Deuteronomy 8:1-5

Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers. 2 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.

First the Test, then the Blessing

               As a people of God we can often relate with the children of Israel out in the wilderness.  Most all of us have experienced our share of trials and tribulation and some of us more than others.  While we pray and trust God, sometimes we may be tempted to murmur, if not out loud, then in our minds.  When we pray, we expect God to just listen up and get that prayer answered.  So why doesn’t it always work that way?  Why do we sometimes have to wait and endure so long to see our answer? 

               One of the first things we need to remember here is who is the parent and who is the child.   Who is training whom?  There are many instances in our present day society that it is evident that the child is in charge and not the parents.  When the child demands the parents obey promptly to keep that spoiled child happy and content.  God wants to bless us, but He doesn’t want to spoil us.  He is not the great celestial Santa Clause that some like to imagine and even believe that He is.  God is the Father and He is not just any Father.  He is the awesome creator God and Father.  The first thing we must learn to operate in alignment with His kingdom, is that we are not in charge, He is!  That seems an obvious statement, but it is one that we often seem to forget in practical living.  

               James 4: 3 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”  Our Father is not raising his children to walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit, so when we ask we are often tested to see what is truly in our hearts.  It is not so much for God’s benefit as for ours, so that we can really see our true motives. 

               What leaps out to me as I read this passage in Deuteronomy 8 is “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna.  What came first the test or the provision?  It has to be obvious, even to the unbeliever, that well over a million people could not have survived out in a wilderness without a supernatural provision.  It is apparent in this scripture that when they received the manna and the provision it wasn’t always in accordance with their timetable and expectations. As a result, many of them would begin to grumble, murmur and complain.  While I am sure none of us reading this have ever been guilty of doing that, it is enlightening to know that in God’s economy, provision and blessing works on His time table and not ours.  Why do we need faith if we never have to believe in hope for the expectation of its manifestation?

               Romans 5:1-5 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”  We love to rejoice in the goodness and blessing of God.  We love to rejoice in the salvation we have in Christ and the forgiveness of our sins.  We should, these are glorious, but then look what it says we should also rejoice in.  Suffering!  Why should we have to endure suffering?  Didn’t Jesus do all of that?  No, He was our example of suffering and what it works in us.  Suffering is a training tool to teach us obedience along with the attributes of obedience which are patience, perseverance, character and hope in what does not disappoint us. 

               Hebrews 5:7-10 says of Jesus, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.”  God is calling those that can hear this to this same high priesthood in Christ Jesus, but to walk in the priestly calling we must be willing to walk where Jesus walked and suffer like He suffered.  This identification with His life will bring the ultimate blessing, but first we must walk through the ultimate test.  Do not despair if you are in this hard place of testing and suffering, use it to learn the perseverance, patience, character and hope that you need to press into His highest and inherit the blessing.  “The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. (Luke 6:40)”




Sin Still Separates

May 31, 2023

Sin Still Separates

Isaiah 59:1-2

Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid [his] face from you, that he will not hear.

               While we have entered into a new and better covenant relationship with God and have been reconciled to Him through the blood of Jesus, still sin separates us in fellowship with God through the Holy Spirit.  1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  We know that sin does not have to remain a barrier between us and our God, because confessed sin, repented of, is forgiven and we are cleansed.  Many of us are still carrying condemnation from past sins that we have confessed and asked forgiveness for.  While God has forgiven us, we can’t forgive ourselves.  You have allowed Satan to continue beating you over the head with this stick of condemnation that has robbed you from believing and accepting God’s forgiveness for you.  This grieves the heart of God, because you are then denying the power and forgiveness of the blood of Jesus.  Denying that He can truly forgive you and release you from sin is in a sense sin, because you are refusing God’s cleansing.  If this fits you, then accept God at His Word and forgive yourself, because He has forgiven you.  Look forward in your relationship with Christ and quit living in the past.  “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

