Thursday, June 23, 2016

Gaining Ground

In my Bible reading this week, I came across an interesting scripture in Exodus 23.

They Lord tells His people that He is sending an Angel before them, to protect and keep them, and deliver them to the Promised Land. 

God tells them if they walk in obedience, the Lord will become an Enemy to Israel's enemies and an Adversary to Israel's adversaries. 

God does this by sending His Angel before them, which causes them to defeat their enemies. It seems this Angel also carries out God's plan to provide food and water and remove sickness and disease from their midst.

He says it like this:

Exodus 23:27 NKJV 

"I will send my terror ahead of you and create panic among all the people whose lands you invade. I will make all your enemies turn and run. 28 I will send terror ahead of you to drive out the Hivites, Canaanites, and Hittites.

Wow. Now we understand our Enemies are not people. Our true enemy is Satan and all spiritual wickedness. 

Apply, the scriptures here to understand how the Lord fights our battles in the invisible spiritual world for us when we obey and depend on Him!

I found this next verse very interesting:

Exodus 23:29 NKJV 
I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you.

In the natural, God is saying, if He removed all of Israel's enemies at once, before they were able to grow into this new land, the lack of people in certain areas would allow the population of dangerous wild animals to proliferate and become a major issue for the Israelites to protect themselves. 

In the spiritual, the Lord does the same thing for us. He knows we must grow and mature in Him. For Him to suddenly remove ALL barriers and enemies, without us growing to place to handle the success and blessing that would rush into our lives, would end up being more harmful than helpful.

Furthermore, the idea here is that of "Possessing the Land" or taking ground for the Kingdom. 

Are we currently taking and holding ground for the Kingdom of God? 

Take our City of Rochester for example. Are you walking in Faith and Action for our City? 

If God suddenly removed EVERY Principality and Spiritual Wickedness from the City of Rochester, would you and I be already working to take Ground for the particular, are we ministering and sharing the Gospel with the PEOPLE of Rochester?

The Lord could do this, removing all demonic hindrance, but if we are not able, ready or mature enough to reach all the unsaved at once, what would the result be?

Look what Jesus taught about such things:

Luke 11:24 NLT
"When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, 'I will return to the person I came from.' 25 So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order. 26 Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before."

So imagine, Jesus removes all the Spiritual Wickedness from Rochester...we are unable to reach all the people immediately with the Gospel, so the evil spirits return after a time, and the City ends up 7 times worse off than it started.

I believe that is the idea in verse 29 of Exodus 23, regarding the multiplication of wild animals or "beasts of the field" becoming "too numerous for you."

So, how does the Lord work these things out in our lives?

Exodus 23:30 NKJV 
Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased, and you inherit the land.

Little by little.

As we grow in spiritual maturity, as we take steps to gain ground in the Kingdom, and show ourselves as faithful stewards in what the Lord has given us, He then defeats more enemies, giving us more ground. In this way, His Kingdom comes and expands.

Luke 16:10 NLT
"If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won't be honest with greater responsibilities.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Faith that Works

Did you ever question the power of your Faith to work?

Most of us can think of someone we feel has Great Faith, perhaps a grandmother, or minister, or Bible teacher.

What about your Faith?

Jesus said:

Luke 17:6 NKJV
"If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.

Wow. That sounds like Great Faith to me. 

We often agree with Words like this in Scripture, but do we really believe our Faith could accomplish something like that?

I want to share 2 thoughts today around your Faith and seeing it work for you when you pray. 

Thought #1 - Jesus talks about Faith here as a "seed." The idea of a seed is something that starts very small, but when planted and nurtured, it GROWS into something much greater than its humble beginning. 

Thus, we learn our Faith can grow. It can become greater than it is presently. 

How do we grow our Faith?

I believe the number one way to grow our Faith is found in Romans:

Romans 10:17 NKJV
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

The quickest and most effective way to grow your Faith in any particular area that you are praying for, is to Read, Meditate, and Speak the Word of God, (His Scriptural Promises for what you are believing for).

This will take your seed-sized Faith and turn it into a tree-sized Faith!

Thought #2 - Faith works by Love

In Galatians 5, Paul is contrasting living by the Law of Moses versus Living by Faith in Christ.

In context, some thought that by following all the Old Testament rules of being a Jew would save you. Paul makes very clear, that is not the case. Only Faith in Jesus will save you.

Then he adds a little secret to effective Faith:

Galatians 5:6b KJV
...but faith which worketh by love.

Did you get that?

The Greek word here in the King James Version, "worketh," or works, is the word, energeō.

You can clearly see the English word, Energy in there. Or as a verb, Energize.

