Tag: God’s work

By the will of God

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Something just struck me as amazing. A revelation, if you will.

It may be something you already know, but perhaps not.

Sometimes we read, quote, even acknowledge a certain truth and then one day we see it in a new light; with a freshness to it.

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God…” (2 Corinthians 1:1 ESV)

I started reading Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, while sort of praying and thinking, “Lord, I know I’m called to preach, and You’ve given my wife and I a message to share, so now what?”

My eyes and heart locked in on five words: by the will of God. 

My answer came so quickly, in a way I didn’t expect.

Paul was an Apostle by the will of God. So were Peter, James, John and the rest. Barnabas included.

Philip was an evangelist; Agabus, a prophet.

By the will of God. 

I am an elder by the will of God. Some call me pastor, and that’s okay; but I am an elder.

An elder to the Body of Christ.

Because God wants it that way.

Peter, although an apostle, referred to himself as an elder. And it seemed as though, as an elder, he shared pretty much the same message in his writings.

Remember. 

That was his message.

Remember. 

Remember how you were born again. Remember how Jesus walked, in submission to God. Remember the way Jesus thought, and talked. Remember He’s given us all we need to be holy, and live in a holy manner. Remember what we need to do in order to hasten His appearance.

Remember.

As an elder, by the will of God, my wife and I have been given a particular theme to declare. It’s this:
There isn’t an individual, a marriage, or a church that is above being picked off by the adversary. And yet, by the grace and power of God, there is a way for every individual, marriage, and church to finish well, completing their assignments, and bringing honor and glory to the Lord.

Because we know it’s His will, we accept our calling.

Because it’s His will, and His message, I will rest in His Presence, knowing that in all our ways, He will direct our paths.

Because it’s His will.

As I read those five words, “by the will of God”, faith, all of the substance and evidence I could ever need, flooded my soul.

I am what I am by the will of God. I am where I’m at, by the will of God. And He is able; more than able. He is right now working all things out for my good, and His will.

Maybe you are struggling in a similar manner; knowing the call, the message, the urgency, yet with each passing week you see things that may cause you to doubt God’s will.

Please, don’t be discouraged. If you will be faithful to the One Who has called you, the Faithful One will open the door of opportunity for you and your message.

It’s not by might, nor power, but by the Spirit of God; and…

…by the will of God.

Day Four

40 Days of Promises

How His Promises Work

God is good, and His mercy endures forever. He is so good that many people take Him for granted; they feel He does everything for them and there’s nothing they need to do.

Well, it’s true; without Him we couldn’t do anything. Yet many times there are things we must do in order for His promises to be fulfilled. Many, I’d say most, of His promises are conditional.

For instance:

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13 ESV)

Notice, we are to “work out” that which God “works in”. It’s called obedience. God speaks to our heart, either through His Word or an intuition, a thought, or a perceived notion generated by His Spirit, and our responsibility is to obey as quickly and precisely as possible.

A good example of this principle is found in Malachi 3:8-12.

“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” (Malachi 3:10 ESV)

“Bring (or obey)” and the Lord will fulfill His promise. That’s typically how His promises work.

“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty. Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 6:16-18; 7:1 ESV)

Who wouldn’t want the promise of God as their Father, dwelling in their midst, treating them as Sons and Daughters?

So, for anyone really desiring His promises, the condition is established: cleanse yourself of any and every defilement, and be holy, walking in the fear of God.

Another important aspect of how His promises work: we must mix faith with the promises.

“Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.” (Hebrews 4:1-2 ESV)

Hebrews gives the example of the Israelites hearing the promises of the rich and fertile land, over and over, yet never mixing faith in the promises. To them, either God was a liar or the promises were too good to be true.

Look at the following verse. Paul wrote in regards to the work God did through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Notice God’s part in the work, AND our part.

“…having been buried with him in baptism, in which YOU WERE ALSO RAISED WITH HIM THROUGH FAITH in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:12 ESV)

God did His part.

And if His promises aren’t realized, it’s not because He changed His mind. He isn’t a liar. However, as in the case of the Israelites, it COULD be that we didn’t mix faith with the promise or we didn’t obey the promise giver.

Yes, there are a few times we don’t have to do anything; His will is going to happen. But more times than not, if His promise didn’t happen it’s because we didn’t understand how they work, or we didn’t care.

But now we know.

