Job 36:1-3 Elihu also proceeded, and said, Suffer me a little, and I will shew thee that I have yet to speak on God's behalf. I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.
It appears that everyone has an opinion on just about everything and their opinions are all different. This was certainly the case with all the friends of Job. Rather than encouraging Job in his hour of need they were blaming him for his own problems. They were saying, if you would not have done this or that then you would not be in the condition that you are in.
It appears the most natural thing for a us to do is to start blaming ourselves when things do not go well. As a matter of fact, if there is ever a time that we do not like ourselves is when we fail. This was certainly the case with Job because he did not seem to disagree with anything his friends accused him of.
Job’s friends probably had known him for a long time and especially they knew him in his glory days when all the world appeared to be at his feet. I have learned over the years that when a person is in their glory days that they can do no wrong and others do not see their faults. However, the moment they are not rich anymore then their friends begin to see all their flaws. But thank God for a new generation of faith people that know how to encourage us like Elihu.
If we were to put a modern touch on this story, we would probably see ourselves as one of the characters.
Job’s friends could very well speak of a past generation with past generation thinking. Elihu on the other hand speaks of a new generation that God is raising up who are fearless and do not make excuses.
The story of Job has so many lessons and my intention is not to skip over any of them. However, to make my point I only want to focus on the false knowledge that was being given to Job by his friends. I will not judge Job’s friends because they were only giving what they thought was right … as my generation often does without considering its ramifications. As a matter of fact, the great writer George Bernard Shaw wrote a line in his book that says, “beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”
I am afraid the best of us is guilty of saying things based on our feelings rather than on facts.
A few years ago, I had an experience that I still occasionally think about today … which means I am still learning from it.
I was scheduled to speak in several churches across England and one of the pastors I had never met so I thought I would call him before I made my trip. We were having a great conversation when suddenly he asked me if I knew John Wimber and I said yes. He immediately spoke out very firmly, “then you will never speak in my church”. I asked him why and he told me this story.
He said that John Wimber had ministered in London that March, and He went to his meetings. The last night John prophesied that something was going to happen by June, and it did not happen. The pastor then told me that John was a false prophet, and he did not want anything to do with John are anybody that knew him.
I then asked the pastor if what John had prophesied ever came to pass. He said, yes, but it did not happen until July, so he is a false prophet. In the pastor’s mind anybody who endorsed what he considered to be a false prophet would themselves preach false knowledge.
Who was to blame, this pastor or John? John was not to blame because he gave what God gave him even though he missed the timing by a few days. The pastor was not to blame because he was only trying to protect his pulpit and his sheep for being fed false knowledge.
Even though Job’s friends were unintentionally giving him false knowledge … they were still his friends.
Forgive us for speaking reason rather than fact. Thank You, for allowing us to have opinions because sometimes that is how we learn to search for facts.
Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
You would certainly think that a false prophet would be easily recognized because the bible makes it clear as to what they do. However, that is not always the case because they appear to us in sheep’s clothing.
The intent of a false prophet is to pervert truth, destroy faith and ultimately lead one to destruction. I have met several people over the years that would certainly fit into that category. The thing that made these people false was because they did not walk with God but were always quick to say “God said” when He did not say.
However, not every prophet who misses the mark is a false prophet. Many prophets miss the mark because he/she misinterprets what they saw or heard. No prophet, (nor anyone else as far as that goes), have perfect sight or hearing when it comes to spiritual things. We are all growing and being perfected as we move in that realm of the supernatural. Some prophecies are given in symbols which require an interpretation.
There have been many prophecies given over the last few months concerning the outcome of our presidential election. Would those folks be considered false prophets because the presidential outcome was not the way they said? No, there is a big difference between a prophet who misinterprets what they saw or heard and one who intends to lead astray.
A false prophet is one who claims to know the truth but does not. A true prophet may know the truth but only interprets part of what they see or hear from the spirit realm and the rest from a natural desire. If that is the case, that does not necessarily make them false, but their action could be the result of partial truth. The fact is a person who always says that “God said” when He may not have said closes the door for others to judge their prophecy.
Even though there have been many prophetic words given in the last few months that appear to be false, I am not ready to throw the prophets under the bus. However, I would encourage each of these prophets to go back and reexamine what they saw or heard and see if perhaps they missed something in their interpretation.
There can only be so many answers to this question. One either prophesied out of their flesh and what they wanted to happen, or they echoed what someone else said, or because of immaturity they spoke out of false knowledge which implied that they knew God’s mind and heart but did not.
Many years ago, as a young evangelist I felt I heard the Lord tell me to go to Mexico and minister and He would bless me. As soon as I heard that word I immediately headed for Mexico and started praying for people. Even though I had a measure of success, I knew this was not what I had seen or heard. I went to another place in Mexico and the same thing happened. I knew I had heard God, but I also knew I must have missed something. I finally told God that I would not go back until He made things clearer to me.
I waited and waited and waited but no word came. Finally, fifty-three years later I was having a leadership meeting one night when out of the blue I heard the voice of the Lord say, “Now is the time to go to Mexico because things have been prepared for you”. With that I shouted out to my leadership team, “God just told me things are ready for me in Mexico”.
We immediately made plans for our first trip to Mexico and had some of the greatest meetings with a people who seemed as though they were expecting us. The Spirit of God fell accompanied by signs and wonders. It has been several years, and we are still having great success as we build the kingdom in Mexico.
Even though I misinterpreted what I heard and saw when I originally got the word, I did not misinterpret the truth of it. I was not a false prophet … I was just immature. Fifty-three years later God fulfilled His word when I was mature enough to handle it.
I thank You for all the great men and women You have raised up with prophetic understanding for this hour. Help all of us to be a little quicker to hear and a little slower to speak while we examine what You are saying to us because we do not want to miss You.
Intents of the Heart
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.
This is one of the most revealing scriptures in the bible because it shows us that nothing can be hidden from Jesus, (the word of God), not even our inner thoughts. In other words, there is no such thing as a secret from the Lord. I don’t know about you but to me that is a sobering thought particularly since by nature I am a very private person. I will usually tell only what you need to know and no more. To think that all my thoughts are known by the Lord is downright scary.
We need to live a life of repentance in order to keep our mind, soul and spirit empty of any thoughts that would not be pleasing to God. When we repent, Jesus separates our sins from us as for as the East is from the West never to be remembered again. Repenting daily is like taking a bath daily … it keeps our spirit clean.
The reason that is so important is because we think a lot more wrong than we actually do wrong and without repenting our thoughts are known by the Lord. This type of repentance is not to be confused with salvation repentance. This type of repentance is for mind purification only.
The Jews understood that the Word of God was a known name of the Messiah and therefore the apostles used it when writing to them. The writer of out text wanted to make sure that those who read it would understand that the Word is the living God … omnipotent and omniscient. The Word of God is not a thing but a person who is a Judge and a discerner of the secrets of men's hearts.
As a matter of fact, He is the same Word that spoke all things into being out of nothing in creation. He is the same Word that was promised and spoken of by the prophets from the beginning of the world.
Since the Word, (Jesus), is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of man’s heart that should encourage us to live a repentant lifestyle.
