23 February, 2011

Why We Do Not Receive

"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. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord"(James 1:6-7, KJV).

So simple. Yet, a vast majority of the Church simply does not get it. Why is it that so many of our prayers go unanswered? I am not talking about getting an answer we may not like. I am talking about getting no answer at all. We pray for financial breakthroughs - they do not come. We pray for healing in our bodies - it does not happen. We pray for wisdom - and we're still stupid. We pray for guidance - we're lost. We pray for salvation in our friends and families - they still end-up in Hell. This is not God giving us an answer we do not like. This is us not getting an answer.

Jesus promises us that whatever we ask for in His name we will receive (John 16:23). We are promised that  all we have to do is believe that we receive these things and we shall have them (Mark 11:24). We are promised that He hears us and we have that which we ask if we pray according to His will (1John 5:14-15). However, in spite of all these verses (and many others, if you take the time to go find them) we are still not receiving the things which we ask for. As a result, we have come up with blasphemous doctrines and teachings within our churches regarding the "sovereignty of God" - that He just does whatever He wants, whenever He wants, so we should all just shut our mouths and take it on the chin like the good little heathens we are...

Let's get one thing straight: God is sovereign... But only outside of His Word. If He promises us that we have whatever we ask for, then you can take it to the bank that you will get it! If you do not receive the petitions of your heart, then one of two things happened: you got in the way, or the devil stole it out from under you. God promises us that we shall receive the things we ask for. So what is getting in our way?

James says that the one who wavers will not receive anything from God. This notion of "sometimes God says 'yes' and sometimes He says 'no'" is exactly what James - the brother of Jesus - is describing here. That is wavering. That is double-mindedness. That is doubting. The one who doubts will not receive anything from God. It always takes faith. Faith is simply trusting God. It is a practical expression of your confidence in God and in His Word. Hebrews says that without such faith it is impossible to please God. And yet this doubtfulness is a foundation of our weekly church prayers. It is how we pray in tough times at home. We have headaches and grovel before God, trying to "coerce" Him into healing it. His Word has already promised us the healing (Is 53:5). We beg and grovel before the Throne about our difficult financial situations, hoping God will "finally hear us." The prosperity is already available to us (Gal 3:29). This is doubting, and Hebrews says it is impossible to please God when we doubt (Heb 11:6). If you consistently take the attitude "sometimes He does and sometimes He doesn't," it will frequently be "doesn't."

Do not waver. Jesus likens the entire Kingdom of God as a "seed" (Mark 4:26). Seeds need time to grow. You plant the Word of God in your heart and you wait for it to come about. Too many times we all grow weary of waiting and assume that since we did not receive the answer in a certain period of time that "God said 'no.'" Remember this: a delay is not a denial. Seeds take time to grow. Do not stop confessing that you have your answer just because you cannot see it or "feel" it. Contrary to what many may believe, the devil can slow down your Blessing. In Daniel 10, we see that God had endeavored to send an angel to comfort Daniel in time a duress, but it took longer than planned for him to get there. Look at verses 12-13:
"Then he said to me,'Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.'"
Look at what the angel told Daniel: "from the first day...your words were heard." God hears you the very moment you ask Him to do anything. And He sets out immediately on your behalf. However, sometimes things will get in the way, and notice that God did not immediately step in and stop the prince of Persia from getting in the way of Daniel's answer. It was up to Daniel to persist in prayer for God's wisdom in his life. And finally, it came through. Do not give up. Do not waver. Delays are not denials. Sometimes the seed needs more time to grow. And as for the "if it be God's will" argument? That entire list I gave you at the beginning is God's will! Financial breakthroughs, wisdom, healing, and salvation are all part of the Blessing that Jesus has afforded us on that cross. You should be receiving all of those things in your life when you pray for them. It is God's desire that you be "entire, wanting nothing" (Jas 1:4, KJV). For those religious-minded folks who think that means it is sinful to want anything, the Amplified puts "wanting nothing" as "lacking nothing." It means that God desires for us to be fully self-sufficeint in everything we do (as a testimony to His intervention in our lives). 2Corinthians 9:8 says that "God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in all things you may have abundance in every good deed." 

