Blessed

Whoever helps the poor will be helped in their time of need according to the scriptures.

Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. Psalm 41:1

This is a spiritual principle we see throughout scripture. Helping the poor is giving to to the Lord.

He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.” Psalm 19:17

The person who considers the poor is blessed according to scriptures.

“Considers” Zaman in the Hebrew includes the following: To look at attentively; to observe; to examine.  To have regard to; to take into view or account; to pay due attention to; to respect. To estimate; to view. To think seriously about; to make examination; to reflect; to deliberate. Giving serious thoughts to. To practice, purpose, devise. To contemplate, think seriously about.

The Lord says that he blesses those who give not just monetary means but also  discipleship and service to those who are in need.

The promise attached to this outreach to the  poor is deliverance when they themselves are in need. The Lord promises to save and rescue  from trouble, evil, distress, calamity, sorrow, harm, adversity.   “As you have helped others so will I help you.”

The Lord goes even further. He promises that those who give to the poor or those in need, (physically, emotionally and spiritually) will be preserved and kept alive.

Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.

The Lord will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies. The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness. Psalm 41:1-4

The Hebrew translation of the word preserve (Shamar) means to keep or save from injury or destruction; to guard or defend from evil, harm, danger, protect, put a hedge about, watch over.

The Lord will bless those who give to the poor. He will not allow them to be delivered over to their enemies. He has promised to give power and strength to them. He has promised to recover or heal them in sickness.

This means that God will overthrow all attacks, turn back the evil ones plans and agendas. Thwart off all distress, diseases, grief, anxiety, depression. 

For those who help others in their need the Lord will always be there to help them in their need.

Those who give to the poor are blessed by the Lord.

 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35

 He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor. Proverbs 22:9

And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday. Isaiah 58:10

Refusing to help the poor or ignoring their pleas brings a negative result according to the Bible.

He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse. Proverbs 28: 27

If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.  Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the Lord against thee, and it be sin unto thee. Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto. Deuteronomy 15:7-10

Giving to the poor not only brings God’s blessings in this life but also in eternity.

Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsemen, nor thy rich neighbours, lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And thou shalt be blessed, for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. Luke 7:12-14

Blessed by God are those who give to others who are in need!

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. Luke 6:38

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The Lord Our Helper

Psalm 18 gives us insight into how we can achieve victory over all our troubles. The first part of the Psalm David declares that the Lord is the one who gives him help. The Lord is able to deliver him from trouble.

This proclamation assures us how mighty the Lord’s power is towards us. When we declare God’s sovereign power over all things then our faith level rises. We are reminded where our help comes from. Not in man or any other source but in the Lord our God.

The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. Psalm 18:1

David then declares, “I will call upon the Lord who is my strength, my deliverer, my power, my shield and my high tower.” 

From declaring who the source of our help is, David then proclaims that when we call on the Lord in our trouble he is able to save us. It is important to note that calling on the Lord to enter our situation is when he is able to intervene. The Lord will never intervene without our request or the request of an intercessor.

This spiritual principle is seen throughout scripture.

Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. Mark 11:24

Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:24

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. James 1:6

David gives the Lord praise. “I will praise the Lord who is worthy.” 

Praise is an important part of spiritual warfare. Praise is different than worship. Praise declares the Lord’s sovereign power over all things including the devil’s plans and schemes.

O Lord, thou art my God;
I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name;
for thou hast done wonderful things;
thy counsels of old
are faithfulness and truth.
Isaiah 25:1

And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. Acts 16:25

Why art thou cast down, O my soul?
and why art thou disquieted within me?
hope thou in God:
for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. Psalm 42:11

Next David declares what the Lord is able to do for him. How he is able to deliver! By faith David declares what God is going to do!

I shall be saved from my enemies. I shall be saved from the floods of adversity and sorrow. (depression) I shall be saved from snares and obstructions. The Lord shall silence my accusers. The Lord shall hear me when I cry for justice. He will take vengeance on my enemies and make them bow the knee under the authority of the Lord our God. 

David then sees with the eye of faith what is happening in the spiritual realm as he prays. David sees the angelic realm ushered in by the wind of the Spirit. He sees the darkness and waters of affliction flee before the Lord’s majesty. David hears the voice of the Lord speaking in the heavenlies with the fire of authority. 

David watches in the Spirit as the Lord sends forth his arrows against the enemy. He hears the Lord rebuke the enemy and expose the evil one’s strongholds. 

David declares the victory. “The Lord took me out of my trouble. He drew me out of affliction unto himself. The Lord is my rock. My security. He brought me from bondage to freedom. He delivered me because I belong to him and he loves me. The Lord sees me clothed in his righteousness and knows that I have put my trust in him. Therefore the Lord honours me and shows his mercy by becoming my light in the darkness. ” 

David’s faith is now raised to a new level. “With my God I can run right through an army of the evil one. I can by my God leap over all obstacles. The Lord gives me strength and victory. He sets me above all my enemies. ” 

David has learned the art of warfare. He is taught that the strongholds of the enemy have to come down when he trusts in the Lord to battle for him. David learns that God’s protection is given when he wears the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation. David is kept from falling and delivered from all the enemies attacks when he declares God’s greatness and majesty. The devil is put under the feet of the Lord’s righteous, David learns this because the Lord who is a mighty warrior has maintained his cause. 

