What Would Love Do?

“Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.” I Timothy 1:5

One purpose for God’s commandments is to reveal the goodness of God. Then we can know Him better – His character, His values, His behavior. We can learn what is upright, what is holy, what is true, what is good. Not only do we learn the holiness of who God is, but we also learn the holiness we were intended for. All those rules and regulations we read about in the Bible are based on a benevolent God who knows what is best for us and wants us to experience His life. It grieves God to see His children living beneath His intended purpose.

God’s standard of holiness is a high bar. When we live in His ways, it will be well with us. When we live contradictory to His ways, it’s a way that is outside of His life, His design, and His source of help. Anything outside of life brings separation, trouble, and even death. Even the most disciplined can’t reach the high bar of God’s moral standard.

When we come to realize God exists, we usually want to be received by Him and to be loved by Him. As we are aware of His presence in and around us, we often long for intimacy in relationship with Him. However, we also are typically aware of our own imperfections and how we do not deserve His love or His goodness. Christians sometimes struggle with the guilt and shame and fear of our own failures. We all fall short. We often try to clean ourselves up before coming to Him. We may work hard to do the right thing so God will find us pleasing and lovable. We might feel the need to up our performance when we are in need of His help.

However, there is a second purpose for God’s commandments, and that is to reveal the goodness of His love and His grace! God did not make us to be like circus animals that are forced to perform in exchange for a reward or an escape from consequence. God doesn’t whack us in punishment when we make a wrong choice. His grace loves us as we are, accepts us as we are, and empowers us to become more like Him on a life long journey of growth and transformation. God is merciful, longsuffering, and patient with us as we continue our daily surrender to His loving lordship. Love is God’s motive for returning us to Himself and empowering us to live a blessed life through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Application: Read Matthew 22:36-40, Romans 13:9, and Galatians 5:14. Love will not harm someone you love and value, including God. If there is anything in your life that is not pleasing to God, spend time loving God and let His grace bring you to freedom.

Give On and With Purpose

“So let each of you give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” II Corinthians 9:7

We’re not all that different from God – who would want to receive a gift from someone who didn’t want to give it? Not me! To receive something from someone who didn’t want to let it go would feel like I was taking something that didn’t belong to me.

When we give, purpose is important to God. Purpose in giving means two things to me. The first is giving on purpose. When I purpose to give, I’m giving intentionally and willingly. Paul writes in II Corinthians that our purpose in giving should not be done under compulsion or obligation, but willingly and cheerfully. God cares about our heart’s motive more than the gift itself.

Here is a truth about my gift. God doesn’t depend upon me; I depend upon Him. Does my giving make a difference? Absolutely! However, if the majority of people do not give, God is still able to multiply the amount given by the minority. Any good being done is more about what God can do through me, not what I can do by myself. The real offering when I give is not the amount – it’s the offering of me.

The second meaning in giving and purpose is giving with purpose. God has things He wants to accomplish, but He loves us so much that He wants to include us. When we give with purpose, it isn’t so much about our decision on where to give and what to give and how much to give. It’s more about going to God to find out what He wants to accomplish together with us, and then us being obedient to His leading.

If there is no specific leading from the Holy Spirit, there is plenty of leading from the Word of God. In the Bible, God instructs us to give ten percent to our local church. Even though we know the tithe belongs to God, we’re not “paying” our tithe like we’re paying a bill. We’re giving our tithe because we want God to have the firs and best of what He has provided. We want to take care of His kingdom. God also admonishes us to give in offerings inside and outside of the church to the poor, to missions, to ministries, to building programs, and to the people in our sphere of influence. When we give, let’s give on purpose and with purpose. Let’s give with love for God and people. Let’s give from faith and trust in God. Let’s watch how God takes our gift and multiplies it with His overflowing grace!

Application: Read II Kings 12:4. Think of a time you gave on purpose and with purpose and the blessing that followed. Let’s do it again!

God’s Purpose For Your Life

“We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

God has a purpose, a reason, for your life. One purpose is to know His love, to receive it and to share it. We have a purpose in existing as a child of God in a relationship with our Father. This purpose is also our identity – who we are in Him.

In Psalm 139 we see that God formed us with a unique design. There is no one else like us! Each one of us is special, set apart, and different from anyone else. Science has discovered that no two fingerprints are alike, no two patterns of eyes are the same, and even on a molecular level, our DNA can identify us from the hair or cells we leave behind. We see our unique design in our fingerprints, eyes, and DNA – these things are only indicators of our unique God has made us in personality, talents, creativity, perspective, and understanding. Not only are we different in our makeup, but God also strategizes the specifics of where to place us, how to connect us, when to release us, and how to equip us. We have a purpose in being who we are.

God also gives purpose for our life in giving us something to do. We can find great fulfillment in accomplishing something beneficial to God and to others. With the unique way God made us, He planned on us doing something special with the gifts He gave us. “May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose.” Psalm 20:4

Our purpose is not just about us. Our purpose is a part of God’s greater purpose. Our purpose is also interwoven with the purpose of the people around us, the people who went before us, and the people who will come after us. We share a common purpose, a corporate purpose, in life.

“Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.” II Timothy 1:9

Some of our gifts are obvious, but many are treasures that are waiting to be discovered. As we continue to know God more, we also get to know ourselves more. Our purpose is revealed in the time we spend with God.

Application: When you pray, ask the Lord to reveal more of His purpose – who you are, what you do, and how our purpose entwines with others. Pray about your life, the lives of those connected to yours, and the purpose He has in His kingdom

Is There Not a Cause?

“… Is there not a cause?” I Samuel 17:29

The Philistines were an enemy of Israel, Israel being the people group God chose to reveal Himself to, make covenant with, and bring His Son into the world through. Saul was king over Israel. Goliath was a champion of the Philistine army who challenged any one of the Israelites to a fight. If Goliath won, the nation of Israel would become their servants. If an Israelite won, the Philistines would become servants of Israel. In this one fight, nations were on the line.

Goliath was extremely strong and tall. He had strong armor and destructive weapons. There was not one Israelite that had the confidence to defeat Goliath. The future of the nation of Israel was at stake. David was an underdeveloped teenager who worked as a shepherd for his father. However, David looked beyond his limited ability and put his trust in the Lord. David wanted to fight Goliath.

David’s brother made an accusation of David. He told his brother that his heart was full of pride. David’s question, “Is there not a cause?” was directed at his brother. David was stating his purpose. He wasn’t there because of youthful pride or to watch a battle. David didn’t just see Goliath’s challenge as a defying of Israel, but a defying of the God of Israel. The cause was to fight on behalf of God and his country.

King Saul heard of the youth’s desire to fight the Philistine. David told him of his past shepherding experience where a lion had threatened his father’s sheep, and another time, it was a bear. David talked about how the power of God came on him and helped him to kill the beasts. David assured Saul that the same God would empower him to kill Goliath.

If David lost, Israel would be servants to the Philistines. Saul must have believed that God would anoint David to win because of what was at stake. The two nations watched as the power of the Holy Spirit took a small stone from a shepherd’s pouch and a young shepherd to bring down this giant.

David had a cause. He had a purpose. If we want to accomplish great things for God, we have to know our purpose. If we want to lead others to do big things in God’s kingdom, we have to give them a reason. Know your purpose and accomplish the cause God has for your life.

Application: Is there something God has called you to do, but you feel unqualified to perform the task? Ask God for His anointing to be the power that causes you to do what He has asked you to do.

God Moves On Purpose

“… I have purposed it; I will also do it.” Isaiah 46:11

The purpose is the reason why something is done or why something is created. The purpose can give motivation to the action required to accomplish a matter.

When God acts, He acts with purpose. God doesn’t do anything unless there is a reason. To act otherwise, would be to waste time, energy, and resources. When God has determined what He will do based on a purpose He intends to accomplish, there isn’t anyone or anything that can stop Him.

God said concerning Pharaoh, “For this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” Romans 9:17 God had purpose, even in opposition.

As human beings, we also can set purpose, but because we are limited, other people or circumstances can bring to a halt to what we purpose to do. We are under the authority of others – a parent, a government, an employer, a teacher, or other leaders, and they could stop us. There could be others who are stronger or larger in number than us. For example, if we are voting for a candidate in an election and the other candidate gets more votes, the person we purposed to elect would not get that opportunity.

However, God is the highest authority. God is stronger than any other power. When God has a purpose and works to accomplish that purpose, no one can stop Him. “For the LORD of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back (Isaiah 14:17)?” Whatever God intends to do in our life, our family, our business, and our ministry; it will be done – not based on us, but based on HIM. “The LORD of hosts has sworn, saying, ‘Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, and as I have purposed, so it shall stand (Isaiah 14:24).” Even in times of trouble, where we don’t understand why things don’t seem to line up, we can have faith that God will turn it around and accomplish what He desires. “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You (Job 42:2).” Even when there is opposition, the opposition can be part of His plan, even the ones who put Jesus to death, saying of them, “to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined to be done (Acts 4:28).” God is in control!

Application: Perhaps you are in a situation that seems difficult. It doesn’t mean God desired it or created it. It does mean that we can trust God that He will accomplish His purpose in us no matter what we go through.

God’s Covenant With You

“The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.” Psalm 25:14

All of the promises God has made to you are based on this very thing – His covenant. The covenant is a binding union, not just an agreement, but a UNION where God has chosen to bind HIMSELF to you in relationship and position. He has contracted Himself to you, promising to never to leave you, never to forsake you. If we were to compare this covenant to a marriage union, we could say that has God chosen to marry you. In this marriage, all of God’s heart belongs to you. All that God owns belongs to you. All that God can do, He will do for you. Like a faithful husband, God has promised Himself to you.

  1. A covenant is God’s idea

The covenant was completely initiated by God. Mankind had nothing to do with starting a union with God. Therefore, we can be confident that the covenant position and the execution of covenant blessings is something God wholeheartedly wants. If you know God wants the covenant with you and if you know He wanted it badly enough to give His Son Jesus for it, then there is nothing to doubt about God’s desire to keep His covenant blessings with you.

  1. The covenant is based on what God did

You had nothing to do with the formation of this covenant. God did everything required in order for the covenant to be formed. He did everything required and then invited you to receive or reject His offer. If any part of the covenant depended on us, we may doubt the validity or the stability of the union. However, it doesn’t depend on us. We may fail, but God can’t fail. We may try to back out of a promise, but God never reneges on His Word. Therefore, we can be sure the covenant will stand.

  1. God’s power backs up His covenant

The Holy Spirit is the One who executes the covenant promises of God. It was the Holy Spirit that worked together with God to create you. It was the Holy Spirit that worked together with God to raise Jesus from the dead. He also helped to recreate your spirit. The Holy Spirit is ever ready to take the promise of God and manifest it in your life.

This is God’s covenant with you! Don’t doubt it; just believe!

Application: Write down a promise from the Bible that you would like to receive and walk in. Ask God to perform His Word in your life based on His covenant. Stand on that Scripture, knowing it will come to pass.

Your Hands Are Conductors

“…they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:18

Jesus is the one who told His followers to lay hands on the sick to minister healing in His name. In Jesus’ ministry, physical contact brought transference of power, or anointing. The same will happen for those who represent Him today. The Holy Spirit resides on the inside of us. The power of the Holy Spirit will flow through our hands as conductors of His tangible, flowing power.

Here are a few Bible examples of the laying on of hands in the New Testament:

Acts 5:12 says, “And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people…”

In Acts 28:8,9 we see where Paul laid hands on someone sick with a fever and the man was healed.

In Hebrews 6:1-2 the laying on of hands was a doctrine the early church. It was for healing, but also for ministering the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

In Acts 8:17 Peter and John laid hands on Philip’s converts in Samaria and they received the Holy Spirit baptism after their salvation experience.

In Acts 917 Ananias was sent to Paul, laid hands on him, and Paul was both healed and filled with the Holy Spirit.