That is God's will for His people, and Jesus promises us that when we pray accordingly, we will receive it. So no more of this "maybe, maybe not" attitude towards prayer. No more contingency plans in case God does not come through. Those plans are the very reason why God does not come through for so many Christians. Know the Word. Believe it. Then you will no longer concern yourself with "what ifs." In fact, you won't even have to "force yourself" to pray and take deep breaths every time in order to calm yourself. You will just know. That is how we receive things from God. Give Him time to work on your behalf. Let the seeds of His Word produce. Be patient (that word meaning 'constancy," not taking it on the chin and being happy about it anyway), and all that you ask and think will be yours.  

16 February, 2011

Who's Cross?

"Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me'" (Matthew 16:24).

Old time church religion adores this verse in Scripture. They take this verse, couple it with a poor understanding of the first chapter in James and a few sporadic verses of Pauline Epistles containing the word "suffer" and presto, a doctrine of suffering for Jesus. Question: who's cross did Jesus instruct His disciples to bear?

Take up his cross... 

Galatians 2:20 says, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me." Two things I would like to point out: first, Paul wasn't dead; and second, Paul was never physically crucified. Paul was given revelation by the Holy Spirit as to what Jesus meant when he told his disciples to "take up [their] cross." In the sixteenth chapter of John, Jesus explains to the disciples that He has many more things to teach them, but that they would not be ready to handle them until the Holy Spirit comes upon them. This is one of those truths. Jesus wants us to take up our own cross, to die to our own selves. What is it that you need to die to each and every day?

It is always very encouraging to hear that many of my "heros" of the faith still battle with the same "fleshy" temptations that the enemy throws at me on a daily basis. I like how brother Jesse Duplantis says, "If I crucify my flesh daily, instead of just on Sundays..." That is what Jesus is requiring of us. Daily we must remember to "put to death" the selfish desires that come with our human nature. The more we grow in Christ, the more readily we will recognize and cast down the desires of our sinful humanity. I know I have said it countless times, "Jesus took our sins, stops talking about it all the time," but there is a balance to be had. There is always a balance to be had. Anyone who has been walking with the Lord for more than ten minutes will tell you that just because you are born again life is not suddenly a walk in a cool breeze.  John teaches in his first epistle to "walk in the light as He is in the light" (1John 1:7). That is the only time there is ever a "bubble" of absolute protection around you. The devil cannot get you when you are walking in that light. But let us all be honest with each other, we are not at the point of absolute communion with God each and every minute of each and every day. We are all striving and growing in that area, but we often leave our selves open to demonic attacks. The devil will always be coming after you, always pulling at your earthly, carnal side to get you to fall back into old ways of thinking and living.

Romans 12:2 tell us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. That is another daily practice of putting to death our earthly and worldly ways of thinking and living. 1Corinthians 2:16 tells us that we have the "mind of Christ" - the mind of the Anointed One and His Anointing. We must be ever-growing in that mind, putting to death the old thoughts, actions and habits that go along with our crucified worldly mind. That is what Jesus meant when He instructed us to take up our cross and follow Him. Put to death the selfish, carnal desires of the sinful nature - daily. We have the power to overcome all the temptations and pulls of the sin-nature. That is why God does not remove us from this world at the moment of conversion; that is why Jesus does not put a blinder on the devil's eyes so that he can no longer approach us. He expects us to deal with whatever test, trial, or temptation comes our way. God does not expect us to go around getting our butts whipped each and every day as a sign of our devotion to Him. A sign of our love and honor and reverence for Him is found when we walk in the power and freedom He has given us - operating in the fullness of His Blessing that Jesus paid such a heavy price to purchase for us. "Spare Me Nothing" is not a Scriptural way of thinking. It is an insult to what Jesus did. He already died for you; He already took all the suffering. He does not expect or desire us to follow suit in the same manner, but rather to put to death the carnal desires of our sinful nature and walk in the light and freedom He has purchased.