I remember as a young preacher an older lady from out church came up to me one day and said, “I have calluses on my knees from praying for you”. I did not understand what this lady meant at the time because I was not doing anything wrong. Nevertheless I thanked her and walked away. I thought about what she said over the years and one day I finally figured it out. She was not talking about something I was doing wrong … the calluses on her knees were the result of her praying for my thought patterns in regard to our text.
I have always been amazed how God seems to assign one person to look out for another sometimes without that person even knowing about it. What is even more amazing is the intercessors that God chooses are often women. Thank God for the strong women that He has put in my life.
Because of our text You have put these wonderful warriors in my life to hold up my arms like Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ arms so he could win his battle. Lord help me to be an Aaron or a Hur for someone else as that sweet lady was for me.
Matthew 2:13-14, And when they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise and take the young child and His mother and flee into Egypt. And be there until I bring you word, for Herod is about to seek the child to destroy Him. And he arose and took the young child and his mother by night and departed into Egypt.
It’s one thing to have a bad dream, but it’s another thing to wake up in the middle of the night knowing that someone is wanting to kill your new baby. It was so unnerving for Joseph that he woke up Mary and said something to the effect, “pack up what you need because we’ve got to get out of here right now”.
Mary had had enough encounters with the Lord that she knew it was the angel of the Lord who spoke to Joseph and warned him what would happen if they stayed.
Without hesitation Mary and Joseph quickly left behind everything that was familiar to them, (their home, their friends, their family and their business), and started on a long journey to the unfamiliar.
I can’t imagine how Mary and Joseph must have felt knowing that someone actually wanted to kill their innocent little baby. Killing babies doesn’t seem to be an issue today because every city in America has baby killing clinics where over eight hundred thousand babies are killed each year.
This reminds me of another heart wrenching story. While in a rehab center after my heart surgery I had another one of those nights when I could not sleep. When the night nurse stuck her head in the door after midnight to check on me, I invited her in for a little talk … and she came in.
I asked her to tell me about herself and she began by telling me that she was from Rwanda and that she barely escaped the genocide against the Tutsi in 1994. The massacre was terrible and they killed somewhere between five hundred thousand and a million people with machetes and rifles. She escaped by jumping over dead bodies and three of those dead bodies were her husband and two young sons. She made her way to France and on to England and finally to America where she got her nurses’ training.
When she finished telling me her story, I told her I wanted to pray for her and when I finished praying, I wanted her to pray. I did not ask her if she knew the Lord, I just told her I wanted her to pray.
When I finished praying, she started off praying so low and timid that I could just barely hear her. As she continued to pray the Spirit of the Lord came on her and she began to pray louder and louder and her tears were flowing like a fountain. As a matter of fact, she was praying and crying so loud that I was sure people would be coming down to check on us. I am almost certain that the pain of this nurse’s past trauma was being healed as she prayed and cried. Perhaps our little prayer meeting that night was for her more than it was for me.
Mary and Joseph saved their baby because they were sensitive enough to the Lord to leave home that night … even though the spirit of death continued to follow Jesus all the way to the cross.
Thank You for speaking to us through dreams and visions. Thank you Lord that Joseph walked close enough to obey Your voice. Father, You and You alone can keep us from harm.
What is Sin?
2 Corinthians 2:15) We have become the unmistakable aroma of the victory of the Anointed One to God—a perfume of life to those being saved and the odor of death to those who are perishing.
I typically don’t drift far from the NKJ, American Standard and NIV translations but in this case, I am quoting from the Passion Translation because it so pictorial.
Even though our subject is, “What is Sin?”, I felt the best way to talk about sin is to first talk about the forgiveness of sin. As we repent of our sins, according to our text, it produces an unmistakable aroma of the victory of the Anointed One to God.
In other words, when we repent Jesus wins because He is the Anointed One and our repentance puts off an unmistakable aroma that He presents to His Father, God.
Sin is not a subject that we like to talk about because it’s as controversial and divisive as politics. We seem to ether believe that a true Christian is sin free because they live a disciplined life, or we live under a blanket of condemnation.
Could it be that neither scenario is true? Being a Christian doesn’t mean that one cannot sin. The difference is the Christian who sins has the Holy Spirit to convict him of his sins and Jesus as his mediator to God.
The scripture says, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved. It didn’t say anything about … that thou will never sin again.
That means when a Christian does sin, he is not automatically marked as a sinner going to hell … because he is a believer. On the other hand, the unconverted is a sinner by nature because he is not a believer. A Christian is one who has experienced the new birth and the unconverted is one who has not experienced the new birth.
The question still remains, what is this terrible thing called sin? In simple terms it is a willful transgression against the law. I am not sure I’ve never seen a transgression that was not willful. I am also not sure that I’ve ever seen a grading chart in the bible of degrees of sin. Such as, this is a hell sending sin and that one is not. The fact is, all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.
The believer doesn’t want to sin because he has a redeemed character … but he might. The nonbeliever can not keep from sinning because he has an unredeemed character.
The fact is, when we focus so much on what sin is, we miss the whole point. That is like focusing on Satan to learn about God or focusing on fear to learn about faith or focusing on the negative to learn the positive.
My conclusion is to stop focusing on what is sin and start focusing on God and His forgiveness. The more you learn about God the more you love Him, and the more you love Him, the less you want to do anything that is not pleasing to Him.
As a young holiness preacher, I worked so hard trying to walk the straight and narrow road and not do anything unpleasing to God. I was so disciplined and yet all my discipline was of the flesh. As a result of my self-righteous life I didn’t require God’s mercy, grace or forgiveness. In my eyes I did not commit any sins and therefore I was proud of it even though I freely condemned everyone else for not being as disciplined as me. That kind of discipline comes from the flesh and not from the Spirit of God.
Even though I was redeemed I acted like I wasn’t. I was not focusing on the forgiveness of God but on my own discipline. Is discipline wrong? No, but the discipline needs to be the result of the love of God and not from self righteousness.
I never want to be a self righteous man again because I do not want the odor of death to be on anything I do. I want to have Your character only so I can give off that unmistakable aroma of the victory of the Anointed One.
The Cost of Vision
Geneses 28:10-13 Jacob … Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, “I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring.
In thinking about Jacob’s vision, I soon realized that there is no such thing as a free vision. All true visions of God cost something because all true visions have a life purpose. As important as it is, that life purpose is not just focusing on food, clothing, and shelter.
In Jacob’s case, (because he was the last of the big three-Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), his purpose, or vision, was to fulfill the vision that God had given to Abraham and that was to populate the promised land.
Gen 28:14 Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall the families of the earth be blessed.
To get things started, Jacob had twelve sons who were to be the seed for the promise land population. However, Jacob’s twelve sons did not seem to be the best candidates for something as important as fulfilling this generational vision. For example, Reuben was a sex offender, Simeon and Levi were murders, other sons of Jacob were thieves, Judah and other brothers were liars, but thank God for Joseph because he was born to be their savior.
Even though Joseph paid a tremendous price, eventually he was able to save his family from sure death.
Jesus, like Joseph, had the same vision for saving us in the New Testament. He too paid a tremendous price when He went to the cross for the purpose of saving us from sure death.
As God populated the promised land, (through Joseph), with a sex offender, murders, thieves, and liars … so has Jesus populated the Kingdom of God with the same type of folks.
