KINGDOM LOOK BOOK: Fashion Sense and Cents

FASHION SENSE AND CENTS

You know how you eye doctor asks you “One” or “Two” during your annual eye exam? They want to know which set of letters you think is the better choice. Well today we have a similar opportunity. Take a few minutes to examine the 7 rows of pictures labeled “A” or “B”. Record “A” or “B” for the outfit out of the pair you would wear and then check out your Fashion Sense and Cents results. Have fun!

1&2
Row 1: Bracelets
Row 2: Summer Chic

3&4
Row 3: Holiday Party
Row 4: Night on the Town

5 & 6
Row 5: Dinner Party
Row 6: Spring Casual

7
Row 7: Happy New Year!

YOUR RESULTS:

Your adornment must not be merely external braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. – 1 Peter 3:3-5

Proverbs 31 Leaning (A, B, A, B, B, A, B – answered by descending rows):
Congratulations! You fit the image of a Proverbs 31 woman: modest. You have great fashion sense and it costs you nothing. You will receive the free gift of eternal life for your modest savvy choices. Until then do not be surprised when you catch the glances of a spirit led and surrendered man of God who will honor and love you and only you as Jesus Christ loves the Church. Amen

Proverbs 7 Leaning (B, A, B, A, A, B, A – answered by descending rows):
Hey girlie! Your style is on FIRE! Cutting edge, plunging “Vs”, and highly hemmed is your look. You have mastered Proverbs 7 style. Your look gets you noticed and has/will snare a few if not many men but it will cost you. The Proverbs 7 style you enlist entices many to desire you and your flesh. Peek-a-boo waist, thigh high skirts and dresses, plunging necklines, skin tight apparel, and blinged out wrists all worn in the name of the demonic art of passion AKA lust. The cost? An eternity separated from the creator of the universe and an earthly life time of unrewarding relationships with religious men who call you sexy, calls themselves Christian yet are unsurrendered to God and in turn are not capable of honoring and loving you as Jesus Christ loves the Church.

THOUGHTS FROM MODERN “CHRISTIAN” WOMEN ON MODESTY:

“God doesn’t mind a little bit of my skin. I’m following the fashion blogs. What’s the big deal?”

“I respect and love my brothers in Christ including their pursuit of purity. My dress has nothing to do with their ability to keep their eyes to themselves. If they are the men of God they call themselves to be, they won’t look.”

“I respect and love my fellow sisters in Christ who are the wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters of my brothers in Christ. They haven’t said anything, so obviously they don’t mind my figure hugging dress, low cut top, thigh high skirt, and tshirt and leggings outfit in our ministry meetings.”

“I want to be a hot Pastor’s wife.”

APPLICATION:

Contrary to worldly opinion, Proverbs 7 style reflects a path of passion, sensuality, and a demonic desire to be pursued in a flirty or sexual way. It is far from the call of the Father to be modest, shame faced (1 Peter 3:3-5), and without lust in our eyes or flesh (1 John 2:15-16). This path ultimately leads us away from the eternal Kingdom and into eternal death (Proverbs 7:27). Our Father is asking each of us to choose today to turn, confess, and repent of this lifestyle. Are you on the Proverbs 7 path? Are you ready to turn? If so, repeat the following prayer.

I (-insert name-) confess and repent of my sin of immodesty, sensuality, lust, and all other forms of sexual immorality in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. I cancel satan’s access to me. Holy Spirit come into my heart and take control of me. Fill me with your spiritual fruit and make me a new creation in Christ Jesus of Nazareth. Amen

Photo Credits: Bing, Google
Related Post: A Proverbs 7 Woman – Is she Marriage Worthy?

The Challenge: A Personal Story

woman in shadowOnce upon a time,
there lived a young brown girl, captivated by the world of beautiful faces and things. Mirrors, magazines, and friends were a constant reminder of “beauty”. Oh how she loved them.

Then entered FB, the queen of “beauty”. Close up…applause…long shot…applause…side shot…applause.

“I like FB” she thought.

Daughter?” He called.

No answer.

“Daughter?” He called again.

“Yes” she answered.

“What are you doing?” He asked.

“What do you mean?” she answered.

“Do you remember this? ‘Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.’” He asked.

“Hmmm” she sighed.

“I challenge you Daughter to die.” He said.

“Die!” She yelled.

“Yes, I challenge you to die to your world of beauty and replace each personal ‘beauty’ shot with a Kingdom shot of Godly content. I further challenge you to truly die to yourself and become nameless.” He declared.

“This is a major sacrifice? What will my friends and family think? They won’t know it’s me. Will they still ‘like’ me?” she thought.

Delete…”what’s going on?”…Delete…”are you okay?”…Delete…no applause.

Weeks Later

“I’m a little sad. This was a huge sacrifice and I get nothing. It’s so quiet around here.“ she thought.

Still Later

“I guess the quiet is not so bad, time to dig in and spend time with the Lord.”

Discernment: The Road of Death v. Life

The RoadQuestion: Does my belief in Jesus mean I have eternal life?

Recently a friend recommended a summer read that I have found to be tremendously insightful in this current age. It looks at common deceptions amongst “Believers” about eternal life. I have been reminded again of the shortness of this life and the transition each of us will make from this life into the next one. I want to urge each of you to examine the course you are taking on this life before your calling to the next one. You may be comfortable and happy in your present life, but God is asking us to closely examine if our present life is consistent with what God promises on eternal life. As parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, or friends of small children you know what it is like to keep watchful eyes on children, especially in the 0-2 age, playing outside. Though they are aware of many things, they are not aware like we are that running into a busily trafficked road at any age but especially 0-2 will certainly result in death. The same is true for Believers journeying on this side of eternity. Abba is keeping watchful eyes on each of us along with His watchmen/watchwomen. He sees some of us running towards the busily trafficked road of the flesh life that will result in certain eternal death and He is asking some of His “Believers” to step in and bring you away from The Road.

1. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” – Matthew 7:22.

Here Jesus issues a warning to “Believers” that we will notice comes up many more times about the time coming when MANY not few “Believers” in Christ Jesus will be disappointed and turned away from eternal life. These individuals participated on hospitality team, the prayer team, the prophetic team, and all sorts of good works ministries but they still will not receive eternal life. What?!

2. “Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” – 1 Corinthians 6:10.

The Lord explains why “Believers” in Christ Jesus will be turned away from eternal life: unrepentant. Jesus has clearly repeated the above are a one way ticket away from His Kingdom. Jesus warns us we CANNOT have eternal life and actively practice the above. For many of this current age, sexual sin is your busy road. Magazines, movies, and even family condone or tolerate what God does not. If you are not married in Christ Jesus and continue to have a sexual relationship you will be excluded from the Kingdom of God. Common law marriage is not marriage in Christ Jesus. God will not honor it. Please reconsider. The time is short. Yeshua will accept no excuses. It is a choice.

3. “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matthew 25:41-46.

Jesus issues a very specific warning to “Believers” about yet another deception. You CANNOT expect to receive eternal life if you persist in ignoring the poor. Each of you have opportunities to serve the poor and many of you persist in ignoring the call by God to serve them. Churches and faith based non-profits seem to always be short on volunteers yet “Christian” dinner parties don’t. Why? God tells us this is a heart matter and though we may think “that community or person is not my problem”, they are. Each time you say no or ignore an opportunity to help feed the poor, invite the homeless in, cloth those who need clothing, visit the imprisoned and the sick, you tell Jesus no. Jesus is telling you that He is a part of each of these individuals. When you persist in rejecting those God commands you to serve, you persist in rejecting Him and HE will reject you when you leave this side of eternity.

Sobering?

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” – John 15:1-11

AMEN

Related Posts: Confession ; 8 Questions to Ask Before Complaining God’s Ignoring Me ; I Never Knew You
Photo Credit: The Truth Won

Discernment: Does family heritage matter in the Kingdom? Maybe

HeritageQuestion: Does my family heritage matter if I am a Believer who’s heritage is the Kingdom of heaven?

Answer: No and Yes.

No: The moment we become Believers in Christ Jesus we are immediately adopted into the eternal Kingdom (Ephesians 1:5). We no longer belong to the human heritage but to the Creator of the universe. Essentially, the human methods of separating individuals by race, ethnicity, and tribe are moot. We either belong to the Creator of the universe or we belong to Prince of the Power of the Air (see Ephesians 2) aka the Father of Lies (John 8:44).

Yes: There are some communities that seem to have persistent troubles that seem woven into the fabric of the culture. In Christian outreach, one must consider the following when trying to reach communities who are not Believers. If there is any cultural history of tribalism, alcoholism, ethnic cleansing, sexual slavery, child soldiers, black on black crime, multiculturalism (forced secondary to slavery), etc. these persistent issues have a spiritual root deeper than the person or immediate family.

Exodus addresses this issue of generational/bloodline spiritual roots.

“You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” - Exodus 20:5-6

Often in communities where there is hardness towards each other and God, there are unresolved ancestry spiritual roots. One of the first things outreach workers should ask when one meets unbelieving individual(s) is “What is your heritage?”. This will give one a greater picture of the person’s potential spiritual baggage. If the unbelieving individual(s) have no idea of their heritage, this does not mean there are no spiritual roots. It may mean the individual(s) or community may be dealing with “orphan”, “abandonment”, or “trauma” spiritual blocks in addition to spiritual roots of “war” and “oppression”. Now think of communities where this might apply such as communities where there is no knowledge of where they derive or communities where there was trauma such as descendants of slaves or indigenous people who were pushed off their land into camps so new settlers could have a place to call home. Might these communities have some massive blood line spiritual roots to address before they will receive anything about God? These communities often state they would much rather give honor to their ancestors who were oppressed than give honor to a God who they believe was the source of turmoil in their communities (i.e. colonial “Christian” missionaries participating in slavery or land stealing practices).