Just because you feel a "tug" at your flesh to lash out in anger, think a dirty thought you shouldn't, or lie like a dog to your boss, does not mean you are a colossal failure, unsanctified, or weak in your Christianity. It's just a pull. Use the Word of God to punch the devil in the face and move on, because I guarantee you he will do it again. And again. And again. He knows what your weaknesses were, and he will continue to try to exploit them until he is finally removed from this world. Everyday you must make the quality decision to walk in the fullness of the freedom and righteousness Jesus has purchased for us all. Pay no attention to the "tug" you feel in your mind, that's just the enemy trying to get you to follow him into doing something he wants you to do; it's not your dirty, sinful thought, it is the devil's dirty, sinful thought that he is trying to plant in your brain. You are not still some slimy sinner who will hopefully get it right one day. You are the righteousness of God, fully equipped to handle any pressure that the devil applies to your flesh. Get used to it, because I can tell you from experience that the fight is on. And if he cannot beat you he will try to render you useless, and churchy religion about suffering with Jesus is a great way to do that. So do not let it work. Take up your cross daily, not His.

08 February, 2011


The world's condition is taxing. Those of us who profess to be followers of Jesus know we should be joyful, because Jesus has given us fair warning about this already. He even promises us that all the "stuff" we encounter in this life is incapable of harming us (John 16:33, Amplified). I have it on good authority that this will be a breakout year for the people of faith. Kenneth Copeland prophesied that in 2011 "every thing will be all right;" Mike and Kay Martin shared a word from the Lord over their partners (which Ally and I are) concerning this being a time where all preparations will come into fruition; God Himself told me to expect to see more victories in the year 2011. Sounds good to me. God is saying things like this throughout the world. His Word declares it over and over. Trials will come. The end times get crazy. But, be of good cheer. However, when I look around the church world - when I listen to words spoken at my church, when I talk to other Christians, when I read their Facebook stati (my made-up word, plural for 'status') I see one thing: stress.

Why are we struggling with burn out? Why are we battling so hard to stay strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (like Ephesians 6:10 commands us to)? a lot of everyday Christians are battling with cares that they never should battle with, and I am no different... So, what do we do? The answer is oddly simple: wait.

Isaiah 40:31 says, "yet those who wait for the Lord will renew their strength." The 'waiting' is to sit and expectantly listen for the Lord. When we are tired (emotionally, physically and especially spiritually) the rest that we need is not found in the manner most Christians go after. We like to 'veg,' to sit and rest while watching a movie or browsing mindless internet articles. We want to let our minds and bodies stop. However, that does not refresh us the way we need. For many of us, or overall exhaustion and burnout is a result of a lack of spirit strength in the first place. Our spirit needs nourishing just as our bodies do, in some cases more-so. Likewise, our spirits need "spiritual rest' as well. That's what I am addressing now. Those who sit and wait upon the Lord are the ones who find time (or make it) to sit alone and listen. I find it is best to start with a simple prayer of praise and worship, then some time praying in the spirit in order to settle my mind and natural senses. Then, I sit. Today I needed that more than I have in some time. While I was sitting in my living rom floor, the Lord impressed the song "I wait for the Lord" upon my heart. I looked up this passage in Isaiah, and some others I am about to share. He wants us to stop and wait in His presence - not stop thinking and crash on our couches. Our spirit strength is what will cause our physical strength to rise up the fastest. Our peace is found when we stop and wait in His presence. Our minds are running wild, and it is causing us more stress than we are designed to carry. The reason we do not have the strength we desire from God is because we rarely give them the opportunity to give it to us! I know most Christians believe that if God is going to give them strength all He need do is wave his "God-Wand" and we would have it. However, that is not what the Scriptures say. They instruct us to wait patiently on Him (to look to, hope in, and meditate on His Word).  Then we will be given new strength.