               This is a time when we need to find the face of God.  We need to hear Him and be led of Him.  Our place of consecration is paramount in our personal relationship with the Lord.  James 4:8 says, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse [your] hands, [ye] sinners; and purify [your] hearts, [ye] double minded.”  No doubt many of you, like myself, find your lives compromised in so many ways in the lives we lead.  Yes, we love the Lord, but have been unwilling to submit and yield all our ways to Him.  We are holding out in areas of our lives.  We are double minded in areas of our lives.  Could this be what is hindering the close relationship with our Lord in which we hear His voice and know His leading? God says, ‘ to this man will I look, even to him that is of a broken and contrite heart.’  Sin must break our hearts as it breaks His and grieve our spirits as it grieves His, then will we come into one heart and one mind with the Lord.  Then will He hear us and we will hear Him.  He is calling us into the Holy of Holies of His divine presence.  We must respond in purification and affections that are wholly set upon Him and not the world.  Do you desire to abide in the presence of the All Mighty?  Jesus is calling us into a deeper life with Him, one in which sin no longer separates us from His presence.



How much does Your Sin Cost Me?

James 4:1-6

1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

    4You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? 6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:  “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

          We know that Jesus paid the price for our sin and the spiritual, eternal consequences they reap.  We know that through faith and calling upon the name of Jesus we can partake of the free gift of His great salvation and goodness.  We know also that through the power of His life that comes to reside within us we can overcome the strongholds and the power of the sin that has operated in our lives.  We also know that even though Jesus paid the price, sin still operates in our world and unfortunately it still operates in us as believers where we give it place.  Sin has natural consequences as well as spiritual ones.  As we survey our world we have no trouble seeing the devastating effects of sin that touches every life on this planet.  While God is merciful to forgive our sins, that sin still produces consequences.  It produces its fruit of destruction and death.  The sad thing about sin, whether it is ours or someone else’s, it doesn’t just cost us, it cost all who are touched by it.  Sin is like a rock thrown into a pond, it produces a big splash where it lands, but it also produces ripples that go out in all directions.  This begs the question, how much will your sin cost me and how much will my sin cost you? 

          People ask the question, “How could a loving God allow war, hunger, sickness, disease, poverty and crime?”  I guess it could be said, because He loved us enough to give humanity a free will to make choices whether they were for Him or against Him.  The state of our world is the fruit of many poor choices where man chose sin over God.  God has loved us so much, that in spite of all those wrong choices and in spite of the ones we continue to make we have a way back to Him; back to His righteousness and perfect plan.  Meanwhile, as long we continue in this present evil age of man’s doing, the consequences of sin will follow us. 

          What does that mean to us on a personal level?  What happens for instance when a person allows alcohol or drug addiction to get a hold of their lives.  The hook is often innocent enough, but the underlying consequences are horrific.  How many of our lives have been affected by these?  A person lusts so much after these strongholds that they will cheat, steal, lie, con and they will become all the things that they once hated and detested in others.  They will beat the wife they say they love, they will abuse their precious children, they rob from their family to feed and satisfy their addiction and even though they hate themselves for it they can’t stop their destructive course.  They go on to beg, borrow, steal, and con their friends, family and loved ones, because of their lack.  They will lose their jobs, their reputation, their self-respect, their dignity and integrity until they either get help or completely destroy all that they had loved and held dear.  They will cost those closest to them untold grief, heartache, pain in many ways: financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually and every other way.  That ripple will continue to radiate out and affect others even beyond their personal relationships.  How many thousands and millions of dollars does it cost a society because of crime and sin.  People are victimized and hurt continually because of someone else’s sin. 

          How much does divorce, unfaithful and broken relationships cost, not only financially, but in terms of suffering, heartbreak, anger, unwillingness to forgive and shattered lives and hearts.  That is something nearly everyone has been touched by since it effects about half of our marriages today; all of it the result of our sin and selfishness.  How much will your sin cost me?  It doesn’t just cost you, it cost everyone around you.  If sin has a stronghold on you, get help!  As painful and humiliating as that may be, it is nothing compared to what your sin will reap.  Remember God loves you.  He is for you and not against you, but He will not make your choices for you.  Only you and I can make right choices.  Let us humble ourselves and return to Him, that we may receive His grace before it cost us all more that we want to pay.



Promise Keepers

May 29, 2023

Promise Keepers

1 Kings 8:56

Blessed [be] the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.