When I was a young man, I knew a family who had a bunch of boys, (like Jacob’s. sons). These boys were not only big and tough, but they were also mean. They were like a pack of wolves who destroyed everything in their path. Everybody in town was afraid of them because they all seem to have a killer instinct and they knew no fear.
I remember thinking, there is no way in the world these hard-hearted boys could ever be saved. Besides that, they do not deserve being forgiven and becoming a part of something as nice as the Kingdom of God.
Several years later I saw these boys again and to my surprise, they were all saved and had became gentle giants and were as kindhearted as little lambs. God had pardoned all of their sins just like He did mine.
A part of Joseph’s preparation to be savior of his people was the well and the jail experiences. A part of Jesus’ preparation to save us from sure death was the cross and the grave. None of Joseph’s brothers were left out from entering the promise land, and none of Jesus’ brothers, (and that includes me), will be left out from entering the Kingdom of God.
I am glad that God didn’t do it my way and reject all of Jacob’s sons. I am also glad that Jesus did not do it my way and reject all of those mean ruthless boys I knew as a young man, because that meant that He would have rejected me as well. The bible says that “there are none righteous, no not one”.
I realize that probably in each of our hearts lies a sex offender, a murder, a thief, and a liar. Lord, I am forever thankful that You do not see us as we are, but what we can become in You. Help us to look at others in that same righteous way that You look at us.
What is Faith?
Rom 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
When I first started writing on the subject of faith it didn’t take long for me to realize that the subject of faith was bigger than my ability to write on it. Even though I’ve preached on faith for years I soon found out that preaching on faith and writing about faith are two different things.
All I know is that faith and grace are connected, and both are gifts from God, and neither can really be explained. Nowhere in the bible is faith defined so I will not try to define it either. The best I can do is to describe its effects by what it does.
According to Hebrews 11:1, “faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” In other words, even though you can not see faith, that doesn’t mean it’s not there because it is a substance.
And then in verse 3 of Hebrews 11 it says that God framed the world by the word of God (or by faith), so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
And then it says in verse 5, that “by faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death because he pleased God”.
It goes on to say in verse 6, that “it is impossible for us to please God without faith”.
So our conclusion is, faith is one of those mystery gifts that is not only a substance but by it God created the world, Enoch was translated because of it and without it, it is impossible us to please God.
Faith truly is a mystery gift that cannot be explained. It is not tangible but what it produces is tangible. Faith is like a muscle that can be developed by using it, but it can be diminished by not using it.
The bible says without faith it’s impossible to please God, but God is the only one who can give you faith.
This miracle gift can move mountains, raise the dead, multiply things, blind the eyes of the enemy, help you walk on water and fulfill hope … and yet remain a mystery.
Faith also doesn’t deny that there’s a problem, but it does deny it a place of influence in your life. Through faith eternity runs through our veins but lets us live in time.
One time while ministering in Africa to about two thousand people in an open colosseum I had an unusual experience. While walking across a large platform on the way to the podium I felt the Holy Spirit say, “I am going to do something special tonight, but you have to wait for me”. When I got to the podium I told the audience, (through my interpreter), that the Holy Spirit was going to do something very special but we needed to be quiet and wait for the Him to show up.
Before long the Holy Spirit came in like a mighty wind and mowed two thousand people down at one time and miracles and healing took place without anyone being touched by human hands.
This phenomenon did not happen because of my power, but because I had faith enough in the Holy Spirit to obey Him.
So, the question still remains, what is faith?
Thank You for letting me see the result of faith. I know that it would not be faith if could see it. I do not want to be like Thomas who always has to see before believing. I want to believe because it is the word of God.
That Sinking Feeling
Matthew 14:30 When Peter saw how strong the wind was, he was afraid and started sinking. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
For some reason this scripture leaves me with more questions than answers. We see both the hope and the desperation in Peter when he cried out for help. The desperation of wondering if he was actually going to parish that night … but yet the hope of knowing that Jesus was going to save him.
Peter was a professional fisherman and was familiar with storms, winds and the danger of turbulent waters and yet he was willing to face those things in order to walk to Jesus.
My question is, why didn’t Peter just swim back to the boat when he started sinking because he was an excellent swimmer? According to John 21:8 he swam three hundred feet. (or 200 cubits), back to shore. Is it possible that Peter had actually walked on the water so far from the boat that he felt insecure when he began to sink?
Perhaps this scene is prophetically showing who Peter is going to become, rather than who he is? After all it’s not easy for a proud self-confident man like Peter to ask for help from anybody. He is one of those guys who can make it on his own without any help and still have a sufficient amount of talent left over.
We see in this one act where Peter was not only stripped of his false pride, but he was also embarrassed in front of his friends. He stepped out of the boat in faith but his faith soon failed when he got his eyes off Jesus and on the storm. The lesson is that natural things are always a distraction to those who are trying to walk by faith because you can’t walk by faith and sight at the same time. Peter learned that night that a true faith walk takes more than desire … it takes maturity.
His desire was pure because he only wanted to come to Jesus and he was willing to take a risk in order to do that. He had already learned that “with God nothing shall be impossible”.
Even though Peter was a wild child he did everything he was supposed to do. He asked and was granted permission before he ever stepped out of the boat.
Little did he or the other disciples realize that this was a prophetic picture of his future walk with the Lord. He would forever be known as the guy who stepped out of the boat and was willing to risk being ridiculed by his friends.
I stepped out of the boat one time to go pastor a church that I really loved. God did not give me permission to go, but I went anyway because I wanted to. The night before I left the Lord came to me and gave me a stern warning not to go, but I still went. From the time I arrived at the church until the time I left, I lived in hell. I finally asked for God’s forgiveness and came back home all battered and bruised for my disobedience.
Through that experience I learned a valuable lesson that will never leave me. That lesson is … there is a big difference between stepping out of the boat in faith and stepping out of the boat in presumption. Failure and presumption are twin brothers.
I learned that faith originates from You but presumption originates from the flesh. Lord, my desire is to always be a faith man who walks from the heavenly realm and not a man of presumption who always walks by his feelings and fleshly desires.
Tormented by Fear
1John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
There is more fear in the world today than at any other time that I can remember. The fear that has been released on the world is not the fear of the Lord but a tormenting fear which is demonic. Because of this fear the whole world seems to have been thrown off balance at one time.
This fear is mainly brought about by all of the political unrest and the Covid-19 virus. Since these two enemies are spiritual rather than natural, they cannot be defeated using natural means.
In my day when a young man went off to war, he could see the enemy he was trying to defeat. Today one can’t really see his enemy even though he knows that his name is torment.
Torment is a type of fear that happens to be both a noun and a verb. As a noun torment could be plural which speaks of torments such as severe physical or mental suffering or a cause of suffering.
As a verb, it speaks of 3rd person present which means past tense such as tormented, or present tense which is tormenting or torture. This describes what is going on in the world today.
The spirit of fear is one of the most crippling experiences that can happen. It weakens the immune system, accelerated ageing and even causes premature death. Fear can impair our long-term memories and cause damage to certain parts of the brain. To someone in chronic fear, the world looks scary and the consequences of long-term fear include fatigue, clinical depression, and PTSD.
