Friday, February 28, 2014

Only God Can Do It

"And Jesus looking upon them saith, with men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible." Mark 10:27

Do you believe God can do anything? Wait...before you answer the question, think. Do you really believe God can do anything? Those of us who are living in the 21st century are having more visible manifestations than any other century. The divorce rate is higher. Mental illness is increasing; frustrations and anxieties are causing men to act in such non- traditional ways until not only are their jobs being terminated but their lives are coming to a destructive end. Let us analyze what the problem is. 

We're blessed to have more doctors than ever before, and yet there is more illness. We have more theologians but more sinners than ever. Notice if you will, that these indicate a surplus of men and often times a surplus of the wills of men. Can our problem then be too many men and not enough God?

More and more, man's trust is being placed in other men. He [man] is becoming top heavy and unable to stand up under the weight of the trust and confidence placed in him and on him by others. Consequently, he is falling and failing because of the human load. Man has looked to man to be a miracle worker and a problem solver. And yet he is often persecuted by man because they only have the nature in them to be men. Thus, men are contingent beings, dependent upon another source for life, for help, and for strength.

The problems that we have given to man to solve have been impossible problems for him to handle. He has become frustrated with himself and others because of his unsuccessful attempt to find a solution to [all] these problems. Jesus indicates to us that "...with men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible." 

Oh, that we can learn to go to God with our problems, and look to Him to solve them. God can do it!

- Bishop Norman L. Wagner

Thursday, February 13, 2014

More Anointing, Less Theatrics

And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see.  And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw . . .  (2 Kings 6:17)

Spiritual awareness is so necessary today.  We have to be able, like the sons of Issachar to discern the times so that we may act accordingly.  

And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do. . .  (I Chronicles 12:32)

How is it that the very body of Christ has become so 

®    lackadaisical
®    shallow with no substance, 
®    stiff-necked, 
®    entitled with no effort, 
®    compassionless; 
®    blind to the plight of souls?  

This is comparable to the spirit of the children of Israel each and every time they forgot their God.

Furthermore the LORD spake unto me, saying , I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:  (Deuteronmony 9:13)

It is a sad situation that we are in today; the body of Christ is nearly catatonic.  We are so busy living in an ‘it’s all about me’ world that we’ve forgotten our purpose which is to be a witness for God.  For all we do should be done for God’s glory.  I’m reminded of the children of Israel’s exodus.  A shadow of the body of Christ which was to come; they were to set the example – tone, in which the world at that time would come to know without a doubt that there is only one true living God!  That purpose has not changed!  The body of Christ today, which was established on the day of Pentecost, has the same mission or purpose today!  We are to evangelize the world.  It is in the word of God: 

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo , I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.  (Matthew 28:18-20)

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
(Mark 16:15)

It is written in the word of God that we are to lift the name of Jesus everywhere we go; that only one is worthy to receive honor and glory:

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (Revelations 4:11)

So then how have we gotten it confused in that we think it is all about us, that our accomplishments are by our might and it’s alright to promote ourselves instead of God?  The power is found in the name of Jesus.  His word tells us that:

For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.  (Romans 14:11)

Instead of allowing the love of God to abound in our hearts and be shed abroad in the world,

And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.  (Romans 5:5)

we have allowed pride to creep into the church [the body of Christ] and into the hearts of men. without even considering that the word of God tells us that He resists the proud and gives more grace to the humble:

. . . for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.   (1 Peter 5:5) 

Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
(James 4:5-7)

God is resisting the spirit of Pride. The body of Christ has become an extremely prideful church; much more so than ever before. Anytime we look more at our material possessions; be it our church, our homes, our cars, clothes, position, money, titles, spouse, etc. and we perceive it as our right or it is through our might and power that we've accumulated these things and these things become our motivation for doing the will of God, we are no longer operating in the spirit and will of God. Have we forgotten what the word tells us?

Then He answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6)

It appears to many that the anointing is no longer determined by us being delivered and set free but 

®    by our boasting of numbers and by crowds. 
®    We have become shallow without substance; celebrities and not servants. 
®    We are not producing disciples but followers of men who are enticed by prosperity plans and blessings 
         ®    without ever touching the spirit of God to produce change in our lives, 
         ®    without ever acknowledging the power of the name of Jesus, the Holy Spirit resident within us and 
         ®     without any emphasis placed on the importance of eternal salvation versus the temporal comforts of this world and the second death of eternal damnation.  