               Isn’t it sad, time consuming, frustrating and even a little insulting that whenever you make a purchase using a credit card or check you must verify everything with an I. D.?  You can’t even pump gas unless you pay first.  Why wasn’t it that way forty or fifty years ago?  I think it was because the majority of people were more honest, reliable and their word meant something.  Many deals were done with a handshake rather than a contract.  More people were raised with the ethics that ‘a man is only as good as his word’.  Therefore, a person’s word carried more weight and reliability than it does today.  Today, among so many, a person’s promise or word doesn’t carry the commitment that it once did.  Many of us have grown very lax when it comes to our commitment in carrying out what we have said that we will do.  As a result, we live in a world of mistrust and we must seek security of some sort on all our transactions and dealings, otherwise someone will change their mind and their promise or commitment means nothing. 

               Aren’t we thankful that God isn’t wishy-washy, changing His mind from one time to the next?  Aren’t we thankful that His love and commitment aren’t conditional upon our being good enough or performing well enough?  2 Corinthians 1:19-20 says, “For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” 20For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.”   God isn’t slack concerning His promises and our word should be as His word, sure and reliable.  It is bad enough that we live in a world and society that are not committed to their word, but we, as God’s people, are not that much different.  In fact, I have seen many times that a person that wasn’t even a Christian was more reliable and trustworthy than another person who did profess to know Christ.  If we can’t and don’t keep our word and our promises then what are we telling the world that is seeing Christ through us.  “If I can’t trust you, why should I trust your God?”  Brethren, these things ought not to be so.  All of us need to raise our level of integrity and character to the point that when we commit and promise something, we are bound to carry it through. 

               What does Jesus say about keeping your word?  In Matthew 5:33-37, Jesus says, “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ 34But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”  He doesn’t ask us to bind ourselves with oaths and swear by other things that we have no control over, He simply tells us to have the integrity to let our yes mean yes and our no mean no.  He is saying, just be a person of your word.  Are we liars, promise breakers, false and untrue?  This is what we are saying about ourselves when we don’t follow through and keep our word.  Even more, this is what we are communicating about God to the people that are watching our lives and seeing our actions.  

               God is wanting us to be promise keepers, true to our covenants and promises to Him first, but also to our wives and husbands, families, friends and the people that we interact with in life.



Strength out of Weakness

2 Corinthians 12:9

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

               Remember when you were a teenager and you knew everything and mom and dad didn’t have a clue about anything?  In your mind they may have seemed pretty dumb and were just a hindrance to the cool lifestyle you were trying to lead.  A few more years down the road, after you had grown up a little and had to experience life more on your own, you may have began to think those people may have known a little more than I gave them credit for.  Then, after you were married and had kids of your own, you realized what you had put your parents through and may have been thankful that they had the patience and fortitude to allow you to grow into adulthood.  From that perspective of maturity, when you thought you were invincible and you had the world by the tail, you look back and see how weak and foolish you really were.  You took for granted the support system that was in place holding you up and allowing you to try your wings.  It is usually after a few good crashes that reality starts to set in. 

               We are often not so much different in our Christian perspective.  We like to see ourselves as having great spiritual wisdom and insight, having faith that can raise the dead and heal the sick and have the devil by the tail with our foot on his neck.  Much like when we were teenagers, we sometimes forget the foundation of all that we have.  We get this idea that it is because we are something special and God is lucky to have us on His side.  Then, somewhere along the road we run into a reality check or two that makes us rethink who and what we are.  A lot of us think maybe there must be something wrong with God.  We have to discover the truth that God isn’t great in us because of our strengths, talents and abilities; He is great in us because we are weak. 

               Our scripture today is about what the Lord spoke to Paul in his infirmity.  Here is a man to whom God has imparted spiritual wisdom, power, and the gospel too.  He has been placed in the office of an apostle.  He has been entrusted with writing over half of the New Testament and he can’t even heal or deliver himself.  Did he miss God somewhere?  Is he out of His will?  Is it because of his sin?  Why won’t God answer his prayer and allow him to walk in perfect health, prosperity and blessing?  Could it be because only God could be glorified out of weakness and Paul could then never boast or be tempted to boast in his ability?  His strength was when his only ability or power to boast was in Christ.  He had all kinds of credentials and credibility from a religious standpoint.  He was like a doctor of theology and had the genealogy to go with it.  In 2 Corinthians 11 Paul lets us know that he can match credentials and even persecution with the best of those who came as ministers of light only to deceive and lead others away from Christ.  Now if Paul was God’s right hand man why did he have to go through all those beatings, those persecutions, hunger, shipwrecks, stoning, and infirmities?  He says in 2 Corinthians 11: 29-30, “Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended, and I burn not, If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.”  Why was Paul focused on his weakness and not on his strength?  It was because his weakness was his strength.  In his weakness he couldn’t identify with his ability, but only the strength and ability of Christ in him.  As he was laid upon the altar then it was only God’s life that issued out of him to raise and bring others up.  In his death in daily living, others found life, encouragement, hope, faith, strength and power.  He was never sitting up on a pedestal telling everyone to look and listen to him, because he was the oracle and God’s man of the hour.  In 2 Corinthians 4:6-12 Paul gives us further insight into this revelation, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.  We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death works in us, but life in you.”