Question: How does one in outreach begin to help individuals and communities with bloodline roots to become free and receive Christ Jesus?

Prayer.

PRAYER FOR HEALING THE FAMILY TREE

“Heavenly Father, I come before you as your child, in great need of your help; I have physical health needs, emotional needs, spiritual needs, and interpersonal needs. Many of my problems have been caused by my own failures, neglect and sinfulness, for which I humbly beg your forgiveness, Lord. But I also ask you to forgive the sins of my ancestors whose failures have left their effects on me in the form of unwanted tendencies, behavior patterns and defects in body, mind and spirit. Heal me, Lord, of all these disorders.

With your help I sincerely forgive everyone, especially living or dead members of my family tree, who have directly offended me or my loved ones in any way, or those whose sins have resulted in our present sufferings and disorders. In the name of your divine Son, Jesus, and in the power of his Holy Spirit, I ask you, Father, to deliver me and my entire family tree from the influence of the evil one. Free all living and dead members of my family tree, including those in adoptive relationships, and those in extended family relationships, from every contaminating form of bondage. By your loving concern for us, heavenly Father, and by the shed blood of your precious Son, Jesus, I beg you to extend your blessing to me and to all my living and deceased relatives. Heal every negative effect transmitted through all past generations, and prevent such negative effects in future generations of my family tree.

I symbolically place the cross of Jesus over the head of each person in my family tree, and between each generation; I ask you to let the cleansing blood of Jesus purify the bloodlines in my family lineage. Set your protective angels to encamp around us, and permit Archangel Raphael, the patron of healing, to administer your divine healing power to all of us, even in areas of genetic disability. Give special power to our family members’ guardian angels to heal, protect, guide and encourage each of us in all our needs. Let your healing power be released at this very moment, and let it continue as long as your sovereignty permits.

In our family tree, Lord, replace all bondage with a holy bonding in family love. And let there be an ever-deeper bonding with you, Lord, by the Holy Spirit, to your Son, Jesus. Let the family of the Holy Trinity pervade our family with its tender, warm, loving presence, so that our family may recognize and manifest that love in all our relationships. All of our unknown needs we include with this petition that we pray in Jesus’ precious Name. Amen.”

One of the first questions an outreach worker may be asked if they are a person of color who is ethnically ambiguous is “Where are you from?”. This simple question is an easy way to open the door to discuss family heritage and assess spiritual roots. You do not need to be a person of color to ask the outreach community the same question “Where are you from?”. Moreover, you do not have to pray the exact prayer above to free the outreach communities from spiritual blocks. But it is important that you do pray a prayer like it in order to release the individual and community from generational blocks in their home, culture, and community that blocks them from receiving Christ Jesus. – AMEN

Related Post: Heritage and Healing
Prayer: Saint Joseph, Patron Saint of Family Life
Photo Credit: Native American Lost Souls Geneaology

Prayer: 8 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Complaining “God’s Ignoring Me!”

why_me_godQuestion: “Why aren’t you answering me God?!”

In order for God to move and answer our petition prayers, a proper prayer foundation must be made. God isn’t simply a magic genie answering prayers upon command. No, He is a loving Father who takes our requests and graciously answers them in His timing and according to what is best for us. Often we think we know what is best for ourselves, even deceiving ourselves and others into thinking we know better than anyone else in the universe including the Creator. The following are eight questions every Believer should ask themselves, if they find themselves saying “Why aren’t you answering me God?!”

• Do you believe and accept Jesus Christ of Nazareth as the only path to eternal life?
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’” John 14:6
You may have heard the story of the world religions sharing a “belief” in Jesus with Christians. The Quran states Jesus was born of a virgin, was a revered prophet, was a miracle worker, who ascended to heaven, and will return to earth but is not the son of God. Hinduism states Jesus is a God, was a Holy Man, and was a Wise Teacher. Buddhism states Jesus was an enlightened man, was a wise teacher, was a Holy man, and was a moral teacher. Baha’i states Jesus came from God, was born of a virgin, spoke for God, had a divine and human nature, and was crucified for the atonement of humanity. Yet the difference between the world religions and the Christians is that the Believers in Christ Jesus firmly believe and rightly know that Jesus Christ of Nazareth, part of the triune God, is the only deity that leads to the eternal life. There are no other paths or gods that will lead to heaven.

• Are you born again?
“Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.” 1 Peter 1:22-23
Jesus shared a prophetic vision in Matthew 25 of “Believers” in Christ meeting Him at the end of the age and being shockingly turned away from the Kingdom of God. Jesus clearly spelled out it was not belief alone that granted eternal life, it was the ongoing demonstration of His character to others in need. The man and woman turned away were the ones who did not feed the hungry, did not give drink to the thirsty, did not give clothes to the naked, did not care for the sick, and did not visit the imprisoned. Their apathy to the needy was also apathy towards God. Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

• Have you received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?
“Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He (Holy Spirit) had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. They began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.” Acts 8:14-17

Paul said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism”. Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him (Jesus) who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” When they heard this, they (acknowledged) were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. Acts 19:2-6

And I remembered the Word of the Lord, how He used to say, “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 11:16

“For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Acts 1:5

Might you wonder why scripture references Baptisms in the plural and not singular (see Baptism of Repentance, Baptism of Water, Baptism of the Holy Spirit). There are many who have performed the act of the Baptism of Water but do not know Christ Jesus. They have performed the physical declaration of faith but have not followed through in the daily transformational process of sanctification. The Believer in Christ Jesus must have the Holy Spirit living within them. When the Holy Spirit lives inside of the Believer, you will see manifestations of God’s Fruit or Fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control). The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not complicated and only requires a simple prayer between two Believers in Christ Jesus such as “Leah, I declare in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth that you receive the Baptism and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit work within her and transform her daily into being your daughter. Amen.

• Do you have any unconfessed/unrepented sin?
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 Johns 1:9

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16

• Do you hold any bitterness or unforgiveness towards anyone?
“Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.” Mark 11:24-25

• Do you believe in God’s will for your perfect health (or other request)?
“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.” Luke 10:19

“These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:17-18

Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. Psalm 103:1-5

• Do you agree with your prayer partner for healing (or other request)?
“Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.” Mark 11:24-25

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

“Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” Matthew 18:19-20

• Are you praying for God’s will or your own?
There is no wisdom and no understanding And no counsel against the LORD. Proverbs 21:30

Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the LORD will stand. Proverbs 19:21

The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. Proverbs 16:1

The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9

I know, O LORD, that a man’s way is not in himself, Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps. Jeremiah 10:23

The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. Psalm 33:10

Lord, thank you for the universal Body of Christ and your revelations. Help us to examine ourselves closely, show us personal roadblocks, and help us to move into your perfect will of obedience. We ask all of this in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Amen

Resources: IAHR; The Name of Jesus; World Religions
Related Posts: Answered Prayers
Photo Credit: Bing

Discernment: What do you Treasure?

Treasure ChartQuestion: What do you treasure?

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

Social media is an excellent tool for exchanging ideas, promoting projects, or promoting self. It very clearly magnifies what is most important to us. For some, its business and culture that are core values, for others its politics, for others it is God and His statues, and yet for others its family and friends.

“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Matthew 10:37

Part of the Christ centered life is the ongoing evaluation of what matters to us…the most. God wants to ensure that He has our complete heart. He wants no competing idols. Though we may not be worshipping a golden calf like the Israelites (Exodus 32), we may be unknowingly worshipping the various idols of life.

In college and/or professional school many of us learned about the benefits of time management. Some of us even received presentations on the Time Management Pie Chart or what I call the Treasure Chart. The purpose of the chart is to help us identify where our time goes or Biblically speaking what we treasure. It’s a simple visual tool to help us identify what really is number one in our daily lives. For example, if our Treasure Chart shows that 50% of our pie is allocated to social media, 25% is allocated to school, 10% is allocated to sleep, 10% is allocated to socializing with Christian friends sans Abba focused, and 5% is allocated to God (i.e. worship, accountability groups/Bible study, discipleship, service, prayer), we could clearly see that despite our strong feelings that God is number one in our lives, our Treasure Chart hints that our time may actually be skewed towards other things and not God.

Question: How do you identify what you Treasure the most?

Take an inventory of how you spend your time using the Treasure Chart
For instance, in one 48 hour period you spent 8 hours watching television, 4 hours gardening, 4 hours on social media, 16 hours sleeping, 3 hours eating, 8 hours clubbing, 2 hours cleaning, 2 hours working out, and 1 hour honoring God (i.e. worship, accountability/Bible study, discipleship, service, prayer). Then simply divide the number of hours you spent on a particular task by 48 hours. That will be the percentage of time you spent on that particular task. The task(s) with the highest percentages suggest these are the tasks you value or Treasure the most.
Examine your use of Social Media
Look back at your postings over the last one to six months and examine if the majority of your picture and/or article postings on Social Media promote the Gospel of Christ Jesus, your “smokin” hot abs of steel, your incredible lifestyle, or political happenings.
Ask a Biblical friend and/or mentor
These individuals know you the best and live a lifestyle that is a walking billboard for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are the Biblical counsel referenced in Proverbs 15:22. They will be honest and help steer you towards the Cross.
Ask God
You cannot underestimate the value of prayer and Bible study with God. Daily ask God for wisdom and He will answer as James 1:5 declares.