Then David boasts in the Lord. He declares to everyone that the Lord girded him with strength in the battle. The Lord dealt with those who rose up against him. The Lord has destroyed the avenger and silenced the tongues of his accusers. David is now the head. He is the victor while the enemy is the tail.

David tells others that they too can have this victory. He says to all,  “Blessed is the Lord who does marvelous things ! The Lord will bring the lost out of darkness. He will deliver the captives. He will bring them from darkness to light. He will set the sinner free! The Lord will show mercy to all who call upon him.” 

We learn from Psalm 18 that when we call on the Lord in trouble he girds himself like a mighty warrior ready to fight on our behalf. When we declare the Lord’s greatness and declare what he will do for us then our faith is released and the Lord begins to battle on our behalf. 

As we see by faith what God is doing in the spiritual realm we will see those results in the natural realm. Our victory is sure. We are then able to declare to others what great things the Lord has done for us. When we give our testimony others can also be set free! They can be victorious over all the works of the evil one too. 

He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the Lord was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.” PSALM 18: 17-19 

For who is God save the Lord? Who is a rock save our God? It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. “He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places. He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms. Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.

Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip. I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again till they were consumed. I have wounded them that they were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet. For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me. PSALM 18: 31-39

Steps to victory

  1. Declare that the Lord is the one who can give you help. The Lord is able to deliver you from trouble.
  2. Call upon the Lord to intervene in your circumstance.
  3. Declare that he is able to deliver you!
  4. Praise the Lord. Declare his power, his ability, his greatness!
  5. Declare by faith what the Lord is going to do for you!
  6. Declare by faith what the Lord is doing for you!
  7. Declares your victory!
  8. Boast in the Lord! Tell others what great things the Lord has done for you!
  9. Tell others how they too can have victory in Jesus!

Persevering Prayer

The Bible tells us to keep on praying and never give up. For in the right season, we will reap a harvest.

We are told to perservere in prayer without fainting.

Let us not be weary. Don’t faint. (Galatians 6:9, Luke 18:1 )

The keys for receiving answers to prayer are; having faith in God’s ability, trust in his word and also to perservere. That means to continue in constant prayer until the answer comes.

Many times, our prayers are not answered because we faint or give up. There are some things that take time to be answered. Situations that God is working out. Hearts God is working on. Demons who need to be defeated.  

When some one becomes weary it is because they are exercising great exertion. The burden becomes so heavy it makes them want to drop the weight. They become tired, ready to faint.

To become faint is to lose consciousness. To be so weary one wants to die or at least drop out of the battle.

God tells us in his word “DON’T GIVE UP!”

Keep on praying. Why? Because if we continue in prayer we will eventually reap a harvest. First the seed, then the sprout, then the plant, then the green fruit, and finally the ripe fruit. After that the fruit is ready to be picked. It’s a process.   

To gain a victory in every prayer battle and may I stress the word battle because Satan will fight you with his many fiery darts, we must persevere in prayer.

The devil opposes anything that will bring the Lord any glory.

Not only is the devil a thief and a liar but he is also a challenger. An opponent of the kingdom of God. Resisting the devil is not only a strategy in the arena of temptation but also a strategy for receiving anything from God’s heavenly realm to the natural realm.

If what we pray for is according to God’s will, that is it lines up with scriptural protocol, then God hears us immediately. His answer is yes and amen. However, heaven must release the answer to us by going through the dark realm of the demonic world. The evil powers of darkness who rule over this present world system will put up a fight to try to get the answer to our prayer aborted.

The demonic realm will hinder, try to get us weary, plague our mind with all kinds of demonic assaults, get us to lose heart, lose faith or outright fall away.

What the demonic realm can not do however, is stop the answer to our prayer from coming in the right season. God knows what he is doing. He is always a step ahead of old slew foot. Not only are we going to get our answer if we keep on praying but we are going to get a greater increase of faith.

Many times people ask for more faith to believe but what they don’t realize is that in order to have more faith, we will need to go through more battles! Every time we preserve in prayer our faith in the Lord grows! We get better equipped for the next battle. Which will come, heads up on that one! The good news is that with our newly acquired faith muscles we will be able to handle that next battle!

 Prayer requires perseverance. That means persisting in a difficulty. Prayer requires supplication. That is entreating the Lord with humility. Prayer also requires watching. That means watching in the spirit to see what God tells us to do.

Many times, there is a work to do to get our prayer answered. A direction from the Lord, a strategy, an act of kindness, humbling oneself in a situation or spiritual warfare.

Whatever it is that the Lord tells us to do through watching in prayer can be accomplished by our co-laboring with the Holy Spirit to get our prayer fulfilled.  

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. Ephesians 6:18

With persistence in prayer there must also be a passion for the answer. We have to want that prayer to be manifested so much that we are willing to press through a crowd or even break down a roof, if need be! We must be willing to knock and keep on knocking! Ask and keep on asking! Seek until we find!

Jesus commended the people who were willing to go that far as having “great faith”. They knew Jesus was their only hope. They knew that if they could just get him to notice them, he would give them their request. If they kept on petitioning, they would get their answer!

Remember the blind guy who cried loud when he found out that Jesus was walking by him? Many told him to shut up! He was being obnoxious, making too much noise, but the guy cried even louder!

Jesus stopped right in his tracts when he heard that guy’s persistent cry. Jesus told the people to let him get through the crowd. Then Jesus asks the blind guy what it was he wanted!

It should have been obvious at least by our standards what the guy wanted but not from the Lord’s way of doing things. Jesus gets the blind guy to ask him again! When the guy says, “I want to see”, the Lord gives him his request. (Mark 10:48)  

 God tells us in Isaiah 64:7 that he wants his people to be so stirred up that they will take a hold of him! That is take hold of him and never let go!

Persevere in prayer! Be persistent! Be patient! Trust fully even if we don’t see any evidence of that prayer being answered. 

The Lord wants us to stir ourselves up to pray persistently! This is the type of prayer that moves the hand of God. It’s all through the scriptures.  

The parable of the persistent widow. Luke 18:1
David pleads in prayer every day! Psalm 88:13
Mother for her child Mark 7:25-26 Hannah cries for a child I Samuel 1:10 Jacob wrestles with God in Genesis 32:24-32 

Persevering, persistent, constant prayer is what gets results in the kingdom of God.

To be constant is to never stop! When one prayer is answered then we go on to the next prayer. We pray and keep on praying. We persevere, endure, grow in faith, grow some more until we reach the finish line, and our race is finally over! Only then can we say, “I have finished my race, I have run my course!”

 Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17  

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Walk in the Spirit

Scriptures tell us that the Christian’s war is against demonic principalities, evil demonic rulers, and demonic powers in high places, but did you know that the biggest war we wage against is the war against the carnal nature? Demons are like vultures; they can only prey on uncrucified flesh. (Ephesians 6:12, 1 Peter 2:11)

Our battle according to the Bible, is against the bodily appetites of our 5 senses in this earthly realm which are in constant opposition to God’s word. The bodily appetites of our 5 senses or the carnal nature, are always trying to usurp authority over or exalt themselves above our spiritual born again nature, the Holy Spirit, and the word of God. (2 Corinthians 10:5-7, Galatians 5: 17-26)

 The Bible tells us that out mind is where this battle resides. All the spiritual warfare against the satanic realm we do will be useless unless we put to death or crucify the carnal nature.  (1 Peter 1:13,Galatians 5: 17-26)

 If our ways of thinking are contrary to Biblical principles, then the flesh will have the advantage. That is why it is important to renew the mind with God’s word. When we put Biblical principles above what our 5 carnal senses think or desire then we are operating in faith. (Ephesians 4: 23-27)

Faith in Jesus Christ is the key to all victory. Without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6) Why?

Because whoever comes to God in faith with their struggle or need, to seek his face for answers, will find that God is both willing and able to move on their behalf. (Hebrews 11:6-8)

 Scriptures tell us not to be conformed to the thinking of this world system but to be renewed in the spirit of our mind so that we will know God’s perfect will for our lives. (Romans 12:2)

Ps 119: 9-11 says that in order for our ways to line up with God’s ways we must seek the Lord with our whole heart. We do this through prayer, meditation and confession of the scriptures. (Psalms 119:15,Matthew 8:8, Romans 10:9,10, 1John 4:2, Jeremiah 1:17, Deuteronomy 18:18)

When the word of God dwells in our heart or spirit, then the word of God, by the Holy Spirit will keep us from yielding to the carnal desires and carnal ways of thinking. (Romans 6:13)

Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the word of God is like a double-edged sword that rightly divides our spirit from our flesh.

Our spirit will not be dictated to by the flesh or carnal nature when it becomes separated unto God. The spirit man must dominate the old man in order to crucify it to the world and to the ungodly desires of the carnal nature.   

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Galatians 6:14

Proverbs 23:7 tells us that a man is what he thinks he is. If we think God’s ways, then we will walk in God’s ways.   

The Bible also tells us that the Holy Spirit agrees with the word of God to produce Holy Spirit life in us. We cannot become godly or live a life that pleases God in our own ability. ( 1 John 5:7, Romans 8:8, John 6:63,)

Paul tells us that he kept his body under the control of the Holy Spirit constantly. He died daily to his carnal nature. (1 Cor. 9:27)

Without the Holy Spirit making us born of God we cannot crucify the carnal nature. Religion, which is Christianity without the Holy Spirit, is a mechanical carnal exercise that does not please God. (Romans 8:8) 

Jesus said you MUST be born again to enter into God’s kingdom. Only Holy Spirit can make one born of God. (John 3:3)

 I will give an example of the difference between the religious Christian and the Spiritual Christian.

I watched this documentary about a Savant who was musically “gifted.” His parents spent a lot of money on music teachers so that this kid could become a musical “genius”. When I listened to this savant play his music, I could sense in my spirit that he had a mechanical form of musical genius. This savant had the ability to copy and understand musical concepts, but the music he played sounded like it had no “soul.” Although he played well without any error, the sound he produced was a mechanical sound.

I wondered why this would be so. Then when a musician began to play along with this savant in a duet performance, immediately I sensed a big difference between them.

The musician’s playing had life or “soul.” My Spirit felt uplifted when I listened to his playing. Then when the Savant began to play, I understood what I was discerning. The Savant had a form of musical talent, but he did not have a real gift for music. He had a learned structural performance that was very mechanical. His music lacked “life.”

The savant knew all the cords and the structure of music, but he did not have a real feel for music. He had no inspirational influence.

If our ears are opened by the Holy Spirit it is impossible to be fooled by the mechanical performance of the religious Christian. It may look like a good performance but when the real Holy Spirit filled Christian comes along and operates in the dunamis power of the Holy Spirit, you will immediately sense the difference.

You will sense the life of the Spirit, the supernatural gift of God residing in the Holy Spirit filled Christian. (dunamis power)

The mechanical performance of the religious “Christian” is pale in comparison to the Holy Spirit inspired life of a born again Christian.

 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 2 Timothy 3:5-

The word of God and the Holy Spirit work together to crucify the carnal nature. We must have both in order to perform the Lord’s good pleasure. (Phil. 2:13)

When the word of God dwells in our hearts by faith, and is ignited by the dunamis power of the Holy Spirit then we will produce a life that pleases God. A Holy Spirit inspired life!

Grace Through Faith

The Bible tells us that we are saved by grace THROUGH faith.

Grace (charis) is defined as the divine influence upon the heart. A benefit of favour.

Paul uses the Greek word charis to define God’s favor bestowed by his Son Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

Paul is preaching to ancient Greeks who were idol worshippers.

Characteristics in ancient Greece were often personalized as gods in Greek culture.

In ancient Greek mythology Charis is a representation of several Greek goddesses known as the Charities whose characters are charm, beauty, goodwill, human creativity and fertility.

Paul was pointing out to the Gentiles (non Jews) that the benevolence of God acquired for us salvation through the death and resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ.

Grace or unmerited favor extended by God according to the scriptures must be accompanied by Faith in order for salvation to occur.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8,9

Some people preach that God’s grace saves in and of itself. This is not true.
While God’s grace poured out by his divine love is extended to all it is not realized by any until grace is received by faith.

What is faith? In ancient Greek mythology Pistis or Faith was the personification or god of good faith, trust and reliability.

It is the same in our common law. Faith or “good faith,” is having an honest and sincere intention.

Many believe faith to simply mean belief. Again this is not true. To intellectually believe something to be true does not mean one receives that truth for themselves.

I may believe that red peppers have a very high amount of vitamin C and are good for me but I may not want to eat them because I don’t like them or because I am not in the mood for them or I’m indecisive about other aspects concerning them. Maybe I think I may get heart burn if I eat them.

Believing something to be true does not mean adhering to that something personally.

Pistis in the Greek is faith which sincerely believes and trusts in something which in turn leads to conversion or changing from one particular thing into another. 

Pistis according to the ancient Greeks was faith or belief which came about by the act of persuasion.

To be fully persuaded is induced by evidence or proof which is given.

And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. Romans 4:21

Blind belief is not Biblical faith. God has given much evidence for his existence and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Examples of this are;

Jesus rising from the dead seen by many witnesses.

Witness testimony of the disciples.

The power of the Holy Spirit confirming the word through signs following.

Jesus mentioned by Jewish and Roman historians in their historical texts.

The testimonial of Christians throughout history.

The history of the Bible.

Nature itself.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/14/what-is-the-historical-evidence-that-jesus-christ-lived-and-died

In the Old Testament we can see an example of faith in action.

Abraham heard God’s voice telling him to follow him.

Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. Genesis 12:1-4

Abraham heard God’s voice speaking to him. What Abraham did not know is where he was going. Abraham trusted God because he was a friend of God. You don’t become someone’s friend without a bona-fide relationship.

According to the Bible, faith comes by hearing God’s word or voice. (rhema)

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

Evidences of faith are built by having a relationship with God.

This relationship requires obedience to his voice.

Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness.

For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Romans 4:3-5

Believing or Faith (pistis) in God requires trust. This trust is developed by having a relationship.

Paul used the word pistis to describe trust in God for his grace.

How is grace through faith received? The Bible tells us it is by repentance or metatoia.

Metatoia in ancient Greek meant changing one’s mind about something or some one. Metatoia was depicted by the ancient Greeks as a sorrowful goddess filled with regret for having failed or missed the moment.

In early Christian literature (See Tertillian) metanoia is expressed as a change in one’s thinking that leads to a fundamental change in behavior or way of living. This change is a key ingredient for receiving salvation.

Jesus made it very clear in scripture that without repentance there is no salvation.

I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Luke 13:3

In conclusion, God’s grace extended through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ the Savior is received by faith which is trusting in God through obedience to the truth.

Since you have purified your souls by obedience to the truth so that you have a genuine love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from a pure heart. 1Peter 1:22

This faith is realized by repentance or a turning away from one’s own ways to walk in obedience to the voice of God through his eternal word. 

But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. 1 Peter 1 :22

When this is done, God through his grace by faith imputes or accredits to the recipient his righteousness.

That is the convert now is in perfect standing with God. 

The Work of God 

The Book of James tells us that faith without works is dead being alone. How can we reconcile this doctrinal point with the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith alone?

In order to understand this conundrum we first need to understand the Biblical concept of works.

In the book of James the Greek word for works is ergon. This word means an occupation, an act, a deed, to labor.

In other words our ministry work in the kingdom of God.

James was addressing a problem he saw in the church. People claiming to know Jesus were giving preference to the rich while disregarding the needs of the poor.

James uses Abraham as an example to correct this.

James tells us how Abraham’s belief in God caused him to obey him by doing the deed that God asked him to do.

And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. Genesis 22:2

James tells us that Abraham’s works counted as righteousness. Not just his faith.

Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? James 2:21

Notice however that the work which Abraham was called to do was initiated not of himself but by God.

And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. Genesis 22:8

Also notice how that Abraham did not exactly sacrifice his son. It was God himself who provided the sacrifice. Therefore the work of Abraham in this case was really a work of God. God provided the sacrifice.

And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.” Genesis 22:13

This faith/works argument is one that divides joint from marrow. In other words they are different yet closely attached.

God’s work at the cross through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the only work which produces salvation.

To believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is the work of God. Scriptures testify to this.

“Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” John 6:29

Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness according to Paul.

“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Romans 4:3

The thief who received Jesus as his Savior at the cross never did a work except to believe on Jesus. Based on his belief he inherited eternal life.

 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. Luke 23:43

Therefore we can see that faith in Jesus Christ alone saves.

However, if we are really saved then we will produce fruits of righteousness. If there is no fruit in someone’s life who claims to know God, then it is doubtful there is true salvation.

 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. Acts 16:31

James says. “I will show you my faith by my works.”

This tells us that faith if it has no works is dead being alone. In other words faith that does not produce works is not a faith that is genuine.

Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” James 2:18

Herein lies the answer. Works that are initiated by the Holy Spirit are righteous works BUT  works in and of themselves do not constitute salvation!

Salvation is by faith alone without the deeds of the law. Our faith in Jesus Christ is counted as righteousness before God.

And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. Romans 11:6

I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. Galatians 2:21

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1

Works confirm that our faith is genuine.

And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful. Titus 3:14

This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men. Titus 3:18

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Our work in the kingdom of God (if initiated by God) will produce fruit that brings glory to God but our justification before God is by faith in Jesus Christ alone without the deeds of the law. Hebrews 13:21

The Light

The Light

The Bible says that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)

What exactly does being the light mean? Is it literal or metaphorical or both? In order to answer this question we need to understand what exactly light is.

Light by definition is both a noun and a verb. As a natural phenomena light makes things visible. When our visual receptors are stimulated we are able to see. Light is a form of energy that exists in tiny packets called photons.  Specifically light is electromagnetic radiation of any wave length that travels in a vacuum with a speed that makes the radiation visible to the natural eye.

As a verb light brings illumination or revelation of truth. To make something that was otherwise hidden, visible.

God is light. Jesus is the light of the world. He brings God’s truth into the world.

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life . (John 8:12)

To walk in darkness is to be blinded. Scriptures tell us that the god of this world has blinded the eyes of men. Without God’s light humanity is blinded to the truth of the gospel. (2 Corinthians 4:4)

Satan can also manifest as a false light, interestingly enough. (2 Corinthians 11:14 )

What this means is that the accuser can manifest as a messenger of artifical light.

Artifical light is a mirage. An optical illusion. When a light wave is bent by heated air across the sky, it can cause a visual phenomena called a mirage.

This type of optical illusion is what the satans (fallen angels, accusers) use. They bend truth, spout it out like hot air and create a deception. An artificial light.

God’s light illuminates truth. Satan’s light creates illusions, deceptions and distortions.

God who is light operates both in the natural and spiritual realm. These two realms coexist together and operate in parallels.

Ps. 18:28 tells us that God turns our darkness into light. Through the illumination of his Holy Spirit, God reveals his truth.

God’s light keeps our lamp or spiritual eyes illuminated as we continue in his word. The entrance or doorway to God’s light is through his word.

You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. Ps. 18:28

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119: 105

The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. Psalm 119: 130

God’s word is light.

Light is made up of 3 types of phenomena. 

Reflection is when a ray of light strikes a smooth surface and bounces off.
That is how we can see our reflection in the water.

In the same way the light of God’s presence in our life reflects the image of Jesus Christ.

Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Mathew 5:16

Jesus is the image of God in human form. God created a physical body and was born as a human being. Jesus is God in the flesh. The exact representation of God.

We are created as expressions of God. In his image. 

Tselem (Hebrew)
A resemblance or image.

Those born of God reflect his presence. We are lights in the darkness and also reflections representing him in this world.

The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

You are the light of the world

The next light phenomena is called  scattering. This is when light bounces off a rough object and reflects in all directions. 

For example when light shines on you through the clouds, instead of directly hitting you, light scatters. Only some of the rays are extended to you because of the object that is blocking.

That is why many times God spoke to the children of Israel through a cloud. No human can handle a direct onslaught of God’s light. It would destroy us. Kind of like being burned to a crisp when in direct sunlight. You need a barrier in order to handle it.

Today God speaks to us through his Son. The word manifest in the flesh. Human to human. God became human in order to to save us from sin. Also to represent himself to the world. (Hebrews 1:1-3)

Those born of God have God’s Holy Spirit residing in them. They are his lamps bringing his reflection or image to a lost world.

The lost who are in darkness cannot handle a direct onslaught of God’s light. They need to see and hear the truth through a filter, your temple!

Paul became blind when he got blasted with God’s light but he did get revelation knowledge of who Jesus Christ is.

Paul sees the light

God’s people represent him in this dark world. Human vessels carrying God himself to a lost world.

Refraction is when a ray of light passes from one transparent medium into another. Like from air to water. This causes the light to change speed which bends the light toward or away from the object.

Examples of light refraction are rainbows and sunsets.

God’s light in a rainbow reminds the world of his promise of grace and mercy.

Rainbow God’s promises are yes and amen.

The sunset reminds us that the night is here. The day of grace will one day be over.

Sunset

Jesus said the light of the body is the eye. If your eye is evil your body will be filled with darkness. If your eye is single then the whole body is full of light. (Matthew 6:22)

If the vision is filled with dark things then it will corrupt the body. Eventually if not corrected the body will be completely taken over with darkness. That is become completely corrupt.

If however your eye is single, that is clear without darkness then your whole body will be filled with light.

Light is composed of electric and magnetic fields or electromagnetic radiation.

 The fields vibrate at right angles to the direction of movement of the wave, and at right angles to each other.

God’s light radiates or emits illumination. God’s light goes into all the world. Each wave of light is a reflection of his image. God spreads forth his illumination through the gospel of Jesus Christ into all the world. He does this through his vessels that are filled with the Holy Spirit’s light.

When the electromagnetic radiation travels in a vacuum, at a speed of 186,000 miles per second (300,000 kilometers per second) this is the speed of light.

God’s light is traveling throughout all the world bringing illumination of his truth. Like the speed of light God’s light is traveling swiftly to bring his gospel message around the globe. Today the message of God’s love and salvation have reached millions of people. In the darkest of places the light of God has penetrated and continues to penetrate.

God is light and in him is no darkness at all. When his light comes into a place the darkness must flee.

This is why Jesus commanded. “Go into all the world and preach my gospel.”(Mark 16:15)

Go ye

Wherever you go, you bring God’s light. Wherever God’s light is the darkness has to leave.

Darkness cannot put out the light. When the light comes in it illuminates what was hidden in the darkness. It makes everything known.

One day the light will completely overtake all darkness. When this happens the King of glory will come in. He will rule and reign forever. His light will light up everything. There will not be any need for the sun or moon anymore because God’s light is sufficient. His light will reflect his presence throughout all the earth. Even into eternity. 

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Faith Obtained

Jesus said in his word that no one can come to him unless the Father draw him. To draw in this verse from John 6: 44 is the word helkuo which means to drag or haul to lead or compel.

The Holy Spirit must draw or compel a person to Jesus the Savior through convincing. He convinces them of their sin, their need for salvation and the judgement of sin on them in their fallen state. (John 16:8)

When this convincing by Grace or God’s mercy becomes compelling then faith must be obtained according to scriptures.     

“SIMON PETER, A SERVANT AND AN APOSTLE OF JESUS CHRIST, TO THEM THAT HAVE OBTAINED LIKE PRECIOUS FAITH WITH US THROUGH THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD AND OUR SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST.” 2 PETER 1:1

To obtain something is to get, acquire, or secure something.

The Greek word in this scripture is lagchanō which means to receive by divine allotment.

Faith is not earned by good deeds, intellectual prowess, or human ability. Faith is a divine attribute. Faith must be obtained or received.     

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” Eph 2:8

Scriptures tell us that Jesus obtained salvation for us.