It is evident, that with some, Paul seemed to receive little respect because they were so quickly drawn away to those who wanted to put them again under bondage.  Paul’s greatness was in the One he allowed to live through him.  When Paul wasn’t anything, then Christ could be everything. 

               Hebrews 11:34 talks about the men and women of faith when it says, “Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.”  We have to get a revelation that if we are really going to do anything and be anything for God, it is not going to come out of us, it is going to come out of Christ in us. 

               Grapes have to be crushed for sweet wine to be made. Gethsemane means “olive press” and until the skin is broken and the pressure applied the oil won’t come forth.  Often this is true of the anointing we have in Christ.   A diamond is a chunk of coal under great pressure.  Pure Gold is excavated and crushed ore that is then refined in the fire and shaped by the goldsmith’s hammer. 

               If you are that person that may think of themselves as passed over by God because you seem to only reap suffering, pain and hardship; you may be the real gems of God’s garden.  The ones that He wants to perfect His strength in, through your weakness.  You have already come to the place where you know that God’s grace alone is sufficient in your weakness, but through your weakness we will see the manifestation of His strength.  Be encouraged and be strong, God hasn’t begun a good work in you that He cannot perfect or finish.  Hold fast in your faithfulness and He will prove Himself faithful and mighty through you.



Lift Up Your Eyes

May 25, 2023

Lift up your Eyes

Psalms 121

I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from?

2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber;

4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

7 The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life;

8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

A Prophetic Word of Encouragement to God’s People:

               You have thought at times that the Lord did not care, that He didn’t see and that He didn’t hear. 

               “I have loved you with an everlasting love, a love that can’t be quenched or satisfied.  Mine is a love that continues on, that sees you in the perfection in which I have created you, not in the sin with which you struggle.  You are my holy ones that I am raising up in My Name and for My glory.  You have not been considered lightly, nor have you been tossed aside, but I see every detail that concerns you.  If a sparrow cannot fall without my knowing and if I know each hair upon your head, do you not think that I do not know every thought and intent of your heart?  

               This brief time when I am training you up may seem difficult, it may seem unfair, but don’t say that it is because I do not care.   I am working in you an eternal weight of glory, far beyond what you can now see and comprehend.  You have drank from the cup of disappointment and discouragement, but I have never stopped interceding for you and lifting you up before my Father.  It was often a bitter cup that I drank from upon the earth.  I knew rejection and the hurting words and actions of others.  I knew what it was like to be misunderstood and accused falsely.  I experienced all manners of insults and hostilities, but it was in these trials that you have opportunity to express the Father’s love and nature. 

               You are hurt and offended at Me, because you look to yourselves.  Don’t you yet understand that you are of Me and I am of you?  If the world would have loved me they would love you, but you are not of the world, you are of Me.  You must learn to live in the world with a heavenly perspective.  You must trust Me concerning all that touches your life.  My ways are not to deliver you out of adversity and trial, but to bring you through.  Your destiny is not to escape evil, but to overcome evil with good.  My life in you overcomes the world and my grace is sufficient to help you to endure the process. 

               Never doubt my love for you.  No one could ever or has ever loved you more.  Don’t cling to the natural life; don’t be so concerned for the natural circumstances.  Come unto Me and I will give you rest.  It is in your fellowship and worship time with Me that you will find green pasture and still waters.  I love my own with a passion and burning love that you don’t even know.  I have not passed you over and I have not forsaken you.  You are my treasure and you are a part and portion of My life.  Hold fast to Me.  Don’t let the earthly things shake your faith and confidence.  Have I not said, “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world”?  You are an overcomer, you are a conqueror and your’s is the victory because I live in you and abide with you.  Hold fast that which I have placed within you, what I have spoken into your spirit and performed in your life.  Keep your eyes on the eternal.  Keep your eyes upon Me for I am your help and your salvation and I have not forsaken thee.  Fear not death, for it can not take you from me, neither embrace it for it is not your friend.  My name is Life and it is life that I have placed within you as you have embraced Me by faith.” 



