DO NOT BOW!

In Exodus Chapter 8 :14, We read about how the Amalekites attacked Israel at Rephidim.

This story has a spiritual application for us today.

Rephidim means a place in the dessert. 

The wilderness of Rephidim is where the Israelites camped out after the Lord delivered them from Egypt.

Rephidim had no water. The Israelites were thirsty and complained to Moses about it.

God heard their complaints and commanded Moses to strike the rock. When he did water came rushing out. The significance of this is that the rock was a representation of Jesus Christ, the Rock, beaten for our healing so that we could receive his living water.

The part I want to focus on in this story is what happened after that. In the Rephidim wilderness, out of the blue appears a band of marauders, looking to cause trouble for the Israelites.

If you go back to Exodus chapter 14 you will find that after the Lord delivered Israel from the Egyptians at the red sea, the Egyptians stood in awe. It actually says that the Egyptians had faith in the Lord.

And Israel saw the great work which Jehovah did upon the Egyptians, and the people feared Jehovah: and they believed in Jehovah, and in his servant Moses. Ex. 14:31

In Exodus 15:14-16 it says that all the nations around that area heard about how the Lord delivered Israel and they feared the Lord.

There was only one nation that did not fear the Lord. In fact not only did they not fear the Lord but they deliberately tracked the Israelites down, attacking them as they rested in Rephidim.

That nation was the Amalekites.

Because of what the Amalekites did, the Lord was very angry. He was so angry that he made a proclamation that he was going to fight against the Amalekites forever.

This sounds kind of harsh until you dig into the story a little deeper.

Amalek was a descendant of Esau, the guy who had no regard for God’s inheritance.

Amalek was the son of Esau’s son Eliphaz, by Eliphaz’s concubine Timna.

Timna was the sister of Lotan, the eldest son of Seir the Horite.

Seir the Horite became a general in Esau’s tribe. Esau developed into a nation which would be in conflict with Israel even up to this time. When Esau gave up his inheritance it had more significance than just material possessions. Esau actually gave up God’s blessing. This is a story in itself.

Seir the Horite was a person of high status in those times. This meant that his daughter was most probably considered to be in a noble position as well. Since Jacob the other son of Isaac was sold into slavery, this meant to the Amalekites that they were “better” than the Israelites.

Just as Esau did not regard the God of his father, neither did the Amalekites regard the Lord.

The Amalekites lived to the south of the Land of Israel, in what is known today as the Negev Desert. 

They were a tribal people who (according to some historians) became wayfaring looters. Hearing that the despised Israelites had taken Egyptian booty when they left Egypt, the Amalekites most probably had intention to rob Jacob’s seed.

Again we can see how Esau’s seed has no regard or respect for the Lord.

Going further into history is another story that ties into this one. When the Israelites were living in Persia they prospered under a foreign king.

Mordechai an Isrealite was in the king’s administration. When Mordechai was rewarded for his service by the king and became a significant person in the palace, Haman the prime minister of Persia, who was a descendant of Amalek became incensed.

(Esther 3:1 indicates that Haman was a descendant of Agag the king of the Amalekites.)

Haman in Persian means magnificent

Haman’s father’s name was Hammedatha, (Esther 3:1) meaning ‘overtop’ or one who aspires to be greater than all.

Haman who was the highest ranking guy in the king’s Court, did not like an Israelite showing him up. To the Amalekites the Israelites were beneath them. Haman was also mad because Mordechai would not bow down to him.

Haman the Agagite (Esth. 3:1) regarded as a descendant of Agag (I Sam. 15:8) the Amalekite king.

Esther 3:1-2, says After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him and set his seat above all the princes who were with him. And all the king’s servants who were within the king’s gate bowed and paid homage to Haman, for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai would not bow or pay homage.

Tying in another story, in Numbers 24:7 Balaam prophesied that the Messiah to come would be greater than the king of the Amalekites, Agag. (Numbers 24:7)

Moving on in history we find another king of the Amalekites whose name was also Agag. In 1 Samuel 15:1-3 the Lord commands King Saul to get rid of all the Amalekites and everything associated with them.

King Saul does not obey the Lord but instead lets King Agag live. Due to this disobedient act the Lord removes Saul from being king. This is significant because it reveals the true state of King Saul’s heart. He had no regard or respect for the God of his father’s either.

