Friday, June 30, 2017

New Testament blessing for obedience

Some believers automatically associate the book of Deuteronomy with the Law of Moses. If you quote this book as a Christian, they think you're trying to be justified by keeping the law. But, what if you find Jesus in this law?

The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk in obedience to him. Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will fear you. - Deuteronomy 28:9-10

...And what if you can find companion verses in the New Testament?

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” - 1Peter 3:9-12

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Sanctified by the word

Many believers who contact me for prayer have not spent enough time getting the word in them. The bible is a living book with layers of truth. You can read a portion of scripture many times over and then all of a sudden a particular verse will jump out at you and mean so much more than you always thought it meant. Getting the word of truth in you is part of the sanctification process that every believer must go through. John 17:17 is a short verse of scripture that holds a powerful truth that is meant to bring a believer to maturity.

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. - John 17:17

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Heaven is our original home

When God made man, He put everyone who was to be born into Adam. We come out of Adam. Hebrews 7 shows us this truth. Verse ten speaks of how Levi was still in the body of his ancestor Abraham, when Abraham met Melchizedek. What's even more exciting and profound than this, is that we all came from heaven. This is why heaven is our home. 1Peter 1:3 tells us how God has once again become our Father through faith in Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead - 1Peter 1:3

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Testing our faith

Many believers shrink back to old ways when trials become too tough. Trials come to all believers because trials test our faith. How we respond to the trials that come our way, determines our ability to move forward. If we respond incorrectly, we'll have to repeat the trial. The Lord is bringing us to maturity so that we will be true witnesses for Him. Jesus was tempted in every way and yet, failed not. The victory is in Jesus, so remaining in Jesus is the only way to attain the same victory. Once the testing is complete, we lack nothing. No lack is awesome. We have complete confidence in the Lord for everything and nothing rattles our faith.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. - James 1:2-4

Monday, June 26, 2017

Punching the demons out

When Ahava and I were in Scotland visiting the Curwen family, we met a man who wanted prayer because he'd been having trouble walking consistently with the Lord. Sin kept getting the better of him. When you come across someone in this situation and they're confessing faith in Christ, you have to be tough because the word says so.

Stern discipline awaits anyone who leaves the path; the one who hates correction will die. - Proverbs 15:10

I recorded the deliverance situation and will be publishing it on my Youtube Channel on Tuesday June 27, 2017 at 3:00 PM EST. During this deliverance session I was punching the man in the gut to expel demons and it was bringing him peace.

Trustworthy are the blows of a friend, dangerous, the kisses of an enemy. - Proverbs 27:6

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Apostles' Creed

The Apostles' Creed is supposedly written by the Apostles themselves. Some Christians reject it because it's popular in the Roman Catholic Church and because the words, "holy catholic" are used in the creed. However, the word "catholic" means, "universal". The word doesn't specifically refer to the Roman Catholic Church. I believe this creed is good to meditate on. I especially like the part about the communion of saints because I believe this could refer to communion with saints in glory. John mentions communion with saints in his first letter. It could be that John was referring to those alive at that time, but since the scriptures are eternal, this particular verse could open the door for communion with saints in glory.

We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. - 1John 1:3

Here's the Apostles' Creed:

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
      creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
      who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
      and born of the virgin Mary.
      He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
      was crucified, died, and was buried;
      he descended to hell.
      The third day he rose again from the dead.
      He ascended to heaven
      and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
      From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
      the holy catholic* church,
      the communion of saints,
      the forgiveness of sins,
      the resurrection of the body,
      and the life everlasting. Amen.

*that is, the true Christian church of all times and all places

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Generational curses

I believe Jesus has broken every curse and because of that, we don't need to be plagued by the sins of our fathers. However, we continue to see believers dealing with the results of generational curses. A young Christian may struggle with Rheumatoid arthritis and there's no clear explanation as to why the believer is struggling with this at such a young age. However, a closer look tells us that the young believer's mom struggled with Rheumatoid arthritis and her mom struggled with it as well. How do we make sense of this in light of New Testament teaching and what Jesus did for us.

I believe I have some clear answers, but it's not new revelation from heaven. The answers are found in rightly dividing the word of God. In a couple days, I'll be publishing a new video on this topic that I believe will help many believers heal and overcome.

