How To Enter The Gates Of Heaven
"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
There is one way and one way only to enter into the gates of Heaven, and that is with a joyful noise of thanksgiving. Psalm 100 is a beautiful instruction manual for how to come before the presence of the LORD. Psalm 100:1 says we are to make a joyful noise. Noise in this sentence means that we are so loud, it's literally ear spliting. Over the years, it has baffled my mind how people can go to a football game or concert and scream so loudly, you "can't hear yourself think." The same people then think it strange to see worshipping believers make a loud, joyful noise unto the Lord.
When Paul and Silas were imprisoned for casting a spirit of divination out of a woman, they were put into the inner prison with their feet held in the stocks. At midnight Paul and Silas began to pray and sing until there was an earthquake. This shook the foundations of the prison, caused the prison doors to open, and the bands on all the prisoners to be loosed. I imagine they sang with considerable volume as the joyous sounds filled not only the inner prison but the entire structure. I speak this word today to bring to your attention that God wants your heart and your mouth to be grateful and rejoice. As we become so, we readily discover that it is impossible to rejoice and complain at the same time. (An answer to the question: "How do I do this?")
Some of us reading this letter may need a sudden earthquake in our life to cause us to be delivered from any religious bondage. This will come by our praise and thanksgiving. Our praise can cause others to be set free or become barren and unfruitful. The story of King David recovering the ark of the covenant from Obed-edom's house demonstrates a grateful and thankful, forgiven King. As his wife Michal, Saul's daughter looked through a window and saw him leaping and dancing before the LORD; she despised him in her heart. This is a very powerful picture of a religious/judgmental spirit. David confronted his wife by saying "It was before the LORD, which chose me before your father, and before all his house to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel; therefore will I play before the LORD, And I will yet be more vile than this, and will be base in mine own sight; and of the maid-servants, which you have spoken of, of them shall I be had in honor" (II Samuel 6:21-22). Because Michal despised her husband's freedom to worship the LORD with all of his might, she was barren until the day of her death. (II Samuel 6:23).
(Taken from So That's In the Bible?, pg. 502-503)
Believers are to:
Christ set an example of:
The wicked are characterized by an absence of:
It's our choice. Be a joyful sound, as we are commanded, or don't be. The rewards are too great to miss it here. And the consequences are too dire to choose to be other than filled with recognizable joy.
Blessings and honor,
RETURNING TO THE BEGINNING
This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look. Ask where the old (ancient) road is. Ask where the good road is, and walk on that road. If you do, you will find rest for yourselves. But you people have said, 'We will not walk on the good road.'" (Jer.6:16)
In quoting this scripture from the mouth of the Prophet Jeremiah, we discover that there is ONE ROAD that causes our souls to find rest. This road is an ancient, tried and true road that has never changed, nor will ever change. Without rest to our souls, we upset God's original pattern for man found in the Book of Genesis Chapter One.
All too often, we create chaos in our own lives and sadly, in the lives of those close to us. We are commanded by God to labor to enter into the rest (Heb. 4:11). This admonition comes with a warning, that if we do not enter into that rest we will fall due to unbelief, which is disobedience. Disobedience has severe consequences. The same attitude existed in Jeremiah's day, as the people said "We will NOT walk on the good road" (Jer. 6:16).
Thank God for "second chances." Through repentance and humility we can be restored to God, experience proper alignment with Heaven and obey the command to be fruitful and multiply. Only then will we find the true REST of God for our souls.
THE HEBRAIC MEANING OF REPENTANCE
God is still and always has looked for men and women who are willing to live a life of repentance. The Hebrew word for "repentance" is teshuvah. Teshuvah means to turn from one thing to another, ceasing from doing incorrect things and beginning to do correct things. The ancient Hebrew word picture of teshuvah (Hebrew letters shin = teeth, beth = house) means to "destroy the house."
In his Book, Sharing The Word, Dr. Frank Seekins teaches that "Ancient conquerors wanted their captives to become a part of the conquering kingdom. This could never happen if the new captives continued to long for their old home. To make a total break with the past, the conquerors would force the captives to watch as their old home was completely destroyed."
It is easy for all of us to leave options open and return to an old state of mind when we don't see things happening as we supposed they should. When times of hardship come, we are tempted to reach back into our carnal thinking and easily forget about the ancient path on which we can walk, that always brings REST to our soul.
Frank Seekins states that "To destroy the house is to chose which kingdom, which covenant we will follow and to totally commit ourselves to that one covenant!"
THE NEED TO REPENT
In this email blast, I am including this study "THE NEED TO REPENT" written by Dr. Karl Coke, Ph.D, which I believe will put things in order in your mind. This outline is from the Timothy Program International Weeks 53-65.
- God created man by mixing "Good" with "Good."
- The earth is called "Good" by God (Gen. 1:10 and 1:31).
- Man created out of the earth (Gen. 2:7).
- God is called "Good" by Jesus (Luke 18:19 and Mark 10:18).
- God mixed His "Good" breath with "Good" man resulting in eternal life (Gen. 2:7).
- Satan lied to get man to mix "Good with "Evil." (Genesis 3:1).
- God told man to keep "Good" mixed with "Good" by obeying His word. (Gen. 2:15-17).
- Satan asked man a question to see if man knew God's word (Gen. 3:1).
- Satan (then) lies to man in order for man to mix "Good" with "Evil" (Gen. 3:4).
- Man disobeys God's Word and follows man's ways, mixing "Good with "Evil." (Gen. 3:6).
- The sin and punishment of mixing "Good with "Evil."