Due to this act of disobedience we find the Amalekites fighting against David. (1Samuel chapter 30)

David however, is a true worshipper of the Lord. He does not let the Amalekites steal anything. In fact he gives them a good fight.

 We find through out scriptures that the nature of the Amalekites is to disrespect the Lord. The Amalekites constantly fight against his inheritance, they always try to steal from them, and are high minded against them.

The Amalekites operate in the spirit of jealousy. They believe they are the rightful heirs of the land. They also believe that the true worshippers of the Lord need to be eradicated because they stand in the way of the Amalekite agenda. Which is to be magnificent rulers.

The Amalekites are so arrogant that they will not bow to the King of kings. They will not submit to his rule or to his word. They regard not the God of their fathers. If you look in Daniel 11: 37 you will find that the prince of darkness to come will not regard the God of his fathers either.

It is interesting to note that the Hebrew numerical value of Amalek  is 240 which is the same as the value of the Hebrew word for “doubt.”

All the nations feared the Lord when he delivered the Israelites from Egypt expect the Amalekites.

The Amalekite spirit is anti Christ in nature. Opposing all that is of God. Having no regard for spiritual things. The Amalekite spirit prefers the things of this world over the things of God’s kingdom.

Amalek represents, rebellion, disrespect, unbelief, doubt, arrogance, and pride.

All these characteristics are personified in the Amalekites. God said that he would continually oppose the Amalekites until they are completely eradicated. Balaam prophesied that God’s kingdom would be greater in the future. The king of all kings will rule in the earth and every knee will bow to him!

Although the Amalekites do not exist as a people today, the same characteristics exist in the sin nature.

Disregarding of God’s awesome power, disrespectful of his glory, attacking his people, rebelling against his ways, arrogant and proud. The Amalekite spirit doubts God’s word.

The spirit of the Amalek resides in the hearts of those who are in rebellion to God. The Lord is still in a battle today with the Amalekite spirit. He wants us to war against the flesh. Completely destroy the Amalekite spirit! Bring down pride, arrogance, love of the world, jealousy, deception, disregard for things holy.

Jesus wants a no compromising church! One who will not bow to the Amalekite spirit.

Remember that if God’s people will not destroy the Amalekite spirit, that spirit will rule them!

Do not bow to the king of the Amalekites! Like Ester and her people, take up the sword of the Spirit that the Lord has given to you, and fight the good fight of faith! Lay hold on eternal things!

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 1 John 2:15

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THE WORD

The Bible is filled with God’s promises. When we put our trust in God’s Word in effect we are putting our trust in God’s character. 

Jesus was the Word of God made flesh. 

John 1:1 says that in the beginning, was the word.

Beginning in the Greek is archē 

This word is more than just a starting point. It means literally FIRST ESTATE. The first magistrate power. The first principality ruler. 

Jesus was and is the first Word or Logos in the Greek.

According to the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus who was the first to use this word in his writings, Logos is referred to as a rational divine intelligence. 

Logos was used to define the reasoning of the mind or rational mind. It also meant divine mind or universal intelligence. The universal ruling force governing and revealing himself through the cosmos to humankind. In other words Logos is God’s mind. 

Putting this together we have, the Logos or mind of God being the FIRST ESTATE, first magistrate power or principal ruler was made flesh and dwelt among us. (John 1:14)

John was speaking of the incarnation of Jesus Christ. 

He goes on to say that those who received him the logos or God in the flesh are given the power or right to become the sons of God. 

We become God’s children by receiving the word. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh. 

Its important that we receive the Jesus Christ in which the scriptures express. If we believe Jesus to be an inferior god, as a god or a created being such as an angel then that is being converted to another Jesus or a false Jesus. Not the Biblical Jesus.

Jesus Christ or the logos is both God and man.

I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. John 8: 24

How do we receive this great salvation through Jesus Christ the Logos, God’s divine mind, word, thoughts, ruling governance? 

Simply by faith. 

Faith is the gift in which grace flows. Faith is given. Faith comes by hearing GOD’S word. Without faith we cannot please God nor can we receive from God. Why? Because unbelief in effect says. I DO NOT BELIEVE YOU ARE WHO YOU SAY YOU ARE!

The logos is God’s word expressed through the incarnation of Jesus Christ. The Law was God’s written word which he gave through Moses. The incarnation of the Logos is God’s word in the flesh.

Romans 4 tells us that Abraham believed or had faith in God’s promise, his word or Logos.  