He will be a spirit of justice to the one who sits in judgment, a source of strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate. - Isaiah 28:6

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

All are welcome

Since Christ was crucified from the foundation of the world, God kept telling the Old Covenant Jews that He had redeemed them. The Lord says this through Isaiah.

But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. - Isaiah 43:1

When Old Testament people trusted in God and did the right thing in His eyes, it was evidence of trusting in Christ.

The people of today don't realize that God has redeemed them through Christ. Their sins are forgiven. All they have to do is humble themselves and receive the free gift. For those who aren't able to enter heaven at the end of their lives, it won't be because God had refused them, but because they'd refused Him. All are welcome.

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. - 1John 2:1-2

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The blood of Jesus

When we come to Christ, we receive the forgiveness of sins because of his sacrifice on the cross, shedding his blood for us. The shed blood of Jesus is supernaturally eternal and always available, because it is continually needed throughout our lives on earth. Believing in Jesus is a day by day decision and we live amongst disobedient people being used by the enemy to try and entangle us in sin. There's no need to be afraid of the enemy. We just walk in the light as he himself is in the light and the eternal blood continually cleanses us.

1John 1:5-7 shows us this truth

This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. - 1John 1:5-7

Monday, June 19, 2017

Divine protection

One time when I was ministering by myself in England, I came across a group of young girls that were clearly underage, but I felt like talking with them about Jesus. The surroundings were good because it was a public setting with plenty of people walking around, so I didn't think I was setting myself up for trouble. As I shared with them, a man on a scooter became very agitated because I was preaching Jesus. He mocked and said, "If you're for real, heal me so that I can walk!" I replied, "How can you possibly receive from me, since you need an attitude adjustment?" At that point he took out a wand that he opened up to about 3 feet length and jumped up from the scooter to strike me with it. I just stood there and didn't even try to defend myself. As he was bringing the stick towards my head, a friend came out of nowhere from behind me and grabbed the stick out of his hand before I was hit by it. This particular friend knew I was in town, but we had no plans to meet up anywhere. About 30 seconds later, two police officers, who were watching the whole thing, came running over and tackled the man to the ground.

Psalm 121:7-8 show us the deliverance of the Lord.

The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever. - Psalm 121:7-8

Friday, June 16, 2017

Is there still hope for you

I've had many people come to me for prayer, thinking they've fallen away and that there's no longer any hope for them. Although I do believe there's such a thing as a dead man walking, I also believe that it doesn't apply to the one coming to Jesus in repentance. The person who feels as if they've fallen away beyond hope, has been lied to by the devil and they've believed the lie. These people wouldn't be asking for prayer if they'd fallen away completely. We see in scripture how the dead man walking is the person who delights in wickedness without a repentant heart.

2Thessalonians 2:9-12 shows us this truth.

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. - 2Thessalonians 2:9-12

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Why does Armageddon happen?

God hasn't forsaken Israel. He's jealous for Israel. Even though the wrath of God is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, there's still wrath coming to this world for rejecting and harming Israel. Yes, God's wrath does come on the world for rejecting Jesus Christ, but his wrath is also tied to what the world does to Israel. Jesus is the king of Israel, besides being the king of all who put their trust in him. We see this in the book of Joel as God describes the battle of Armageddon and why it takes place.

Joel 3:1-2 show us this truth.

“In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will put them on trial for what they did to my inheritance, my people Israel, because they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land. - Joel 3:1-2

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Religious thinking denies the Father

The so-called believers who deny the power of God flowing through the believer don't realize the danger they're in with their hard-hearted denial, because Jesus used the evidence of miracles to make the point that the Father lives in him. If you have Jesus living in you, you have the Father living in you as well. The miracles are not just evidence that believers will do these works, but also that the Father lives in the believer.

We see this truth in John 10:37-38 and in John 14:11

Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” - John 10:37-38

Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. - John 14:11

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The power of our words

Our words are very powerful and we will eat the fruit of them. It's good to know this and be reminded of it because we learn to be careful with our words and even limit them. An Amalekite learned this the hard way. When King Saul of Israel went into battle against the Philistines, he was wounded critically and then killed himself so that he wouldn't be tortured by the Philistines. The Amalekite came to David and claimed to have killed Saul, thinking to get rewarded by David. Although it's true that Saul, out of jealousy, wanted to kill David many times, David still respected God's anointing on Saul. David had the Amalekite put to death for claiming to have killed God's anointed, even though it wasn't true. David told the Amalekite that his own mouth testified to killing King Saul and he would be held responsible.