One of the saddest cases I’ve ever known was a friend who was living a healthy happy life with his wife and children. He was well-educated and came from a wealthy upstanding family and it seemed as if the whole world was at his feet for the taking.
However, one day something happened to this man and a tormenting spirit of fear attacked him and would not let him go. I went to the hospital and prayed for this man but to no avail. I did every kind of spiritual warfare I could but was never able to get him free or even to cooperate with me … much less free from this tormenter.
The man had actually made a friend of his captor, (tormenting fear), and never wanted to leave the hospital or re-enter life and take on any responsibility. He felt more secure in the hospital than he did at home or anywhere else. The sad ending to this story is this perfectly healthy man never left the hospital and finally died from fear.
Thank God for the cross of calvary and the blood of Jesus who takes away all sin and cleanses us for all unrighteousness and by His strips we are healed. The writer of Hebrews says in 13:6 “So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”
Thank You for making a way for us through the blood of Jesus on the cross. We choose to live in that ark of safety and walk as victors because the spirit of death, hell and the grave have
been defeated. Fear is not our friend and therefore we choose to resist it so it will flee from us.
Searching for Wisdom
Job 32:9 Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.
There is a tendency to think that just because a man is great that he is also wise. A man’s greatness may be measured by his ability to make money, be political minded or even be a collage professor are perhaps the pastor of a large church. However, as wonderful as all of these things are, they do not necessarily make one wise. They simply show a man’s gifting and abilities in the area of his training.
Our text goes on to say that “neither do the aged understand judgment”. That statement truly is interesting because one would think that any old person would be able to judge things correctly … but that is not always the case.
Wisdom and judgement are not a learned behavior. One can go to a university and get doctoral degrees until they are blue in the face and never learn true wisdom or how to judge correctly. That does not mean that a person should not be a perpetual learner, they should.
When Timothy says in 2:15 to, “study to show themselves approved”, he was not talking about the natural. This passage was referring to being approved by Christ which is spiritual.
Both wisdom and being able to judge correctly are gifts from God through the Holy Spirit. Windom is one of those things that can be easily recognized but difficult to explain.
Education on the other hand comes from man. I have been privileged to be surrounded by highly educated men and women in many different fields. Even though their education may have been deep in their particular field … that did not necessarily mean they were deep in every field.
Doctors are a good example: they are usually specialists in their field, but not necessarily a specialist in my field. If I want to know something I will go to a specialist in that particular field. However, when I need wisdom, I find someone who has walked close enough to the Lord to have some battle scars and who walks with a limp like Jacob.
I remember an elderly black gentleman I used to go see occasionally when I was a kid. He probably didn’t have more than a six-grade education, but he was extremely wise. His words may have been simple but his wisdom was not simple. I am sure that he never knew how wise he was because most truly wise people do not.
The apostle Paul was educated and wrote two-thirds of the New Testament. Peter on the other hand was uneducated but wise enough to be the head of the church.
I have always honored and respected great men for their achievements and I have always honored and respected the older generation for just having lived life. However, I have prayed most of my life for wisdom and a discerning spirit and the ability to judge things correctly.
Thank You for giving me a hunger for wisdom early in my life through the elderly black gentleman. Little did he know that the young man sitting at his feet would one day be telling the world of his wisdom. Lord help me to pass on to others what the elderly black gentleman passed on to me through his gentle demeanor … should someone decide to sit at my feet.
James 2:25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
Why is typecasting, (or putting people in a box), so easy? It’s almost as if we need for others to know that we know the real truth about another person. We seem to feel its our Christian duty to share all the dirty truth about someone. It doesn’t matter how long ago their transgressions were … and it doesn’t matter that they grew out of their waywardness and have become respected citizens.
Judging others is a part of the Adamic nature which seems to be one of the last things we surrender to the Lord.
We see the sin of typecasting all through the bible. For example: every time that Rahab is mentioned in the bible she is always referred to as Rahab the harlot. When Peter is mentioned … we think of him as the hot head who cut off the ear of the high priest's servant. When we think of Bathsheba … she’s always the woman who cheated on her husband while he was out to war. When we think of Thomas, we always think of him as doubting Thomas and when we think of Mary Magdalene … we always remember her as a harlot.
The bible says that, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.
God is very quick to forgive and forget our sins, but man is not. Man may forgive but he almost never forgets.
I am continually thankful that Jesus bore all of my sins on the cross including judging and typecasting. I do not understand how it works but the bible says that God cannot remember my sins anymore … and He has also given me a new name.
The reason Jesus gave me a new name was because the old name died with the old man. The miracle of a new name happened when I was reborn as a new man and now have the benefits of a resurrected life. That means in God’s eyes I am no longer John the sinner but John a son of God.
Recently there was a couple who came to our church who travel all over the country as evangelists. The man had a five-hundred-year prison sentence with no hope for parole and spent thirteen of those years in solitary confinement. His wife was a street prostitute on drugs. The man was miraculously saved and eventually released from prison. His wife was also gloriously saved and turned her own life around as well and now has a PhD in Christian counseling.
Even though both of them are new creatures in Christ … he may be remembered by some as a mean destructive man and she may still be remembered by some as a soiled woman.
Typecasting, (or putting people in a box), is cruel punishment and should never be done by a born-again Christian.
There has never been a better time for us to remember that “there are none righteous, no not one”. “We have all fallen short of the glory of God”, and need to be forgiven the sin of judging, typecasting and putting people in a box. We have all sinned with our mouths by calling that which You have cleansed unclean. In Acts 10:15 Peter called the blessings that You sent him unclean and You said Peter, "You must stop calling unclean what God has made clean."
The Grip of Grace
Romans 5:17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.
I love this scripture because it makes plain that which is almost impossible for the natural mind to understand. Two men made a difference in my life. Because of Adam I was born a sinner and because of Jesus I was reborn a saint. I accept it because it is true even though I really do not understand how it works.
I may know all of the theological arguments on the subject, but such a miracle is still hard to understand. I did nothing wrong and I was born lost … and I did nothing right, (except to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ), and now I have eternal life. John 3:16.
I suppose the things that seem odd to me is when we repent of sins, like drinking, cursing, lying and carousing rounding then we think that does the job. In some cases, all we have done is to transfer our outward sins (which everyone can see), to our inward man (which no one can see), … and yet keep on sinning.
When Paul addressed the Galatian church in 5:15 he was telling them all the things that they should not do. That would imply that some were still committing these sins. These people were not unbelivers that Paul was talking to … he was talking to the church.
Many years ago, a I heard a young Baptist evangelist say, “It looks to me like there are saved sinners and lost sinners … but everybody is a sinner”. Because I was a young holiness preacher, I took issue with that statement and said, when you get saved you stop sinning … but do we? Have we just moved our sins into the heart and still commit sins of unforgiveness, lust, judgementalism, covetousness, anger, criticism and a thousand more?
The Passion bible uses a phrase in our text that applies so beautifully to the following story. The phrase is, “the grip of grace”. The fact is the grace of God conquers our sins. Maybe this is what the young Baptist evangelist was thinking.
One time while traveling in Arkansas during a winter snowstorm I picked up a man on the side of the road who had car trouble. I picked him up at the foot of the mountain and he was going to a small town at the top of the mountain.
