Friday, November 28, 2014

Power Belongs To God

For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
(Acts 17:28)

Power belongs to God!  Isn't it interesting that there is no quantifier, or qualifier, for that matter, to God’s power.  It just simply is; it originated with Him.  There is no comparison to the limited power of man based on fame, fortune, money, position and yes, even knowledge to the power of God.  That would be like comparing a lit match to the sun!  The true and living God revealed in the Holy Bible is the source of all power. David wrote:

God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God. (Psalms 62:11)

When God repeats something it is because it is very important.   Before anything else existed, there was God.   In Genesis 1-2,  it records the beginning of the world and all living beings. God made the earth by His power:

He hath made the earth by His power; He hath established the world by His wisdom and hath stretched out the heavens by His discretion. (Jeremiah 10:12)

I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me. (Jeremiah 27:5)

For by Him were all things created, that are in Heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him. (Colossians 1:16)

Since God created all things, there is nothing beyond the scope of His power:

Ah Lord God! Behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee.  (Jeremiah 32:17)

God is the source of power behind all things in their present state:

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. (Revelation 4:11)

For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things; to whom be glory for ever. (Romans 11:36)

Who being in the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the Word of His power when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:   (Hebrews 1:3)

God has the times and seasons in His power:

And He said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power.
  (Acts 1:7)

The earth and all it contains belong to the Lord:

The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. (Psalms 24:1)

God is called the possessor of Heaven and earth. To possess something is to have power over it.

And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, Genesis 14:22 

There are many kingdoms and governments in this world. But God's Kingdom is sovereign. This means He rules over all:

The Lord hath prepared His throne in the Heavens; and His kingdom ruleth over all. (Psalms 103:19)

Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the Kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.  Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.  (I Chronicles 29:11-12)

Since God created man, only He has power over the spirit of man:

There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.  (Ecclesiastes 8:8)

 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.
 Luke 12:4-5

God has power to preserve those appointed to die:

Let the sighing of the prisoner come before thee; according to the greatness of thy power preserve thou those that are appointed to die.  (Psalms 79:11)

God is the one who gives power to the faint:

He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. (Isaiah 40:29)

O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God. (Psalms 68:35)

God's power is not affected by the power or lack of power of man:

And Asa cried unto the Lord his God, and said, Lord, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O Lord our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O Lord, thou art our God; let no man prevail against thee. (II Chronicles 14:11)

God has the power to deliver. The Bible is filled with records of how God supernaturally delivered people in times of need. Two good examples are found in the book of Daniel. God delivered His servants from the furnace of fire in Daniel 3 and from the lions' den in Daniel 6.

His power is unlimited:

The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.
 (Nahum 1:3)
His power is excellent:

Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict.  (Job 37:23)

God's power is everlasting. Apostle Paul wrote that God...

Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
  (I Timothy 6:16)

In the final book of the Bible a future event in Heaven is recorded when . . .

And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.  (Revelation 15:8)

Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.   (Revelation 7:12)

And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in Heaven, saying, Alleluia: Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power unto the Lord our God. (Revelation 19:1)

Repeatedly, from beginning to end, the Bible stresses that God is the source of power and it is His power that we should seek.  King David recognized it when he recorded:  

Power belongs to God!

(Biblical Studies)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Don't Be Deceived

For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.   (2 John 1:7)

It is nothing worse than not knowing what you don’t know.  Thankfully, our Heavenly Father has equipped us with all that we need through His word; the bible, and through the gift of His Holy Spirit: 

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.  (John 14:26)

Some are confused about this scripture and still others use it in an effort to promote false ideologies.  Paul tells us faith comes from hearing by the word of God.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.  (Romans 10:17)

The comforter cannot bring something into remembrance  that is not there.  God set men in place whereby we are to be aided in learning Him:

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  (Ephesians 4:11)

Their role within the body of Christ was clearly explained:

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  (Ephesians 4:12-14)

Apostle Paul explained to the church at Corinth that the things written in the old testament were written as an example:

Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.  (1 Corinthians 10:6)
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.  (1 Corinthians 10:11)

Not reading and studying all of the word of God leads to failure.  Apostle Paul goes on to say,

Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.  (1 Corinthians 10:12)

As an imitator of the power of God, Satan seeks to deceive in the world today.  