There are many, many accounts of Jesus healing but always with the emphasis of healing not only the physical aspect, but the spiritual aspect as well.  He emphasized the body and the soul. 

We need the spirit of God back in the church. We need the anointing of God and not the theatrics of man. We need the spirit of God and not a prosperity plan when there are souls at stake needing salvation above all else.   Even in healing, what is the point in the healing of the body when the soul is bound to hell?    How many times did Jesus said 'be healed and sin no more?'  

The young servant of Elisha had no spiritual discernment.   Elisha prayed that this young servant’s eyes be opened so that he could see the victory that was evident to Elisha.  Today our prayer should be that God open our spiritual eyes; that He give us spiritual discernment to be able to see the signs of the time so that we may act accordingly.  Instead of praying things like Lord, I need a blessing today, and Lord give me what I want, our prayer should be more along the lines of Lord, help me to be a blessing today, Lord help me to do your will.

The world has turned into a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah and yet the church [body of Christ] sleeps on as if there is not to be any recompense.  We are rejoicing in material things instead of souls being won for Christ.  Don’t you hear the spirit saying make a change?  If I were you, I’d make a change. 

Wake up church and let’s start affecting people by the:

    Ö      power of our testimony,   
     Ö      by preaching the unadulterated word of God in our churches,  
     Ö      by living lives that are pleasing to God (not man),   
     Ö      by shedding love abroad and by loving; not competing, hating, and criticizing our brothers and sisters in Christ,
     Ö      by evangelizing to the world and not just our circle of friends and those that have already found Christ - look for lost souls!

God requires unity in the body so let us all be of one accord and be about our Heavenly Father’s business:

Do not err, my beloved brethren.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, 
and cometh down from the Father of lights, 
with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, 
that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, 
slow to speak, slow to wrath:
For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
James 1:16-22

(Biblical Studies)



Monday, February 10, 2014

Not Your Power Nor Your Might

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

It is of a truth that in order to be wholly pleasing unto God, you have to know and apply what God says in His word. It is not enough to read only the New Testament without incorporating God's thoughts from the Old Testament. Apostle Paul understood this as he warned the church at Corinth to refresh themselves in the knowledge of the history of the children of Israel; how they were stiff-necked and disobedient time and time again; encouraging them not to make the same mistakes.

Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
 I Corinthians 10:11-12 

In reading the old testament, we read how God delivered, healed, chaistised and blessed His people. We should take these same accounts into consideration as we build our faith and our relationship in God.  God wants our entire trust, obedience and reliance in Him.  We cannot have one foot in and one foot out.  

So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.  Revelations 3:16 

We can't run to God for help and assistance while we willing serve the enemy.  During a time when the children of Isreal had forsaken God in favor of other gods, in their time of distress when that cried unto Him, this is what He told them:

Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more.
Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.
  Judges 10:13-14 

Everything that we do, everything that we hope to do, everything that we hope to become; particularly for God, should be done with the glory of God being revealed. The original intent of God towards the people that He chose was that His glory would be revealed to the world through them. Through obedience to his will, they were to be above all other nations: 

And to make thee high above all nations which He hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the LORD thy God, as He hath spoken.  Deuteronomy 29:19

If you desire to be prosperous and successful in God, you will find that He gives specific instructions on how to be prosperous in Him. God is not a respector of person . . .

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said , Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:   Acts 10:34

For there is no respect of persons with God. Romans 2:11

The details God gave to Joshua, we can apply it to our lives as well.

Our reliance is not in God when we think that we have a handle on what God has called us to do as if we are working in our might and not God when God expressly  says in His word:

Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.   Zechariah 4:6

Are we really operating under the auspices of God or have we developed our own purpose in God?  I am reminded of the account of Joshua during his first battle in the wilderness.  The children of Israel had just barely made it out of Egypt.  They had made it as far as Rephidim where they decided to camp.  No doubt they had not had time to form an organized defense unit and yet here comes the Amalekites to blindside them through an attack.  Can you imagine, they were tired and I’m sure still somewhat disturbed and discombobulated; having done something they had never done before. 