The laying on of hands was also used when anointing was needed for a specific ministry. In Acts 6:1-7 hands were laid on the team for the anointing to minister to widows. In Acts 13:2-3 hands were laid on Paul and Barnabas to be sent out to preach in other regions. In I Timothy 4:14 Paul wrote Timothy, a young pastor, to stir up the impartation he received by the laying on of hands.

The exciting infallible truth is that the power of the Holy Spirit is within us, and our hands our conductors of His power to heal, anoint, and perform miracles. With our hands we make physical contact so the power of God can be transferred from the Holy Spirit within us to the person being ministered to.

Application: The more we are obedient to operate together with the Holy Spirit, the more the anointing will increase through serving. Spend time with God in His presence, be led by the Spirit, and be obedient to lay hands and minister His anointing. You will grow as you go!

Show Us How It’s Done

“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, we went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” Acts 10:38

Jesus spent about three years ministering on the earth before He went to the cross as a ransom for the sins of the world. In those three years Jesus made the Father known through how Jesus ministered. In those three years Jesus also demonstrated how to minister to those who followed Him. There are many things we can learn from reading about Jesus’ ministry in the Gospels. Here are three specific principles:

Jesus made it clear that it was the power of the Holy Spirit that made His ministry possible. That power was tangible. In Mark 5:24-34 a woman grabbed the edge of His clothing as a conductor of the anointing (see Acts 19:11,12). There was a group of people crowded around Jesus, yet Jesus perceived that the power of God had moved through Him to minister to someone. This is why Jesus said, “Who touched My clothes?” Jesus was able to perceive the flow of power because the power was tangible. Like Jesus, we need God’s power to minister to others.

There is another occasion where Luke wrote that the power of the Lord was present to heal them. If the power was present in this moment, then we know there were times when it wasn’t present, or manifested. The word present in the Greek language means that it “entered in (Luke 5:17).” This same Greek word was used for traveling from one place into another place. The power of God can flow in and out. In the preceding verse it says, “He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.” Praying is more than talking with God; prayer is having communion with God in the spirit. Prayer is basking in His presence. Prayer is letting the power of God rub on us. Like Jesus, to have the power present, we should spend time with God in the spirit.

Also, Jesus would come into physical contact with people to transfer the anointing. For example, he put His hands on these people: in healing a leper (Matthew 8:1-4), healing a fever (Matthew 8:14-15), healing the blind (Matthew 9:27-31), raising the dead (Mark 5:41), healing the deaf (Mark 7:32). In healing another blind man, Jesus touched Him twice, giving the man a double dose of God’s power (Mark 8:22). Like Jesus, we should make physical contact with people to transfer the anointing. Thankfully, Jesus is our teacher and the Holy Spirit is our helper! Let’s minister His power so God can get the glory!

Application: Read Luke chapters 3 and 4 and note how Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit before His earthly ministry began.

Let Him Flow

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” II Corinthians 4:7

The anointing of God is tangible. Even though spiritual things are usually invisible to our human eye, it doesn’t mean that they are not made of a substance. God’s power is substantial, palpable, touchable, and detectable. We can sense God’s anointing from our spirit. When something that is spiritual becomes something experienced in the physical, we say that it has manifested or become evident. You don’t have to feel God’s power in order to receive from it, but you should understand that it is tangible.

In II Corinthians 4:7, the word “treasure” in the original Greek language means “an inexhaustible supply of riches.” The treasure is the Holy Spirit and His power, or anointing. The power of God should be regarded as the treasure it is. We should not only hope for it, but we should also seek the Holy Spirit and pursue the anointing in our lives and services.

In this same verse, the word “earthen” describes a material that is so fragile that if it is handled to roughly it will break and fall to pieces right in your hands (Rick Renner). This word describes our earthly bodies. The Holy Spirit resides on the inside of each believer.

The word “excellence” means “a throwing beyond” and it has been translated “far more, exceeding, more excellent, beyond measure, and abundance.” The Greek word is hyperbole, made up of two root words. The first is hyper and is used in Ephesians 3:20 for exceedingly. The second is balio and it means “to pour as a liquid, without reservation.”

The Holy Spirit is a spirit that moves. The anointing or power of the Holy Spirit is something that flows like a current of electricity. Therefore, we should be aware of Him and His power and learn to move with Him when He moves. He will move in you and through you to minister the power of God to the people around you.

In Psalm 62:11 it says, “power belongs to God.” We don’t own the power, but we are invited to be a vessel for the power to flow through. God is our Father, our Creator, and our loving authority. Therefore, when the Holy Spirit is moving, our objective is to follow His lead. He includes us in what He does and what He has. God can do great things with us and through us, pointing people to Him and the power of His love.

Application: Read John 5:1-4, James 5:14, John 3:8 and write down illustrations that are used to describe the anointing and how it moves.

The Anointing and You

“I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh, your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.” Acts 2:17

Jesus was anointed by the Anointing, the Holy Spirit. The name “Christ” literally means, “anointed one.” After Jesus rose from the dead, instead of staying much longer on the earth, He ascended back to heaven. There was a reason for His departure – it was not to leave His disciples on their own. It was not to abandon the world He recently died for. He left because human beings could now be born again, made righteous in spirit, and could receive the same Holy Spirit He had. Instead of one man ministering the anointing or power of God, the anointing could rest on dozens, hundreds and eventually thousands of those who would represent Him. They would be anointed ones, known as “Christians.”

The Bible says that the Holy Spirit was poured out on all flesh, meaning He was given to everyone – men, women, young and old. Later it was revealed to Paul and to Peter that the Holy Spirit was also for different races, not just the Jews. God is looking for vessels He can pour Himself through. He not only loves us all, but He also qualifies us all.

God wants to use us as a container of His anointing and power. Whether we are male or female, young or old, Jewish or other race, God not only loves us; He values us equally. In Luke 10, we see a Samaritan helping a Jew that had been robbed and beaten. I don’t read where the Jew resisted the help from a race that was considered a “half-breed” by the Jews of that day. We shouldn’t discriminate against others or ourselves based on the ideas of culture rather than the truth of God’s Word.

God also qualifies us as a vessel, even though you are not perfect. There are two ways He does this. The first way is positional. When we accept Christ as Lord, God says we’ve been made righteous. This is not our doing; it’s His doing. He positions us in Christ, in right-standing with Him. This qualifies us for being a vessel of His anointing.

God also helps us to walk in righteousness. The more consecrated we are to spending time with God in the spirit, the greater the anointing can flow through our lives. Let go of the failures of the past, feelings of guilt or shame or fear, temptation, religious pride, or whatever may try to hold you back. God’s anointing is for you!

Application: Sometimes we discriminate against ourselves based on self-perceptions of worth or imperfection. We need to learn the freedom we have in Christ and believe God’s anointing will flow through us.

Meant for Great Things

“The anointing which you have received from Him abides in you.” I John 2:27

 

If you’ve ever felt like you were meant to do something great, it’s because you ARE! Your Daddy is the creator and originator or all power, all wisdom, and all things good and true. He made you to know Him, experience Him, and operate together with Him. Jesus said we would do greater works than He did because of the Spirit of power He sent.

His tangible power is referred to as “the anointing.” His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, is also referred to as the Anointing. The Holy Spirit is the power of God, and He possesses the power of God. When God created the Universe, it was in partnership with the Holy Spirit. God gave the command, and the Holy Spirit carried it out. When God raised Jesus from the dead, it was the Holy Spirit who brought the Savior up from the grave. When you give your life to God through the redemption Jesus Christ provided, that SAME SPIRIT comes to reside inside of you. If that is unfamiliar to you, understand that spiritual matters are known from our spirit, the innermost part of who we are. As we develop spiritually, we learn to recognize the Holy Spirit, to perceive what He is communicating, and to realize when and how He is manifesting His power.

Not only does the Holy Spirit offer to reside; He also offers to empower. If we are willing, Jesus will immerse us in the power and fire of the Holy Spirit. We call this the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is a separate experience from the new birth. To receive it, it must be asked for. The Holy Spirit will never push His power on you.

Here are a few characteristics of the anointing:

  • The power of God is spiritual. It can manifest and change what is natural.
  • The power of God is tangible. It has substance. When you are spiritually perceptive, you can experience it. I have sensed God’s power falling on me like a blanket. I have sensed what was like a fire move through my hands and other manifestations.
  • The power of God flows. This tangible substance moves from God, through us, and touches others.

Jesus wants you to have power to live this life and to help others. Value the Holy Spirit and you will experience the supernatural power of God.

Application: The more we give ourselves to the Holy Spirit and God’s Word, the more we are aware of spiritual matters. Spend some time with God today. Ask Him to manifest His anointing through your life.

Dominate or Be Dominated

“…just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4

Sin is anything outside of God and His life for us. Sin can bring a person to a low place, but God can lift us up to know His life. The life God intended for us is a life of knowing His glory, His joy, and His peace. Sin works against us knowing that life in its fullness. Sin, if permitted, can dominate anyone, even the Christian, pulling us downward, resulting in heartache, misplacement, and failure. Furthermore, sin in the life of a believer, if allowed, we could hinder the cause of Christ to the people we influence. If we don’t dominate sin, sin will dominate us.

You can’t save yourself; you need a Savior for that. In a similar way, you can’t live a holy lifestyle by yourself; you need the Holy Spirit for that. It is the power of the cross and the work of the Holy Spirit that causes anyone to rise over the temptation to go against God. We access that power through a trusting surrender to Jesus Christ. Through surrender, Christ is able to transform our mind, empower our spirit, and rule our body so we can put action to our faith, resulting in obedience. If we do not learn to dominate sin through the power given to us, sin could easily dominate the Christian, leading to a life of carnality, which works against what is God’s best for us (Romans 8:6).

Jesus helps us to dominate sin by working His salvation, which starts with the new birth and continues in a process of transformation. Jesus is always ready to take our daily surrender to restore us and to complete us in areas where there is lack. If there is an area of our soul that is broken or missing, we need to yield it to Christ. If we hold back a part of us from Christ’s loving authority, we are being self-sufficient and self-absorbed, which is sin. Don’t think you can fix yourself or fulfill desires outside of Christ. If not surrendered, sin will have an opportunity to have a hold on us. If you think you can control a sinful addiction on your own, you are mistaken. We have to let go in order for Christ to raise us up. Let go of the past relationship, the past pleasures, the past hurts – let it all go, and instead, embrace Christ and this new life. My personal reminder for letting go of the past is Lot’s wife. God told Lot and his family to leave their home and not look back. I believe Lot’s wife had friends in her past, affections, joys, and memories. She died as a result of her desire to stay bound to what God had set her free from. Surrender and you win!

Application: God will give us personal convictions for our specific issues. It might be a boundary for social media or online activity. It could be a friend or place we need to separate from. The choices we make determine whether we dominate sin or sin dominates us. Choose life!

Minister Life

“God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17

The mission of the Christian and of the Church is the commission we received from Christ, our Head, who told us to go and make disciples. Similarly, the motive, message, and methods should reflect the ministry Christ had on the earth. His motivation was a deep compassion. His message was one of reconciliation without compromise. His methods were supernatural with an anointing from the Holy Spirit.

If there were groups that illustrated an opposite to Christ during His earthly ministry, it was the Pharisees and Sadducees of the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin was a council of religious leaders assembled in every city in Israel to rule the Jews and oversee Jewish disputes. The Pharisees and Sadducees were Jewish men who used their religious position to manipulate the people of Israel to advance their own agenda and propagate their own way of thinking, speaking, and behaving. The Pharisees and Sadducees used what we call the sin consciousness to dominate men and women underneath their influence. The sin consciousness consists of the human condition and mentality that has been affected by sin, a condition that is rooted in self-sufficiency; therefore, their focus is founded on performance, works, and rules, and their motivators are guilt, shame, and fear. Their greatest violation and grossest tool of manipulation was using the name of God, misrepresenting our Father for selfish ambition and gain.