I suggest that you find a specific time and place each day (for those of you with unbalanced schedules, you have my regards; those things can be lethal to the man or woman of God in this area), and allow time for God to give you a hug in your spirit. Pray in the spirit to calm down your natural senses. Those of you who do not have that gift yet, find a good church that doesn't deny its power, or come talk to me. Then wait in the presence of God and let Him fill you with fresh energy. This is a crucial area that many Christians are missing it in. We need spiritual strength if we are going to persevere to do all that God calls us to do in these last days. Many of us are stressed out, burnt out, confused or ill-informed, and we need God more than any other time before us. The strength and comfort we need is found when we actually stop long enough for the Holy Spirit to minister to us. So, turn off all the outside noises, go sit alone, and give the Lord time to take all the pressures of this life off of you. His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:29-30); so if you are still operating under the burdens and stresses of this life, then you are not walking out the Will of God for your life. Cast your cares on Him; spend time with Him long enough to take them and replace them with his peace.

Other Verses on Waiting:
~"Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him" Psalm 37:7a
~"Evildoers will be cut off; but those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land" Psalm 37:9
~"The Lord favors those who fear Him; those who wait for His lovingkindness" Psalm 147:11
~"Wait for the lord and He will save you" Proverbs 20:22b
~"The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him" Lamentations 3:25

03 February, 2011

Do You Believe God?

Do you really believe God will answer the prayers that you ask Him? Perhaps I should phrase this a different way: do you believe God will grant the requests of your prayers when you ask Him? You see, I have learned that many Christians are of the understanding that God answers every prayer; some times He says 'yes' and sometimes He says 'no'. That is not a Biblical statement. I am finding more and more that the biggest factor in whether or not we receive the requests of our hearts is us.

Jesus promises us that if we seek first His kingdom and righteousness all the other things we need in life will be added to us following (Matthew 6:33). So, it logically follows that if you are not seeing all the necessary provisions in your life - and the Word of God never lies - then clearly you are not really putting the kingdom of God first place in your life. Jesus also promises us that if we abide in Him and His Word, then we may ask God anything and He will grant it (John 15). So, logically, if your prayers are not being answered when you ask God for anything Jesus' name, then you must not be really abiding in the Word of God. Now, I know that 1 John 5:14 tells us that we should be praying God's will and that then He will grant us our requests, but that is also what Jesus was telling is disciples in the Gospels! Abide in the Word of God and you cannot make an unholy request. His will is found in His Word.

His will is for us to be healthy, wealthy, holy, blameless, self-sufficient, wise, strong... Every victorious word you can come up with, He wants us to be that. Jesus went through too much for us to be shorting ourselves of all that He has for us. He did the suffering so we do not have to, and yet we keep placing an emphasis on Christian suffering. God does not want us to feel pain; that is under the Curse. Jesus redeemed us from the Curse, by taking the Curse upon Himself (Galatians 3:13). We are no longer to function in anything that is under the Curse of Adam, yet we constantly do. We claim it is "bearing our cross" for Jesus.  What it really is is ignorance and foolishness. We are not suffering anything as a result of God; it is a result of ourselves blocking God from doing all that He promised.

He promised us that we would be blessed with the Blessing of Abraham (Galatians 3:29); so if you are not operating in the fullness of that Blessing it is your fault. It has to be - God cannot lie to us. If the promises of God written in His Word are not operating in your life it is because of something you are doing. It cannot be from God. His Word promises that if anything assails us it is not from Him (Isaiah 54:15). However, I also will point out (because I know many of you are thinking it) that Jesus never promises us that tribulations won't come. I am not talking about living a happy hippie life with puppy dogs and rainbows until Jesus comes. Jesus promises us that life will still happen, but He also gave us His Word that He has robbed it of power to harm us (John 16:33, Amplified). If the tests of life are causing you harm they are in direct violation of Jesus' Word. Don't embrace it; fight it.