There are many more ways you can examine if God is the number one Treasure of your heart. The key is that you take steps to identify where God lies. Some of you are thinking, “We all spend more time sleeping, eating, and working in a day than we do Bible study or prayer. Does that mean sleeping, eating, and working are number one in our hearts?” NO! God actually values work (see 2 Thessalonians 3:10, Proverbs 31), as it is necessary for earning fruit to maintain the home and supporting the Kingdom. God also values sleep as it is another opportunity for Him to communicate to us (see Psalm 16:7). God is simply asking us to be aware of how we use our time and take the necessary steps to bring Him to the top of our Treasure list. One can work while demonstrating the Believer’s lifestyle of service and love. One can clean the home while meditating on God’s scripture or silently praying to God about the days ahead. One can use social media to share the Gospel of Christ Jesus via words of strengthening, encouraging, and comforting others (1 Corinthians 14:3).

God repeatedly declares that Believers should treasure nothing above Him, not even parents or children (Matthew 10:37). So the challenge to each Believer in Yeshua is to ask yourself, “What do I treasure?” and then the take all the necessary steps to make God number one. AMEN

Abba, we confess and repent of all the idols of the world we have placed before you. We lay the idols of work, of self, of husbands/wives, of friends, of children, and of materialism on the altar and thank you Jesus Christ of Nazareth for sacrificing yourself for us. Holy Spirit come and transform us from the inside out. We ask all of this in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. AMEN

Photo Credit: FE
Related Post: Pastor Joe

Dating & Marriage 101: Single Christian Men Speak on What they Want from You

weddedImmediately, my heart filled with the desire to meet their fathers. If the daughters of God proved married or otherwise espoused, I would inquire about sisters. In these dark days when immorality runs rampant in the Church, we Christian men who are inclined toward marriage and mindful of the importance of choosing the best mothers for our future children look for ladies of virtue, for true daughters of the Most High.” – On Modesty & Servant Leaders

I think many people feel that it lessens a woman’s credibility because she’s sending the wrong signals. Respect me, but I don’t respect myself.” – On Immodesty

As a man who strives to be godly, I deliberately avoided considering the ladies who did not dress modestly. Ladies who did dress modestly — especially those who wore headcoverings — immediately seemed to surpass all other ladies, so much that everyone else in the room became invisible.” - On Modesty

I think some women have no idea how much influence they can hold. I find them captivating.” – On Servant Leaders

Male readers of the Dating & Marriage 101 series have submitted some pretty telling hints regarding what they as single Godly aka Biblical* men, look for in single Godly, Biblical* women. The verdict? “Past performance is a good indicator of future success.” Single Godly men use what they see in you now to measure what you will be like in the future as a wife and mother. Management uses this model in hiring top candidates and men use this model in choosing wives. Let’s take a look at the Occupation of Wife using the “Past Performance” model. Your future husband is the hiring manager and you the woman of God is the candidate. *Reader note: While Godly, Biblical individuals are Christians not all Christians are Godly, Biblical (ie professed, worshipers or believer in Jesus Christ but inconsistent or disobedient in one or more of His commands). All Dating & Marriage 101 series references are of Biblically based women and men.

OCCUPATION: Wife – Helpmate
KEY SKILL SET: Service, Modesty
PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS:
Service – Must be willing to live amongst and serve others including children, men, parents, homeless, impoverished inner city, rural, third world, and/or reservation communities. Must be willing to work long hours without salary and take on unexpected projects weekly if not daily. Must be willing to teach and chauffeur children and parents. Must be willing to clean, garden, sew, and any other tasks required to keep the office (home) in order. Must be willing to entertain passersby not excluding the homeless and abused. Must be willing to put aside all other jobs (ie work, friendships, hobbies) aside to focus on the primary occupation (wife). Must be a helper. For additional details reference Proverbs 31, Matthew 20:28, and Genesis 2:18.

Modesty – Must demonstrate sober mindedness and honor towards her leadership (God, husband) and office (home) she manages. Must wear professional attire (modest) inside and outside of the office representive of the office values (Biblical). Professional attire includes knee length dresses, opaque print (non see through), scarves, shawls, or sweaters to conceal, and comfortable shoes. Figure hugging, low cut tops, high rising dresses, shorts, or skirts, and excessively ornate (bejeweled) styling not allowed. For additional details reference Proverbs 31 and 1 Peter 3:3-4.

REQUIRED EXPERIENCE:
Local &/or International Missions – Servant leader, serving/served in third world, inner city, rural, and/or reservation communities; serving/served in Church kids/youth group and/or hospitality ministries

Personal Reference from at least one wise, Godly married woman – Reference indicates the candidate consistently seeks Godly counsel on Biblical womanhood pre marriage (ceremony), consistently seeks and accepts opportunities to serve others (kids, men, parents, impoverished), consistently demonstrates helpmate characteristics by working well with others and not independent minded

APPLICANTS THAT NEED NOT APPLY:
Spectators (unwilling to seek out or accept opportunities to serve others especially the poor; see Proverbs 31 for additional details); Hollywood inspired fashionistas (flesh driven style of dress; see Proverbs 7 for additional details); Ms. Independents (unwilling to be a helpmate; see Genesis 2:18 and Proverbs 31 for additional details).

Tall order? Maybe…maybe not. If you have missed out on previous openings for the Occupation of Wife, no worries opportunities are now available. If you need to build your resume, prayerfully ask God and Godly married women with preferably over five years of fruitful marriage how to become the future wife – helpmate God may be calling you to be. AMEN

Photo Credit: Bing
Related Resources: Fashion Look Book: Modesty Survey; Dating & Marriage 101 Series

Discernment: I Never Knew You

knewWhen you asked me to serve the poor, I said “Sorry I’m going to chill at the beach”.
When you asked me to sell all my possessions and give the proceeds to the poor, I said “Sorry I might need this stuff one day.”
When you asked me to observe the Sabbath, I said “Sorry I need to catch up on my rest.”
When you asked me to read and obey your Word, I said “Sorry I need to catch up on email.”
When you asked me to get ready for the Bride Groom’s return, I said “Sorry I need to get ready for my chance to be a bride.”

These were the thoughts racing through the mind of the Samantha. She had just transitioned from the earthly side of eternity into the next. She was a Christian girl and was confused as to why she was not greeted at the heavenly gates. Instead she was escorted by a grim looking clownish man into an elevator where he proceeded to grab hold of The Lever. It was in that moment she realized that she was not going to God’s eternal glory but instead moments from being released down to the eternal lake of fire.

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the NATIONS will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matthew 25:31-46

Salvation Prayer:
Dear Father God and Lord Jesus Christ:
This day I call on you (Romans 10:13; Acts 2:21).
I admit that I am a sinner (1 John 1:8-10).
I ask you to forgive me for all my sins (1 John 1:9).
I believe that you, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, died on the cross at Calvary as a sacrifice for all the sins I have ever committed and will ever commit (2 Corinthians 5:21; John 3:15-16).
You died for me, to save me (John 3:17; Romans 5:8).
I say that you, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, are my Lord and Savior (Romans 10:9).
I believe in my heart that God raised you from the dead (Romans 10:9).
I ask you to come into my heart and take control of my life (Galatians 4:6).
I want to start over again. I want a new beginning. I want to be in the family of God (Ephesians 1:5; 1:13-14).
Holy Spirit come and fill me with your presence and attributes (Galatians 5:22-23).
Thank you heavenly Father and all of these things I pray in the name and blood of Christ Jesus. Amen

Photo Credit: Bing

Dating & Marriage 101: The Husband Quest

questQuestion: “Where’s my husband?”

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. Proverbs 31:10-20

Many of my single friends are on the Husband Quest. They spend a tremendous amount of thought and personal time devoted to finding their husband. Much like many if not most young women in the premarriage season there is a pursuit of various methods to attract their husband’s attention…in the FLESH. Cute dresses, manicures, haircuts, lipstick, batting eyes, attending “Christian” gatherings not in the name of reverence or honor of the Lord but in a personal quest to fulfill their hearts desire to be married.

Here are a few reasons God keeps His single women of God single.
• God purely wants you to be single and devoted to His works
• We ignore the Christian man who is pursuing us because he does not match all the points on “The Checklist”
• We ignore the Christian man who is pursuing us because he does not match personal flesh driven requirements aka looks
• We are unwilling to obey God’s simple but critical command required to be married: serve

Proverbs 31 spends an extensive amount of time describing this honorable woman. The most notable traits are willingness to serve. She serves her husband, serves her family, serves at work, and serves the poor. This woman is not idly sitting at home watching the grass grow or gathering with her girlfriends to chit chat about who’s cute or “define your relationship”. No, this woman is out being busy doing the Lord’s work which is to serve.

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18

God created Eve and all her descendants to be helpers or helpmates. Helpers are servants. These are the supportive, go to gals who make their husbands’ shine. God requires all Believers including single women to be servants. If you are not willing serve your fellow brother or sister, your Church, your parents, or the poor (which God repeatedly demands), what makes you think you would be willing to serve a husband? Servanthood is one area women on the Husband Quest need to consider. Besides, how’s your Biblical husband going to find you if he never sees you serving? AMEN

He who finds a wife finds a good thing And obtains favor from the LORD. Proverbs 18:22

Photo Credit: Bing

Spiritual Warfare: Local Missions + At Risk Youth = Deliverance

mentorQuestion: Did you know mentorship of a child is one of the strongest strategies to combat modern social ills affecting youth?