Our Father, Guardian and Instructor

Proverbs 13:1

A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke.

               Why is it that God’s people should read and study the Word of God?  Why is it that they should listen and read from Spirit Anointed men and women?  Why are prayer and meditation so important?

               As God has given us earthly parents that for a short time to teach and correct us, Our heavenly Father is continually our guardian, instructor and corrector.  Hebrews 12:10 tells us, “Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.”  Isn’t that our goal and destiny as people of God, to share in God’s holiness and nature?  Isn’t this our new nature as we have been born again by the Spirit?  As the wife and I read through the book of Proverbs we can’t help but be impressed with this message, ‘God will give us wisdom and life defining principles that will give us good success, long life and immortality. The condition is that we must take heed to listen and follow in these principles and ways of life.  We all know that we have areas of weakness, failure and folly in our lives.  We need correction, for without it we will perish.  This is what distinguishes the wise from the foolish and the righteous from the wicked, the righteous and wise son will heed, receive and embrace correction and rebuke.  He will not be offended by it because he knows that it is working life and godliness in him.  Proverbs 9:8 says, “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.”  Now none of us are overly fond of correction, because it generally hurts our ego or our flesh.  Many of the trials that we endure are a form of correction, not because we are bad, but because God is exercising us in faith and in application of the principles and tenants of His Word.  How do we get good at anything?  Isn’t it by much repetition and practice?  We are in God’s boot camp and His training ground for developing and exercising righteousness and right living.  How are we going to know the right responses and ways to handle our trials and the circumstances that life throws at us if we don’t study the manual and listen to instruction?  This is why we want a close walk and relationship with the Lord so that we can hear and discern the Holy Spirit’s voice.  He is our personal teacher and life coach.  He will teach us through our everyday life experiences if we are tuned in and listening to Him.  Most of us are so busy blasting through life our own way we rarely give time or attention to even inquire or listen for the Holy Spirit.  I wonder why we struggle so?

               The wisest and richest man in the earth wrote Proverbs.  Much of what is shared in Proverbs is a contrast between wise and foolish, simple and knowledgeable, righteous and wicked and life and death.  We are continually instructed on right response and behavior and wrong response and behavior.  It makes plain to us the consequences of our response and choices. 

               If any of us have had rebellious or disobedient children then we can relate with what the Lord puts up with in us.  Somehow they can’t receive the fact that you are telling them things and limiting them from things that will result in their hurt.  They perceive it as you being overbearing, unfair and just out of touch.  As a result they choose to go down the hurtful path that results in pain and suffering for all.  Many of us are certainly no different when it comes to obeying God’s Word. 

               We want to challenge you to read a chapter of Proverbs every day for a least two years and see if it doesn’t change your life, your finances and your situation as you begin to put these principles and proverbs into practice.  There are thirty chapters, one for each day of the month. What Sharon and I are doing is reading a new chapter and then we reread the chapter we read the day before to reinforce it.  God’s Word will change us if we will not only read it and hear it, but seek to give it application in our daily lives and circumstances.  This is what develops holiness in the fear of God.  This is what gives us faith and life and hope in every situation.   Take the challenge and prove God’s Word.  His promises and His Word will not come back void, they will work positive changes in your life.   God is a good God, a wonderful and loving Parent and One that is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.



Shine Out of Darkness

May 23, 2023

Shine out of Darkness

2 Corinthians 4:6

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

               There is a glorious light of truth, that God, in His mercy, has allowed us to comprehend and lay hold of.  It is a treasure so often hidden and obscured by the earth of our humanity and sin.  Yet God is greater than our darkness and has called us out of darkness unto the destiny of light and truth.  Therefore, we are like newborns breaking forth out of the eggshell of our humanity.  It is not without struggles and trials that we come forth, but we have seen a great light and our desire is to press into it.  The only way in is the way out.  It is Christ whose precious seed has brought us to fruition and now urges us inwardly to come forth into the life and the light that we have been birthed to walk in. 