When Jesus ministered, He gave a true representation of God’s love, a love that was contrary to the sin consciousness and religious control. Instead of performance, there was grace. Instead of works, there was faith. Instead of rules, there was relationship. He did not condemn people for their failure to comply with God’s righteous standard; instead He revealed that righteousness was an endowment and empowerment from God that could be received by through the surrender and obedience of faith. Christ’s representation of His Father’s love was demonstrated through healings, miracles, and teaching about true life. Jesus did not compromise the standard of righteousness, but He did show us the way to life was through His redemption and our surrender.

The Sanhedrin brought condemnation that kept people down. Jesus ministered life that would raise people up. Like our Lord, let’s choose to save the world rather than to condemn it. Let’s minister life!

Application: Righteousness can be used to control and condemn or to save and set free. Minister life to someone today!

Living in Resurrection Power

“… out of weakness were made strong…” Hebrews 11:34

God will take our weakness and make us strong – not by our power, but by His power. When we are weak, we realize we have limits. We know we are insufficient of for the kind of life God intends for us to have. The person of faith realizes that real life is living in reliance upon a loving and all-sufficient Creator. He is our Life. He is our strength.

God told Paul, “My strength is made perfect in weakness (II Corinthians 12:9).” The word for “perfect” in the Greek is teleioo, which means to perfect, complete, accomplish, fulfill. I believe the meaning of this verse is that God’s power and ability can operate at its fullest capacity when we allow Him to have His way in us. That means, we lay down our agenda, self-promotion, and selfish ambition; instead, we seek God’s plan and God’s glory. Our lives are not about what we want; they become a constant pursuit of what God wants. It’s not about the world knowing who we are; it’s about the world knowing who He is. By choice, we live to serve Him and lift Christ up. Paul stated his choice, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…”

Paul knew his weakness, but he also knew God’s power. Paul experienced a strength that was supernatural, a strength that lifted him when he was weak. That’s why he could say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).” Paul said that he went to minister with trembling. He didn’t live in self-confidence; Paul lived with a God-confidence. He didn’t go from place to place like he was a hot shot. Paul’s life was in danger every place he went. He went with one motivation – and that was for Christ to be known in His power. Because of His position of surrender as a bondservant of Christ, his ministry was known for the demonstration of the Holy Spirit and power. He must have loved Jesus to live for Him like he did.

Paul wrote, “For though He (Jesus) was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God… (II Cor. 13:4).” God did the miraculous through lives that were genuinely sold out to Him. The same is true today. When we come to an end of self, then God can have the freedom to be all He can be through us. It’s supernatural. It’s extraordinary. It goes beyond what we could think or imagine. It’s God’s grace working in us and through us – a grace that is only received through the surrender of a sold out faith. It’s a resurrected life of knowing His glory!

Application: Do you feel weak? Are you going through difficulty? Let the trials bring you to a place of complete surrender. The Lord will lift you up.

Snatched Out Of Depression

“The Lord upholds all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down.” Psalm 145:14

There is no doubt that depression brings a person down emotionally, but it also can drag someone downward mentally, physically, and spiritually as well. Depression is a lower condition from the higher position God has intended for us. Depression is not a product of life; it’s a result of our fallen world. Whether depression is caused from something that has gone wrong within us or something has brought us down from what is around us, depression is not from God. I will even go as far as to say that there are times when our spiritual enemy will use depression in an attack against us. Whatever the cause, depression is downward spiral descent that steals away our quality of life.

Depression is more than a lack of joy. Depression can be a robber of our “want to,” our motivation. Depression can numb us so that we just don’t care anymore. We can lose our drive for productivity, our passion for purpose, our appetite for enjoying life, and in some cases, our will to live. People who suffer with depression often feel lethargic from experiencing circumstances and relationships. They feel worn, like it should be the end of a day. Each day they look less and less forward to the mornings. Depression can feel like you are slowly dying. Life is being drained by each situation, emptying a person of their vitality and vigor.

Depression is more than sadness. Sadness is an emotion, and sadness can change with circumstances. Depression is a state of being, and it can hold a person down, no matter what the circumstances. Depression can take over, to control or manipulate a person from rising up or from doing what they should do, could do, or would do.

Depression is often based on lies – lies about you, lies about others, and lies about God. If the truth can set us free, then believing a lie can keep us down. There can be underlying mistruths about your past, your present, and your future. Religious control and bondage can be a chain of depression, using guilt, shame, and fear to dominate us. Magnification of things gone wrong can imprison a person in depression.

Jesus went to the grave and defeated it. He has power to reach down into your darkness and snatch you out. Jesus can bring you into the light of His life, a place where you are seated together with Him. No matter what is going on around you, you can live above it.

Application: Depressed? Look to God to lift you, because you can’t do it on your own. Believe Him, receive Him, and be free in Jesus’ name!

Life Has a Name

“I am the resurrection and the life…” John 11:25

Jesus told us, “I am the resurrection…” One meaning for this noun “resurrection” in the Greek New Testament means to be set into place like a stone. As a stone, some will use Christ to climb up, and others will run into Him and fall down. As the resurrection, if you receive Christ, you will be raised with Him. If you reject Him as the resurrection, you will be brought down. For some, Jesus is a rock to build on, a cornerstone, because they receive Him. To others He is a stumbling stone, because they reject him. However, Christ is put in place as our way to life.

Jesus also said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:6).” Jesus didn’t say this to be manipulative or dogmatic; He was stating a fact. The only way to the Father is through Him because Jesus was the only one who could shed His blood to pay the price for the judgment against us because of our fallen, separated, condition through the rebellious nature that came through disobedience. Sin caused us to crash down into a prison we could not be freed from. Jesus came to die our death, go into that prison, get the keys that locked us in, free us, and raise us to new life. He died, He was bound, He paid the ransom, God raised Him from the dead.

I love the account of Peter when he was freed from prison. In Acts 12:7 it says that there was light and an angel raised him up who said, “Arise quickly!” And the chains fell off Peter’s hands. Peter was either lying or sitting down, chained down, and the angel grabbed him and lifted him up. How illustrative this is, not only of our resurrection, but of Christ’s resurrection as well. We were chained down, but lifted up out of the darkness of prison and into the light of new life.

Jesus is the resurrection because He was the first one of many to be raised from the dead. He made the way! In Colossians 1:18 it talks about Jesus being the head of the church, the firstborn from the dead, so that in all things He may have the preeminence. When we initially receive Christ and make Him our Lord, we receive His resurrection life and our spirit is reborn. As we live each day surrendered to His Lordship, not only does Christ lift us up from death; but He also has the power of life to free us from any addiction, any sin, or any bondage. You can rise up in His life and His power! Life has a name. His name is Jesus!

Application: The tithe was the first of any increase, and like the firstborn, God said it belonged to Him. Why the first portion? The tithe is symbolic of Christ. When we honor God by giving Him our tithe, we are honoring Christ, our salvation. The next time you tithe, think about your salvation.

Lifter Of My Head

“…My glory and the One who lifts up my head.” Psalm 3:3

There is a Hebrew word for poor that means to be needy, weak, and lowly (aniy, 6041). The root word (anah, 6031) has the idea of being bowed down, stooped over because of a heaviness or depression. If you can imagine, a person who is feeling low might have their head down, bent over with feelings that are overwhelming.

Being poor is coming up short for what is required. Being poor is a position of being under, dominated, and defeated. Poverty is a state of lack, never having enough. The poor has a vulnerable quality. Along with poverty are often feelings of insecurity, instability, fear, worry, and anxiety. Poverty has much to do with feeling out of control, often feeling controlled by others.

People can be poor for different reasons. While some might be lazy, others could be suffering with a handicap or disability. Others could be bankrupt because of taking a risk that failed. Some have an oppressor who financially holds them down or hold them back. This could be anyone from an unfair employer to an abusive spouse to a corrupt government. It could even be Satan himself, working against the believer to keep him or her down so as never to rise up and do their part in the kingdom.

Several times in the Word of God we read about lifting up our eyes to see beyond our limits. In Psalm 3:3 the Bible says that God is the One who lifts up our head. James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

God’s salvation completes us in every way. His life brings us to an abundance of all we need. It includes eternal life, and it includes everything that restores us from any kind of life. This includes provision, an abundant supply. John 10:10 Jesus said, “…I have come to that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” God promises to meet your needs so that you have more than enough.

God’s power to resurrect can reach down into a low place of oppression and raise up His people to new heights in Him. Being resurrected is not a matter of what we do to climb out of our troubles, but it is a matter of God raising us up by His power!

Application: Jeremiah 22:16 says, “He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Was this not knowing Me?” Find someone in need you can give to today, whatever the amount. This is knowing God.

Resurrected Health

“And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up…” James 5:15

There are three historical stories from the Bible that I want to share with you. In all three you will see people who were in a low position and could not get themselves up. The first is found in John 5. Jesus asked a lame man by a pool of water, “Do you want to be healed?” The pool was known to bring healing to the first person that stepped in after an angel stirred it. Of all the people waiting by that pool, the one Jesus approached was a lame man, a man incapable of moving himself. To a lame man with a need, Jesus said, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.’” The man walked. I believe this miracle is illustrative of the condition we all are in. We are insufficient to raise ourselves up to the life God intends for us to have. We need someone to resurrect us and lift us to the place of abundant life that God has for us.

The second is found in Luke 5. A paralyzed man had friends who wanted to help him. They heard of the healing miracles that Jesus had performed. However, they could not reach Jesus because of the crowd in the building. The men lifted their friend to the roof and let him down into the crowd. Jesus said, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Then man immediately got up and went, glorying God. The people who witnessed the miracle spoke of seeing strange things, impossible things. However, if God can create, then why could He not recreate? If God can give life, then surely He can raise it up again.

In Acts 3, Peter and John went to the temple where a beggar approached them. The beggar was a man who had never walked a day in his life. He was in a lowly position because of a condition outside of his control and outside of his ability to fix. The lame beggar called out to Peter and John for money. Peter replied, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you.” Peter had been with Jesus, and he knew that Jesus had given him authority and power. Peter said to the man, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” Then Peter took the man by his hand and lifted the lame man up. The man, for the first time, walked, then leaped, and began to shout his praises to God.

All three accounts tell us this – we cannot save ourselves; we cannot heal ourselves. They also communicate that God’s life is available to us here and now. The good news is this, our need makes us a prime candidate for Christ’s resurrection power to be demonstrated.

Application: The world we live in is a constant reminder of our limitations. Fast. Pray. See a God without any limits. He will raise you up.

Lifted Into Position

“He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” I Thessalonians 5:24

Is there anyone out there that is struggling to rise up to what you sense is your God-given destiny? You try your best and still you feel like you continually fall short of your purpose? Do you have that knowing on the inside of you that tells you there is so much more?

John 15 says that without Christ, we can do nothing. There is wisdom in the understanding that true fulfillment can only come with God’s help. It’s not that God has this narcissistic need to be the center of everything; it’s that God IS the center of everything. Life begins with knowing the love of the One we belong to, which means much more than any accomplishment. In knowing Him, we are raised up by Him and in Him. What God wants to do in our life, God will do, as we seek Him.

Just as God wants you to know Him, He wants the world to know Him. God is always looking for some way and someone to show His glory through. We see lives of people from history that could not have risen up to do what they did without God’s help. God gets the credit for lifting them into their position. Look at these examples:

  • David (Acts 13:22)
  • Moses (Acts 7:37)
  • Pharaoh (Romans 9:17)
  • John the Baptist (Matthew 11:11)
  • Jesus as priest (Hebrews 7:11)
  • Jesus (Acts 2:20; 3:22,36)

In addition, God pulled Joseph out of a pit, Jonah out of a whale, Lazarus out of a grave, and Peter out of prison. What has God pulled you out of? David said in Psalm 40:2, “He brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.” Praise God, He is willing to go to the depths to find us, raise us up, and set us in position just like He promised.

When God establishes a person, He sets him or her in a position He has chosen for his or her life. When God sets you, no one can remove you. When God raises a person, He does so with purpose – to produce something. Romans 7:4 speaks about becoming one with Christ, who was raised from the dead, “that we should bear fruit to God.” When something is alive, it produces, and you are alive in Christ!

