my life teaching the Word of God, and as a believer, I do not live my life based upon how things appear. I walk by faith and not by sight.
This brings us to the question of, “How do we respond when the thief steals?” First of all, we must understand that God’s kingdom has limitless resources and stealing from God is like taking a drop of water out of the ocean. His power and resources are not diminished any at all. Next, we must remember that God is fully capable and able to protect and restore anything stolen from His children.
Along with His limitless resources, He has limitless power. In reality, the thief didn’t steal from us, he stole from God. Remember in Acts chapter five, when Ananias and Sapphira told Peter a lie concerning money, Peter told them that they were not lying to him, but they were lying to the Holy Spirit.
Although nationally the church has received a lot of “bad press” over the years because some people have misappropriated funds, the reality is this. God takes money very seriously.
It’s hard to imagine that someone would have the courage or nerve to steal God’s money from the house of God. Just ask Ananias and Sapphira how stealing from God worked out for them!
Thirdly, we must know that there are battles that God fights for us. Of course, that doesn’t mean that we don’t call the police and operate in due diligence. And yes, we are increasing our security and, effective today, have implemented new security measures for our buildings. However, the greatest security we have is the Word of God. Remember God told King Jehoshaphat to stand and see the victory because this battle was not his, but God’s (2 Chronicles 20:15).
And last, but not least, do not worry. The Bible says, “Do not fret because of evil doers, nor be envious of the wicked” (Proverbs 24:19). Worry is a byproduct of fear and fear involves torment. Perfect love casts out fear and although we hate thievery, we still pray for the salvation of the person who stole from God’s house. So, here’s the conclusion.
The chief thief, Satan, is a thief and will always be a thief. In John 10:10 Jesus said the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Also Jesus said in Luke chapter twelve that the thief tries to come when you least expect him so that you will not be prepared. Once again, as Christians, we must understand that the thief looks for every opportunity to steal from you, kill your visions and dreams, and destroy your life.
But the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God. We have the Word of God, the blood of Jesus, and the authority to use the name above all names to which every knee must bow. We have been given authority over all the power of the enemy and no weapon formed against us will prosper. If we stand in faith and walk in love, the enemy will look foolish in his attack. What he thinks is victory is actually his destruction and his attack upon us will develop into our blessing. The One living inside of us is greater than the one in the world.
And through all this, we worship and praise the living God. We do not worry. We do not fret. We do not cry, but rejoice in the victory that is before us.
If a man delivers to his neighbor money or articles to keep, and it is stolen out of the man’s house, if the thief is found, he shall pay double. (Exodus 22:7)
And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.'” (2 Chronicles 20:15)
People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy himself when he is starving. Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold; He may have to give up all the substance of his house. (Proverbs 6:30-31)
Whoever is a partner with a thief hates his own life; He swears to tell the truth, but reveals nothing. (Proverbs 29:24)
Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, “In what way have we robbed You?” In tithes and offerings. (Malachi 3:8)
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things. (Acts 5:9-11)
Reject the Curse of Debt
I have exciting news for you. Jesus has redeemed us from the full curse of the law – not just part of it, but all of it! Let me explain.
The curse of the law, as described in Deuteronomy chapter 28, involved three things: 1) death, 2) sickness and disease, and 3) poverty. Jesus paid the price in full so that we could exchange the curse for the blessing. Instead of 1) death, 2) sickness and disease, and 3) poverty, He wants us to have 1) life, 2) health and healing, and 3) prosperity. Of course, the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10), but that is totally irrelevant. It doesn’t matter. The price has been paid. We have been redeemed from the curse.
We were redeemed by Jesus taking on the fullness of the curse so that we could walk in the fullness of the blessing. He substituted Himself for each of the three parts of the curse and through His substitution, He became our propitiation and redeemed us from the curse. He paid the price we could not pay. He did what we could not do. He completed what we could not complete.
But how did He do this? He became our substitute for the first third of the curse. He died so that we could live. He took on death on the cross so that we could take on life for eternity. When we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, death is no longer in our future, because our old man was crucified on the cross with Jesus.
Jesus also substituted Himself for the second third of the curse. According to Isaiah 53 and 1 Peter 2:24, He sacrificed His body, He took on our infirmities, He took on our pain so that we could walk in the fullness of health and healing. By the stripes He received on His back, we were healed.