               Many, still remain in the darkness of their sin and ignorance.  They have either not comprehended the light or they have rejected it for their sin.  John 3:19-21 tells us, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”  Once we have comprehended and laid hold of the light, God help us not to look back to the dark desires of our past.  Set your eyes upon the light of God’s Word and truth today.

Let us renounce the hidden works of darkness and be the lamps through which God’s marvelous light shines and is revealed to the dark world that we live in.  We will not lose our way so long as our hearts are fixed upon the light and hope of our soul.  Should we stumble, the Light is greater than our darkness, but only we can allow the light of the love and forgiveness of Christ to wash our sin and restore our fellowship.  We are His vessels created and purposed to not only receive the light, but also to be light bearers, illuminating the darkness around us and showing others the light of His truth and deliverance.  Be that light that shines out of darkness.



If I have to live this way, just shoot me!

1 Kings 19:4

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I [am] not better than my fathers.

            Have you ever felt that way?  You came to a point in life, maybe more than once, where life was just too painful, too hopeless and a dark cloud of depression and despondency covered your soul. Maybe it was from physical pain, emotional heartbreak or pressures around you that were just too much to bear. Thoughts of suicide were contemplated and maybe even attempted.  Voices were in your head telling you, “just to end it, get it over with.  Once you’re dead your pain is over.  Besides, who really cares?  Everybody will probably be better off without you.”  Do any of these thoughts sound familiar?  If they do then you have wrestled the enemy of depression and despair.  If you have been in this place, don’t feel condemned or weak, even the most spiritual of men have had there bouts with these demons.  Our scripture today is speaking of Elijah, the mighty prophet of God and it came just after one of the greatest spiritual victories of that time.  He should have felt invincible, but here we find him weak, frightened, fearful, despondent and despairing of his own life.  Isn’t it wonderful how God shows us the great spiritual men of the Bible in their weakness as well as their strength?  That, in itself, gives us hope.  If they are so spiritual and yet they went through these things, then maybe there is hope for me and you. 

            Beloved, some of you have endured great pain, suffering, persecution and affliction, beyond what one should have to bear.  Even if you have tried to fight the good fight and be faithful, you can grow weary in the battle.  Mental, physical and spiritual exhaustion can overcome you until thoughts and reasonings can come in that have no place being in your head.  These are like the testing experiences of Christ in the wilderness when He was at His weakest point.  The enemy tries to come in for the kill.  He would tell us, “God is a lie, that He is not faithful, He has forsaken you, He doesn’t care about you, and there probably isn’t even a God.” 

            His strategy is to disconnect us from our unity, oneness and identification in Christ, who is our strength and our life, because that is our power.  If He can rob Christ from us then what do we have?  What strength can we stand in? 

            Some of you are thinking, “yeah, but if God loves me so much, why would He allow me to have to go through so much pain?”  Sometimes it is the deep inner working of pain and suffering in our lives that brings us to terms with areas that we would just as soon keep buried forever.  There may be root causes for these pains and afflictions in our lives that can’t be healed and delivered until they are brought into the light and dealt with.  If Christ learned obedience through the things He suffered as it tells us in Hebrews 5:8, are we then greater than He? 

            It is not God’s will that we are in continual suffering and pain, but these are often the tools brought to bear upon us by the enemy, but God turns and uses them to do an inner surgery upon our character and our heart.  One thing we have to come to terms with is, “God is faithful all the time”, but you won’t always outwardly see that faithfulness.  Quite the contrary, everything in the natural can be speaking and demonstrating against the faithfulness of God.  2 Corinthians 4:18 tells us a secret, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal.”  What does Hebrews 11:1 tell us about faith?  “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  As hard as it is, our trust can not be placed in the outward circumstances that seen around us. 

            God loves you and is with you even in your weakest, darkest moments.  He has not abandoned or forsaken you.  What you are living with or going through may be the valley of the shadow of death, but David says, “I will not fear, for thou art with meThy rod (authority of the Word) and thy staff (salvation) they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” While the enemy is doing everything in its power to defeat and destroy you God is setting the table of blessing and mercy right in the face of the enemy.  You are the anointed of God.  He is pouring the anointing of His Spirit and power over you that you may be more than a conqueror through Christ who has loved you and gave Himself for you.  See with your spiritual eyes, embrace with all the faith of your spiritual man the love and goodness God has for you, even in the midst of such darkness and despair.  Don’t give up, keeping on trusting Him.  The race isn’t to the swift and strong, but to the faithful.