- Obeying God's Word is obeying what is "Good." (Deut. 12:28).
- Disobeying God's Word is the definition of "Evil." (Deut. 9:18 and Rom. 7:19).
- The punishment of mixing "Good" with "Evil" is sorting them out. (Gen. 3:17-19).
- The inevitable result of mixing "Good with "Evil" is death. (Gen. 2:17 and Rom. 6:23).
- Receiving Christ via repenting again mixes "Good" with "Good."
- Jesus and John preached "Repentance" as the way into God's kingdom (Matt. 4:17, 3:2).
- Dying men must confess by mouth and believe in heart that Jesus is LORD (Rom. 10:9-10).
- Obeying God's Word produces eternal life in each believing man (John 3:16-21).
- Obeying God's Word equips for every "Good" work (II Timothy 3:16-17).
I hope this study will open your eyes to the warfare surrounding us as believers. The evil one is working relentlessly to cause us to mix good with evil. There is no road other than the right one, which is Jesus Christ. We are told in Ep. 2:10 that we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God BEFORE ordained for us to walk in. This is telling us that we can be restored to the beginning, to the garden, and to the good works we personally have been assigned to.
"Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you REST. Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find REST to your souls" (Matt. 11:28- 29).
I sincerely believe as each believer is restored to his original purpose, the true REST of God will permeate our souls.
Blessings and honor,
WHY ISN'T EVERYONE HEALED?
"He sent his word, and healed them…" (Psalm 107:20)
One of my deepest heart's desire is to see everyone in the body of Christ healed. I have been used by God for many years to pray for people for their healing, and then seen them healed. This includes praying for myself, animals, plants, trees and grass. I have prayed for many people who have been delivered from demons, but I have also seen some not improve or become progressively worse.
The reason I am writing about healing today is because I am appealing to heaven to understand why everyone is not being healed.
Jesus And Healing
After Jesus went through His wilderness test, He emerged with power. He began His ministry in Galilee "teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing ALL MANNER OF SICKNESS, AND ALL MANNER OF DISEASE among the people" (Matt. 4:23). They brought people to Him that were sick, tormented, possessed with devils, lunatic, and had the palsy, and He healed them all. I think about these scriptures all the time and practice prayer for the sick at our OTC gatherings. Jesus gave His twelve disciples power against unclean spirits to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease (Matt. 10:1). We have this same power for all sickness and disease to be healed. (Mark 16:17-18)
After Pentecost, when Peter and John encountered a lame man begging for alms,they prayed for him to be healed. He was instantly healed (Acts. 3:6-7). Was it because of their empowerment and set-apart walk with God that this man was healed? No! The diciples said "Men, Israelites, why do you marvel at this? Or why do you stare at us, as though we had made this man to walk by our own power or holiness?" (Acts 3:12). This should grab our attention, that it was not by their own power, or by being set apart that those for whom they prayed were healed.
Abraham And Healing
Genesis 20 teaches us a similar lesson about Abraham. In this story we see Abraham journeying in the south outside the land of Gerar, which was ruled by King Abimelech. King Abimelech sends for Sarah who was instructed by Abraham to tell the king she was his sister. This story reveals many things operating in the heart of Abraham. For one, he was being governed by a spirit of fear, which had reared it's head in his earlier journeying in Egypt (Gen. 12:10-17). As before, he demonstrated fear and manifested a lying spirit by declaring Sarah was his sister and not his wife. Because of this half-truth (she was his half sister), the women of the house of Abimelech had their wombs shut up and there was no reproduction. A half-truth is an un-truth. Once confronted by the King, Abraham told the whole story, but not without passing blame onto God whom he accused of making him wander. Then something miraculous happens. "Then Abraham prayed to God and God HEALED Abimelech and his wife and his slave women, and they gave birth" (Gen. 20:17).
Moses and Healing
There exists an ancient Egyptian medical book dating back to 1550 B.C.E. called the Ebers Papyrus. In this book are hundreds of recipes for healing through the use of a multitude of natural ingredients (then) thought to be magic formulas. The problem with these formulas is that people died anyway. During the time of these "medical" practices, Moses was growing up in Egypt. Acts 7:22 tells us that Moses was learned in All of the wisdom of the Egyptians. It would not be far fetched to believe that he would have been acquainted with this medical book.
We have a great God who knows what we need to live in optimum health. God gave Moses breakthrough instructions for health and cures. Hear what God told Moses to tell the people: "If you give careful attention to the VOICE of the Lord your God, do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put NONE OF THESE DISEASES upon you, which I have brought upon the Egyptians; for I am the LORD who heals you" (Exod. 15:26).
In his book, Eating God's Way, pg. 26-27, Dr. Michael K. Lake has discovered that what you eat affects your soul. Given to Moses were these words of God, "You shall therefore put difference between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean fowls and clean: and you shall not make your SOUL ABOMINABLE by beast or by fowl, or by any manner of living thing that creeps on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean" (Lev. 20:25). Abominable in this sentence means to abhor, disdain, have a strong emotional response of rejection and antipathy. Dr. Lake further states "When we partake of things that God has said are NOT FOOD it causes God to have a strong emotional response of rejection toward us! This is the strongest word for disgust in the Hebrew language."
May we all carefully consider this interpretation.
Isaiah And Healing
Most of us have read miraculous stories about the benefits of fasting. In my own life, abstaining from certain foods has brought healing to my body. Isaiah the prophet describes in Chap.58:6-12 the portrait of a true fast. In these six scriptures, which must be studied personally, the prophet uncovers information promoting divine healing. In the subject of fasting, he also points out that finger pointing and speaking vanity affect our health negatively.