We see this spiritual truth played out in 2Samuel 1:6-16

“I happened to be on Mount Gilboa,” the young man said, “and there was Saul, leaning on his spear, with the chariots and their drivers in hot pursuit. When he turned around and saw me, he called out to me, and I said, ‘What can I do?’ “He asked me, ‘Who are you?’ “‘An Amalekite,’ I answered. “Then he said to me, ‘Stand here by me and kill me! I’m in the throes of death, but I’m still alive.’ “So I stood beside him and killed him, because I knew that after he had fallen he could not survive. And I took the crown that was on his head and the band on his arm and have brought them here to my lord.”

Then David and all the men with him took hold of their clothes and tore them. They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the Lord and for the nation of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. David said to the young man who brought him the report, “Where are you from?” “I am the son of a foreigner, an Amalekite,” he answered.

David asked him, “Why weren’t you afraid to lift your hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed?” Then David called one of his men and said, “Go, strike him down!” So he struck him down, and he died. For David had said to him, “Your blood be on your own head. Your own mouth testified against you when you said, ‘I killed the Lord’s anointed.’” - 2Samuel 1:6-16

Monday, June 12, 2017

Baptizing new believers

About 5 years ago I was contacted by a young man who wanted to be baptized. I made arrangements to meet him at a beach in NJ. I spoke with him about baptism and other important matters and then we both went into the cold ocean water. Afterwards, he was very grateful and excited. His parents were even there to witness the event. Less than a year later, he told me that he didn't believe anymore. I must confess that I didn't stay in touch with him for discipleship, but I don't overemphasize my responsibility for his falling away. The scripture shows us that even though we are called to make disciples, the main responsibility lies with the person confessing faith in Christ. In Acts 8 Philip is told by the Spirit to engage an Ethiopian Eunuch who is reading scripture while sitting in his chariot. Philip explains the gospel to him and the Ethiopian Eunuch asks to be baptized when they come upon water. Philip says he will baptize him, but his posture isn't that of just handing out baptisms like handing out candy to children. He says he'll baptize him only if he truly believes. Philip had a posture that put across the point that a person needs to be very clear about their decision to follow Christ. Also, there's no indication of Philip ever discipling this man. If anything, the scripture is clear that the Ethiopian Eunuch never saw Philip again.

Acts 8:35-39 makes this clear.

Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. - Acts 8:35-39

Friday, June 9, 2017

Pledges are a done deal

When we make a pledge, the Lord takes that seriously, as if it's already a done deal. When we pledge our lives to the Lord, he will do everything he can to help us fulfill it, but there remains responsibility on our part. Genesis 19 shares how two angels, posing as men, came to Lot to warn him of judgement that was about to come on Sodom and Gomorrah. The angels asked Lot if he had any sons-in-law in the city, so that they too could get to safety. There were two men who were pledged to marry Lot's daughters, but they weren't married yet. Lot went and told them that the city would be destroyed, but they thought he was joking. Either these two men were given over to the same perversion as the rest of the men in the city, or they didn't think God would do such a thing. Either way, I think it's fair to say that they weren't in tune with God and how he is a merciful, but just God. The Lord was willing to spare two men who weren't officially part of Lot's family, but who had made pledges to marry into the family.

Genesis 19:12-15 shares this with us.

The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.” So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking. With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.” - Genesis 19:12-15

Thursday, June 8, 2017

A man from the cloud of witnesses

The cloud of witnesses isn't limited to famous believers from the bible. Every believer who has gone to be with Christ is in the cloud of witnesses because a witness is someone who believes in Jesus Christ, whether here on the earth or in heaven. Once when I was on a plane a mother and daughter were sitting to my right. As we chatted, the mother mentioned how her husband passed away the year before and she wasn't sure about their relationship before he passed, because it was a bit rocky.

