When Christ appears…

we will be like Him for we will see Him as He really is (1 John 3:2). Strong’s says this Greek word ‘Phaneroo’ is ‘when He appears’ meaning to be made manifest or appear or shew literally and figuratively. In the Thayer’s Greek Lexicon this means to make known what has been hidden, by words or deed or any other way. This same Greek word was used in Mark 4:22 which says,  For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was anything kept secret, but that it should be revealed. In this life it is true that once we see Christ truly, He manifests Himself however it may be, to become real to us, and we see who He is that we become more and more like Him. ‘We shall be like Him’ in the Greek hómoios meaning similar in appearance or character. So we become so full of love like Him that we burst at the seems to spill Him on anyone who will listen and we will yearn to show His love to others. We see people as Christ sees them. Ephesians 4:1 says, …live a life worthy of the calling you have received… We see every person we come into contact with significance and therefore we are prepared to give an answer for the hope we have in Christ (1 Pet 3:15). We break out of the spirit of religion which says its my works that make me look like Christ. Instead we abide in Him and He in us and we bear much fruit showing ourselves to His (John 15:5). We deny ourselves daily so as to walk in the Spirit (Luke 9:23). Get our minds off of ourselves and worldly things, and onto more important things – Spiritual things.

Each person who believes in Christ has there own personal relationship with Him. We cannot put people into groups to characterize who they are or what they believe about Christ because it’s an inner personal thing. And God will judge us someday for our inner thoughts. 1 Corinthians 4:5 states: Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

Seek Him in the Word. Seek Him in prayer. Seek Him with all your heart.

The Bible says:

For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord. But those who fail to find me harm themselves; all who hate me love death (Pro 8:35-36)

Brothers and sisters:

May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God (Phil 1:11).

Please don’t define me by..

And it happened when He was in a certain city, that behold, a man who was full of leprosy saw Jesus; and he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then He put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately the leprosy left him. (Luke 5:12-13)

What really caught my attention about this verse is that this man was that he was a man covered with Leprosy. He was not a man who was Leprosy. This man was not holding onto a disease to define who he was. In faith this man petitioned Jesus for healing and because of that he experienced the dynamic power of God cleansing him.

Mephibosheth in 2 Sam 9 was invited by King David to eat at his table everyday he didn’t excuse the invite because of his disability. He didn’t say to the king “sorry I can’t walk there so I ain’t coming”. He allowed the king to make plans for him to be there. In order for him to come to feast at the Kings table Mephibosheth had to leave the spot where he had always been. He had been invited by the King to dine with him. He got to experience the best because he was open to change.

Something the Lord told me this year was not to even speak “the word” naming the infirmity I have battled for many years. I am to thank God for my healing. I am to come out of that lo-debar environment. Quit talking about it. This would usher me in my healing. BECAUSE according to Proverbs what I don’t talk about I can’t give life to. The last few years I have had to open myself up to really walking into new understanding of the Lord. I have tried to work on really changing how I even look at the infirmity I’ve dealt with or even how I speak about it. Because it’s not mine. I’m not claiming it as mine. I don’t want it. Jesus doesn’t want it for me either.

So I will look like a fool to some but I’m claiming the truth over my body and my mind. The truth really is: He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree; so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed (1 Pet 2:24).

I have the runners mentality. Keeping my eyes focused on what’s ahead, not what’s behind me nor what on the side of me. And I will run the race with endurance. So I can finish well, not before my time but at the appointed time so I’m not ashamed when I look at Jesus. So He can say, Well done good and faithful servant.

All for One and One for all

The Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians:

But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility… His purpose was to create in Himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace…He put to death their hostility (Eph 2:13-16)

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love… There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Eph 4:1-5)

When reading the book of Ephesians recently these Scriptures stuck out to me concerning the unity of believers. Paul was writing speaking of the unity needing to be between Gentile believers and Jewish believers. And also the attitudes we as believers should have. I believe this is very much applicable for the church today as well. We make such a big deal about stuff that’s so unimportant. For instance, some may root for the biggest and best team and stick to fellowshipping in the confines of “their people”. Sometimes if we aren’t careful to really love each other how we ought to we allow division between fellow brothers or sisters in Christ to grow based on where we go to church or which leader we’re under or what denomination we are. When its clear Christ destroyed any barrier that dis-unifies believers with His blood. We are to root for Christ’s team. Not our church’s team. Not our denomination’s team. Not our leader’s team. Not even our own team. Even when we are called to fellowship in a new place we need to exude the attitude Christ had toward one another.