Moses tells Joshua to pick some men and go fight the Amalekites.  This is the first mention of Joshua working under the direction of Moses.   Moses does not go with him; he stays behind.  He tells Joshua that he will stay behind with his rod in his hand.  Joshua selects men and they go out and fight the Amalekites the next day.  Joshua wins the battle!  What a wonderful feeling; their first battle in the wilderness and they won!  How do you think Joshua felt?  Over-joyous I am sure.  There is no indication that Joshua had ever fought in any battle before.   So to win his very first battle had to be a good feeling for him.  

At the time did Joshua give God the credit?  I wonder when you read the complete account.  Yes, Joshua was witness to the plagues in Egypt and to Moses parting the Red sea and even in this I’m sure he had the realization that God was working through Moses as the leader and here he is out in the wilderness on his own fighting against the enemy.   Moses is not with him.  Could he be thinking that he won that battle on his own?  Possibly, but what Joshua came to know, and what we should realize, is that God is always working for us and on our behalf.  It gives a whole new meaning to ‘this battle is not yours, it belongs to God.’  This battle that Joshua fought was not the same as the battle that King Jehoshaphat fought when he knew that on his own, there was no way he could win the battle that was coming.  However, he had time to go to God in prayer and fasting and ask for help and God responded with: 

And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.  II Chronicles 20:15.   

Maybe Joshua prayed before he went out and maybe he didn’t.  We don’t know because the account does not say how he prepared himself.  We do know that he had many ups and downs in the battle before he finally defeated the Amalekites.  

And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.  (Exodus 17:11)

God is omnipresent; present everywhere, as well as omniscient; He sees all.  No doubt, Joshua, left to his own might and power, would not have prevailed against the Amalekites.  It was necessary for God to step in to win the battle.   Unknown to Joshua, God was fighting for him.  How?  Through Moses; as long as Moses arms were lifted unto God, the Israelites prevailed.  When Moses’ got tired of holding his hands up, the Israelites would begin to lose. Joshua did not know this.  Thus God commanded Moses to write the account of the battle and rehearse it before Joshua.  This was necessary for Joshua to know so that he would not get delusional in his head and think it was his power and might that defeated the Amalekites.  It was not his intellect, his strategic planning and positioning but the almighty God that won that battle. 

Beloved, we cannot get it twisted or become delusional; thinking that the things we do for the Lord, the things that we do for our church is done from our own power and might.  When we are successful in our efforts it is because God is behind it and before us opening doors; shutting down the enemy, paving the way for his glory to be revealed through willing, able vessels that He has equipped through the power of His spirit.  We need to remember that always; that the glory goes to God, it rests in God and it is only because of Him that we have successful outcomes.    If we could only remember this; keeping in mind that it is only in God that we live, move and have our being.    

      *      It is only God's opinion that counts  
      *            It is God that we should strive to please. 
      *           It is God in whom we should measure our success. 

Like Joshua, we need to know that God is the supreme orchestrator of our lives and our situations.  Joshua went on to become known as the greatest commander-in-chief because he kept God before him.

When God had fully prepared Joshua to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land, He gave him very specific instructions:

   *     Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.

   *       Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.

   *       This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

   *      Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid , neither be thou dismayed : for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goestJoshua 1:6-9

God gave us the plan in these scripture.  Knowing the word of God is knowing God and what he requires of us.  So why then do we stray from the word of God?  Apostle Paul says that those things which were written of old were written as an example to us to know the right things to do and to avoid the wrong actions.  

When you read the account of the children of Israelites, it lets you know that each time they followed their own mind instead of the will of God, they got into trouble.  

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with being confident in God, knowing who you are in God and knowing God’s specific purpose for your life, none of that gives us the right to now operate according to our whims and desires.  We are to acknowledge God in all of our ways; allowing His glory to be revealed at all times.

(Biblical Studies)



Saturday, February 1, 2014

We Are Not Saved To Sit

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.  (Mark 16:15-18)

God never intended for us to receive salvation unto ourselves only?  Jesus started off by Himself and added 12 other men to follow Him.  And not just to follow Him for the sake of following Him but so that they could be trained to continue the work He started once His purpose on this earth had been completed.  During His 3 years of ministry, He gained many followers who were able to testify of Jesus.  

