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Remember Lot’s Wife?

Remember Lot’s wife?

This is the admonition Jesus gave to his disciples concerning his coming again.

Let’s recollect about Lot’s wife.

Before Lot and his family left Sodom the angels gave the Lord’s command.

Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.”

Lot’s wife however disobeyed the word of the Lord and turned into a pillar of salt.

Now why do you suppose she would do that? Obviously it was more than just curiosity.

To “look back” in this scripture is the Hebrew word nâbaţ which means to look intently at, to regard with pleasure and care, to consider, to have respect for.

This means that Lot’s wife had an affinity to the place she was leaving. A sentiment for her home. An emotional attachment to the people she was leaving behind.

Jesus goes on after giving this admonition to say in Luke chapter 17,

Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall preserve it.

“Losing our life” is the key point that the Lord is telling us here.

According to scriptures our lives are not our own. We were bought with a price.

“To lose” in this scripture means to die. Apollumi in the Greek. Which means to put to death or consider non operative.

Paul says that he dies daily. Death to self and the world is an every day thing.

Did you know that if we love the world or the things of the world then God’s love does not reside in us?

A sure way to tell a true Christian from a false one is if they are accepted by the world and if they love the things of the world.

What are the things of the world? Anything that the world esteems highly!

What does the world esteem highly?

John (1John 2) tells us that the things of the world are whatever your flesh or carnal nature lust after. Whatever your eyes lust after and whatever outside of God makes you feel prideful or you boast about.

So let me put this in modern terms. Whatever the world is running after, craving, pursuing, seeking for, desiring, addicted to, loving, and is their heart’s desire.

If you love those things too then you are not one of the Lord’s disciples. Sure you may believe in Jesus Christ but even the devil believes in God.

Remember that Jesus gave this warning.

Another way to tell a true Christian from a false one is how much they brag about themselves. How worthy they are. How blessed they are. How many special qualities they have. How wonderful their position in life is. How awesome their works are. How great life is treating them. Basically whatever is all about them.

Paul said that he boasted only in the Lord. He put no confidence in his own abilities. He boasted in being weak so that God could demonstrate HIS power through him.

Galatians 6:14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Jesus told us as recorded by Luke(14) that if we desire to follow Jesus Christ and become one of his disciples then we must take up our cross. That is we must be willing to suffer like he did.

How did Jesus Christ suffer?

He was misunderstood, persecuted, judged, bullied, hated, ridiculed, beaten, and even put to death.

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12

Remember Lot’s wife? She turned into a pillar of salt for looking back to what God judged as evil. In the Hebrew pillar is netsîyb which means a post or garrison.

God made Lot’s wife into a sign post. For all with eyes to see. A reminder to “don’t look back.”

John 15:18-25

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep your’s also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also.

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Being a Light

When we think of the word offend we think of it according to the English definition (To insult one’s standard or principles) 

The Bible has a different definition depending on the context of the verse but ultimately have the same connotations. To offend someone does not mean to insult someone’s principles but rather to cause someone to fall.

Offend in the Hebrew  language has several definitions. It can be translated as châbal which means to pervert, corrupt or spoil.

It can be translated as bâgad which means to deal deceitfully, be treacherous or unfaithful.

It can be mikshôl which is to be a stumbling block or cause to fall.

It can be âsham which means to perish, become desolate, be found guilty, to trespass.

In the Greek language the word offend can be translated as skandalizō , skandalon or ptaiō which all mean to entrap, to trip up, to entice to sin, to cause to stumble.

In effect, “to offend” according to scripture means: to cause someone to fall, be a stumbling block, to corrupt, cause to err, to pervert, to spoil,

Jesus tells us how seriously he takes this sin.

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 18:6

The epistles of the apostles reiterate this admonition.

But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 1 Corinthians 8:9

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. Roman’s 14:13

What the Bible is telling us is to try and live our life in such a way that our conscience is clean. Even if it means giving up something that would cause others to reject Jesus Christ.

In this way we can be a witness in the world.

Now we are not going to be able to please everyone and some people will find fault with us no matter how holy we live but we must not deliberately offend or be nonchalant in our witness.

Paul said he became all things to all people that he might win them to Christ. In other words wherever he went he respected (within reason) the culture he was in. He maintained his Christian witness while not offending anyone on purpose.