In order for salvation to occur faith must be exercised for grace to take effect. It is the same principle for every scriptural promise. Faith believes before any evidence is manifested.

The soul dead in trespasses and sin did not feel saved before receiving salvation! He hoped and then God turned that hope into faith. Faith is the supernatural ability to believe beyond evidences.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Abraham according to the Bible, hoped against hope

Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. Romans 4:18

Abraham trusted God even though all evidence in the natural realm pointed to the opposite of what God’s word said. 

As we can see before faith comes we must have hope. Many people give up or refuse to have hope or trust in the Logos.

Because Abraham believed God’s word he received the promise. 

If you read the story of Abraham you will find he messed up a bit concerning getting his promise. He took wrong advise, got his eyes off the promise but one thing he did not do was give up hope.

How did this promise to Abraham come about? Was it immediate? Did Abraham all of a sudden turn into a young man again? Did the promise fall out of the sky and into his lap? 

No. None of these things happened. Due to a series of events Abraham had to learn to trust God. 

Abraham had an Ishmael. He listened to naysayers and he also went about trying to bring his own will into the equation. By doing so Abraham ended up having a lot of conflict.

How many of us try to fix our own problems by coming up with schemes that end up getting us where it hurts? 

I know I certainly have. Well just like Abraham learned from his mistakes so can we learn from ours. 

Take a look from scriptures at how God brings his word to pass. 

The first thing God does is speak his word. He brings a word to your heart from his Holy Spirit or from his written word or both. 

God tells us what he is going to do. Not what we plan but what he tells us he is going to do. That’s why its important to get a rhema or living personal word form the Lord. We can do this by fasting and prayer, seeking the Lord’s face.

Then we make a choice to believe that word or not. 

Wait a minute are you saying I have a choice? 

What did Jesus say? 

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

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

Now we may be hoping against hope like Abraham for something that is impossible in the natural. Lets take a look at how Abraham responded to the same predicament.

God made a promise to Abraham even though it looked impossible. Abraham had hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken.

When God speaks a word he calls those things which are not, as though they were.

(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Romans 4:17

In this way we also are able to receive God’s promises. Let me show you an example through scriptures on how God works to being something to pass.

In Genesis 1:2, the earth had no form. It was empty. In Greek, tôhû bôhû is a phrase which means “empty without form.”

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the spirit of God was hovering over the waters.  Genesis 1:2 

The earth had no form. It was empty, “unseen and unformed.” 

And God said...âmar, Which means; appointed, called, commanded, spoke, uttered, promised

This was the same with Sarah’s womb. She was past the age of child bearing. However, Abraham had faith. He did not consider his body or Sarah’s body.

 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully persuaded that what He had promised, He was able also to perform. Romans 4:20,21

Now look at what God did in Genesis 1.

Darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

So on an empty, dark, formless earth, God’s Spirit moved on the face of the waters.

God’s Holy Spirit broods or shakes up a barren, empty, void, nothing, situation.

Then God spoke the world into existence. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. Genesis 1:3

This is also what happens at salvation. 2 Corinthians 4:6 tells us that God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 

God had faith in his own ability to create. He never had any doubters around to get in his way. He spoke the world into existence and it happened. To the lost soul who hopes in him, looks to the Lord to be saved, God releases his faith to receive his free gift of salvation.

This is an important principle to remember when you are praying for the lost. They need to hear the word then hope in the word, then believe in the word.

In conclusion, God’s word is “yes and amen”. What he promises to do, he will do! Continue to hope in his word. Faith is believing in God’s word without seeing any evidence! Trust in him. Be patient for the Lord’s Holy Spirit is brooding over the darkness. He will bring his light into your situation at the appointed time!

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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!

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. 

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

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.

Mustard Seed Faith

Luke 17:5 tells us that the apostles asked Jesus to increase their faith. 

This was the Lord’s response.

And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. (vs. 6)

(Note some versions say mulberry tree but I lean towards the KJV sycamore. Mulberry in comparison to a mountain in the gospel of Mark just doesn’t fit the context of what Jesus was talking about. Check out the link below)

https://www.askdifference.com/mulberry-vs-sycamine/

A sycamine or sycamore is a huge tree. In Mark this story is relayed as a mountain. The sycamore tree can grow as tall as 30 to 40 meters (or 98 to 130 ft) with a diameter of 1.5 to 2 meters (or 4.9 to 6.6 ft)

The sycamore has a very deep root structure. The root structure is so aggressive that it can even lift a side walk. While a mountain being tossed into the sea is a big obstacle the sycamore tree is a deep rooted problem. Either way it takes faith the size of a mustard seed to get rid of it.