To “deceive" is to mislead or cause someone to believe something that is not true.  Being deceived causes us to have a false perception of God, His word and His intent.  

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.  (2 Corinthians 4:4)

We are warned in many scriptures of the deceiving nature of Satan:

Revelation 20:8-10
Satan deceives not only individuals but nations
II Thessalonians 2:10
Satan works with "all deceivableness of unrighteousness
II Timothy 3:13
We are warned that deception will increase
Matthew 24; Mark 13; II Thessalonians 2:3
Because deception will increase, we are instructed to be aware of the events indicating Christ’s return:
II Corinthians 11:13;
Titus 1:10;
II Peter 2:13; II John 7

We are warned about those used by Satan to deceive
Jeremiah 17:9
Man's heart is deceptive
Hebrews 3:13
Every unsaved man is deceived
Romans 16:18;
II Corinthians 4:2
Do not accept deceptive "fair speeches" which do not agree with God's Word

Being a child of God not only means living a lifestyle that is pleasing to God, i.e., not doing those things that are clearly outlined in the bible as sin, iniquity or even things that society considers to be morally incorrect, we also have to be knowledgeable of the schemes and plots of Satan to pull us away from God and which causes us to lose our focus.  When Satan can’t get you through outright sin, he will come at you through other methods.  Among other scriptures in the bible, the book of Jude is an excellent source of the deceiving methods of Satan.

You are deceived if you:

Colossians 2:8
listen to vain philosophies
Mark 4:19;
Ephesians 4:22
trust in riches and permit the lusts of the flesh
James 1:22
are a hearer and not a doer of the Word of God
I John 1:8
say you have no sin
II Timothy 3:13
listen to evil men
Galatians 6:3
think you are important when actually you are nothing:
Galatians 6:7
think you will not reap what you sow
I Corinthians 6:9
think the unrighteous will inherit the Kingdom of God
I Corinthians 3:18
think you are wise because we have the wisdom of this world
James 1:26

think you are spiritual but an unconquered tongue reveals your true condition
II John 7
do not believe Jesus Christ came in the flesh
I Corinthians 15:33
think contact with sin will have no effect on you

Jude gives us great hope and encouragement that when we focus on God:

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,  To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.  (Jude 24-25)

(Biblical Studies)


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Beyond The Blessings

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  (Ephesians 3:20)

Many believers do not experience spiritual power because they never get beyond the point of spiritual blessing. The Holy Spirit begins to move upon them and they feel great joy. They may express it in singing, shouting, dancing, or crying. They are blessed by God and respond emotionally. God may bless you materially in your finances, your job, career, mariage, family, etc. but God is calling us to more than spiritual and material blessings.

There is nothing wrong with this. The Bible is filled with such spiritual experiences. But God wants to move His people beyond the point of blessing into the realm of spiritual power, beyond emotion to demonstration.  We must never get to a point of complacency in God nor should we be bound by fear, doubt, and intimidation in God. 

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  (2 Timothy 1:7)

             Satisfaction in an emotional experience is not the purpose of God’s calling on our life. He does not save us to sit in service after service receiving His word, praising and worshiping Him or studying His word to the exclusion of all else; at some point it becomes time to do the work that He has called us to do.

             Serving God for the fish and the loaves may be what brought you in and though it very well may sustain or fortify you to continue your walk with God but it certainly is not all that God has called us for; there is a work that God has called us to do!

There is an account in the Old Testament which illustrates this truth. It also illustrates the link between a promise and the possessing of that promise. The nation of Israel traveled a long period of time from Egypt through the desert to the land God promised them. When they reached the edge of this Promised Land, Moses sent in spies to check out the land. Ten of the spies brought back a negative report. They said there were giants in the land and there was no way Israel could go in to possess the land. Only two spies, Joshua and Caleb,  urged the people to enter the land and possess it as God had promised.

Israel chose to listen to the negative report.  Because of this, although it was only an eleven day journey from where they were camped to the Promised Land, it took Israel forty years to make the journey.

There are eleven days' journey from Horeb by the way of mount Seir unto Kadeshbarnea.  And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the LORD had given him in commandment unto them; (Deuteronomy 1:2-3

God brought Israel to the point of blessing. They were at the edge of the Promised Land. God's power was available to conquer the enemy.  But Israel refused to move forward in God's power. There was nothing wrong with the promise. The problem was Israel's refusal to possess it.