Application: Ask God to help you do something today that will help Him to be seen. Share your testimony with us at growchurches.com!

It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over

“…God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as through they did.” Romans 4:17

It can seem that dreams God gave to you have died or become stagnant. Maybe it’s because you failed, maybe it’s because people have failed you, or maybe it seems that the dream has expired. However, when a dream seems dead, don’t give up; God has been known to resurrect the dead, including what seems to be a dead dream or promise.

You Failed

It’s up to God to choose whom He will use, and God has been known to choose people who have failed. Failure happens for several reasons. Perhaps there is lack of ability, drive, stamina, knowledge, wisdom, or focus. Maybe someone was selfish or hurting and chose to sin. One thing about God we should know is that failure doesn’t frighten Him. In fact, one of God’s preferred qualifications is humility, not perfection, because humility puts a spotlight on God’s love and glorifies His grace.

I Corinthians 1:26-28 “(26) For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. (27) But God has chosen the foolish thing s of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; (28) and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the thing which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are.”

God will always forgive someone who comes with repentant faith; however, whether they fulfill their destiny or not is up to Him (Romans 14:4). Sometimes people fail several times (Proverbs 24:16), yet God is able to raise them up from their place of falling every time. 

Other People Failed

God wants you to rely upon Him, not on your network of people – your family, your friends, your advisors, your promoters, or your investors. God has the connections you need, and He will not disappoint.

It Seems God Failed

Abraham and Sarah felt their promise from God to have a son would never come true. It may seem that God failed you and the dream that He promised has expired. Never stop believing. God wants the people in your world to see more than a miracle; he wants them to see Him.

Application: Our greatest accomplishment is when God is seen through us. Let Him resurrect you and your dreams for His glory.

Resurrection Breakthroughs

“that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” Phil. 3:10

God offers you a supernatural life filled with power and breakthrough. This life of glory isn’t just for life after death; it is a life offered to us right now. It is a much different experience from the one the natural world offers; however, it is a far greater existence, one that is filled with irresistible joy and indescribable peace.

Because we are spiritual beings living in a fallen world, the way to live this life of knowing God’s glory does require some adjustments. However, it is possible since Jesus showed us how to know the glory of God while He lived on the earth. The apostles also wrote about knowing God’s glory in their letters to the churches. One of my favorites verses on experiencing God’s glory is Philippians 3:10. It tells us we can know the power of His resurrection and it tells us how we know this power. It’s being in living similarly to Christ’s sufferings and death. See also Galatians 2:20 and II Corinthians 4:10.

But wait a minute – suffering and death doesn’t sound too good, so how does this verse compute with God’s goodness? The problem we face is the condition we are in while living in a fallen world, even as born again Christians. We still have the unregenerate soul and physical body. We also live in a world dominated by what is natural, temporary, and earthly. This world is even carnal, sinful, and ruled by Satan. God’s glory comes from what is spiritual. The solution for operating in God’s power is overcoming our flesh, natural and carnal influences, and the spiritual oppression of the enemy. How do we do that?

To way to overcome these things and find breakthrough is first by dying to self and surrendering to God. It’s leaving the position of self-sufficiency and making Jesus Lord. Knowing God’s life is like being the branch of a tree. We can’t survive independently of the tree because our life is found in being connected to the life source the tree provides. When we live surrendered to God, our actions become a product of our heart relying upon Him. Then, with God’s help, we overcome our flesh, we separate from natural and carnal influence, and we take authority over the enemy. Not only do we pull away, but we also pursue God through spiritual aspects such as prayer, fasting, worship, and study. It’s not that God is withholding His power, expecting you to earn it. Rather, He is willing to pour through you as you make yourself available to Him in the spirit.

Application: Choose a day to take off from the world and determine to only fast, pray and study. See what happens.

God’s Power to Resurrect

“…He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:11

God not only has the power to create life; He also has the power to resurrect, or to bring back to life. Not only can God raise us from spiritual death to eternal life; but God can also raise someone from a lower position to a higher position. He also lifts us from failure to favor, sickness to health, from poverty to provision, from bondage to freedom, from trouble to victory, and from inactivity to productivity. It’s supernatural power. It’s the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead, power that can raise us up to live the life God intends for us!

Resurrection power is not just for heaven

You can experience God’s life here and now. Colossians 3:1 says, “If then you were raised with Christ…” It doesn’t say when you will be; it says you were. This life we have in Christ is eternal, but it starts the moment we are born again. It’s a life that saves from sin, and it’s a life that saves us from the effects of sin. I Timothy 4:8 says, “…having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” Now! This life is also for you right now!

God does the resurrecting

Jesus did not raise Himself from the dead. God raised Jesus from the dead. In Ephesians 1:20 it says that God raised Jesus from the dead, lifting Him up to sit in a position of authority in heavenly places. Jesus died, committing His spirit to His Father, knowing the plan was that once the price was paid, God would raise Him back to life. We also need to let God to the raising in our lives. There are people who try to lift themselves up, but God gets no glory in their glory. However, when let God do the lifting by His resurrection power, God gets the glory. It’s not by our power; it’s by His power. Ephesians 2:6 says, “(God) raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” We aren’t in heaven yet. This verse is talking about spiritual authority that we have now, on the earth, in spiritual places.

The Greek root for the word “resurrect” means to leap up, spring up, and start up. There might be something or someone pinning you down, holding you back, or restraining you from even taking the initiative to begin. When you are in a binding position and you can’t free yourself; you need someone to free you on your behalf. That’s what the Holy Spirit does. He raised Jesus from the chains of the grave. When you are in Christ, the Holy Spirit will also raise you from whatever tries to bind you!

Application: God’s power is greater. Look to Him to raise you up!

Are You Going Over or Under?

“…Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” Numbers 13:30

This past week I was shocked to hear our accountant say that Jerry and I owed a large amount of tax. It was unexpected, and the news came right before we were to close on a home. My eyes began to swell with tears, immediately recognizing that this tax bill would greatly affect our home plans. Our accountant gently asked in that quiet office, “Are you okay?” He’s a believer, and with my voice cracking, I said, “I don’t know how He’s going to do it, but God will work it out.” Then my accountant and I began to share stories of money miracles we had witnessed.

We all face challenges. Life is full of them, but the way we face difficulties is an indicator of where we’re at in our faith in God and our dependency upon Him. No matter what comes our way and no matter how we may feel, inside the center of a faith filled believer is a reliance that is anchored to the character of God and the Word He has spoken.

In the Bible book of Numbers, Moses sent twelve men to take a look into Canaan, the land God promised the Israelites. The twelve returned reporting the abundance and beauty they saw. They also reported about fortified cities and large, strong men who would fight to defend their homes. Israel was facing a big challenge.

When we face an insurmountable challenge and look at ourselves, we see our actual strength, abilities, and resources. We may feel confident that we can meet the challenge, or we may assess our situation and recognize we fall short of what is needed to overcome. This is where faith must come in. Our hope is not to be in ourselves, but our faith is to be in our God and His Word to us. Our focus has to be on His strength, ability, and resources – all of which are far greater than ours.

Ten of the investigative Israelites looked at the fortifications and armies and saw Israel as going under if they tried to take the land. Two of the twelve saw Israel as overcoming, going over, with the help of the Lord. Because the people of Israel agreed with the ten unbelieving men, they did not enter their promised land. The two believing men outlived everyone else and God took them into Canaan.

When we face a challenge, we can look at ourselves and see us as going under, or we can look at the Lord and see ourselves as going over! If we rely upon the Lord, there isn’t anything that comes our way that we, together with God, cannot overcome!

Application: Whatever mountain may seem to be in your way, believe that God will take you over it. You are an overcomer!

We Always Win

“Now thanks be to God who always leads us to triumph in Christ…” II Corinthians 2:14

God wants us to win in this life. God doesn’t want you to be defeated by anyone setting himself or herself in opposition to His plan for your life. He certainly doesn’t want Satan to win either. God is on your side, and He says He will always lead you to triumph in Christ!

God gives us victory over sin.
If you’ve ever tried to gain victory over sin on your own, then you know it’s not possible. We need God’s help. First, we need His righteousness to change our nature and cleanse our hearts. Second, we need the Holy Spirit to help us continually renew our minds and discipline our bodies. Sin has an addictive quality; it’s only by the power of the Almighty that chains can be broken and we can be set free!

God gives us victory over hurts.
God completes us in the spirit, and He can fulfill us in areas where people, performance, and projects cannot. If someone hurts us, we need to run to the Father because no one and nothing can satisfy us like God.

God gives us victory over sickness and lack.
He doesn’t want you to lose or miss out on anything that falls short of His promises. Jesus shed His blood for you to share in the benefits of His salvation. God wants you to win over anything or anyone contrary to His redemption plan for you. God paid a price for you to win – He gave His Son to die to pay the penalty of our sin. God would not pay such a precious price without the intention of us walking in victory.

God gives us victory for our purpose.
God wants to accomplish the plan He has for our life. God understands the drive to fulfill a calling because God is the one who put the desire there in the first place. God wouldn’t give us the appetite to pursue our destiny if He expected us to never compete it. God is not just a starter; God is a finisher. He’s not just Alpha; He’s also Omega. He is the beginning and the end. What God started in you, He will complete. If you’ve lost your passion, God can restore that too.

God gives us victory now.
God wants you to win now. God doesn’t want you to have to wait until heaven to experience the life He has for you today. Will there be hardships? There will most definitely be difficulties in life, but in Christ, we can remain in a place of faith, joy, and peace. We win!

Application: Feeling defeated? Choose to let God stretch and strengthen your heart to walk in everything He has promised and provided.

Forget About It

“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.” Isaiah 43:25

One definition of the word, “forget” means, “to omit mentioning.” The word “forget” does not always mean the person forgetting has an inability to recollect past events or that they cannot retrieve information. For example, when someone uses the phrase, “forget about it,” they could mean, “don’t mention it, don’t be concerned about it; it’s taken care of.”

When God forgives, He forgets, meaning He chooses not to bring up a past sin with the intention of holding you bound to it. He would not use a past offense to dominate you or to emotionally blackmail you. He would not use a past transgression to cause you sorrow, pain, guilt, shame, or fear. He would not use past sin as a reason to keep distance from you or to withhold His goodness from you. God is not a manipulator. He has never manipulated us to do something against our will. Because we are His children, God wants us to want to choose to be with Him, not force us to be with Him. We aren’t slaves. We aren’t robots. We’re His children, His offspring.

God has not erased His memory. He can remember an event, but not hold us to it For example, King David sinned against God by using his position of spiritual and civil authority to bring a married woman, Bathsheba, into his palace and to have an affair with her while her husband was fighting as a soldier in David’s army. When King David learned Bathsheba was pregnant, he was concerned about his exposure. David decided to put Uriah on the front lines of battle so he would be killed. This story contains sins of murder, adultery, and a cover up by the leader of a nation. According to Jewish Law, David’s offense was to be punished by death. If you mentioned this story to God, He would know the story, but God would not mention this story to David to harm him or bring him shame. In fact, the story did not end in shame; the story ends in forgiveness, restoration, and grace. The bloodline of Jesus Christ goes through Solomon, a son that David had with Bathsheba after David repented of his sin.

God wants you to be free, completely free. Complete freedom means you do not struggle with a residual effect of sin that causes you to be distraught in spirit, soul, or body. He wants you free in your thoughts, your desires, and your emotions.His forgiveness releases you. His forgetfulness releases you. Be free, and forget about it!

Application: Do you struggle with past sin or failure? Let God be your example. Forgive yourself, and then choose to forget. Remembering empowers your past to keep you bound. You may even have to sever some ties to that past if they keep you from God’s grace. Be free!  

Paid For

“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us..” Galatians 3:13

A person feels cursed when everything seems to be going wrong; it seems like no matter how hard he or she tries, nothing goes right. Well, for the Christian, we aren’t cursed, we are blessed! We aren’t bound; we are free! Our hands aren’t tied; our hands are free to receive.