We know we need to obey the conditions.

We know we must mix our faith with His promises.

That’s how His promises work.

Keep On Truckin’

20130616-211515.jpgWay back in the late ’60’s and early ’70’s, when I was a hippie-wannabe, there was a phrase floating around that fit me to a “T”. The phrase was “Keep On Truckin’!”

It meant something like, “just keep doing what ever you feel is the cool, far out, groovy, right on, hip thing to do. Don’t stop just because the Establishment doesn’t approve. Stay with it, outlast the squares and the creeps. Be your own freaky self, paint your own picture, carve your own initials. Sing your own song, write your own story, live your own life!”

Keep on truckin’!

It went well with my “traveling” lifestyle; hitch hiking here and there, city to city, just because I could. I thought of myself as a free spirit, a cool freak (for sure, man). I was a happening cat, dude. The Establishment was always harassing me, though. Something about me being only 16 years old. Some people just never could understand.

A lot has changed in my life since then. I’m no longer the hippie-wannabe; I’m actually part of the Establishment (gasp!). The things I used to pursue (like becoming a rock and roll star) don’t have the pull on me they once had. As a Christian, my focus is no longer on “doing my own thing”, but it is “finding out what pleases The Lord”. I still get to be my own freaky self, but the emphasis isn’t centered on being freaky; just on being who God wants me to be. Of course, there will always be some who consider me freaky (translated=weird).

So, a lot has changed, but the phrase “Keep on truckin'” is still just as fitting today as it was 40 years ago. Actually, it is much more appropriate!

This passage in 2 Timothy says it best: “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:3-5 ESV)

The way things are in the world, and the way people are ignoring God’s Truth, it is very tempting to pack up all my gear, say a final prayer for the world, and lay low until Jesus comes. To do the bare minimum, as far as any Kingdom work is concerned, pacing myself so as not to exert too much energy, lest I run out too soon. To say to myself, God, and anyone who’ll listen, “Why should I continually wear myself out for people who don’t appreciate it anyway? They don’t seem to mind they’re going to hell; why should I knock myself out for them?”

And in the midst of all those thoughts I hear The Lord say, “Son, keep on truckin’!”

The Apostle Paul wasn’t around during the 1960’s and ’70’s, so he said it a little bit different: “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV)

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9 ESV)

The message is clear, no matter how it’s said. “Just keep doing what ever you feel is the cool, far out, groovy, right on, hip thing to do. Don’t stop just because the Establishment doesn’t approve. Stay with it, outlast the squares and the creeps. Be your own freaky self, paint your own picture, carve your own initials. Sing your own song, write your own story, live your own life…FOR THE GLORY OF GOD!

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”(Colossians 3:17 ESV)

And, “KEEP ON TRUCKIN’!”

“Drop Kick Me Jesus…”

“Drop kick me Jesus…” A cute little song by Bobby Bare.

God NEVER intended for His people to barely make it through this life and into the next, without a testimony of His power and victory evident in their life. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”(Romans 8:29-30 NKJV)

The word “predestined” can toss you around if you’re not careful. It does not mean God has already decided who will and who won’t be saved. God’s not willing any perish or go to an eternal hell. Rather He IS willing, and made it possible, for ALL men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. So ANYONE and EVERYONE can become a new creation in Christ and spend now and forever abiding in His Presence.

“…He also predestined…” in the above passage could be paraphrased in this manner: “God knows who will come to Him through His Son, Jesus. And all who come to Him are destined to be changed into His likeness, His image. It’s an established plan. God won’t settle for any less.”

God desired to have a family, created in His image, after His likeness. Adam started out well, but ended falling way short. But Jesus, the Second Adam, brought mankind back to the place where fellowship with God is possible. Possible, through faith in Jesus. And our “destiny”, in Jesus, is to be changed into His exact likeness, His image; acting like Him in all ways, thought, word, and deed. As the Son is, so shall we be (see John 17 and Hebrews 1:1-3). “Pre” means “before” so think of it this way: God planned our destiny in Jesus before it was possible. He “prepaid” for our eternal hope and future.

I believe it’s time for us to see ourselves the way God sees us in Christ. Time for us to understand “this life” on earth is only separated from our “next life” by our earthly body. What God has, or hasn’t, accomplished in us while on earth will continue. “He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it.” 