Big Brothers Big Sisters, Intermedia arts programs, school tutoring, and school coaching are great ways to love a child outside of the Church. These programs exist with the purpose of proactively countering the negative environments at risk children often live in. Children are vulnerable and need nurturing in general. Children are even more vulnerable when they have experienced rejection and/or abuse. Bravo Body of Christ for spreading the word about gangs and trafficking of children! Some of you are already personally engaged in countering these social ills through education and financial support. It’s fantastic that we pack out coffee shops and Churches to hear about modern day slavery and gangs. Now we also need a lot of you to take a leap of faith and pack out the local youth mentorship programs. These programs are strategically in place to PREVENTATIVELY curb the gateways to gangs, trafficking/prostitution, and other forms of abuse. The goal is to continually engage positive adult role modeling to at risk youth. At risk = risk for gangs, risk for trafficking/prostitution, risk for abuse. The enemy can maintain a tight grip on these socials ills as long as the Body is inactive in engaging youth outside of the Church. We know you care about these kids. Please join one of the above organizations or others like it to individually counter the works of the enemy. A small minority of the local and larger American Church is involved in one to one or group mentorship of at risk children. Imagine if every healthy adult Believer was involved in a weekly youth mentorship or coaching program. The enemy would surely lose a lot of ground. Trade in one day per week that you might ordinarily devote to other things (i.e. discussion groups, coffee dates, shopping) to mentor a child. You are the very person vulnerable children need to see regularly to counter the garbage the world is offering through gangs, trafficking, and other illicit activities. Many mentorship programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters offer family mentorship options that allow you and your family (children included) to mentor another family or child. This is great exposure and education of your family in how to demonstrate Christ love to others in need. If you don’t know where to start, check out Big Brothers Big Sisters, Volunteermatch.org, local Churches, and/or local school district(s) to get involved today.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Proverbs 31:8

If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered. Proverbs 21:13

Photo Credits: Mentor; Book

Discernment: The People God Uses

sadDo you feel you know who the “right” persons are to do Kingdom work? Do they have the right credentials, right training, know the right people, live in the right neighborhood, wear the right clothes, and are a part of “right crowd” of “leaders of tomorrow”? Where do these assumptions come from? Are you absolutely sure you know who will do God’s Kingdom work?

But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong. 1 Corinthians 1:27

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8

Are you open to God? Are you open to God using circumstances and people who don’t fit the image you have imagined? What if God chose someone who did not fit “The Checklist”?

Many plans are in a man’s heart, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:21

Recently my dad shared with me an article bringing to light the issue of the people God uses. An inner city student with autism from a single parent home, did what many think is impossible. He became the salutatorian of his high school class, mastered four languages (fluent), and on track to study mechanical engineering at one of the nation’s best science based academic institutions. Man says that “inner city” kids are trouble, are all in gangs, and should be avoided. Man says that children with autism have no hope of academic success and should be prepared for a group home for the rest of their lives. Man says that children from single parent homes don’t even have a chance compared to dual parent home children. However, God in the power that only He can display declared that this inner city student with autism from a single parent home is exactly capable of all things according the Kingdom of God. This child is a walking miracle and a sign post to the Body and the world that we cannot assume we know who God will use for His purposes.

In Acts 5, there is a story of the apostles being placed in jail by the religious leaders and during the course of the night they were released by an angel of the Lord and charged to teach in the temple the next day about the Believer’s life. The following morning the religious leaders and guards checked the prison house and found all the locks secured as they were placed the night before. They were confused as to how the apostles got out and into to the temple where they were teaching. The leaders ordered that the apostles be brought back to them. Upon the apostles arrival, they were immediately chastised for having continued to disobey their human orders to not teach about the Believer’s life. Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus who you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given those who obey Him” (Acts 5:29-32).

Now rather than recognize God’s work in these individuals and surrender to God, the leaders turned to anger and planned to kill the apostles. One of the religious leaders, Gamaliel, could see God’s hand at work in these individuals and could see a disturbing pattern in those who worked against the apostles.

‘But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law, respected by all the people, stood up in the council and gave orders to put the men outside for a short time. And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you propose to do with these men. For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. But he was killed and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered. So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be over thrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.”’ Acts 5:34-39.

In God’s perfect universe, there are no right credentials, right training, right neighborhood, right clothes, right family, or right crowd that can do His Kingdom work. Our God is the God of love and inclusion. He uses even the most tarnished or challenging individuals to do great work. In fact, God believes so much in this principle that more than one of Jesus’ descendents were considered tarnished or challenging by historical and modern day moral standards (Tamar, David, Rahab). Coincidence?

Related Post: God NOT Satan is author of sickness
Related Articles: God Uses Nobodies
Photo Credit: WordPress

Discernment: Local v. Third World Missions

QuestionQuestion: Why is it so much easier finding Believers willing to serve the poor across the globe than finding Believers willing to serve the poor within 15-30 minute local driving distance?

If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered. Proverbs 21:13

And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Luke 10:2

The above question was posed by a local missions’ coordinator trying to develop ways to encourage the congregation to passionately and equally serve the poor locally and abroad. Every year thousands of students and professional adults leave the shores of their Western homeland to serve in the third world. “I think the Lord wants me to serve the poor…in Mali. So help me raise $10K to get there.” We’ve all either personally had this experience or know someone dear that has had this experience. Many of these individuals have come to understand that there is more to this world than the status driven, materialistic society we live in and in turn devote their lives to serving others as God commands. It is praiseworthy to leave the safety of a Western community and serve often unreached third world communities stricken with illness, extreme poverty, and crime. On the other hand, don’t you ever wonder why just as many Believers in Christ Jesus do not seem to receive the same volume of life changing revelations to serve the poor communities locally? It takes not even a 1/4 of tank of gas and anywhere from one to twenty hours per month to reach a local inner city, rural, or reservation community. On the other hand, it takes several months pay and work leave to reach the third world communities across the pond. Yet even with all these factors, international missions seems to outpace local missions for volunteers in outreach of the poor. Body of Christ, maybe you were never aware of the needs locally or see yourself as a Nations evangelist. Here’s a challenge, let’s see if we can balance the scales in local and international missions. The world is becoming more global by the minute and opportunities already exists to serve the Nations in the Western world and third world. There are many poor communities in the Western nations that are driven around daily that could use some Jesus TLC. Cancel the “I’m afraid”, “I might get robbed”, “I can’t relate” or the many hosts of fear based excuses we use to justify ignoring the poor placed around us. Take a leap of faith, get out there, and serve the poor…locally.

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2

Holy Spirit come and reveal to us what hinders us from obeying your commands to serve without partiality. We ask all of this in the name and blood of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Amen.

Photo Credit: Bing

Prayer: Agreement – Do You Have It?

AgreementQuestion: Do you agree? To take the job, to get hitched, to have kids, to join a particular congregation, to vacation overseas, to commit to missions, to start a new project, etc with the loved ones in your life or branch of the Body.

“Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 18:19

If you do not have agreement with your loved one(s) and/or branch of the Body in taking that job, getting hitched, having kids, picking a congregation, taking that overseas vacation, doing missions, or any other life decisions, you do not have an essential component referenced in Matthew 18:19 to operate in God’s fullness. If you do not agree, get on the same page or wait before moving forward until you do. God is the God of agreement and unity. Your job, your marriage, your children, and all other pursuits will be richly Blessed in your seeking agreement in all areas of life. The prince of darkness is the king of strife and disharmony. If you do not have agreement, stop moving and wait on the Lord. Amen

‘Many times people have come to me, quoting Scripture, such as Matthew 18:19-20. They say, “Brother Hagin, will you agree with me about this?” I agree with them, have a word of prayer, and then ask, “Do you agree?” They say, “Yes, yes I do.” I say, “It’s done then, isn’t it?” “Yes, it is done,” they say, as they go their way. In the process, in conversation with these same people, I ask them about it. They say, “Well Brother Hagin, I didn’t much expect it to happen, anyhow.” There was no agreement. I did expect it to happen. They had quoted Jesus’ promise regarding the use of His Name in the prayer of agreement – but they’d said it out of their head. It did not work because they did not agree from their heart, from their spirit. They were not in the spiritual realm. They were not in the biblical realm. They were in the natural, human realm – in the mental realm.’ – Kenneth E. Hagin, excerpt from The Name of Jesus.

Related Posts: The Power of Agreement

Biblical Counsel: Help! My friends/family need advice. What should I say?

counselQuestion: How can I advise my family or friends in difficult circumstances?

Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy…But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. 1 Corinthians 14:1,3

Do everything without grumbling or arguing. Philippians 2:14

We’ve all received the call from a friend or family member with the latest worrisome trial. We’ve all offered the “flesh” response of our personal opinion, sometimes leaving those seeking comfort more worried or fired up than comforted and at peace. Abba is calling the Believer to offer advice in a not so new but Scriptural way which is through His Word. The purpose of Biblical counsel or gift of prophecy as 1 Corinthians 14:3 defines it, is to strengthen, encourage, and comfort. Though it may be instinct to “Tell it like it is”, “Keep it real”, give “Mama’s advice”, or offer “I’m just sayin”, God is looking for a more controlled approach in advising others and that approach is His. Each call we receive from family and friends is an opportunity to strengthen, encourage, and comfort one another.

Now some of us don’t have God’s Word committed to memory by topic or season of life. That’s okay…that’s what Google and Biblehub are for! :) Seriously, God needs us to be committed to Him and be obedient in giving His counsel to our individual circle of family and friends. His Word needs to be imprinted on our hearts and minds, so that we can effectively strengthen, encourage, and comfort those God has allowed us to influence. If your Word has collected some dust, take it off the shelf and commit yourself to reading it as regularly as you read FB or Twitter posts. Then when you receive that call during the worrisome trials, you can effectively strengthen, encourage, and comfort one another and ultimately point your loved ones towards Him the God of all comfort. Amen

Scriptures on Comfort:

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed a stronghold in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. Psalm 55:22

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3

I lift up my eyes to the mountains, where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip, he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you, the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm, he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121:1-8

Photo Credit: Bing

Marriage & Family: Love, Barbed Wire, and Chains

Gift“Look sweetie! I brought you a present.” Mr. says.

“Oh, great! Barbed wire and chains. Just what I always wanted.” Mrs. says (with confused look).