 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. Hebrews 9:12

Obtain in this verse is the Greek word heurisko which means acquired, find, to get,   

To obtain is to get or acquire something.

How is faith obtained?

Faith is obtained by divine providence.  

By Grace or God’s divine mercy which draws by the Holy Spirit to Jesus Christ for salvation or whatever the need is, faith comes or is brough forth.

Faith comes. Faith is brought forth.

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

Faith is not a human attribute. It is divine or comes from God by hearing.   

Faith is obtained by hearing. Akoe To hear or incline the ear.

To what?

 The word (gospel message) being preached. (proclaimed)

It is through preaching the word is heard.

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 1 Corinthians 1:21

Faith is obtained by hearing God’s word preached. (proclaimed)  

Let me simplify this spiritual principle.  

The Father has sent the Holy Spirit to draw or compel by convincing of a need. (Whether salvation or deliverance or whatever)

Then when convinced of the need faith is obtained or acquired by grace or God’s mercy.

God’s mercy has inclined the ear to hear.

Faith is obtained or acquired in order to receive by hearing. (Having a hearing ear by the Holy Spirit’s work) through the preaching or proclaiming of God’s word. (Rhema living word of Christ)

Dear Father draw us by your Holy Spirit to recognize our need. Give us ears to hear your word being spoken to us by your Holy Spirit. Grant unto us by your grace the ability to receive what you are telling us and help us to apply it to our lives. In Jesus name. Amen.  

True Worshipers

True Worshipers



 In John 4:19-20, the Samaritan women said to Jesus, (after he told her information about her life) “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.”

In response Jesus says to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 

Samaria was a part of Israel that many Jews avoided. They would go around, taking a longer journey when going to Jerusalem from Galilee, rather than go through Samaria  

The Samaritans were Israelites from northern Israel who historically were part of the Assyrian captivity. (2 Kings 17:24-29) They had intermarried with settlers from other nations who occupied northern Israel.

The Samaritans were not thought of as Israelites by the Judeans, but rather as “people of the Mesopotamian city of Kutha/כותה‎’, which refers in itself to a certain reception of the passage 2 Kings 17.24, Josephus’ Antiquities.

While holding to many Jewish beliefs and customs which included looking for the Messiah, the Samaritans believed that because they had come to live on Mount Gerizim they were called (because of Moses), to protect it as a sacred mountain.

The Samaritans also held different theological and political beliefs than the Judaeans in the south of Israel. While the Samaritans worshipped YHWH they had competing temples. Mt. Gerizim was the Samaritan sanctuary while the Judeans worshipped in the temple built by King Solomon in Jerusalem.

They also had different religious texts. The Samaritans had 5 books of the Torah in their Samaritan Pentateuch with a Samaritan twist, including the Mount Gerizim doctrine. The Samaritans rejected much of the Hebrew Masoretic text consisting of 24 books.

The Samaritan women at the well was told by Jesus that the Samaritans did not know what they worshiped but the Judeans knew what they worshipped. This was due to the fact that the Samaritans had little knowledge of God because they rejected much of the Hebrew text.

Also many Samaritans mixed Hellenistic ideology into their culture. (The idea of reasoning, science, moral ethics based on human standards.)

After the conquest by Alexander the Great in 332 BC, the Samaritans, like all other people groups in the region, came under the influence of Greek culture. The Samaritans in time developed their own form of Hellenism.

Fragments of Samaritan literature in Greek, as well as a number of Greco-Samaritan inscriptions ( In Palestine and the diaspora) testify to this. The Ancient Samaritans and Greek Culture Pieter W. van der Horst Faculty of Theology, Utrecht University (Emeritus), 3512 JE Utrecht, The Netherlands

The Hebrew text confirms the temple of Jerusalem as the place where YHWY was to be worshipped. That is why Jesus said, “we know what we worship.”  

“The Lord said to him: ‘I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.” 1 Kings 9:2-4

The Samaritans rejected the Judean authority of scriptures and their oral law.

Jesus made it clear to the Samaritan woman that the hour would come when neither on Mount Gerizim nor in Jerusalem would the Father be worshiped. For two reasons. Both temples would eventually be destroyed but also after Jesus’ death and resurrection those who were true worshippers of YHWY would now worship Him in spirit and in truth.

No longer would those two temples be necessary anymore because after Jesus’ death and resurrection the temple veil in Jerusalem was ripped in two, giving direct access to God for his worshippers. Jesus would now be the high priest and intercessor of his people.

Jesus told the Samaritan women that God is a Spirit and requires his worshipers to worship him from a spiritual perspective. Not from a religious perspective based on a physical temple.

YHWY no longer lives in a temple made by hands. Those who are born of God by his Holy Spirit are God’s temple. He resides in the born again spirit of his elect, chosen from the foundation of the world. Ephesians 1:4

 Jesus said, “You must be born again to enter the kingdom of God.” John 3:3


Jesus continues in John 3, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So, it is with everyone born of the Spirit”

To be born again is to be born of God, born of his Holy Spirit. (Regenerated into a new spiritual person.) Mark 1:15;  Acts 2:38

How can one become born again in order to become a child of God and enter his kingdom?