The direction in the Great Commission was to not only bring people to the saving knowledge of Christ but also to disciple them in obedience to Christ (Matt 28:18-20). I believe if we’re really living in obedience that we’ll learn to love as Christ did. To show love for one another means do as Christ said. We are to love God with everything in us and love one another as we love ourselves (Matt 22:38-39).

In him the whole building, being put together, grows into a holy temple in the LordFrom him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part (Eph 2:21, 4:16).

Every joint contributes in the building of the body as they are actively building up themselves in ‘agape’ love. This is a tender love that is Supernaturally built up. This doesn’t say only to take place within our individual churches that we are a part of. Don’t get me wrong. There may be a time when God calls you out of a church fellowship to build you up and make you stronger in Him. But I think there’s an issue of the heart that’s really revealed when we have our noses stuck up to one another because of our differing beliefs. We should make it our aim to love as Christ taught. The Bible says that we are to be built up as Romans 12:2 says by renewing our minds with God’s Word. Jude says in his book in verses 20-21:

We are to build ourselves up in our most holy faith praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God waiting expectantly for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life.

That word ‘build’ means to build upon. That word ‘faith’ means our reliance upon Christ for salvation. To ‘keep’ means to hold fast, keep, or reserve. ‘Love’ here is also agape love. This kind of love is a deliberate choice a person decides to have. This is the same kind of love expressed in the early church in Acts when speaking of the communion and brotherly affection that took place. We see in Acts what happens when brothers and sisters unite in Spirit and truth. The Holy Spirit does amazing things because He’s welcome in unity. And if we really understand faith as Jude intended when writing this book, we would express a love for one another that is an affectionate love only grown by great fellowship with God. Everything is expressed by our building upon our faith in Christ and what He’s already accomplished.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God… (Eph 4:29-30)

Pursue unity with your fellow brothers and sisters because we’re in this battle together. We aren’t fighting against each other for power or popularity. We’re fighting the most important battle of our lives. We want the world to recognize Jesus as Lord. See our unsaved family and friends become a part of the family of God before its too late. The only way we will be effective is if we join forces and fight as one. I want to encourage you to encourage each other and really check you’re own attitude. See if there’s any pride you’re stumbling over that keeps you at a distance from other believers in other places of fellowship. And ask the Lord for His grace to get that out of your inner man so you can be the most effective in building up the Kingdom of God, instead of building up the kingdom of self.

To close, I want to mention a really close friend I have that we go to different churches but over the years since we’ve become friends we’ve done as Proverbs says and that’s sharpen one another in our faith. She’s very different from me. We’ve grown up in different churches, both raised in different types of cultures and in fact we’re both different countries, and we’re different ages. She’s mature in things I am just now learning to understand. I appreciate the differences between us because she can correct me when I’m off base and vice versa and we can also encourage each other in a sisterly way. I’d prayed for a friend like this and God brought her into my life. We need to break out of our bubbles and yearn for friends who will add to our lives, not just tell us what our itching ears want to hear. This is my challenge to you this day. Fellowship with other believers and welcome one another in the love of Christ.

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

Gal 5:13-15

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The Positive Outlook

There’s something to speaking the positive to yourself instead of the negative. There’s something to reprogramming your mind to only receiving good things instead of considering anything from a negative perspective. It’s reflected in your speech.

Satan tries to make us believe that positive self-talk is a bad thing. Its not real talk. Its fairy-tale land mentality. But to tell yourself good things is a good thing. Instead of feeding on only what you can see with your physical eyes, usually resulting in a negative outlook, to look at everything from the eyes of faith takes on a positive perspective. Changing your word and ultimately the atmosphere of your life.

For what reason do you think the Bible says that we’re to Count it all joy when facing of every kind of trial? (James 1:2) Because God knows if we lead a life weighed down by the negative instead of walking in faith by seeing the positive then we’ll miss out on being built up in order to mature in our faith. And that will hold us down and we will live under stuff instead of being More than conquerors through Christ (Rom 8:37).

Jesus is our freedom. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36).

When we draw close to God He draws close to us and He helps us to see whatever is coming at us truly for what it is. And no matter what we can decide to see our reality from a positive perspective and watch God turn things around for our good and His glory.

Challenge yourself to really pay attention to if you’re speaking good or bad over yourself and see what it’s resulting in. If you don’t like it then change your words. Think about how your outlook is when receiving information or perceiving others and challenge yourself to see things and people from a positive perspective. See if your life doesn’t change.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.