Galatians 3:13 is a New Testament scripture that refers to an Old Testament principle. In Deuteronomy 28, God tells His people that if they want to have a good, blessed life, they need to obey His laws. If they disobey Him, then they will be cursed. Most of the curses can be categorized under poverty, sickness, or spiritual death.

Many Jews did their best to live according to the Law, but no one could keep the Law perfectly. It was impossible to live holy with the sin nature. So why would God give His people a Law that was impossible to keep? The purpose of the Law was to show people the holiness of God, our inability to be holy on our own, and our need for a Savior. That message still applies today. By grace we are saved through faith, not because of our performance. Amen!

The Law also taught us that there was judgment for sin, a punishment that was due. Jesus freed us from the curse of the Law by paying the penalty for sin. He didn’t just carry sin; He became sin (See II Corinthians 5:21). In the Old Testament, if someone was raised up from the earth, they were considered cursed, despised, and rejected. The worth of a person had weight. Matters of importance were considered heavy or light. To be lifted up from the earth symbolized someone who was judged and dishonored. John 3:14 says, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up (see Numbers 21:5-9).” Jesus said in John 12:32-33 “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself. This He said, signifying by what death He would die.” Jesus was crucified, taking judgment, and becoming a curse. Jesus was tortured and crucified so we could be free from the ransom that was holding us a prisoner. We were kept far from God until Jesus removed the sin barrier. Now we can know God and experience His life!

When we surrender our lives to Him, there is no longer any punishment or condemnation from sin. We are free from the curse and free to receive. We are free to receive healing, provision, and eternal life and all that goes along with salvation. Praise God!

Application: If you are experiencing poverty, sickness, or spiritual death; then come to Jesus! You can be free to receive salvation benefits! 

The Religious Rat Race

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1

The rat race is a term to describe getting ahead in the business world by fighting and clawing your way past others to get ahead. When religion is based on control instead of faith, we see believers striving and competing with one another to try to gain approval and acceptance with God and the Christian world.

But our race with God is a grace race, not a rat race. Part of our liberty in Christ is freedom from religion, religion being described as human efforts to please God or manipulate Him into action. Being religious, in this sense of the word, describes someone who may have made the initial approach to God in faith for salvation, but then slipped back into a reliance on self to achieve a continual good standing with God. This is a condition of someone that attempts to earn approval with God based on his or her ability to be good and to do good.

In Galatians 3:3 Paul writes, “having begun in the spirit are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” Our relationship with God didn’t start based on our works, so why would we think we could continue to maintain this Christian life based on our works? God never meant for us to look at His ways as something we had to try to attain by our efforts. God wants relationship with us based on living by His Spirit, not a position based on rules being kept by relying on our flesh, or our strength.

Christ set us free from this religious thinking and the sin consciousness that fuels this mentality. Shame, guilt, and fear are not the result of receiving grace by faith; the sin consciousness is the result of the self-reliance of flesh. The sin consciousness doesn’t just affect someone who hasn’t experienced salvation; it also affects the person who hasn’t learned to live by the Spirit.

When we live by the Spirit, we live reliant on the Holy Spirit and the grace of God. We have His strength to renew our minds to peace, joy, and love. We lean on God’s unlimited ability instead of trusting in our limited ability. We rely on His redemptive power to continue to be transformed to become like Him. Living in the Spirit, we no longer have to be better than someone else to earn our approval and acceptance. We are not in the religious rat race, but the freedom grace race!

Application: People in religious bondage like to tear others down in order to build themselves up. If you find yourself criticizing others, take a look at your own heart. Ask God to help you receive and give grace. 

The Triple Hold

 “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…” Romans 8:1

Sin does more than separate people from God. Sin also distorts the way we think and feel about ourselves, about one another, and even about God. The sin consciousness is permeated with thoughts and emotions affected by guilt, shame, and fear – the triple hold.

The triple hold can affect any of us, saved or lost, because all of us have known sin. The more we develop in our relationship with God through Christ, the more our mentality and emotional condition are changed to think and feel in line with God’s design for us.

Sin is acting independently of God, attempting to be sufficient in and of self. The very first time we see sin was with Adam and Eve. After their sin, we immediately see the triple hold of the sin consciousness. The two experienced shame and attempted to cover their bodies. They felt fear, attempting to hide from God in the garden. They knew guilt, attempting to shift blame to another. We all have known some measure of all three – guilt, shame, and fear.

The triple hold can do five things. One, it can hinder our communion with God. The sin consciousness works to keep us at a distance from God, afraid and discouraged from intimacy with our Father. Two, it can keep us from receiving God’s promises. Three, it can hinder our prayers. If we are not confident in the righteousness we have in Christ, we want have the boldness needed for approaching God or for taking our authority in Christ. Four, it can hinder us from having healthy relationships with others. Five, it can hinder our ministry to others.

God wants us to be free from the triple hold of the sin conscious so we can be all He’s created us to be, have all that He has intended for us to have, and do all that He is calling us to do. Instead of fear, He wants us to have faith. Instead of guilt, He wants us to know His grace. Instead of cowering in shame, God wants us to shine with His favor.

Transformation is a process. Humble yourself before God, study the Bible, rely on the Holy Spirit to help, and make sure you are speaking the same things God says over your life. You will develop a God consciousness instead of sin consciousness and enjoy new life in Christ!

Application: Today, take time to notice what you are saying about yourself, God, and others. Are your words in line with your redemption, or do they support the sin consciousness? 

Stand Firm

“… be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord…” I Corinthians 15:58 

God wants stewards to stand firm in their word and in their calling. What are some reasons people pull away from the work they have committed to? In Luke 9 Jesus called certain people to follow Him in ministry. There were some excuses listed and Jesus’ responses. Some of these excuses seem reasonable, but poor judgment and the voice of the enemy can often make sense to a person who wants to do the right thing.

In verse 59 of Luke 9, Jesus said to a person, “Follow me.” The person’s father had just passed away, so he asked if he could put off the assignment to go bury his father. Jesus’ response may sound callous, but Jesus considered eternal matters to outweigh natural matters. He said, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” In verse 61 another person agreed to follow Christ in ministry, but first wanted to go back to his family. Jesus’ response, “…No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” I’ve known many that have abruptly left a ministry commitment because of a family member in need. While I believe our responsibilities to our family should come before our responsibility to ministry, I also have witnessed the enemy pulling the rug out from underneath a ministry or minister through the strong emotional ties at home. If the enemy can’t stop a minister directly, he will often pull him or her away from ministry through their family, especially through a spouse or their children. It might seem noble, but often it is a ploy of the enemy to destroy kingdom purpose.

Satan knows that when a person commits to serving in Christ’s kingdom, the kingdom will advance. Lives will be reached for Christ. People will be restored and grow in their faith. Satan wants to stop the kingdom from moving forward, and one of his tactics are to pull out God’s stewards. Many ministers have left the ministry because they felt guilty about leaving someone, shame for past mistakes, or fear of losing someone again. These emotions can cause people to turn on a dime, quickly thwarting them from kingdom purpose. Satan might also use a distraction or temptation like a good paying job, another platform for influencing people, or a similar opportunity for doing good. He might offer a project or hobby, likeable friendships, amorous relationships, or any other desire to distract us from the ministry he has called us to. God wants us to enjoy our life, but He also wants us to trust Him with our family, our responsibilities, concerns, and desires. His kingdom requires that we count the cost and complete our commitments.

Application: Ask God for discernment for anything that distracts you from ministry. Trust God with anything that concerns you.

 

Find the Faithful

“And the things that you have heard from among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” II Timothy 2:2

The principle of finding faithful team members applies to ministry, business, relationships, community, and any other purpose. Paul instructed Timothy to find the faithful to join his ministry team – not the perfect, faultless, or the best performers – but the faithful. When looking for someone to join your team, don’t just look at resumes or talents; choose the faithful. Proverbs 20:6 “Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man?”

Paul knew what he was talking about when he told Timothy to find the faithful for the ministry. In I Timothy 1:12 Paul wrote, “He (God) counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.” The qualification wasn’t Paul’s ability to speak, his vast resources, his influence – it was his faithfulness. Paul went through tremendous challenges, but he stayed true to his commitment, his word, his calling, and his God. Since Paul knew from experience that ministry required endurance through difficult challenges, its’ not unusual to think he would expect any less from those on his team.

When I think of faithfulness, I think of Moses. Moses was known as a murderer for killing an Egyptian, a deserter for running away from Egypt, and a man who had difficulty speaking; yet God chose Moses. In Numbers 12:7 it says of Moses, “He is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face…” In Exodus 40:16 we see that Moses carried out God’s instructions to the last detail. In the United States military, I’ve heard that commanders will give soldiers in training an instruction that has nothing to do with anything, except that it tests the heart of a soldier to see if he or she will be faithful and keep a respectful attitude to carry out a command.

I think of King David with his team of warriors who were known as “David’s mighty men.” The Bible describes them in I Samuel 22 as being in debt, distressed, and discontent. They don’t sound like the most qualified men to be fighting for the soon-to-be king.  However, these imperfect men were men of honor. They were true to their word. They were loyal to their leader to the point of death. They would never walk off of a battlefield. They were faithful. When praying and asking God for people to help with a vision, find the faithful. When looking for a mate, find the faithful. When you want to be part of something greater than yourself, be found faithful.

Application: If you are challenged to keep your word, then ask Him for His help to be faithful. He will honor your prayer and give you the endurance to stand true to your commitments. 

Stewards of the Gifts

“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” I Peter 4:10

Peter said that God has given each one of us a gift or gifts to minister to one another. The word “minister” in the original Greek language is diakoneo, meaning, “to be a servant, attendant, to serve, wait upon, minister.” The gifts given to each one are gifts that are meant to help others, not only to enjoy ourselves.

There is a desire God places inside of us to want to be a vessel God can use to help someone else. We also desire to experience the grace and the power of God flowing through us. The truth about the gifts of God is that they increase as we put them to use. If we do not act on the gifts, they can often lay dormant. However, at any time we decide to activate the gifts God gives us, the Holy Spirit anoints those gifts.

A steward is someone who has been entrusted with the management of matters that belong to another. God wants us to be good stewards of the gifts God has given to us, to follow His desires for how the gifts are to be used. He doesn’t want us to hide or stifle the gifts, but to stir up the gifts to be a blessing to those in need. II Timothy 1:6 says, “to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of hands.” Stirring up the gift gave the idea of kindling the remains of the embers of a fire, a rekindling. Other definitions of being stirred up are to resuscitate, bring back to life, or to strengthen.

The Apostle Paul referred to himself as a bondservant of Jesus Christ. We get insight into what a bondservant is from Deuteronomy 15:12-18. In this passage, a servant paying off his or her debt was called a slave. When a servant’s debt was paid, that person was allowed to go free. However, if a person loved the man he served, loved the house he served, and saw that he prospered in the man’s house, the servant may not want to leave the house. Instead, he could choose to remain in the house and to continue to serve. Apostle Paul called himself a bondservant of Christ, someone free from sin, but someone choosing to commit himself to serve the Lord because of the love he has for his redeemer.

A bondservant prospers in the house he or she serves in. Jesus said in John 12:26, “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.” Serving the Lord comes with benefits. Being a steward of God’s gifts has a blessing with it. Serve God, and He will take care of you.

Application: If you mean this prayer, pray it from your heart, “I am your bondservant, Lord, and I want to be in your house forever.” 

What If Everyone?

“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” I Peter 4:10

This verse starts off, “As each one…” so we know that the author, Peter, is addressing every person that would read this letter. Peter shows us that each Christian has a part in ministry in their local church. When I refer to the local church, I’m not referring to a church building, but to a group of people who are committed to Christ and to each other. Every person in a local church has value for who they are, and every person has purpose in something they can do – every person.