To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 1 Corinthians 9:22

The cross in and of itself is an offense to some people. They may behave very inappropriately towards Christians if they have an offense towards the gospel. If they do that they may cause themselves to stumble away from the truth. (1 Corinthians 1:22)

However, as Christians we must in all good conscience live in the light, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and not be a stumbling block deliberately to another person.

That means not causing anyone to do anything that goes against their conscience or doing anything in front of someone that may cause them to fall even if we have liberty to do it.

Jesus gave us an example in scriptures. He paid his taxes so as not to offend, he took a lowly position in order to not be offensive to others, he fulfilled all righteousness even though he was Lord of all and he remained humble throughout his walk in this earth.

Jesus tells us that just as he laid down his life to be a benefit for others so should we lay down our lives for the benefit of others. It does not matter if it causes us discomfort, rejection, or ridicule.

What matters is that we do not offend in all conscience by putting a stumbling block before others.

A perfect example of this is Paul’s attitude in dealing with the Corinthians.

Wherefore, if meat causeth my brother to stumble, I will eat no flesh for evermore, that I cause not my brother to stumble.

1 Corinthians 8:13

Dear Father in Jesus name help us to not be a stumbling block to others in this world. Give us your wisdom in every situation. Let your light shine through us always. Amen

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Have the Same Mind!

1 Peter 4:1,2 tells Christians that just as Jesus Christ suffered for us in the flesh, we should also have the same mind, for whoever suffers in the flesh ceases to live a life according to the desires of the carnal nature. Those living in the Spirit live according to the will of God. 

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Romans 8:14

What does Peter mean by suffering in the flesh?

Suffering is experiencing discomfort and even pain. Peter is referring to suffering in the body or physical pain. The body is still in an unredeemed state and if allowed to will sin like the dickens! Peter is telling Christians that the body needs to be crucified or put down so that the life of Christ in our spirit can live for God according to God’s will.

Putting the body or carnal nature down (not allowing it to rule ) is not something we can do in our own power.

Romans 8:13 tells us that if we live according to the flesh or sin nature we will die. The flesh wants all kinds of things that can kill us. Junk food, addictions, entertainment, laziness and much more! The bible says that those who live in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:8)

Living for self is harmful. The desires of the flesh and the carnal mind will lead to spiritual dysfunction, physical ailments, and emotional sickness.

God gives us his remedy for putting down the flesh. He tells us that if we mortify or put to death the desires of the flesh by the Spirit that dwells in us then we will live or have an abundant life as promised by Jesus in the gospels.

Let’s take a look at the suffering of Jesus Christ according to Isaiah 53.

Peter tells us to have this same mind concerning suffering.

According to this prophecy Jesus Christ was despised.

To be despised means to not be valued. To be seen as worthless. Our flesh wants to be valued and praised and adored but sometimes in order to do God’s will we my have to be despised. Not everyone will like us and in fact they may even hate us. Preaching the gospel for another’s benefit or serving someone who does not like us may actually be bringing them a benefit. 

Our flesh does not like to suffer shame and humiliation but sometimes it is necessary in order to accomplish God’s will in certain situations.

Jesus Christ gave his life for his enemies. He loved those who did not love him back. Are we armed with this mindset?

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. John 15:18-20

Jesus was rejected because his values are not appreciated by some people. We may not be liked or valued or accepted ether by those who are not disciples of Jesus Christ. Are we armed with this mindset?

 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Luke 6:22

Jesus was afflicted. That means he had to endure pain, abuse, bullying and scoffing. Are we armed with this mindset?

How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. Jude 1:18

Jesus bore our sorrows, he endured shame, he bore our griefs, and he carried our burdens.

Galatians 6: 2 tells us to bear one another’s burdens. This means that when we are armed with the mindset of Jesus Christ, we come alongside another and help them carry their burden. Whether it’s in prayer, giving, ministering, helping, or serving. Even if it is not appreciated.

Paul tells us that we are to consider our sufferings in this world to be unworthy of the glory that will be revealed in us. Jesus suffered for us and as his children we are to have the same mindset.

Our flesh wants pleasure not suffering. We want recognition, respect and rewards for our good deeds, but Jesus tells us to love like he does, unconditionally. That means no strings.  

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Jesus bore sorrow, pain, and grief for our sake so that through his affliction he could bring us healing. Jesus was wounded so that through his stripes we could receive forgiveness, healing, and restoration.

Jesus endured the cross and the shame so that he could bring many out of darkness and make them his children. When we are armed with this mindset, we can endure our sufferings for the benefit of others.

Jesus Christ’s suffering brought us not only salvation but righteousness and justification. He suffered in patience and endurance because he knew what the outcome would be. Armed with Jesus Christ’s mindset we can patiently wait for a good outcome too.

No suffering in this life is pleasant scriptures tell us BUT it is working out for us a far greater work of glory.  

Think about that! When we patiently endure and prayer then God will walk through our suffering with us. He will help us carry our burdens so that we can bear up under it.

The outcome of our suffering will come in God’s perfect timing. Just trust him for faithful is he who has promised.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you in your weakness to keep your flesh down so it doesn’t react to injustice.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. Psalm 34:19

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A Greater Authority

In Luke chapter 7 of the Bible, Jesus goes to Capernaum and finds a centurion’s servant is dying.

The centurion had sent elders of the synagogue to ask Jesus to come heal his servant.

These elders told Jesus that this man, the centurion was “worthy” to be healed because of the good deeds he had done for their people. He had even built a synagogue for them.

Jesus went with these religious leaders and when he was almost there the centurion sent a message. He said, “Don’t trouble yourself to come because I am not worthy for you to come under my roof. I know that you have authority in your kingdom to make a command just as I have authority in my kingdom and it will be done. Just say the word and I know what you command will be done. ” (My paraphrase)

Jesus marveled at the centurion’s faith. Now it is true that the centurion did not have to see Jesus in person to know the command of healing would be done ( which it was ) but the faith Jesus marveled at was that the centurion recognized a greater authority than the Roman world authority.

The centurion recognized this because he considered himself to be unworthy for Jesus to enter his house. The centurion recognized that the kingdom of God is greater than the authority of Rome or the world system.

The centurion saw himself as a man of worldly authority who submitted to the greater authority of the kingdom of God and the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

The centurion recognized that even though he was put in a position of prestige having worldly authority in the land, that he was considered unworthy in the kingdom of God. His position he held in the world held no weight in the kingdom of God.

This recognition of the human sin nature (being unworthy) allowed the centurion to humble himself as an
unworthy person or in other words he put himself in a subservient position to a greater authority than the authority of Rome.

In other words the centurion recognized that Jesus was other worldly or from a kingdom not of this world. Therefore being familiar with athourity he knew that Jesus just had to say a word and the healing would occur.

This is the gospel message. Recognition of one’s sinful or unworthy nature, recognizing the need to be in subjection to Jesus Christ and his authority and trusting in Jesus Christ as the head of the kingdom of God with the power to save and to heal.

Jesus marveled at the centurion’s faith because he knew the steps to salvation. Recognizing one’s unworthiness and inability to save one’s self and being in submission to the authority of Jesus Christ for salvation.

What about you? Are you trusting in your “worthiness” because of all the good works you have done like those religious leaders did?

Jesus marvels at the faith of the person who recognizes their unworthiness and looks to his authority to be saved and healed.

Call on Jesus Christ to save and heal you.  All the authority and prestige of the world system will never get you into heaven.

Simple recognition of your inability to save yourself is the first step to salvation. Once you recognize that then you can call on Jesus Christ the King of all kings to save you from your sin.

If you do that then you can be saved, forgiven. healed and given eternal life. You will become a member of the kingdom of God!

Whoever calls on the Lord shall be saved. Roman’s 10:13

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The Battle is the Lord’s

In 2 Chronicles 20 an army of Moabites, Ammonites, Meunites and Edomites came out to make war with Jehoshaphat King of Israel. These nations were enemies of YHWY’s people. They served other gods or the demonic realm.  

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12   

Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast and began to seek the Lord for his help. He cried to the Lord in his distress. “If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.” 2 Chronicles 20:9

Then the Lord’s Holy Spirit gave a word to those seekers.  The LORD says this to you: ‘Don’t be afraid or worry about this large army, because the battle is not your battle. It is God’s battle!”

God gave instructions to the Israelites. Do not be afraid, go battle against them. You are not alone in this battle. Stand firm. Be still and see the Lord bring you deliverance. Then they thanked the Lord and worshipped him.

Then Jehoshaphat got up in the morning and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.”

In other words, believe that the Lord is with you in the battle, don’t be afraid, believe his word, and you will have the victory!    

By faith, the Israelites began to sing praise to the Lord as they went out to war. Praise is an important factor in spiritual warfare. Important to note is that they praised God because of his great mercy. When they did this the Lord set ambushments (a surprise attack by people lying in wait in a concealed position) against the enemy and they were defeated.

In Joshua 6, we see another battle take place where the Lord gives his directive.   

Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. Joshua 6:17,

The walls of Jericho were designed to be a defence or an evil stronghold. The Lord told Joshua that he had given the city into his hands. Jericho means a place of concealment. A stronghold where the enemy is hiding or sets up camp. In other words, the Lord will show us where the enemy is hiding. He will expose him and lead us by his Holy Spirit in bringing down the stronghold.  

Once the stronghold was revealed then the Lord said to Joshua that he would give him the victory. His directive was to march around Jericho seven times with the ark of the covenant and then shout the victory.

In military warfare an army marches because it builds confidence. In other words, it raises your level of faith. Marching is a training discipline for warfare. To march is to prepare, be ready, get positioned for battle.

On the seventh march the Israelites blew the trumpets. This was a signal of military strength. “We are coming in to take the land!”

Then Joshua told the army of Israelites to “shout for the Lord has given you the city!”

The military shout or battle cry is a direct confrontation to the enemy. We are coming to take you down!  Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. Zechariah 4:6

After the victory shout the walls of the city fell down. The Lord broke through and the city was taken.

In 2 Samuel 5:18,19, when the Philistines came against David in the valley of Rephaim, David sought the Lord. “Shall I go up to the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into mine hand? And the Lord said unto David, Go up: for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into thine hand.”

Again, we see that seeking the Lord is the first principle of spiritual warfare. Fasting usually accompanies it. Then David went to war after the Lord gave him instruction. The Lord gave him the victory! The Lord broke through for him!

To breakthrough is a military strategy. To move through or beyond an obstacle.

“A breakthrough occurs when an offensive force has broken or penetrated an opponent’s defensive line, and rapidly exploits the gap.” https://military.wikia.org/wiki/Breakthrough_(military)

Once there is a breakthrough then the gap can be widened to completely eradicate the enemy’s stronghold.  

 And David came to Baalperazim, and David smote them there, and said, The Lord hath broken forth upon mine enemies before me, as the breach of waters. Therefore, he called the name of that place Baalperazim. 2 Samuel 5:20

Our God is the God of the breakthrough! It is he who causes us to triumph through Jesus Christ the Lord!

Seek for the Lord’s strategy, have faith, trust, pray, declare the word of God, praise and stand and see the salvation of our God!

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“I Have Seen the Lord!”

It is interesting to note that the very first person that Jesus revealed himself to after he was risen from the dead was Mary Magdalene.

Why do you think that was? Something to think about!

Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. Mark 16:9

Mary Magdalene was one of Jesus’ disciples. She is mentioned many times in the gospels.

Because Mary was a common name of the time and several other women called Mary followed Jesus too the name Magdalene was given to distinguish her from the others.

Mary was probably from Magdala. A fishing village in Galilee. This is interesting because Mary Magdalene was the first evangelist to go and tell others that Jesus was risen from the dead!

And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. Matthew 4: 19

Mary Magdalene was a disciple of Jesus Christ who also supported his ministry.

Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means. Luke 8:1-56

Mary Magdalene was a woman that had seven demons cast out of her. Why would scriptures mention that Mary Magdalene had 7 devils cast out of her?

Scriptures do not tell us that any of the disciples had demons cast out of them. To be demonized meant she had some kind of suffering. Maybe sickness or trauma or a sinful lifestyle. We don’t really know. What we do know is that Mary Magdalene became devoted to Jesus Christ. This means that whatever ailments she had she was truly grateful to be healed! 7 is the Hebrew number for perfection. Mary Magdalene’s healing was complete. She was made whole!

Mary Magdalene stood faithfully with Jesus as he was crucified. She never fled. She was there praying.

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son[of God!”

There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. Mark 27:50-56

This may be one of the reasons why Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus Christ risen from the dead and was commissioned to tell the disciples about it.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic,“Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her. John 20:11-18

Since women’s testimony was generally excluded under Jewish law the fact that Jesus revealed himself to Mary Magdalene first and commissioned her to tell the other disciples is significant.

“Women were not allowed to testify in court. In effect, this categorized them with Gentiles, minors, deaf-mutes, and “undesirables” such as gamblers, the insane, usurers, and pigeon-racers, who were also denied that privilege. (On the other hand, a king could not bear witness in court, nor could the Messiah, which somewhat lessens the stigma of that restriction.) ” https://jewsforjesus.org/publications/newsletter/newsletter-jun-1988/the-role-of-women-in-the-bible/

Jesus never put man’s traditions above his Kingdom. His ways are not man’s ways.

And he said to them, ‘Well do ye put away the command of God that your tradition ye may keep; Mark 7:9

God sees differently than man sees. People value traditions, prestige, success and position.

Jesus sees into the heart. He judges by what is inside a person. He looks at the character.

Many times in scriptures we see what it is that God values.

Jesus values loyalty to him. 
Lowliness of mind,
Faithfulness to his ways
Commitment to his gospel
Obedience to his commands
Zeal for his glory
Faith in his word.

These are the characteristics that we can see in Mary Magdalene.

This is why Mary Magdalene was chosen to begin the very first evangelist outreach.

Have I not said if you would believe you would see the glory of God? John11:40

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Abide in the Vine

In John Chapter 15, Jesus gives a parable about a vineyard.

He says that he is the true vine, the Father is the Farmer and his disciples are the branches.

Just as a branch cannot produce fruit without the vine neither can we produce fruit without Jesus Christ.

Every branch in Jesus Christ is pruned so that it will produce fruit. No fruit can be produced without pruning.

Pruning is a part of growing in the Lord. Pruning requires taking away the old so that the new will grow.

This process can be painful. We are set in our ways and don’t like change. But in order to produce Holy Spirit fruit in our lives we must yield to the pruning process. Out with the old man filled with dry old ways of doing things and yielding to the sharp pruning tools of the Father.

Jesus tells us to abide in him. Continue in his word which is able to make us into what the Lord wants us to be. Filled with Holy Spirit fruit!

Just as a vine cannot produce fruit by itself neither can we produce fruit without Jesus Christ.

If we continue in the Lord we will produce much fruit.

Pruning the vine every spring just before growth begins allows the branches to have enough air movement around them to reduce disease.

Heavy pruning of the vine provides the best fruit.

While pruning may be needed throughout the year, pruning is best done when the vine is dormant, just before growth begins in spring.

Dormancy is when the plant slows down. Its metabolism, energy consumption, and growth are at a slow pace.

Sometimes when we seem to be inactive, placed on the shelf, that is when the pruning happens. Our lives in a winter stage while seeming to be going no where are in reality being pruned.

Reflection. Repentance. Seeking the Lord. Searching for answers. Giving up of sin. Intense prayer. Dying to self.

The winter stage many times can be rough going but harsh winters with much pruning produce a great harvest of fruit.

In order for a grape vine to flourish it must have plenty of sun shine. In the same way we must have plenty of Holy Spirit saturation.

If a vine has little light it will eventually dry up and die.

In his presence is fullness of joy. We get inspired in God’s presence, strengthened and empowered.

Being in the sun reduces pest problems too. That old devil and his varmints hate the light. The more light the less devil problems.

The vine also needs plenty of water for the roots to grow and expand deep into the ground. The branches can’t produce a healthy life flow without plenty of the water.

Being watered with the word makes us grow in the Lord.

Without the water of the word our roots will shrivel and die or at the very least be stunted in growth.

Roots need to be soaked in water before planting. This is significant because a vine produces healthy branches only after a deep saturation.

The more of the word we are saturated in, the more we become grounded in the truth. It is hard to dig up deep rooted plants.

It is interesting to note that a grapevine needs some type of support system or the branches will trail along the ground. In the same way we need support to grow properly. Without proper support the Lord’s disciples will become bogged down, carrying a lot of burden.

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

Another important factor in a healthy vineyard is to weed constantly. If weeds grow under the grape vine the soil temperature will stay cooler. This will delay growth.

The cares of this life if not dealt with will choke the branches from receiving life from the vine. We need to hoe out all those worldly cares and troubles. Being diligent to guard our hearts against anything that will clog up our spiritual life.

Jesus tells us that if we continue in him then we will be fruitful but if not then we will wither and possibly die.

A healthy branch abides in the vine and produces much fruit!

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. John 15:7-9

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Forgiveness

The scriptures tell us that according to the law of Moses without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness or remission of sins.

The KJV uses the word remission which is more than just forgiveness. It means to be set free from sin and its consequence.

Remission in the Greek, is aphesis, which means forgiveness, deliverance and liberty. To not only be forgiven (letting go as if they had never been committed), but to be released from the bondage or imprisonment of the penalty for sin.

Sin has consequence. Under the law, a life must be given up for a life. The soul that sins shall die. Romans 6:23

Jesus, who was without sin, gave his life up for the sinner who repents and forsakes their sin. Repentance is a big factor in the remission process. Without repentance there is no forgiveness of sin. In order to receive this remission of sin, one must repent.

Without repentance, there is no remission of sins. Acts 2:38

 Repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out. Acts 3:19

Repentance Metanoeo in the Greek is to have a change of mind for the better. To turn from sin or breaking God’s laws. To be converted to God’s word. That is to receive the gospel’s truth.

But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. Isaiah 52:9

Sin has consequence. It produces death. Not just eternal death but death as in no life of God. It separates us from God. He does not hear prayer, we lose our joy, and we can become fearful, sick and weak.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Galatians 6:7

The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction. Galatians 6:8

He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Proverbs 28:13

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Revelation 3:19

Scriptures tell us that it is FAITH IN THE BLOOD that saves from the penalty of sin. When we repent and turn to the truth of the gospel we must have faith in the blood of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sin.

Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; Romans 3:25

We cannot save ourselves by good works or good deeds.

Romans Chapter 3 tells us that under the law we all are condemned to die eternally because of sin. Unless we turn to Jesus Christ for the remission of our sin.

Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. Romans 3:25

Once we are forgiven by repentance and faith in the blood of Jesus Christ then we are made righteous before God as if we have never sinned.

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Romans 5:21

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: Philippians 3:9

If we confess our sin to God, repent of our sin and have faith in the Blood of Jesus Christ we can be forgiven and made righteous by God as if we have never sinned.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. John 1:9

  


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God Declares HIS Word.

Have you ever heard of the idiom don’t put the cart before the horse?

What it means is don’t do things in the wrong order.

A spiritual principle many get out of order is the act of declaration.

To declare is to say something emphatically or to make it officially known.

A recent Christian trend today is to “declare God’s word.”

While it is true that God’s word has power to save, heal, provide and deliver, what is not true is that if you declare God’s word enough times that it will cause miracles to happen.

Not only is this not a Biblical concept but it is rather occultist in its application.

Let me explain.

To declare in the Hebrew is nâgad which means to announce, expose, predict or profess. To bring a report or speak forth an utterance.

Let’s look at the word used in context.

According to Genesis 41:24 the King of Babylon asked his magicians to interpret his dream but they were not able to declare it.

In other words magicians cannot declare a thing that God has hidden.

We know however from that story that Daniel was able to interpret the dream after prayer and fasting because God revealed the information to him. Then Daniel  was able to bring forth the interpretation to the king.

In Deuteronomy 1:5 Moses declared the law to the people.

Remember that the law was given to Moses through revelation from God. After the law was revealed to him then he declared it.

In Judges 12:12-14, Samson put forth a riddle and asked the Philistines to declare it to him but they could not. So the Philistines used devious methods through Delilah in order to obtain the interpretation of the riddle.

In Kings Chapter 22 we see that Micaiah declared the word of the Lord while the other prophets declared the word out of their own hearts to please the king. I guess they valued their heads more than they valued God’s revealed word.

In the book of Job we find God demanding Job to declare to him all his mysteries since he thought he had the mind of God and knew all the answers.

In Psalms 2:7, David says that he will declare the word that God has spoken unto him. David often declared God’s word that was revealed to him.

Now let’s go to the New Testament.