(Pro 18:21)

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The Presence of God

This morning I watched a teacher I really like exhort on how to get into the Presence of God. He spoke about lies we believe that keep us unable to enter the Presence of God and he taught on truths we need to embrace in order to get over the wall of ourselves to enter into that place with God. I really had an encounter with the Presence of the Holy Spirit this morning in my living room. I could feel my body heat up as I emptied myself of me and toiled to enter into that place with Him. I gave Him my time and made room for Him to touch me. I realized He’s been talking to me about doing this all along. Bringing back to my remembrance times passed when I had experienced His Presence all by myself in my bedroom. I had a verse come to mind this morning as I experienced this. It comes from Song of Solomon 3:4: …when I found him whom my soul loves. I held him, and would not let him go.

When I can enter that place with God I realize how thirsty my soul is and how much His Presence quenches that thirst. Oh believer don’t listen to that lie that goes around in Christian circles that says you ought not to feel the presence of God. That you ought not to base your relationship with God on how much you feel Him. Because He wants you to feel His Presence since when you do you are in that right place of fellowship with Him. According to 1 Corinthians 1:9: …you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

The only thing we’re to toil or labor for as believers on this earth is what Jesus said in John 6:29: …’This is the work of God: that you believe [adhere to, trust in, rely on, and have faith] in the One whom He has sent.‘ This does not say we are to first believe in ourselves and try to do anything with our own might, it says we are to work to especially rely upon Christ. I believe that this fellowship with Christ only comes when we truly admit our brokenness and need for God. Then we’re truly trusting and having faith in Christ. When we rely upon our our own strength we miss that sweet fellowship with Christ.

I want to challenge you this year to really press into God and His Presence. The Bible says: …in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore (Ps 16:11). Who doesn’t want to experience that? Really consider how you’re feeling internally. And how much time and energy you’re investing in your relationship with God. Because in the end this is the only lasting thing that we will be judged about by a Holy God. Make it a priority to increase that precious time with Him in your prayer closet. Wasting less time on unimportant things and spending more time filling it with God’s Presence. Everyone gets lonely and tries to fill that void with stuff or people. Challenge yourself as Luke 9:23 says: deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow Christ. And truly as you spend time in that place with God I believe Eph 3:16-19 will be real in your life:

                         
...out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Things aren’t always what they seem…

You know the Spiritual world is more real than the natural world that we see with our own eyes. It’s funny how our perception of life can change with one touch from God. We can see our battles as temporary and truly insignificant because we hold onto God tighter than what we can see. God’s Word that tells us We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Rom 8:37). Trials can be something to glorify God instead of beating us down. We can choose to glorify God instead of our problems and deny the enemy the satisfaction of giving him praise for our difficulties. We can speak the peace and the power of God right into our trials just as Christ said. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.“If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14:13-14). We can be the victor instead of living beneath something or even defining ourselves by whatever trial we’re facing.

If we have this power that Jesus Himself gave to us, using His name to combat anything that comes against us, than why do we have prayers that go unanswered? I have a struggle of my own that I keep asking God to replace with something new and good and I believe He is. Until I see this manifest completely I have my part to do as I seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and I feed my inner man with His Word so I can become stronger. He has given me the upper hand. I do not have to live beneath any thing. The Devil is a liar. 1 Peter 2:24 says Jesus paid for me to be free of any and every infirmity attacking me. By His wounds I have been healed. It’s true that I believe more of what comes out of my own mouth and I will eat my words because Proverbs 18:21 says so, The tongue has the power of life and death. I had better be in the Bible declaring the truth over myself, my family, or anything else of great value every single day. This takes my time. It doesn’t just happen. I have to do something.

The Bible says, Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because I tell you, many will try to enter and won’t be able… (Luke 13:24) To strive to enter through is the word ἀγωνίζομαι agōnízomai. Strong’s says this means the believer must struggle, literally (to compete for a prize) figuratively (to contend with an adversary), or genitive case (to endeavor to accomplish something):— fight, labor fervently, strive. The Bible says, Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. They do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable crown (1 Cor 9:25).

Now this is not an easy task. This is not just going through the motions. Just attending church on Sundays and Wednesdays. It’s not even just turning on your Christian music or serving in a ministry consistently in your church. This is much much more than that. This is proactively forsaking our lives for Christ. Giving up our desires, our preferences, our opinions, our rights for the sake of the Gospel. Luke 9:23 says, Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. And John 15:4-5 says, and that means we must remain in Jesus. He is the vine and we are the branches. Jesus said if we remain in Him and He in us we will bear much fruit but apart from Him we can do nothing.