So, enjoy the cute song. Especially if you like country music. But look into God’s Word and discover what He has already accomplished for you in Christ. And don’t be satisfied with barely making it through life. 

You are not a football. 

Who’s Turn Is It To Move?

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Almost any time a group of people sit down to play a game, regardless of the game, there’s one phrase that is probably repeated more than any other. “Who’s turn is it to move?”

Years ago when my wife’s granddad was alive, the three of us got together a number of times to play Dominos. Not the game where you place them on their edge, line them up and knock them down. No, we actually played the version that entails adding the spots, trying to place a domino that would make the count on the table a multiple of 5, and continue playing until someone reached 500 points.

Sometimes my mind works faster than other times. But it seemed like it was a “slow mind day” every time we’d play Granddad. I’d sit at the table, dominos in front of me, trying to figure out my next move. Pretty soon I’d hear him say, “Play one, look at the rest.” Of course that really meant, “It’s your turn to move, so hurry up.” This was funny to my wife and I, because Granddad always took longer than anyone else when it was his turn.

I got to thinking about this today when my mind wandered over to thoughts about the Kingdom of God, and then the Move of God. I realize neither the Kingdom or the Move is a game, but, sorry, my mind sometimes works this way.

In my mind, I began remembering the different ways God has “moved” throughout history. I’ll share, briefly, a few “for instances” to help explain my point.

The first “move” to discuss was when the children of Israel were in the desert, on their way to the promised land. Remember the story? God’s people were led by the Pillar of Cloud by day, and the Pillar of Cloud by night. The Pillar moved, then the congregation, under Moses’ leadership, moved.

Another time, in Numbers 13 and 14, the Lord moved when the 12 spies returned. The movement began when Joshua and Caleb said, “the land is just like God said; so let’s rise up and take it because we are well able.” It then became the congregation’s turn to move. However, they forfeited their move through doubt and unbelief. Later, they decided to “try it” anyway, not realizing it wasn’t their move any longer. That move cost them about 30 lives…

God “moved” upon David’s heart, after he was installed as the new king, to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. It was David’s turn to move, but, according to 2 Samuel 6, David didn’t move according to God’s plan and it cost the life of Uzzah. Later, though, God moved again upon David and, this time, David followed God’s instruction. As a result, a greater move took place as the Lord watched over Jerusalem from His place between the cherubim.

Fast forward several hundred years to another “move” planned by the Lord. The Angel appeared to Mary, giving her news from the very Throne of God. I can’t imagine what went through her head as she listened. The Lord was preparing another “move”, a move that would change the world and the universe! So, God took His turn to move as the Angel spoke His plans.

Now it was Mary’s turn. And move she did. She said, “Be it unto me according to Thy Word.” Her move was to believe and receive the Word of the Lord.

Down through the centuries, in various ways, places, and times, God has “moved” upon a group of people to begin to carry out His plans and purposes for His Kingdom. I believe we’re fast approaching another “move”, maybe the final “move” for this age as we know it.

But who’s turn is it to move? What if we’re all sitting around the table, dominos in front of us, waiting for the Lord to take His turn, when, in fact, it’s really our turn to move? What if we’re waiting for a huge cosmic sign from Heaven, a lightning bolt, a prophetic word, an itch on the bottom of our foot; whatever else someone might take as a sign, to declare to us it’s now our turn?

I will simply say, “play one, look at the rest.” It’s our turn to move! We have His Word telling us to go. He’s even told us where to go, “into all the world”, and how to go, “in My Name”. If we wait, we could end up forfeiting our turn, which, as we have seen, can be very costly!

Yes, God has times and seasons in which He does specific things. But the specific thing He is really focused on right now, today, 2013, is reaching someone else with Life. He’s taken His turn by sending His Son and raising Him from the dead. He then sent the Spirit of God to lead us and empower us.

IT IS OUR TURN TO MOVE!!!

Why I Believe Jesus Is The Healer

The Lord That HealsThere are many viewpoints regarding the subject of healing, specifically pertaining to these questions: “Does God heal?”, “Does He heal today?”, “Is healing a ‘new age’ subject?”, “Does God give people cancer?”, “Is there such a thing as ‘faith healing’?”. On and on the questions flow, accompanied by answers that sometime bring more confusion and doubt than anything else.

I understand my viewpoint is simply what it is; my opinion. While I like to think my study, background, experience, and faith give credibility to my opinion, I know that I can’t convince anyone of the truth. It will take Someone much greater than I to bring that about. Therefore, my intention for this post is not to convince anyone to embrace my opinion as the ultimate, complete truth on the matter. My aim is simply to explain why I believe Jesus is the same today as He was 2000 years ago; and because He’s the same, He is doing the same things He did then. Such as, healing the sick.

This post may end up in your mind as just another one of many opinions. But to me, this is life! (Scriptures are listed at end of post for those desiring more research.)
So here goes:

Why I believe Jesus is the Healer

(and Father God still heals today):

1. God created us – every part of us. He knows how to fix us
2. He created everything by His Word and faith
3. His Word is Life and Health
4. He sent His Word to heal
5. His Word runs swiftly
6. When sickness touched the Israeli camp, the Lord showed them a tree
7. God Himself is the Tree of Life
8. He referred to Himself as The Lord That Heals
9. God has declared that He forgives all iniquity and heals all diseases
10. Under the Old Covenant there was provision for healing. New Covenant is better!
11. Even after sin and rebellion, The Lord made healing provision
12. When the children of Israel left Egypt, there was not one feeble among them
13. God has answered the prayers of multitudes and has promised to answer ours
14. The Lord promised to restore health and heal wounds
15. Jesus, the Suffering Servant, Savior, bore our sins and carried our diseases
16. Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever
17. Jesus: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me…”to preach, heal, proclaim and open
18. Multitudes sought to touch Him and He didn’t try to outrun them!
19. Whoever touched Him was made whole
20. He never denied healing to anyone who came to Him believing
21. Jesus receives all who come to Him…this includes coming to Him for healing
22. People came to Jesus desperately seeking His touch, and got it!
23. The early church was given the same mission as Jesus
24. Paul wrote that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation
25. When a crippled man heard Paul preach, he had faith to be healed and walked
26. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil
27. Jesus went about doing good, and healing
28. Jesus believed that sickness is of the devil; the devil is the author of disease
29. Jesus told the leper that healing was His will
30. Jesus told the Gentile woman that healing was the children’s bread
31. John prayed for the church to prosper and be in health
32. The peace of God that passes understanding is wholeness for the complete man
33. Paul prayed that our whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved…
34. James:Sick?Then call for the elders to pray the prayer of faith and heal the sick
35. Even sinners (so as to include ALL mankind) can find healing and forgiveness
36. Jesus doesn’t send sickness and disease to teach His people
37. Jesus said, “If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father.”
38. His grace (His willingness to use His ability) is sufficient for our every need
39. Whatever things you ask for in prayer, they shall be granted you
40. The law of the Spirit of life in Jesus set us free from the law of sin and death
41. The Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in me, giving life to my body
42. God loves me and delights in my prayers
43. His promises are Yes! and Amen! in Christ
44. If two or three will agree on earth…
45. “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done; as in Heaven, so on earth
46. Not one word has ever failed
47. Forever His Word is settled in Heaven
48. Jesus is the Word of God
49. Nothing is impossible with God
50. With God, ALL THINGS are possible
51. The only time Jesus didn’t heal much was when the people wouldn’t believe
52. Without faith it’s impossible to please God…but with it…
53. His Name is above every name, including that of sickness and disease
54. Jesus means salvation
55. No good thing will He withhold from them who walk uprightly
56. Every good and perfect gift… Healing is a gift, a good gift
57. Jesus is God Almighty

Just some reasons why I believe Jesus is the Healer and healing is God’s will. But don’t take my word for it. God’s Word is life to those who find it and health to all their flesh. And…

faith still comes, grows and changes things.

Healing Scriptures: Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 139; Hebrews1:1-3; 11:1-6; Psalm 107:20; 103:3; 147:15; Numbers 21; Exodus 15:22-26; Psalm 105:37; Proverbs 15:9,29; Matthew 7:7; Mark 11:22-24; Jeremiah 17:14; 30:17; Isaiah 53:4-6; 61:1-3; Luke 4:18; Hebrews 13:8; Matthew 4:23-25; Luke 5:15; 6:17; Mark 5; 16:15-20; Romans 1:16; 10:9,10,17; Acts 14:7-10; 1 John 3:8; Acts 10:38; Luke 13; Matthew 8:1-3; 15:26; 3 John 2; Philippians 4:6-8; James 5:15-16; John 14-16; John 6; 2 Corinthians 9:8; 12:7-10; Romans 8:1,2,11-14; Luke 11:5-13; 2 Corinthians 1:20; Matthew 18:19; 1 Kings 8:56; Psalm 119:89; John 1:1-4; Luke 1:37; 18:27; Mark 3:1-6; 6:1-6; Psalm 84:11,12; Philippians 2:9-11; Matthew 1:21; James 1:17; John 10:30

The Chef’s in the Kitchen…it’s pudding time!

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It’s called banana pudding, not bananas with pudding, vanilla wafers and bananas, or even vanilla extract and friends!

Now a recipe may have a main ingredient or two, like in banana pudding, but there are no “big chiefs”. The amount of each ingredient may vary, but every ingredient is necessary. As the pudding is created, everything is mixed together to make something all the ingredients individually could never make, even if they fasted and prayed for 40 days straight! Any ingredient, by themself, is just that; they are by themself. Regardless the amount of “schooling”, or the “heritage” they have, or even the “size of their cupboard”, they are only what they are and cannot be anything different unless mixed with something else. I’ve heard more than one box of wafers cry out, “Fill me without measure!”, yet the only One anointed without measure is The Chef. The ingredients must not think more highly of themselves than they should, and must realize they NEED each other.

Jesus prayed in John 17 for His Church to be one, AS He and the Father are one.

The Lord has all the ingredients to make up His “pudding”. There are bananas, milk, wafers, etc; prominent players and groups of players that are very evident. These are the churches and individuals who seem to be anointed to be “out front”. Then there are others, the supporting cast if you will, that aren’t very appealing to those around them. These are those within the Church that have smaller rolls, maybe believe a little different, do things a little odd (anyway, that’s what the banana told me), and have a hard time mixing with others. Actually, none of the ingredients can mix themselves! Even the best banana in the bunch cannot peel itself. And who really wants to take a knife to their hide and divide what they have just so someone else can be blessed! Don’t expect that from a vanilla wafer!

But the Lord is trying to get the ingredients together! I realize each one likes to hang out with their own bunch, or be in groups where the spoon is not so cold or harsh when it stirs, but you can’t taste the pudding if the ingredients are segregated.

I’ve recently been hanging around various and sundry ministers and ministries and this thought came to me: many are content to join with others when they have time and when they are with people who “taste” the same as they do. They keep to themselves, or their “own kind”, and fail to realize the flavor isn’t the same without them. Also, by keeping apart from others, they will rot or grow stale before they ever become what the Chef has in mind. 

There’s a verse in Hebrews 12 which says, “everything that can be shaken will be shaken.” Allow me to paraphrase-“The Chef has gotten the mixer out of the drawer and has plugged it in!” Kind of a scary thought, to be in the Lord’s mixing bowl. But what a joy when it comes time to lick the beaters…

As I said earlier, the Chef is moving in the Kitchen. He’s pulling the ingredients out of storage and cracking some eggs, cutting some bananas. The salt’s getting pinched, the flour sifted, and everyone is smelling the vanilla! The heat is rising on top of the stove and soon, very soon, the Chef will pick up each ingredient and use them AS HE SEES FIT.

This would be the best time to yield, to be ready to mix it up. For your finest hour is at hand; His Hand.

Are you getting hungry for Banana Pudding?

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Soon, the ingredients will be removed from their place of storage. The bowls, pots, and cooking utensils will be placed on the kitchen counter. Eggs will be cracked, milk poured, bananas peeled and sliced. Stirring and pouring, stirring and cooking, pouring and chilling…ummmm

I’d like to invite you all over for dessert…

But right now it isn’t ready. The ingredients have been available but for some reason they haven’t been mixed together.

Funny thing about the ingredients: by themselves they are fine. I mean, I like bananas and vanilla wafers. Egg yolks are okay, and milk is refreshing; but vanilla extract, flour, and salt, alone, ick!

I’ve often wondered why these ingredients have been kept apart when they were made to be mixed together. The world just isn’t the same while they are apart, sitting in the cupboard or the fridge.

But something is happening in the kitchen. The Chef is moving things around in preparation for a final cooking experience; an experience I do not want to miss.

I’ll finish this story in just a bit…in the meantime, start preparing your taste buds!

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