When we reached the top of the mountain, I pulled my car over into a snowbank and told the man I needed to talk to him. I don’t remember what his first name was, but his last name was Nash, so I referred to him as brother Nash. I said, brother Nash do you know the Lord? I began to share the love of the Lord with him and that God knew exactly where he was and what was going on in his life. Before long brother Nash was bitterly weeping and repenting of his sins and for walking away from God.
What brother Nash did not know was that God was sending a man from Texas that day who would help usher him back into fellowship with the Lord. This would all take place with the front end of my car pulled over into a snowbank.
That was the first and last time I saw brother Nash, but I know I will see him again in heaven and we can reminisce that glorious day in the snow somewhere in Arkansas. I wander … is the theology really true that there are “saved sinners and lost sinners”?
You have ways of sending Your representatives to Your wayward children. Lord help us to be more sensitive to following Your still small voice. We really want to be Your hand extended. Thank You Lord for Your grip of grace on our lives.
If These Walls Could Talk
Luke 19:38-40 They said, "How blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!" Some of the Pharisees in the crowd told Jesus, "Teacher, tell your disciples to be quiet. “He replied, "I tell you, if they were quiet, the stones would cry out!"
Jesus said a lot more in His reply to the Pharisees than one may think. He was actually saying if praise is stopped in one place that it will burst out in another place. The language of praise was created in the universe at the beginning when God started saying, “Let there be”.
That means that everything that God created, (including rocks), has musical sounds of praise imbedded in them. On subjects like this I often go back to Habakkuk 2:14 where it says, “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea”. This is basically what Jesus was saying when He said “the rocks will cry out” … or in the case of Habakkuk, “the knowledge of the glory” will be released for all to see and hear. The rocks in creation may not be able to talk, but they can sure glorify God.
Several years ago I was invited to hold some services in a little Methodist church out in the country of central Texas. The church was a small white frame wood building that was over a hundred years old. It sat on the north side of a narrow road in what looked to be a pasture.
The grandparents of the person who invited me used to go to that church. Since those early days most of the grandchildren had moved to other cities to raise their families.
You might say the meetings that I would be holding were kind-a-like a spiritual family reunion. I asked the lady who invited me to drive me out in the country where this church was so I could pray in the church for our meetings.
As we walked in the front door I stopped so I could get a feel of the spirit in that little sanctuary, with its ill fitting wood pews. I immediately began to feel things and hear things and I turned to my host and said, “I feel the anointing so heavy in this room … and I also feel that this church was run by women.” As we walked into a room behind the platform I saw pictures of previous pastors and leaders still hanging on the wall and they were all women. My host then informed me that the great revivalist Maria Woodworth-Etter used to preach in that church. It must have been her anointing that I was picking up.
For those who have never heard of Mrs. Etter, she was so anointed that people would often fall into a trance in her meetings. One man was in a trance for three days and when others tried to help him they would fall into a trance themselves, (today we call that falling in the spirit). I would encourage everyone to read about this dear saint of the Lord. She was born in 1844 and died in 1924.
The point is, if I could still feel the anointing of Mrs. Etter over one hundred years later, how much more would all creation, (including rocks), still hold the praise of our Father God. The fact is, anointings and mantles do not go to heaven when we die, they are for the ministry here on earth. Example: Elisha picked up Elijah’s mantle when the chariot of fire came to take Elijah away.
Can these walls talk? Yes, all hard objects record sounds.
I am overwhelmed to be able to join all creation in praising Your holy name. You are worthy of all praise throughout the universe as everything, (including rocks), cry out in unison with a loud sound of Holy, Holy, Holy!
Matthew 19:16 And behold, one came to him and said, Teacher, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
Matthew 19:21-22 Jesus said unto him, If thou wouldest be perfect, go, sell that which thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. But when the young man heard the saying, he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.
I have heard many sermons over the years about the young rich ruler and have even preached a few myself. However, I was never completely satisfied because I believed the lesson that I was supposed to learn was not the obvious. My lesson was hidden in the makeup of what made this guy tick in the first place. For me to know that, I needed to study deeper into his emotions. The scripture only says that “he went away sorrowful”.
I tried to put a face on this young man and as I did I imagined him to be a forward thinker, a shrewd businessman, well educated and lived in an upper-class community. The scripture only tells us that he was young and rich.
When Jesus told him to give his money to the poor, He was not implying that he himself should become poor and penniless. God is not against us living a blessed life and having more than enough money because, (3 John 1:2) said, “Beloved, I pray that in all things thou mayest prosper and be in health ….”
This young man was a man of the law because he was quick to tell Jesus that he kept all of the law of Moses. The problem is, he asks a grace question from a law perspective and the two do not mix. Therefore, the young man walked away sorrowful.
The law has always been a stranger to grace and that is why you cannot answer a law question with a grace answer. Not only that but if you will notice, a law person usually puts a very high value on money and other possessions … like this young man.
The lesson that Jesus was teaching him was that qualifying for eternal life has nothing to do with his good deeds. The lesson was, what was he willing to give up for eternal life. As a matter of fact, when Jesus told this young man to give all his wealth to the poor … that really had nothing to do with the young man’s wealth or the poor. It had to do with the cleansing of his heart which was motivated by the spirit of stinginess or money hoarding … and that is why he walked away sorrowful.
When one really has the Lord living in their life, they are automatically a generous person because they have the author of generosity living in them. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life”.
Several years ago I met a businessman in a restaurant and he kept looking at me and finely said, “You aught to be a preacher”. The man did not know me nor what I did so I asked him, “Why in the world would you think that?” He said, “There is just something about you.” … and the man was obviously under conviction. With that, I pulled him aside and talked to him about the Lord and laid hands on him and prayed for him. He and his wife were members of a large church in San Antonio. I never saw him again.
Sometime later I met another man from the same church and I asked him if he knew the first man and he said, “Yes”. As we talked our conversation went like this. “Tell me about that man, I don’t know what happened to him but he came to church one day, (and he named the date which was right after I prayed for him), and was a completely changed man. He used to be lazy, stingy and always late. But now is involved in everything and gets to church early and he can’t seem to give enough of his time or his money. He inspires everybody”.
This is the same kind of conversion that the young rich ruler needed but he was so focused on what he had that he missed what he needed … which was eternal life.
Help us to understand when we are willing to give up our old riches that we tap into the prosperity of the kingdom. Help us Lord to never choose to walk away sorrowful when rejoicing is at hand.
God Steers Moving Ships
Matthew 16:24 “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me”
The first commandment that Jesus gave to His disciples had to do with total surrender. This was not meant to imply that the disciples should become inactive. Inactivity is like saying, oh well I am just abiding in God … which is another word for laziness.
True abiding in Christ is activity that is led by the Holy Spirit because our old man is dead.
Romans 6:6-7 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.
This means that denying to your self, is dying to your will, and dying to your will is dying to your decision making. This is not a natural type of death where your body becomes inactive. No, this is a spiritual type of death where your body becomes more active because you are now alive in Christ and your body belongs to Him.
Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship.
The problem is, there are those who want the Lord to lead them, (or steer their ship), when their ship is not moving. You cannot steer a ship that is docked.
When we offer our bodies as a living sacrifices to the Lord which is an act of worship … we do this in response to His mercies. Paul believes that we should be so overwhelmed by God’s mercies that we are willing to joyfully die to everything we are and have.