Let us look at the list below labeling the benefits of a true fast, and ask God for the ability to put these principles into practice in our lives.
The benefits of a true fast according to Isaiah:
WHAT TO EAT
"It is important that the body be kept healthy, because, as the Besht taught, only a healthy body can be fully fit for spiritual activities
When your body is sick, your soul is weakened, and you cannot pray as you should, even though you are free of sins. So be very careful about the health of your body. (Keter Shem, Tov, pg. 25b
Eat nothing that does harm to the body. (Derech Hayim, 2-18)
It is not only a matter of how much food, however, but what food. Since the goal is to have God-consciousness, we should pay attention to how different foods affect us personally. Watch what you eat and see how it affects your spirituality; and adjust your diet accordingly. When we eat to serve God, we will not choose our food to suit our taste and lust, but according to its health qualities and how it affects us spiritually." From Jewish Spiritual Practices, pg. 278
It is time to seek the LORD to discover what may be blocking our healing and the healing of those to whom we minister.
May we gather all the glorious healing scriptures in the Word, ask God what they mean and how we should apply them to us and others in need.
Father, may we have wisdom to know all your instructions, the discipline to use what we learn, and the faith to believe that ALL your Word is for our benefit, for our health.
Blessings and honor
LEARNING TO GATHER THE "DAY-WORD"
"Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for
you; and the people shall go out and gather a
CERTAIN RATE-EVERY DAY..." (Exod. 16:4).
At OTC, we have been in a new and exciting time of learning regarding the fifty days from Passover to Shavuot/Pentecost. The wilderness journeys and tests of the children of Israel have become so alive to us that we have become quite adept at applying their lessons to our own lives. Gleaning wisdom and revelation knowledge from the Word is causing our hearts to be transformed. Reports of deliverance and breakthrough are coming to us daily because of the listeners' understanding of God's Word.
Today, I am bringing to your attention again the words "certain rate - every day." "Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate - every day…" (Exod. 16:4). "Certain rate" is the Hebrew word for "dabar." In English, it means "word." The people were to gather the word of the day rained out of heaven.
The Hebrew concept of the word "dabar" is much different than the English concept of the word "word." Focusing on the Hebrew concept will help you in your daily, personal walk with the Lord. "Dabar" is a picture of substance and matter. As the Hebrew writer explains in Heb. 4:12, the word is "quick and powerful." The scriptures are living words and are able to produce results within you that no other words can accomplish. The Word of God is able to pierce through literal bones and marrow and lay open a person's entire life.
There are times when you don't understand what is happening in your life and how the Spirit of God is leading you. Learning to gather the daily word eliminates confusion and fear. Learning to gather the word daily will manifest itself in your life like a Canopy of Protection, Security and Peace. Proverbs teaches us that man even at his best cannot direct his own steps. "Man's goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way? "(Proverbs 20:24). The Prophet Jeremiah understood what Solomon knew, "O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walks to direct his steps"(Jer. 10:23). This is why we need to learn how to gather the day-word; we cannot direct ourselves. God's Word, your personal manna from heaven, is your instruction manual filled with heavenly substance that causes you to walk in the right paths each day.
Ancient Hebrew And The Word Dabar
In Ancient Hebrew the word "dabar" made up of the Dalet (door), the Beth (house) and the Resh (person/head) gives you a picture of "The door into a person." While you are reading the scriptures, they are reading you. God's Word is the door into your soul and spirit. The children of Israel's hearts were being tested in the wilderness. How does this apply to the Word reading us? Deut. 8:2 tells us that God leads us into the wilderness so we can know what is in our hearts, or rather to know what we are thinking. "Wilderness" in Hebrew is the beautiful and rich word "MIDBAR." Notice the word "dabar" hidden in the word "wilderness." The wilderness is "the place where God speaks."
There is nothing more powerful than hearing His voice through His Word. It takes discipline and a continual daily turning toward the face of the LORD to receive this/His Word. Once you learn the beauty of the wilderness, you may want to re-examine your current situations and look at them from God's perspective. When he was in pain, David said, "And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah" (Psalm 55:6-7). David knew the beauty of the MIDBAR, your wilderness chosen by God. Many times I have made trips back and forth from California to Utah through the wilderness/desert. The desert was breathtaking in many places.
The Word (Dabar) Of God
The Word of God is able to make you wise unto salvation. (2 Tim. 3:15). The Word of God is an unerring guide. (Prov. 6:23). The Word of God is profitable for doctrine and practice (2 Tim. 3:16-17). The word of God is:
- Called the Book. Psa. 40:7, Rev. 22:19
- Called Book of the Lord. Isa. 34:16
- Called Book of the Law. Neh. 8:3; Gal. 3:10
- Called good Word of God. Heb. 6:5
- Called oracles of God. Rom. 3:2; I Pet. 4:11
- Called Scripture of Truth. Dan. 10:21
- Called sword of the spirit. Eph. 6:17
- Called word of life. Phil 2:16
- Not to be handled deceitfully. 2 Cor. 4:2
- To be searched out. Acts 17:11
- Is the standard of judgment. John 12:48
- Testify of Jesus. John 5:39
- To be read publically. Deut. 31:11-13; Josh. 8:33-35; 2 Kings 23:2
- Likened to seed. Matt. 13:3-8, 18-23, 37-38.1
Start gathering your day-word, the door into your spirit-man, and see how your life begins to change.