Consider the following scriptures.

The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel. Mark 1:15

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:36

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.” John 5:1        

Father God is waiting for your Return!

In Luke chapter 15 Jesus is ministering to people with backgrounds contrary to the social norm of the society in which he lived. The religious people were upset about it. They could not understand why Jesus would spend his time speaking to outcasts.

Jesus explains through three different parables how important a lost soul is to God. He likens the lost person to sheep having gone astray from the fold.

In shepherding societies the animals tended are very important. They represent a family’s whole livelihood.

Shepherds bond to their animals. They are very protective against predators. In fact when a shepherd is successful in defending his herd they are highly esteemed by the village. It takes great courage to defend the fold against a predator. Sometimes at the cost of the shepherd’s life.

A valiant shepherd will gain prestige among his people by being a faithful and brave shepherd.

The people of Jesus’ day understood shepherding concepts. To find a lost sheep was a very rewarding experience.

Pastoral societies value their animals so much that they will defend them with their very lives.

When Jesus likened sinners to lost sheep this placed a value upon them that the religious people did not share.

The next story that Jesus tells reveal again his love for sinners. This is the story of a woman who having ten pieces of silver lost one of them. The woman discovering her loss lights a candle in order to see clearly. Then she sweeps the house looking diligently for the lost silver coin.

Silver was a currency commonly used in Jesus’ day. It was an international currency. A silver coin could be a day’s wages to some people back then and because silver was extracted using human labor, that made it even more valuable. To lose a days wages was to experience a grave hardship.

Jesus reveals to the religious people of his day that a lost soul was like a lost silver coin. In God’s kingdom a lost soul being found and restored to Father God has such value that it causes all heaven to rejoice.

I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who don’t need repentance. Luke 15:7

In order to hit home with his point Jesus gives to the religious people a third story. The number 3 according to Biblical application is the number of completion. In the Hebrew language the number 3 is shelos which means harmony, new life, and completeness.

His next story ties every thing together. Not only does Jesus love the individual lost sinner but Jesus reveals in this last story his love for all lost sinners of every nation.

Jesus talks about a man who had 2 sons. The elder son was the heir to his father’s estate and the younger while having no legitimate inheritance was provided for by means of the Father’s kindness.

The younger son not only represents a rebellious sinner wanting his own way instead of staying in his Father’s house but also represents the Gentiles who the Lord sees as being lost, in need of his salvation. Jesus called them his sheep of another fold.

And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they shall hear My voice; and they shall become one flock with one shepherd. John 10:16

Eating with sinners was a repulse thing to the religious people of Jesus’ day. Not only because they were participating in unlawful activities but because many of these outcasts were working for the Roman empire (Gentiles) and considered by the religious people to be unclean by association.

Jesus’ parable insulted the Pharisees’ concept of righteousness. To have contact with Gentiles was a taboo thing in their laws. To add insult to injury the religious people were told by Jesus that the elder son whom they knew represented the heir or Abrahamic covenant was not the only one loved by God.

The younger son represented the Gentile nations. He was loved so much that after his return the Father rejoiced by putting on a celebration. 

The prodigal story is really a twofold story about God’s love for individual sinners but also his desire to restore Gentiles to Father God.

The far country represents nations in lands far away who lived lifestyles in which the elder son would find offensive. That is why Jesus refers to the prodigal son as living among swine or those who are unclean.

Jesus made known to those religious elders that love for the sinner was extended by God to the Gentile nations. This is why they were so angry. To offer the Gentiles an inheritance in God’s kingdom was to oust the religious people out of their prestigious position. The religious leaders did not like that one bit.

To give a Gentile swine a robe was to give him a place of distinction along with the elder son or heir.
Only a man of honor was given a robe. A common man wore only simple clothing.

A ring was also a sign of honor or prestige. Servants or slaves never wore a ring. Neither did a common man.

The fact that the Father gave the prodigal swine dweller a robe and a ring meant that he was valued by the Father.

Then the 3rd thing the Father did in completion of his celebration was to kill the fatted calf. This was another indication that Jesus was referring to the Gentile nations. A calf represents idolatry. The repentant idolater was being received by Father God. Also, to feast on a fatted calf was a delicacy in Jesus’ day. In effect Jesus was saying that God would celebrate the return of the one who was once a sinner idol worshiper.

The religious people were totally insulted over these parables that Jesus told. Jesus referred to them as being angry like the elder son because God loves prodigal sinners and desires them to repent and become a part of his family.

Are you a prodigal far away from the Father’s house? Are you tired of your wayward life? Feeling desperate in your famine? Jesus wants you to come to him and be saved. He wants to restore you to Father God today!

Father God loves you so much that he is searching for you. Shining his light on your heart. Revealing to you your need for his love.

If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18