Declare in the Greek is phrazō which means to indicate by word or act. To expound upon.

Matthew tells us that Jesus declared to his disciples what his parables meant. He expounded to them his word.

John 17: 26, relaying Jesus’ prayer to the Father he said that he had declared his word to his disciples.

In Acts 13, the disciples declared the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In the book of Romans and other epistles Paul and John declare Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.

Do you see a pattern here?

When the word “declare” is used in scriptures it is used to make an announcement of a particular truth of God that is revealed to a person.

That being said, the word “declare” is not used in reference to making something happen.

It is used in cases when the word of God is revealed or expounded upon which bring revelation to the recipient. 

Then the word that is revealed is declared according to the publishing of it for a divine purpose.

The scriptures being declared at random for the purpose of receiving an outcome of one’s own desire is not a Biblical concept.

Why then do people do it? Probably to try and force God to do what they want.

Like I said when used in that way declaration actually becomes a form of manipulation. Manipulating through the use of scripture for personal benefit.

In its proper order we declare the word of God when God has revealed it to us by his Holy Spirit for his purposes. What is revealed in scripture many times had perquisites attached to them. Unless one is in obedient to the perquisite it is a useless objective to declare that particular word.

As the Lord reveals his word to our heart and we walk in obedience to that revealed word then we can be assured that God’s word declared to us will come to pass!

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Ephesians 6:2 Honor thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise) that it may be well with thee,

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

Isaiah 26:3, Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee.

1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.

Deuteronomy . 11:26-28 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God.”

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DO YOU NEED A MIRACLE?

Jesus performed many mighty miracles in certain cities in Israel but they still refused to repent.

Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not. Matthew 11: 20

What did these cities not repent of?

We have to read the whole Chapter of Matthew 11 to find out.

Jesus was preaching and teaching the people. He explained to them that John the Baptist was the greatest prophet of the OT because he came proclaiming Christ the Messiah. John was the messenger preparing people to receive Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah. The people as a whole did not believe John’s message.

Then Jesus goes on to say that people criticized John for his prayer and fasting or for being set apart. (Being a fanatic basically) and then they turned around and criticized Jesus for ministering and eating with sinners. They accused him of being a drunkard and a glutton.

Obviously the people did not believe or receive John as the Elias which was prophesied to come or Jesus as the Messiah prophesied to come.

Jesus then tells the cities he did the most miracles in that they were going to be in big trouble on judgment day because they were not repentant.

Their sin was that they did not believe.

Jesus performed many miracles in their midst and yet they remained unrepentant.

The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” Matthew 11:5

Lots of people came to see the miracles Jesus performed! Yet they still did not believe.

“But what went ye out for to see? ” Jesus asked the people concerning John.

The people it seemed went out to see a show.

They watched all the miracles being performed by Jesus and yet they did not believe that he was the Messiah. That is why Jesus pronounced future judgment on them!

Isn’t that kind of like today? How many people flock to miracle meetings to see the show yet fail to surrender their hearts to Jesus Christ?

No where in the Bible does it say that miracles produce faith. Some people think that. They even think that if they just had a sign from heaven then all their problems would go away.

Jesus says in his word that to seek a sign other than the one important one he has given is to be in unbelief.

A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed. Matthew 16:4

What did Jesus say to John when he wanted confirmation that Jesus was the Messiah to come?

After Jesus gave his testimony he said, “blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. ” Matthew 11:6

In other words Jesus said believe that he is the Messiah and don’t be offended because Jesus says that he is the Messiah.

Lastly Jesus tells us that the Father reveals through his word Jesus is the Messiah and the Son reveals the Father to those who receive the Son.

All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Matthew 11: 27

It is not miracles as wonderful as they are that produce faith! According to the Bible, it is revelation of the Holy Spirit through the word of God that produces faith.

And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 16:14-17

The Bible makes it clear that people who did receive miracles from Jesus actually believed before they got the miracle. It takes faith in Jesus Christ to get a miracle but watching miracles being performed does not produce faith.

And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour. Matthew 8:17

And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.” Matthew 9:28

The Bible teaches that Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the word of God!

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

When God’s word is revealed to our heart then we will get a miracle!

A miracle specific to our need, for God knows what we have need of even before we ask him! (Matthew 6:8)

“Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.” Psalm 119:114

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