Blessings and honor,
1. "God's Word." So That's in the Bible? Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1997. 553. Print.
Persistent and Confident Prayers Are Heard
"Pray without ceasing." (I Thes. 5:17)
Today I am calling to your attention two aspects of prayer. They are: (1) persistent praying and (2) confident praying. I believe that many of you are on the verge of a breakthrough—if you do not give up.
When Jesus taught on prayer He used parables to teach prayer dynamics. Jesus, of course, is the best teacher on the subject of prayer. In the story of the widow and the unjust judge, the Messiah stressed praying at all times and not becoming weary. This is a good study to memorize and practice. The widow was persistent in her request to be avenged of her accuser. The judge, although unjust, granted her request. How much more will our just, heavenly Father do for us as we persistently cry out? "Will not Elohim exact all the more vengeance for his elect who call on him by day and by night. Will He not be longsuffering with them? I say to you that He will do their vengeance quickly" (Luke 18:7-8 AENT).
In reviewing your own life in this new season, ask yourself, how has the accuser affected your life today. Has your reputation been muddied? Have your finances been diminished? Has your physical health been attacked? Have your children gone astray? Has your faith been diminished; have you even lost hope? Has your indifference caused you a loss of favor? Has your disobedience brought delay?
As a believer you are assured of having your prayers answered. The Apostle John teaches in I John 5:14 that whatever we ask God in confidence, and if the request is agreeable to His will, He will hear us and grant our desires. The word "confidence" in I John 5:14 is a Greek word (parresia). I learned something valuable from Dr. Karl Coke in the Timothy Program that I have never forgotten about that word.
"The word (parresia) belongs to the political sphere of the Greek city. It is an essential mark of the Greek democracy, the sign of the freedom of speech therein. In order to have (parresia), one should be a full citizen of a Greek city. The full citizen alone had the right to speak publicly in the assembly. Aliens and slaves had no such right. There was no higher possession than (parresia) and no greater loss than to lose it. The word parresia is used with three shades of meaning:
- The right to say anything;
- What is spoken must be the truth;
- Candor which opposes all who would limit the right to reveal the truth." (Taken from the Timothy Program, Week 25 - "When You Pray")
Today, and everyday, remember that you have a God-given right to speak to the LORD, as long as you come in sincerity and truth. Hypocrites are denied answers to prayer (Job 27:8-9). The Word of God is explicit in whom God denies answers to prayer. The idolater (Jer. 11:11-14); the proud (Job 35:12-13); the self-righteous (Luke 18:11-12,14); the wavering (James 1:6-7); the one with wrong motives (James 4:3); those who oppress believers (Mic. 3:2-4); those who offer unworthy service to God (Mal. 1:7-9).
The widow in Luke 18 was not being pretentious, nor was she repeating meaningless phrases. She was praying persistently and confidently. Her prayer reached heaven.
May you see the hand of God move by your persistent and confident prayers. May none of us lose "parresia," by errantly believing God is not listening, or by your coming to Him with pretensions, thus loosing your right to be heard.
Blessings and honor,
The Month of Abib/Nisan
"This day came you out in the month Abib." (Ex. 13:4)
March 28, 2017 marks the beginning of the month of Abib/Aviv/Nisan, the first month of the religious Hebrew calendar. Abib is found in Exod. 13:4 "You are going out this day in the month Abib." Abib/ Nisan marks the beginning of the Israelites' Exodus out of Egypt, from bondage into freedom. This is an exciting month of celebration and praise. Some scholars believe the root of the word "Nisan" may be linked to Song of Solomon 2:12 "the FLOWERS/Nitstsan appear on the earth: the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle [dove] is heard in our land." Nisan is also known as a month of miracles. All this reminds us that this month is the time to rise up in praise and celebration, and believe for our miracles.
- Song of Solomon 2:10 "My beloved spoke and said to me, RISE UP, My beautiful one, and come away." This is a month to RISE UP and shake the dust off of your feet; to cleanse yourself from the hurts, disappointments and persecutions you may have suffered. We have authority from God to RISE UP and go forward, breaking any unholy bonds, whether they be from recent or repetitive mistakes. Wake up from any place in your lives where you have been asleep to the effects of curses, or asleep to opportunities for blessings. Arise from those sleepy, dead places and the Messiah will show you His light enabling you to walk forward into newness of life and ever greater expectation. Come away into God's special purposes for you and out of bondage.
- Song of Solomon 2:11 "For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over; it goes to itself." We are in a new month; the cold winter season is over. May your lips be filled with fresh praise and thanksgiving to God. May every hindrance that keeps you linked to old seasons/patterns/strongholds of thinking be demolished and broken off of your minds. Expect miracles this month from the God of miracles. This month represents the tribe of Judah. "After the death of Joshua it came to pass that the children of Israel asked the LORD, saying 'Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them?' And the LORD said, 'JUDAH/PRAISE shall go up'" (Jdgs. 1:1-2). As your sincere praises abound, the LORD will fight for you in your most serious situations. May we all learn to praise FIRST and continually.
- Song of Solomon 2:12 "The FLOWERS/NITSTSAN appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in our land." Flowers may produce different types of fruits and seeds. May you see the seeds you have planted over the years come to fruition. "Happy and fortunate are you who cast your seed upon all waters [when the river overflows its banks; for the seed will sink into the mud and when the waters subside, the plant will spring up; you will find it after many days and reap an abundant harvest]" (Isaiah 32:20) (Amp.). Words are seeds, as well as your time and financial giving. May every word curse spoken against you be reversed. May God grant us all repentance from all negative words we have spoken. Speak words of life over yourselves, your family, your church family, and community. Sow seeds of praise and thanksgiving continually, especially when you are tempted to be critical. Praise God for Jesus, who is our Passover lamb, whose self-sacrifice is saving us from the works of Satan.