Likewise, Jesus took on the last one third of the curse. According to 2 Corinthians 8:9, even though He was rich, He became poor so that we, through His poverty, might become rich. Jesus, the King of Kings, was the one who had gold and precious spices delivered to Him as a child, the one who had a treasurer, and the one who owned clothing so valuable it was not divided at His death. This same Jesus was stripped of all His earthly wealth, hung naked on a cross in poverty, and was buried in a borrowed grave. This same Jesus took on the curse of poverty that paid the price for our prosperity.
I am always amused when someone asks me if I am one of those “health and wealth” preachers. What is the alternative? Do they really want to follow and listen to a “sickness and poverty” preacher? Or do they want to receive the blessing of God? Of course, we all want the blessing!
While I do not feel that borrowing money is a sin, it is definitely under the curse. The Word says that we are to be the lenders and we shall not borrow. We are to be above and not beneath. We are to be the head and not the tail.
When you return from a few days away from home and your little dog runs into the yard to greet you at your car, what do you do? I have seen people pick up their little dogs and rub their faces together, letting the little puppy lick them over and over. Have you noticed that when the dog is picked up, it is always the head that gets all the attention? The tail goes unnoticed. In fact it is completely avoided. No one wants to have a relationship with the tail. It is the head that is honored. We are to be the head and not the tail. We are to be the lenders and not the borrowers. We are children of the King, and heirs of His promise. We are not beggars. We must walk in the blessing.
Every Christian believes that Jesus died for their sins and they walk in the blessing of eternal life. Some believe that He bore our sicknesses for our healing, but sadly even fewer believe that He became poor so we could be rich.
Once I heard a preacher say that Jesus became poor spiritually. How absurd! Jesus said, “If you have seen Me you have seen the Father for the Father and I are one.” God, who spoke the universe into existence, has never been, is not, and will never be poor spiritually. That is impossible. Jesus became poor financially and paid the price to redeem us from poverty and by faith we can receive prosperity.
The Bible tells us that as a man thinks, so is he. God wants us to think the fullness of the blessing. He wants us to quit thinking the curse (death, sickness, and poverty) and start thinking the blessing (life, health, and prosperity). When your back is against the wall financially, don’t think “borrow.” You cannot borrow your way out of debt. It only takes you deeper into the snare of the curse. However, you can give yourself into the blessing.
All through the Bible, we see this theme. If you take care of God’s house, He will take care of your house. Your road to prosperity and out of the bondage of the curse of poverty and debt is through seeking His kingdom first. Only when we believe His Word and act on what we believe will the curse of poverty be broken.
Statistics tell us that ninety-seven percent of all Christians are in debt. The first step in getting out of the pit of debt is to quit digging. When a person digs with a shovel, they are constantly looking down. God will take you out of the pit, but first you must put away the shovel, and start looking up.
Satan is a liar and sadly, too many Christians have believed his lie instead of the truth. Satan says, “If you don’t borrow, you’ll never have a house.” Satan says, “The only way you can own a car is through debt.” Many Christians buy their food with a credit card. All the while Satan tightens the noose, bringing them further into bondage. The truth is, you can have a better house, a better car, and a better life by not paying the usury of the Babylonian system.
Jesus paid the price, but our receiving is directly connected to our actions that result from the belief in our heart. In your thinking, get debt and borrowing moved to the curse side of the ledger. Quit rejoicing when you get a loan. Recognize the curse for what it is. Reject what Jesus defeated. Walk in the victory of the blessing. You are the head and not the tail.
“Lord, If It Be Thy Will”
“Lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure”(2 Cor. 12:7).
For the first few years as a Christian, I believed that if you were sick, or if you were praying for someone who had a sickness, the proper way to pray would be to say, “Lord, if it be Thy will…” I prayed that way was because that was how I was taught to pray.
While it is true that we must seek the will of God when we pray, we must not use the phrase, “If it be Thy will” as a substitute for knowing His will. God’s Word is His will and as a believer we have a responsibility to know what the Father loves and what He hates. There is no reason why a Christian should not know God’s will concerning health, prosperity, and relationships. All of these areas are addressed clearly in His Word.