The first thing for us to do is make the Word of God and the kingdom of God our number one priority. That means you wake up each day looking for ways to bless God and make His kingdom known. It means that you put into practice the Word of God that you already know. It means that you make time (and make it if you have to) for His Word and for prayer. He knows our schedules. He knows that many of us have gotten ourselves bogged-down with work, projects, activities and so on. He will be gracious to you. If you only have a half-hour to give Him, then just give Him that. He won't mind. If all you have is a half-hour of free time each day and you use it to sit on the couch, talk on the phone, hang out with your spouse or take a nap, then you are not putting God and His kingdom first. He will not honor that. Take stock of your life at this moment. What are you doing to hinder the promises of God in your life? The Word of God is tried and true and it cannot lie. Jesus said all of our needs would be met - but there were conditions involved. If your needs are not being met, maybe it is because you are not fulfilling your end of the bargain, no matter how much you may think you are. God does not want us to go through the suffering Jesus went through, Jesus did more than we can ever imagine to eradicate the power and effects of the Curse in our lives. If the Curse is still running ramped in your life, start looking for the access point. If the Blessing of God is not flowing in full operation, start looking for the kink in the hose. If we are not living like heaven on earth, it is not God's fault. We have to do what He tells us to do, and believe His promises to us, or else the Curse that Jesus died to defeat will continue to make our lives more difficult than they ever should be, and we will continue to believe well I guess God said 'no' this time... 

01 February, 2011


Today I am going to be a bit more personal than usual. The Lord got after me yesterday, and then He brought it to my mind even stronger this morning. While I was praying in the Spirit yesterday, I asked the Lord to guide my thinking to what He wants to reveal for me. I have been struggling heavily with direction. I am bored at church, unemployed, and struggling to find a ministry position because of my wonderful lack of experience. I want direction! What I got was a stern rebuking from the Lord regarding my inconsistencies in getting it. He was practically chanting "watch your words, watch your words, WILL YOU PLEASE WATCH YOUR WORDS?!"

How many times has He made it plain: you have what you say? We must understand that we are made in the image of God. This does not mean that we have five fingers and toes like God does, but that we are creative spirits designed in His very nature (minus that sin problem Adam got us tangled in). Those Old Testament scriptures about man being a little lower than the angels are a result of people being "chickens." The word used in all those passages is elohim - the same exact word translated God in the entire book of Genesis. Hello?! God said; God saw. That is how He operates, and that is how we operate. Let me say it again: you have what you say. So you may need to shut up!

This is a spiritual principle; one that many Christians cannot comprehend in their natural minds. 1 Corinthians 2:14 tells us that the things of God must be spiritually discerned. If I sound like I am making up some silly junk, then you are being too natural. Our lives are a result of the words we are speaking. Each and every one matters immensely. Stop speaking doubt, unbelief, ignorance, hardship, lack, sickness, age, weariness, self-abasement, darkness and confusion. These are not from God and they are not meant for His people. Yet, once again, we have let religion tell us otherwise. We have the mind of Christ - an anointed, clear-thinking mind. Yet we will never operate in it if we keep locking it up with the negative confessions of our mouths.

Simply put: if it isn't in the Bible, don't say it. The Scriptures say we are blessed with the blessing of Abraham (Galatians 3:29), so stop speaking lack - regardless of the situation. The Bible says we are healed (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24), so stop speaking sickness and disease - in spite of how good/bad you feel. God says that through Him you can do all things (Philippians 4:13) - not just spiritual stuff, but everything in life; so speak that over each and every endeavor you come across in your daily life. God declares your lifespan to be 120 years (Genesis 6:3), and I do not care what biblical theologian or brainiac pastor says otherwise. God said it, so quick talking about being old at 48! Remember that you are what you think you are in your heart (Proverbs 23:7), because of the confessions of your heart. The Lord will not let this one go on me. Everything I want to see accomplished in my life is being delayed because of the stupid things I say. Proverbs 6:2 says "thou art snared with the words of thy mouth; thou art taken with the words of thy mouth" (KJV). Negative words and thinking must be removed from my life - in regards to absolutely everything. That will change my attitude and cause things to finally change from the inside out. The same goes for all of you, as well.