Jesus uses the illustration of a mustard seed to describe the Kingdom of heaven or how the kingdom of heaven operates in Matthew chapter 13. That is why when the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith he referred to the mustard seed.

The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man planted.

The mustard tree Jesus was referring to is a black mustard tree or bush that grows in Israel. A large annual plant which grows up to 9 feet (2.7 m) tall.

The black mustard seed is quite small. About 1-2 millimetres.

The mustard seed must be planted in order to grow. In God’s kingdom many times things have small beginnings.

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand. Zechariah 4:10

On the seventh time the servant reported, “There is a cloud as small as a man’s hand rising from the sea.” And Elijah replied, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’” 1 Kings 18:44

Growth of a mustard seed into a mustard tree takes time. Faith takes time to develop in the same way. Faith is having complete trust in God without doubting.

Faith comes from God’s word to our heart. Planted in our heart God’s word will grow and our faith will grow too. 

Consequently, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. Romans 10:17

Take for example the scripture. But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19  

When we make petition in Jesus name for our need to be met and that need is met our faith grows. A sprout occurs!

After a while another petition is answered and our faith grows even more.

God proves he is our provider and our faith in him grows through having experience with his faithfulness. 

Then after a time of trust and reliance on Jesus a great big need presents itself. A great big mountain or a great big sycamore tree which is rooted down deep in our heart or someone else’s heart. It needs plucking up and cast into the sea.

We now have experience with God. He met all those little needs. He has proven himself faithful. Now that grain of mustard seed has become a mustard tree where the birds can feed and take rest.

Feeding on God’s word is important for our faith to increase.

I rise before dawn and cry for help; in Your word I have put my hope. Psalm 119:147

Resting is an important factor in the development of faith. When we rest we trust that the Lord is doing his work. No matter what the circumstances look like to the contrary.

Now faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

By telling the apostles the parable of the mustard seed Jesus was showing them how to increase their faith. By planting the mustard seed of God’s word in the heart faith will grow.

That big sycamore in your life may look like it’s an impossible problem. That mountain standing in your way may look like a real big hindrance but the Lord tells us to plant our mustard seed. Plant the word of God in our heart! Water it every day and it will grow!

The Lord has promised in his word to come through for us. We may not know the exact process or the timing but what we do know is that the Lord is faithful to perform what he has promised.

So we can say with confidence: “The Lord is my helper!” Hebrews 13:6,

“I trust in your word.” Psalm 119:42

https://kimbalogh.online/2021/03/08/abide-in-the-vine/


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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

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/raising-standard-kim-balogh

The God of All Grace

Sometimes the trials of life can be so difficult we don’t know how we can possibly make it through, but the Lord never breaks a promise. He tells us that if we put our hope in him, we will never be disappointed. The God of all grace will comfort, strengthen, restore, and establish us after we have suffered for a while. In his kindness God has called us to share in his eternal glory by the mercies of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

The key to endurance in a trial is prayer. Through prayer the supply of the spirit is given. God gives us strength to hold on. To be patient and trust in him.

because I know that through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, my distress will turn out for my deliverance. Philippians 1:19

Through prayer we cling to Jesus and he will come through for us in our affliction.

And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak; for she was saying to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I will get well.” But Jesus turning and seeing her said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.” At once the woman was made well.”

Through prayer faith enters our heart. Faith is trust in God’s provision and deliverance.

“when you pray believe you receive,” Mark 11:24

Prayer will give us our miracle!

Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit. James 5:17-18

For with God nothing shall be impossible! James 5:17-18

After having done all the Bible says, we stand. Ephesian 6:13

Stand and see the salvation of our God! He is working all things together for our good! Romans 8:28

What seems grievous now is working a far greater eternal weight of glory! 2 Corinthians 4:17

In other words, the trial will lead to an eternal benefit!

The Lord always has our eternal life in mind. He sees what we do not see. He knows what we do not know. Sorrow lasts for only a night. Only a small fraction of time on this earth but joy comes in the morning!

Joy unspeakable and full of glory!

For the mountains shall depart And the hills be removed, But My kindness shall not depart from you, Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,” Says the LORD, who has mercy on you. Isaiah 54:10