You must not stop when you get to a point of blessing in your life. You must break through into the spiritual realm of power. If you do not do so, you will continue to wander in a spiritual wilderness of dry, powerless existence.

You must move beyond the point of blessing into the realm of power. You must become a demonstrator instead of a spectator; a doer instead of only a hearer. When you do so, you will experience the true flow of God's power. You will experience a life force and anointing within you which you have never before known. You will experience life after religion.

You may think you cannot experience this power because you lack education.  Perhaps you do not hold ministerial credentials with any denomination.   But according to God’s word, we know that He uses people regardless of their position, social standing, education, financial status and all other things that men count as qualifiers to do the important work of God.   

None of these things need stand in the way of your receiving spiritual power. The Word of God is filled with examples of ordinary men and women who were used of God in mighty ways.  For instance:

  Abraham . . . lied about Sarah being his wife because of fear, yet he was used
      of God to found the great nation of Israel.

  Moses . . . was not a good speaker and killed an Egyptian in anger, yet God used  him to lead an entire nation of over two million people to the promised land.

 Peter . . . sank while walking on water, always said the wrong thing at the wrong time, and in the end denied he knew Jesus. . . yet this ordinary fisherman stood and gave a powerful witness on the day of Pentecost which resulted in the salvation of 3,000 souls.

 Gideon . . . a young man hiding in fear to thresh the harvest grain was called to deliver an entire nation from oppressive captors.

 King David . . . committed adultery, took another man's wife and had the man murdered, yet he was the greatest King of Israel and called a man after God's own heart.

 Peter and John . . . both were poor fishermen and had no money or education, but the healing power of God flowed through them to stir entire cities.

 Apostle Paul . . . it was said of him that his letters were powerful, but his bodily presence weak and his speech poor, (II Corinthians 10:10).  Not to mention that prior to his conversation he was greatly feared by the body of Christ.

 Jacob . . . was a deceiver, liar, and schemer. But when God touched him, he became a "prince with power with God and man."

If men such as these can be entrusted with spiritual power with God and men, we can also, despite our human failures! God calls ordinary men and women and makes them extraordinary. He does not see us as we see ourselves. He does not see us as others see us. God sees us as we can become when we are endued with spiritual power. God uses ordinary people, what the Bible calls "earthen vessels.  The reason He does so is. . .

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)

So let us not be like the 10 spies who refused to move forward because of doubt and fear.  Joshua and Caleb believed they could have all that God had promised them through the power of God working in them!  Joshua went on to become the greatest military commander; not because of his own strength and might but by and through the spirit of God working in and through him!  

(Biblical Studies)



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Religion Will Kill You Spiritually

With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.  (Psalms 119:10-11)

The deception of works alone without an intimate relationship is slow death spiritually.  Just as there is a deceiving sleep and warmth which comes upon a man who is dying from cold by freezing to death, so it is in the spirit world. There is a stupor and an unconcerned attitude when people are dying spiritually.  

Religion is the attempt of man to know or placate God and is often done to ease our conscious or make us feel good without consideration to the God we serve. It is ritual and regulations, works and words without power.  Religion brings spiritual death.

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.  (Matthew 15:8)

When we don't include God in our actions, it is no more than dead weight.

 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.  (Matthew 15:9)

The power of God is the visible demonstration of His desire to reveal Himself to man. 

Spiritual power is God's Kingdom in action.  It brings spiritual life.

Many have experienced religion. They have joined various denominations and even cults. These organizations have lulled them into an unconcerned spiritual attitude. They have not experienced the power of the Gospel which can change their lives. They are defeated and discouraged, sick and wounded. They are dying spiritually. Their heart cry should be as that of the Psalmist David who wrote. . .

O God, thou art my God: early will I seek thee; my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.  (Psalms 63:1-2)

These people have yet to experience life after religion; understand the fullness and richness of living in the Kingdom of God.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.  (Matthew 13:44)

We seek or realize various powers in the world today but no power on this earth can compare to the power of God.  Consider some of the many types of power in the world today:
      Ø   Political power is held by those in control of organizations, tribes, villages, cities, states, 
             provinces and entire nations.
      Ø   Intellectual power results in new inventions, literary and musical creations, and the     
             establishing of educational institutions.
      Ø   Physical power is possessed by strong men, many of whom become professional athletes.
      Ø   Financial power is held by the bankers and businessmen who head corporations and 
             great financial empires.
      Ø   Military power held by great armies is used to defend and gain new territories.
      Ø   The power of energy serves men in many ways ranging from a simple fire for warmth to 
             electricity serving an entire city.
      Ø   Religious power results in great denominations and religious cultures.