I remember so well as a young evangelist something was established in my life that lives on to this today. Every morning I would drive to a certain place in our town and park my car and read out loud Romans 12:1.
After reading this passage I would pray and ask the Lord where He was sending me today. He would always give me an address because someone was there praying for an answer. Even though these were always places that I had never been to before I would go and knock on the door and introduce myself. I would tell them that as I was praying the Lord told me they had a need. One lady was so shocked and said, “I was just praying that”, please come in. I would go in and tell her or them what the Lord had given me. I would pray for them and then get up and leave while they were praising God and thanking Him for their answer.
If the Lord sent me to a church, I would go in and sit down on the back row. Eventually the pastor would come back and say something like, “I feel the Lord has sent you here with a message for me today”. This happened many times over the years and their response was always the same.
The point is, it all started with Matthew 16:24 “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me”. Romans 12:1, showed us how to do that and how the Lord can steer our ship.
I do not know how it works … all I know is that it does.
This is certainly a faith walk. Give us more revelation on these two scriptures because 1 Corinthians 13:9-10 says that, “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
Loneliness Is Real
Psalm 25:16-17 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles
of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses.
This is one of the saddest verses in the Bible. I have known of folks over the years who have felt “lonely and afflicted” and to them it was very real. The problem is, sometimes when one gets in that state of mind, they start feeling the same way that David felt and begin to think that even God has turned His back on them. The fact is loneliness and affliction are an open door for depression and depression is an open door for loneliness and affliction. Depression is always right around the corner waiting for an entrance.
There are probably more folks suffering from depression today than at any other time because of things like Coved-19, the country being ripped apart by riots and being shut in.
According to some studies that I have found, “loneliness is not only making us sick but is also killing us”. That same study shows that “elderly people who are without adequate social interaction were twice as likely to die prematurely”. Then it says “The increased mortality risk is comparable to that from smoking and loneliness is twice as dangerous as obesity”.
The report continues to say, “Social isolation impairs the immune function and boosts inflammation which can lead to arthritis, type II diabetes, and heart disease. Loneliness is breaking our hearts, but as a culture we rarely talk about it.”
Loneliness has doubled … 40 percent of adults in two recent surveys said they were lonely. This was up from 20 percent in the 1980s”.
I have known several people over the years who have committed suicide. One particular person was a pastor who had been a successful minister for many years. He was a very kind man and was liked by everyone. He and his wife were particularly close and did everything together … when you saw one you saw the other.
I was invited to preach in their church many times over the years which I enjoyed.
However, one day the pastor’s wife died, and because they had been so close, loneliness set in and he was never able to adjust to his loss. As a matter of fact, he acted like a man who was put on another planet and did not know what to do or where to turn. His affliction was so deep and loneliness rooted itself in his spirit to the point that he could no longer bare the pain.
With a broken heart that he believed was unrepairable, he drove out in the country and committed suicide. This whole scenario started out with a killer named loneliness.
I suppose if I had any advice to the rest of us it would be to find the lonely, (which could be closer than you think … like a family member), and become partners of faith with them. Develop a close friendship with them and carry them until they are able to stand. When they are able to stand, encourage them to pay it forward to someone else and carry them if need
be. Who knows, the one they may have to carry could be you.
Help us to be strength to the weak and particularly those who have lost hope. Help our guard to always be up to fight against the loneliness and affliction in others. The silent killer of loneliness must be defeated.
Hebrews 5:12-14 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not meat, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But meat is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
I have always found the teaching on milk and meat to be a very interesting one. The reason it is so interesting is because Jesus said that we should be like a little child, (which implies milk drinkers), even though our text says that we should be meat eaters. Both scriptures are true even though at first there seems to be a contradiction.
When Jesus said in Matthew 18:4 that we should be as a little child, He was not suggesting that we be spiritual dwarfs who only drink milk. What He was saying, was that we should remain as humble and trusting as a little child even though we are adults. For an adult to act like a little child when they are grown would be childish and Jesus would never suggest that.
There are those who are no doubt much deeper in the things of God than others. Even though that is the case, one should remain a learner no matter how old they are, and that is what our text is saying.
I have noticed over the years that some folks stop learning at a very early age and other folks stop learning at retirement age. As for me, I am eighty-five years old and I still have so much to learn from almost everybody. As a matter of fact, I try to do something everyday that I don’t know how to do in order to keep learning.
The reason I continue to learn things that I already know is because I have discovered that there are so many layers to learn with every subject. For example, I continue to read my Bible over and over, and each time I read it, it feels like the first time.
Some time ago a preacher told me that he had already read through the Bible one time, so he did not need to do that again. I wonder how much revelation he is missing with such arrogant thinking.
There is an interesting thing about milk and meat … or about the food of the immature and the food of the mature. If one does not drink the milk are eat the meat, then they will spoil. Spoiled milk will not hurt you, but spoiled meat will kill you. Spoiled milk is like buttermilk, or what we call East Texas eggnog. If one refuses to eat the meat, (the word), that they should eat…then they well be judged by the word that was meant to be a blessing to them.
There also seems to be a relationship between success and those who eat the meat of the word. This conclusion comes as a result of our text saying, “for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil”. One might say that a learner is a discerner.
Help our digestive system to cry out for strong meat but do not let it spoil. When you told the Children of Israel to eat all the lamb the night of Passover, You were saying the same thing as our text. Father help us to mature.
Act 12:6-7 That very night, before Herod was going to bring him out, Peter, bound with two chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, and guards in front of the door were watching the prisoners. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on his side, woke him up, and said, "Get up quickly!" His chains fell from his wrists.
One of the saddest things I know is for a human being to be chained up like a wild animal. This is especially true when the one who is in chains is a man of God like Peter. If there is anything that shows the contempt that the world has for Christians it is in this text.
Peter was going about his business doing the five things that Jesus sent His disciple out to do in Matthew 10. However, those were the very things that antagonized the religious authority so they threw Peter in prison. He was not put in prison for committing crimes, but for doing good. To make matters worse he was chained up between two soldiers. The chains were not meant to keep Peter from escaping, they were meant to intimidate Peter and break his spirit.
However, the soldiers did not count on the power of prayer for which there is no defense. When the Bible says that “one can send a thousand to flight and two can send ten thousand to flight” … that principle was proven that night. As Peter lay in pain and chains, the ordinary folks were holding a prayer meeting in his defense and calling on the name of the Lord for his release.
There was something about their unified prayer that loosed Peter’s chains, opened the prison doors, swung wide the gates and lead Peter to safety. Peter’s first stop was to give thinks to God and the folks whose unified prayer had released him.
Several years ago, when there was a scandal about some big-name televangelist … it seemed as if the media was trying to bring all televangelists down. There is no doubt that wrong had been done but the punishment and treatment seemed so severe.
One such case was with televangelist Jim Bakker. I will never get the image out of my mind of how Jim was treated. They had him chained up like a mass murderer. His wrists were in chains, his waist was in chains, his feet and legs were in chains and he was anchored by two big men as if he could actually get away. When they brought Jim out of the building to put him in the vehicle, news cameras were there from every network recording Jim as he stood there scared and weeping like a baby. I am not sure if the chains were meant to keep Jim from escaping or they were meant to break his spirit. Either way, this was one of the saddest scenes I have ever witnessed.