May this exhortation encourage you and may you expect God to move.
Love and honor,
HOW TO OVERCOME FEAR
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love
casts out fear, because fear has torment.
|he who fears has not been perfected in love." (I John. 4:18)
God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind. (2 Tim.1:7) Base fear will not only result in your burying your talent (Matt. 25:25), but cause you to esteem the attack and lies of Satan greater than your commission. The servant who buried his talent was rebuked and called evil and slothful. The enemy uses a spirit of fear to devastate you and rob you of fulfilling your calling. Fear literally has torment. The main thing the enemy does not want is for you to discover who you are in God's Kingdom and the Kingdom power available to you. When we fear, we have changed our focus from what God is offering to what Satan is threatening. A spirit of fear will cause you to stop believing, hoping, reaching, asking, seeking and knocking. A few reminders today can cause you to step right back into the center of faith's path.
When God led Israel by the hand of Moses away from Egyptian bondage, it is written that, "He brought us OUT from there, so that He might bring us IN to give us the land which He swore to our father" (Deut. 6:23). The Spirit of the LORD wants to bring you OUT of your bondage created by fear and INTO your land of promise. Although readily attained, the promise land has pre-requisites for victory.
The prophesied day had arrived and the leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel were being sent with orders into the land of Canaan to view the promised land (Numbers 13). Moses asked them to view the land and bring back a report about it. The land was already promised by God as their inheritance. In this land of promise there were GIANTS from the sons of ANAK. The word "Anak" means a strangling, choking necklace, and to be compassed about with a chain. Search yourselves today to see if a spirit of fear has become a strangling chain around your neck causing you to magnify the GIANTS, rather than magnify the Word of the LORD?
Only two men filled with faith, Joshua and Caleb were able to enter into the promised land they had all dreamed of and spent much of their lives walking toward. Ten of the leaders of the Tribes of Israel completely disregarded Caleb's statement of faith and declaration to do one thing. That one thing was to OVERCOME. OVERCOMING is what will eliminate fear in your life today. Remember there will always be GIANTS in your land of promise. The GIANTS cannot kill you. What kills you, and consequently your dream, is the fear of the GIANTS. Throughout our entire walk with God we must constantly conquer GIANTS. The best strategy is to defeat them one by one over a period of time. The word of God is explicit in instruction regarding their removal.
- I will send My fear before you, and will destroy all the people to whom you shall come. And I will make all your enemies turn their back to you (Exod. 23:27). It is God's HOLY fear that must go before us to deal will our enemies. If we will follow His instructions daily, He will go before us in this new season and make crooked places straight. Never repay evil for evil, for the LORD will vindicate his chosen ones.
- And I will send hornets before you, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite before you (Exod. 23:28). God is the only one who can "sting" or "alarm" the enemy before us. Our obedience to explicit instructions makes the enemy hear sounds in the spirit realm that cause his camp to be smitten/stung (2 Sam. 5:24) (2 Chron. 20:22) (2 Kings 7:6).
- "I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become a waste, and the beast of the field multiply against you" (Exodus 23:29). It is with patience that we walk forward trusting God to drive out by His Spirit the work of the enemy in our personal lives. We are not to be slothful, but to remember that through faith and patience we inherit the promises (Heb. 6:12).
We cannot get ahead of the Lord's timing!!
- "By little and little, I will drive them out before you, until you have increased, and inherit the land" (Exod. 23:30).
PRE-REQUISITES FOR VICTORY
- You must understand spiritual warfare. (Eph. 6:11-18)
- You have to fight the good fight of faith personally and win. (I Tim. 6:12).
- You must be an over-comer. Only over-comers are promised a reward. (Rev. 2:7,17,26; Rev.3:5,12,21; Rev. 21:7)
- Only victory qualifies any of us to receive a reward.
- You will not be rewarded for anything you have not fought for. "The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force" (Matt. 11:12).
The Holy Spirit will be the enemy standing strongly against all your fears. If you and I will obey His voice, and do all that He speaks personally, then He will be an enemy to our enemies, and a foe to our foes. (Exod. 23:22).
May your faith rise today. May every fear that has sabotaged your dreams, hopes and ability to make changes in your lives be removed in the Name of Jesus. May you overcome by the blood of the lamb, and the word of YOUR TESTIMONY. (Rev. 12:11)
Blessings and hope,
What Are You Doing Today?
"Today if you hear His Voice
harden not your hearts." Heb. 3:15
John Maxwell, a former pastor and widely known leadership expert, wrote a book called, Today Matters. I am calling your attention to the subject of today, because it is scriptural to understand it, and because it affects everything that pertains to your life, your well-being and your future. Joshua 24:15 says to choose daily (today) whom we will serve. Jesus taught the disciples how to pray daily (today) in Matt. 6:9-13. I am persuaded that the LORD wants His people to understand the principle of "today", and how understanding it brings the success every man and woman longs for. As a pastor, my heart's desire is to see the flock at OTC master the concept, and, in fact, all of God's people master the "today" principle of success.
If the Body of Christ starts walking in their God-appointed calling, whether in the marketplace or in formal ministry, we will begin to see healthy communities developing. As you may have noticed, there are recurrent themes I present. Hebraic thinking requires you to repeat things over and over until it becomes a part of you, forming a "good habit," if you will.
John Maxwell writes in Chapter One of Today Matters: "We may think success is Productivity, so we work for it. There are many people who work hard and never see success. Some people give their energy to dead-end jobs. We believe success comes from an opportunity—so we wait for it. Their motto begins with the words, "if only." If only my boss would cut me some slack… If only I could get that promotion… If only I had some start-up capital… If only my kids would behave… then life would be perfect." 1 To rid yourselves of this "if only" habit, we must realize that "You will never change your life until you change what you do daily." 2
We ARE what we do daily. There is a law of inevitable eventuality. If you eat the wrong foods daily, you will eventually weigh too much or too little, or even become sick. If you continually avoid quiet time with God, and personal study of His Word, you will inevitably become bitter and deceived. If you study the Scriptures daily, you will eventually and inevitably become successful. Mastery of the subject, "today" will endue you with foundational truth and will cause you to walk in success. Ignoring the lesson will lead only to disaster.
When teaching on success, American believers may be tempted to equate the lessons with "prosperity" preachers and turn a deaf ear, but I want you to master the kingdom principle of success because it is the truth and will benefit you greatly. Success is much more than finances. God's definition of success will affect your family, health, relationships, values, jobs and much more. If you are feeling today like you are floundering without direction, are disappointed in your present circumstances, unsuccessful in your attempts, pretty much a failure, then this brief study is for you.
The Hebrew word for success (sakal) is found in Jos.1:8. The Lord spoke to Joshua telling him that by meditating on His instruction day and night, night and day, (which is always today) and guarding that instruction, he would become prosperous and successful. This concept of daily meditation and success is also found in Psalm 1:2,3 "But his delight is in the law of the LORD and in His law does he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper."
Success (sakal) found in Joshua 1:8 means:
To be circumspect. If we are circumspect we are prudently watching, cautious and guarded. Wisdom teaches us to guard our hearts (mindset) for from the heart are the issues of life. Prov.4:23 "Keep/guard your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." If we are circumspect, we become the watchmen over our own thoughts and protect what enters our mind. Habakkuk 2:1-2 "I will stand upon my watch and set ME upon the tower, and will watch to see what He will say unto ME, and what I shall answer when I am reproved." God speaks and gives instruction daily.
To be intelligent. Some of the synonyms for the word intelligent are brilliant, bright, intuitive, perceptive and discerning. Discernment comes through practice. Heb. 5:14 "But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, even those who because of use have their senses EXERCISED to discern both good and evil. If you become successful in your walk with God, it is because you are learning how to discern.
To be an expert. An expert is one with comprehensive and authoritative knowledge or skill in a particular area. Jesus taught his disciples in Matt. 13:52, that if they could understand His parables they would become as scholars/experts bringing out of their treasures new things and old things. In other words, not only will you understand the ancient paths, but you will receive fresh and new revelation. The LORD did not call us to be a jack of all trades. This is proven in I Co. 12:4-6. There are diversities of gifts, administrations and operations. I Cor. 12:11 tells us that the Spirit divides severally as HE WILLS. I sincerely believe He is looking to make you an expert in your specific and authentic calling.
How Do I Do This?
If you are serious about the changes you need to make, you will certainly ask, "How do I do this?" and "How do I get started?" I believe first of all you have to choose to follow God's guidelines. When we discover the patterns for coming into the presence of the LORD and thus position ourselves, He speaks very clearly to us. The Tabernacle of Moses (a type and shadow) reveals a pattern for seeking the face of God and applying it to our daily lives. As I learned from Dr. Michael Lake in a study on Prayer Dynamics, a study of Habakkuk reveals steps to positioning ourselves and hearing from God.
Steps to Hearing God
Habakkuk knew how to position himself to hear the voice of God. This would include:
Binding the enemy.
Quieting his soul.
Learning how he was to come into God's presence.
How to maintain a humble and teachable spirit.
He knew how to recognize the voice of God and how God spoke to him.
God speaks to some in words (i.e. "the Word of the Lord came to me.")
God speaks to some visually (i.e. "Jeremiah, what do you see.")
He was ready to be reproved of God. This is a part of being humble and teachable.
He wrote down what God told him. This left a record for him that he could re-examine, study and even be used by others. 3
"Today" is the day of salvation. May you start living your daily life well. Eventually and inevitably you will succeed and enjoy the compounding results of your labor.
Blessings and honor,
- Maxwell, John C. "Chapter 1,2." Today Matters: 12 Daily Practices to Guarantee Tomorrow's Success. New York: Warner Faith, 2004. 19,. Print.
- Maxwell, John C. "Chapter 1,2." Today Matters: 12 Daily Practices to Guarantee Tomorrow's Success. New York: Warner Faith, 2004. 5,6. Print.
- Michael K. Lake, Th.D., Patterns For Coming Into His Presence- Part I. Lesson Ten: Biblical Life Prayer Dynamics Study Guide. Marshfield, MO. Biblical Life Publishing. 2006. 104,105. Print
Your Thoughts Are Affecting Your World
"Death and life are in the power
of the tongue" (Prov. 18:21)
I am sharing a portion of a word with you that the Lord gave me for the congregation at OTC. Our congregation received parts of this message on New Year's Day. To me, one of the most fascinating subjects in the Word is the study of the human mind. Every part of your life, your circumstances and the situations you find yourself in are the fruit of your thinking/your mind. Whatever thoughts are controlling your mind are controlling your life. Your thoughts and mindsets affect cities, churches, marriages, work environments and, of course, your future.