When we base our beliefs on what we see or experience, our beliefs will not always line up with the Word of God. At that point a decision must be made. Either beliefs must be changed to match the Word, or the Word is altered to match our predetermined beliefs. Because of pride, insecurities, and the unwillingness to change, all too often we attempt to change the Word of God. Actually, the Word will always change the heart of the hearer if the hearer has a submissive heart for God. Only a hardened heart resists God’s Word and refuses to believe what God’s Word says.
Paul’s”thorn in the flesh” is a perfect example of what I am talking about, which we’ll look at in a moment. But over the years I have heard countless ministers explain that sometimes God heals and sometimes He doesn’t. Some have even been so bold as to say that there are times when it is God’s will that you be sick and diseased. Nothing could be further from the truth.
All through God’s Word His desire has been that His children experience health and healing. When the Hebrews left Egypt, God healed them all. (Ps. 105:37.) When Jesus entered towns and villages, He healed all who were sick and oppressed. (Matt 9:35.) Jesus said that He only did what the Father told Him to do (John 5:19) and we never find one instance where Jesus commanded sickness on someone. Jesus healed eyes and never made anyone blind. He touched deaf ears and people could hear. He caused the lame to walk but never made anyone lame. Jesus told the woman with the issue of blood, “Your faith has healed you.” (Mark 5:34 NIV). A touch from Jesus always brought deliverance, healing, and removed pain.
Jesus said that one of the signs of those who follow Him would be that they would lay hands on the sick and the sick would recover. (Mark 16:18.) There is not one place in the Bible where Jesus ever commanded believers to lay hands on the well and make them sick.
In the book of James, the Church is given instructions on what a sick believer should do. A sick believer is commanded to go to the elders and upon being anointed with oil, the prayer of faith would bring healing. (James 5:14.) There is no record in the Scriptures anywhere of believers being instructed to go to the church and have hands laid on them in order to receive sickness and disease.
Likewise, the Church was given nine gifts of the Holy Spirit. These gifts are listed in 1 Corinthians chapter 12. One of the gifts is called “gifts of healings,” implying that within that one gift are many gifts and all the gifts contain healing. (v. 28.) You will find in this listing of nine gifts that there is not a gift called the gift of sickness, there is not a gift called the gift of disease, nor is there a gift called the gift of pain. That’s because God is the giver of good gifts. James 1:17 says that every good gift comes from the Father and then it goes on to say that God never changes. God’s gifts are good, they have always been good, and they will always be good because God does not change.
Cancer, tuberculosis, diabetes, tumors, disease, and pain are not good gifts. Therefore, they must not be from God.
Now back to Paul’s thorn. There should be no debate on what Paul’s thorn was because as soon as Paul said that he had a thorn in the flesh, he immediately said what it was. Paul said his thorn was a messenger (angel) from Satan sent to buffet (torment) him, “lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations” This demonic spirit had an assignment and this assignment was to create havoc in Paul’s life.
In 2 Corinthians 11, Paul lists all the things that the enemy did to him, trying to take his life. Paul said he had been put in jail, whipped, faced death, been beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, put in prison, left for dead, received forty stripes minus one from the Jews; he also faced danger from robbers, flooded rivers, the Jews and Gentiles. He faced danger in the cities, in the deserts and on stormy seas, and from men who claimed to be Christians, but were not. He had lived with sleepless nights, been hungry and thirsty, faced cold without enough clothing to keep warm, had been in hunger and thirst, and in cold and nakedness.
Notice that there is not a sickness or a disease in Paul’s list of attacks against him. Rather, he lists the attacks from the angel who had been assigned to him by Satan to destroy his ministry. Make no mistake about it. The devil is a bad devil whose mission statement is to steal from you, to kill you, and to destroy your life and ministry. On the other hand, God is a good God who is using every available method to get blessings and goodness to you.
So the next time you hear someone say, “I wonder what God’s will is?” or “I wonder if God wants to heal me?” open the Word and show them God’s will in His own words. God’s will is healing.
The Source of True Love
In Colossians 1, Paul, along with Timothy, is sending a letter to the Christians who are in Colosse. In this letter, Paul makes a startling statement that is often overlooked. In his opening remarks, he states that one of his fellow servants, who is also a faithful minister named Epaphras, had told him something about the Colossians. Epaphras told Paul and Timothy that the church in Colosse was full of “love in the Spirit” (Col. 1:8).
Then Paul goes on to write that for this reason he is able to pray certain things that he was not able to pray before he heard from Epaphras about their “love in the Spirit.” Paul stated that he was praying that this particular church would be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and with spiritual understanding.
He went on to pray for them: “That you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy” (Col. 1:10,11).
Then in verse 12, Paul said that they were qualified “to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.”
Paul did not say simply because of their love he would pray for them. He basically said that because he and Timothy had discovered their love in the Spirit, now he was able to pray that they would receive deeper revelation and understanding. He also said that because of their love in the Spirit, they were now qualified to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the glory.
When most people think of love, they think of a love act or a gift given or received as a result of love. While it is true that love requires action, we must not start thinking that the act or gift itself is love. Love is not outward, pressing in. But love is spiritual and flows out.
Over the years I have met many men who were convinced that the show of affection would develop into love. That is not true. Affection can create closeness and a type of bonding, but true love must develop in the realm of the Spirit and the natural result will be an overflow into the realm of the physical.
A true love relationship must be founded in the love of God. A relationship based on money, companionship, physical affection, or control will never be eternal. True love flows from the heart of God to the heart of man in the realm of the spirit and is manifested by overflowing into the realm of the physical
The Invisible Barrier of Faith
When the apostle James was writing to the church, he said to consider it all joy when you encounter various trials. We are in a time when many people are experiencing various types of trials in their lives. But as you experience problems in life, whether they are physical, financial, or emotional, you must know this. Your problem is not the issue. It’s how you react to your problem that will determine your destiny.
Psalm 34:19 says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.” This verse clearly tells us that there will be afflictions and that the righteous will be the ones who get them. But I’m so glad the verse doesn’t stop there! It goes on to say that these righteous people who are being attacked by the enemy will be delivered out of all their trials.
If you are born again, you are righteous. Righteousness is not something that you earn, develop, or grow in. You are made righteous in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, when you gave your heart to Jesus. When you received Him as your Lord and Savior, you became as righteous as you will ever be.
Yes, we grow in holiness. As we develop our understanding of God’s Word, and as we walk in our belief of what He has spoken, our holiness moves to a higher level. You might say that when you become a Christian, you are made righteous and you start becoming holy, and you spend your life working out your salvation and developing holiness.
Being righteous does not shield you from the attacks of the enemy. It is your shield of faith that does that. According to Ephesians 6:16, your shield of faith quenches “all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” Your faith does not make the enemy quit shooting at you; however, your faith will be like a bullet proof vest that will keep his bullets from killing you.
Since the Bible tells us that faith is the barrier between us and the weapons of the enemy, common sense would say that we want this barrier to be as strong as possible. If someone is shooting at me with a powerful weapon, I want that barrier to be thick and strong because the greater the barrier, the more secure I am against an attack. Faith is simply believing God and developing a complete lifestyle of words and actions wrapped around that belief. When we believe in our heart that He heals and align all of our words and actions with that belief, then that strengthens the faith barrier for healing. When we believe He redeemed us from the curse of poverty and wrap all of our words and actions around that belief, then we strengthen the faith barrier against the attack of poverty.
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1.)
One reason the fight of faith is so difficult for some Christians is that the substance of faith is invisible in this realm, but the enemy’s attack can be seen clearly. The enemy stands plainly in the open for us to see and struts around like Goliath, knowing that if he can cause us to focus on his visible attack instead of focusing on the invisible barrier of faith between us and him, then he can defeat us.
His attack is visible in the physical realm, but our faith is in the spiritual realm. God wants us to focus on what we can’t see in the natural because we walk by faith and not by sight. “…We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18).
So your Goliath may be strutting around on the hill claiming that he will destroy you. He could be your physical Goliath, your financial Goliath, or your emotional Goliath, but with the sword of the Spirit and faith in your heart, you can sever his head and he will “Go-lieth” down, dead with no chance of survival! It’s just like when you cut off a snake’s head. Its body may wiggle for a while without its head, but have no fear, it is dead and can no longer hurt you.
So, when the enemy (illness, debt, and hurt) gets in your face, put your faith in God and His protective promise. Use the sword of the Spirit while holding your shield of faith, and your adversary will fall before you.
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Cor. 5:7.)
“…We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:18.)
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.” (Ps. 34:19.)
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” (Eph. 6:10-18.)
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” (James 1:2-3.)
“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” (Rom. 5:19.)
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1.)
Don’t Limit God to What You Understand
The scripture tells us in Acts 2 that we can receive the Spirit of God, through a second infilling. We receive it in the same way we received salvation. We must believe the Holy Spirit is here for us in order to be filled but nothing new has to take place in the spirit realm for us to access that power.
If someone says he doesn’t want to operate in the gifts of the Spirit, he will not access the power even though it is available to him. Many places in the Word of God we find it clearly stated that what we believe is what we receive. If you believe what the Word of God says concerning the things God has already done, then you receive the things God has made available to every believer. There is untold power available to those who believe. It is one thing to know the power exists, but it is another to know how to apply that power in our lives. When we become Christians, our lives should be changed in such a way that the world will see our good works and be drawn to our heavenly Father.
Jesus said to let our lives shine before men. (Matt. 5:16.) To put it another way, we are to let our light shine in such a way that when other people see the light, they know it’s really the power of God embedded in us. They should recognize it to the point that they look to the Source of the power and glorify the God who put the power in us. If God has provided this great power, should we ignore it out of ignorance or tradition just because we don’t understand it?
There are a lot of things that we get involved in that we don’t understand. How many people understood what marriage was about when they first got married? It is doubtful that single people really understand the full impact of what they have just committed themselves to on their wedding day. They are taking a step of faith. You might say a leap of faith.
When people get saved, they know very little about what has happened. They just knew something was missing in their life and what they learned about Jesus made them understand He was the missing part. After they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, they start to work out their salvation. (Phil. 2:12.)
Well, it’s the same way with the blood. There is just no way we can understand everything there is to understand about the blood of Jesus. We can’t stand back and say, “Okay, when I understand everything there is to know about Jesus’ blood, I’m going to apply the blood of Jesus to my life. But until then I’m going to study diligently.”
We must study and understand all we can, but we cannot limit the power of God to what we understand.
I’ll See It When I Believe It
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:1-3).
Many people are confused about the things of God. They worry and fret about creation, death, eternal life, heaven, and hell. And it’s not uncommon for me to get letters asking these two questions: “How can I understand God and the Bible? How can I know what to believe?”
The answer I always give is “Just believe what God says, by faith.” In other words, accept the Holy Bible as the Word of God, read it and believe it. Then, base all your decisions and all your trust on what God’s Word says. That’s called “walking by faith.” (2 Cor. 5:7.)
Walking by faith is not always easy. The reason is that many people have become accustomed to walking by sight. Here’s what I mean. When we pray and ask God to meet a need in our lives that is clearly promised in His Word, we must believe that God has already met that need. We must believe that God’s Word is true and that He has actually done what He said He would do.
Jesus said in Mark 11:24, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”
Jesus did not say that we are to believe that we have received when we see results. He said that we are to believe that we have received what we have petitioned when we pray. That’s praying in faith. We pray, then we believe God so much, we trust His promises so strongly, that we trust that He has already accomplished our request. From that point on, once we have prayed in faith, we thank Him for meeting our need.
One time, a man told me he couldn’t thank God for meeting his needs, because his needs had not been met. I asked him if he had prayed and asked God to meet his needs. He said, “Yes, I know that God will meet my needs, but I won’t really believe it until I see it.”
Waiting to believe when you receive is not faith. Faith believes God regardless of the way things look. As Christians, we are to walk by faith and not by sight. If the circumstances say one thing and God’s Word says another, we must believe God. God does not lie. You can always depend on Him. He will never let you down. He will always do what He said He would do. And according to His own words, we will receive from Him when we believe Him.
In James 1, the Bible tells us that when we pray, we must believe that God will answer our petitions.
“Let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:6,7).
According to this passage, when we pray, if we don’t believe, we won’t receive.
The world says, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
The Word says, “I’ll see it when I believe it.”
Remember, Jesus told us in Mark 11:24, “Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”
Overcoming Through Faith
“Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:7-8).
God’s promise for those who observe, meditate and obey His Word is that He will make their way prosperous and successful wherever they go.
Would you like to overcome the world? Would you like to have victory in your daily life? The Bible says in 1 John 5:4, “Whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.” According to the Word, the ingredient we need to overcome the world is faith. But what does it mean “to have faith?”