Our text doesn’t tell us if Peter felt like crying like Jim when he was bound with chains and guards on either side. It does tell us that he had a prayer army who were willing to bombard heaven on his behalf.
We did learn in our text that there is a power in unified prayer that is beyond our understanding … even to the point of breaking chains and unlocking doors. Our text proves that even though we live in this world, we are not of this world. This world may put chains on us but our world (the heavenly realm), is what loosens those chains.
Help us to understand our text the way we were meant to understand it. Help us to understand the lesson in our text that teaches us the difference between the two powers. The world’s power which is the power of the chains, and heaven’s power, the power of prayer.
My Dad’s Bible
John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
The apostle John gave quite an impressive introduction for Jesus. John certainly did not leave any room to question who Jesus was and how He relates to this world. As we study the life of Jesus, we see that He was no less the creator and light of this world when He was a baby in Bethlehem than He was when He was hanging on the cross at Golgotha.
A lot of things obviously happened between Bethlehem and Golgotha. Jesus started out as a sweet little baby with angels singing at His birth and wise men bringing Him gifts. He ended up thirty-three years later all bruised and battered and hanging on a cross.
The natural mind cannot understand things like this, particularly when it was His Father’s will that He pay such a price, and He obeyed. The Bible says that, “He was the lamb that takes away the sin of the world”, even the sins of those who nailed Him to the cross. That was evident when He said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”.
Jesus paid the ultimate price on the cross for our redemption while remaining the “light of the world”.
My dad died eighty-two years ago when I was three years old. Some thirty years after my Dad died, I went to see my Mom and she handed me this old ragged Bible and told me that it belonged to my Dad. This was a total surprise to me because I had never heard anything about my Father, good or bad.
Even though the Bible was very old it was obvious that it had not been cared for either. The pages were torn and the cover had been cut with scissors by a child.
Nevertheless, I took this treasured possession home and carefully began to look at its pages. I not only discovered that dad marked his Bible exactly the same why that I mark my Bible but that he also loved the Lord as I do.
Written in the back of the bible were dates of births, deaths, marriages and even the last words my dad prayed as he was taking his last breath before passing.
Even though my Dad’s Bible was torn and fragile it still had the light of truth on each of those worn brown pages. When I handle Dad’s bible, I do so with all the love and tenderness of a son who is handling the bruised and battered body of Jesus.
Perhaps we should all reread our text and get a fresh understanding of the price that was paid for the Light that every Christian can receive freely.
The truth is always the truth regardless if it is hanging on a cross or its story written on the pages of an uncared for Bible. Lord, I find great peace in reading that old Bible and the story of the birth of Jesus as well as the full price that was paid for my redemption. Thank You Lord for the Light of the world that is now living in me.
Exodus 29:7 Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him.
All through the Bible we read where people, (as well as things), were anointed. Perhaps there is a lot more to anointing than we first thought. In the following cases it seems that pouring anointing oil or perfume on one is God’s way of spiritually laying hands on us.
For example, God told Moses to anoint Aaron and his sons for the ministry. The tabernacle and the altar were to be anointed for worship. Later on, we see where Saul was anointed as king. We also read in the New Testament when a person is fasting, they should anoint their own head. We see another interesting example in the New Testament when a lady was so overjoyed by Jesus’ presence that she anointed His feet with expensive perfume and wiped them with her hair.
Anointing oil was used for many things throughout the Bible. David was anointed as king seventeen years before he actually became king. Other men were anointed to be prophets.
There is something about anointing that carries the weight of God’s endorsement that the natural mind cannot comprehend. However, we can conclude that the anointing of God falls under the category of miracles. No one can explain miracles and particularly those that come as a result of the anointing oil.
When a miracle takes place it is very easy for the Thomas spirit of disbelief to surface at that point more than at any other time.
In my many years of ministry I have seem a lot of miracles but I have never been able to explain any of them.
As I write this Meditation, I do so with the full understanding that it may cause some to wonder in regards to the following stories.
Sometime ago while ministering in Mexico to a group of pastors, all of a sudden, I felt I should call my wife back in San Antonio. She had no more than answered the phone until she started telling me this strange story about a man from Georgia named Johnny. Johnny was a friend of the prayer ministry she is involved in and he was just an ordinary man who simply loved the Lord.
One day back in Georgia Johnny opened his Bible to Psalms 39 and oil began flowing out of his Bible. Over a period of time the oil that started flowing from Psalm 39 began flowing to the end of the Bible. After a while it began to flow from Psalms 39 to the beginning of the Bible.
Since that time hundreds of people have been anointed with this miracle oil and healed of all kinds of diseases and sickness. Johnny has been on God TV as well as other media. Johnny remains an humble man with no explanation for this phenomena.
When my wife told me that story I was overwhelmed by the anointing I felt. I walked back in the room where the Mexico pastors were and said to one who was standing all the way across the room, “I release the power and effect of this miracle oil on you right now”. Even though he was several feet away he shot backward under the power of God and was out for several minutes. When he came to, he said, “something happened to me … I feel totally different”.
That night while preaching I felt the Lord stop me in the middle of my message to pray for a lady sitting on the back row. I released the same simple prayer on her as I had released on the pastor and she became mute until after the service. Her life was changed. The same thing happed the next night at another service to another lady who became mute until after the service. The people were so overwhelmed at these and other miracles that they could not stop praising the Lord.
I realize that stories like these are not for everyone. However, I do believe they will be an encouragement to others who have had similar unexplainable experiences but are afraid to share them.
Help us walk into the realm of the supernatural more and more. It is impossible for our natural minds to understand the phenomena that Jesus walked in all of His life … but we are trying.
Sing Me a Song
Ephesians 5:19-20, Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
There is something about singing that is not only healing for our soul but also touches the very heart of God. The reason it touches God’s heart is because God is the source of music and therefore music is in all creation.
As a matter of fact, when God created Lucifer, according to Isaiah 14, He created him as a musical being. It says that he was to cover the throne with worship, but he didn’t use instruments … he was the instrument.
In the Hebrew it talks about the very pipes that were in Lucifer’s being, so therefore … he just began to be. And as he began to be, he had the ability to produce music because God created him, and God was music. That means when we were created, we were also created with music in us.
Scientist have done some studies with the human DNA and were actually able to decode it. In doing so they discovered that our individual DNA has a musical notation to it. Since we all have a different DNA that means we all have a different song in us. Your body sings a different song than mine.
Music is not only a healing agent, but it also brings peace to the soul.
When I was in the rehab center after my heart surgery, I lay awake one night until early in the morning. About two AM a nurse stuck her head in my room to check on me and I invited her to come in and sit down. She never said a word but walked in and sat down close to my bed.
She was a beautiful young black nurse from the Dominican Republic. I asked her if she knew the Lord and she said yes. I then asked her to tell me her story and she began by telling me that she was the only one in her family who knew the Lord. She said her family was steeped in witchcraft and all of them made fun of her when she got saved and went to church as a little girl.