It literally means: 
  • to be at Work
  • to put forth Power
  • to be Effective

So this scripture teaches us, for our Faith to Work, to put forth Power, and the be Effective...LOVE must be at the source of our Faith.

The motivator for our Prayers when we use our Faith, must be LOVE. 

Love for God. Love for People.

So, if your Faith seems to be falling short, check up on these two thoughts, and do something about it!!

Get in God's Word, and Love God and People!

Thursday, May 19, 2016



Now that is an ugly word. If you have experienced it, you know what I am talking about.

II Samuel 13 through 19 gives the account of one great betrayal, that of King David's son, Absalom. 

Now there's a guy who did not live up to his namesake. Absalom, in the Hebrew means, Father of Peace.

Prince Absalom was a master manipulator who played on the emotions of the people to win them over to his side against his father. 

2 Samuel 15:2-6 NLT
He got up early every morning and went out to the gate of the city. When people brought a case to the king for judgment, Absalom would ask where in Israel they were from, and they would tell him their tribe. 3 Then Absalom would say, "You've really got a strong case here! It's too bad the king doesn't have anyone to hear it. 4 I wish I were the judge. Then everyone could bring their cases to me for judgment, and I would give them justice!"
When people tried to bow before him, Absalom wouldn't let them. Instead, he took them by the hand and kissed them. 6 Absalom did this with everyone who came to the king for judgment, and so he stole the hearts of all the people of Israel.

Things grew and grew to the point that Absalom was declaring himself the new King of Israel with a coup d'état attempt to overthrow David. 

Now that is betrayal. 

Oh how it must have hurt David so deeply coming from his own son whom he loved. Absalom would have stopped at nothing, including taking his father's life to become king. He has already murdered one of his brothers.

Psalm 3, tells us exactly how David felt and how he dealt with this before the Lord in his prayer-life.

Psalm 3 NKJV 
Lord, how they have increased who trouble me!
Many are they who rise up against me.
2 Many are they who say of me,
"There is no help for him in God."     Selah

3 But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
4 I cried to the Lord with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill.     Selah

5 I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the Lord sustained me.
6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.
7 Arise, O Lord;
Save me, O my God!
For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly.
8 Salvation belongs to the Lord.
Your blessing is upon Your people.     Selah

Wow. What faith.

We know as New Testament believers, our enemies are not people, but rather the evil spirits behind people's actions. 

May we declare this Psalm in faith over our troubles and attacks of the enemy, and expect God to strike the devil and break his teeth on our behalf!

Thursday, May 05, 2016



Just reading that word can give feelings of stress.

Stress and Anxiety are something we all must deal with in our lives. Being a Christian is not a pass on that either.

Perhaps being a Christian may even add complication to our lives as we must also factor in morality to our decision making. We also cannot turn to the things that pacify the world when under stress like alcohol, nicotine, drugs, and sexual sin.

So where does that leave us?

When people are hurting emotionally, they will look for something that brings pleasure and buries the pain. Some of these things may not be sinful in nature, such as watching 100 episodes or your favorite TV show on Netflicks or obsessing into a hobby.  

There is however, a Biblical way to handle Stress and Anxiety.

It first helps to recognize what you have the power to change and what you do not. When we come to the place to see ONLY God can create a way out of this, we are then ready for the solution.

Philippians 4:6-7 NLT
Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

A supernatural transaction happens here. It is not just a religious act we go through to help us feel better. 

This kind of prayer mixed with genuine faith WILL produce a real Peace in us which goes well beyond our human-reasoning. 

The Apostle Paul goes on to say:

Philippians 4:12-13 NIV
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Paul was well-acquainted with Stress and Anxiety. Yet he learned the "secret." It is found in the verses between these two passages and has to do with a Transformed Mind:

Philippians 4:8 NIV
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praise-worthy, think about such things.

So in summary, Pray, Thank God, think on Godly things, and have an attitude that you can make it through ALL situations with the God of Peace at your side!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

I Lay Down My Life

What an important time of year for Christians as we remember what Jesus has done for us! 

Resurrection Sunday is the pinnacle of God's Plan for humankind!

As we remember this Good Friday how Jesus suffered and the pain He went through for us, let us consider this point:

John 10:17-18 NKJV - Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.

Have you ever really considered this? 

At any moment, Jesus could have aborted His Mission. He could have decided, "this is just too uncomfortable."

He knew what was about to happen to Him, as He prayed in the Garden for the Father to let this "cup" of suffering pass from Him. 

So, why did He go through with it? 

He was looking to the outcome with eyes of Faith...

Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV - Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

This phrase, "...Who for the JOY that was set before Him..." tells us His eyes were not on His current sufferings. 

One, as the Author and Finisher of our faith, He had you and me in mind, knowing that the completion of this Sacrifice would pay the price to Redeem us and Atone for our Sins that we might be made in Right Standing with God!

Two, He would be given the Right to be seated at the Right Hand of His Father, the position of Authority.

Who has more Authority than Jesus?!!

Yet, who understands and exemplifies true Submission more than Jesus?!!

He teaches us in His selfless actions of the Passion and the Cross, that only those who truly understand Submission to God, will be given Godly Authority in His Kingdom. 

You cannot lead with Authority without living in Submission.

Powerful lessons.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Milk and Meat

There is a theme that is woven through the New Testament of the Maturing of the Believer.

It is all throughout the Teachings of Jesus, Peter, Paul, James and John.

Our Spiritual Maturity is always measured by our capacity to carry and pour out LOVE. 

One analogy that is used to describe our Christian Maturity is the contrasting of Milk and Meat (or solid food).

1 Peter 2:1-3 NKJV - Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure MILK OF THE WORD, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

This is where we ALL must start when we give our lives to Christ and we are Born Again.

Notice it talks about laying aside all the things in our lives that are the opposite of LOVE.

The Milk of the Word is so precious and of great benefit if we will truly feed on it.

However, just as a natural child cannot grow and mature by only drinking Milk, he must move on to Solid Food if he is to grow, we too in our Spiritual Walk must ingest the Milk and continue moving forward to the Meat of the Word.

Sad to say, there are MANY Christians who have been Born Again for years that still have not put aside the works of the flesh that choke out LOVE in their lives. There are Christians who are "saved "for their whole lives, yet die as Baby Christians.

Milk is given from a Mother to an infant.

Meat is obtained from Hunting.

There is a major difference. The Holy Spirit provides for us as a mother, to bring maturity. However, God's desire is that we grow to the next stage and learn to feed ourselves, hunting for and seeking the deeper things of God without missing the elementary.

Hebrews 5:12 NKJV - For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the FIRST PRINCIPLES of the oracles of God; and you have come to need MILK and not SOLID FOOD.

You cannot move to the next stage of growth successfully until you mature in the First Stage...learning to Walk in LOVE.

The scripture goes on to say:

Hebrews 5:13-14 NKJV - For everyone who partakes only of MILK is unskilled in the Word of Righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But SOLID FOOD belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

The New Living Translation says it this way:

14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.

This is NOT teaching that the MILK is of lesser value or something to be looked down upon. To the Contrary, it is VITAL if we are to move on to being Skilled in the Word  and people of Discernment. 

1 Peter 2:1 NLT - So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech.

With Holy Spirit's help, we can do it!

Thursday, February 18, 2016


One of our men's LifeGroups is going through the book, "Fight" by Craig Groeschel.

The current discussion is about the Life of Samson, " incredibly strong man with a dangerously weak will."

In the natural, he truly was a Super Hero with Super Powers...however, spiritually, he had major struggles that eventually cost him his life.

God had granted Samson this supernatural strength in exchange for a Nazarite Vow of holiness and dedication to Him.

The Requirements:
  1. Don't get Drunk
  2. Don't touch anything Dead
  3. Don't cut your Hair
Samson ended up doing all three...with a weakness for women from the enemy's camp as well.

Even with all his sin, God used him greatly for a season. 

His life teaches us a few lessons:
  • Just because God is using you, even supernaturally, does NOT mean you are walking in His will and obedience
  • Though you are operating in a Gifting God has given you, that is no guarantee you will stay in God's good Grace

Consider this Scripture:

Romans 11:29 Amplified Bible 
For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable [for He does not withdraw what He has given, nor does He change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call].

We may be anointed with a particular Gifting, but what matters in the end is our integrity and obedience to the Lord.

You will not go to Heaven because you were a Gifted man or woman of God. God is the one Who gave you that that could not possibly qualify you for Salvation. 

Salvation is acquired by Faith in Jesus, and maintained through Actions of obedience to Jesus as your Lord.

There are many Christians and non-Christians alike in this world, operating in God-given Giftings...

It is really a question of, will you use them for Jesus or for the World?

Friday, February 12, 2016

God is doing NOTHING??

Have you ever been around people who are stuck in negativity? Everything they say has a twist of heaviness to it? They seem to suck the life out of the room.

This is a person who has lost Hope.

Israel found themselves in such a place many times in their history as they pulled away from God in their Culture and gave into Sinfulness, believing they were being progressive and modern, throwing away the "old ways" of thinking.