Well, what it means is this. You believe what God says in His Word and act on it. You just simply listen to God through His Word and unconditionally believe and act on what He says.
Many Christians live their lives daily under stress – stress from work, stress from unpaid bills, stress from family problems and sometimes even stress from religion. But this should not be. God has given us a plan for overcoming all these things. He has a plan for overcoming the world and that plan is to have faith in Him.
Understanding the spiritual things of God is impossible without faith. Likewise, in order to navigate through our daily lives and understand what God has for us to do, we must daily walk in faith. Faith is the key ingredient in understanding. Without faith, we see only the superficial outward appearance of knowledge.
In order for a Christian to be successful, he must walk daily in faith. Through faith, there will be greater accomplishments in life. Whether we are at home or at work, our lives can be greatly enhanced if we can just grab hold of the truth and realize that faith in God’s Word will improve our daily lives.
We must believe what God says about us. He says in his Word that when we accept His Son Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then we are also His children. (John 1:12.) Then, in His Word He gives promises to His children. He promises health, peace, and prosperity. As Christians, God our Father wants us to succeed in life and live for Him in peace and health. He wants the best for you and me. However, in order to receive completely, we must believe completely. We must believe He is telling the truth and act on our belief. That’s called faith!
When we walk in faith, we will also be walking in joy and peace. We will be excited about what God is doing. We will know our authority. We will walk into the spiritual battleground and into the battlegrounds of life with our heads held high, knowing that the shield of faith will protect us. (Eph. 6:16.)
To be a winner in life, you must be on the winning side. Walk in faith and gather the spoils. The victory is ours if we trust in Him because faith is the victory that has overcome the world.
Division Hinders Our Prayers
As Christians, we need to be in agreement. We must be in agreement with God, with the Word, and with each other.
In Matthew 18:19, Jesus said, “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.”
There is power in agreement and according to Jesus, if we ask God the Father concerning anything, it will be done. Now I know that when we read God’s Word, we must take the sum of the Scriptures in balance. And here’s what I mean.
If your child has a messy room, you could say this: “If you clean up your room, I will be pleased. And then, if you want to go to the park to play, all you have to do is ask me and I will take you.”
Does this mean that you will take the child to the park if he or she asks? Yes, of course you will. You gave your word — but only if the child does what you ask. The child must clean the room first. If this child asks to go to the park and you go to the room and find it messy, you will not be pleased and the trip is off. Only when the conditions are met will you do what you said you would do.
This is the way it is with God. He has filled His Word full of promises. These promises are for you and for me. He has given us hope and confidence that He will meet our needs. However, we cannot forget the requirements.
Now, I know that we are living in a time of grace and that we do not deserve the salvation that has been given to us. But, even though the salvation is a free gift, we must still meet certain requirements.
Is salvation and everlasting life for everyone? Yes. But, will everyone be saved and have everlasting life? No, because there are requirements. We must believe in our hearts and we must confess with our mouths.
This is the way the entire Word of God is. So when we read Matthew 18:19 about two of us agreeing on anything we ask and then it will be done by God, we must know that Jesus also made this promise conditional, and the main condition is agreement.
Satan does not want us to agree with each other. First of all, he knows that when we as Christians do not agree with the Word of God, it leaves us without faith and when we don’t agree with each other, it leads to division in the church. If Satan can get Christians to disagree, then he has weakened the prayer power of the church. He accomplishes this through strife, quarrels and hatred.
Proverbs 10:12 says, “Hatred stirs up strife but love covers a multitude of sins.” And Proverbs 16:28 says, “A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates the best of friends.”
God wants us unified and in agreement. Satan wants to divide us and make us ineffective. So, let’s agree. As the Church, let’s walk in love and understanding. Let’s walk in the power of agreement and our prayers will be answered.
Getting Offended Hinders Your Miracle
The apostle Paul made an interesting statement when writing to Titus, whom he called his “partner and fellow worker” (2 Cor. 8:23), and “a true son in our common faith” (Titus 1:40).
In the first sentence of his letter, Paul said that God cannot lie. (Titus 1:2.) This one statement alone is the most important statement in the Bible. Without this one truth, everything we believe — all our hope, all of our faith — would be useless. Let me explain.