We must first understand there are two Hebrew words used for the word "mind" (Nephesh and Lev). This is important to know for the sake of your progress. In the beginning, Genesis 2:7 tells us that God formed man of the dust, breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living "soul." "Soul" is the word "nephesh," which means man became a breathing creature with a MIND. As I learned from Hebraic scholars over the years, "Nephesh" is a state of innocence without corruption or death and with no concept of sin.
Dr. Doug Wheeler, a Hebraic leader, states in a conceptual writing on the Love of God, that "After the fall of Adam, the soul of man was no longer referred to as 'Nephesh', but 'LEV.'" "LEV" is the other Hebrew word for the mind and heart. Dr. Wheeler also states that "The journey that we call salvation is simply the process of going from a condition of LEV to a condition of NEPHESH." Simply put, now that we have received Jesus as Messiah and have been born again, we are progressively able to return to the state that Adam enjoyed before the fall. Our soul/mind/heart can become NEPHESH and our thoughts can become God's thoughts. Our thoughts can become pure, without mixture. We can daily think like God. As the Word states, "We have the mind of Christ" ( I Co. 2:16).
CHANGING YOUR THOUGHTS CHANGES YOUR WORLD
There are many studies on how many thoughts we think in a day. One interesting study by Jennifer Read Hawthorne reveals that we think anywhere from 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. According to other research, as many as 98 percent of those thoughts are exactly the same as we had the day before. She teaches that 80 percent of our thoughts are negative. We know from the Word of God that we have power to think right thoughts because of the work of the cross. We even have spiritual weaponry to remove wrong thoughts that are poisoning us and every one within our circle of influence.
- "For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds" (2 Cor. 10:4). A stronghold is a place where a particular cause or belief is strongly upheld.
- We have the ability to "pull down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God" (2 Cor. 10:5).
- We can bring into captivity every thought into the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5).
- We are punishing disobedient thoughts, and our obedience becomes a weapon of warfare against the enemies' strategies. (2 Cor. 10:6).
THOUGHTS/WORD CAN KILL OR BRING LIFE
Many of us have heard of the study of Dr. Masaru Emoto revealing how our thoughts affect our lives and life in general. "Dr. Emoto photographed frozen samples of polluted water before and after exposure to various kinds of music, ranging from heavy metal to Beethoven. He also taped written words to containers of distilled water such as, "You make me sick; I will kill you" and "Love and appreciation." The energies from beautiful words and thoughts, even if only written, created exquisite microscopic snowflake-like patterns in the water. The less uplifting words created images of disorder that even appeared toxic. Even a simple "thank you" produced a lovely crystalline pattern." 1 This is a practical example and even a proof to us that God's Word is true, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it shall eat the fruit of it" (Prov. 18:21).
The words we speak originate in the heart/mind. The mind is the seat of all spiritual and carnal conflict. For some of you, you may be being driven by a repeated behavior from which you seemingly cannot break free. The first step to freedom is to remember, there is a root cause for this behavior located in your belief system. I sincerely believe that God wants to get to the core of all our faulty beliefs about our own selves and set us free to walk in our true identity. The enemies strategy is to continue to poison our thoughts, lie to us and rob us of our true identity. We all know that there are difficult consequences for repeatedly thinking wrong thoughts.
OUR THOUGHTS ARE AFFECTING EVERYONE ELSE
To prove how serious our thoughts are and how much they affect the family of God, the church, the city, pastors and leaders, we must study the whole chapter of Joshua 7. God's heart has always been for the family/body as a whole. This concept of family and community is very Hebraic. "But the children of Israel committed a sin in the cursed thing" (Jos. 7:1). " For Achan..of the tribe of Judah, took of the thing which was cursed. And the anger of Jehovah was kindled against the sons of Israel" (Jos. 7:1). Though only one man sinned, God said the children of Israel sinned. The commentator Albert Barnes states this succinctly: "The 'trespass' was the act of one man, yet was imputed to all Israel, who also shared in the penalty of it" (Jos. 7:5). This is not to be explained as though ALL the people participated in the covetousness which led to Achan's sin (Jos 7:21). "The nation as a whole was in covenant with God, and was treated by Him not merely as a number of individuals living together for their own purposes under common institutions, but as a divinely-constituted organic whole. Hence, the sin of Achan defiled the other members of the community as well as himself and robbed the people collectively of holiness before God and acceptableness with Him. Israel had in the person of Achan broken the covenant (Jos. 7:11); God therefore would no more drive out the Canaanites before them."
My heart in sharing this with you is to show you that one wrong thought within our core can affect the progress of other peoples' lives. We must trace the core thought causing the perpetuation of our faulty behavior. This can only be effectively done with the help of the Holy Spirit. Let's look at the story of Achan while we concentrate on our own thought processes. Joshua had to find out what caused the defeat in the Battle of Ai, when previously they had had a major victory in Jericho. It was, in fact, ONE man's faulty thinking. Once the thought was traced to the root, it was discovered that Achan had coveted exactly what God had said not to touch. Achan's covetousness began with a thought. The Lord told Joshua that Achan had tried to hide his sin and that he had pretended falsely (Jos. 7:11). The fruit of this thought cost him his life. "Joshua said to Achan, My son, I pray you, give glory to Jehovah, the God of Israel, and make confession to Him. And tell me now what you have done. Do not hide it from me. And Achan answered Joshua and said, 'Indeed, I have sinned against Jehovah, the God of Israel and this I have done. When I saw among the spoil a goodly robe of Shinar, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, I COVETED them and took them. And behold, they are hidden in the earth in the middle of my tent, and the silver under it'" (Jos. 7:19-21). As sobering a notion as it is, our thoughts, which may be well hidden in our hearts, are affecting the entire community of God for good or evil.