Like Peter, the Apostle Paul wrote about each person having an active role in the local church (Eph. 4:7). In Ephesians 4:16 Paul compared the local church to a human body, made up of parts, with every part doing its function. Ephesians 4:16 says, “from whom (Christ) the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, cause growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” Paul did not attribute church growth to the pastor, the church staff, the music team, or any one gift or area of ministry in particular; Paul accredited growth to every person becoming involved in doing something to serve in their local church family.

The church reminds me of an ant colony. Ants are small creatures, yet they form great communities by working together. You never see one ant sitting down with nothing to do. The participation ants demonstrate is the same responsibility we each have in the kingdom of God and in our home church. The churches that are most effective are the churches where there is a greater percentage of involvement from church members. Think about it. What if every attender in your local church, your city, your state, your country, and in your world became a participator? What if everyone?

Too often we treat church like a football game where only a few players are on the field, and the majority of people are spectators in the stands. The church is not an event, it’s not entertainment, and it’s not a building. The church is Christ’s body, where He is the head and every person has something to do. Brian Houston, the pastor of Hillsong Church, said, “Church is not built on the gifts and talents of a few, but on the sacrifices of many.” Church isn’t just about the pastors and a great weekend experience; it’s about people participating with opportunity, authority, training, and resources to serve one another and their community all through the week! Yes, the gifts and responsibilities are for everyone!

Application: Do you have a dream to help others? Don’t feel like to you to wait on someone else for your purpose to come to pass. Do something, serve somebody, and let God do the rest.

The Proclamation Three

“For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” II Peter 1:21

The nine manifestations, or gifts, of the Holy Spirit are for us today. They are given to reveal God’s love, demonstrate God’s ability, and proclaim God’s message. To help learn them, we separate them into three categories – Revelation, Power, and Proclamation. The proclamation gifts are prophecy, tongues, and the interpretation of tongues.

Remember that God is a spirit and He often expresses Himself through spiritual means. The Holy Spirit is a spirit. You are a spirit. The gifts of the Spirit are experienced through our heart, our spirit. A person can be a believer but not be spiritually aware. Natural matters are known through our intellect and our five senses. Spiritual things are understood through our spirit. To move with the Holy Spirit, we must look to our heart.

PROPHECY

Prophecy is a message from God. God speaks to us in our heart, but not in the way I would speak to you. I would speak to you with sound from my mouth. You would hear those sounds with your physical ears. Spiritually, God’s message is given as a knowing that is dropped in our spirit. That knowing can come in the form of words, very clear and distinct words. God speaks to us individually, but He also can chose to give a message through a person to give to a group.

TONGUES & INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES

These two gifts are to always be used together when they are given as a public message. Together they are a message from God, similar to prophecy. Tongues is a term used to describe speaking in an unknown language, a supernatural ability given by the Holy Spirit. Obviously God uses this ability to get beyond our soul and straight to our spirit. Tongues is an ability we use on a person level to pray; otherwise known as praying in the spirit. However, there is also a public use where God gives a definite start and finish to a message of tongues. In a public setting, God will always provide the interpretation, either through the same person who gave the message in tongues, or through another person. This is a sign to an unbeliever that God is speaking to us.

What we have to know is that God deeply loves people and wants to be known by them for who He is. When we move with the Holy Spirit and do things no one could do on their own, we hope people recognize God.

Application: We must obey God in order for God to accomplish His will. There is someone else on the other side of our obedience. 

Three Power Manifestations

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

The nine manifestations, or gifts, of the Holy Spirit listed in I Corinthians 12 are supernatural and are distributed as the Holy Spirit wills. If you are willing, He could choose to use you in any of the nine depending on what the Holy Spirit wants to do in the situation. We must be ready and open to be used in whatever way the Holy Spirit wants to move. To help learn them and know them, we sometimes divide them into three categories – Revelation, Power, and Proclamation. The three in the category of power manifestations are faith, gifts of healings, and the working of miracles.

FAITH

Faith is something every Christian has; however, there is a supernatural faith the Holy Spirit may choose to manifest in us when we are in situations that require His strength.

GIFTS OF HEALING

Here the Greek word charisma is used for gifts, a specific empowerment for a specific purpose. In I Corinthians 12:9, the words for gift and for healing is plural, meaning all sorts of healings for all types of ailments.

WORKING OF MIRACLES

The working of miracles is another supernatural manifestation of power that brings about a physical change to natural circumstances. For example, someone being raised from the dead is a miracle. Someone’s spine coming into alignment is a miracle. Multiplication can be supernatural like when Jesus fed the five thousand or when Peter brought in the two boats of fish.

For many of us, it isn’t difficult to imagine Jesus ministering miracles, healing the sick, and operating in faith; but we must remember that Jesus said we would do these works and greater works (John 14:12). The purpose for these demonstrations is to show the world that there is a God who cares about them and is willing and able to supernaturally meet our needs.  The only way we could ever operate in these gifts is by the anointing of the Holy Spirit; therefore we always point people to the Lord and the salvation He wants all of us to experience. We are the hands and feet of Jesus, and every believer is able to go and do what He did. Believe God to use YOU in the power gifts!

Application: The Holy Spirit will use you when you reach out to show His love for someone else. He wants His power to flow through you. 

Three Revelation Manifestations

“But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit…” I Corinthians 2:10

The nine manifestations (gifts) of the Spirit are supernatural, meaning with the Holy Spirit’s help. They happen when the Holy Spirit graces or empowers us to do something we can’t do on our own. For the purpose of learning, the nine manifestations can be divided into three categories: revelation, power and proclamation. In this study, we will look at the three revelation manifestations (gifts) found in I Corinthians 12:8, 10.

WORD OF KNOWLEDGE

A word of knowledge is a specific portion of information the Holy Spirit reveals to our spirit. He causes us to know something that we didn’t know before. He may give us this information for something we need personally. He also may want to show Himself to someone else by revealing something that is unknown to you. When you have knowledge that you didn’t have before, it is clear that God revealed it to you. People will see the power of God and believe. See Acts 14:9 where Paul had knowledge of the man’s faith for healing.

WORD OF WISDOM

A word of wisdom is when the Holy Spirit supernaturally reveals a part of wisdom on what to do. He doesn’t reveal all wisdom, but He supernaturally shares the part we need to know or the part that confirms to someone else what they need to know. Because it is supernatural, people realize they have encountered the Lord, His love, and His power. See Acts 27:9-44 when Paul knew by the Spirit that the ship would encounter difficulty in a storm.

DISCERNMENT OF SPIRITS

The discernment of spirits is a knowing or revelation about a spirit being, either an angel or a demon. This is a supernatural revelation given by the power of the Holy Spirit. If it is an angel or angels, then the revelation may be an encouragement to you or others. If it is a demon, the Holy Spirit will also provide the power to cast it out. See Acts 13:9 where the Holy Spirit filled Paul and gave him unction to take action.

Revelation is never given to embarrass or humiliate a person. These manifestations are given to edify and encourage. Follow the Holy Spirit, not only in action and in power, but also in compassion and love.

Application: If you desire to experience more of the manifestations (gifts) of the Spirit, that is a good desire. Step out to serve people and keep your spirit open to the Holy Spirit. He will equip you to minister as needed.

Let Him Move

“ “Do not quench (suppress or subdue) the [Holy] Spirit.” I Thessalonians 5:19 (Amplified version)

Paul told the church at Thessalonica not to subdue, suppress or quench the Holy Spirit. To subdue means to keep under control, to moderate; suppress means to restrain, hold in check; and quench means to extinguish, snuff out.The opposite would be to release the Holy Spirit, to allow, permit, let go, yield, surrender, liberate, encourage, support, assist.

In the New Testament, the word for quench was always used in reference to putting out a fire. To paraphrase Paul, he was saying, “Do not put out the fire of the Holy Spirit.” A fire can be flamed to become bigger or a fire can be suffocated to become smaller or extinguished completely. The Holy Spirit is always with us, but His anointing to perform the purpose God can grow in strength, lessen in strength, or completely go out.

1.  To allow the Holy Spirit to move in great power, first we must realize the Holy Spirit wants to move today. Not everyone has the spiritual perception that the Holy Spirit is near and His power is tangible.

2. Second we must pursue the Holy Spirit and what He wants. Our motivation should be a passionate love for God and a longing to be in His manifested Presence.

3. Third, we need to make room for the Holy Spirit to move without restraint. He knows what people need better than we do. We don’t need to moderate God.

4. Fourth, teach people a well-rounded Gospel, including spiritual truth from the Bible so they know what to expect and how to respond in God’s manifested presence.

5. Fifth, embrace wisdom, give attention to providing excellence in every area of ministry, and guard against error.

Like a fire swells, we want to give the Holy Spirit the freedom to swell in our hearts and our church services. We want the Holy Spirit to also move in the way He sees fit, so we give way to Him rather than expect the Holy Spirit to give way to our program, our method, or our culture.

Application: Read the Song of Solomon in the Bible. Don’t just be open to the Spirit, be like a young person in pursuit of love, and go after Him. 

His Good Pleasure

“For it is God who works in you both to will and do for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13

What is the Lord’s good pleasure? What is it that the Lord wants? God blesses us all the time, but have you ever wondered how we can bless God? I believe that if your heart is to please God, you want His Spirit to have what He desires. The Holy Spirit has purpose for times of visitation in your life and moments when we come together to meet in His presence. This is His pleasure –to deliver the anointing and accomplish the purpose of God.

We can choose to seek God for what He wants to do through His Spirit. Ephesians 4:30 says, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” To grieve Him means to cause Him to feel heaviness, sorrowful or distress. How could we grieve the Holy Spirit? I believe resistance to the Holy Spirit causes Him not receive His pleasure or His desire. When He is grieved, it is because we are keeping the Holy Spirit from what He wants to do. When the Holy Spirit is grieved, He will not force Himself on us, and He will lift the anointing.

Stephen was a leader in the early church. In Acts 7:51, Stephen was speaking to the religious leaders and he said, You always resist the Holy Spirit. He calls the people stiff-necked because they stiffen instead of yield to the leading of God’s Spirit. They were stubborn and self-willed rather than pliable and surrendered. The Holy Spirit was resisted.

There was a time when I told the Lord that I was open to whatever He wanted to do. But the Lord said to me, “I don’t want you just to be open to my Spirit; I want you to pursue my Spirit.” Being open is passive; being in pursuit is putting action to our passion for God. This principle is true in our individual lives as well as our church services and group meetings.

Even good intentions can grieve the Spirit when a consideration of what God actually wants is neglected. You are doing good things, but you are not doing God things. Did the Holy Spirit achieve His pleasure? Did He get the chance to do what He wanted? If we do not pursue the desire of the Holy Spirit, not only do we rob ourselves, but we also rob others of the supernatural power they could have received to set them free. However, when we pursue the Holy Spirit’s desires, we give the Spirit the opportunity to manifest His powerful anointing and do something supernatural in our otherwise natural day.

Application: Start your day in prayer. Ask God what He wants for the day. Then pursue that. See what He does!

Our Helper

“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever-“ John 14:16

When I see the Holy Spirit being called a helper, I think of someone who serves. I suppose this shouldn’t seem unusual when we consider that Jesus told us that He didn’t come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28). Jesus, the Son of God, had authority over His followers and led them in ministry, yet He also humbly stooped down to wash their feet. Similar to Jesus, the Holy Spirit is God; yet He wants to serve us in our mandate to take the Gospel to the world. I think it is important to mention that even though the Holy Spirit assists us, He is not our subordinate; He is our Lord. We don’t have the power that the Holy Spirit does. We don’t have the knowledge that the Holy Spirit has. We should reverence the Holy Spirit and seek to follow His lead, not expect Him to follow our lead.