She grew up and went to nursing college and then came to America and got a job at this rehab center in San Antonio. When she finished her story, I asked her to sing for me. Without saying another word, she began singing my favorite old hymn that I had not heard since I was a little boy. Her voice was so sweet and tender that I could barely hear her. The sound did not seem like it was in the room but was coming from a long way off. It was almost like an echo coming from her island across the water. Even though I could barely hear it I knew that God had sent her to me that sleepless night as a balm of healing. She will forever be in my heart.
When she finished singing, I prayed for her and I went right to sleep. I will never forget the little angel that God sent to me from the Dominican Republic … she will forever be in my heart.
Thank You for that young lady with the island voice that was my healer that night. Thank You Lord for putting a different song in each of us.
Exodus 40:34-35. The cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tent. Moses was not able to enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tent.
The most awesome and unnatural thing in the world is the Glory of God. It is unnatural to the flesh, but it is natural to the Spirit. The Glory of God, (or the presence of God), in its purest form is like a consuming fire. When God came down on mount Sinai in Exodus 19 He told the people not to come near the mountain or they would die. God was so awesome and pure that the bible said that the mountain smoked like a furnace.
Apparently, there are different degrees of the Glory of God and the degree depends on how much we can handle. In Exodus 40 and Exodus 19 is one degree and in Habakkuk 2:14 is another degree. Habakkuk says, “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea”.
If you will notice Habakkuk did not say that the earth shall be filled with the Glory of God … it says it shall be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of God. In other words, the earth is already filled with the Glory of God. Depending on each person’s individual depth in God, we can actually enter into His Glory. One person may enter into His Glory at one level and another person may enter His Glory at another level.
Once while ministering in Canada at a large retreat camp, the Glory of God was so strong that one almost had to be there to believe it. Signs and wonders were taking place each night and folks were being saved, healed and set free. One night after the service a man who had lived a hard life got saved and requested to be immediately baptized.
The camp sat by a large lake and since it was the fall of the year the water was very cold, but the man didn’t care. The man assisting me said I will baptize him, and he and the new convert went out into the lake. The man being baptized took his bible with him and said, “I want my bible to be baptized too”. Down in the cold water they went, both man and bible. When they came out of that cold water the man came out shouting and giving glory to God.
After the new convert dried off he noticed that even though his bible had gone under the water with him, it did not have a water mark on it. With that the people shouted and praised God until after midnight … thanking Him for all the miracles that had taken place.
Strange and unexplainable things happen when the Glory of God is present.
This may not be exactly what Exodus 40 is talking about when it said they could not go into the Tent of Meeting. However, we can conclude that one man can be in a deeper level of Glory than another man, according to Exodus 19. On the other hand all of us are able to walk in a measure of God’s Glory according to Habakkuk 2:14.
Show us the mystery of Your Glory because we want to go deeper and deeper in Your presence. Lord, we want to grow so close to You that we can glow with Your presence as Moses did as He came off the mountain in Exodus 19.
(John 19:30) When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
When Jesus yielded to the religious leaders who sought to crucify Him, caused me to stop and think. After all He could have called “ten thousand angles” to deliver Him … but He didn’t.
As I began to meditate on this terrible scene, I suddenly realized that there are many levels of yielding and Jesus showed us the ultimate level.
I also discovered that yielding is a process and not an immediate accomplishment. Perhaps that’s what Paul meant when he said that “we should die daily”. Paul seemed to be saying that yielding is a life journey … and total surrender is when we give up the ghost at the end of that journey.
In my younger days I used to work with horses that needed help. Some were only green broke and needed to learn how to rein, stop, turn and so on. In other words, they needed to learn how to yield their will to the riders will.
One day someone brought to me a beautiful high-strung, high powered thoroughbred racehorse that had only been on the racetrack. The owner loved this horse and wanted it trained to be a good saddle horse.
The horse tended to be nervous and jumped around a lot so I needed to find a way of refocusing its attention.
Next to my farm was a thick wooded area with some marshy land, so I decided to ride this horse through those woods even though he hated it. However, before long his attention had shifted from the race track to reluctantly stepping through thick brush and over fallen trees as he walked through the marsh. After a few hours of that unpleasant experience … I returned home with a very tired horse but one that had learned a valuable lesson. It was valuable because he had learned to yield his will to mine and that seemed okay with him.
He learned that his rider was something more than just a jockey how set on his back while he ran and exerted his own will. The woods, brush and marsh had definitely broadened his scope as he became one with me. From then on, I could go up to him anywhere in the pasture and jump on his back and ride him without a saddle or a bridle and he seemed to love the relationship as much as I did.
Perhaps that’s what Paul meant when he said, “that we must die daily”. In other words, we must learn to yield to the will of God even though it may require us to walk through the marsh lands of life.
Thank you for Your patience with us as we learn the art of yielding while walking over the logs and brush and through the marsh lands of our own life. We want to learn how to yield more to You knowing that yielding is a journey and not an immediate destination. Our nature is to run on the track and exert own will rather than to walk through the difficult areas of life. Be patient with us Lord.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Did you ever have the feeling that maybe you had less to do with your life’s direction than you thought? That is not to say that we do not have a free will and can make our own choices. I am only saying that maybe we had some help in making those choices. You know, a nudge here and a caution there, or maybe a strong thought that suddenly came into your mind and you wondered where it came from.
As I look back over my many years of living, I am not sure I ever had an original thought that was not sub-par. That is exactly why Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:16 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
In other words, as believers, it’s not whether “we have the mind of Christ” … it is whether we submit to “the mind of Christ”. If not, all of our decisions will be based on our sub-par thinking … and that’s a scary thought.
When I read our text, I feel guided and protected knowing that God’s thinking is higher than my thinking. Because we are a child of God then Proverbs 22:6 can be applied to our relationship, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it”.
We may not always enjoy our training, but the end result is good. There are many things in life that come our way, that may not be of God, but He uses those experiences to draw us closer to Himself.
One such case was when I was in the hospital. God did not put me in the hospital, but He used that time to remind me of who He is and what He had done for me.
I was in a large room on the top floor of the hospital with all windows on one side of the room. This room felt more like a resort room than it did a hospital room.
I did not want to sleep in my bed that night, so the hospital was kind enough to bring in two large recliners. One recliner was for my wife and one recliner was for me. The only light we had in the room that night was the light of the moon shining through all the windows and the occasional flashing light of a helicopter bringing patients to the hospital.
My wife pulled our recliners side by side so we could be near each other. The presence of God seemed to be especially strong that night as we reclined through the night holding hands. It was one of those unexplainable times when we felt as if we were the only two people in the world. We spent the night praising God and thanking Him for all His blessings and knowing that He had given us so much more than we deserved. I also never felt more in love, or at one with my wife, than I did that night.
God used that time in the hospital to renew my soul and remind me of Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for well-being, and not for calamity, in order to give you a future and a hope. Today I am living in that future and in that hope.
Help me to think Your thoughts knowing You have a plan for my future. Thank You Lord for keeping everyone out of my room that night while my wife and I were with You, as we were surrounded by Your glory.
(Matthew 5:15-16) Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
(Proverbs 24:13-14) My son, eat honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb is sweet to your palate; so shall the knowledge of wisdom be to your soul; when you have found it, then there shall be a reward, and your hope shall not be cut off.
2 Corinthian’s 12:2-5 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses—