Daciple Ministries

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#21
Thanks for that. It brought to mind two things;
*that the Passover bread was supposed to be Unleavened

and

* Isaiah 55:1-2
‘Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and
milk without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.


But i also wanted your take on this:
There are only 3 (that i know of) instances where God says "It is finished/It is done"

John 19:30, Revelation 16:17 and 21:6
 





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#22
Come When The King Calls


Esther 1:10 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven chamberlains that served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king,
11 To bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to shew the people and the princes her beauty: for she was fair to look on.
12 But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king's commandment by his chamberlains: therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him.


I was reading Esther the other day and as I was reading these verses stuck out to me, not only these specific verses but the entire scene and what happened between the King and the Queen as described in chapter 1. So I began to dwell, study and pray on them and the Lord laid some lessons we can learn from this chapter upon my heart. Now before I begin I want to make it clear that the King, Xerxes was in the wrong to call Vashti into the court, as I studied I learned that it was breaking the cultural laws of that time. Not only that but he was more than likely drunk and was objectifying her and was probably going to humiliate her in some way. However there are some points of Truth that can be seen here for when a Righteous King calls us for a Righteous reason.

To be sure there is only one King, the King of King and when He calls us into His Court He calls us for a Righteous reason:

Rev 19:16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.

However there are consequences when we refuse to come when the King calls!!!

What I can tell you is that there will be some point in time in which the Kings is going to call everyone into His chamber. God is not a respecter of persons, and He will speak to each and every single person at some point in time, and He will call every person into His chamber. The minute you get the call from the King, and you turn Him away is the minute that the Wrath of God abides upon you. The call is different for everyone, different times, different ways. You may get the call when you are young and first understand the Gospel and right and wrong. You may be 20 like I was, you may be 35, 42, 56, 68, 74, I don't know but at some point you will get called. I don't know how it will happen, it could happen at Church, it could happen at a funeral, it could happen at school or a wedding, it could happen at Rehab Center like it did for me. It could happen when reading or hearing the Gospel on the Internet, it could be right now for someone, I have no idea, but it will happen sometime and somewhere this you can be assured.

We can see in verse 12 what happened when Vashti didn't heed the call of her King:

12 But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king's commandment by his chamberlains: therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him.

So to is it when the King calls us into His chamber and we refuse.

John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Ps 2:12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.


The call into the chamber from the King is the call to come and believe and trust in Him for Salvation, it is the Gospel call going out where He invites you to be saved from the Sin that you find yourself in and the consequences of your Sin which is Death and Eternity in Hell. Yet once you hear that call, and you find yourself refusing to come, His Wrath now abides upon you because you are now found in your Sin and He must take vengeance upon Sin.

At the time we hear the call and turn away we go from a state of innocents before Him for our ignorance to knowing we are in Sin and purposefully refusing to Repent and go before Him to be given Salvation. At that time we become HIs enemy:

Rom 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.


Even tho we all become His enemy and we all at some point have the Wrath abiding upon them, praise the Lord that Jesus still came and died for us. I love that verse, and it is the Truth, no one would offer to die for their mortal hated enemy, who persecutes them, and spits on them day after day, who takes all the goodness they offer for granted and tells them that they don't need to be thankful for it, that they deserve it. You wouldn't die for the man who tortured you and kicked you and mocked you and left you destitute, but Christ did just that for you. You put Christ on the Cross, you who are Lost you mock HIm, you hated Him, you despise Him, you have been given life and breath, it is literally Christ who sustains you but you reject Him and spit on Him every single day. Every single day you are refusing to come into the Kings Chamber where Eternal Life awaits, but even tho you mock and hate and persecuted Christ, He still suffered the Wrath of all your Sins, He died, all because He loves you.

Yet still we turn and once we turn we become enemies of Christ and those who are apart from Christ are of the Flesh, and they are literally hostile, alienated, and have hatred towards God:

Rom 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.


The carnal mind is enmity against God, the Flesh is at war with God, it hates the things of God, it hates the call of God. I tell you that those who are not Born Again, can not please God in what they do, in you who are Lost in what you do. You can never please the Lord and you can never overcome Sin or do anything at all that is Righteous. The Flesh never wants to do what is Righteous or pleasing to God, it only lusts after Fleshly things, therefore until you are Born Again and have the Holy Spirit live inside you, until you become Spiritually minded you can never live a life pleasing to God.

And if you continue to live a life of the Flesh, continue to reject Christ then you will die in your Sins, and to die in your Sins is to bring the full Wrath of God upon you and be cast into Hell forever and ever:

Matt 41:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Is 66:24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

Heb 10:27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.


It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!! When you refuse to come into the chamber of the King, refuse to heed to the call He is putting out, then you are trodding under foot the Son of God, you are counting the Blood of the Covenant and unholy thing and are despising the Spirit of Grace He is showing you!! To die in this state is to be cast into Hell, and there is no worse judgement that one could ever bear. But you don't have to, Christ bore it for you if you just come into the chamber as He is calling right now!!!

Another thing we can see from Esther is that if you reject the call, and refuse to come into the chamber of the King, it will affect not only you but your family, your friends, those whom you work with and on and on!!

Esther 1:16 And Memucan answered before the king and the princes, Vashti the queen hath not done wrong to the king only, but also to all the princes, and to all the people that are in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus.
17 For this deed of the queen shall come abroad unto all women, so that they shall despise their husbands in their eyes, when it shall be reported, The king Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in before him, but she came not.
18 Likewise shall the ladies of Persia and Media say this day unto all the king's princes, which have heard of the deed of the queen. Thus shall there arise too much contempt and wrath.


We see here that the report once spread would have caused all the women to despise their husbands and cause much contempt and wrath. The decision today not to come to the King as He is calling will affect everyone around you, lost and saved alike. Noah was called, if he didn't do what God said his whole family would have suffered, they all would have died, none of us would be here the effects would stretch far and wide.

Moses was told to go into a Kings court, what would have happened if he refused? All of Israel would have stayed in bondage, they all could have died and there would have never been an Israel!!

Jonah literally rejected the calling of God in his life to go and preach to Nineveh and what happened to him? He found himself in a place far from home, he found himself at a time when all men hated him and rejected him and threw him overboard to die. All of those men almost died because he didn't heed Gods call. He found himself in a watery grave and he almost died because he didn't heed the call, in fact if he wouldn't have been spit up on the shore and finally followed the call of God, all of Nineveh would have perished. Thousands of lives would have been effected, just because one man didn't heed the call of the King to His chamber.

I can see it in my own life, if my mother wouldn't have heeded the call I may have never been saved!!! If I refused to come when called I may be dead and in Hell right now with the path of life I was living!!! Even after I was saved, if I wouldn't of Repented after my moms death, I wouldn't have gone to Church that Sunday, I wouldn't have met the man I used to work with and he wouldn't have told me about the Church he was in. If I wouldn't have ended up there my wife and my child probably wouldn't be saved, and maybe never would have been saved!!

Our chance to come when hearkened by the King affects everyone and everything around us, just as the Queens decision would have affected an entire Kingdom. So just think about what your decision today can affect, and will affect, it could prevent your grandchildren from being saved and end up in Hell, or it could be the decision that affects them to the point they look back and say I am thankful my grandma or grandpa came to the Lord, just like my daughter is thankful her grandma heeded the call, was on fire for Jesus and prayed for her before she ever knew her! I promise your decision right now is going to affect everyone in your life for generations one way or another…

We also see in verse 19 another consequence to refusing to come into the Kings chamber when He calls:

19 If it please the king, let there go a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered, That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she.


If you refuse to come when the King calls you will forfeit your royal estate, I tell you today that God has an inheritance for each and everyone of us that He desperately wants to give us!!!

Eph 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

Heb 9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

Ps 16:5 The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.
6 The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.

John 14:2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.


This inheritance is Heaven and Eternal Life and we can't even begin to comprehend the vastness, the greatness, the wonderfulness of the inheritance that awaits us!!!

1 Corth 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.


Amen!! I am excited to move over to that Land where there is no more pain or hurt or sadness, where God will wipe away every tear, where there is nothing but goodness and joy and happiness and gladness!!! I can't even imagine how great it is going to be, but if you reject the call that is going out, then you will forfeit all of this and the closest thing to Heaven you will ever know is what you see now. Don't forfeit all that God has in store for you, run to His chamber experience HIs love and joy!!

I tell you, if you refuse to come to the court as the King is calling you today, then you may never be invited again, you may have a decree that says you may never come before the King ever again, just like what happened to Vashti. Verse 19 says That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus. People say God would never do this, but I tell you indeed there can be a time that God no longer will call you or invite you to His court!!! Today may be the very last time He calls, or He may come back or He may take you from this World!!!

Rom 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.


If you continue to reject the call, then God may give you over to your reprobate mind and at that point there is no hope, there will never be another call into the court, don't let today be that day, come to the court, Repent and be Born Again!!!

I can tell you the King is calling now, this may be the first call for some people, this may be the final call for some people, I don't know but what I am certain of 100% is that the King is calling you into His court!!!

Eph 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.


Christ came to die for sinners, those who are His enemy with the purpose to reconcile you who are separated from God, back unto Him thru His death burial and resurrection!! He is calling you into the court today to offer you the opportunity to be changed from Children of Wrath to Children of the Inheritance, to pour out His love and mercy upon you and raise you to sit with Him in Heavenly Places!! That you may be without hope, and Lost, but He has by the Blood of Jesus abolished the enmity and the partition that separates you from God, to make peace and reconcile you back to Himself. If you feel the Lord stirring upon your heart then you know He is dealing with you to come, heed the call, be Born Again and have all your Sins removed forever more!!

I love you all, have a great day and blessed day in the Lord!

If you need prayer or anything else please feel free to reach out to me and I will help you the best I can and if I can't help I know one man that can, this man named Jesus!

Disciples
Are
Continually
Influencing
Peoples
Living
Existence

Eph 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
 





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#23
What Shall We Do About The Lions


Proverbs 26:13 The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets.

As I was praying the other night, the Lord laid on my heart to turn to Proverbs 26 and so I picked up my Bible and turned to this Chapter. As I was reading this Chapter many things were standing out to me and the Lord really was causing me to re evaluate my walk and where I was standing in before Him in certain areas of my life. If one reads this whole chapter there is a theme to it, which is a bit unusual for Proverbs. Proverbs is a collection of wise saying from Solomon and sometimes there is a Theme that runs in a Chapter and many times there isn't, it is simply multiple sayings pertaining to a wide range of topics all in one chapter. However this one has a central Theme to it for most of the Chapter and that would be of the Fool and the Slothful man.

Reading and meditating upon this Chapter there were a few things that began to stir upon my heart and maybe one day I will expand upon each one, but what I have been lead to write tonight is concerning the Slothful Man. These verses really hit home for me, and if I am honest I can say unfortunately so very often I have been and I am that Slothful Man. There are 4 verses dedicated to the Slothful and Sluggard Man in this chapter and I have been and can see myself in each of the verses. I hope no one else can see themselves in these verses but I believe that if we are all honest we will see ourselves in them.

In verse 14 it says As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed.

How often have I been lazy and laid in bed when I knew there was work to do!! I could write about this at length but that isn't the verse laid on my heart that God expanded upon, but I have definitely been one to lay in bed. Verses 15 says The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth. How often have I been this Slothful Man!! That I refuse to work as I should and believe it too much to do the tasks assigned to me, even tho that is how I am fed and nourished!!! Both of these verses pertain to Physical and Spiritual applications in our lives, have you laid in bed when you know you need to go to Physical Work? Have you laid around when you know you need to do the Lords Work? How often have you grieved at your job to do what you know you ought to and slacked off to your own detriment? How often have you slacked off at the job you know you have Spiritually and thus suffered to not nourish yourself on the Bread of God?

Verse 16 says The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason. How often have I been this man!! The one that refuses to put in the time and work to become better at the job I have been tasked to do, but then act as tho I know more than those who have spent much more time and are speaking to me in earnest hope to help me accomplish the task at hand. I could speak to 7 men that know more, done the job more, has more experience, but I still want to act as tho I am the one who knows better than they!! Have you been there? I have, both Physically and Spiritually, and again I could write much more concerning this topic, but I want to focus on the verse that I began with verse 13 The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets.

I prayed and meditated on this verse last night and again tonight and the depths and meaning behind this in particular verse have weighed upon me. It has put a fire underneath me and has become real to a point that I believe it's something all Christians need to take seriously and that is why I am writing about it tonight. At first I didn't understand what this really meant, I mean it says a Slothful man says there is Lion in the way and in the streets, isn't that a good thing for someone to do? If there is danger then they ought to tell someone else right?

I pondered the verse, it didn't make sense, we ought to tell others when they are headed towards something that may harm them, and when I think of that, I of course think of preaching the Gospel. Why would it be a bad thing and a trait of a Slothful Man to warn others of danger or as I was equating it preaching the Gospel. However the more I dwelt on it the more I began to realize that's not what it's speaking about, what this verse is saying is, the Slothful Man, all he does is say something and THAT IS IT!!! When that revelation came it floored me, how often have I been the Slothful Man that just gives lip service to things but never DOES anything about it!!!

If a man is heading into traffic, and we say with no sincerity or authority or earnest there is traffic in the street, have we really done anything for him? Is he really going to hear us, or take us seriously? What if we do say your walking into traffic, and say it with sincerity and authority what if we even shout it, but the man doesn't stop, do we just let him continue to walk into the traffic?

If we see a person with their house on fire, and we simply walk by and casually say, your house is on fire, are we doing a disservice to the person trapped in the house? If we see their house is on fire and even if we shout and we see they can't be roused to move, do we just pass by and think our duty is fulfilled?

I believe many so called Christians today, can't even be bothered to say there is a lion in the streets, they don't want to offend someone, they don't want to draw attention to themselves or make the other person feel judged. If they do muster up the ability to speak up, they don't even speak with authority or sincerity as to the danger those who are Lost are really facing!!! It's like they must not even believe the danger exists themselves!!

But what became apparent to me as the Lord worked this upon my heart is that the reason why this is a picture of a Slothful Man, is because there was no ACTION to his words and warnings!! He did NOTHING concerning either the Lion or the people in peril. That's what stuck home with me, how often I have been that Slothful Man that thinks by making a mention of the danger, that I have fulfilled my obligation and then I turn and walk away!!! People are dying and going to Hell by the droves, and what am I doing? Don't believe me? Here is what Scripture says concerning it:

Is 5:14 Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure

Pro 27:20 Hell and destruction are never full


Everyone that isn't Born Again is going to this awful place, that is enlarging and opening more and more everyday!!! And what am I doing to stop them from going? What are you doing to stop them from going?

This Proverb brought to mind a Scripture from James which reads 22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. So when I take these two in context with one another, I see the Lord saying Daciple what are doing, what ACTION are you taking for those headed into danger? Are you being a hearer of the Word or a Doer? And sadly more times than Id like to admit, I am only a Hearer. I have all the understanding of the Word but I am failing to apply it to my life properly. What good is a head of knowledge without application? Wisdom is to apply knowledge to ones life, to move it from head knowledge to heart action!!

So I have prayed about this specifically and from this verse I see two things that I believe not only myself but all those who are Truly Born Again need to focus on. The Slothful Man only says a weak warning about the danger and then moves on. A Prudent and Helpful Man, well he sees two different avenues in which to help, save and protect those in danger.

First is to put into action the warning, to literally go after the people in danger and not only warn them of the danger but show them the way out! Show them how to prevent themselves from falling into the danger!!! How often am I truly going after the people I know are headed to Hell? How often do I make excuses as to why I shouldnt testify or preach the Gospel to them? Everyday this ought to be exactly what my first priority besides praising Christ should be, what ACTION can I take to prevent someone from going to Hell today! I believe as Born Again Christians people should literally be walking over top of us to get to Hell!! We need to stop being so passive about our Faith, so passive about the reality of Hell!! Why do we care so much about what people think of us, that we aren't willing to live our Faith openly for Christ?

Let me ask, did Christ care what the people thought of Him? Did Christ stop doing His Mission because people opposed Him? If people opposed and sneered, even beat and crucified Him, then what makes us think that we won't have to endure these things when we put our hearing into Action? If Christ endured this for you, do you not think it a worthy thing to be rejected by the World for His name? To save others from the depths of Hell?

We need to go after the Lost, we ought to compel them into the Church to hear the Preached Word, so they can truly come under conviction and be Born Again. Or if it's your calling then you may need to be the one that is under the Holy Spirit Preaching the True Gospel to call them to Repentance!! I believe this aspect of going after the Lost is going to be different for everyone, I don't know how it will look for you, but God does, I can only testify to what He shows me I ought to do, but this one thing I am sure, God can and will use you for that specific purpose when you die to self and walk by the Spirit!! We need more who want to die to self and live for God to bring others to Salvation today, the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few, will you be a laborer for Gods work today?

So firstly we need to be positioned to go after those in danger, but God also revealed to me that we also need to go after the danger in their stead as well!!! If we see them heading for a Lion, and they can't hear our calls unto them, sometimes we need to go after the Lion!!! The Word tells us who the danger is that is like unto a Lion:

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

My brothers we are engaged in a Real and True Warfare today, this isn't something fake or a concept it is an actual on going battle everyday for Souls!! This isn't a battle of Flesh and Blood, the only Flesh I need to battle is my own, not anyone elses, but there is a genuine Spiritual War that is taking place every moment of every day, and I don't believe most Christians either believe or take this serious at all.

Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

We need to be fighting against the Devil and his wicked rulers in high places for those who are Lost!! We truly need to spend time fighting in their stead, because I tell you, anyone who is NOT Born Again can NOT fight against the Devil. They are still 100% under his control, they are still 100% at war with God, they are still 100% at the mercy of their Flesh. They can do absolutely NOTHING against the Devil until they are Born Again. They can't even pray for themselves or anyone else!!!

John 9:31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.

Since they have no weapon and no armor against the Lion we need to take up the full Armor of God, and the weapons of war that Christ has equipped us with and go to battle directly against the Lion that intends on harming them, until the day that they cry out for Salvation and then they will be given the same Armor and Weapons we have!!!

I have Lost family, Lost friends, Lost Co-Workers, in fact almost everyone I know is Lost, and how Slothful have I been in reaching them, showing them the danger, and going to war against the Devil on their behalf!! The Lord gave me a wake up call, it's time for me to take this War serious, it's time I stop being Slothful and get to doing the Work of the Lord so that my Friends, Family, Co Workers and those on this site who are Lost can be Born Again!!! Hell is real, but so is Christ and HIs Mercy is Rich and Unending!!! I am thankful that God speaks to my heart and I hope to encourage others today. If you are Lost cry out in Repentance, I promise you God will hear THAT prayer, He will come and you can have Salvation today!! If you are Saved then I know you know that the time to be Slothful is over, it's time to be a Doer of the Word, to run after the Lost, and to battle on their behalf, and you can start right now by getting to your knees in prayer!!!

I love you all, have a great day and blessed day in the Lord!

If you need prayer or anything else please feel free to reach out to me and I will help you the best I can and if I can't help I know one man that can, this man named Jesus!

Disciples
Are
Continually
Influencing
Peoples
Living
Existence

John 9:38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
 





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#25
What Are We Going To Do With Our Mantles?

1 Kings 19:19 So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him.

I was blessed this morning to be able to Teach some of the Youth at my Church and the message the Lord put on my heart to teach came from this verse. I can say that Elijah is by far my favorite prophet, and the Lord really stirred on my heart concerning the Mantle. God was already leading me into study about this message before I even knew I was going to be blessed enough to Teach the Youth. This week was the week that our Youth lead services, so they took up all the positions that the Adults normally take, and I can tell you it was an absolutely amazing day, in both services God really showed up!!

I wasnt expecting to teach, there is another couple in my Church that normally lead the Teen Class but seeing as the Youth were leading services this week, they changed up some of the positions that even Adults take. Last week we were with the Youth Group preparing for todays services, penciling in who would do what, and the teacher of the Teen class was vacant. They asked if anyone wanted to teach the class, and I had a desire but I will tell you that I was afraid to step up, and thats when God stepped in. One of the other preachers did the whole cough and say my name, and as soon as he did I jumped at the opportunity. I can say it was one of the greatest blessings I have had in quite awhile. It has kept me focused on God and the message and the importance of that time with them. I praise the Lord for calling my name, it was an amazing experience...

Anyway with that out of the way on to the message that the Lord laid on my heart, so what we see in this verse is that Elijah has come to Elisha and cast his Mantle upon him. Now in Biblical Times the Mantel was a very important and significant item to those who possessed it, it was a large, loosely fitting over garment made of animal skin, probably sheepskin. It was also called a Cloak or Robe or Cape, some good modern examples of what a Mantle probably looked like would be similar to Assassins Creed or Batman minus the mask and pointy ears!! It was usually a prized possession for people in those times as it provided warmth in the winter, kept the sun off of them in the summer, and protected them in the wind and storms. The Mantel was also used many times to distinguish the Prophets of God to others, so that when others were in need of hearing from God or when the Prophet came into town, they could easily be recognized.

In the Bible the Mantle also represents many aspect of God Spiritually to us, such as Power, Protection, Favor, Covering, Intimacy or Closeness, Authority and Responsibility, The Calling, Gifts or Fruits and one other one I will mention later. However there is one I want to focus on for now and that is Gifts and Fruits. Keep this in mind as we continue on, but before we go further I want to set the stage of what has happened prior to Elijah coming to Elisha. If we go back and read in 1 Kings 17 and 18 we see somethings happen to Elijah that I believe resonates with everyone even today, I know that it sure does me.

See in Chapter 17 Elijah calls down Fire from Heaven in a might display of Power from God, showing that YHWH the One True God is the only God and he defeats all the prophets of Baal. Can you imagine being a witness or more over the director of that mighty work of God? To see these false prophets try for hours calling on their false gods for a display of power and then to literally call fire down from Heaven to set the Altar on flames, showing to all that YHWH is the One True God?!?! Whoo that would have been an amazing feeling, Elijah must have been riding high on the mountain so to speak. Have you been there? I have, where I have seen God do amazing wonderful things in my life, things I never thought possible, feeling like all my obstacles would easily be overcome, I could see and feel the power of God dripping all over my life!!!

Then we read in Chapter 18, I mean right after Elijah calls down fire from Heaven, defeats all the false prophets of Baal, that the Queen Jezebel sends a messenger to Elijah to tell him that she has made a vow to have him killed, and what does Elijah do?

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.

Elijah just saw God reign down fire from Heaven and he gets one bad message and what does he do? He runs into the wilderness and ask the Lord to take his life, further more as we read he even says this:

1 Kings 19:9 And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?
10 And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

Elijah had come to a place where he felt he had done everything right by the Lords command and he became angry because even tho he had done all he was supposed to do, he found himself in a place where he felt the world had turned against him, that people were seeking his life and that he was left utterly alone and became depressed to a point he wanted his life to end. Have you ever been there? I know I have, one day I was on the Mountain Top the next day I was in a valley, angry not understanding, feeling like I was absolutely alone, no one there to comfort me, and even gotten to the point where I asked God just to take my life, call me home, I couldnt understand, I was angry and upset and heartbroken, sad and lonely.

I can tell you very recently in my life I was in this exact situation, it amazes me how when God lays on heart to write out these messages so that others may be blessed, He starts dealing with my heart and essentially is preaching to me, He is doing it now as I write this!! So last year I was brought to my Church by a divine circumstance, if you want to know how then I encourage you to read my Testimony I go into in detail there...https://vigilantcitizenforums.com/threads/my-testimony.403/

Anyway I was on the Mountain Top, God moved in my life and there is zero doubt that it was God, I cant deny it, its evident that Gods hand was upon me and brought me there, to me it was as if God reigned down fire from Heaven and defeated all the false prophets of Baal!! I was on fire for God, I was going to Church and contributing there, I was preaching the Gospel at my work and using it as part of my ministry, I was being blessed more than ever at work. I was leading not only my store but the district in sales, I was feeling like nothing was going to stop me that God was going to take me to the next level at both my job and in my walk with Him. Then BOOM out of no where I end up getting fired, none of my past managers thought there was anyway Id be fired for the offenses they brought against me, my union rep said he cant see how they could fire me, it was the only blemish on my record. To make a long story short, I had been at this one store for 4 years and they brought in a whole new staff, including a new manager from out of state. Essentially what happened was 3 of the new people, one in particular conspired to have me fired, and within their documentation against me, all mentioned my Faith.

Oh I was devastated, I was tore up, I was angry, I couldnt understand it, finally I had gotten to a place in my life where I was seeing God move more than He ever had, my walk was in a totally new and great place, I was doing everything I could to preach the Gospel and live fully for the Lord, just like Elijah did, and BOOM one bad thing and there I was utterly depressed, and found myself alone in the wilderness just asking God to take my life. Have you been there? Are you there today? How horrible it would be if God left Elijah where he was, angry and feeling all alone, ready to die, but if we read on God didnt just leave Him there, instead He came and spoke to Him in a still small voice:

1 Kings 19:12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

Many times when we are in that place where we feel all alone, where we are angry at God for this and that, where we feel depressed and that we cant go on, we look to God and ask for a big sign, a neon glitz and glitter, flashing sign to get us back to where we were or better yet to get us over what we face. However sometimes what we really need to do is just listen for that still small voice to speak to our hearts and give us direction. We may seek after a big thing, but many times all we need is simply to hear that small still voice of God in our lives that is beckoning us to just keep going, keep having Faith, keep believing and following Him.

Heres what was amazing about what God said to Elijah in that still small voice, Elijah thought he was utterly alone, he was focused on one problem with Jezebel, he felt hopeless, but what does God tell Him?

1 Kings 19:15 And the Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria:
16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.
17 And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay.
18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

God give him a mission, a reason to go on, and He tells Elijah that he doesnt have to worry about Jezebel, in fact God tells him that everyone associated with Jezebel is going to be annihilated. Not only does God tell him that, He tells Elijah that he really isnt alone, that there are 7000 that are still true to God, that are on Elijahs side. I see that there were 3 things that Elijah was upset about that drove him into the wilderness and God answers him in all three!!

1) I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts - He was upset because he was doing everything that the Lord had asked of him yet he found himself in this situation, I believe he was saying what is the point God it was all a waste!! God responses by giving him 3 important works he needed to complete, and these works would end up being the redemption to the next thing Elijah was upset about...

2) they seek my life, to take it away - He was upset because they were trying to take his life, but how does God answer him? Dont worry about Jezebel, when you anoint Hazel, Jehu and Elisha, they will destroy the entire linage of Jezebel. Essentially God spoke to him and told him, Jezebel wont touch you and I will completely destroy her!!!

3) I, even I only, am left - Finally Elijah is upset because he feels he is all alone in this fight, in this struggle there is no one else there to help him, the whole world is against him, but again how does God answer him? Dont worry there are 7000 that havent bent a knee, your not alone, in fact I want you to go see Elisha and prepare him to take your place.

When we find ourselves in the same place as Elijah, in the wilderness, depressed and feeling all alone, we need to turn to God and wait for that still small voice to tell us exactly what we need to find our way out of what trouble we are in, for Him to show us the mission we need to fulfill, that will destroy the problem that causes us to feel like death is coming towards us and lead us to the people that are there to help, because we are never alone!!!

So God sends Elijah to Elisha and not only was he sent for the reason God designated but also because Elijah said he felt all alone, there is a wonderful verse in Ecclesiastics that demonstrates one of the other reasons why God sent Elijah to Elisha:

Ecc 4:9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

So to demonstrate this to the class I gave all of them one single piece of yarn, then I gave them 3 pieces of yarn tied together. I ask them to take the single piece of yarn and try and break it in half, and of course the class all were able to easily break it. Then I asked them to braid the 3 pieces and once done, try and break it and only one was able to (because he didnt braid it well lol). One of the reasons God sent Elijah to Elisha Is because those words are true, Elijah felt all alone and was ready to die and give up because he believed he was the only one left, how can he get up if he fall and be all alone. However with Elisha by his side he had a helper, a friend, someone to help him get up if he falls, someone to help to keep him warm if it's cold, someone to help him withstand when the enemy came upon him. Just as the single piece of yarn was simple to break, but when we braided three together into one it was not nearly as easy to break so to is it the same for us. Alone we can at times easily be defeated but if we can find one or two others we know are here for us that fight with us we can withstand the enemy and be strong in the face of adversity.

Earlier I said that one thing the Mantel represented was Gifts/Fruits, when Elijah cast his Mantle upon Elisha he was symbolically saying I am giving to you the Gifts and Fruits I have come to know. Elijah saw Elisha and invested personally in him. If you are saved and Born Again then you have Gifts and Fruits God has bestowed upon you, you have a Mantel so I want to ask, what are you going to do with your Mantel? See we all have things God has bestowed upon us, we all have Mantels God has given us, but what are we doing with them? Are we holding them to ourselves? Ignoring them all together?

Or are we going to cast our Mantles upon others? I believe that we all who are saved have others that are looking up to us, looking for guidance, looking for help and I believe we need to be in prayer and need to be more aware of those put in our lives that have these needs so we can cast our Mantels upon them. That we can build them up, that we can mentor and disciple them, to give to them the knowledge and wisdom God has given us, so that they can be stronger, wiser, and full of power and faith in the Lord!! So I want you to ask yourself what are you going to do with your Mantel today?

So far we have been looking at this from the perspective of Elijah, struggling being all alone even depressed like we all can get at times, calling on God and having Him encourage Elijah showing him that hes not really alone and neither are we, and then sending him to Elisha to disciple and cast his Mantle upon, but now I want to look at this from Elishas viewpoint. As I was reading and studying this out God began to reveal to me some wonderful and helpful things concerning Elisha as Elijah was coming to him. Lets quote the verse again and then I will share what the Lord has shown me:

1 Kings 19:19 So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him.

If we read over this verse we see something about Elisha here, what was Elisha doing when Elijah came to him? Was he sitting on his rear end? Was he wasting time doing nothing? No sir when Elijah comes to him he was in the midst of plowing the field, plowing with 12 oxen as a matter of fact. I dont believe that the number of oxen being 12 is insignificant, in fact I believe it is purposeful and has a specific meaning behind it. We know that the number 12 is very poignant in both the Old and New Testament, in the Old Testament there were 12 Tribes of Israel and in the New Testament there were 12 Disciples. See I believe that what Elisha plowing the field with 12 oxen represents is that Elisha was doing the work of God in the World before the man of God came to him.

The field represents the World and the 12 oxen represents the Gospel, the lesson we should discern here is that we all are in need of Mentors and Disciples, we are all in need of someone sent of God to help us on our walks. We are all in need of Mantels being cast upon us, we are all in need of the 3 cord rope, but I believe that a reason why we have yet to see that God sent person in our lives appear is because we have yet to being to plow the field, to do the work of God in the World as we have been called to do.

Matt 9:37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

The harvest is plenteous indeed but where are the labourers? Are we still seeking in desperation a true mentor and someone to disciple us that has been sent by God? Then maybe there is a good chance they havent been sent yet because we have yet to step up and step out and begin to labor for the Lord to preach the Gospel, to be the light!!! I believe that if we step out, if we truly begin to labor for the Lord as He has asked us, then will come that God sent person to help us fulfill the mission, to hold us up when we fall, to keep us warm when we are cold, to help us to withstand when the enemy comes upon us!!!

Another thing I want to point out is what did Elisha do when he had the Mantel placed upon him?

1 Kings 19:20 And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee?
21 And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.

We saw Elisha driving and working with these oxen, he was a farmer, these where his livelyhood, its what he knew all of his life, its what he was most comfortable with in all his life, but when he got the Mantel, the call, what did he do? He went back and he slew the oxen and used the yoke to make the fire. Amen, Elisha knew just what he had been called into and he went back to what was familiar, what he knew, and he destroyed it and set his sights to what was ahead. He knew he was never coming back to that, God anointed him and called him into a great work, there was no time to fall back into what was comfortable he had to press on to that which is at hand!!!

I can tell you that I have the tendency when I get hurt or angry to fall back to what makes me comfortable but that never helps me at all, it just hinders my walk every time. I was speaking to the guy who volunteered me to teach the class after Church tonight and as I was speaking to him God opened my eyes to just how quickly I can fall back to whats comfortable when I get hurt. A few weeks ago the Lord really was dealing with my heart about announcing my call to preach, it was almost like a born again moment, but I dont ever want to step out and announce something that the Lord hadnt called me into. Regardless I was on fire for the Lord I went into Church ready to serve not sure if I was being called or not, I just said to God, if you are calling me show me plainly. Anyways we have Bible Study before Church and I make a statement concerning what was being taught and the next thing I know literally half the class is standing up and testifying against what I had said, it was a massive blow to my confidence. It shook me to my core, and what did I do, I got mad and fell into something that was familiar, video games.

Gods been dealing with me on idols for a few months and video games are definitely an idol in my life, spending hours on them and neglecting God, prayer, study, preaching, writing on here ect. Its familiar tho and when I was hurt and mad boom right to video games I went, and that was after deciding not to play them not too long before and seeing my relationship with the Lord grow to a point I felt He was calling me to preach. There I was spending all sorts of time on worthless video games and my relationship with the Lord suffered. I believe we if not we then I need to do as Elisha and break the things that we go back to, so that we can be forced to only look ahead and go out for God. Thank the Lord He is long suffering and never gave up on me, He has since spoken to me about what happened at Church and I see some wonderful lessons in it.

First it made me uncomfortable at Church, but God dealt with my heart and said why are you going to Church? To worry about their opinions and what they think, or to worship me, Amen! That cut me to my heart, I love my Church family but their opinions matter nothing to me when I know what the Lord placed on my heart is right. Im not there for them I am there for God!!! How quickly people fall away from Church because of things that happen there, we shouldnt let the actions of people affect our service to the Lord!! Where is our faith, in people, or the Lord? People fail all the time, even the greatest Christians you could ever hope to think of, if we base our Church attendance and worship on the people in the Church then we might as well give up, cuz they will fail you, they will hurt you plain and simple. I am there for God period!!!

Second He said if you are called to preach you better get used to people speaking out against what you have to say, saved and lost alike, you better start getting some thicker skin because if you are called many will come against you. Its not our job to please people, to cater to their egos and personal doctrine, He said if I give you a message if I give you something to say you just say it I will deal with everything afterward! Amen, I didnt like going thru that, but I have definitely learned from it, and I thank the Lord for the lessons...

Anyway bit off topic maybe but just wanted to share my experience, maybe you are in a similar place if so we need to be like Elisha and destroy the things familiar so that we know we have no place to go back to and thus drive ourselves forward in the Lord!!!

There is one last thing the Lord spoke to me about, and its the second time that Elijahs Mantel is mentioned which is:

2 Kings 2:11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.
13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan;
14 And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.

There is much to be taught and learned from these passages and the passages before this, but what I want to focus on is what did Elisha do when Elijah went up into Heaven? As we see here he tore his own clothes into two and immediately went and picked up Elijahs Mantel!! There are 3 points I want to go over as we come to a close here, first I want you to think what would have happened if Elisha never would have gone after and picked up Elijahs Mantel? I will tell you what would have happened, he would have stayed on that side of the Jordan for starters. He never would have parted the sea and walked back to the other side. In the next verses it say that those 7000 that Elijah were sent too, they saw Elisha part the Jordan and knew he was the next called prophet.

If Elisha never would have picked up the Mantel they never would have truly believed he was the anointed one of God, they never would have accepted or followed him at all. Not only that but had Elisha never picked up the Mantel then he never would have done any of the miracles he goes on to perform! Elisha ended up doing 2 times as many miracles as Elijah, he would have never done any, and Israel would have been stuck without a Prophet for that time!!! All the time Elijah spent mentoring him, investing in him, encouraging him, teaching him, would have been a waste if Elisha refused to get the Mantel.

Can I ask you today, is there a Mantel that has been dropped by you that you have yet to pick up? Is there Gifts and Fruits God is wanting you to exercise but you arent picking up the Mantel and putting it to your Jordan? Are you still stuck on the wrong side of the Jordan today, then I say go pick up the Mantel put it on, use it to do the will of God in your life!!!

Second, we see that in the first encounter Elijah literally placed the Mantel on Elisha, walked up put it on him. He said look come with me I am going to teach you everything I know I am giving it all to you lets go. However here what do we see? Elijah is taken up into Heaven and he doesnt place it on Elisha instead as he is being raptured into the skies he dropped it. This wouldnt have landed directly on Elisha, no it would have fallen some place ahead of him or around him. God sometimes places the Mantel we need just a bit from us, to get us to step out, to get us to get out of our comfort zones, to take us to places we have never thought to go!! Where is your Mantel today? Are you willing to step out and go after it? If you are saved then I know if you read all this and pray on it God will show you what your Mantles are where they are and where you need to go to get them and how to apply them in your life!!! Dont let your Mantel sit idlely by run after it let God pull you into the next phase of your walk with Him!!!

The last thing I want to share hearkens back to the very beginning of the message when I said that the Mantel represents many things including one I didnt reveal. The one thing I didnt reveal that the Mantel represents is the Holy Spirit, this message has been geared towards the Saved thus far, but now I want to talk to those who are Lost, who dont know Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, who havent been Born Again. There is a Mantel that Christ Himself is laying at your feet for you to claim today, and that is the Mantel of the Holy Spirit of Salvation.

I just want you to think about the wonderful opportunity that is waiting for you, the ability to pick up the Mantel of the Holy Spirit and Salvation. To have all the things the Mantel represents of God, the Powerof God, the Protection of God, the Favor of God, the Covering of God, the Intimacy and Closeness with God,the Authority and Responsibility in God, the Calling of God, and the Gifts and Fruits of God given to you, all you have to do is believe on Jesus and ask for Salvation and the Mantel will be given and you can pick it up!!!

I pray that we all cast our Mantles upon others and that we all pick up the Mantles that have been cast at our feet, and most importantly I hope those who are Lost will look to Christ and accept the Free Pardon of Sin that He offers today, so that you too can be Born Again and know Christs Love for you in a way words cant describe!!!

I love you all, have a great day and blessed day in the Lord!

If you need prayer or anything else please feel free to reach out to me and I will help you the best I can and if I can't help I know one man that can, this man named Jesus!

Disciples
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2 Kings 4:10 Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither.
 





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#26

Howl All Ye Vinedressers

Joel 1:11 Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished.
12 The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.
13 Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God.


The other day while I was at work I began reading Ezra and there were some passages that the Lord stirred on my heart and I had contemplated speaking on them, but as I finished Ezra I began to read here in Joel and as soon as I read these verses I could feel the Lord begin to weigh heavily upon me concerning them. It has been almost a week and I still can't shake the message He has laid upon me, I can't shake what it is I have heard in these verses.

On Wednesday we had Church and one of the Preachers named Roger preached an amazing message from 1 Samuel 3 about sitting, lying down and finally falling down on God. It was powerful God was definitely moving, it really hit home to me about how often I have sat down on God, sat down on what God has told me to do for a variety of reasons with the most common ones fear and doubt. He preached on the progression we see in Eli and how the very same progression is seen in us when we begin to sit down on God. In very short and no where near worthy of what was preached summary, we see in the beginning of the Book Eli is sitting down at the Gate, he then in Chapter 3 is lying down, eyes waxing dim and not able to even discern the voice of the Lord calling Samuel, and finally in the next Chapter when Eli comes to hear the fate of his sons and the Ark he falls down and breaks his neck. Just as there was a progression with Eli so to is there a progression in us when we begin to sit down on God. Eventually we go from sitting, to laying down on God coming to a point where we can't hear from Him as we once did, to finally being so far from God that when we reap what we have sown, when we see the loss we have begotten for our sitting and lying that we fall fully down to a broken and spiritually dead place.

It was a warning to some and preaching directly to others in our Church I am sure, after Roger preached another one of our preachers named Harvey closed and in closing he brought up a question another one of the preachers (yes we have many preachers lol) asked us on Sunday, which was when was the last time we had someone in our Congregation Born Again? The answer is it's been over a year since we have seen someone Born Again in our Church, and it wouldn't be that big of a deal if we all were saved, but we have members that have even admitted they are lost and still haven't been saved!!! That has taken a toll on us, to toil and sweat and see no one saved when there are lost no doubt among our Congregation. Not only have we not seen anyone saved in a year we have seen multiple familes leave, not for anything negative, most of them have been the families of preachers who have been called to pastor elsewhere and one family moving to Florida, however we haven't seen any new members since just after my family and I joined going on 1 ½ years ago. After hearing both these messages what the Lord placed on my heart became dire to speak about so I stood up and read these Scriptures and gave some of what the Lord placed on my heart, it went right along with everything that had been preached and I didn't want to sit down on God so I gave as I felt lead. I didn't give it all as the space wasn't afforded to me, but now I feel lead to give to you everything that the Lord has placed on my heart concerning these verses.

Usually the topics and thoughts laid upon my heart by the Lord have revolved around encouragement, around teaching and laying out the Gospel for the Lost to understand how Christ has come to offer them Redemption for their Sins by Faith thru Grace. This time the message hasnt been given to me in these aspects, this time it is a call of Repentance, a call of Warning, a call of Desperation for the Church to stop biding time because of what it is that is Truly at stake.

I tell you that we are living in the Last Times, there is no doubt in my mind that we are at the midnight hour, I feel Jesus is on the Throne right now on the edge ready to heed the call to come back and gather His Church to His side. I tell you while that is a wondrous and great day of Redemption for us who are saved, it is going to be the worst day for everyone else as the Wrath of the Lord will come and be poured out upon them!! That is why this message is so important, so necessary so woeful!!! I pray that these words speak to your heart and spirit and the Lord helps to convey the heaviness of what it is that was given to me.

I will tell you up front this message is directed towards the Church, those who are Born Again, it is a call to action, a call to understand what it is that is happening in our midst on a daily basis. It is a questioning of what are you doing, it is a question to get you to truly examine yourself and your walk. I can tell you that it has caused me to do so because what is at stake is so great.

2 Cor 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

As I began to ponder on the verses quoted in Joel and began to study them I came to see something stand out and I would like to give that to you today, to show you what I have seen and what it has lead me to understand. As I have stated we are living in the Last Times, we can see it all around us, and what is it that we see so often?

We can see those around us perishing!!! The violence, the hate, the terror, the death it is all around us and growing darker and more evil with every passing day. School shooting, shootings at concerts and in churches, bombings, murder and mayhem is around every corner. The destruction of Faith in the World, the rise of complete and total Moral Deficiency in every facet of Society where any sense of Moral Uprightness is met with jeers and the decry of animosity. Where that which is Evil is called Good and that which is Good is called Evil, woe unto those who proclaim such things!! Where we have Mega Churches who lie to the people and preach false doctrines and never once mention the Gospel, Sin, Death or Hell, who are lulling the masses to sleep with sermons for the flesh and sliding millions into Hell with their false conversions. The day is Evil and there will be no Great Revival, it will only grow darker and wax worse and worse!!!

Who are we Church? Where do we stand in these Last Days? Where do we stand in the Scriptures above? Where do you think you find your place in those verses? Do you even see yourself? I see myself and when God revealed it to me I was heartbroken, I was devastated, I was taken back!!! I tell you Church that we are the vinedressers, we are husbandmen and Woe unto us!!! Why because the harvest of the field is perishing!!!

The Lord Jesus tells us about the harvest:

Matt 9:37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.


I tell you that the field is the World and the Harvest is the people in the World, the Lost Souls in desperate need of Salvation!!! As one who has been Born Again and Born into the Church we have become Co-Heirs with Christ and as Co-Heirs we also have become Co-Workers in the work He has and has tasked us with. I tell you today if you are Born Again and are in the Church you are now become a vinedresser and husbandman to the World!!

Jesus tells us that the labourers are few, but the harvest is plenteous, what do you believe happens when there is a great harvest to be had but not enough labourers to tend to the field? Why I tell you that harvest begins to perish!!! It begins to die!!! I want you to know are you taking this seriously today? When I say the harvest is perishing I am not talking about crops, I am talking about the people in your life!! Are you taking it seriously that those you see on the streets every single day are heading to Hell and perishing by the wayside? Are you taking it seriously that the people you work with everyday are dying and are going to end up burning forever in torment and flames? Are you taking it seriously that your friends that you grew up with, that your family, your cousin, your mother, your father, your son or daughter, that if they were to die or Christ were to come back that they would be place into Hell to be Eternally Separated from God?

Woe to us for letting this happen all around us!! Matter of fact WOE TO ME for letting this happen!! I see so many in my life perishing, dying, and heading straight for a Devils Hell if someone or more over if I don't intercede!!! I want you to truly think about those in your life that would end up in Hell if they died right now. My heart breaks, I have so many people in my life that I know would end up in Hell, my father is Lost, almost all of my extended family is Lost, all of my best friends growing up are Lost, I am pretty sure all of my Co-Workers are Lost!!! It's devastating to think about, but we can no longer let it go to the wayside, I can no longer try and not think about it just because it hurts to do so!! I am a vinedresser to them, they are under my care, I need to labor for their souls!!!

The wheat and the barley represent two things, first is the Lost and the Saved, so with that said we need to recognize that not only are we watching the Lost perish but we are also charged with the neglect of the Saved and I tell you soooo many of the Saved are perishing right along with the Lost, just in a different manner. Not only does the wheat and barley represent the Lost and the Save but it also represents the External and Internal or the outer man and the inner man!!

The perishing of the external is apparent, as I listed above the violence and death, drugs and hate, all of that is so very prevalent and obvious as we just turn on the news. How often tho are we aware of the perishing of the inner man? How many Born Again Christians are struggling in many areas of their lives and walk? Depression, Anger, Anxiety, Lust, Envy, Jealousy, Hate, ect, ect, ect. How many are hurt and grieving because they don't have a close Christian friend or support system? How many are out here as a single branch trying to walk the walk and fight the Good Fight but are perishing Spiritually? When was the last time this truly hit home or heck even occurred to you?

I believe there are so many Christians that are struggling in their faith and I believe if we are all honest with ourselves we know that there are plenty of places in our walk and Spirituality that are perishing, that need revived that need refreshing!! What I also know is that there are many many many Christians that are singled out, lone branches trying their hardest to walk the walk and fight the fight but are perishing because they feel they are utterly alone and no one cares!! I can tell you God has shown me indeed that I am perishing in places in my walk and Spiritually and I have definitely been one of those who was a single branch trying to walk the walk but I was perishing Spiritually more and more every day!!!

What does these Scriptures say? The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men. The joy is withered away!! Is your joy withered away today? Have you thought about the joy that is being withered away in your brother or sister? What if anything are you doing about it? What if anything CAN be done about it? I know the message seem low and hopeless but I tell you it's not, I am just trying to convey the sense of urgency, the reality of the situation we are all faced with right now today, can you feel it, can you sense it. Is it weighing down upon you as you read?

I can tell you there are ways that we can begin to go after the Harvest, you don't have to be a Preacher, you don't even have to be someone that is easily able to speak about your Faith to others (although I highly encourage it) still even if you struggle in these aspects indeed there is something anyone and EVERYONE should be doing in labour for the Harvest!!! What is it you are asking, well the Scripture lays it out for us:

Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God

Amen! When was the last time you truly prepared yourself, truly lamented and cried out in desperation, brought all of the Lost in your life to the altar of God, spent all night in mourning and in Spiritual sackcloth and ashes in prayer before the Lord? I tell you today that above any other type of work one can think of for the Harvest, what is needed most desperately today is Prayer Warriors who will get on their knees before the Lord and pray prayers of desperation and mourning that will writhe their hands and ache their knees all night in their prayer closets for those who are perishing in their lives!!! I tell you a preacher is no good if he isn't praying and others aren't praying for him, a deacon is no good if hes not praying, any position one would hold in high esteem is worthless unless prayer is taking place!!! Let us Repent and cry out before the Lord for our Lost and Saved alike who are perishing in our lives!!!

There is also another thing that we can do to restore the joy in our lives, to offer true joy to those who are Lost and that is to get back to, to get closer, to show them the True Vine, and that is Jesus Christ!!!

John 15:I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.


Jesus is the True Vine, as branches when we begin to walk away from Christ we dry up Spiritually, our joy begins to wither away, we need to turn back, get rooted into Christ who will restore our joy!!! How often have I forgotten that I can not bear any fruit apart from Christ, that without Christ I can do nothing, Yet still I stupidly go my way, try and do things my way, do things I want apart from Christ and all of it ends up fruitless and my joy begins to wither!! How much I need Christ for ALL THINGS, because these Scriptures are True, without Him I can do NOTHING!! And it is the joy of Christ Himself to see us bare much fruit, I love that 8th verse, when I begin to meditate and dwell in what that says, I am overwhelmed with hope joy and happiness!!! I tell you that Jesus desires that the Father is glorified in our lives and if Jesus desires that the Father is glorified in our lives then He has told us what it is that bring Him glorification and this is that we bear much fruit!! Amen, that is promise we can stand firm on, let us abide in Christ and He will bring us to bear much Fruit that the Father is glorified!!!

I ask you today to contemplate the message, to truly take to heart those who are perishing, to take your place among whom the woes are cried out against. I will take my place along with you, so let us Repent from our ways, let us come in sackcloth and ashes before the Lord praying for those who are pershing the Lost and Saved alike, and let us fully abide in Christ so that we can see the Lost come to Salvation and see the Saved restore their Joy!!!

I love you all, have a great day and blessed day in the Lord!

If you need prayer or anything else please feel free to reach out to me and I will help you the best I can and if I can't help I know one man that can, this man named Jesus!

Disciples
Are
Continually
Influencing
Peoples
Living
Existence

John 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
 





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#27
Overflowing The Altar

1 Kings 8:63 And Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered unto the Lord, two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the Lord.
64 The same day did the king hallow the middle of the court that was before the house of the Lord: for there he offered burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings: because the brasen altar that was before the Lord was too little to receive the burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings


This Scripture was laid on my heart awhile back, and the Lord has lead me back to what He put on my heart concerning it regularly since He spoke to me about it. I have dwelt on it continually and it has blessed me over and over and I feel lead to share it with you all today. I was blessed to have been in Church tonight as the time rolled over and we moved from 2017 into 2018, and I can't even put into words how thankful I am that the Lord lead me to my Church and that I was able to be there to pray the old year out and the new year in!

So many time in my life, both while I was Lost and Saved, I was concerning myself with Worldly activities on New Years, from drinking and drugs to sex and partying hoping that somehow these actions would cap off the past year and bring in the New Year in some type of joy, happiness or fulfillment. Looking back I can tell you none of those things ever brought any satisfaction. I would wake up the next morning still having to face the same problems from the past year but now I was usually strung out or hung over, feeling worse than ever. Many years I was looking to the World to fix my problems and I was looking to Worldly activities to “start the year off right” but I tell you all I kept doing was setting myself up for more of the same. More failures, more frustrations, more anger, more sadness, more loneliness, more heartache, more hurt, more of all the things the World can only offer.

The ultimate problem was the fact that I wasn't looking to the Lord for what it was I was missing, and in fact it was simply the Lord I was missing! I tell you if you are in the position I was in and you keep going out and partying, setting these New Years resolutions and then looking to and participating in Worldly Activities thinking something will change, I am here to tell you from experience they never will. You are building your houses upon sand, the World will only offer you what it holds and all the World holds is unsatisfactions, grief and sorrow.

I am thankful that the Lord has moved me into a completely different lifestyle than I had previously, that He has moved me in a completely different walk than I had previously. That He has moved and shown me so much Grace and Mercy and lead me right where I needed to be to see exactly what I was missing and how I need to not only start the New Year but what I ought to be doing to start everyday! This New Year as the clock struck 12, I was on the Altar in Church with my family praying the Lords Will be done in our lives. Praying and Thanking and Praising Him for all He has done not only in 2017 but our entire lives. I know that is what is needed to start the New Year off right, Praying, Praising and Thanking God, and asking His will be done! When I left there I felt a true sense of satisfaction, as I sit here writing I feel a true sense of peace and encouragement. All the things I had hoped to find in the World but never could I can say that tonight I have found them, because all Good Things are found in the Lord.

All night as I was sitting in Church these Scriptures were on my heart, and I probably should have shared them but never felt it was the right time, but I feel I must share them now. As I went to the Altar these Scriptures were there with me and they reflect something that needs to be done more in our personal lives, more in our families lives, and more in our Churches today. So let me get into the message.

What we see here is that Solomon is dedicating the Temple which had finally been built, he had brought the Ark to it, followed the instructions of the Lord and finished a prayer all of which can be read in that and the few previous chapters in 1 Kings. This was a Glorious moment in the History of Israel, a fulfillment of a prophecy given years before to David. Finally the Lord had a place set aside for Him in the midst of Israel where all could come and Sacrifice and worship Him. It says in the beginning of the chapter that they were sacrificing sheep and oxen a number that could not be told for the multitude. It was a joyous occasion, and Solomon and Israel gave thanks and sacrifice for the Lord for all He had done.

And then we read in verse 63 that Solomon also offered 146000 sheep and oxen in a peace offering! Can you imagine that! But it is the next verse that stood out to me and that the Lord began to speak to me about, it says that he hallowed the middle court because the sacrifices were too great for the brazen altar to hold. There was just too many sacrifices being brought forth for the brazen altar to hold them all, and so Solomon went out and expanded the area in which was set apart to be made Holy so that all the sacrifices could be performed. The middle court normally isn't where Sacrifices were given or held, and in order for the Sacrifices to be held there the Middle Court had to be sanctified or made Holy so that the Sacrifice could be performed there. So because of how many Sacrifices were being brought, that which was considered Holy was expanded and moved out so that a much larger area was made Holy.

And it's that idea that God began to move upon my heart, bringing so many Sacrifices to the Altar that it pours out into the Middle Court!! I began to dwell on this, what Altars, what Sacrifices, how does this relate to me and you? Then the Lord asked, where is your Altar for me? The Altar that I have that is set aside for the Lord is in my heart, I believe all who are Born Again, our heart has become the Altar for God. And what would happen if we began to bring all the Sacrifices we can to that Altar in our hearts? Well I believe that it would begin to overflow, just like it did in the Temple.

If we bring our Sacrifices to the Lord in our hearts then it will begin to overflow from our hearts into our lives and it will affect those closest around us. Just as the Middle Court was Sanctified because of the overflow so to will other areas of our lives and those in our lives be affected when we overflow the Altar in our hearts with Sacrifices for the Lord. It will spill over all around us, our families will notice, they will feel it, our co workers will notice they will see it and feel it!! The places in our lives that we have struggles in, the overflow will pour into them, we will see victories and God changing and moving in our personal walk and overcoming areas of Sin!

Then the Lord showed me where else and how else this will pour out, see I have an Altar in my home that I go to and pray and study. And He began to show me and ask me, what would happen if you bring all your Sacrifices to that Altar, what would happen then? And I believe that if I bring them to that Altar it is going to affect my neighbors!! I live in an Apartment building and I saw the overflow moving out of that Altar and moving into all of my home, then moving to the homes of those on my floor, then moving to those in my building and then moving to the rest of the buildings. That people whom I don't know and may never meet, that if I bring Sacrifices to the Altar in my home that it will pour out and affect them and their lives!!!

It is amazing to me and I believe it without a doubt that the Sacrifices of the Saints at the Altar will affect people all around us in our area, in our neighborhoods. I believe that my neighbors will be blessed when I bring all the Sacrifices to the Altar and they begin to overflow. I believe that I am blessed when my neighbors do the same!

And lastly the Lord began to draw my mind to the Altar at Church which is why I wanted to speak about this there, and I pray one day He allows me to. And I began to think of the times I was at the Altar and how it's affected my life, and I began to think of what would happen of the Entire Church began to bring all their Sacrifices to the Altar there? God opened my eyes and showed me what will happen, first and foremost people would get saved!!! There are those who are openly Lost in our Church who have admitted they know they are Lost, if we were all to bring our Sacrifices to that Altar I have no doubt people would get Born Again!!!

We have a rich man that lives next to us, believe he is a millionaire, and I believe if we overflowed the Altar that he would feel it, that he would come and he would get saved! Our church is located right across the street and down the street from 2 major apartment complexes probably well over 1000 people, and yet not one is coming to our Church presently. I believe that if we all were to overflow the Altar it would spread out to all of them, it would draw them, and we would start to see more and more people come and be saved!!! I believe we would see communities begin to have Revival, I believe that cities could have Revival and on and on it would go!! If only we were to sincerely and consistently bring our Sacrifices to the Altar to a point that the Altar begins to overflow!!!

So you may be saying what do you mean by bringing our Sacrifices to the Altar? Are you saying we need to bring Sacrifices of Animals? Heavens no!! There has been one Sacrifice that was given to us that covers all of our Sins, no longer are we called to bring Goats and Lambs for the Lamb of God has come and He has been our Sacrifice!!!

Hebrews 10:4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.


Amen! We know that none of the Sacrifices made at the Temple actually did away with any of their Sins, they were but a covering that pushed the Sins out till the next year when they would have to Sacrifice again, but Praise the Lord when Jesus came that He has purged ALL of our Sins and has justified, sanctified and perfected us whom believe FOREVER!!! The Blood of Christ went back from the Cross to the beginning of time and forward to the end of time, all Sin of all people are covered by Christs Blood! All one has to do to have the gift and free pardon of Sin given to them is simply believe by Faith that Jesus has done this for them!!

So what is it I am talking about when I say bring your Sacrifices before the Lord? As I went to study this out many different aspect of the Sacrifices we can bring were revealed to me, but I want to focus on 3 specifically. The first is Thanksgiving:

Ps 107:22 And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.

In this aspect of Sacrifice God has really been dealing with my heart lately. How often are we truly giving Thanks to God for all He has done? Is it only when something goes right that WE want to see done? Is it only when we see material wishes granted? Is it something done here and there?

I have to admit that I am preaching to myself here before preaching to anyone, these are questions I have to deal with because as much as I hate to say it, I fail on how I am giving Thanks to God and what for and why. I can be an angry man, I have struggled with my temper for a long time and I have been praying about it for a long time as well. As I was praying about it a few nights ago God began to stir on my heart as to what one of the roots of my anger was, entitlement. Again I hate to admit it but I am very entitled, I have lived as tho things need to go my way, when I say it or else I get offended and angry. I believe people need to treat me a certain way, to speak to me a certain way and if they don't I get offended and angry. I feel as tho the World and everyone in it owes me something and if they dare not perform up to the level of expectation I believe I deserve they ought to, then I get angry and offended.

What is worse is that I have many times view God in this same exact way!! That God ought to answer my prayer in this way and if He doesn't I get so very upset, I get so very offended. That God ought to do this or that and if the situation doesn't turn out the way I desire it too well I get angry and upset!! So guess what happens? The World doesn't care about how I feel and it definitely doesn't bend to my will, so where does that leave me? As a bitter, angry and offended man so very often! God does care how I feel but the fact is, it's not for me to bend His will, and many many many times prayers I pray and things happen in my life that don't go the way I prayed or wanted to see happen and guess where that leaves me? As a bitter, angry and offended man!

I bring all this up because God laid it out clearly for me, and I want to give to you what He gave to me, He said “ When you live life being entitled then you are constantly going to be angry because most of the time you are not going to get anything you feel entitled too, however if you begin to live as tho nothing is to be granted to you, then everything you get becomes a gift and instead of being angry you will become thankful” Amen! I need to change the way I perceive everything, this World owes me nothing, and God Himself definitely owes me nothing, if I can begin to see EVERYTHING as a gift and be Thankful, how different of a person I will be! How less angry I will become!! Of course my Flesh hates this, but I know that is what the Spirit wants!! Scripture confirms this:

Eph 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Phil 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Col 2:7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

Col 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

1 Thes 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Heb 13:By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.


Over and over we are told to be Thankful for ALL THINGS, not just the things we think benefit us at that moment, but of everything that is going on, even the hard times themselves. How our walk will change, how are lives will change if we truly begin to overflow the Altar with the Sacrifice of Thanksgiving to our Lord and Savior!!! As I studied the Scriptures out I saw that so many things are wrapped up in our Sacrifice of Thanksgiving before the Lord and what I saw are:

  • Peace
  • Wisdom
  • Mercy
  • Kindness
  • Humbleness
  • Meekness
  • Longsuffering
  • Grace
  • Glorification of God
  • Abundance
  • Enrichment
  • Bountifulness
I am sure there are others but I believe the foundation of the Fruits of the Spirit flow from our Sacrifice of Thankfulness at the Altar!!

Another Sacrifice that was shown to me is the Sacrifice of Joy:

Ps 27:6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.

The Lord desires us to have Joy and not only Joy but live in the fullness of His Joy!! How amazing is that, the author of Joy, the one who created Joy who He Himself is the essences of Joy wish us to have His Joy and have it in full!! But how often do we dwell on this? How often do we forget our Joy? How often are we letting circumstances take our mind off where our Joy truly comes from? How often are we not praising the Lord in the fullness of Joy?

I can say that I have spent many years not living in the fullness of His Joy, I have been overcome by depression letting the World get to me, to take my eyes off of what really matters. I have let the Devil come by and try and take the thing that means so much for us in God desires towards us!!

What will happen if we begin to come to the Altar in celebration and Joy for what He has done for us? I am not talking about just material things but I am talking about focusing on where our Joy really comes from, from Salvation!!! No matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, there will forever remain one thing, the main thing that we can find Joy and the fullness of it in, and that is that God so loved us that He sent Christ to bear our reproaches on the Cross and that by Grace thru Faith He has given us Salvation and all of Heaven!!!

I mean when I start to dwell on that, really start to meditate and think and believe in what it is God has done and what it is God is offering at the end of this Journey called Life, I can't help but begin to praise His name, I can't help but to begin to rejoice, and when I start to rejoice in the Lord then all the difficulties I am face begin to melt!!!

1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.


Amen! Though I have not seen still I believe and therefore I rejoice with an unspeakable Joy because of what He has done and what He will do and what He is doing in my life and moreover that Glorious day when I get to fall to the feet of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and praise and thank Him for being such a blessed merciful God!! That day brings Joy, that Hope is a Hope that sustains and carries me on, day by day and I know that God wants me to find Joy in the Salvation and Life He has given me!!!

The final Sacrifice we can bring to the Altar that God lead me to that I would like to share is that we ourselves ought to become Living Sacrifices for God:

Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

What does it mean to become a Living Sacrifice? I believe that means we ought to move into a Lifestyle of continued Sacrifice for God by whatever means it is that He would have us to be. I believe that means to die to Self and live to God day in and day out. I believe that means for us to be the Light to the World of what a servant of Christ should look and be like, in manner of appearance, speech, thought and action. We in and of ourselves can't ever hope to be what a servant of Christ looks like, it takes the effort ONLY of dying to Self and walking by the Spirit.

If a blind man came by could he tell you were a representative of Christ by your speech? If a deaf man came by could he tell you were a representative of Christ by your actions? If you were taken to court and accused of being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you?

Oh these are hard questions to have asked, I know!!! Many times I would have to say probably not, but why? Because I was not being a Living Sacrifice for God, that's why!! I wasn't dying to my self and my will, instead I was trying to get God to conform to what I wanted!! I wanted God on my terms, and not on His. That however is not how God wants us to be, He wants us to be conformed to HIS IMAGE, that we might be Holy and Profitable for His Will and His Works!!!

What would happen if everyday we all brought ourselves to the Altar as a Living Sacrifice? That we all began to die everyday to Christ? That we all began to live after the Spirit? If we all became the IMAGE of Christ to those around us in all manner of thought, speech and action? Well I for one believe we will see God move on everyone we come in contact with, I believe our family would notice, I believe our co workers would take notice, I believe that complete strangers at the store would see something about us that is wholly different than themselves and be drawn to ask why we are how we are!! I believe the flood gates would be opened in our lives, and we would see our walk get so much closer with Christ, our testimonies would be more powerful and we would have more and more of them to testify about! I believe that blessings would pour over our lives, and the joy and thankfulness would flow and God would be glorified like never before in our lives!!!

So as the New Year dawns let us begin to offer our Sacrifices of Thanksgiving, our Sacrifices of Joy and become Truly Living Sacrifices to the Lord and I believe as we begin and continue to do so we will see amazing things happen in our lives for the Lord!!! I am excited about what 2018 holds in store for me, and I am excited what 2018 holds in store for you!! If you are Lost then I pray that 2018 is the year that you are Born Again and you can begin to experience True Love, Joy, Hope, Mercy and Grace in Christ!! If you are Saved then I pray that 2018 brings to you the deepest most precious relationship you have ever had with the Lord and that you begin to step out in Faith and to live for Christ in a way you have never thought or imagined you could! Let 2018 be the year that you walk on water with the Lord!!!

I love you all, have a great day and blessed day in the Lord!

If you need prayer or anything else please feel free to reach out to me and I will help you the best I can and if I can't help I know one man that can, this man named Jesus!

Disciples
Are
Continually
Influencing
Peoples
Living
Existence

Rom 12:21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
 





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2,177
#28
Jesus The Carpenter Of Our Hearts

Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Matt 13:55 Is not this the carpenter's son?

The other night I was praying and as I was praying these verses were laid upon my heart, and God began to really speak to me thru them and I would like to share with everyone what it is that He lead me to see and understand. I can tell you that I wasn't expecting what was to come but on a personal level it truly and deeply moved me and I hope if you contiue with me till the end that you are as blessed as I have been when He spoke to my heart concerning these things.

There were a few points that came up immediately as I began to study and pray on this, the first was what is meant when it says that I (Jesus) stand at the door and knock? What is this door that He is knocking on? When Jesus is knocking, He is knocking upon the Door of our Hearts, He is knocking on the Door to our inner most being, He is knocking on the Door to our Souls!! Also the text is showing that Jesus stands outside and He knocks, He doesn't barge down the Door, He doesn't plow His way into our Hearts and Souls and Lives, but instead He stands without and knocks, asking us to come to the Door, unlock it and willingly let Him in. There is a response on our part to His knocking, we must let Christ in.

We also see that Jesus is called the son of a Carpenter, and when we study History it is know that many if not most times the profession of the Father is passed onto the Son, therefore it is assumed that Jesus Himself was a Carpenter. Personally I believe this to be the very case and I do not believe this to be a coincidence that Jesus profession would be that of a Carpenter. The Carpenter possesses among others 2 very distinct traits that speak closely to the life, purpose and ministry of Jesus Christ. First is that the Carpenter can see something in its raw state like a piece of wood or a tree and see the potential of what it can be. They can look at a tree that stands in a forest, and foresee exactly how they are going to cut it, take off the branches, remove the bark, and shape it into a beautiful piece of furniture or a stunning work of art. Not only are they able to see and create something wonderful out of that which is in its raw state, but they also specialize in taking things which are broken down, weather beaten, torn apart and restoring them and making them infinitely stronger and more immaculate than that which they formerly were.

As I dwelled on this, on Jesus knocking at the Door of our hearts and with the thought of Him as the Son of a Carpenter on my mind, God lead me to think on what does this Door look like? What did the Door to my Heart look like when He first started knocking?

Well not only was the Door closed, but it was also locked. I don't know about anyone else but when God brought this to my mind I could see that not only was it locked but it was locked not with one or two locks but many locks! Lock after lock, turning locks, sliding locks, bolt locks, combination locks. I saw the Door, looking at it from the inside of my Heart and it was chained up and locked down.

Now I can't tell you the date that I came to the age of accountability somewhere between the ages of 10-14, but by 14 I know for sure that I had become Lost. See a few years prior to that I had a belief in Jesus, I believed because of what I was told and saw mainly in my mother. I had a relationship with Him the best a child could that didn't fully understand God can. I tried to pray and talk to Him but at some point everything changed. I can't tell you exactly how it happened or exactly when but by 14 I had completely and totally rejected the Jesus of the Bible.

I not only closed the Door, I began putting locks on it. I started doing drugs, drinking, started going down other paths to find God. Day by day, Sin by Sin, I kept adding to the growing number of locks I had on my Door. If I thought I heard Him knocking, Id run down and check and make sure all the locks were secure and then add some more.

When we were in Service a few weeks back my Pastor did something I had never seen before, he polled the Church asking when people were saved. Started at 10 and under asking raise your hand if you were Born Again between those ages, up went some hands. Then 10-20 and more hands went up, 20-30 more hands were raised. Then he got to 30-40 and it was less hands, 40-50 even fewer, 50-60 maybe 1 or 2, 60+ none were raised. It drilled home the point, if you are Lost then day by day the more you are rejecting Christ, the more you refuse to open up that Door, the more locks you put up and the harder it is for you to come to Salvation!!!

Proverbs 29:1 He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

Proverbs 15:31 The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.

32 He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.

When you hear Christ knocking on the Door of your Heart and you begin to hear it often, if you keep rejecting it you are hardening your neck to the call of Life!! You hate your own soul and tell you that all in a sudden, in a blink of an eye you will be brought to destruction and there will be no remedy!!! You will lift your eyes in Hell and there will be no hope for escape, no remedy for your situation. But I tell you today, right now, there is a remedy, a hope, He’s knocking at your Door and His name is Jesus Christ!!!

I was completely and totally Lost for 7-9 years, from when I was 12-14 until the Summer of 1999 and the whole time I believe Jesus was knocking at my Door. Like I said I kept tuning Him out and looking back, God drawing my mind to those times, there was a progression in how I reacted to the knock. At first it was willful rejection of God, I just wanted absolutely nothing to do with Him and wanted to do Sinful things so I kept Him out. Then I began to search out God, I knew there was something greater than me but I completely hated the Jesus of the Bible. I was looking for God in any and every Religion besides Jesus of the Bible. I can remember coming home and my mom would be playing Christian music or would have Bibles out on the table studying the Word and I would just lay into her. Tell her how stupid she was, that the Bible was tampered with, it was just a bunch of lies, that Jesus of the Bible was a fraud. I mean I hated Jesus with a passion there was no real reason for this but I tell you anytime Jesus was brought up it threw me into a rage. More and more locks were being put on my Door.

As time went on tho I began to come under conviction, I started to know that the God of the Bible and the Jesus of the Bible was real and I could hear and feel the knock on my Heart but now I was turning from Him in fear!!! I knew I was a Sinner, I couldnt open that Door, Jesus would see all the Sin, He would beat me and break me for how awful I had been. So I would run to the Door and reinforce and add more and more locks. You can't come in Jesus it's horrible, it you see this I will die!!! So I kept turning Him away and tried to stop the conviction by turning deeper into the World and Sin.

Well I will tell you that Proverbs 29 is the Truth, He that often is reproved hardenth his his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed. God had often reproved me, He had been dealing with me for all these years and each time I kept hardening my neck and by Jan of 1999 the destruction came and it came swiftly. New Years Eve, actually New Years Day as the clock just turned to midnight, me and some fellow co workers were dropping someone off after work. And the guy I was riding with was pulled over for not having a break light. To make a long story short, I ended up getting arrested that night, the cops harassed and essentially molested me and I found myself in Jail but I didn't heed the warning and hardened my heart more, blaming God.

A few months later I found myself in Atlanta for my job and again long story short I end up getting in trouble, which turned into a warrant for my arrest and I lost my job. Again I hardend my neck, blamed God, raged against Him and kept doing the same things. Then I ended up getting once again into more trouble with the Law over a petty noise ordinance for a loud car stereo, but when I got to Court the hammer came down on me hard. The judge sentenced me to 1 Year probation, drug counseling, with a year of time in Jail if I violated any terms of my probation. I couldnt maintain outpatient rehab, full time job, P.O. visits with no car as my license was revoked as well. So I was forced into an inpatient rehab for 90 days.

Suddenly shall be destroyed, within a matter of months I went from having a great paying job in which I was rapidly moving up in, a car, friends and family, all the worldly comforts you could think of to being jobless, no car, no friends, no family, all alone in a halfway house filled with people fresh from prison for offenses ranging from armed robbery to murder and being housed with people my age there for major criminal offenses such as dealing pounds of marijuana to dealing crack. And while I was in there things went from bad to worse. Pretty much everyone in there began to mess with me, steal from me, threaten me, all day every day but then one day it got exceedingly worse.

A few weeks after I was there a guy named Johnny came into the center and for whatever reason he immediately targeted me, now the other guys harassed and talked smack to me but this dude began to truly go after me. Everyday he would try and start a fight with me and soon began to threaten me, even saying he wanted to kill me. And that is when conviction set in like never before. I had always tried to ignore that part of me that knew the Bible was real, that Hell was real but once I was faced with the reality of either getting into a fight and going to jail where it would be infinitely worse than were I was or literally dying everything became too real to ignore. Death became real, Hell became real, I had to deal with the fact that I knew that if I died I would find myself in Hell!!!

I don't know the date, but I know the night, when I knelt down beside a bed in a basement on Spring Grove Ave, hearing Jesus knocking on the Door to my heart and I ran and unlocked all the locks, broke down all the reinforcement and threw open the Door!! I cried out to God, cried out to Jesus of the Bible asking Him for Mercy because I knew I was a Sinner and because I knew I was going to die and I was headed to Hell. I begged Him to save my soul, to save me from that man, to save me from that place, begging Him to come into my heart!!!

I know Jesus was passing by that night, I know Jesus heard my cry, I know that was the night Christ reached down His hand for me!!! I was Born Again and my life was forever changed and Jesus didn't waste any time in showing me deliverance. He delivered me from my Sins, from Hell, from Death, and when I woke up the next day out of nowhere, the staff entered the room we were all bunked in and grabbed Johnny up and took him out of the building and I never saw him again!!! I knew without a doubt that Jesus was real, Jesus was God, that He was the Savior, that His Blood brought Forgiveness and that He was exceedingly Loving and full of Mercy and Grace!!!

Oh what a Glorious day, I couldnt wait to tell everyone all about Jesus, who He is and what He had done for me. I remember rushing and calling my mother, telling her the Good News, that I believed, that I had been saved and God moved Johnny out of the facility. We cried and glorified God together, it was one of the sweetest and greatest memories I have. And I couldnt wait to tell any and everyone else all about this man named Jesus, the He was real and everything He did for me. Here it is almost 20 years later and that still hasnt changed, Im still just as if not more excited to tell what God has done in my life and the Goodness of knowing Jesus Christ!!!

I said all that because I know God is passing by and knocking on hearts and wanted to give you the testimony of what happens when you harden your neck, destruction is sure to come and come quickly. I have little to no doubts that was going to be the last knock on my Door, if I didn't run and opened the Door, God may have never knocked again and that I would have ended up dead, either by Johnny or ended up in Prison to meet the same fate, and I surely would not have had any remedy. If Jesus is knocking which He is and you harden your neck I assure you destruction awaits and the destruction you face will have no remedy.

But I also said all that because I wanted to testify about the Hope we have in Christ!! He saved me and He will save you too, if you just open the Door to your Heart!!!

When I started this message I was saying how God led me to think on what this Door that He is knocking on looks like, then He began to lead me to think on what is that Door attached to, what does it look like? If you are Lost and Undone I will tell you exactly what that Door is attached to and what it looks like. As I dwelled on it a picture came to mind and I saw a Door up close and it was worn and rickety and as I pulled back I saw a house and it was a house that was decrepit and in ruins. The porch was collapsing, the shutters coming off, windows broken out, paint coming off, obscenities and vulgar pictures spray painted on it, the roof was caving in, bushes and grass were dead, the drive way was tore up, weeds growing all over. It was in a state of disrepair ready to be condemned.

If you are Lost I want to tell you that there is nothing you can do to fix this house up. You are never going to make it “presentable” for God or Jesus. He sees your house in disrepair, He sees it is about to be condemned, but He doesn't care, He is still going to knock!!! Jesus doesn't want you to come any way but exactly as you are right now, why? Because He loves you so immensely!! He loves you so much He will go thru the weeds, go thru the mud, go thru the mire, just to knock on the your Door and He did all of that and more when He gave His life on the Cross, all you have to do is open the Door when He is knocking!!!

So I could see Jesus walking up to the Door, nothing was going to stop Him from getting there, none of the garbage, none of the broken glass or rails, none of the weeds, He just walked right thru all of that onto the porch and began to knock. And I could see inside the house and it was pitch black, no light to see, but there was someone inside that house. They were scared and alone, confused and blind, and as the knocking began they looked around startled, couldnt figure out what it was or where it was coming from. Yet the knocking continued and they began to be drawn by the knocking and they stumbled and groped in the darkness until they came to the Door where the knocking was loud in their ears. And they began to unlock the locks that were sealing them shut inside.

There was a still small voice that beckoned to them to come and open the door and I saw when that last lock was undone and they flung open the Door!!!

John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

When the Door was opened there stood Jesus and immediately the whole house was awash in light!!! In an instant the darkness fled and the light shined in every room, every hole, every crevasse!!! And I saw the inside of the house and it was just as dilapidated as the outside, holes in the walls, stairs falling apart, floor caving in, no furniture, it was a disaster! Praise the Lord, Jesus is the Son of a Carpenter, Restoration projects are what He specializes in, Amen! And Jesus came into the house and began to get to work.

The first thing one does when they begin to restore a house is to check the foundation, to sure it up and secure it. The Bible says in 1 Cor 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. The beginning of the foundation is the Cornerstone and the Bible say of Jesus in Acts 4:11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. And the Bible says in Eph 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; Christ went and laid the foundation, He Himself laid the Cornerstone, any weakness in the foundation He shored up, any part that was broken down He tossed aside and laid the foundation anew, building everything Himself. I could see Him laying it all down perfectly, brick by brick and piece by piece until it was done exactly right and ready to have everything built upon it.

The next phase in restoring a home after the foundation was complete would be to restore the frame, the studs, struts and rafters. I could see Jesus going to each one, tearing out the rotten ones, replacing them with ones He made specially for that house. Putting new bracings and brackets, strengthening and securing each one. I tell you that the Frame built on the Foundation of Christ is the Grand Old Church and I am not talking about the building but the people that are in it!! When you open that Door God will begin to fill your life with others who believe and will bring you to the exact right Church and they will become the strength and the backbone and the support to help you endure, overcome, rejoice, sorrow, repent, love, care and be there for you encouraging you everyday!! The Church of Christ is how He operates and works thru the Church the Gospel is preached and the Lost are reached and the Saved find love and peace!!

Once the Frame was done I could see Christ move to the Roof, replacing and laying each and every shingle. Nailing every nail, labouring to provide a covering for the house against the storms and rains, the cold and the heat, a protection from the World and everything against us. I am so thankful for the covering Jesus has given me, because I am covered by the Blood of Christ that He shed at the Cross on Calvary! The Bible says that the blood of Jesus Christ covers us from ALL Sin, not some, not most but ALL Sin!! AMEN!!! Every Sin I Sinned in the past, every Sin I Sin in the present and every Sin I will ever Sin in the future it ALL has been covered by the Blood of Jesus and thrown into the Sea of Forgetfulness. As far as East is from West and the Heavens from the Earth is how far He has removed us from our Sins!!!

The Bible says the Blood of Christ has brought us redemption and reconciliation, where I was once Gods Enemy and standing far off from Him, the Blood has now restored and brought us to peace with the Lord. No longer am I far off but now I am covered by the Blood of the Lamb and have a Personal Relationship with the Lord!! I am now made a Child of God!! The Bible says we by the Blood of the Lamb, have overcome Death, Sin and Hell, whe have overcome the World by the covering of the Blood of the Lamb!! AMEN, if that doesn't make you want to shout I don't know what will!!!

Not only are we covered by the Blood but the Bible also says we are covered by the Armor of God, of peace in the Gospel, Faith to quench the fiery darts of the wicked, a Helmet to protect our thoughts and the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God!! Amen, I am thankful for the covering Jesus provides us with!!!

After repairing the roof I can see Jesus make His way down to the basement and find that broken down furnace, that doesn't blow out anything leaving the house cold and frozen. I can see Him get His tools out, turning this, tightening that, I can see Him give it a good band and BOOM it comes to life, and the house that was frigid and frostbit begins to warm, to heat up and thaw out!

In John 3 Jesus tells Nicodemus these two things Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God and Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. I tell you once you are Born Again, when you answer the Door and let Jesus in, the Holy Spirit will come into your Heart and you will begin to feel the coldness melt away. You will experience Love like you never have before, you will have a joy unspeakable, it will be something you can feel inside and it will be like a raging fire!! When you get Born Again the only Fire you will ever fell is that fire on the inside, the Holy Fire of the Spirit of God!!

Once the house was fundamentally sound, with the foundation set, the frame in place, the roof repaired and the furnace repaired I can see Jesus going past each one of the cracks, each one of the holes and I can see Him taking His time and lovingly inspecting each crack to see how far it goes, each hole to see what caused it. I can see Him gently filling each one, sanding it down, making it look like there was no damage at all, making it stronger than it was to begin with. When I saw that I was moved to tears, I can see just how Jesus goes to all my pains, all my hurts, all my dispares, all my brokenness and He begins to heal and repair them. He goes right to the places where I have been hurt the most by my loved ones, by my friends, by the World and He cares so deeply and lays His hands on me and I can feel His love. I can feel Him stitching up and repairing and healing every cut and bruise. How thankful am I that my Savior cares about every single crack and hole, every little nick and that He desires oh so much to heal and restore and make new each wound, if only we just let Him!!

I then can see Jesus after He repairs all the cracks and holes and put on a fresh coat of paint, that He begins to furnish, decorate the newly remodeled home. I can see the curtains and couches, paintings, TVs, beds, carpets, rugs, mirrors and chandeliers, dressers and tables, appliances all top of the line and brand new!! I can just see HIm filling up the house with everything anyone could need or want!!

I can tell you that is just what Jesus does, He blesses beyond anything you can imagine, He pours His blessings out into your heart and into your life. Jesus gave a promise saying But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you!! He didn't say some or a few but ALL shall be added!! I am so thankful Jesus wants and does Bless me over and above anything I have asked for and if you get Born Again, if you open the Door I can tell you that He will do it for you too!!!

And I can see that as the inside of the house is getting repaired the outside of the house begins to reflect what is happening. The foundation is set, the house isn't all lopsided anymore, the struts are put up and restored, the house is a little straighter, the roof is put on, it looks a little more safe, the furnace is kicked on it looks warmer, the holes are repaired it looks more inviting. I tell you what I believe we as Christians can be pretty judgmental, at least I know I can. We look at our houses and lots of times think they are looking good, then comes someone who says they are a Christian and we begin to compare our house to theirs. We look down on them thinking their house should look better by now. Shame on us!! First off your and my house doesn't look as good as we think it does. Second, we have no idea where Jesus is in His restoration process of that other person. Some people have some things immediately restored and something take awhile. Others have have other things restored immediately and somethings just take a long time to restore fully.

All I can say is that I have been saved almost 20 years, and I know my house may not look that great on the outside but I am so very thankful that Jesus is still here and He is still working on me every single day!! I am a work in progress and I know Jesus is Faithful to finish that which He has started!!!

There are two last thing I need to say as I come to a close that God laid on my heart. First is that the restoration process isn't always going to be fun, there will be times of pain as Christ restores us. Just as thing are torn away and ripped down during the construction of a house so to will thing in our life be torn down and ripped away. I've seen friends ripped out of my life, I've lost my mother, I've seen jobs lost, cars broken down, I've seen my pride stripped, things going completely opposite of how I wanted them too. I've found myself in valleys I thought Id never get out of and been at the foot of mountians I thought Id never be able to climb but I know that each one of these things are just Jesus restoring my home to make of it what He would have it to be. And I know that anything I go thru can not possibly compare with the glory that shall be revealed when I cross the Jordan of Life and meet Christ face to face. When I get the New Body and the restoration is completed perfectly and I can worship and praise my Savior for all of Eternity!!!

In closing I want to say that just as sure as I am that there are those who are Lost that need to open the Door for Jesus to let Him into their hearts and get Born Again, I know that there are Born Again Believers that have other Doors that Christ is knocking on right now. There are Doors that you are trying to hide from Jesus tucked deep down in your Heart, you can feel Him knocking on it right now!! Are you going to open it for Him or are you going to harden your neck to your Saviors call?

I believe that there are some people who have let Christ in the Door but won't let Him past the foyer. I say it is time to let Jesus take over your whole house, your whole life, stop being Lukewarm, let Jesus take control of it all and make your house better than anything you can think or imagine!!!

I love you all, have a great day and blessed day in the Lord!

If you need prayer or anything else please feel free to reach out to me and I will help you the best I can and if I can't help I know one man that can, this man named Jesus!

Disciples
Are
Continually
Influencing
Peoples
Living
Existence



John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
 





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#29
Love Like A Dog

Matt 15:26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.
27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.


It has been a long time since I have written anything out, I have had so much going on in my life lately. I have recently had a beautiful baby girl, been busy at work, busy with Church and all the daily activities of life. It hasnt afforded me much time to write out the things that have been laid upon my heart. I also have been going thru storms in my life, storms in many different areas of my life. Storms in my marriage, storms in my relationship with my family, storms in my Church, storms at my job, storms in my Faith, and all of it has affected my walk.

Many times in these Storms I let my emotions and my flesh take the better of me and seclude myself away from the Lord. I don't know why I do these things, I know it doesn't benefit me but it tends to happen. Then I begin believing in lies that my Flesh or the Devil or the World want to believe and I watch as things begin to unravel. I wonder why it's so easy for us to believe the lies and so hard for us to believe the Truth? I know what the Truth is, I have Scripture and the Spirit it is literally written out for us to hold to, but how often am I telling myself God doesn't care about my situation, or I am too messed up for God to want to be in my life? These are all lies tho, Scripture is clear:

Matt 28:20 ... lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Heb 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

I can quote Scripture after Scripture about just how much it is that God cares about my situation, about how He will never forsake or abandon me, I know the Truth, but so very often do I find myself in a Storm and I begin to ignore the Truth and let the whispers of the lies override what I know is True. God isn't with you, you're a failure, there's no coming back from that, everyone hates you, you need to quit on Church, you need to just give up, you're a loser, you'll never do right by God, and on it on it goes, all these negative lies swirling around my head until I am ready to accept the lies and reject the Truth!!!

I don't know if I am alone in this but I don't feel that I am, I have a feeling that every Christian experiences these times, that everyone that is trying to set their hearts to do the Lords work has to combat these same thoughts and feelings. It was during a time of this dizziness that I finally relented and went to the place where I should have gone long ago, under the Juniper Tree so to speak, into my prayer closet to just tell Jesus all about what I was going thru and experiencing. And as I was praying this thought and this Scripture was laid on my heart and I would like to give to you what was given to me, maybe you too can find some solace, and more importantly God can be glorified in your situation and in mine!!

Many times in Scriptures dogs are mentioned and as I was studying this out pretty much every single one of them is in a negative connotation. It's used as an insult calling one a dog, it's used as speaking of one being in the lowest possible position in life, they are spoken of as murderous and vile, loud and obnoxious, a symbol of folly and foolishness with no understanding, greedy and never satisfied, not worthy of things that are holy, likened to evil workers, and excluded from God Himself. And so I wondered how on earth can there be anything positive to come from dogs in a Biblical sense? How does what was laid on my heart about loving like a dog possibly have merit when the Bible speaks so ill of them?

Then it was shown me the difference in this Scripture and all the rest. In all the other Scriptures that are spoken of about dogs, the dogs are in reference to the wild dogs that roamed the streets in those times. I don't know if anyone has ever come across packs of wild dogs but they are exactly the description the Bible makes of them. Vicious, greedy, murderous, vile, dirty, loud animals. They are not what one wants to come across alone at night. But then I looked again at this verse and it stood out to me, the dogs mentioned here aren't wild dogs. They are dogs who have a master, who are given the food that the master eats. They arent given just garbage and nothing good, they are eating bits of the same meal that the master eats. They are in a wholly different position than the wild dogs, these are dogs that are part of the family.

One could speak on the wonderful meaning of Christ healing the daughter and His love for the Gentiles, but that isn't what I want to focus on, that isn't what was laid on my heart that night when I was crying to God about the Storms I was going thru and the feelings I was having of being abandoned. Instead I want to focus on the relationship of those dogs and their master.

As I was praying God said to me, I want you to love me like your dog loves you. It sounded so strange, in fact saying it sounds strange but then He began to expand on that thought and show me exactly what He was talking about. See I have 2 dogs, both Australian Shepards, brother and sister. The boy is Sylar and the girl is Ellie. They both love me but Sylar is MY dog and God began to reveal to me what He meant by love Him in that manner. And He showed it to me in 4 main points.

The first is excitement. He brought my mind to ask, how does Sylar act when you show up? The answer is, Sylar goes crazy, he is so very happy and excited whenever I show up. It is like I have made his entire day and that all he has been wanting all day long was for that moment when I open the door and walk into the room!! Then He asked, are you like that for me? Man did that hit home, to be honest NO, I am not nearly as excited to see God show up in my life as Sylar is for me to show up. I am not looking and waiting all day with that one single thing on my mind, WHEN IS GOD COMING HOME, WHEN IS GOD GOING TO SHOW UP!!?!!??

But isn't that exactly how we OUGHT to be? I believe it is, we ought to be overly anxious with anticipation and excitement for the moment that God shows up in our lives!! For the moment God comes thru and answers the prayers we have been praying so desperately for!! I mean Scripture assures us that He WILL come thru, and He WILL answer our prayers:

1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

And when He shows up and shows out, shouldn't we just be overwhelmed with excitement and joy? Shouldn't we be like Sylar so incredibly happy ready to bounce off the walls because we are filled with such joy? I know we should, I want to get back to being excited for the Lord to move, excited for when He does move, and overjoyed for having Him in my life!!! Sometimes the Storms in life are hard, but if we keep in mind the Truth and don't believe the lies and be excited knowing full well that God is going to move in the situation and fill us with joy when He does, it will make the Storm so much easier to bear!!! I want that joy and excitement for the Lord back and I know that is exactly what He wants for me, and I believe He wants that for you too!!!!

The second point is Obedience. Wild dogs have no masters, they have no allegiance, they have no loyalty, they have no one to be obedient too, but the dogs who receive the crumbs, they have a master and they are obedient to him. Scriptures tell us over and over the importance of Obedience to God, even to a point of saying it is more important than Sacrifice!!

1 Sam 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

Obedience opens up the flood gates for blessings in our lives and the Scriptures are ripe with examples of this, one of the most important being Abraham:

Gen 22:18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

Amen, because of the Obedience of Abraham to God, I have been blessed thru his Seed which is Jesus Christ!!! How important Obedience is to the Lord, yet how often do I fail to obey? More than I would like to admit, and again the Lord turned my heart to Sylar. Sylar literally lives and dies by my Word. His whole world is bound up in a desire to obey and do as I ask. If I tell him to stay he sits there and waits, but with an eager desire for my next command. If I tell him to come he doesn't hesitate, he dash as fast as he can right to the spot I tell him to go. If I tell him sit, he sits, stand he stands, roll over he rolls over and he does it happily!!! God wants me to be the same way towards Him, He wants me to wait when He tells me to wait without getting grumpy, but instead to wait happily with an eagerness to hear His next command. When He tells me to go I should go where ever it is right when He tells me. When He tells me to come I should dash right over to Him with no hesitation.

It's can be a hard thing indeed but I want to be as Obedient to God as Sylar is to me. God is my Master and He has done more than given me crumbs from the table, He has given me a chair and set me right at the table to feast on all that He has to offer!! I ought to be happy to be Obedient to my Lord and Master!!!

The third thing is Trust and following Him. I believe a big reason why I have such difficulties in my Storms is because I lack Trust. I can't explain why but I do. It makes zero logical sense, I mean God created me, He knows everything there is to know about me, He has sustained me 100% of the time I have been alive and I have zero doubts when I die I will be in Heaven with Him. I trust Him for my Eternal Salvation, to keep me from Hell and usher me into Heaven, but I have a massive problem with Trusting Him in my daily walk and in my Storms. But God desires for us to Trust Him in all things!!!

Jer 17:7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.
8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

Ps 40:4 Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

We will be blessed if we Trust the Lord, but can you say that you are always Trusting Him in everything? I know I can't and that is when He again turned my mind to Sylar. He 100% Trusts me in all things. He Trusts that I will feed and water and sustain him. He Trusts that every physical need that he has I will meet it, when he is sick he Trusts that I will do what it takes to make him well. He Trusts that I will take him out when he needs to go out. He Trusts me that wherever I lead him, he will be okay. He doesn't even think twice about it, he just follows me, rain or shine, night or day. If I stand up he is right there walking next to me ready to go to follow me Trusting I will take him safely to and from wherever it is that we are going to go.

Gods a much better Master than I could ever be, and if Sylar can Trust me in all these things then why on earth am I not Trusting God in the same matters? Why am I not right next to God when He stands up? Why am I not Trusting God will provide me with everything I need to be sustained? He's only been doing since the day I was conceived!! Why am not Trusting God will get me to and from wherever it is He would bid me to go?

I need to Trust God, I know He will sustain and protect me, He will guide and get me to and from wherever it is He leads me to. I need to Trust God over and above how it is Sylar Trusts me!!!

And the last point is Love. God showed me something amazing when He opened my eyes to this, it has profoundly affected me and completely changed how I look at Sylar and how I look to God. God asked me why does Sylar do all these things? What do you think his motivation for all of this is? Why does he get so excited and looks all day for you to come home? Why does he want to listen to you and obey you? Why does he Trust you no matter what is going on? And this and that came to mind such as food and then God showed me clearly what it was.

He said what is the one thing Sylar wants more than anything? And God brought to mind what happens whenever I sit down on the ground with him. As soon as I sit down Sylar runs over and buries his head in my lap and rolls over and begins to grunt trying to get closer and closer to me as close as he possibly can. What is his motivation for all of that? It's not food or water or anything material it is simply LOVE. That's it, he loves me but moreover he so desperately wants me to LOVE on him.

And that's what God wants my motivation to be Excited, to be Obedient, to Trust in Him be all about, LOVE. Not just my love for Him for His love for me!!! I heard God clearly say, I want you to do that, I want you to run over and lay down in my lap because all I want to do is to just pour out my Love and Affection all over you!!! Oh how that fills me with joy and happiness, it brings me to tears everytime I go back to that statement. The Creator of all things wants more than anything for me to just run and jump on His lap because He so desires to pour out all His Love and Affection over me!!! What a wonderful amazing caring God is the God we serve!!!

This has totally changed how I look at Sylar, everytime I come home and he runs and greets me I am reminded of God, everytime he obeys I am reminded of God, and everytime he runs across the room and buries his head in my lap and does his little grunts, I just pour out all the Love and Affection I can because I know THAT is all the little guy really wants. And guess what in the end above all things THAT is all this little guy wants from the Lord!!!

I tell you today if you are Lost, that God wants nothing more than to shower you with His Love and Affection, that big old hole in your soul that is throbbing for something more, something you keep searching for but can't find, it can be filled by only one thing and that is Christ and His Love. He is calling you today asking you to be Excited to meet Him, to be Obedient to His call to turn to Him and Trust that He has done all it takes to wipe away your Sins and to fill you with Peace and Love, Joy unspeakable!!! Will you come today, will you just believe on Him? That's all it takes, believe on Christ and be set free from Sin and filled with Love!!!

Are you struggling in Storms like I have, then let us get back to being Excited for the Lord to move in our lives, lets get back to being Obedient to the calls He has placed on our lives, lets get back to Trusting Him and following where He leads and moreover lets get back to being motivated by His Love for us!!! Lets run and jump on His lap, lets let Him pour out all the Love and Affection He has over our lives, bring us comfort and peace in the Storms!!! God is good, I am so glad that I can always run back to Him and Hes always there to pour His Grace and Mercy out over me!!!

I love you all, have a great day and blessed day in the Lord!

If you need prayer or anything else please feel free to reach out to me and I will help you the best I can and if I can't help I know one man that can, this man named Jesus!

Disciples
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Ps 40:5 Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.
 





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#30
The 7 Locks

Judges 16:19 And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him.

I have written about this in my last Post and probably in other Posts as well because it seems to be a recurring things in my life as of late. I have been going thru Storms in my life and it may be because of these things going on that I am understanding Scripture in the way that I am. That is the wonderful, amazing and supernatural thing about the Word of God, it really is Living. When I begin to read and study it, I can see something I have never seen before, because it is revealing itself to me in my specific situation. If I am going thru Storms like I have been recently its a guide to show me why I am in the Storms, the purpose of Storms, how to get out of the Storms. If I am on a Mountain so to speak then it begins to reveal to me what caused me to get onto the Mountain, how to stay on the Mountain, the purpose of the Mountain. God moves upon us as we read in the Holy Sprit to reveal to us more about Him, more about whats going on in our lives, answers to our prayers, declarations to our hearts, fulfillment of yearnings we crave and desire. While the Words never change the effect of them on our lives changes, like a stream carving out the riverbed it moves in us shaping and conforming us in the areas we are bringing to God. It still after almost 20 years of being Saved amazes me that it can and does this!!!

It is rather cliche to say but it is the Truth, if you, me or anyone else is wanting to hear from God then all we need to do is Pray and open His Word and He will begin to speak to us. He will speak directly to our situation, our needs, our hopes, our dreams, our desires, everything we need is contained in His Word. How often I forget this and look elsewhere for the things I desire of God. How many times have I been just as guilty as Israel when Jesus was in their midst?

Matt 12:38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.
39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

Here I am looking and asking God for signs, demanding He conform to how I want Him to speak and reveal Himself to me when the only sign I ought to need for everything in life from Him is the sign of Jonah. The Life Death Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ!! That ought to be the sign that I look to in order to find God and His ways means desires of His heart, His purpose in my Life, my purpose in serving, everything is wrapped up and found in Christ!! Jesus IS the Word of God:

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.

14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

The Word is sufficient for all things, and God is revealed by Christ and thru His Holy Word, the Bible, and yet I have spent so much time looking elsewhere for answers, and guess what, wherever it was I looked never helped, never satisfied, never fulfilled. However when I cry out to God in prayer and turn to His Word, its amazing how quickly I can find, help, answers, fulfillment and satisfaction for what I need!!

As I stated before lately I have been going thru Storms, different types of Storms, and thru these Storms I have felt that I have been getting distant from God. I don't feel His Spirit as I once did in my daily life, I don't feel Him as I once did in Church, I don't feel Him in prayer or reading the Scriptures. And I can tell you it is heart breaking to be in this position and if that is you today I just want you to know you're not alone. I also want to offer you hope, because there is hope for our situation, this I know!!! The other night I began to earnestly pray about this, regardless of the different situations I find myself in, good or bad, the thing that pains me the most is to feel so far from God. Nothing good means anything without God being present in my life, and everything bad is infinitely harder on me when He feels far off. So I was praying why God do you feel so incredibly far away. Now I know God hasn't moved, God never moves, but only us from Him. Still I didn't understand why He felt so far off, what have I done or not done that is causing me to feel this way?

I mean if we were to go and look at my past and start doing a checklist of the things that “ought” to make me close to God, I was “checking” them off. I am much more concerned with God in my thoughts, I read the Word much more than I have in the past, I pray more than I have in the past, I go to Church regularly, hardly missing any services. I mean this Religion thing I have been doing rather well, of course not perfectly, but considering my past, it would at least at B maybe a B+, why then is God feeling further now than at times in the past? So I just asked God why am I so far from you? How can I get closer to you? How can I get that feeling I once had, where I could feel your Spirit ready to burst from inside me, where I was gun ho about preaching the Gospel, where I was feeling God in Church ready to shout the house down?

As I was praying God began to speak to my heart about it, and He laid some Scriptures on my heart and as soon as I began to do what He said I could feel the Spirit move, I could feel a Stirring, I could feel relief, I could feel satisfaction, I could feel some of that distance start close. With this in mind I was reading the Word today at Lunch and was in Judges reading about Samson when I came across this part of his life. And God moved in my heart and started connecting Samons incident with my life, with what He had laid on my heart the night I prayed and showed me exactly how these Scriptures are interwoven with what He had shown me and if I could I would like to give to you what God gave to me, in hope that you too can find some solace if you are in a Storm or let this be a warning for what could happen if one departs from Gods Word.

In the opening Scripture in Judges we come upon Samson who has found himself laying with a Philistine named Delilah, and if we look back in the chapter we see she is from the valley of Sorek. Studying this out it is interesting the meaning of her name, and the place where she is from especially concerning the lesson God has laid on my heart. Delilah is derived from the Hebrew word dealal which means to be low, hang or languish. And the place where she came from, Sorek is a valley that is between or separated Israel at that time from the Philistines. We see Samson is going right to the border, even possibly crossing over from Israel to Philistine and he is laying with a woman whose name means to bring low. What significance does this have to do with the lesson? As I stated earlier, I have been in a position where I feel like God has been far off, and it's not that God has moved but I have, and as I have made my way from the place of refuge God has set up for me to reside in, it has opened me up to come into contact with that which has began to bring me low. Is this you today? Are you feeling distant from God? Are you in the Valley of Sorek, flirting with Delilah?

As I look back on my life recently I can see myself here, walking the border of what God has called me to do, filtering with Delilah, and I can see how it has begun to bring me low. As we read on we see that Samson begins to lay with Delilah and she continually is enticing him to give up his secret of what keeps him strong so that his enemy can swoop in and take him over. If I am going to be honest I can say that I have felt just this thing, something constantly nagging at me, trying to get at that which keeps me strong so that the enemy can come in and completely bind and destroy me. It's like a bug that won't go away, it just keeps coming back over and over, I swat at it but as much as I feel like I hit it, it doesn't stay gone for long. Its like being in a battle that just won't end, it's like being in a fight with someone that constantly is happening day in and day out. Have you been there? Where you and someone else are arguing day in and day out? It wears on you, it slowly but surely begins to sap your desire to stand up from you. Eventually you give up, you can't handle the nagging, the fighting, the buzzing, eventually you find yourself right where Samson was, laying your head on the lap of the one who is doing everything to take your power away from you!!

And what do we find? In Scripture we see that after constant badgering Delilah finally wears down Samson enough to where he gives up the secret of his strength, that thing from where all his power stems and resides and after giving up this secret, he lays his head right in the lap of the one that has shown him over and over all she wants to do is bring him harm. Sounds like a stupid move, I am sure many who read this think how could Samson be so dumb, I know I have, but let me ask how often have you been in the battle and felt so tired that you finally say its enough and lay your own head down right next to the one wearing you down?

If you say you haven't been there I would say you probably are lying. See I am not talking about literally doing this, but I can say with confidence that Spiritually you have done this exact thing, at least I know I have, I can admit it. And I probably have done it more than I would like to admit, begin to slowly creep from God, find myself at the border of His protection, find myself getting overwhelmed with the Storms, feeling like I am pushing a boulder up a hill and have it fall back on me over and over, day in and day in a fight Spiritually until I finally give up and lay my head right there for the one who is constantly badgering me to go right after the thing that gives me my strength.

In Scripture Samson tells Delilah the secret to his strength, and lays his head on her lap opening himself to whatever she would desire to do to him and she doesn't waste any time to go right for that which gives Samsons his strength and that would be his hair. His 7 locks, being a Nazarite since birth were the source of his strength, it allowed him to defeat his enemies in supernatural ways over and over, time and time again. However this time Delilah shaves his locks, and immediately in comes the enemy. Samsons stands up shakes himself with all confidence that he will have the strength that he can overcome the enemy however this time much to his dismay he has no power, he has no strength and the enemy overcomes him, binds him, blinds him and imprisons him!!!

That's how are enemy works on us Spiritually, he finds us at the border of Gods protection, then entices us into a valley, he begins to nag at us, fight against us, tries to wear us down until we leave our head exposed and he moves in to take all the power we have from us. Once he gets us to that point he invites all the rest of our enemies to storm in and we stand up believing we will be able to withstand the attacks but find out to our dismay that no longer do we have the power, the strength to withstand the attack and we are bound up, we are made blind and we are imprisoned Spiritually.

I say that because I know its the Truth, I have experienced, in fact I have recently been there and it is an awful place to be!! To have no power in my Testimony, no strength to resist the attacks of the enemy, to feel completely blind to what God wants me to do, to feel blind to the way out of the situations, to the oncoming attacks, to feel bound up in my heart overcome with emotions I don't know how to deal with, to feel bound up in my mind with negative thoughts all the day long. To feel imprisoned as tho it is impossible to leave this place, and to have others look on to make fun of me and my position I find myself in now, just as the Philistines made sport of Samson. Are you there today? Have you been there? If not then you just pray for me, but if you have or are then I want to say there IS a way out, there is hope, God doesn't want to leave us there He wants to bring us out and give us victory!!!

As we read in Judges 16:19 Samson had 7 locks which Delilah shaved that were the source of his strength and power. When I was praying the other night concerning why it was that I found myself in this position God began to speak to my heart and showed me what it was that was causing me to be where I am at. He lead me to a Scripture which I will speak on in a moment to confirm that it was Him speaking to my heart and as I read about Samson the 7 locks jumped right out on the page. God showed me the 7 things that I was neglecting that the enemy had taken from me, had shaved off, that left me blind, powerless and imprisoned. Before I go over that I want to take just one second to show you the fact that no matter where you find yourself in this downward spiral there is still hope! Whether you are just nearing the border of Gods Protection, whether you are flirting with Delilah, or even if you have completely laid your head upon her lap and she had shaven your head, taking all your strength and power, there is STILL HOPE!!!

It's been a hard lesson so far, and it had been an even harder experience as I walked down this path, but there was one sentence in the Story of Samson that leaped off the page, that just made my heart jump for joy, that got me excited, that filled me with hope, that God spoke to me thru and said, its ok you can come back from this, I want to show you how, I want to give you Victory!!!

Judges 16:22 Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven.

Amen!! The enemy might think I am fully defeated, heck even I might feel that I am defeated but praise the Lord that my Victory isnt depended upon myself but its found in Christ!! I have been assured that that which I derive my strength from, my power, my joy, my everything, it will all GROW AGAIN!! And I am so very thankful for God showing me this, I found myself in a place of hopelessness and God showed up right where I was and gave me that hope and confidence that I can and will be restored!!! That was the beginning of the stirring I can feel it now as I type this, the excitement to fully realize and witness the Victory that Christ is going to bring. I don't know exactly how the Victory will come but I know it is, I know that the Lock WILL grow back!!!

Amen!! The enemy might think I am fully defeated, heck even I might feel that I am defeated but praise the Lord that my Victory isn’t depended upon myself but its found in Christ!! I have been assured that that which I derive my strength from, my power, my joy, my everything, it will all GROW AGAIN!! And I am so very thankful for God showing me this, I found myself in a place of hopelessness and God showed up right where I was and gave me that hope and confidence that I can and will be restored!!! That was the beginning of the stirring, I can feel it now as I type this, the excitement to fully realize and witness the Victory that Christ is going to bring. I don't know exactly how the Victory will come but I know it is, I know that the Lock WILL grow back!!!

As I stated I was praying and God began to reveal to me what it was that had caused me to be in the position I was in and there were 7 things He had laid on my heart. I hadn't counted it at that time but once I began to read here in Samson I could see exactly how God was putting this all together. Samson had 7 Locks from which his strength and power had stemmed from, Delilah cut them off and Samson found himself with no power and strength and he was overcome by the enemies attacks. I have a Spiritual Delilah, we can call it the Devil or Satan, we can call it my Flesh, moreover I can call it simply myself many times, but however you care to label it, whether by one or all combined, this Delilah had cut my Locks and I was finding myself in a state where I had no strength or power to combat the enemies attacks. When I asked God how I got to where I was at and what I needed to do to get out He showed me these 7 things and I would like to share them with you in hopes that if you happen to already be in the spot I had found myself you too can begin to get out, that you too can see the hair grow again. Or if you are not there then let this be a guide to help keep you from getting to that state, and you who aren't there, you just please pray for us who are!!!

The first thing He revealed to me was to actually ask me a question and then make a statement immediately afterwards as an answer. He didn't want me to fumble around trying to get the right answer, He just wanted to give me exactly what it was He was asking and that was, why do you think you were created? I could ask you to ask yourself that same question but I don't want you to linger, I want you to know exactly why you and I were created, God said simply, I created you to have a relationship with me and to Glorify me.

There is a reason that we all in someway or another know there is something bigger than us out there, that we all have a void deep inside of us that we are all looking to have filled. Some people fill it with drugs and alcohol, some with material things such as work, money or worldly success, people are out here doing many different things all in the hopes to fill that void. However that void can only be satisfied by having a Relationship with the One True God. We can say this or that brings us happiness, but the Truth is, you have no sustained happiness unless you are in a Personal Relationship with the One True God.

As He spoke I knew this was True, I couldn't doubt it, I knew without a doubt that I was created for the purpose to be in a Relationship with Him and that alone began to stir up my soul. To think that God the creator of all things desired to have a deep Personal Relationship with me just amazes me. Just think about it in a different way, just think if your Hero, say IDK Michael Jordan, or a Famous Actor, or a President whoever it is that you admire greatly from afar came all the way to your house way out of their way, knocked on your door and told you they just gave up everything to find you because all they want is to do whatever it takes to start, maintain and uphold a Relationship with you?

I think about how that makes me feel in Humanistic Terms, man I would lose my mind, I would be overjoyed, I would feel honored beyond words if someone like Michael Jordan showed up at my house and told me he put everything he had going on, on hold because all he wants is to be my best friend. That he is going to share with me everything he has and do whatever it takes to be friends with me because he loves me and likes me that much. How much more so should I be overjoyed that God the creator of all things including Michael Jordan has literally came and knocked on the door of my heart and told me I gave up all of Heaven and I have done everything to have a Personal Relationship, to be your best friend and I am going to share everything I have with you because I love you and like you so very much!!! Amen, that is just beyond amazing, beyond what words can express and so very often have I forgotten and taken that for granted, but when He spoke that to my heart the other night it just overwhelmed me!!!

With that perspective in mind, He began to reveal to me the 7 things that I had had taken from me that took away all my strength and power, and each one of them are just aspects of that Personal Relationship with Him. My strength and power is found in my Relationship with Him and as I fought and dealt with this Spiritual Delilah she began to cut each Lock and with each one she cuts I lost more and more power and strength because she was cutting me off from that Personal Relationship.

The first Lock is to Praise Him. As I was praying about this the Lord directed my heart to Psalms 106 and it is beyond comprehension that pretty much each one of the Locks He laid on my heart are summed up in this Psalm. While I have read this Psalm many times, if you would have asked me the other day what it is says I would have no idea, however look at the very first things it says:

Ps 106:1 Praise ye the Lord.

That's right the very first thing the Psalm says is the very first thing God had laid on my heart concerning how to get my Power and Strength back, how to restore that Relationship, how to see the hair begin to grow back! I couldn't help but laugh at how amazing God is, how He can speak right to my heart and then direct me to Scripture that literally says verbatim that which He spoke to me while praying! I need to Praise Him for who He is, not just what He has done, but who He is. He began to direct my prayers and thoughts to WHO He is and I couldn't help but to begin to Praise Him over and over!

God is Mercy, God is Grace, God is Joy, God is Love, God is Faith, God is Goodness, God is my Sustainer, God is my Keeper, God is Righteousness, Perfection, Holiness and the list goes on and on and on. When I got my mind on what God is, I got a case of the can't help it's, and I couldn't help but to begin to Praise Him for all He is!!!

The second Lock was to Thank Him. Look at Psalm 106 again, the rest of the first verse reads:

Ps 106:1 ...O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Amen that's right!! The second thing the Lord laid on my heart to restore the Relationship is the second thing mentioned in that Psalm! Isn't God amazing!! The Word tells us:

1 Thes 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

We are called to give thanks in all things, every circumstance, every good and bad thing we are told let us give thanks. Man that can be an extremely hard thing to do, I know personally, but what I can tell you is that the minute I began to give thanks to God for everything going on was the minute I began to feel that Relationship start growing again, I could feel the Spirit moving. The more I gave Thanks the more the Storm clouds seemed to dissipate. The more I gave Thanks the more I could feel the Sunshine moving back into my Soul. How Thankful I am for that!!

The third things is Glorify and Glory in Him. Turning back to Psalm 106 it reads:

Ps 106:4 Remember me, O Lord, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation;
5 That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance.


God wants us to not only Glorify Him, but to Glory in what He has given us. I wondered what that meant, to Glory in Him and it became clear what that means. It means to share in the overwhelming Joy and Happiness of what it is God has and is. Think back to a time such as Christmas where you gave someone a present that they so desperately wanted it, and how incredibly happy they were to receive it, they were so happy that you could literally feel their happiness and you to gloried in their joy and happiness. That's what God wants from us, He IS Joy He IS Happiness, He wants to give us all things and He wants us to share in His Joy in His Happiness. When we are filled to the brim with His Joy and His Happiness guess what will naturally flow from that? We are going to Glorify Him!!

People can't help but notice those who are overflowing with Joy and Happiness and you can bet they wonder how and why are you so Joyful and Happy, they may even ask and then you can share with them exactly what God has done and therefore Glorify Him in your Life! That is what God wants from us, Joy and Happiness in Him that overflows into others so that He can be shown as the reason for all the Joy and so that other look to Him. What does Jesus tell us one of the reason He has come?

John 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

I am Thankful and I Praise Him that Jesus spoke to me these things that I can be full of Joy, that I can Glory in Him and hope that in my Joy and Praise He is Glorified!!!

The fourth Lock goes right along with Glorifying God, and that is to share with others what God has done for you, to share the Gospel. Turning again to Psalms 106 it reads:

Ps 106:8 Nevertheless he saved them for his name's sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.
9 He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness.
10 And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.


Throughout the Psalm David testifies to all the wonderful and glorious things God has done, in fact he says Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? who can shew forth all his praise? He is saying here God has done so many mighty things who can even possible name them all, who can possible praise Him enough for them all. See I had gotten to a point where I was so focused on the problems going on in my life, that I wasn't Thanking, Praising, Glorifying or Glorying in God, and all of that completely affected my desire to Testify and share with others what God had was and will do in my life.

I don't know about anyone else but there is something deep inside of me that always desire to speak about the Lord. At any given time and during any given moment I always want to speak about God, whether it is to Praise and Thank Him for what He has done or to speak about His Word or to hear lessons from others, to discuss Doctrine, whatever form it may come in, I so badly want to speak about the Lord. Scripture says:

Matt 15:18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart;

The things of the heart proceed out of the mouth, and if you are Born Again and Christ is in your heart then you are going to have some kind of desire to speak about Him. However I was so bound up that I couldn't really talk about Him, the desire to speak of Christ was still there, but I wasn't doing it, whether it was on here or at Church or just in general. And if I did speak about Christ it didn't have the same Power or Authority, the Spirit just wasn't there.

But God showed me that if we are Born Again, then this desire will be placed in us and it is His Command that we ought to share what He has done with others, that we need to preach the Gospel and let the Spirit in our hearts come forth from our mouths to His Glory and Praise!!! Regardless of my situation I need to continue to speak about Christ and so here I am telling everyone all about what God has done for me, and I am so very Thankful and Praise Him for the Testimonies, the Lessons and the Opportunities to let what's in my heart pour out!!!

The fifth Lock is to remember where He has brought you from and not forget what He has done. Psalm 106 repeated speaks of this concerning Israel:

Ps 106:13 They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel:

21 They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt;
22 Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea.

43 Many times did he deliver them; but they provoked him with their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity.

I can't even begin to count the times I have acted just like Israel, questioning God if He would come through, forgetting everything He has brought me from!! However when I begin to meditate on everything He has brought me through then I can feel His Spirit move again, I can see hope and the situation I am in is no longer as awful as I first imagined. I couldn't even begin to list all the things He has done for me, they are just too many but what I can list quickly is He brought me to Salvation!! I was in a Halfway House where I was being threatened daily by a guy named Johnny and I cried out to Him for Salvation and to save me from that guy and that place and Praise the Lord that night He saved my soul and the next day He delivered me from that man and safely got me out of that place!!

My mother passed away a few years ago and when she died I walked so very far from God and right into the World. I was doing drugs, drinking, watching porn, cussing, you name it I was doing it. I was full of anxiety and utterly depressed so badly that I was on FMLA because I couldn't even get out of bed and go to work, my marriage was collapsing my life was a wreck, but Praise the Lord we don't serve a God that lets you fail completely but continually is putting it on your heart to Repent!! Finally the conviction was just too much and I fell to my knees and prayed a heart felt prayer of Repentance and God moved immediately. I ended up going out to eat after the first Church service I had been to in months and as I was eating at a Restaurant I hadn't ever been to in my life I see a guy I used to work with whom I hadn't seen in over 6 years. When I walk up to him and ask him how he is doing the first thing he says to me is “I was Born Again in 2013!!” I could feel the Spirit move, and I asked him where he goes to Church. Long story short I end up going to his Church and from that day on I have seen my wife saved and baptised and my daughter saved and baptized and my father who hasn't been in a Church in my entire life has gone 4 times and has begun a relationship with my Pastor. My life is completely different now, and while I cant ever claim its perfect I am overjoyed about how God moved so much at that time.

One other thing I can share is that shortly after I started attending my Church I lost my job, and that devastated me, I couldn't understand it but what I can say is that not once did I have need or want!! I was given unemployment making more money than most people make at a 40 hour job and had other blessings as well, God kept His providential hand upon me and my family!!! He also delivered me into a new job and has blessed me over and above so far than any other job I have had, and while I do not believe this is the place to spend my career at, I am thankful for the blessings He has reigned down upon me!!

These are only a few of the things that He has brought me thru, and I have been focusing so much on the Storms, on the things I am having problems with that I had forgotten just how much He had brought me through. God has brought me through all these other Storms who am I to question if He will bring me out of this one! He's done it before I know He will do it again!!

The sixth Lock is to pray for other people. Turning again to Psalm 106:


Ps 106:47 Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise.

Often in the Storms I become short sighted, I become so very focused on myself, on my problems, my shortcomings, my emotions, it's all me me me, that I forget to go to God in prayer on others behalf. As the Psalmist comes to a close we see that he ends up praying for others, for all to be saved, that all be gathered from the heathens. I don't know about you but when I begin to pray and help others in their situations it begins to diminish the problems I see in my own life. A wonderful illustration of the power of prayer for others is found in Job. I am sure most know the story of Job, how he found himself in such a storm that ended up losing everything he had, from his property to his family to his health, and 3 of his friends tried to help him through it. Eventually God moved and spoke to him and his friends but what I want to point out is this verse:

Job 42:10 And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.


It says there when Job prayed for his friends that is when things were changed in his circumstances, in fact once Job prayed for others he was not only loosed of the problems he was blessed and received double what he had lost. How amazing is the power of prayer for others, not only is it going to benefit them, it is going to unleash the power of God into our lives, to turn situations around and to have God pour out His blessings all over us. What I can tell you is that over my life the times, few as they may be, that I have turned to truly pray for others and to go serve them, that is when I truly notice the burdens of my life lift and resolve. There is a power to serving and praying for others that turns our circumstances around, and it was something in the Storms I had forgotten. However when I put this into practice, things immediately began to turn around, and if God did this for me, He will do it for you too!!

The seventh and final Lock is Love, and it encompasses all the other Locks, it’s the driving force, and the endpoint of everything that has come before. It can be summed up in two different aspects of Love. First is the Love that is God and that comes from God. The Bible tells us in 1 John 4 that God is Love, and as I stated before the purpose of us in Gods creation is to have a relationship with Him and that relationship is 100% rooted in Love. God is always wanting to pour His Love out on to us, and it is that Love that we are always desiring. We can look to other people such as our spouse, children and parents and we can get a glimpse of that Love. Those in pain many times turn to that which harms them in hopes of numbing the desperate feeling of needing Love but not finding it. That is where God can step in, that is where God does step in if we just let Him.

I've been Storms and in pain where I have turned from Gods Love, it is too many times to count, and I have seen the negative consequences that come from it. I can not explain why on earth I do it, but what I can tell you is that God is always and I mean always pulling me back. He never gives up trying to get me to Repent and run back to Him, and you know what, every time I do turn back He is right there to just shower me with that Love that I so desperately needed and wanted!!

Not only is God the source of Love, and always is wanting to pour out Love onto us, but He instills in us to Love each other. The full Scripture in 1 John 4 reads:

7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

In the midst of my Storms I was completely neglecting both aspects of this Love, I was hurt so I turned from Gods Love and also was so overcome in the Storms that I couldn't even be in the position to Love others. When I went down on my knees and prayed some earnest prayers God showed me just these things and how much it is that I had neglected each one. Then He offered me Grace and Mercy and began to bid me to come and sit right down on His lap, to lay my head on His chest and to just Love me. He spoke to my heart and told me that there is nothing that can separate me from His Love, there is nothing I can do to lose it and nothing I can do to earn it. That He Loves me with a Love that will never stop, it's not dependant upon my performance, and He reminded me that when I was His enemy and Lost and hated Him with every part of my being, that is when He went and laid down His life for me to prove just how much it is He loves me!!!

When God comes and ministers to your heart in that manner, not only will it, but it does change you. He reminded me of when I came to Salvation, the joy and the excitement I had to know that He was real and that He Loved me and that He was going to get me out of that Halfway House. He just kept reminding me of all the things He has done to show me His Love and I could just feel myself moving closer and closer to Him.

And once I was back under His wings, then I was in a position where I could begin to Love others the way God has asked me too. In the Storm I had neglected to Love them, but once I began to Love them I could feel God all over it. I could feel God move, God inspire my words and thoughts towards them, I could see God changing everything around me!!!

If you are like me and have been or are going thru Storms in your life and you feel like you can't get out, I encourage you to take these 7 Locks God has shared with me and begin to apply them into your life. I don't believe that God is a respecter of persons, in fact I know He is not because the Word of God states exactly that, so If God is able to pull me out of the Storm then I know He can and will pull you out of the Storm as well!! If you arent in a Storm then I encourage you to continue you to apply these Locks in your life to keep you out of them, or to give you the ability to endure the Storm when they come, because they surely will, even Jesus promised us as much.

If you are Lost and don't know Christ as your Personal Savior then I ask you to come today, right now and just cry out to Him for Salvation, to believe on Him and begin to experience the Relationship God created you for, to begin to truly feel that Love that you know is missing down in your soul that you are trying to fill with fleeting things that never last. I tell you today that once you taste of this Love, once you experience this Relationship you will know it is not fleeting but that it will endure not only through whatever it is you may face in this life but it will bring you across the River that separates Life from Death, and you will know that when you cross that River that Jesus will be waiting for you on that distant shore, with arms outstretched ready to pour out on to you all the Love that is contained in Heaven!!!

I love you all, have a great day and blessed day in the Lord!

If you need prayer or anything else please feel free to reach out to me and I will help you the best I can and if I can't help I know one man that can, this man named Jesus!

Disciples
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1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.
 





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#31
The 7 Locks

Judges 16:19 And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him.

I have written about this in my last Post and probably in other Posts as well because it seems to be a recurring things in my life as of late. I have been going thru Storms in my life and it may be because of these things going on that I am understanding Scripture in the way that I am. That is the wonderful, amazing and supernatural thing about the Word of God, it really is Living. When I begin to read and study it, I can see something I have never seen before, because it is revealing itself to me in my specific situation. If I am going thru Storms like I have been recently its a guide to show me why I am in the Storms, the purpose of Storms, how to get out of the Storms. If I am on a Mountain so to speak then it begins to reveal to me what caused me to get onto the Mountain, how to stay on the Mountain, the purpose of the Mountain. God moves upon us as we read in the Holy Sprit to reveal to us more about Him, more about whats going on in our lives, answers to our prayers, declarations to our hearts, fulfillment of yearnings we crave and desire. While the Words never change the effect of them on our lives changes, like a stream carving out the riverbed it moves in us shaping and conforming us in the areas we are bringing to God. It still after almost 20 years of being Saved amazes me that it can and does this!!!

It is rather cliche to say but it is the Truth, if you, me or anyone else is wanting to hear from God then all we need to do is Pray and open His Word and He will begin to speak to us. He will speak directly to our situation, our needs, our hopes, our dreams, our desires, everything we need is contained in His Word. How often I forget this and look elsewhere for the things I desire of God. How many times have I been just as guilty as Israel when Jesus was in their midst?

Matt 12:38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.
39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

Here I am looking and asking God for signs, demanding He conform to how I want Him to speak and reveal Himself to me when the only sign I ought to need for everything in life from Him is the sign of Jonah. The Life Death Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ!! That ought to be the sign that I look to in order to find God and His ways means desires of His heart, His purpose in my Life, my purpose in serving, everything is wrapped up and found in Christ!! Jesus IS the Word of God:

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.

14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

The Word is sufficient for all things, and God is revealed by Christ and thru His Holy Word, the Bible, and yet I have spent so much time looking elsewhere for answers, and guess what, wherever it was I looked never helped, never satisfied, never fulfilled. However when I cry out to God in prayer and turn to His Word, its amazing how quickly I can find, help, answers, fulfillment and satisfaction for what I need!!

As I stated before lately I have been going thru Storms, different types of Storms, and thru these Storms I have felt that I have been getting distant from God. I don't feel His Spirit as I once did in my daily life, I don't feel Him as I once did in Church, I don't feel Him in prayer or reading the Scriptures. And I can tell you it is heart breaking to be in this position and if that is you today I just want you to know you're not alone. I also want to offer you hope, because there is hope for our situation, this I know!!! The other night I began to earnestly pray about this, regardless of the different situations I find myself in, good or bad, the thing that pains me the most is to feel so far from God. Nothing good means anything without God being present in my life, and everything bad is infinitely harder on me when He feels far off. So I was praying why God do you feel so incredibly far away. Now I know God hasn't moved, God never moves, but only us from Him. Still I didn't understand why He felt so far off, what have I done or not done that is causing me to feel this way?

I mean if we were to go and look at my past and start doing a checklist of the things that “ought” to make me close to God, I was “checking” them off. I am much more concerned with God in my thoughts, I read the Word much more than I have in the past, I pray more than I have in the past, I go to Church regularly, hardly missing any services. I mean this Religion thing I have been doing rather well, of course not perfectly, but considering my past, it would at least at B maybe a B+, why then is God feeling further now than at times in the past? So I just asked God why am I so far from you? How can I get closer to you? How can I get that feeling I once had, where I could feel your Spirit ready to burst from inside me, where I was gun ho about preaching the Gospel, where I was feeling God in Church ready to shout the house down?

As I was praying God began to speak to my heart about it, and He laid some Scriptures on my heart and as soon as I began to do what He said I could feel the Spirit move, I could feel a Stirring, I could feel relief, I could feel satisfaction, I could feel some of that distance start close. With this in mind I was reading the Word today at Lunch and was in Judges reading about Samson when I came across this part of his life. And God moved in my heart and started connecting Samons incident with my life, with what He had laid on my heart the night I prayed and showed me exactly how these Scriptures are interwoven with what He had shown me and if I could I would like to give to you what God gave to me, in hope that you too can find some solace if you are in a Storm or let this be a warning for what could happen if one departs from Gods Word.

In the opening Scripture in Judges we come upon Samson who has found himself laying with a Philistine named Delilah, and if we look back in the chapter we see she is from the valley of Sorek. Studying this out it is interesting the meaning of her name, and the place where she is from especially concerning the lesson God has laid on my heart. Delilah is derived from the Hebrew word dealal which means to be low, hang or languish. And the place where she came from, Sorek is a valley that is between or separated Israel at that time from the Philistines. We see Samson is going right to the border, even possibly crossing over from Israel to Philistine and he is laying with a woman whose name means to bring low. What significance does this have to do with the lesson? As I stated earlier, I have been in a position where I feel like God has been far off, and it's not that God has moved but I have, and as I have made my way from the place of refuge God has set up for me to reside in, it has opened me up to come into contact with that which has began to bring me low. Is this you today? Are you feeling distant from God? Are you in the Valley of Sorek, flirting with Delilah?

As I look back on my life recently I can see myself here, walking the border of what God has called me to do, filtering with Delilah, and I can see how it has begun to bring me low. As we read on we see that Samson begins to lay with Delilah and she continually is enticing him to give up his secret of what keeps him strong so that his enemy can swoop in and take him over. If I am going to be honest I can say that I have felt just this thing, something constantly nagging at me, trying to get at that which keeps me strong so that the enemy can come in and completely bind and destroy me. It's like a bug that won't go away, it just keeps coming back over and over, I swat at it but as much as I feel like I hit it, it doesn't stay gone for long. Its like being in a battle that just won't end, it's like being in a fight with someone that constantly is happening day in and day out. Have you been there? Where you and someone else are arguing day in and day out? It wears on you, it slowly but surely begins to sap your desire to stand up from you. Eventually you give up, you can't handle the nagging, the fighting, the buzzing, eventually you find yourself right where Samson was, laying your head on the lap of the one who is doing everything to take your power away from you!!

And what do we find? In Scripture we see that after constant badgering Delilah finally wears down Samson enough to where he gives up the secret of his strength, that thing from where all his power stems and resides and after giving up this secret, he lays his head right in the lap of the one that has shown him over and over all she wants to do is bring him harm. Sounds like a stupid move, I am sure many who read this think how could Samson be so dumb, I know I have, but let me ask how often have you been in the battle and felt so tired that you finally say its enough and lay your own head down right next to the one wearing you down?

If you say you haven't been there I would say you probably are lying. See I am not talking about literally doing this, but I can say with confidence that Spiritually you have done this exact thing, at least I know I have, I can admit it. And I probably have done it more than I would like to admit, begin to slowly creep from God, find myself at the border of His protection, find myself getting overwhelmed with the Storms, feeling like I am pushing a boulder up a hill and have it fall back on me over and over, day in and day in a fight Spiritually until I finally give up and lay my head right there for the one who is constantly badgering me to go right after the thing that gives me my strength.

In Scripture Samson tells Delilah the secret to his strength, and lays his head on her lap opening himself to whatever she would desire to do to him and she doesn't waste any time to go right for that which gives Samsons his strength and that would be his hair. His 7 locks, being a Nazarite since birth were the source of his strength, it allowed him to defeat his enemies in supernatural ways over and over, time and time again. However this time Delilah shaves his locks, and immediately in comes the enemy. Samsons stands up shakes himself with all confidence that he will have the strength that he can overcome the enemy however this time much to his dismay he has no power, he has no strength and the enemy overcomes him, binds him, blinds him and imprisons him!!!

That's how are enemy works on us Spiritually, he finds us at the border of Gods protection, then entices us into a valley, he begins to nag at us, fight against us, tries to wear us down until we leave our head exposed and he moves in to take all the power we have from us. Once he gets us to that point he invites all the rest of our enemies to storm in and we stand up believing we will be able to withstand the attacks but find out to our dismay that no longer do we have the power, the strength to withstand the attack and we are bound up, we are made blind and we are imprisoned Spiritually.

I say that because I know its the Truth, I have experienced, in fact I have recently been there and it is an awful place to be!! To have no power in my Testimony, no strength to resist the attacks of the enemy, to feel completely blind to what God wants me to do, to feel blind to the way out of the situations, to the oncoming attacks, to feel bound up in my heart overcome with emotions I don't know how to deal with, to feel bound up in my mind with negative thoughts all the day long. To feel imprisoned as tho it is impossible to leave this place, and to have others look on to make fun of me and my position I find myself in now, just as the Philistines made sport of Samson. Are you there today? Have you been there? If not then you just pray for me, but if you have or are then I want to say there IS a way out, there is hope, God doesn't want to leave us there He wants to bring us out and give us victory!!!

As we read in Judges 16:19 Samson had 7 locks which Delilah shaved that were the source of his strength and power. When I was praying the other night concerning why it was that I found myself in this position God began to speak to my heart and showed me what it was that was causing me to be where I am at. He lead me to a Scripture which I will speak on in a moment to confirm that it was Him speaking to my heart and as I read about Samson the 7 locks jumped right out on the page. God showed me the 7 things that I was neglecting that the enemy had taken from me, had shaved off, that left me blind, powerless and imprisoned. Before I go over that I want to take just one second to show you the fact that no matter where you find yourself in this downward spiral there is still hope! Whether you are just nearing the border of Gods Protection, whether you are flirting with Delilah, or even if you have completely laid your head upon her lap and she had shaven your head, taking all your strength and power, there is STILL HOPE!!!

It's been a hard lesson so far, and it had been an even harder experience as I walked down this path, but there was one sentence in the Story of Samson that leaped off the page, that just made my heart jump for joy, that got me excited, that filled me with hope, that God spoke to me thru and said, its ok you can come back from this, I want to show you how, I want to give you Victory!!!

Judges 16:22 Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven.

Amen!! The enemy might think I am fully defeated, heck even I might feel that I am defeated but praise the Lord that my Victory isnt depended upon myself but its found in Christ!! I have been assured that that which I derive my strength from, my power, my joy, my everything, it will all GROW AGAIN!! And I am so very thankful for God showing me this, I found myself in a place of hopelessness and God showed up right where I was and gave me that hope and confidence that I can and will be restored!!! That was the beginning of the stirring I can feel it now as I type this, the excitement to fully realize and witness the Victory that Christ is going to bring. I don't know exactly how the Victory will come but I know it is, I know that the Lock WILL grow back!!!

Amen!! The enemy might think I am fully defeated, heck even I might feel that I am defeated but praise the Lord that my Victory isn’t depended upon myself but its found in Christ!! I have been assured that that which I derive my strength from, my power, my joy, my everything, it will all GROW AGAIN!! And I am so very thankful for God showing me this, I found myself in a place of hopelessness and God showed up right where I was and gave me that hope and confidence that I can and will be restored!!! That was the beginning of the stirring, I can feel it now as I type this, the excitement to fully realize and witness the Victory that Christ is going to bring. I don't know exactly how the Victory will come but I know it is, I know that the Lock WILL grow back!!!

As I stated I was praying and God began to reveal to me what it was that had caused me to be in the position I was in and there were 7 things He had laid on my heart. I hadn't counted it at that time but once I began to read here in Samson I could see exactly how God was putting this all together. Samson had 7 Locks from which his strength and power had stemmed from, Delilah cut them off and Samson found himself with no power and strength and he was overcome by the enemies attacks. I have a Spiritual Delilah, we can call it the Devil or Satan, we can call it my Flesh, moreover I can call it simply myself many times, but however you care to label it, whether by one or all combined, this Delilah had cut my Locks and I was finding myself in a state where I had no strength or power to combat the enemies attacks. When I asked God how I got to where I was at and what I needed to do to get out He showed me these 7 things and I would like to share them with you in hopes that if you happen to already be in the spot I had found myself you too can begin to get out, that you too can see the hair grow again. Or if you are not there then let this be a guide to help keep you from getting to that state, and you who aren't there, you just please pray for us who are!!!

The first thing He revealed to me was to actually ask me a question and then make a statement immediately afterwards as an answer. He didn't want me to fumble around trying to get the right answer, He just wanted to give me exactly what it was He was asking and that was, why do you think you were created? I could ask you to ask yourself that same question but I don't want you to linger, I want you to know exactly why you and I were created, God said simply, I created you to have a relationship with me and to Glorify me.

There is a reason that we all in someway or another know there is something bigger than us out there, that we all have a void deep inside of us that we are all looking to have filled. Some people fill it with drugs and alcohol, some with material things such as work, money or worldly success, people are out here doing many different things all in the hopes to fill that void. However that void can only be satisfied by having a Relationship with the One True God. We can say this or that brings us happiness, but the Truth is, you have no sustained happiness unless you are in a Personal Relationship with the One True God.

As He spoke I knew this was True, I couldn't doubt it, I knew without a doubt that I was created for the purpose to be in a Relationship with Him and that alone began to stir up my soul. To think that God the creator of all things desired to have a deep Personal Relationship with me just amazes me. Just think about it in a different way, just think if your Hero, say IDK Michael Jordan, or a Famous Actor, or a President whoever it is that you admire greatly from afar came all the way to your house way out of their way, knocked on your door and told you they just gave up everything to find you because all they want is to do whatever it takes to start, maintain and uphold a Relationship with you?

I think about how that makes me feel in Humanistic Terms, man I would lose my mind, I would be overjoyed, I would feel honored beyond words if someone like Michael Jordan showed up at my house and told me he put everything he had going on, on hold because all he wants is to be my best friend. That he is going to share with me everything he has and do whatever it takes to be friends with me because he loves me and likes me that much. How much more so should I be overjoyed that God the creator of all things including Michael Jordan has literally came and knocked on the door of my heart and told me I gave up all of Heaven and I have done everything to have a Personal Relationship, to be your best friend and I am going to share everything I have with you because I love you and like you so very much!!! Amen, that is just beyond amazing, beyond what words can express and so very often have I forgotten and taken that for granted, but when He spoke that to my heart the other night it just overwhelmed me!!!

With that perspective in mind, He began to reveal to me the 7 things that I had had taken from me that took away all my strength and power, and each one of them are just aspects of that Personal Relationship with Him. My strength and power is found in my Relationship with Him and as I fought and dealt with this Spiritual Delilah she began to cut each Lock and with each one she cuts I lost more and more power and strength because she was cutting me off from that Personal Relationship.

The first Lock is to Praise Him. As I was praying about this the Lord directed my heart to Psalms 106 and it is beyond comprehension that pretty much each one of the Locks He laid on my heart are summed up in this Psalm. While I have read this Psalm many times, if you would have asked me the other day what it is says I would have no idea, however look at the very first things it says:

Ps 106:1 Praise ye the Lord.

That's right the very first thing the Psalm says is the very first thing God had laid on my heart concerning how to get my Power and Strength back, how to restore that Relationship, how to see the hair begin to grow back! I couldn't help but laugh at how amazing God is, how He can speak right to my heart and then direct me to Scripture that literally says verbatim that which He spoke to me while praying! I need to Praise Him for who He is, not just what He has done, but who He is. He began to direct my prayers and thoughts to WHO He is and I couldn't help but to begin to Praise Him over and over!

God is Mercy, God is Grace, God is Joy, God is Love, God is Faith, God is Goodness, God is my Sustainer, God is my Keeper, God is Righteousness, Perfection, Holiness and the list goes on and on and on. When I got my mind on what God is, I got a case of the can't help it's, and I couldn't help but to begin to Praise Him for all He is!!!

The second Lock was to Thank Him. Look at Psalm 106 again, the rest of the first verse reads:

Ps 106:1 ...O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Amen that's right!! The second thing the Lord laid on my heart to restore the Relationship is the second thing mentioned in that Psalm! Isn't God amazing!! The Word tells us:

1 Thes 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

We are called to give thanks in all things, every circumstance, every good and bad thing we are told let us give thanks. Man that can be an extremely hard thing to do, I know personally, but what I can tell you is that the minute I began to give thanks to God for everything going on was the minute I began to feel that Relationship start growing again, I could feel the Spirit moving. The more I gave Thanks the more the Storm clouds seemed to dissipate. The more I gave Thanks the more I could feel the Sunshine moving back into my Soul. How Thankful I am for that!!

The third things is Glorify and Glory in Him. Turning back to Psalm 106 it reads:

Ps 106:4 Remember me, O Lord, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation;
5 That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance.


God wants us to not only Glorify Him, but to Glory in what He has given us. I wondered what that meant, to Glory in Him and it became clear what that means. It means to share in the overwhelming Joy and Happiness of what it is God has and is. Think back to a time such as Christmas where you gave someone a present that they so desperately wanted it, and how incredibly happy they were to receive it, they were so happy that you could literally feel their happiness and you to gloried in their joy and happiness. That's what God wants from us, He IS Joy He IS Happiness, He wants to give us all things and He wants us to share in His Joy in His Happiness. When we are filled to the brim with His Joy and His Happiness guess what will naturally flow from that? We are going to Glorify Him!!

People can't help but notice those who are overflowing with Joy and Happiness and you can bet they wonder how and why are you so Joyful and Happy, they may even ask and then you can share with them exactly what God has done and therefore Glorify Him in your Life! That is what God wants from us, Joy and Happiness in Him that overflows into others so that He can be shown as the reason for all the Joy and so that other look to Him. What does Jesus tell us one of the reason He has come?

John 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

I am Thankful and I Praise Him that Jesus spoke to me these things that I can be full of Joy, that I can Glory in Him and hope that in my Joy and Praise He is Glorified!!!

The fourth Lock goes right along with Glorifying God, and that is to share with others what God has done for you, to share the Gospel. Turning again to Psalms 106 it reads:

Ps 106:8 Nevertheless he saved them for his name's sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.
9 He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness.
10 And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.


Throughout the Psalm David testifies to all the wonderful and glorious things God has done, in fact he says Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? who can shew forth all his praise? He is saying here God has done so many mighty things who can even possible name them all, who can possible praise Him enough for them all. See I had gotten to a point where I was so focused on the problems going on in my life, that I wasn't Thanking, Praising, Glorifying or Glorying in God, and all of that completely affected my desire to Testify and share with others what God had was and will do in my life.

I don't know about anyone else but there is something deep inside of me that always desire to speak about the Lord. At any given time and during any given moment I always want to speak about God, whether it is to Praise and Thank Him for what He has done or to speak about His Word or to hear lessons from others, to discuss Doctrine, whatever form it may come in, I so badly want to speak about the Lord. Scripture says:

Matt 15:18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart;

The things of the heart proceed out of the mouth, and if you are Born Again and Christ is in your heart then you are going to have some kind of desire to speak about Him. However I was so bound up that I couldn't really talk about Him, the desire to speak of Christ was still there, but I wasn't doing it, whether it was on here or at Church or just in general. And if I did speak about Christ it didn't have the same Power or Authority, the Spirit just wasn't there.

But God showed me that if we are Born Again, then this desire will be placed in us and it is His Command that we ought to share what He has done with others, that we need to preach the Gospel and let the Spirit in our hearts come forth from our mouths to His Glory and Praise!!! Regardless of my situation I need to continue to speak about Christ and so here I am telling everyone all about what God has done for me, and I am so very Thankful and Praise Him for the Testimonies, the Lessons and the Opportunities to let what's in my heart pour out!!!

The fifth Lock is to remember where He has brought you from and not forget what He has done. Psalm 106 repeated speaks of this concerning Israel:

Ps 106:13 They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel:

21 They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt;
22 Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea.

43 Many times did he deliver them; but they provoked him with their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity.

I can't even begin to count the times I have acted just like Israel, questioning God if He would come through, forgetting everything He has brought me from!! However when I begin to meditate on everything He has brought me through then I can feel His Spirit move again, I can see hope and the situation I am in is no longer as awful as I first imagined. I couldn't even begin to list all the things He has done for me, they are just too many but what I can list quickly is He brought me to Salvation!! I was in a Halfway House where I was being threatened daily by a guy named Johnny and I cried out to Him for Salvation and to save me from that guy and that place and Praise the Lord that night He saved my soul and the next day He delivered me from that man and safely got me out of that place!!

My mother passed away a few years ago and when she died I walked so very far from God and right into the World. I was doing drugs, drinking, watching porn, cussing, you name it I was doing it. I was full of anxiety and utterly depressed so badly that I was on FMLA because I couldn't even get out of bed and go to work, my marriage was collapsing my life was a wreck, but Praise the Lord we don't serve a God that lets you fail completely but continually is putting it on your heart to Repent!! Finally the conviction was just too much and I fell to my knees and prayed a heart felt prayer of Repentance and God moved immediately. I ended up going out to eat after the first Church service I had been to in months and as I was eating at a Restaurant I hadn't ever been to in my life I see a guy I used to work with whom I hadn't seen in over 6 years. When I walk up to him and ask him how he is doing the first thing he says to me is “I was Born Again in 2013!!” I could feel the Spirit move, and I asked him where he goes to Church. Long story short I end up going to his Church and from that day on I have seen my wife saved and baptised and my daughter saved and baptized and my father who hasn't been in a Church in my entire life has gone 4 times and has begun a relationship with my Pastor. My life is completely different now, and while I cant ever claim its perfect I am overjoyed about how God moved so much at that time.

One other thing I can share is that shortly after I started attending my Church I lost my job, and that devastated me, I couldn't understand it but what I can say is that not once did I have need or want!! I was given unemployment making more money than most people make at a 40 hour job and had other blessings as well, God kept His providential hand upon me and my family!!! He also delivered me into a new job and has blessed me over and above so far than any other job I have had, and while I do not believe this is the place to spend my career at, I am thankful for the blessings He has reigned down upon me!!

These are only a few of the things that He has brought me thru, and I have been focusing so much on the Storms, on the things I am having problems with that I had forgotten just how much He had brought me through. God has brought me through all these other Storms who am I to question if He will bring me out of this one! He's done it before I know He will do it again!!

The sixth Lock is to pray for other people. Turning again to Psalm 106:


Ps 106:47 Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise.

Often in the Storms I become short sighted, I become so very focused on myself, on my problems, my shortcomings, my emotions, it's all me me me, that I forget to go to God in prayer on others behalf. As the Psalmist comes to a close we see that he ends up praying for others, for all to be saved, that all be gathered from the heathens. I don't know about you but when I begin to pray and help others in their situations it begins to diminish the problems I see in my own life. A wonderful illustration of the power of prayer for others is found in Job. I am sure most know the story of Job, how he found himself in such a storm that ended up losing everything he had, from his property to his family to his health, and 3 of his friends tried to help him through it. Eventually God moved and spoke to him and his friends but what I want to point out is this verse:

Job 42:10 And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.


It says there when Job prayed for his friends that is when things were changed in his circumstances, in fact once Job prayed for others he was not only loosed of the problems he was blessed and received double what he had lost. How amazing is the power of prayer for others, not only is it going to benefit them, it is going to unleash the power of God into our lives, to turn situations around and to have God pour out His blessings all over us. What I can tell you is that over my life the times, few as they may be, that I have turned to truly pray for others and to go serve them, that is when I truly notice the burdens of my life lift and resolve. There is a power to serving and praying for others that turns our circumstances around, and it was something in the Storms I had forgotten. However when I put this into practice, things immediately began to turn around, and if God did this for me, He will do it for you too!!

The seventh and final Lock is Love, and it encompasses all the other Locks, it’s the driving force, and the endpoint of everything that has come before. It can be summed up in two different aspects of Love. First is the Love that is God and that comes from God. The Bible tells us in 1 John 4 that God is Love, and as I stated before the purpose of us in Gods creation is to have a relationship with Him and that relationship is 100% rooted in Love. God is always wanting to pour His Love out on to us, and it is that Love that we are always desiring. We can look to other people such as our spouse, children and parents and we can get a glimpse of that Love. Those in pain many times turn to that which harms them in hopes of numbing the desperate feeling of needing Love but not finding it. That is where God can step in, that is where God does step in if we just let Him.

I've been Storms and in pain where I have turned from Gods Love, it is too many times to count, and I have seen the negative consequences that come from it. I can not explain why on earth I do it, but what I can tell you is that God is always and I mean always pulling me back. He never gives up trying to get me to Repent and run back to Him, and you know what, every time I do turn back He is right there to just shower me with that Love that I so desperately needed and wanted!!

Not only is God the source of Love, and always is wanting to pour out Love onto us, but He instills in us to Love each other. The full Scripture in 1 John 4 reads:

7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

In the midst of my Storms I was completely neglecting both aspects of this Love, I was hurt so I turned from Gods Love and also was so overcome in the Storms that I couldn't even be in the position to Love others. When I went down on my knees and prayed some earnest prayers God showed me just these things and how much it is that I had neglected each one. Then He offered me Grace and Mercy and began to bid me to come and sit right down on His lap, to lay my head on His chest and to just Love me. He spoke to my heart and told me that there is nothing that can separate me from His Love, there is nothing I can do to lose it and nothing I can do to earn it. That He Loves me with a Love that will never stop, it's not dependant upon my performance, and He reminded me that when I was His enemy and Lost and hated Him with every part of my being, that is when He went and laid down His life for me to prove just how much it is He loves me!!!

When God comes and ministers to your heart in that manner, not only will it, but it does change you. He reminded me of when I came to Salvation, the joy and the excitement I had to know that He was real and that He Loved me and that He was going to get me out of that Halfway House. He just kept reminding me of all the things He has done to show me His Love and I could just feel myself moving closer and closer to Him.

And once I was back under His wings, then I was in a position where I could begin to Love others the way God has asked me too. In the Storm I had neglected to Love them, but once I began to Love them I could feel God all over it. I could feel God move, God inspire my words and thoughts towards them, I could see God changing everything around me!!!

If you are like me and have been or are going thru Storms in your life and you feel like you can't get out, I encourage you to take these 7 Locks God has shared with me and begin to apply them into your life. I don't believe that God is a respecter of persons, in fact I know He is not because the Word of God states exactly that, so If God is able to pull me out of the Storm then I know He can and will pull you out of the Storm as well!! If you arent in a Storm then I encourage you to continue you to apply these Locks in your life to keep you out of them, or to give you the ability to endure the Storm when they come, because they surely will, even Jesus promised us as much.

If you are Lost and don't know Christ as your Personal Savior then I ask you to come today, right now and just cry out to Him for Salvation, to believe on Him and begin to experience the Relationship God created you for, to begin to truly feel that Love that you know is missing down in your soul that you are trying to fill with fleeting things that never last. I tell you today that once you taste of this Love, once you experience this Relationship you will know it is not fleeting but that it will endure not only through whatever it is you may face in this life but it will bring you across the River that separates Life from Death, and you will know that when you cross that River that Jesus will be waiting for you on that distant shore, with arms outstretched ready to pour out on to you all the Love that is contained in Heaven!!!

I love you all, have a great day and blessed day in the Lord!

If you need prayer or anything else please feel free to reach out to me and I will help you the best I can and if I can't help I know one man that can, this man named Jesus!

Disciples
Are
Continually
Influencing
Peoples
Living
Existence


1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.
I know where you are coming from and I am a fellow believer. I have had many struggles myself and continue to walk day by day knowing that God is with me and He has placed me where I am today. In my daily struggles I feel like Paul must have felt or maybe Joseph. In the midst of adversity, I try to be content. Knowing that God is with me and that His will is being in my life and teaching and guiding me. I learn more and more every day and I try to stay focussed on God and live my life for Him to the best of my ability. Everything I have read in the Bible has some significance in my life and it is His Living word. The more adversity that I have, the more I learn to depend on Him. I am glad you shared about your interpretation of the story of Samson, it made a lot of sense and I never thought of it until you explained it. He did stray from his family and from God. I have also strayed from God and I lived to regret it. I still feel guilt for the way I lived but I know there is no peace or happiness without God. Satan has nothing to offer that could compare to a relationship with Jesus and the worst day with God is better than all the world has to offer. There are still times when I get the feeling of guilt and shame but I continue to pray and ask God to guide me and give me strength to help others. Again, I just wanted to thank you for taking time to share your thoughts.
 





Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
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#32
The Struggle and Growth

As is clear from what I have written over the past week or so, I have been going thru Storms and Struggles. I have struggled in many different areas over the past few months, I have struggled in my Marriage, struggled in my position as a Father, struggled in my Job, and struggled in my Faith. It seems that in the past few years I have been going from one Storm to the next, one Struggle to the next almost with no calm in between. These Struggles have affected me in many different ways, Physically, Emotionally and Spiritually. Recently it seems the Struggle had been getting substantially worse, it felt like alll the areas of my life were all having Storms and Struggles at the same time. It was as tho I was in the “Perfect Storm” if anyone remembers that movie with Mark Wahlberg, all the Storms aligning at once to make what felt like one massive Storm affecting every aspect of my life.

I’ve written on here 2 different posts concerning this subject, and I want to share one more thing that was laid on my heart concerning what I have been going thru as of late. This one is a bit different as it is more of a narrative of how these Storms and Struggles have affected me and something God spoke to me that has really helped me to have a much different perspective of what I am going thru. I write in hopes that others who are in the same situation can possibly see what feels like an overwhelming negative situation a bit different and to give God Glory for what He has shown me in these Storms.

Usually when I go to write something, it all comes from a Scripture, either one I have read and God begins to expound upon or a thought I have had laid on my heart that God reveals the Scripture that lines up to it. This however is a bit different, this starts with somethings God has been stirring on my heart over the past few weeks, more of an answer to a question I asked God and Him showing me somethings, putting things in perspective for me. That question would be God why am I struggling so incredibly much? God began to reveal somethings to me when I asked that question and I was blessed this Wednesday to share what I had on my heart with my Church. I have said a few things while at Church but it was never like this, God moved, God showed up, God was completely in it, not only could I feel that God was 100% a part of it, but God confirmed it as the message the preacher preached that night lined up exactly with it.

When I stood up to Testify I started very much like I have here just being honest with the fact that I have been Struggling in different areas and feel like I have been in Storm after Storm and I then began to give all that God had laid on my heart concerning these things. See I don't think I am alone in going thru Storms and Struggling, I think that many if not most of the people in my Church and I believe everywhere including whom is reading this is Struggling and going thru Storms. We go into Church and put on these masks like everything is Perfect, everything is just fine, nothing is going on in our lives. We are afraid to let others see and know we are Struggling, that somehow that means we are weak, we are afraid they are going to judge us and look down upon us. Therefore we put on a mask, just like they are and we all act like everything is fine, as tho us being Christians can't Struggle.

Guess what, when we come to Church or to God wearing masks acting like everything is fine when we are in fact Struggling, there are 2 things going on, first and foremost, we are straight up lying. We are lying to each others face and more importantly we are lying straight to Gods face. Church and God ought to be exactly where we are completely honest, the Church is designed to help, support, encourage and lift us up when we are Struggling, but how on Earth can the body of believers help one another when we all are lying with these masks acting like everything is always wonderful and perfect? Second how are we to expect that God is going to move, change, help anything at all if we can't be honest with Him about where we are and how we feel?

I mean I get it, I have been there but I can tell you it does us no good to lie to the Church and to God when we are Struggling, we will never get the help we need if we keep pretending everything is just great. It is a scary thing to put oneself out there and admit to the Church you are Struggling, trust me I know, and I am sure that some of those in the Church will make Judgements (incorrect and ignorant ones) concerning why I or you are actually Struggling. In the same breath I believe at least in my Church and in any Church that is truly filled with Born Again Believers, many more people will not only begin to Pray for you but they will also be given the green light to be honest with God and the Church themselves.

It is like an Alcoholic who is exceedingly wonderful at hiding his Alcoholism, a functioning Alcoholic as they say. If everywhere he goes he acts as tho he is completely fine, is he ever going to get any help? Of course not, even when he knows he is broken and spiraling downward. However the minute he gets real and admits his problem he then is now open to looking for and receiving that help, and if he just so happens to be around other functioning Alcoholics who see him get real and get help, well then they are much more likely to admit their problem and get help too.

It does neither us as individuals nor us as a Church any good to put on masks and pretend we are all these perfect Super Christians who don't Sin, don't go thru Storms, and don't Struggle. Not one of us are, and I can tell you when God began to show me this it helped me so much to be able to admit where I was standing in my Struggle. Just remember if you are going thru Storms, and Struggling, you are not alone, everyone around you is too, it's just they are to scared or prideful to admit it. Maybe you need to be the one to be honest and get help so they too can get honest and get help.

Once I got honest with God and admitted that I was Struggling He laid something on my heart that has completely changed my perspective. Once I got honest with the Church, God gave me this and let me Testify to the Church all about it. As I said I asked God why is it that I am Struggling so very much and He answered me saying this, Struggling isn't a bad thing, to Struggle means you are growing!!! I tell you what I was NOT expecting that whatsoever, I was expecting to be told how much I am a screw up and Him to rake me over the coals for all the failures I have had. To point out all the wrong decisions I have made and just lay Judgement on me. However He did something completely unexpected, He took something I hated and turned it into something amazing!!! If you are Struggling take a moment to meditate on that, the Struggle isn't that you are bad or screwed up, it means you are growing!!!

When God laid that on my heart and as I began to meditate on that I could see a Seed fall from a Tree and land on the Forest floor, that Seed began to Struggle immediately, it had to Struggle to even get into the Soil. I could see all sorts of animals trampling it under foot, pushing it further into the ground. Have you ever felt like people and life is just trampling on you? Once the Seed was in the ground and began to germinate it had to Struggle to break thru the Soil and I could see it finally breaking up thru the ground, but it was surrounded by leaves and branches and trees. I could see the Seedling Struggle to get past the leaves, the branches and the trees, I could see to Struggling to get to the Sun, moving and twisting and turning reaching and striving to get closer and closer to the Sun.

I will tell you what, when I Struggle I want it to be so that I can get closer to the Son, Im not talking about the Sun, the Star in the sky, I am talking about the Son of God Jesus Christ!! I want my Struggle to be a result of me growing, reaching and striving to get closer and closer to Jesus!!! The Bible say Jesus is the Light of the World, just as a Seedling needs and Struggles to grow get closer to the Sun for Life, I too need and Struggle to grow to get closer to Christ the Son and the Light of the World!!

And I could see the Roots Struggle to get down deep enough to get to the water that is needed to sustain the Seedling. The Bible says that Jesus gives us Living Water, that He IS that Living Water, I want my Struggle to get me Rooted more deeply into Christ where I can access that Living Water, that Life Giving Water that sustains me Eternally!!!

And I could also see the Roots as they Struggled downward to find that Living Water come upon a Solid Rock, a Stone that couldn't be moved or penetrated so it began to wrap itself all around it. I could see the Roots so tightly gripping around this Stone that it was keeping the Tree from being uprooted, no Storms no matter how big could fully uproot the Tree. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Stone that the Builder Refused, that God is the Rock of my Salvation, I want my Struggles to get me Rooted all around Jesus, that Stone, because I know when my Struggles lead me to cling tightly around Him, no Storms will ever uproot me!!!

When God revealed this to me and showed me what the purpose of my Struggles were, it has completely changed how I view them all. Of course it's no fun to endure or go thru the Struggles but after God illustrated to me what is going on with the Seed, Tree and Roots and that everything is being used to get me closer, deeper and tighter to Christ, I can now endure these Storms and Struggles and be amazed at what it is that I know will come of it!! God taking something I hate and making it something I can be excited about, I say God is amazing!!!

But I don't want to stop there, I couldn't stop there, because there were still somethings I was dealing with, somethings I still had to be honest about and I believe that I am not the only one that is or has or will deal with what I am about to say. See during these recent Storms and Struggles the enemy had been attacking me non stop, month after month, week after week, day after day, hour after hour, minute by minute. It was awful, all day long I would hear so many terrible things in my heart and mind. The enemy would just lie and lie and lie and take every little thing and turn it around to be something awful. I mean it was a constant droning of just how terrible of a person I am, how much of a failure I am, how awful I am as a husband, how I am the worst father, how I am a pitiful son. I would hear just how much it is my wife hated me, my daughter didn't like me, how much of a disappointment I am to my father. I was told I am pathetic Christian, that there nothing good I can do for God, that I am waste and that all I will ever do is store up wrath for Judgement. I was told that my Church despised me, that they never wanted to hear me Testify, that they all wanted me to shut up, that they don't even believe you are saved. I was told that I am such a failure that surely I couldn't be saved, you don't have salvation, look at how much of a mess your life is, no REAL Christians life is a screwed up as yours.

No joke this is what was playing out in my head and in my heart for months, all day every day and you know what when you hear something enough times you begin to believe it. I think I mentioned it in another post, but it is easier to believe a lie than it is the Truth especially when you are being beaten up by the enemy, are in the Storms and Struggling in life. This had gotten so bad that actually began to doubt my Salvation, like seriously doubt it and it is the first time I have EVER seriously doubted my Salvation.

However as I prayed on this, even asking God to save me again cuz that's how much I was buying into the lies, God not only showed me the reason for the Struggle but He also assured me of my Salvation. There is a song that is sung at my Church and it just so happens that one day when I was so heartbroken about all of this, it came on, and God spoke right to me thru it. It's called My Heart Knows, I have included it in this post. When I listened to it, it overwhelmed me and everytime I start thinking about it when I start answering if that is me I can feel the Holy Spirit move in me to shout MY HEART KNOWS!!!

See my Salvation isn't based on my good works, or lack thereof, there was nothing in the World that I could do to obtain my Salvation and there is absolutely nothing on the face of the Earth I can ever do to lose it. If someone tells you otherwise they are lying point blank. My Salvation is wrapped up in Christ and Christ Alone, and while I may think I know many things, and I definitely can tell you there so much more that I do not know, there are somethings that not only do I know in my head, but that MY HEART KNOWS!!
See MY HEART KNOWS that there is One True God, MY HEART KNOWS that this One True God became Flesh in the man Jesus Christ. MY HEART KNOWS that Jesus Christ came and lived a Perfect and Holy Life, was completely and totally Sinless. MY HEART KNOWS that Jesus willingly laid down His life on the Cross and took upon Himself all my Sins and all the Wrath that is due my Sins. MY HEART KNOWS that Jesus died on the Cross and His Blood now covers me and He has Reconciled me back to the Father by Grace thru Faith. MY HEART KNOWS that on that 3rd and appointed day Jesus Christ rose again from the Grave overcoming Death, Hell and Sin. MY HEART KNOWS that Jesus then ascended to the Right Hand of the Father and is in Heaven right now interceding for me continually. MY HEART KNOWS that because Jesus is Alive that I too will live forever and never taste death!!!

I can tell you no matter what Storms I have gone thru, no matter what Struggles I have faced in my life, no matter what awful things I have heard from the mouth of the enemy, never once ever not for one second have I doubted these things since the day I was saved. And God has assured me with zero doubts that because I believe then Salvation is mine!!!

I tell you today, if you come to Christ and believe with a Heart Knowledge not just a head knowledge then you too can be assured that Salvation is yours!!! If you are Struggling today, I tell you that is a GOOD THING, it means you are growing, let your Struggle cause you to strive to be closer to the Son, to be Rooted in the Living Water, to be clinging tightly to the Rock of your Salvation, the Stone that the Builder Refused, to be anchored in Jesus Christ!!!

I hope this Song is a Blessing to you, it has been to me!!


I love you all, have a great day and blessed day in the Lord!

If you need prayer or anything else please feel free to reach out to me and I will help you the best I can and if I can't help I know one man that can, this man named Jesus!

Disciples
Are
Continually
Influencing
Peoples
Living
Existence


Acts 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
 





Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
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#34
Sealed With Pitch
Gen 6:14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.

It has been a very long time since I have written here, mainly because I have been busy as life has been dealing me many ups and downs some of which you can read here if youd like to know a bit more https://vigilantcitizenforums.com/threads/my-testimony.403/page-3. But some of the reason is because I havent been studying as I had in the past, letting the things of the World get in the way of my relationship with the Lord. I can not expect to have God give me lessons if I am not spending time with Him as I should be. However I am very thankful that God still offers Mercy and Grace even when we havent been holding up our "end in the bargain" so to say.


The Lord has blessed me recently by giving me the opportunity to be able to teach the Teen Class for Sunday School and I am so very thankful for this opportunity for many reasons. One of the main reasons is that it gives me a renewed sense of purpose and a guide to my study time with the Lord. I want to make sure I give to these kids exactly what God would have them to learn and know and so it has caused me to seek His face and His will for the class much more than I had in my own independent time of study as of lately. And I can tell you that God has definitely been showing up in the Lessons and the Class and today I would like to share what God has recently put on my heart. When I studied this Lesson out and when God revealed these things to me I was in shock and awe, and I just want to tell the whole world what God showed me and I am hoping if you read along that you will be as shocked and as blessed as I was and have been since God laid this on my heart.

So a very quick overview of the Class and its direction is that God had put in on my heart to start at the beginning with the kids and guide them thru all the major events of the Bible. It has been pounded into my heart that these kids at their age need to really begin to read and study the Bible for themselves and that they need to really get grounded on the whole of the Bible. With that in mind I have been going thru the major events of the Bible and then letting God direct in exactly what to teach and how the lesson should go. We are now at the Flood and the first week I taught about why God Flooded the World, which was a great lesson and if anyone wants to discuss or know in detail why let me know and I can go over everything I have learned.

That brings us up to what we went over this week and I am going to discuss it differently here but I believe that God is still going to lead and bless this as well because what He has shown me is just so great, again I hope everyone who reads it is blessed as we have been with the lesson.

We can read in Genesis 6 that the Earth had become wicked and the hearts of men had become evil continually and it was due to the sons of God coming and being with the daughters of Men. Due to that event it affected the entire World but this event is also Symbolic of the affect of Sin entering into the World. And what I want to draw your attention to is what God stated was going to happen because of these Sins.

Gen 6:7 And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.


God had stated that He was going to destroy man and everything else because it was all tainted and diluted in Sin, God had effectively pronounced a Judgement against Sin and against Man who are in the midst of Sin. This is theme that runs throughout the Bible, that there is a Judgement from God against Sin and it incorporates pouring out His Fury and Wrath against it to destroy it. One Scritpture that shows this typology clearly is in Ezekiel:

Ez 7:1Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
2 Also, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord God unto the land of Israel; An end, the end is come upon the four corners of the land.
3 Now is the end come upon thee, and I will send mine anger upon thee, and will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense upon thee all thine abominations.
4 And mine eye shall not spare thee, neither will I have pity: but I will recompense thy ways upon thee, and thine abominations shall be in the midst of thee: and ye shall know that I am the Lord.
5 Thus saith the Lord God; An evil, an only evil, behold, is come.
6 An end is come, the end is come: it watcheth for thee; behold, it is come.
7 The morning is come unto thee, O thou that dwellest in the land: the time is come, the day of trouble is near, and not the sounding again of the mountains.
8 Now will I shortly pour out my fury upon thee, and accomplish mine anger upon thee: and I will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense thee for all thine abominations.
9 And mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: I will recompense thee according to thy ways and thine abominations that are in the midst of thee; and ye shall know that I am the Lord that smiteth.


Here we see that God has sent Judgement upon Israel for their ways and their abominations or Sins, and that Judgement brings with it His Anger and results in the destruction of the people and of the Sin itself. This is an aspect of the Lord that is rarely spoken of, taught or preached anymore. Almost never do you actually hear people preach about the Judgement of God, about His Wrath against Sin and about the end result of His Wrath against Sin which is utter destruction of Sin and all that is tainted by it.

It may not be a popular thing to preach or teach on by Scripture is ripe and clear concerning it, God hates Sin, and God has pronounced a Judgement against Sin and God has pronounced a Judgement to bring His Wrath and Fury against Sin and against all who practice Sin. So the question is, who are the people who are going to be or are under the Judgement and Wrath of God? What qualifies a person to be under the Judgement of Sin and worthy of Gods Wrath and Destruction?

There are 2 places in Romans that goes to the heart of the matter as to who it is that deserves to be under the Judgement of God and upon whom the Wrath of God rests which is going to lead to their and their Sins destruction, the first is found:

Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,


29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

So this states that the Wrath of God is revealed or placed upon all the unrighteous men who hold the Truth in unrighteousness and it goes on to qualify exactly who it is that comes to this point. According to Scripture it is ALL men for God has made known unto them Himself in the fact that Nature itself testifies to His existence and power. This means that ALL men know God exists, and therefore have no excuse but many men reject the One True God, instead of thanking Him for literally everything Good that they have instead they become vain and have their hearts turn into foolishness.

They either deny His existence all together or create a False Image of who God is and build that up and worship it, in the text that was left out Paul likens it into literal idols but the fact is, when people reject who exactly the One True God is and who exactly Jesus Christ is, they have created unto themselves their own idol and worship that instead of God.

Then Scripture reveals that is not too long that people who reject God, who say He doest exist even tho deep down they know He does, or create idols in place of the One True God, they begin to go down lifestyles of unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, debate, deceit, haters of God, proud, disobedient, not able to understand, homosexuality, and they know that these deeds, this lifestyle deserves Judgement but instead of being ashamed or repentant of it, they instead take pleasure in doing them against God.

Scripture here states all men know they deserve Judgement for these things, but does Scripture tell us how we can know that all men and that all men know they deserve Judgement for these things?

Rom 2:12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

So here we read that ALL men are guilty before the Lord and they KNOW they are guilty, how does this show it? Because it says that even the Gentiles that didnt have the Law of God given to them have created their own Laws based on the Law of God that He has put in their hearts. When we create a Law we end up establishing a Judgement for doing or not doing that Law and every Human that has ever existed has broken a Law and KNOWS that they have broken a Law. Therefore ALL men know they are guilty of Sin and deserve the Wrath of God upon them, even if they try their best to deny all of this, the fact is deep down they know it is True. The fact is deep down YOU know it is True.

Gal 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin

Scripture has concluded all under Sin and that means that all are due the Wrath of God because that has been His Judgement for Sin. I know this isnt something people like to hear, but the Truth is the Truth and the Truth is, you are under Sin and you know it and you deserve the Wrath of God to be brought down upon you to destroy you and your Sin and you know this as well.

Just as God pronounced Judgement against the people in Noahs day to bring His Wrath upon them which ends in destruction so to has God pronounced Judgement upon us all today, to bring His Wrath upon us that will end in destruction because of our Sins!!

2 Thes 1:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

I want us to now look back to the Event of the Flood and I want you to ask yourself what is it that set Noah apart from the rest of these people? What made him different from everyone else? I can tell you there was exactly one thing that truly set Noah apart from everyone else and the answer is in verse 8.

Gen 6:8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

Did you ever realize that the first thing you learn about Noah other than his name, and age is the fact that he found Grace in the eyes of the Lord? I never noticed that until this lesson, go back and look, you dont know anything else about Noah up to this point other than his name age and what his father said about him. We dont know if Noah was a good man, a bad man, a believer, absolutely nothing, but he still found Grace in the eyes of the Lord.

That is the entire point of Grace, Noah didnt and couldnt have earned Grace from God, there was nothing he could have followed or made sure not to in order to get Grace. Grace means unmerited or unearned favor from God.

So we see that there was a Judgement coming to Noah, and we see that Noah found Grace but I want to ask you a question, did Noah have Faith in God at all? What does Scripture say about that?

Heb 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

It had never rained prior to this event, there had never been a Flood but God warned Noah and told him that Judgement was coming and although Noah didnt comprehend how this Judgement was going to come upon him, he had Faith and Believed in the Word of God that the Ark was going to save him from this Judgement and this Destruction. So we can see that God pronounced Judgement to Noah, we see that Noah found Grace in the eyes of the Lord and we see that Noah had Faith to Believe what God said to him about it all, but I want to ask you a question, what is the physical manifestation of Gods Grace to Noah?

I will tell you that the physical manifestation of Gods Grace to Noah is the Ark! Noah did NOT deserve to be Saved, Noah did NOT deserve to have God tell him about the Judgement and Noah did NOT deserve to be given the vehicle in which was to be used to Save him and his family. God gave him Grace, and that Grace came in the form of the Ark!

In the text we see many different directions in which and how the Ark was to be built but there was one specific verse that God laid on my heart to begin this entire study and it was the one quoted at the beginning:

Gen 6:14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.

Noah was told to make the Ark and to cover it inside and out with pitch, the entire Ark was fully covered bottom to top, all of it outside and all of it inside with pitch. Now we know that pitch is a tar like substance that was used in Ancient Times to cover and seal boats to keep them waterproof. However God spoke to me and said look up that Word in the Hebrew, what does it actually mean. Of course I was like what, its going to mean the tar like substance made from trees, or so I thought. Here is what the actual Hebrew Word means that God told Noah to use to cover the Ark, the vessel of Grace that brought him to Salvation from the coming Judgment:

kopher: bribe
Original Word: כֹּפֶר
Part of Speech: Noun Masculine
Transliteration: kopher
Phonetic Spelling: (ko'-fer)
Definition: the price of a life, ransom


Oh man, my heart, my Spirit leapt within me when God showed this to me!! The Word that God told Noah to cover the vessel of Grace that was going to save him from the Judgement to come is the price of a life, a ransom!! The vehicle of Grace that came from God and Noah had faith in to bring him to be saved is actually covered in a ransom or the price of a life!!!

Matt 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many

Jesus Christ said that He had come to give His life as a Ransom!! We know that everyone knows they are guilty before God and that everyone knows that they deserve the Judgement that God has pronounced against their Sins. We know that all of us are due the Wrath of God, but just as God gave Noah a vessel of Grace that Noah had Faith in to deliver him out of the coming destruction of Gods Wrath and Judgement, God has provided all of us with a vessel of Grace that if we too like Noah have Faith in, it will deliver us out of the coming Judgement!!

Jesus Christ is our Ark of Salvation, Jesus Christ is our ransom, He is the price of a life that has sealed us within and without to Save us from the Judgement, Wrath and Destruction from God upon Sin!!!

If you are Lost today, if you know you are guilty before the Lord, if you know that you stand ready to have that Wrath poured out upon you I want to tell you that God has provided you with a vessel of Grace and His name is Jesus Christ. God has taken on Flesh and lived perfectly so that He could be the one to be able to offer His life as a ransom, He has taken the Wrath you deserved upon Himself so that you dont have to have it poured upon you. Jesus is offering, and calling for you to just have Faith in Him to step in Faith in the Ark today and be saved from the Judgment!!

I beg and plead you to come to know Christ as your Personal Lord and Savior, He loves you today and I love you today and there is nothing more that God wants than for you to accept His Grace and put Faith in the vessel of Grace He has given you, to put your Faith in Jesus Christ!!!

I love you all, have a great day and blessed day in the Lord!

If you need prayer or anything else please feel free to reach out to me and I will help you the best I can and if I can't help I know one man that can, this man named Jesus!

Disciples
Are
Continually
Influencing
Peoples
Living
Existence


John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
 





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#37
Go thy way
I was blessed back in July to be able to attend a Youth Retreat with my Church. If one doesnt know exactly what I mean by a Youth Retreat it is where my Church rented out a campground and the Youth Leaders and some of the Parents of the children of our Church spend a week together with the Youth. It was an amazing time, got to spend quality time with the kids getting to know them more, spent time with the Adults as well worshiping and serving together. It was great to be away from work and the World and the problems that come with those areas of life and just be dedicated to being with other believers and praying, reading the Word and worshiping God. Life can get hectic and it can be hard to find much quality time to spend with the Lord let alone other Christians.

Having this time away gave me the ability to really be able to pray and study quite more than I would be able to during my normal routine and God definitely spoke to me in many different ways and I want to share with you the most impactful thing God laid on my heart during that time. Well to be honest it would be the second most impactful thing that happened to me there because Praise the Lord we did see one of the kids get Born Again and of course anytime you are able to witness and see God pull someone from Hell and change their entire lives, that is by far the most impactful thing you can ever be apart of.

So what was on my heart the most that week was of course was the Youth, and we had just had some major changes go on at our Church at that time. The biggest was that a few weeks before that our Pastor had stepped down, and then the week before the Youth Retreat, 2 of our Youth Leaders stepped down from both their positions of Youth Leaders and teachers over the Teen Class. I was assistant teacher of the Teen Class and when all of this went down God lead me and my wife to step up and take over the role of the lead teachers of the Teen Class and we also stepped up to be Youth Leaders.

As you can tell there was a lot of change going on at that time, and as much as it was a painful process to go thru it also was a blessing as it has caused me and my wife to step forward in our relationship together and with the Church. So here I am at the Youth Retreat brand new Youth Leader, and stepping up as the head of the Teen Class, it was kind of a trial by fire sort of, to be thrust into these positions and immediately go into Youth Retreat.

I can tell you I have always had a heart to want to teach, and I have also had a heart to want to preach. There has been times where I felt the Lord was calling me to preach but because I wasnt 100% sure He was I have never announced my calling because I dont take something like that lightly. I do not believe that a person can just decide "Hey I want to be a preacher" and just go about starting to preach. Unfortunately I do believe that millions of pulpits are taken up each week by people that just decided on their own to be a preacher and have never been truly called by God and I believe that we can see the result of this in the waterdowned, weak and compromised "Church" that we see in Mainstream Christianity in America today.

One night I am praying with all of this on my heart and on my mind, just asking God for direction and clarity and He began to speak to me and I believe what He revealed to me is something that can benefit others so I would like to share that with you today. As I am praying God begins to stir on my heart the conversion of Paul and He leads me to what happened prior to his conversion and He shows me 3 aspects of Pauls conversion that struck home with me and I am hoping will bless you as well.

Acts 7:55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,
58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul.
59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
This is the first mention of Saul or later Paul in the Bible, and in the prior texts we see that Stephen was preaching the Gospel to the Jews and when they were pricked in their heart concerning the Gospel, they turned upon Stephen and killed him and laid their outer garments at Sauls feet while they carried out the stoning. I believe that the act of them laying their garments at his feet indicate that Saul was the one in charge here and more than likely gave the go ahead to kill Stephen. There is a whole lot one could preach or teach or talk about in this Chapter but the thing God laid on my heart was this is where Saul first heard the Gospel being preached in Spirit and Power.

Stephen was in the position of the Preacher here, the position I had desired to be called into, a position that I believe many other Christians would like to be called into as well. It is an esteemed position but I dont desire it because of it esteem but because I desperately desire to see Souls saved to Christ. God showed me what that position entails and above all things it entails your own death. Stephen was murdered for preaching the Gospel and if I or anyone else would have the true calling on their lives to become a God Called Preacher then your life is going to be taken from you.

Now I dont mean that 100% literally, although I believe there can be a high likely hood of that if one preaches the Gospel, but taking Stephen as a Symbol of what kind of Sacrifice it is going to take for someone to truly be called and lead to Preach. The World will turn against you, you would endure cuts, attacks, stoning from even loved ones and all of it would be an act of dying for the Gospels sake. Not everyone is equipped or able to endure such things, not everyone is called to that type of service and I am not sure if I have been, or will be called into that, maybe, maybe not. However God made it clear what it takes, what happens when He truly calls a man to preach.

Then He turned my heart to Saul and what happened to him and I would like to share Scripture with you concerning that event:

Acts 9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.

9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.

Saul is headed to Damascus to continue to jail and murder Christians when he has an encounter with Christ that changes him completely. So much so that he ends up receiving or using a different name from then on. I can tell you that this is exactly what happens to anyone that has a True Encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. It will forever change you, you will become a different person all together.

The first thing God showed me was Stephen, the position of the Preacher, the one who preaches the Gospel and gives up his life for the Gospel sake. As I said I believe that Saul was pricked in his heart when Stephen preached, Saul went from believing he was doing the right thing for God, to hearing the Gospel and being condemned in his heart. I dont want to spend too much time on this, maybe later I will write out the whole thing, but in Genesis 3 we can see the progression of how people react once they are pricked in their heart by the Gospel. First they try and cover it up, then they try and run and hide, and many times people who have been convicted they end up falling down even harder in life to try and dull and run from that conviction.

I believe that is where Saul was at here on his way to Damascus, he was pricked in his heart as Scriptures say when Stephen preached the Gospel and he was trying to cover his conviction up by doing the Religious thing and was running from God, but here on the road to Damascus he had that True Experience with Jesus and he turned his life over and was converted right there. So this is the second thing God showed me in these Scriptures is the New Convert to Christianity and that is what Saul was representing as God lead me thru the Scriptures.

And there are 2 things God showed me about Saul here, first is that he was blind as we read in verse 8:

8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man:

The second thing is that he was weak as we see in verse 9 and again in 19:

Acts 9:9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink
19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened
.

And God lead me back to when I first got Saved, and while I was full of zeal looking back now I can see that without a doubt after meeting Jesus, that amazing experience, I too was blind. By that I mean I had very little knowledge of God, I had about zero true understanding of the Bible, never really read it much. I was also weak, there being a New Convert, regardless of my zeal and desire to tell everyone about Christ, I was vulnerable. I can look back and see many New Coverts who almost instantly in their desire to follow the Lord end up going right into Cults and other False Churches and Ideologies. I can see them and myself just get trapped by the Devil, because now the Devil is mad and is going to go right after them.

From my own experience I can tell you that the Devil instantly went after me and I was mislead for many years going down wrong paths, not developing my relationship with the Lord, I was blind and weak Spiritually even tho I was saved and changed. It took years before I really was able to discern Truth from Lies when it came to False Teachers and Churches and develop a solid understanding of the Bible. It took years for me to submit myself to the Lord as I should have in the beginning. And I believe I am not the only one in this position. I think there are SOOO many New Converts that end up getting sidetracked, pitfalled, shipwrecked, in their Faith. There are plenty of reasons for that but there is one huge reason for that and God showed me exactly what is was.

Acts 9:10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,
12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.
17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.

God showed me the Preacher, the esteemed position that most people look up to or possibly desire to be. He showed me the New Convert and the state that people truly are when the first come to Christ, blind and weak. He then showed me the most overlooked person in the Bible who is probably one of the most important aside from Christ and that is Ananias. Who is Ananias? He is a disciple of the Lord, later to be said that he was a devout man with a good report. And God showed me exactly who Ananias was.

Ananias was me, Ananias is you if you have been Saved for some time. Ananias is what the Church needs more than anything, men and women that are to be sent to the New Converts to help give them their sight, to help give them strength, to help guide them and uplift them. They are the Church in action for the people who have just come to Christ. And they are the most important position in the Church.

Think if Ananias would have never come to Saul, what do you think would have happened to him? I believe if Ananias didnt follow the call of the Lord in his life, to go down to Saul, that Saul would have remained blind. Saul would have never gained the strength he needed. Saul never would have become the guy that ended up being the most prolific Evangelist in History. He never would have planted all the Churches he did, he never would have preached and brought the thousands of people he helped come to Christ. There wouldnt be about half of the New Testament for us to be able to read and learn from. And as I sat there pondering these things it just kept getting driven into my heart that while the Preacher may be looked at in many ways as being the most important position in the Church along with Pastor, the fact is, the Ananias' of the Church THEY are the most important people hands down.

And as I look back on my Conversion, and why I was so easily set of course and lead astray, it was because I had no Ananias' in my life really. I wasnt part of a Church when I was Born Again so I didnt have that aspect, I was in a Drug Rehab Center. When I got out the I had to leave the first Church I was in, where I got Baptized, because of a relationship problem and so there I was a New Convert, that was blind and weak and ready to be sent of course and attacked by the Devil. I just wonder how many other Christians have first came to Christ but there was no one who was sent to them, to help them, to strengthen them, to build them up and give them a direction in their Spiritual Life?

How much more powerful would the Church be if everyone would become Ananias, if they were to truly pray and ask God to put them into the position to be able to go to and serve New Converts?

I've been praying that prayer, and I have seen God answer it and show me how to be an Ananias to my Church which is why teaching Sunday School is so very dear and important to me. So I am asking you today, you who are Saved, are you wanting, are you ready to be an Ananias? Turn to God ask Him how, where, when He would have you go to the New Converts and strengthen, encourage, lead them so that they can have a solid rock to being their ministry and relationship with the Lord!!!

I still have that desire to preach, its something that burns in me, but I know for a fact that that is not the most important thing the Church needs or even the World needs, the most important thing is to be an Ananias, and when God speaks to follow His Command to Go Thy Way!!!

I love you all, have a great day and blessed day in the Lord!

If you need prayer or anything else please feel free to reach out to me and I will help you the best I can and if I can't help I know one man that can, this man named Jesus!

Disciples
Are
Continually
Influencing
Peoples
Living
Existence


Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
 





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#38
@Daciple - very thought provoking! It goes to the heart of why we do things for God, to “be someone” or simply to serve Him gladly? Ananias doesn't get very much copy space in the Bible, yet he was a key person in God’s plan. Keep on keeping on and I hope you really enjoy your youth work!!!
 





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#39
The Beautiful Gate
Acts 3:5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.

I woke up the other day with this verse on my heart, it was kind of strange, to wake up and just feel lead to look up Acts 3:5. The whole verse wasnt on my heart, I didnt know what was actually going to be said, but I woke up and for a good 5 min I kept hearing Acts 3:5, that I need to look that up, that God wanted to speak to me thru that Scripture and the Scriptures around it. So I got out of bed, got my Bible and looked up that verse.

At first I really didnt understand why God had laid this on my heart, Acts 3:5 what does this have to do with anything I wondered but I began to pray and study out why God had lead me to this verse and I can tell you it has been a major blessing to me, something I have kept coming back to over and over as the days and weeks have gone by and I feel lead to tell you about it so that you too can hopefully be as blessed as I have been. So maybe you too can be able eat from Gods Word in this message and go back to it, pulling from it and just allowing God to bring you to the next level in your Faith.

So as I began to read, pray and study it out God began to reveal many different things in these Scriptures and I want to give you these things as we go over the event that is recorded in the Word of God. A very quick summary of this event is when Peter and John come to the temple in Jerusalem and the happen to cross paths with a man who was lame or couldnt walk since birth. This man was at the gates of the Temple begging and when Peter and John come upon him they tell him that they have no money but what they do have they will give to him and then tell him get up and walk. The man stands up and begins to walk and many begin to praise God for the miracle. Its an amazing event and a very popular post Christ Ascension miracle.

However as I read and re-read these Scriptures God began to show me things I had never really seen, never really noticed before and that is what is so amazing about the Word of God, when you read it in the Spirit God will open your eyes to a passage you have read 100 times and give you something fresh and new, something you have never seen before, because the Bible, the Word of God is a Living Word!!

Acts 2:2 And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple

This is the beginning of the Chapter and the beginning of the event and while I was reading this God opened my eyes to two different things. The first was that this man was laid DAILY at the gate, he wasnt laid there once in awhile, a few times a year, every couple of weeks, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, no this man was laid every single day at the gate. According to Scripture this was done every day, and I began to wonder just how long was it that people were laying this man at this gate.

Acts 4:22 For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed.

This man was being laid at the gate for I would say at least 20 years and maybe over 40 years. Day in and day out there was someone that was taking this lame man to the gates, the Beautiful Gate to ask for alms, to be given the care and be provided by the people going in the things he was needing to survive. I thought about the dedication to do that for this man, the continuance of picking him up, carrying him, laying him down and then to pick him back up and take him home.

And then this gate, this Beautiful Gate, was on my heart and I wondered what it meant, was there something of meaning to this particular gate? So I began to research it out, I spent quite awhile on which Gate the Beautiful Gate was supposed to be at the Temple and I dont want to bore you with the details but what I came to find out is that no one is exactly sure which Gate the Beautiful Gate was. One says this Gate another says thats impossible and gives their opinion as to which of the Gates in the Temple is literally was and as I was reading and going back and forth about trying to determine which Gate this man was being placed at God said you are missing the whole point.

So I took a moment to just step back, to think and to pray and as I was praying these Scriptures came onto my heart. The first is what Jesus says about the path we need to take in this Life:

Matt 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it
.

Jesus tells us to enter into the strait gate and the narrow way, that this is the gate and way that leads to life, to go the other way is to find yourself going down to destruction. How narrow is the way that Jesus is talking about?

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Jesus tells us that He is the way, the ONLY way unto the Father, the way is so narrow that it is ONLY thru Him and Him Alone.

So what is this Beautiful Gate then? What was I missing in my search for the physical location? I was thinking that the physical location was important but God was trying to drive home something much bigger, something much more relevant something that has stuck with me almost everyday since He showed it to me.

John 10:7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.

If you study out or just look up real quick what Jesus is speaking about here, He is talking about the door to a sheep pen and if you look at how those doors were made in the past, they were essentially gates that the Shepard would stand in front of or along side of to protect the Sheep.



I was missing what God was trying to show me by looking for the literal Gate that was in the Temple, what God was trying to reveal to me was that Jesus was and is this Beautiful Gate and I was amazed by this, but then I was completely cut to my heart just a moment later.

There were people who were bringing this man to the literal Beautiful Gate every single day for 40 years and then God asked, are you bringing your people, the Lost in your Family, the people in heartache, the people in need, even your own wife, kids, the people in your Church, are you bringing them to the Beautiful Gate? Are you doing it everyday?

Man I was cut, my heartbroke because the fact is no I havent and wasnt taking my people to the REAL Beautiful Gate every day but that is exactly what we ought to be doing!! We ought to be taking our Lost to Jesus every single day!! We ought to be laying them at His Feet all the time, asking for God to provide them with the things needed to bring them to Salvation. We ought to be bringing our Families, our Friends, our Church, even the Strangers we come across, right to the Beautiful Gate and we need to do it DAILY!!!

How different would things be if you took your Friends and Family to Jesus every single day in Prayer? What would happen if your Church were to take hold of this message and everyone begin to truly take one another to the Beautiful Gate everyday? How powerful do you think your walk, your families walk, your friends walk and lives, your Church would become if we really heeded what God is saying about the Beautiful Gate!!!!

I know if I want to see my Lost get Saved, if I want to see my families and friends lives truly change then I know I need to start bringing them to Jesus every day!! I know that Jesus can Save the Lost, I know He can provide everything needed for me and for all my friends and family, all I need, all you need to do is start truly bringing them to Him, the REAL Beautiful Gate!!!

Sitting and taking all that in, letting God really move in my heart, meditating on that part of the message was profound, like I said it has truly changed my life. I thought that was all that God was trying to show me, but God took me back to the Scriptures again, He asked is that the verse I originally laid on your heart? And the answer was no it wasnt, He laid Acts 3:5 on my heart. There was more that God wanted to show me and more that I want to give to you!!!

Acts 3:4 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.
5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.
6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

As I turned back to the Scriptures and began to pray and read them yet again, God showed me 3 more things in these verses above. The first was He showed me that Peter and John called out to the lame man, got his attention and gave him a direct command, Look On Us.

God was telling me and is telling you the same thing today, He is calling out to us and saying Look On Him. There are many Scriptures and Events we can cite that speak to this, but for brevity sake I just want to quickly touch on one, one in which Peter was in the main person that shows us what happens when we just Look On Jesus.

Matt 14:28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.

31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

Here we can see that Peter saw Jesus on the Water and he asked Jesus to call him to His side, and when Peter looked upon Christ he was able to get out of the boat and walked on the Water!! However when Peter looked at the wind, when he took his eyes off Jesus then he began to sink. Praise the Lord that even when he took his eyes off Jesus and found himself in trouble and cried out, immediately Jesus caught him.

But when Peter had Looked Upon Jesus, he was able to do the same miracle as Jesus, he was walking on water. God is speaking to you now telling you to Look On Him because He is wanting to do something amazing in your life!!! Just as Peter told that man to Look On Us, God is saying to you Look On Me!!!

Then God drew my attention to the mans reaction of being told to Look On Us from Peter and John, and what does Scripture say?

Acts 3:5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.

Here it was the Scripture God had originally laid on my heart and He began to reveal to me exactly what it was this specific Scripture that He had first started pressing upon me. How did the man react when Peter and John told him to look? He first gave heed, he paid attention, he acknowledged the fact that they had called out to him. If we ever want to see anything from God we need to acknowledge and believe that He is calling out to us. I am telling you that He is calling out to you right now, are you going to give heed to God?

And then came what God was moving all of this towards, He wanted me to see how the lame man looked upon Peter and John, and it was that he looked upon them expecting something. God just began dealing with my heart, when I pray to Him and I really expecting anything? Do I really have a belief that He is going to answer? What are my expectations of from God? God started challenging me on my expectations from Him in regards to my prayers and His power.

This again was something utterly profound to be hearing from God and He began to just lead me from one Scripture to the next trying to drive home the point. And thats when a battle began to take place in my Spirit, does God really want me to pray and expect big things? Isnt that almost wrong to pray expectingly? Well what does Scripture say about this?

James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord
.

James tells us the we need to pray and ask God in Faith, NOTHING wavering. He literally tells us if we DONT pray expectingly in Faith, then we ought not to think that God will give us anything!!

James 4:1From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

James also tells us that a big reason we have problems within ourselves and with others is because we dont even pray or if we pray we pray incorrectly, amiss and I believe this harkens back to what he said in the 1st Chapter, it is because we are not asking in Faith praying expectingly!!

Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

The writer of Hebrews tells us here to come boldly unto the Throne of Grace and that we WILL find Grace and Mercy. God wants us to come to Him expecting big things in our lives!! We have a Big God that can deal with Big Problems and deliver Big Answers in our time of Need!!!

God really has been dealing with me about my level of expectation vs His level of ability. He is telling you and me that our level of expectation is no where near His level of ability and He is wanting us to truly bring and ask Big Things of Him because He wants to show and use us for His Glory!!

And of course my Natural Mind immediately went to doubting all of this, asking is this really what you are wanting me to take away from this God? That you are wanting me to essentially step up my level of expectation and prayers before you? Like I said it almost seems wrong to do such a thing, but not only did He show me those Scriptures He instantly drew my attention to the lame man.

What happened to that lame man? He looked upon Peter and John expecting something, he was expecting money a rather small thing, something that he has received hundreds probably thousands of times in the past. However what was it that he actually did receive?

Acts 3:7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.
8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God
.

The man looked upon them expecting money and instead he received the ability to walk!!! Does God want to do that for us today? I say YES He does!! Do you have Scripture to back that up at all?

Eph 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

Amen!! Jesus is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think!! Go back read that 3 more times, exceeding, abundantly, above ALL that we ask or can even think!!

That gets me stirred up, of course Jesus wants us to Look On Him expectingly, why? Because He is able to do EVEN MORE than what we can possibly think!!

When God delivered all of this to me, it rocked my world, it has seriously changed my life, my walk, my prayers, my faith, it has changed everything!!

We need to bring our Lost, our Friends and Family to that Beautiful Gate who is Jesus and we need to Look On Him, praying and believing in Faith expectingly, knowing that He can and will do exceeding abundantly above all that we an ask or think!!

When we have God show and reveal to us these things, then at what level are we going to step up our expectations of Him in our lives? Now do not take this wrong, I am in no way preaching or teaching some name it claim it nonsense, not that God can not deliver on physical needs, but I am asking Spiritually what are you going to now be praying and expecting of Him?

I know He wants us move higher in our level of expectation so that He can show us His level of Power and Glory, and I am excited to see how God is going to move in my life and in yours!!!

If you are Lost today, then Look On Him, believe in Faith that He has died for your Sins and expect that He will save you and I promise that according to Scripture He will do just that!!!

If you are saved then pray and meditate on what God has just revealed to you thru His Word, come to that Beautiful Gate bringing all your loved ones, lost ones, burdens and everything else and ask in Faith with expectation that He can and will answer exceedingly abundantly above anything we can ask or even think!!!

I love you all, have a great day and blessed day in the Lord!

If you need prayer or anything else please feel free to reach out to me and I will help you the best I can and if I can't help I know one man that can, this man named Jesus!

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Eph 6:19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,