In John 14:16, Jesus called the Holy Spirit “Helper.” In the original language, the Greek word for helper is “parakletos,” which is literally, “one called alongside to help.” The word also signifies a counselor, intercessor, comforter, helper, advocate, strengthener, and standby. It was a word used for an attorney. He is called to be near us; He is by our side and on our side. Like an attorney, the Holy Spirit counsels us on what God wants us to say and do or not say and do. Like an attorney, the Holy Spirit instructs us. He takes residence in our hearts so He can teach us what we don’t know. Like our attorney, he is a comforter, consoling us, restoring us, and encouraging us. Like an attorney, the Holy Spirit is an intercessor, someone who helps to bridge the gap for us. What seems impossible, the Holy Spirit can bring together and make possible. Like an attorney, the Holy Spirit will strengthen us. He will give us everything we need to live the life God has called us to live. Like an attorney, the Holy Spirit is a standby, ready to confirm the Gospel message we share by working in the hearts of the listeners. He opens the eyes of their spiritual understanding and brings conviction. He also gives demonstration of God’s power by signs and wonders. We can’t do what the Holy Spirit can do, so we need to learn to surrender to His authority and give Him opportunity to do His ministry. The Holy Spirit is someone called alongside to help, so call on Him. Don’t try to live or minister in your own strength. You have a well-qualified Helper. By His power, the Universe was created. By His might, Jesus was raised from the dead. Whatever God has for your life, the Holy Spirit is capable and willing to do.

Application: Is there an area of your life where you feel you fall short? Stuck? Out of control? Call on the Holy Spirit to demonstrate His power in your life, then give God the glory so others can know Him too. 

Miracles in Your Hands

“And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people…” Acts 5:12

Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit to administer the power of God in signs and wonders (Acts 10:38, Acts 2:22). Jesus told His disciples they would receive the Holy Spirit and do the same works that He did and greater (John 14:12). The Holy Spirit was poured out to everyone in the early church and continues to fill and anoint those who minister in the name of Jesus.

In Acts 5, we see that many signs and wonders were done through the hands of the apostles. In Mark 16:17-18 it says, “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; andif they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Then in Mark 16:20, “And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.”

We also see God’s power at work through Paul’s hands in Acts 19:11-12, “Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.” The word for miracles in verse 11 is the Greek word “dynamis” which means “an inherent power, a power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth.” We are working together with the Holy Spirit, following His lead.

The power of God is within us because the Holy Spirit is within us. The power of God flows through us as we minister to others. The Bible teaches us that God’s power flows through our hands. There are times when I have sensed it flowing through me to someone else, as if it is being drawn out of me. I believe when their heart is open to receive, the anointing will flow. God is not withholding any good thing from His children. He gave His Son to die on the cross, so we can be confident that He surely would not withhold the salvation that Jesus Christ paid for with His own blood (Romans 8:32).

The power is not our power. The power belongs to God. We must constantly work to use these signs to point people to Jesus.

Application: Read Acts 2:43, Acts 6:8, Acts 8:6-13, Acts 14:3, Acts 15:12, Romans 15:19, II and Corinthians 12:12. Go find someone that has an open heart and a need, and ask to minister the power of God to them. 

Miracles Are Evidence

“God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit…” Hebrews 2:4

When someone bears witness in a court of law, they are attesting to truth by what they have known, seen, or heard. A witness provides evidence for what they know by their testimony or through demonstration. God wants the world to know about the salvation His Son was sacrificed for. After paying such a high price, God doesn’t want to keep His love and power a secret. God continues to confirm His existence and His salvation through miracles He performs through our lives.

Miracles are to be expected by the heirs of salvation. When we are submitted to God and His will, we are aligned to receive from God. We are aligned as vessels to work miracles in the lives around us. We are conduits of God’s power, available containers of the treasured glory of God. Signs and wonders will get attention; as ministers of the grace of God, we direct that attention to God who performed them. When people want to show their appreciation, we point them to Jesus. When they want to give, we point them to Jesus. When they want to worship, we point them to Jesus. When they want to serve, we point them to Jesus. We are not to take the creditMy faith will make a pull on God to move where people will receive, but it will never push God to move where there is pride. I work in submission to the Holy Spirit, not the Holy Spirit in submission to me. My expectancy is in God, not in people or circumstances. My faith is in God, not in what I see or don’t see. The supernatural works of God are not to be taken for granted.

Your life is a miracle. How God has supernaturally changed your heart and transformed your behavior is a testimony to the power of salvation. You are a sign. You are a wonder. You are a first-hand witness to God’s power. Don’t be quiet about the miracles God has done. People need to go from excitement about a miracle to their own faith in God. Daniel said in Daniel 4:2-3, “I thought it good to declare the signs and wonders that the Most High has worked for me. How great are His signs, and how mighty His wonders!…” The word for “wonders” in the Aramaic is temahh, meaning “something astonishing.” God does astonishing things to show us and the world who He is. God is not hiding underneath a rock, passively allowing people to slip into hell. No, we are His witnesses, and we are to testify to the world of His love and power! God is ready, willing, and able to show Himself to the world if we will trust and obey Him.

Application: The enemy tries to deceive us through supernatural means. He also can trick a servant of God to accept some false doctrine, so ask the Lord for discernment to know Him and His whole truth.

Grounds for a Miracle

“He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He so it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” Galatians 3:5

Galatians 3:5 tells us God supplies the Holy Spirit to us and works miracles among us. It also tells us how He does it, “by the hearing of faith.” Faith is a response to God’s grace, relying on God’s ability rather than our performance. Faith is more than believing; faith is reliance.

The law refers to the opposite of faith; it is the self-sufficient attitude that depends on self rather than to depend upon God. The purpose for self-sufficiency is to be in control of one’s own position and wellbeing. Faith receives from God through trust and a humble surrender. Self-sufficiency tries to earn approval from God through performance. The proud person doesn’t want to owe God; he or she wants to be rewarded in exchange for good works without surrender.

The law came to show us our need for God. As hard as we try, our performance will never be perfect every time. We need God, and we need His salvation. We need a Savior; we need Jesus. We need His Holy Spirit to help us, and we need God to work miracles in our lives. The basis for God meeting our needs is our surrender, or our faith.

Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

So if we believe God and if we seek God, then we please God and receive from Him. The word rewarder in Hebrews 11:6 is the Greek word misthapodotes, and it refers to the one who pays wages. God will give to you based on your dependency to believe and your reliance to pursue after Him. It’s about receiving, not getting. It’s about trusting, not trying. It’s action of surrender, not works of control. Therefore, when I worship, I must do so from reliance, not performance. When I confess the Word of God, I must do so in the surrender of faith, not to force the hand of God. I am a recipient, not a manipulator. I am a child, not a consumer. I am a bondservant who obeys, not a hired employee who makes demands. I am an heir who is blessed by God’s Word, not a lawyer who tries to hold God to His Word. I don’t try to maneuver God into a corner; I approach His throne, confident of His love for me. The basis for receiving a miracle does not rest on me; the basis for receiving a miracle is found in me resting in Him.

Application: Our obedience is our response to our surrender to God’s love. Don’t just say you rely on God; do something in reliance upon God.

Signs and Wonders

“… grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” Acts 4:30

The word for “signs” in the New Testament is the Greek word “semeion” and it means an unusual occurrence, transcending the common course of nature. It is from a root word that means, “to make known, to signify, indicate.” If you think about a sign, such as a road sign, the sign will point us to something we need to know. For example, when to stop, to turn, to slow down. When a miracle is demonstrated by the power of God, the miracle is a sign that points people to God. A miracle is a sign that says, “Look what the Lord has done.” Another definition of the same Greek word for sign is, “that by which a person or a thing is distinguished from others and known.” A miracle is a sign that God was here. A miracle shows us that it wasn’t any person or any preacher – it was God and God alone.

The word for “wonders” is the Greek word “teras.” The definition means, “something so strange as to cause it be watched or observed.” God’s miracles cause us to be amazed by Him; to be in awe. They make us wonder at His greatness and His love. His miracles cause us to experience His power and be overtaken by His love.

The purpose for signs and wonders is so that people will know that He is God. Egypt was a nation filled with false religion. Israel had been slaves to Egypt for 400 years. When God led Israel out of Egypt, He showed them He was God and He was moving on their behalf.

The miracles that God has done in the earth have always been done in participation with a person. God’s miracles in Egypt were done with the participation of Moses. The power did not come through Moses; the power was beyond a person. It was God. However, God has delegated the authority of the earth to mankind, and when He moves, He does so because a person has agreed to yield to Him.

It’s a good thing to ask for God to do miracles. The apostles asked God to do miracles through their lives so that the name of Jesus could be known. Jesus had said this to them before He left the earth, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believe in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father (John 14:12).”

Application: Today, ask God to perform a miracle through you so that the world around you can know Him. 

Only A Miracle Will Do

“I recall the many miracles He did for me…” Psalm 77:11 TLB

One definition of a miracle is “an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause (Dictionary.com).” A miracle goes beyond human capability; it is the power of God. In the Hebrew language, the original language of the Old Testament, one word for miracle is mowpheth. It is often translated as “sign” or “wonder.”  It comes from a root word meaning, “to be bright, beautiful.” A miracle is a beautiful and splendid deed that God performs over and above anything we could ever do on our own. His miracles amaze us; they put us in awe of God’s glory.

We need God. As the creation, our life is connected to having a relationship with our Creator. Everything good comes from Him. We, as the creation, are limited. We have limited strength, ability, and resources. When we face a situation where our natural ability is not enough, we need God to move supernaturally. Sometimes only a miracle will do.

God knows we need Him. God created us as an extension of His life. He knows that apart from Him, we are not complete. When sin came into the world, it began to work death in the world and in the human race. Sickness came into existence, not because God created it, but because sin caused it. The same is true of poverty, death, mental disability, physical defects and abnormalities, and the like.

Needing God is a good place to be. If you want to experience a miracle, then you must be willing to be put into a position where a miracle is required. You aren’t designed to live apart from God. We all need Him, but realizing that need is a good first step to having our needs met. If only a miracle will do, then you are an opportunity to show God’s power to the world around you.

God loves us. God deeply cares for us like a loving father cares for his children. God’s character is good. He would not abandon us, abuse us, or cause us to suffer. God’s power is an expression of His love. He went to the extent of sending His Son to die to remove the penalty of sin.

God is ready to perform your miracle. The way to connect with God is typically through spiritual means. You need to open your heart to Him in order to receive from Him.

Application: If you have not received your miracle, please do not blame God or yourself. Continue to seek Him. He is faithful.

A Fresh Start

“Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19

It’s the beginning of a new year. The past year is gone, and we are ready for a fresh start. This is a time when many of us consider goals we want to accomplish in the next twelve months. We often take a moment to assess where we are in life, reevaluate our dreams, review where we’ve come from, and strategize on how we can take steps toward the vision we have for our lives, careers, community, and families. I believe that God is looking for people of dependent faith that will pursue Him for His plan, not just to run after their own personal ambitions.

God is looking for people of faith, people that will live in dependency upon Him. When we live depending on God, then we seek Him for what He wants and for what He can do. That isn’t to say that we aren’t going to have stability, but it means that we pursue God for anything that He may want us to do. Faith daily lives on the edge of possibility of God doing something amazing through our lives, something beyond us. Faith works with God’s grace to do more than we could ever imagine.

How does a person move with a fresh move of God’s Spirit? First, we need to spiritually perceive what God wants and what He is doing by His Holy Spirit. When God started something fresh for His people, He said, “Shall you not know it?” When we are spending time each day in the presence of God, we come to spiritually recognize the leading and the voice of the Spirit.

Second, we need to leave the past behind us. Isaiah 43:18 says, “Do not remember the former things.” You can learn from the past and appreciate the people you have encountered; however, to be free to receive something new, you have to be willing to let go of what used to be. Don’t lean on your own understanding; lean on God.

Third, take a step. God said He would make a road, a way forward. God wants us to do more than have faith in Him; He wants us to put action to our faith. He needs our obedience to take a step. He will meet that step, and then take us farther than we could ever go on our own.

Application: God doesn’t always show us each step, and He may change a step along the way. He wants our heart to be in trusting dependency on Him. Don’t worry if you don’t have the whole plan. Don’t be too concerned with what others think about you. Go after God and see what He can do above and beyond what you could ever imagine. 