Okay, many married and single ladies would have done one of three things: gone ballistic, run to your friends and complain, or have a long conversation with God about your compatibility and if he was really the one God created for you. On the other hand, a few would have genuinely appreciated the kind gesture and/or turned to God for wisdom as to how to make use of the new presents. They aren’t diamonds but the heart of it is still the same: love.

The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish tears it down with her own hands. Proverbs 14:1

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6

“Oh, dear God. Please give me eyes to see and ears to hear you clearly. Show me how to make use of this gift. I have no idea Lord, but I know you do.” Prays the Mrs.

Later, “I have an idea. Look what I found on Pinterest? I think we can make this ourselves. Let’s try it.” Mrs. says.

“Okay. Let me get my pliers. I knew we could use this for a project.” Mr. says.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

The finished product…
Wired-Gift
…and a very happy Mr. and Mrs.

Be encouaged my friends. You and your Mr. do not have to have everything in common and sometimes you will receive surprise presents like Barbed Wire and Chains (seriously). God made us uniquely different and as your husband's helpmate, you can create a wonderful atmosphere that grows you together. Just think of the great stories you can share with your friends, children, and grandchildren about the Barbed Wire Chandelier you created together. On the other hand, if you choose to go ballistic, complain to your friends, or doubt your marriage altogether, you have given his darkness an open invitation to tear down your home.

Be Blessed My Friends on your Kingdom journies!

What’s next? Horse shoes!
Cross

Prayer: Confession

ConfessionWe’ve been duped! It IS true. Confession and repentance ARE required for eternal life. This is not popular opinion around the world and in segments of the Body. The Truth remains that no amount of Church attendance, Bible studies, or other Christian works can replace these tenants (confession, repentance) of the faith. Resistance to confession and repentance = rebellion = no answered prayers = no eternal life.

Abba is looking for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and transformed or regenerated Believer in Christ Jesus. The love of God and the love of the flesh are mutually exclusive. The world says the Bible and God are too restrictive. Or segments of the Faith purposely omit God’s truths regarding the necessity to confess and repent. God’s made it very simple for us, we choose how we live on this side eternity and the next. And yes my non Roman Catholic friends confession is for you too.

Choosing God:
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. James 5:16

Choosing Self:
“Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin (sorry friends I know the trends and modern world tells us premarriage, engaged, dating short or long term sexual relationships are okay but not so. Marriage is a covenant with God, any sexual relationships outside of it is outside of God’s will), or who worship idols (anything or anyone put before God), or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people–none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

Thank you Abba for revealing your Truths to us. Burn away all that is not you Lord and replace our old self with the new in Christ Jesus of Nazareth. Amen

Resources: Sex and God
Photo Credit: Bing

Dating & Marriage 101: A Proverbs 7 Woman – Is She Marriage Worthy?

Proverbs 7Have you ever thought about the girl you would want your son or nephew to marry? Marriage is a lifelong covenant and the choice of one’s spouse is a decision one cannot take lightly. So you want to know if the young lady your son or nephew is interested in dating or marrying is in God’s Will. Or maybe you are a young lady who wants to know if you are dating or marriage worthy by God’s standards. Though it is not possible to know God’s decretive will or the hidden things of God that will come to pass, we do know God’s preceptive will or revealed commands in His published Word the Bible.

Question: Is the young lady my son or nephew dating in God’s Will for marriage?

God paints two pictures of women: the Proverbs 31 Woman and the Proverbs 7 Woman. One is a Woman to Pursue and the other is a Woman to Avoid. Let’s examine God’s Truths about these women.

The Woman to Pursue:

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. Proverbs 31:10-31

Characteristics of a Proverbs 31 Woman:

• Trustworthy – Proverbs 31:11-12
• Diligent – Proverbs 31:13-14, 18-19, 27
• Worker – Proverbs 31: 15-16
• Physically active – Proverbs 31:17
• Cares for the underserved – Proverbs 31:20, 2 Corinthians 9:6
• Fearless – Proverbs 31:21
• Crafty (domestic) – Proverbs 31:22, 24
• Strong, dignified, and optimistic – Proverbs 31: 25
• Wise with her tongue – Proverbs 31:26, Ephesians 4:20
• Kind with her tongue – Proverbs 31:26
• Praiseworthy – Proverbs 31:28
• Fears the Lord – Proverbs 31:30, John 14:15
• Observes the Sabbath – Deuteronomy 5:12
• Tithes – Malachi 3
• Honors her parents – Ephesians 6:2, Exodus 20:12
• Avoids sexual sin – 1 Corinthians 6:13
• Keeps her eyes from sin – Psalm 101:3
• Humble – Romans 12:16
• Forgiving – Romans 12:17-20
• Fruitful (Fruits of the Spirit) – Galatians 5:22-23
• Godly in love – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

The Woman to Avoid:

My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and to insight, “You are my relative.” They will keep you from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words. For at the window of my house I looked out through my lattice, And I saw among the naive, And discerned among the youths a young man lacking sense, Passing through the street near her corner; And he takes the way to her house, In the twilight, in the evening, In the middle of the night and in the darkness. And behold, a woman comes to meet him, Dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart. She is boisterous and rebellious, her feet do not remain at home; She is now in the streets, now in the squares, And lurks by every corner. So she seizes him and kisses him and with a brazen face she says to him: I was due to offer peace offerings; Today I have paid my vows. “Therefore I have come out to meet you, to seek your presence earnestly, and I have found you. “I have spread my couch with coverings, with colored linens of Egypt. “I have sprinkled my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. “Come, let us drink our fill of love until morning; Let us delight ourselves with caresses. “For my husband is not at home, He has gone on a long journey; He has taken a bag of money with him, At the full moon he will come home.” With her many persuasions she entices him; with her flattering lips she seduces him. Suddenly he follows her as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as one in fetters to the discipline of a fool, Until an arrow pierces through his liver; as a bird hastens to the snare, so he does not know that it will cost him his life. Now therefore, my sons, listen to me, and pay attention to the words of my mouth. Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, do not stray into her paths. For many are the victims she has cast down, and numerous are all her slain. Her house is the way to Sheol, descending to the chambers of death. Proverbs 7:1-27

Characteristics of a Proverbs 7 Woman:

• Sexual (adulteress, wayward, seductive in words) – Proverbs 7:5, Proverbs 5:3, 1 Corinthians 6:13
• Provocative and seductive (in dress) – Proverbs 7:10, 21, Psalm 101:3
• Cunning – Proverbs 7:10
• Boisterous or loud – Proverbs 7:11
• Rebellious – Proverbs 7:11
• Busy body – Proverbs 7:11-12
• Predator (pursuing him) – Proverbs 7:12-13, 26
• Enticing – Proverbs 7:21
• Haughty eyes – Proverbs 6:17
• Lengthy history – Proverbs 7:26
• Argumentative, contentious, nagging – Proverbs 21:9, 21:19, Proverbs 25:24
• Unstable and unaware – Proverbs 5:6
• Not in fellowship with Believers – Hebrews 10:25
• Deadly (eternal) – Proverbs 7:27, Proverbs 5:5

Though God’s hidden or decretive will has not been revealed as to whom your son or nephew will marry, God has made it very clear in his preceptive will the characteristics the man of God should pursue in a woman of God. If the young lady your son or nephew is dating authentically loves the Lord and exhibits the character of God, CONGRATULATIONS! You have a fantastic Kingdom opportunity and possible new daughter (or niece) in law in the near future.

However, if the characteristics of the young lady your son or nephew is dating or considering dating lean towards the woman he should avoid, prayerfully ask God and your husband or other Godly men for an appropriate time to have an open discussion with your son or nephew about choosing healthy, Godly relationships in Christ Jesus. God is not the author of confusion and wants the absolute best for His children. Any relationship filled with strife, sexual sin, or confusion is not of Him and should be avoided. If you are a young woman who finds herself in the category of The Woman to Avoid, prayerfully ask God through Christ Jesus to come into your heart and change you into the woman He has purposed you to be. Then seek Godly accountability to help ensure that the changes you desire in your heart are realized.

Abba, thank you for showing us your revelations and for helping us to live in obedience to your Word. – Amen

Related Posts: Is He Marriage Worthy?
Resources: Finding Your Spouse in God’s Will ; Taking the Mystery Out of Knowing God’s Will
Photo Credit: Bing

Discernment: Miracles, Signs, Wonders, and the Kingdom of God

MagicQuestion: Are prophecy, casting out demons, and performing miracles enough to ensure us eternal life?

Eternal Sharing in the Kingdom:
These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name (Jesus Christ of Nazareth) they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues, they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will LAY HANDS ON THE SICK and THEY WILL RECOVER.” Mark 16:17-18

Authentic Kingdom – will call on the name of Christ Jesus for those seeking to be healed and have the Fruit or evidence of restored health. Simply put, those who pray with these individuals are healed of their ailments. Because the heart of these men and women are of the Kingdom of God, God answers their prayers and grants restoration of health (see John 15:7).

Eternal Separation from Kingdom:
“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles”. Matthew 7:22

Prophesy alone, Casting out demons alone (see Acts 19), and performing miracles alone are not signs of the Kingdom of God.

God was performing extraordinatry miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick and the disease left them and the evil spirits went out. But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evils spirits the name of he Lord Jesus, saying “I adjure you by Jesus who Paul preaches.”…And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” And the man, in whom the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. Acts 19:11-13, 15

Counterfeit Kingdom – will call on the name of Christ Jesus for those seeking to be healed of various ailments (i.e. freed from demons, illness) but they show the Fruit or evidence of no healings. Simply put, those who pray with these individuals do not get healed. Because the heart of these men and women are not of the Kingdom of God, God does not answer their prayers (see Acts 19;John 15:7).