After we spoke for awhile, I decided to close my eyes and rest for a bit. Suddenly, with my eyes closed and being fully awake, a man appears before me in the spirit, who I sensed was the husband. He looked like Jerry Garcia, who was the lead singer and guitarist for the music band, "The Grateful Dead". In my mind, I asked him if he was the husband. Without saying a word, he nodded his head, "Yes." Then, I asked him if he was mad at her and he shook his head, "No". Then he disappeared. I turned to the woman next to me and asked if her deceased husband looked like Jerry Garcia. Both their mouths dropped open and the daughter proceeded to take out her tablet in order to show me pictures of her dad. He looked like Jerry Garcia. Needless to say, they were both shocked and greatly encouraged when I shared with them what just happened.

Hebrews 11:39-40 through 12:2 give us some insight into the cloud of witnesses.

And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect. Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. - Hebrews 11:39-12:2

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Don't be quick with the laying on of hands

I was in a situation once when I got a word of knowledge for a brother in the Lord about pain in his legs. There happened to be another brother standing there next to him, who I knew was not walking uprightly before the Lord. This brother laid his right hand on the shoulder of the brother in need of healing while I ministered to his legs. After I ministered, there was no change. I didn't pray again. I just told him I'd speak with him in a few minutes. About ten minutes later I took him aside, just the two of us and I ministered to him again the same way. The fire of God came on him so much that he said his legs felt like they were on fire. That feeling of fire remained for at least 15 minutes. Of course, all the pain left his legs.

I'm not passing judgment on the brother who was not walking uprightly before the Lord, but the Holy Spirit wouldn't flow with His power. There's no fellowship between light and darkness and the Holy Spirit won't put His stamp of approval of sinful behavior when the person knows better. The brother with sin in his life was not an ignorant, new believer. He'd been a believer for years with the word of God in him. He was accountable. There's a scripture verse in 1Timothy that shows this truth. Some people may not think this particular verse applies this way, but to me it seems to fit.

1Timothy 5:22 shows this truth.

Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure. - 1Timothy 5:22

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Dreams are real encounters

Dreams are real experiences and the Lord will give them to you in order to bless you with direction and understanding. I've had many dreams that seem so real that I consider them encounters rather than dreams. Often, before I go to sleep, I will ask the Holy Spirit to help me engage in my dreams and remember them. God is faithful and this practice has helped me a lot. King Solomon had a dream and it was a real encounter.

1Kings 3:5-15 show us this truth.

At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.

“Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.” 

Then Solomon awoke—and he realized it had been a dream. - 1Kings 3:5-15

Monday, June 5, 2017

Jabez was honorable

God often includes in the context of scripture His reason for blessing people. Some people think God doesn't need any reason to bless us other than the fact that He loves us and I do believe that's true. However, when we show the Lord faith through our behavior, He makes it clear to mankind that His stamp of approval is on right behavior. Jabez is a good example of this. The scripture gives clear reason as to why Jabez was blessed with such an awesome blessing. Jabez was more honorable than his brothers.

1Chronicles 4:9-10 show us this truth.

Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request. - 1Chronicles 4:9-10.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Knowledge is in Christ

Recently, Ahava and I were having lunch at a restaurant. The waiter seemed rude and not very interested in serving. I'm the type of guy that responds in my mind with common sense, so I thought it was dumb behavior on his part. After all, he's making a living serving people. Wouldn't it be wise to put on a happy face even if you don't feel like it? As it turns out, I also need spiritual growth, so when I caught myself having a negative attitude towards him, I repented. The Spirit brought to my remembrance the truth that I should be loving the unlovable. At that point, I got a clear word of knowledge about him and was able to dialog with him, even though he opposed Christianity. The word of knowledge came after I repented because all wisdom and knowledge is in Christ. Wrong thinking is outside of Christ.

Colossians 2:2-3 show us this truth.

...that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. - Colossians 2:2-3

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Aiming for the prize

It's important to keep the right perspective about belief in Christ. Many believers latch onto teaching that causes them to believe they've already arrived at the goal. They reject the teaching that explains how this is a race that has to be run till the end. Balanced teaching produces mature believers. In the New Testament there is more admonition to stay the course than there is teaching on identity and sonship. Paul makes this clear in his letter to the believers at Philippi.

Philippians 3:10-14 is one portion of scripture that shows this.

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,  and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 3:10-14