Parables of the Kingdom

Matthew 13:44-52

44″The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

45″Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

47″Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. 49This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

51″Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked.

“Yes,” they replied.

52He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”

               Jesus has given us some parables here in Matthew to help us grasp a spiritual understanding of the kingdom of heaven.  It is much like you having discovered a large reservoir of oil beneath your property.  You grasp the potential wealth of what you are sitting on, but until the oil can be brought to the surface it has no practical and realized value or worth to you.  Aren’t our lives the same way?  We have discovered the great truth and wealth we have of Christ in us, our hope of glory, but as long as He stays locked up in our spirit, our property, remains pretty much unchanged.  So, what will we do?  Now having this knowledge of the great treasure possessed beneath the surface, we will make our primary pursuit and investment in gleaning the treasure we know is there.  We will make what ever sacrifices are necessary of what we now possess outwardly so that we might tap into the rich resources that are hidden in our earth.  2 Corinthians 4:7 tells us, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” There is treasure in these here vessels of clay and we need to mine it out.  We are drilling for the nature, the power and the life of Christ, and we don’t want to spare any expense or fail to make any sacrifice necessary to lay hold of it.  What is more is that, as we are in pursuit of the riches within, we want to share the good news with others around us.  We want them to know that they also can have this treasure, but we find that many are far too self-absorbed to hear us or lay hold of the truth that we are sharing with them.  Paul says in verses 4-6, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” 

We have been blessed with the revelation of the riches we have within, now it is about laying hold of them till they become resident and manifest in our daily lives.  In laying hold of these riches there are other things that we value in life that we will have to let go of.  We have to decide where our treasure really is and what we are willing to give up to lay hold of it.  If we choose the riches and what is valuable to us in this life then we will lose our grip on the eternal life and fail to realize the riches that we held.  On the other hand, when we are willing to forsake all else and spend all our resources to lay hold of this treasure within, then we will lay hold of riches that so far exceed those we could ever know in this world. 

               In another parable Jesus gives here of the net drawing in a great catch of fish we see that the kingdom of heaven is currently made up of a mixture of both good and bad.  We see it in the realm of Christianity.  It is a mixture of flesh and Spirit.  We also see that in God’s time there will be a purification and casting out of all that is bad or that defiles.  This same analogy could apply to our individual lives as well.  We may often become disgusted with all the flesh and ungodliness we see in the body of Christ, but we don’t have to look any further than ourselves to see where it comes from.  We are like that net of fish, full of a mixture of good and bad.  Surely, I am not the only one that becomes so discouraged with myself; with how far I miss the mark and fail to walk after the Spirit in so many aspects of my life.  We are a mixed bag that the Holy Spirit is trying to help us sort out as we look and fully lean upon Him.  Most any valuable thing in its natural state is impure.  That is why God is processing us, to bring out the riches of His pure nature and love.  Sometimes it is like going through hell with fire and gnashing of teeth as we deal with these areas of impurity and iniquity in our lives. 

               In Matthew 13:52 Jesus says something rather interesting, “52He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.””  It is like, the more the Holy Spirit instructs us in our lives through knowledge and experience in godliness, the more we understand and know of its ways.  As we grow in understanding and experience we share that with others who are likewise seeking to know Christ in a deeper and more meaningful way.  We all have rich experiences of how the Lord has dealt in our lives and how He has taught us.  As we share these with others it is a mixture of not just past experiences and knowledge, but also of fresh revelation and insight into areas of our lives.  Our lives should be a combination of new treasures and old.  It is like building a house, you are continually building upon the former with new material.  God’s Word never changes and yet it is always fresh as He unveils new truth, insight and revelation in it.

               What kingdom truths is the Lord opening up in your understanding and what are we doing to lay hold and see the reality of these truths come to pass in our lives?  He is our resource, our provision and our salvation, but we have to let go of the world with that other hand.  It is going to take both of our hands holding fast to His so that He can pull us up into Him.



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