The PRINCE OF THE POWER OF THE AIR (Ephesians 2:2) can also perform miracles, signs, and wonders which is why God does not use this as the primary way of determining those in the Kingdom of God.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but HE WHO DOES THE WILL OF THE FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN WILL ENTER. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs, and wonders, and every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. 2 Thessalonians 2:9

If prophesy, casting out demons, miracles, signs, and wonders alone does not ensure eternal life, what does?

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15

“I am the True Vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear FRUIT, He takes away; and every branch that bears FRUIT, He prunes it so that it may bear more FRUIT. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear FRUIT of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the the Vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much FRUIT, for apart from Me you can do nothing. IF ANYONE DOES NOT ABIDE IN ME, he is THROWN AWAY as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and CAST THEM INTO THE FIRE and THEY ARE BURNED. IF YOU ABIDE IN ME, AND MY WORDS ABIDE IN YOU, ASK WHATEVER YOU WISH, AND AND IT WILL BE DONE FOR YOU. John 15:1-7

Salvation Prayer:
Dear Father God and Lord Jesus Christ:
This day I call on you (Romans 10:13; Acts 2:21).
I admit that I am a sinner (1 John 1:8-10).
I ask you to forgive me for all my sins (1 John 1:9).
I believe that you, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, died on the cross at Calvary as a sacrifice for all the sins I have ever committed and will ever commit (2 Corinthians 5:21; John 3:15-16).
You died for me, to save me (John 3:17; Romans 5:8).
I say that you, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, are my Lord and Savior (Romans 10:9).
I believe in my heart that God raised you from the dead (Romans 10:9).
I ask you to come into my heart and take control of my life (Galatians 4:6).
I want to start over again. I want a new beginning. I want to be in the family of God (Ephesians 1:5; 1:13-14).
Holy Spirit come and fill me with your presence and attributes (Galatians 5:22-23).
Thank you heavenly Father and all of these things I pray in the name and blood of Christ Jesus. Amen

Photo Credit: Bing

Prayer: God NOT Satan is the author of Sickness

confusedJohn 9:2-3 gives an exception to the Satan is the author of sickness concept toted by Healing Ministries. Confused? Let’s examine these Truths.

“And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind? Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” John 9:2-3

My wise father shared this verse with me during a time of trying to reconcile how dedicated Believers and families in Christ can be born with conditions like autism or bipolar, or receive a terminal diagnosis of cancer after retiring from 30-40 years of overseas mission work. There appears to be no specific spiritual roots or roadblocks. Like the man who was born blind, these individuals had committed no sin and neither had their parents. Yet, the man and these modern Believers were still beset with illness. So how does this shake up with scriptures on Healing like Luke 10:19 and Mark 16:17-18. These verses seem to contradict John 9:2-3. How can a Believer still be born with an “incurable” disease or receive a terminal diagnosis?

“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.” Luke 10:19

“These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Luke 16:17-18

The answer comes from John 9:2-3 as well as the concept of God’s Decretive Will. God, not Satan, was the author of this man’s condition. Up until that point it was assumed that the man’s illness was the result of the man’s sin or generational sin of the parents. However, Christ Jesus knowing the Father’s purposes revealed the previously unknown Will to man.

‘Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in Him.”’ John 9:3

God purposed or Willed this man to be born with a condition of Blindness with the specific purpose of displaying His glory and healing power through Christ Jesus. God Willed this man to be born with an “incurable” condition by man’s methods so that the world could see that nothing is incurable with the power of God in Christ Jesus of Nazareth.

‘So they were saying to him (Blind Man), “How then were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man who is called Jesus made clay, and annointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash’; so I went away and washed, and I received sight.”‘ John 9:10-11

What is just as powerful is Yeshua’s revelation to the people then and to us today that there are exceptions. This man was born with a condition not because of personal or generational sin but because it was God’s Will. God Willed this man to be born with an “incurable” condition by man’s methods in order to display the Healing power of Christ Jesus.

Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. Psalm 103:1-5

Amen

Related Post: The People God Uses
Related Resources: Can You Hear Me God? ; God’s Hidden Will ; Decretive vs Preceptive Will
Photo Credit: Bing

Discernment: The New Gospel

DiscernmentAs we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! Galatians 1:9

Just as in the days of the Apostle Paul, there were new “gospel” teachings being advertised. Paul was concerned that these “new teachings” were drawing Believers away from the Kingdom of God.

“I am amazed that you so quickly deserting him who called you by the grace of Christ for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the Gospel of Christ”. Galatians 1:6

Paul understood that these “gospel” teachings were not from the Kingdom of God but clever counterfeits designed to lead Believers away from the Gospel teachings of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Paul warned that these teachings were confusing Believers and distorting the Gospel of Christ.

Abba presents the idea of the clever counterfeits in the book of Deuteronomy. He first warns of the sin of adding to and taking away from His published, ordained Word.

‘You not shall add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.’ Deuteronomy 4:2

He through the Apostle Paul repeats the warning in Galatians 1:6-9. Then goes again to issue a final warning in the Book of Revelations of the eternal price one will pay for the sins of adding to and taking away from the His Word. It is eternal.

‘I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book (Bible): if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.’ Revelations 22:18-21

Abba understands there is so much information out there and it can be hard to know what is truly from Him and what is not. God expressly states that what is in His Word is finished. There is nothing new to be added and there is nothing to be taken out of or omitted from the Word. God’s command for every Believer is to be discerning, as we will one day give an account for our activities or negligence.

But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22.

Okay, what if a “super saint” or hey “angel” came with a new gospel. This angel or super saint tells us that God gave new teachings in addition to the Word. Well…God has an answer for that too?

“But even if we or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” Galatians 1:8

The prince of the air was an angel as well. He was in fact the most beautiful angels of them all. His character is to counterfeit the works of the true creator. He is very good at creating beautiful things and attractive ideas in teachings that ultimately lead to the eternal pit. This is a call for Believers to clean house. Be discerning of what we are promoting. What we promote or share with others as seen in the Book of Galatians seals our eternity. Be careful.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23

“I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book (Bible): if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.” Revelations 22:18

Resources: Critical Issues Commentary
Photo Credit: WordPress

Dating & Marriage 101: What is God’s Will for Me?

relationship101If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
John 14:15

RC Sproul, Pastor and founder of Ligonier Ministries, superbly parses apart God’s preceptive and decretive will in order to help Believers determine God’s plan for their lives. God’s preceptive will is “revealed commandments of God’s published law/Bible” (i.e. not murder, not divorce, not covet, not steal, not commit sexual sin). God’s decretive will are the things that which are the sovereign, hidden things of God that will be revealed with time. These are things that will come to pass regardless of circumstances or human efforts. Pastor Sproul states that as Believers we can become preoccupied with knowing the hidden will (i.e. Is s/he the one?) that we neglect to honor and perform God’s revealed or preceptive will.

So YOU want to be married but are unsure if it is God’s Will for you to be married? Let’s examine what God has revealed on this topic in His Word.

1. Ladies, did your suitor find/pursue you (or was it the other way around)?

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.
Proverbs 18:22

2. Does your suitor authentically love God?

• Observe Sabbath – Deuteronomy 5:12
• Honor his parents – Ephesians 6:2, Exodus 20:12
• Avoid sexual sin – 1 Corinthians 6:13
• Tithe – Malachi 3
• Gives generously – 2 Corinthians 9:6
• Fellowships with other believers – Hebrews 10:25
• Keeps wholesome talk – Ephesians 4:20
• Keeps his eyes from sin – Psalm 101:3
• Humble – Romans 12:16
• Forgiving – Romans 12:17-20
• Fruitful (Fruits of the Spirit) – Galatians 5:22-23
• Godly love – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
• Keeps all God’s commands – John 14:15

God is not the creator of confusion; He gives us a sound mind and the Spirit of peace. If a suitor has found you and demonstrates authentic love of the Lord, then congratulations you have a fantastic Kingdom opportunity for a Godly marriage. If you are still unsure if this match is God’s divine plan for you, rest and wait on the Lord. If it is God’s secret or hidden will that you marry this suitor, it will be.

There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD.
Proverbs 21:30

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.
Proverbs 19:21

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.
Proverbs 16:9

What about the married women of God who in hindsight have come to understand that it was God’s desire she have not married the unbeliever or baby Believer? Should she divorce or annul the marriage and start over with a Godly man who meets the above criteria?

To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
1 Corinthians 7:10-11

Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Luke 16:18

A sizeable portion of the Faith struggles with the concept of divorcing and starting over. God’s preceptive will is that the married not divorce, even in instances of spiritual immaturity. God forgives us for violating His preceptive will in marrying someone who did not meet His mark or for ourselves not meeting the mark in being a Spiritually mature mate. Yet in that forgiveness, He still holds us accountable to the covenant made in the marriage vows and divorce is not His plan. His plan is that the married individual who has received the revelation of their past errors in wisdom, learn from it and use it to show God’s love to their unbelieving or Spiritually immature spouse. And in turn convert the spouse to the Kingdom of God.

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.
1 Peter 3:1-2

Abba, we thank you for your revelation of truth. Help us to grow towards your perfect will for our lives. – Amen

Related Posts: Is He Marriage Worthy? ; Is She Marriage Worthy? ; Coincidence, Fate, Providence, & Signs: Is this Relationship Meant to Be? ; God Hasn’t Answered My Prayers on This Relationship
Resources: Finding Your Spouse in God’s Will; Divorce & Starting Over
Photo Credit: Bing

Spiritual Warfare: Hospitality v. Favoritism

hospitality v favoritismDo not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2

Hmmm the challenge to the Body of Christ*. Yes! Such a simple thing, be hospitable to everyone. We have no idea who God will send across our paths. Abba requires our impartiality and welcoming others. And sorry friends…SELECTIVE HOSPITALITY…is NOT HOSPITALITY. That would be FAVORITISM which Abba forbids. If Abba does not have favorites, why does the Body of Christ? Favoritism in the Body of Christ is counter to Christ, it is not of Christ, and Abba is challenging us to cancel the lie that we believe justifies accepting, excluding, etc others because of our personal philosophy, branding, culture, race etc. If you are participating in exclusion practices, rethink it. This includes purposely avoiding other Believers. This is not hospitality and not of God. Rethink this my friends. Abba is very clear about this. To grow the Body of Christ, you must be hospitable. Period. Selective hospitality is not hospitality. That is favoritism.

Opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality” Acts 10:34

Do not show partiality in judging; hear both small and great alike. Do not be afraid of any man, for judgment belongs to God. Bring me any case too hard for you, and I will hear it. Deuteronomy 1:17

For there is no partiality with God. Romans 2:11

Be hospitable to one another without complaint. 1 Peter 4:9

The Body of Christ needs healing. Massive defection of Believers from the Church is not acceptable and not saying anything about it is especially not acceptable. Abba has commissioned (Great Commission) us to bring individuals to the Body of Christ not create exclusive social clubs. Remove the callous over our hearts and scales off the eyes.

My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called? If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. James 2:1-8

Abba, have mercy on us and pierce our hearts. We repent of our favoritism in using race, age, gender, social status, and all other human forms of judgment to welcome or reject others. Forgive us Father. Bind up the hardened, calloused hearts and blind eyes within us and loose your supernatural vision to us of the hurting in the name and Blood of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Amen

Related Posts: He’s Not One of Us
Related Resources: Living on the Edge
Photo Credit: Amen-Amen

*Note: The posting is in reference to no particular congregation but the larger Body of Christ.

Spiritual Warfare: Mark 9:38 – He’s Not One of Us

man_walking_awayEvery few months I receive a client who has had a revision surgery due to some sort of failure in the previous course of treatment. Many of these clients explain they had no idea they were doing too much or too little. They simply had surgery and went home (left to their own devices). Anyone in rehab knows this scenario can go one of three directions.

1. Client goes home and does well with no need for follow up
2. Client goes home and does too little out of fear of reinjury, resulting in need for rehab at 6-12 months later due to excessive stiffness and limited performance in daily tasks or surgerical release of the severely adhered structures.
3. Client goes home and does too much not understanding the newly replaced joint(s) or sutured tendon is not healed, resulting in dislocation or rupture respectively of the structures and need for immediate repair of the post op failure.

In both scenarios two and three, the clients are usually sent to therapy after revision surgery. There is even closer communication and collaboration between the surgeon and rehab on this second course of treatment to ensure post op success. Most clients express regret for not having received the collaborative care on the initial course of treatment but express gratitude for having the collaborative guidance in getting them back to life this time around.

For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:12-13

In many ways the Church operates in the same fashion as the medical scenario above. When the various parts of the Church’s gifts (i.e. helps, administration, prophetic, mercy, teaching, exhortation, giving) communicate closely with one another, positive Kingdom advancing results occur such as more souls being converted and genuine growth in the universal Body. However, when these spiritual gifts works apart from one another, less than ideal results for the Kingdom occur.

For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12:4-8

Imagine a teaching ministry sharing the gospel with the poor but missing the basic needs of a hot meal and warm blanket that could be provided by a service ministry. Would not God’s work be more effective with the two gifts working together? This is the challenge for the modern Church. Entire denominations and in some cases specific gifts ministries within denominations work counter to one another than with one another.

Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and WE TOLD HIM TO STOP, BECAUSE HE WAS NOT ONE OF US.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward. Mark 9:38-41

Yesuah himself recognized the good works this unknown man was doing on His behalf. He corrected the Twelve who made the prideful judgment that this unknown man outside of the ministry of the Twelve had no place or authority to do Kingdom work. Yesuah told them to NOT stop this man from doing Kingdom work, as this man was doing good on behalf of the Kingdom of God and he was healing a man from his illness (possession). This story illustrates clearly that though we all are part of the Kingdom, we the Body can be a hindrance to the Kingdom by creating stumbling blocks for other Believers doing Kingdom work. We must not do this.

Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this– not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way. Romans 14:13

The Body of Christ needs to be reminded like the Twelve that Kingdom of God is not ours to judge or determine who is worthy to serve or not. The Kingdom of God is Abba’s and he has given each Believer the charge in the Great Commission to do his works.

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Mark 28:16-20

Abba we repent of our pride and hindrances to your Kingdom advancing. Examine our hearts Holy Spirit and show us where we have rejected other Believers from your Kingdom works. Cleanse us; purify us so that we can openly welcome your sons and daughters into the universal family of the Body of Christ. Amen

Related Posts: Discernment ; One World Faith ; Hospitality v. Favoritism
Related Resources: Living on the Edge
Photo Credits: Google ; The Truth Won

Dating & Marriage 101: Coincidence, Fate, Providence, & Signs – How to Know if its Meant to Be

fateFor a few years, I wrestled with the question “How do I know if its meant to be?” I wondered if everything happens for a reason or are just a series of coincidences. Many of us are in the middle of or on the verge of some pretty major life altering decisions (marriage, divorce, new job). We want to know if “it” is meant to be or “God’s plan”. So I set out to answer the question that dangles around most of us at one stage of life or another.

“How do I know if its meant to be?”

Though popular culture romanticizes every “coincidental” happening as a green light from above for “it” being meant to be (i.e. school, job) or “he” being the one (i.e. date, marry), these “coincidental” happenings as appealing as they may seem may in fact be clever life traps meant to send those earnestly seeking the “right path” down a dead end road. A popular “Religious” writer on this topic shared a story of a woman who was away from home and visiting a “Big City”. She came across a quaint apartment that in many ways stole her heart. She returned home to her husband with whom she was having some marital difficulties with the idea that they should move into this apartment. Her husband did not agree and after some time they divorced. The woman found a realtor who helped her search for her new home and would you believe it, the first home that they came across was the apartment the woman found when she was visiting the “Big City” before. The author and individual suggested that her coming across the apartment initially then after her divorce was a confirmation sign that she was on the right track.

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, SIGNS and wonders, and every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. 2 Thessalonians 2:9

The first step in determining if “It is meant to be” or “God’s plan” is to ask oneself if the current coincidence or “sign” agrees with what God has already given us in scripture. In the “Big City” story, we have a woman who was met with some pretty compelling coincidences or “signs”. She was conveniently away from home, having difficulties in her marriage, and came across an apartment that gave her a new hope and sense of freedom. She assumed like many of us that these series of circumstances were a sure sign that she was on the “right path” and okay to do the opposite of what is consistent with God’s counsel on marriage. Ultimately, she and the author blindly saw the circumstances as a green light and went on to promote a counterfeit signs driven theology or false teaching that encourages Believers to assume circumstances alone or “signs” are green lights from God to pursue something or someone.

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, SIGNS and wonders, and every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. 2 Thessalonians 2:9

In the book of Job, God sees Satan roaming the earth and God suggests to Satan his servant Job. Note that God initated the series of difficult circumstances that Job would face, not Satan. Yes, God granted Satan permission to arrange these purposeful happenings to test his faithfulness to God. Was the intention of these tests a sign from God that His will was for Job to suffer all the days of his life or that God hates Him (false thinking that many of us assume when difficulties arise)? No. God’s desire was to prove to Satan the faithfulness of Job to God. Despite Job losing his children, his servants, and his wealth in a very short period of time, Job gave an encouraging response.

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. He said, Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God. Job 1:20-22

In the book of Exodus (Chapters Seven to Eight) we have the story of Moses, the Pharaoh, and the Plagues. The Lord commissioned Moses to tell the Pharaoh to release the Israelites from slavery. Knowing the Pharaoh would not willingly release the Israelites, the Lord God gave Moses specific miracles to perform in order to demonstrate the Lord’s power and message.

‘”When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Perform a miracle,’ then say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,’ and it will become a snake.” So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the LORD commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake.’ Exodus 7:9-10

Pharaoh being the worldly man of power he was, was not moved by the miracle performed by God’s prophet. In fact, Pharaoh summoned his own miracle workers called “wise men”, “sorcerers, and “magicians” with “secret arts” to perform the same miracle.

‘Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers, and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same with their secret arts. For each one threw down his staff and they turned into serpents…’
Exodus 7:11

Two more times Pharaoh and his counterfeit wise men reproduced miracles previously performed by God’s prophet Moses.

‘So Moses and Aaron did even as the LORD had commanded. And he lifted up the staff and struck the water that was in the Nile, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, and all the water that was in the Nile was turned to blood. The fish that were in the Nile died, and the Nile became foul, so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile. And the blood was through all the land of Egypt. But the magicians of Egypt did the same with their secret arts; and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.’ Exodus 7:20-22

‘So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt. The magicians did the same with their secret arts, making frogs come up on the land of Egypt.’ Exodus 8:6-7

After the plague of the frogs, the counterfeit miracle workers were not able to keep up with the authentic miracle worker, prophet of God, Moses.

‘They did so; and Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff, and struck the dust of the earth, and there were gnats on man and beast. All the dust of the earth became gnats through all the land of Egypt. The magicians tried with their secret arts to bring forth gnats, but they could not; so there were gnats on man and beast. Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.’ Exodus 8:17-19

Prophetically, God the Father issues this warning to his children that just as in the days of his beloved prophet Moses there would be false “miracle workers” or “signs and wonders” today. Jesus Christ of Nazareth reissues this warning that there are many lawless ones or workers of Satan who in this life time would do “miracle work”, “signs and wonders” or “prophesy” in His name but WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD. There are many unsuspecting individuals being led astray by false “signs” or coincidences set up by the prince of darkness to destroy lives. These false signs look like a Cinderella story but end up being a real life nightmare (HINT: Ask your girlfriends who were married and divorced in under 3 years).