Immediately after receiving the Holy Spirit, Peter and the other disciples entreated others to accept Jesus.  On the day of Pentecost, Peter evangelized the word in such a way that immediately the body of Christ tremendously increased:     

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.  (Acts 2:41) 

In the account found in Mark 5:2-20, even though the account is about a man who was plagued with demons whom Jesus delivered, it is a powerful example of evangelism and healing working together; just as God intends.  God would that we be whole not only spiritually but also physically.  In God's word; in studying the scriptures, you find that healing, deliverance and salvation go hand in hand.  This particular account solidifies the command to go forth and preach the gospel and demonstrate the power given in the name of Jesus.

Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.  (Mark 5:19)

In Mark 16:15-18, Jesus gives the command for the disciples to go out into the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  (Mark 16:15)

 . . . and these signs shall follow:

        ®         In my name shall they cast out devils; 
        ®          they shall speak with new tongues;
        ®           they shall take up serpents; 
        ®           and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; 
        ®          they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

In this instance, Jesus commanded the man who had been possessed and was not in his right mind until he had an encounter with Him to go and share his testimony of the compassion and goodness of Jesus.

Telling of God’s goodness and the sharing of our testimony does not always bring about an immediate change in people.  Our sharing of the word may be the beginning of a work God is doing in preparing someone’s heart to receive Him.  When the townspeople initially heard the good news from the herdsmen, it did not produce the expected result.  The townspeople upon hearing and seeing what should have been good news to them – the formerly possessed man now clothed and in his right mind 

Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.  (Luke 8:35)

 - went to Jesus and begged Him to leave!  Why do you think they did that?  

         *        Were they so comfortable in their own sins that they didn't want to be exposed?  
         *       Did they not recognize the saving grace of Jesus or 
         *          Were they so carnal that they saw lost profits because of the loss of the swine?  

No doubt, their hearts and minds were not right.  

No doubt, we give God praise because we have a sound mind; meaning that we know how to tie our shoes, we know how to put on our clothes and we know how to function according to the definition of sanity.  However, the Word says that when the man was delivered of the demons and clothed; meaning he now had a sound mind, and in his right mind, his desire was to remain with Jesus. 

My question to you is what does it mean to be in your 'right' mind.  There is definitely a difference in having a ‘sound’ mind and having a ‘right’ mind.  Having a right mind has absolutely nothing to do with our level of sanity but rather our conscious decision to recognize, and believe in the gospel of Jesus.  That is having a ‘right’ mind, but we have to take it a step further and follow Jesus’ command to publish the word; the good news of Jesus and what He has done for us. 

Jesus told him to:

Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.  (Mark 5:19)

Whatever the case was with the townspeople, when the formerly possessed man began to testify of the goodness of Jesus; how he was delivered from a legion of demons and now possessed a right mind – as he published this, many believed and were able to receive Jesus upon His next return.  In this case, Jesus laid the ground work for the formerly possessed man to share the good news of Jesus.  That demonstrates evangelism at its best!  The power of his testimony moved the townspeople to believe in Jesus!  After all, the townspeople initially heard the account from the herdsmen who did not have the experience that the formerly possessed man had; in other words, there was no power or authority in their words.  But when the one who's life had been turned around by the power and authority of Jesus finished evangelizing, when Jesus returned, He was sought out to heal a little girl who died before He could get to her, but He raised her from the dead!  The woman with an issue of blood for 12 years had gained enough faith that she felt that if she could just touch the hem of Jesus garment she could be made whole.  And it was so!  Think about it, Jesus prepared the formerly possessed man to prepare the city to receive Him on His next return!  

Oftentimes, we are like the man that was possessed in that we feel that our service to God is contained within the church.  After being delivered, the man wanted to stay with Jesus, but Jesus expressly told him to go abroad and share the good news!  We don't keep the wonderful news of Jesus Christ confined within the walls of the church.

Apostle Paul lets us know that our witness is just not in our word but also in the power of the Holy Spirit.

And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:  (1 Corinthians 2:4)

Are you leading others to conversion by telling of God’s goodness in your life through the power of your testimony and by the power given us in the name of Jesus?

(Biblical Studies)