Everything in the Word of God is based on belief. But belief in what? Belief in God and belief that He has not lied and will not lie. God expects us to believe Him. He expects us to place our entire existence, every thing we are and everything we have, on the line. He wants us to have total faith in Him. In fact, He not only expects it, but He requires it.
When Jesus went to His own town of Nazareth, He taught in the synagogue. Many people heard him and were astonished. In fact, they were so amazed at His teachings that some even wondered where He got all His knowledge. But then something happened. Some of the people realized that this Jesus was the same Jesus that had grown up in the town of Nazareth, and this offended them. When they became offended, they quit believing what He was saying and as a result, Jesus could not do many mighty works in that town.
“Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid Hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching” (Mark 6:5,6).
The Bible says He could not do many mighty works, not that He would not do many mighty works. How can this be? Well, God has always been moved by belief. He has always responded to faith. When man believes that God will do His Word in their lives, God moves to perform it.
God promises salvation, healing, and prosperity in His Word, but it is only for those who believe. It is only for those who have faith in His Word. It is only for those who believe that He did not lie and then they act on that belief.
Jesus died for the sins of the world, but only those who believe in Him will reap the benefits of His death and resurrection. God only responds to faith. Doubt and unbelief do not move Him. That’s why Satan continually tries to put doubt in the minds of people.
Where there is doubt, there is no faith. And, according to the Bible, where there is no faith, even the Word does not work. Hebrews 4:2 says that there were two groups of people. Both groups had the same gospel preached to them. But the gospel that one group heard did not profit them because they did not mix it with faith in their hearts.
There is much power in the Word, but only for those who have faith. Faith believes God. Faith knows God does not lie and places everything on that belief.
Remember when Paul was in Lystra and a certain man who could not walk and was crippled from birth was sitting by the road?
“This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, said with a loud voice, ‘Stand up straight on your feet!’ And he leaped and walked” (Acts 14:9,10).
When Paul looked at him, what was he looking for? He was looking for faith. Is faith important? According to Scripture, it is.
Breaking the Spirit of Control
Control and manipulation are tools of the devil. Freedom and guidance are tools of the Spirit of God. Jesus said that if we would abide in His Word, we would know the truth and that the truth would set us free. (John 8:31-32.) God is a God of freedom and the devil is the god of bondage.
I’ve heard people try to manipulate God with their prayers and it may sound strange, but there are those who try to apply the world’s methods to their communication with God.
Several years ago, I was talking with a man who knew that God had instructed him specifically on something he was to do in his life. Not only did this man know this in his heart, but it was also confirmed by the Holy Scriptures. However, he refused to do what he knew was right.
When I asked him why he was rebelling against God’s command, he made a very astonishing statement. He said, “I’m believing that if I hold off long enough that eventually God will see that I don’t want to do it and He will change His mind.” God does not respond to picketing, protest marches, or sit down strikes. And we cannot manipulate God or control Him by these socially-accepted, politically-correct methods.
Another man told me that he did not agree with one of the current theological teachings. He went on to make a very ludicrous statement. He said, “If I can get enough people to believe the way I believe, then certainly God will agree with me.” Wrong! As Christians, we live in a kingdom and not in a democracy. Only what the King of kings decides becomes our way of life. (Rev. 19:16.)
I knew of another gentleman who believed if he could publicly prophecy something in church, then certainly God would cause it to come to pass because God would not allow Himself to be embarrassed. God doesn’t get embarrassed. He knows the truth and you cannot control or manipulate Him.
Control and manipulation are spirits associated with the spirit of fear. (1 Tim. 1:7.) Yes, in the Book of Galatians we are told that a part of the fruit of the spirit is self-control. (Gal. 5:23.) Self-discipline is of God, but attempting to manipulate or control God or any other person by your words or deeds is witchcraft and is not of God.
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REV. GORDON WILLIAMS VIDEO RESOURCES
Please click on the links below to watch Rev. Gordon Williams’ teaching videos. Please feel free to contact or email Gordon with any questions or comments.
THERE IS NO PROBLEM THAT JESUS CANNOT SOLVE AND NO SICKNESS THAT JESUS CANNOT HEAL
Gods Will Is Healing http://www.scribd.com/doc/12404063/
God Hears And Answers Prayers http://www.scribd.com/doc/12779089/
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