Indeed all of these are great powers at work in our world today however never forget what God tells us:

God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.  (Psalms 62:11)

The call from Jesus is not to worldly power. It is to spiritual power. It is a power that asks not "How can I be master?," but rather "How can I serve?"

Jesus explained the difference between the power structure of the world and that of the Kingdom of God. He said:

 . . . Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.  But it shall not be so among you; but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant; Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:25-28)

The call from Jesus is to relinquish worldly power for spiritual power which is given for the purpose of serving a suffering, lost, and dying world.

This type of power is not referring to  man-made religious denominations or religious organizations. Nor is it referring to authority delegated through a vote by the majority. It is not authority given by a title, position or office. It is not power based on education or ability.
This type of power is referring to the biblical concept of spiritual power. The biblical meaning of the word "power" is spiritual might, ability, force, and strength. It is a supernatural dominion which results in mighty works and miracles.

Authority is also related to this type of power.  In the bible, it is closely related to and has similar meaning to the word "power." Authority refers to legal and rightful power to act on behalf of another. Taking authority is the action of demonstrating power. It is possessing the right to exercise delegated power within defined boundaries.

The biblical source of spiritual power is the true and living God who is revealed in the Holy Bible. God is composed of God the Father, God the Son Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit. God the Father is the source of power:

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God. (Romans 13:1)

God has delegated power to His Son, Jesus Christ:

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. (Matthew 28:18)

Jesus has delegated spiritual power to believers. This power is experienced through the Holy Spirit:

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.  (Acts 1:8)

When Jesus began His public ministry, it was a ministry of miracles. His ministry did not
succeed because of its great organization. He started with twelve disciples and ended with eleven. It did not succeed because of popularity. In the end, nearly everyone turned against Him including His own followers. His ministry touched the multitudes because of the demonstration of power:

 And they were astonished at His doctrine, for His word was with power. (Luke 4:32)

And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! For with authority and power He commandeth the unclean spirits and they come out. (Luke 4:36)

How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the Devil; for God was with Him. (Acts 10:38)

The early church was birthed in a demonstration of power. It was said of them. . .

 . . . These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also.  (Acts 17:6)

The early church [body of Christ] affected entire cities and nations, but they did not do it by just preaching alone. People listened and lives were changed because they witnessed the demonstration of God's power:

 . . . the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.  For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them; and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city. (Acts 8:6-8)

When Peter came to Lydda, he found a man named Aeneas who had been bedfast for eight years. . .

And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole; arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately.  And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord.  (Acts 9:34-35)

In Joppa, Peter raised a woman named Dorcas from the dead. When this miracle took place:

. . . it was known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.     (Acts 9:42)

Each miraculous demonstration of God's power focused attention on the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Each power encounter resulted in multiplication of His body (the church).

Political influence is not what we need to reach the world with the Gospel. The early church did not have enough influence to keep Peter out of prison, but they had enough power to pray him out.

More preaching is not what will reach the world. The early church prayed for days, preached a few minutes, and 3,000 souls were saved (Acts 1-2). Today we pray ten minutes, preach a ten day revival, and see only ten; if that many, saved.

More money for ministry does not assure reaching the world with the Gospel message. While it is true that finances are important to the work of the ministry, they are not the most necessary essential.  When Peter and John passed by the temple gate at Jerusalem, a lame beggar asked for a few coins. Peter and John did not even have this small amount of funds. But they gave what they had:

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.  And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up; and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.  And he, leaping up, stood and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. (Acts 3:6-8)

What they had was power and authority in the name of Jesus. They had no advertising budget to reach the city of Jerusalem. They had no printed tracts or Bibles, no television networks. But they had power. Through the demonstration of God's power, the entire city was affected by the Gospel message (Acts 3-4).

The early Church realized that the Gospel of the Kingdom was not only of word but of power:

For the Kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. (I Corinthians 4:20)

(Biblical Studies)