The Bible explains the Spiritual life as something of absurdity to the natural mind. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor 2:14). The natural man will dismiss what he cannot understand. How many Christians do that to things in the Bible? Maybe they’ve been taught things in church and because they don’t question things themselves, by studying the Word, they never grow into mature believers who know the truth and it allow it to set them free. Walking in truth led by the Holy Spirit. They remain stagnant. They do the same things over and over and over again. The cycle of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday is all they see. Back and forth to work they go. And church on Sunday. With vacations thrown in between. There’s nothing beyond that. Christ paid much too a high price for us to only live like that.

So the question is what do we do? How do we live beyond our today or move on and soar in the strength of God? I think we have to really put God first in our hearts, in our lives, in our days, in our plans. Plan my day around Jesus instead of Jesus around my day. Start praying everyday. Include His Word in your prayer time as He leads you to. Read the Bible everyday and don’t read for length but read because you want to hear God speak to you. The primary way God speaks is though His Word. Allow Him the time to tell you things. Study His Word. Study topics in areas in which you struggle. Allow Him to reveal Himself through His Word. Write things down. My Grandmother told me this many many years ago. She said this was so important. I should write everything down. She was right. Because I wrote down my entire book before I had it published or even had the plans as to how to have it published. It was hand written even before it was on the computer. It was a compilation of writing things down as God spoke to me.

It’s a new year. A brand new start. The possibilities are endless. Make God first place in your time, in your thoughts, in your actions, in your desires and in your heart. See how He reveals Himself to you in a real way. Spiritual warfare is real. You enemy the Devil does not want you to do these things because when you do really make God really first place in your heart, you’re a real threat to Him. He won’t bother you if you don’t bother him. Be a part of what is most important. That is building the Kingdom of Heaven today that will last for tomorrow and forever and way past this lifetime into the next. This is what it’s all about.

 But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired. (Isaiah 40:31)

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A Real God

Just in the last week God has reminded me of how real He is. I have been reminded of how much God wants me to experience the His real presence over the last week. Our God is real and He’s really interested in having a relationship with you.

I have also been having vivid dreams about Heaven lately. I read online today that Joe Biden is going to be put in office as president and I immediately thought this is the beginning of the end of America. Its the beginning of the end of time.

I have these visions that we are just playing parts in a theater production as we go about our days here on earth. Its like how a movie portrays. Time is getting short. Ask God to reveal Himself and He will so you can see Him really before its too late.

If you don’t know my God personally He invites you to get to know Him. Its an eternal decision that is of utmost importance that you settle right on this side of eternity. Open the Bible and see what He wants to speak to you because He will speak directly to you. Right into your personal circumstances and it will blow your mind.

“If we say, “We have fellowship with him,” and yet we walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth…If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make him a liar, and his word is not in us”. (1 John 1.6, 8-10)

We all die. Where will you go when you do?

(John 3.16-18) “For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. “Anyone who believes in him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.

A personal God

Last night I experienced God in a way I have not in a long while. God reached down and spoke truth to me concerning things I have battled in my heart but not expressed to anyone. There was a stumbling block I have battled against for awhile that was something I could not overcome. I have been pushing to get into the Presence of Almighty God in my own strength. A couple of ladies with their hands on me God spoke through.

God is so personal and He desires so much for us to reach up to Him. The Bible says blessed are the poor in Spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled. We trip over ourselves, and our pride makes us miss the best part of God. His presence.

When those ladies spoke of the things they said I knew it was from God because I don’t know these ladies. They don’t know me. But God knows me better than anyone. He knows me. I was so grateful for the prayer. It made me truly realize that God sees me. He cares. He waits on me.

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By yourself

Jesus said come away with me and be refreshed (Mar 6:31). The Spirit led people into the desert (Mark 1.12) So they went away to be by themselves to a remote place (Mar 6.32). Why do you think that was? I think we as persons get into our routines and just get stuck. Even if we sincerely desire change it may take a drastic change to help us change. We want that change to be something we choose not something to be brought on us by the enemy that makes us fall flat on our face and bring us to our knees, in order to humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand to bring about true change. Sometimes it’s necessary we take a ‘sabbatical’ so to speak in order for us to hear God’s voice insteadof our own. Just as Apostle Paul spent much time walking alone, just him and God, He was built up in spiritual strength because he sought the supernatural presence of God. This made him strong in the Lord and the power of His might.

So what are you doing today to prepare yourself for the day?

Are you being refreshed by the Presence of God on a daily basis (Acts 3:19-20)

Take thought to this. Be Blessed

“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart” (Jer 29:12-13).