Honor What God Honors

“… abhor what is evil and cling to what is good.” Romans 12:9

Romans 12:9 says to abhor what is evil and to cling to what is good. I like to say, “Love what God loves, and hate what God hates.” To do that, we have to know what God considers to be right and wrong. What does God value? What does God honor?

We can learn what God honors through several ways. One way is by reading the Bible. Another is by prayer and asking God to reveal Himself. Also, worshipping and experiencing God’s presence is a way to know Him. We also must learn to be spiritually sensitive to the Holy Spirit because He will help us know God. In addition, we can also grow in our ability to follow our conscience, our spirit, which is the leading God gives us in our heart. Also, committing to a healthy local church will benefit us in knowing God and growing in Him.

What God values is not always what is most obvious to us. In the world, when a person fails, they may lose some value because their worth is based on performance. However, with God, value is placed on us for who we are, not what we have done or not done. When we recognize our worth is because of the value God gives us, then we can walk in honor and see our value come through.

God also honors what is holy, or upright. He is the standard for what is righteous and honorable, and He isn’t going to change. The world has other standards that are based on a sinful perspective and a fallen nature. The world doesn’t agree on standards for what is right and wrong because they aren’t looking to God as their standard; they are looking to themselves. The Bible says in Isaiah 5:20, “Who to those who call evil good, and good evil…” Even believers can be deceived, accepting sin as righteous, and considering what is righteous to be sin. Our culture, our media, our government, and our friends are not the standard for righteousness. God is the standard, and God is willing to reveal His holiness to us.

God loves us and wants to help us to receive His righteousness. The way to receive from God is through our repentance and our acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Lord. Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world, but to save it. We can’t come to God for acceptance on our terms. We come on His terms as a holy God. He is merciful. He has provided for our salvation. It is now up to us whether we want to receive it or not

Application: When sharing the holiness of God, deliver it in love and communicate that His way is for the good, not to control, but to liberate! 

Ten Ways to Honor Your Children

“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

Honor is a character trait that demonstrates itself on all levels of authority. Honor will value and respect our leaders in authority over us. Honor values and respects our peers. Honor values and respects the people underneath authority. We all would like to be considered to have worth and to be treated with respect.

Children are under the authority of their parents and their teachers. Young children are inexperienced, they lack much training, and they are yet to be educated. Small children have little strength, underdeveloped skills, and typically do not generate much income. However, the value that children have is not based on what they do or what they have, but on who they are and on who they will become.

When children were being brought to Jesus for blessing, the disciples tried to deny them access. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Then Jesus laid His hands on them transferred the anointing in blessing. Jesus valued those kids and showed them honor.

Here are ten ways we can honor our children:

  1. Set standards for them. Kids want boundaries and attainable expectations. They want the security of knowing what you want from them and for them. The want to know what to aim for and what is pleasing to you.
  2. Discipline and teach them. Give them the knowledge and resources to succeed.
  3. Communicate with kindness. Use words, expression, and tone.
  4. Listen to them. Get on their level and look into their eyes. Don’t devalue their true feelings, emotions, and thoughts.
  5. Give them your time, both in quantity and quality.
  6. Share responsibility. Let them contribute something.
  7. Tell them, “I love you.” Verbalize your love and honor.
  8. Show them “I love you.” Actions speak louder than words.
  9. Provide for them. Meet their needs.
  10. Protect them. Give them security, yet a freedom to live.

We teach our kids they have value when we honor them. We also teach them to respect others by honoring them first. In the same way that God treats us with worth, we should esteem our children.

Application:  If you have kids, do something to show them honor today.

Living in Wide Open Spaces

“I will walk around in wide open spaces because I have pursued Your precepts. Psalm 119:45 CEB

In Luke 10:25-37 Jesus tells a story of a man that was beaten down and left helpless on the roadside. A Jewish priest walked by the wounded man. Knowing the man was suffering, the priest’s heart was so hard that he ignored the groans of the victimized countryman. Later on a Levite, a worker in the temple, walked by. Obviously the beaten man was not of any benefit to the Levite, and the Levite considered the man not worth the cost, nor the effort of saving. The third man to walk by was a Samaritan. The Samaritan man saw the wounded Jew on the wayside and considered his life to be of value. He cleaned the open wounds, bandaged the man, moved his body to a safe place, and cared for him.

We have an enemy that wants to damage us with wounds so deep that we won’t be able to move. He wants to keep us from our effectiveness as representatives of God. If he can debilitate us, Satan has accomplished his agenda against you and against the kingdom of God. Pain is typically a cause for ceasing activity in order to tend to a wound. Satan wants to do more than hurt us; he wants to stop us. The injuries the enemy instigates usually come through other people. The wounds can be physical, emotion, mental, or spiritual. Wounds can come through rejection, abandonment, abuse, manipulation, or other mistreatment. His aim is not only to cause pain, but also to immobilize us through damaging our ability to trust God and people. Fear, shame, and guilt are effects of sin that can hinder a person from moving forward.

Jesus came to make us whole. His salvation is more than an offer for eternal life; it is a life-giving flow that reaches into every hurt and lack we have experienced to bring wholeness and peace to our spirit, soul, and body. His salvation is a restoration to God’s original plan for us to have a vivacious and full life. The strategy of pain is to case a person to close their heart in self-preservation, guarding against more damage. A healed and healthy heart is an open heart – a heart open to receive freely and give liberally. God makes us whole, lacking nothing. Whatever age we are we have the strength, boldness, and compassion to reach farther than we’ve been before. We have every resource we could possibly need. When our heart is whole and open to receive and give God’s love, God is able to open up opportunities for us. The world is a wide, open space ready for the taking. The realm of the supernatural is open; the possibility of a miracle is always in the air. Nothing is impossible.

Application: Is there a part of your life that seems closed off? It could be connected to a part of your heart that is closed off. Seek God to restore.

The Key to My Heart

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock…” Revelation 3:20

When my husband and I invite guests into our home, we do our best to have the place cleaned up. However, I will admit, there have been times when I have hid a mess by closing a drawer or shutting a door. I hide it because I would be embarrassed for anyone to see my imperfections or something left undone. Similarly, there have been parts of my life that were broken or messy, things I was ashamed of, so I tucked them away – I didn’t want to think about them, talk about them, or feel anything about them. I ignored them, hid them, and did my best to forget about them. It was as if I had locked certain doors to my life, not only from others, not only from God, but even from myself.

However, God loved me. He knew beyond the locked doors I needed restoration, so He knocked on those doors and asked me to open them. God can’t heal what we don’t open up for Him to touch. It took some time, but slowly I opened up my heart for God to heal what I had hidden. It was painful to go there, but because I trusted God’s love for me, I let Him in. There were a lot of fears and a lot of tears, but I let God in. There was a sense of release when I finally gave God access. God embraced me – all of me, even the messy parts; and I felt a complete love. It was partial or fragmented. God had it all. I gave God the key to my heart, He unlocked every door, and I finally knew the fulfillment of being completely loved. Not only did God have all of me, but I also was experiencing the glorious feeling of having all of God. I felt known, known by God; and He was letting me know Him in a deeper, more intimate way.

When I gave God the key to my heart, I gave Him permission to go where He wanted to go. I relented of my control and gave Him access to all of me. It was because of fear that I didn’t want to let go of that key.  I was afraid of the rejection and pain that could result from what God saw. I wasn’t perfect. I was damaged. Why would God want me? How could I ever be of any good to God? There was also a fear that God would try to use me for His own benefit. However, God’s love for us is pure. He would never cunningly use us to indulge Himself, manipulate us with an ulterior motive, or stealthily work to advance a selfish purpose. We can trust God and let Him into our hearts.

Application: If someone ever capitalized on you or took advantage of your vulnerability, you may need God to reveal His love to you anew, assuring you that your performance has nothing to do with His unending, unconditional love. Let God heal the damage done from misuse, rejection, abandonment, or replacement. Trust that His love is true, and let Him heal the secret places.

Persistent Prayer

“… men always ought to pray and not lose heart…” Luke 18:1

Faith never gives up. In Luke 18:1-8 Jesus was speaking to His disciples about His return to the earth. He tells a story about a widow who wanted justice from an adversary. She approached a judge who did not honor God, nor did he have much respect for others; however, because of the widow’s persistence, he avenged her. Jesus told the disciples that if an unjust judge would avenge a widow based on her persistent approach, then their just God will avenge His people, even though He bears long with them. Not only does He avenge them, but Jesus told them that He would do so speedily. At the end of the parable Christ asks, When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Will the Jews really cry out for God in the day of their trouble? I believe we can learn from this parable. Even in times of adversity, Jesus says we should never lose heart, but continue to go before God in prayer.

In Galatians 6:9, the Apostle Paul encourages the believers not to lose heart, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Another translation says, “if we do not faint.” The Greek word means “to let go of, to unloose” or to “relax.” In prayer, God wants us to grip onto God and not let go. Our grip on God is not to weaken through doubt, but to remain strong in faith, knowing He is our answer. One of my favorite verses is Deuteronomy 30:20 where it says, “cling to Him, for He is your life…” The word for cling is also used in Genesis 2:24 when it says that a man should leave his parents and cleave to His wife. It means to join, to adhere, to hold onto, and to not let go.

What if you don’t receive the answer you want in the timing that you want it? What if you face difficulty or an adversary? What if your promise demands a sacrifice? Living a life of faith is living a life of obedient surrender to the Lord, even when times are tough, even when there is an enemy to fight. God gives us His grace to empower us to overcome, to overtake, and to WIN. Persistent prayer is a prayer of faith – a prayer of believing, not begging. The persistent widow in Jesus’ parable was fighting for her rights, believing she would get them. She didn’t give up because she knew they belonged to her. God isn’t withholding anything from you. Know what He has promised you, dig in, and be persistent in faith.

Application: God gives power to the weak and increases their strength (Isaiah 40:31). If you have become complacent or callous to God’s promise, you have let go of your grip on God, the promise giver. Turn to Him and ask Him to strengthen your faith, and choose to believe Him. 

Prayer and Fasting

“Is this not the fast I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?” Isaiah 58:6

Prayer and fasting is more about what you are doing than what you are not doing. You are praying while you are not eating. If you are not eating and not praying, you’re just dieting. It’s about prayer and fasting, not one without the other. Why fast? The purpose of fasting isn’t to sacrifice, or go without, as if to earn God’s approval. The purpose of Biblical fasting isn’t to do good works, to do penance, or discipline your body, as if to manipulate God into action. The purpose of fasting is to pull away from the natural aspects of life to give spiritual focus to God and His will. The separation includes a temporary cessation of the preparation and consumption of food.

God is a spirit. You are a spirit. Prayer is a spiritual thing. When we fast, we are not only separating from food; we also are making a consecration of our time, our energy, our attention, and our resources. When we set ourselves apart from the world around us, and when we put forth a spiritual effort to seek God, we give God an open door to move supernaturally in our life or in the lives of the people we are praying for.

Fasting is often done when a breakthrough is needed. For example, Esther called for a three day fast, and the king relented from his intention, saving the Jewish race. A natural event was changed through the spiritual operation of prayer and fasting. Another example is when the disciples failed to cast a demon out of a boy, but Jesus was successful. When the disciples asked Jesus why their attempts had failed, He replied, “…this kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”

Ezra  called a fast when Israel needed protection (Ezra 8:21-13), Daniel fasted to hear from God (Daniel 10:3-13), Cornelius fasted to seek God on salvation (Acts 10:30-31), Moses fasted to change God’s mind about destroying the people of Israel (Deuteronomy 9:25), Jesus fasted to set Himself apart for God before starting His earthly ministry (Luke 4:14), and the early church leaders would fast and pray for guidance on leadership (Acts 13:3, 14:23). These are examples of men and women who consecrated themselves to seek God in the spirit and received a supernatural breakthrough in their lives. The same can happen for you when you are spiritually active, putting your dependency in God, and praying that His will be accomplished. Miracles happen!

Application: Do you need a breakthrough? The answer is to seek God in the spirit. Separate yourself, fast to pursue God, and see what He will do!