Now, it didn't happen overnight, or even in one generation. It came over time, one compromise at a time...and the result was a despondent people, wallowing in doubt and negativity, who lost their Hope in God.

Zephaniah 1:12 NKJV 
"And it shall come to pass at that time that I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and punish the men who are settled in complacency, Who say in their heart, 'The Lord will not do good, Nor will He do evil.'

These people believed God was doing NOTHING...good or bad.

Ecclesiastes 11:4-5 NASB 
He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap. 5 Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things.

The following familiar passage teaches us HOW God thinks.

Isaiah 55:8-9 NKJV 
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

It is an entirely different thing to know WHAT God is thinking and doing at this exact moment.

God is ALWAYS moving and working. Just because we are unaware at the moment of his working, does not mean He has become complacent and lazy.

In the times we begin to feel far from the Lord, it is imperative we do not let go of our Hope and begin speaking doubt, unbelief and negativity. 

This is NEVER God's way.

We ALL face trials and tribulations. 

Do not give in to the temptation to speak evil over your situation, but rather speak the Word of God! For He said in the same passage from above:

Isaiah 55:10-11 NKJV 
10 "For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 So shall My Word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

God is MOVING!

Remember how Great and Terrifying the Lord is...

As believers and followers of Christ, there will be times of persecution and difficulty from our Enemy, the devil. 

The New Testament teaches us in Ephesians 6, that we wrestle not against flesh and blood (people), but the real imposters behind these attacks are from the invisible realm... "principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places."

When you find yourself in this place, how do you handle it?

Our first response should be to raise our Shield of Faith. This is a response to look to the Lord who is our Protecter from the Enemy.

In the story of Nehemiah, he was sent back to Jerusalem from the Kingdom of the Medes and Persians, where the Jews had been in captivity for 70 years. He was now the Governor purposed to rebuild the Wall around the City.

He had enemies coming against him using every trick in the book to bring Division, Discord, and Discouragement.

Nehemiah 4:1-3 NLT Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews, 2 saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, "What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they're doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a single day by just offering a few sacrifices?Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap-and charred ones at that?"
3 Tobiah the Ammonite, who was standing beside him, remarked, "That stone wall would collapse if even a fox walked along the top of it!"

Nehemiah 4:6-8 NLT At last the wall was completed to half its height around the entire city, for the people had worked with enthusiasm.
7 But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that the work was going ahead and that the gaps in the wall of Jerusalem were being repaired, they were furious. 8 They all made plans to come and fight against Jerusalem and throw us into confusion.
When the Enemy comes against us, it can feel overwhelming and cause a temptation to fear and begin speaking doubt and unbelief.

Nehemiah 4:10-18 NLT Then the people of Judah began to complain, "The workers are getting tired, and there is so much rubble to be moved. We will never be able to build the wall by ourselves."
11 Meanwhile, our enemies were saying, "Before they know what's happening, we will swoop down on them and kill them and end their work."
12 The Jews who lived near the enemy came and told us again and again, "They will come from all directions and attack us!" 

Look here at Nehemiah's  Leadership and Encouragement to his people:

Nehemiah 4:13-14 NLT So I placed armed guards behind the lowest parts of the wall in the exposed areas. I stationed the people to stand guard by families, armed with swords, spears, and bows.
14 Then as I looked over the situation, I called together the nobles and the rest of the people and said to them, "Don't be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!"

Look how it is stated in the Good News Translation

Don't be afraid of our enemies. Remember how great and terrifying the Lord is, and fight...

WOW! That word, TERRIFYING to describe the Lord is amazing. We see Him as our Loving Savior and Protector...imagine how Satan sees Him! GREAT, TERRIFYING, GLORIOUS!

The Enemy is NO MATCH for Jesus!

Nehemiah 4:15-18 NLT When our enemies heard that we knew of their plans and that God had frustrated them, we all returned to our work on the wall. 16 But from then on, only half my men worked while the other half stood guard with spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. The leaders stationed themselves behind the people of Judah 17 who were building the wall. The laborers carried on their work with one hand supporting their load and one hand holding a weapon. 18 All the builders had a sword belted to their side. The trumpeter stayed with me to sound the alarm.
What a picture of our Spiritual Life...building the Kingdom with one hand, and keeping the devil in his place with the other, as we keep up that Shield of Faith, and speak the Word of God over our trials as our Sword of the Spirit!

Here is the result of Nehemiah's faith and Godly Leadership:

Nehemiah 6:15 GNT After 52 days of work the entire wall was finished on the 25th day of the month of Elul.
Trust the Lord to fight your battles!