‘The coming of THE LAWLESS ONE will be in ACCORDANCE WITH THE WORK OF SATAN DISPLAYED IN ALL KINDS OF COUNTERFEIT MIRACLES, SIGNS, AND WONDERS, and every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing.’ 2 Thessalonians 2:9

Application:
Our culture encourages us to look for signs of “The One”. Not the King of Kings but of our “Prince Charming” or “Mr. Right”. And many believe that because our path crosses the path of another individual once or maybe even five times, that that alone is a green light from God of this being our future life long mate. WRONG! That handsome or charming individual in our lives might be a “sign” not of God’s plan but of great difficulty ahead. One that will test our faithfulness to God.

Do “signs and wonders”, “miracles”, or coincidences mean it’s from God or mean it’s meant to be?
Answer: No

Related Posts: Dating 101 Series
Resources: Discerning God’s Will ; Finding Your Spouse in God’s Will

Spiritual Warfare: Medicine for the Common Spiritual Cold – Inner Healing & Deliverance Prayers

ColdEver feel unexplainably overwhelmed physically or mentally?  Ever feel like you were hit by a semi truck after completing Ministry work or consecrating yourself to the King of Kings, Lord of Lords.  Ever feel unexplainably gross, confused, or filled with strife?  Ever have your past or temptation conveniently show up after its been long nailed to the Cross?

Diagnosis: the Common Spiritual Cold.  Your work for the Ministry of the Lord has attracted the attention of the prince of the air and his workers.  You have been chosen by Abba to clean up the works of the enemy and the enemy has chosen to wage a spiritual battle against you to discourage you from Kingdom work.  See the story of Job.  No worries, Abba and his angels are here to guard us!

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Ephesians 6:12

Prescription: The Word of God is the way to counter the works of the enemy.  Read and speak it out loud, and pray that you, your home, your marriage, your family, your work, your ministry, your children, and your friendships will all be covered in the Blood of Jesus Christ.  Then declare that all unclean and attacking spirits would be rebuked and covered in the Blood of Jesus.  They will scurry might fast!  ;)  Then read the following scriptures for your encouragement and subsequent prayers of deliverance on a regular basis, even as much as every few hours.  -  Blessings and Be Encouraged!

For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. – Psalm 91:11

Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. – Luke 10:19

These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. – Mark 16:17-18

Breaking Generational Curses

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the power of his Word, I take the sword of the Spirit and cut myself free from all generational inherited sins, weaknesses, character defects, personality traits, cellular disorders, and genetic disorders. I sever all unhealthy soul-ties and forms of enmeshment and cut all bonds that are not of the Lord. I put his cross between myself, my parents, my grandparents, my siblings, my offspring, my mates, and any unhealthy relationships that my mates have had with others in the past. I cut all bonds of these relationships that are not of the Lord back to the beginning of time, and by the sword of the Spirit, and in the name of Jesus Christ, I say that I am now free, free to be the child of God the Lord intended me to be.

Breaking Curses – Rev. Bozada

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I rebuke all spells, hexes, curses, voodoo practices, witchcraft, satanic rituals, incantations, evil wishes, and fasting prayers, not of the Lord, that have been sent my way, or have passed down the generational bloodline. I take authority over all of them and command that they go back where they came from and be replaced with a blessing. I ask forgiveness for and renounce all negative inner vows that I have made and ask you, Lord Jesus, to release me from any bondage they may have held in me. I claim your shed blood over all aspects of my life and relationships, and ask you to wash away and cleanse me from all impurities, in your name, Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen

Photo Credit: Rockmad.files.wordpress

Dating & Marriage 101: Coincidence, Fate, Providence, & Signs – How to Know if its Meant to Be

gracetruthblog:

“How do I know if its meant to be?”

For a few years, I wrestled with the question “How do I know if its meant to be?” I wondered if everything happens for a reason or are just a series of coincidences. Many of us are in the middle of or on the verge of some pretty major life altering decisions (marriage, divorce, new job). We want to know if “it” is meant to be or “God’s plan”. So I set out to answer the question that dangles around most of us at one stage of life or another.

“How do I know if its meant to be?”

Though popular culture romanticizes every “coincidental” happening as a green light from above for “it” being meant to be (i.e. school, job) or “he” being the one (i.e. date, marry), these “coincidental” happenings as appealing as they may seem may in fact be clever life traps meant to send those earnestly seeking the “right path” down a dead end road. A popular “Religious” writer on this topic shared a story of a woman who was away from home and visiting a “Big City”. She came across a quaint apartment that in many ways stole her heart. She returned home to her husband with whom she was having some marital difficulties with the idea that they should move into this apartment. Her husband did not agree and after some time they divorced. The woman found a realtor who helped her search for her new home and would you believe it, the first home that they came across was the apartment the woman found when she was visiting the “Big City” before. The author and individual suggested that her coming across the apartment initially then after her divorce was a confirmation sign that she was on the right track.

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, SIGNS and wonders, and every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. 2 Thessalonians 2:9

The first step in determining if “It is meant to be” or “God’s plan” is to ask oneself if the current coincidence or “sign” agrees with what God has already given us in scripture. In the “Big City” story, we have a woman who was met with some pretty compelling coincidences or “signs”. She was conveniently away from home, having difficulties in her marriage, and came across an apartment that gave her a new hope and sense of freedom. She assumed like many of us that these series of circumstances were a sure sign that she was on the “right path” and okay to do the opposite of what is consistent with God’s counsel on marriage. Ultimately, she and the author blindly saw the circumstances as a green light and went on to promote a counterfeit signs driven theology or false teaching that encourages Believers to assume circumstances alone or “signs” are green lights from God to pursue something or someone…continue reading here (http://gracetruthfaithjourney.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/coincidence-fate-providence-signs-how-to-know-if-its-meant-to-be/)

Originally posted on Grace & Truth:

fateFor a few years, I wrestled with the question “How do I know if its meant to be?” I wondered if everything happens for a reason or are just a series of coincidences. Many of us are in the middle of or on the verge of some pretty major life altering decisions (marriage, divorce, new job). We want to know if “it” is meant to be or “God’s plan”. So I set out to answer the question that dangles around most of us at one stage of life or another.

“How do I know if its meant to be?”

Though popular culture romanticizes every “coincidental” happening as a green light from above for “it” being meant to be (i.e. school, job) or “he” being the one (i.e. date, marry), these “coincidental” happenings as appealing as they may seem may in fact be clever life traps meant to send those earnestly…

View original 1,362 more words

Rachel or Leah

leah rachel“And God blessed them: and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moved upon the earth.” Genesis 1:28

How many of us know single (never been married or divorced) women and think?

• “Poor girl. She will never be happy until she finds Mr. Right”.
• “Who can I match her up with? That biological clock is ticking.”

How many of us know married women without children and think?

• “What a waste.”
• “What a selfish couple.”
• “Poor couple. We better start praying for the flood gates of children to pour on them.”

How many of us know married women with children and think?

• “Wow. How wonderful!”
• “When’s my turn?”
• “I’ll never be happy until I get there.”

In the book of Genesis (Chapter 29 to 30) we have the story of two sisters, Rachel and Leah, who for different reasons were married to a fellow named Jacob. As the story unfolds you get a picture of two women married to “The Ideal Man” but still missing something. Rachel the younger of the two sisters is loved incredibly by her husband. She was loved so much that her husband waited and worked fourteen years for her at her father’s estate. Despite this incredible love between the two, Rachel’s heart yearned for something more that she did not have with her husband: a child.

Then there was Leah the older sister who loved her husband dearly but whose love was not equally returned. She bore with her husband not one, not two but six sons and one daughter but still did not have receive the returned love she had hoped for from her husband. Leah was fruitful and yet her heart was broken and still did not receive what she desired the most: the love of her husband.

Often when we hear the story of Rachel and Leah, we hear the story of the barren woman whose heart was tormented by not having children. We are reminded of Rachel’s cry to God to receive the gift of children and the answered prayers. Married women without children are charged to cry out to God as Rachel did and ask for our wombs to be filled. On the other hand, we don’t often hear the story of Leah who was not barren but was VERY fruitful and yet still not happy. Seven children later and her heart still hurt. Both women had something that many of us aspire to attain: a spouse and children. Yet in each woman’s story we see that despite having the husband and/or children, neither was completely fulfilled and ended up turning to the only source of life and fulfillment the universe can provide: God the Father.

APPLICATION QUESTION:
Who do you think is most fulfilled?

• The married woman with children who is unloved by her husband.
• The married woman without children who is loved by her husband.
• The single woman with children.
• The single woman without children.
• The married woman with children who is loved by her husband.

ANSWER:
The woman (married or single) with or without children who has the love of the Lord.

“I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” Philippians 4:12

A happy single woman is a happy married woman.
A happy childless woman is a happy mother.

God the Father, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I (-insert your name-) confess and repent of my heart of discontentment and idolatry of a husband and/or child. I confess and repent of my seeking life in your creation (husband and/or child) and not seeking life in you the creator. Holy Spirit fill me with your fruits of the spirit, heal me, and fill the holes that only you can fill. In your name and blood I pray Christ Jesus of Nazareth. Amen

Photo Credit: Google

Prayer: 8 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Complaining “God’s Ignoring Me!”

God's Ignoring Me!

Question: “Why aren’t you answering me God?!”

In order for God to move and answer our petition prayers, a proper prayer foundation must be made. God isn’t simply a magic genie answering prayers upon command. No, He is a loving Father who takes our requests and graciously answers them in His timing and according to what is best for us. Often we think we know what is best for ourselves, even deceiving ourselves and others into thinking we know better than anyone else in the universe including the Creator. The following are eight questions every Believer should ask themselves, if they find themselves asking “Why aren’t you answering me God?!”

Continue reading…HERE