We, as the Body of Christ, have power to change our thoughts and change the world in which we live. This year is the year to truly walk closely with the LORD and learn to effectively use the weapons of spiritual warfare He has given us. We first start thinking God's thoughts by yielding ourselves to His Spirit (Rom. 6:13). We allow this transformation to begin by renewing our MINDS with the daily washing of the Word of God (Rom. 12:2).
Though this is only a brief study, please remember that through Jesus the last/second Adam, we can return to the garden and walk as Adam walked in a state of NEPHESH.
Blessings and honor,
Understanding The Key To Change
"And God said to Jacob, Arise, go
Up to Bethel, and live there." (Gen. 35:1)
This word today is directed to the believer who wants the keys that open the doors to change. Lately, we are hearing many prophetic words coming from tested sources regarding "transition" and "change." In seeking the LORD and asking for wisdom and revelation, much has been revealed to me about the changing of the guard, transition and shifting. We see one shift happening right here in our nation through the election of our new president. Change can be exciting. On the cautionary side, some may be aching for change so desperately that they are tempted to take drastic measures to obtain that change.
In both man and woman, believer and non-believer, there seems to be an explosive cry for change. We can go to great lengths to change the external world we live in. We can move into a new home, buy new clothes, have a makeover, lose or gain weight; yet still feel empty, void of true peace and contentment. The change the LORD desires for us is the change within our minds. This can only happen one way, and that way takes much diligence and discipline.
Effective change requires motion and action. To change beneficially, we must start with something small. God said to Jacob, "Arise, go up to Bethel, and live there" (Gen. 35:1). Jacob had to take this first step. He had to get up and stir himself to action. The Apostle Paul instructed his spiritual son, Timothy, to stir himself. "Wherefore I put you in remembrance that YOU stir up the gift of God, which is in you by the putting on of my hands" (2 Tim. 1:6). The gifts of God in our lives are as logs in a fireplace. If the fire is not tended and occasionally re-kindled, it can die out. For some, you may only have a tiny ember left in your life, and no energy to stir the ashes or re-kindle the flame. Today the breath of the LORD is here to re-fire your flame and breathe His stirring breath upon your weary soul.
From Shechem To Bethel
Jacob had been living for many years in Shechem (the place of burdens). At a certain time, the voice of the LORD called him to return to the place where he had a dream. In his dream he saw a ladder that reached into heaven. This ladder connected heaven and earth and is the place where angels ascend and descend. The ladder is Jesus Christ, The Messiah. In the place Jacob called Bethel, "The House of the LORD," the LORD told him He was with him, and would keep him wherever he went (Gen. 28:15).
The LORD promises all of us that He is with us and will never leave us, that He is our ever present helper (Heb. 13:5-6). Perhaps, because of many years of trials and burdens, you may feel the LORD HIMSELF has abandoned you, forgotten you and left you in a hard place. The thought of taking a step out of that trouble/Shechem, may seem exhausting or even impossible. The carnal mind is hesitant to change because of fear of the unknown; a false security with familiarity, and the fear of not being able to manage the change. Change, in fact, requires us to think differently.
Change Your Garments
Once Jacob takes the first step out of Shechem, he is able to advise his family and company to follow him. He gives them these instructions:
- They are admonished to "put away strange gods among them" (Gen. 35:2). Some of those strange gods were the belief that amulets and charms could protect you from evil and even cause you to know the future. Isaiah the Prophet warned strongly against these practices. "In that day the LORD will take away the beauty of the ankle-bracelets, and the headbands, and the crescents, the pendants, and the bracelets, and the veils; the headdresses, and the leg ornaments, and the sashes, and the houses of the soul, and the amulets" (Isa. 3:18-20).
- "Be clean and CHANGE your garments" (Gen. 35:2). Change is the Hebrew word chalaph. Chalaph means to be pierced, changed, altered, renewed, to sprout. Are your garments soiled from hard testing, trials, disappointment and discouragement? Is the temptation to doubt God shouting in your ears?
How To Change
The first thing we must do to start the process of change is to take the first step. Abraham took his first step when he left the Ur of the Chaldeans. He obeyed the voice of the LORD by faith and walked into the world of the unknown. He totally trusted the LORD and His ability to lead him forward. Moses took the first step into becoming a deliverer by obediently taking off his shoes. David became a King by first obeying his father's instruction to check on his brothers' welfare.
Jacob is told to ARISE, GET UP and DWELL/ABIDE. Jesus says the same thing, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me" (John 15:4).
The key to change is found in the Hebraic understanding of Isaiah 40:31. They that wait (qavah) upon the LORD shall renew/chalaph their strength. Qavah is a beautiful Hebrew word meaning to be twisted together strongly like a rope. For us to change and develop strength of character in our lives we must bind and tie our lives to Jesus. We must have a personal, face-to-face relationship without performance or any form of insincerity. In His presence, you are free to be yourself, and in that place, He changes everything in and around you that needs to be changed. Those who are bound to a relationship with the LORD WILL chalaph/change. This change brings a renewing of life, a sprouting of hope, and the fruit of your labors that you have been longing for.
We desire change, Lord. May we twist our lives together with You in the secret place and allow You to change all that needs to be changed.
I pray renewal of strength for all of you. May you come out of your trouble/Shechem and enter into your Bethel, the place of abiding with Him.
Blessings and love,