30 August, 2011

You're Not Job

I have been pondering some things as of late that I believe are essential for many in the Body of Christ. This is a difficult place to live in for those who do not know Jesus. Unfortunately, it is also becoming a very difficult place to live for those who do know Him, as well. This ought not to be. I know, I know, I know... Jesus said "in this world you will have tribulation" (John 16:33). However, finish reading the sentence: "take courage; I have overcome the world." The Amplified goes on to say "I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you." Do you believe that today? If we are truly disciples of Jesus (and we are), then why are we letting this world beat our brains in when the Master promised it was powerless to do so?

I am seeing this more everyday: people who are "laying down" and allowing their circumstances to walk all over them because they believe God is trying to teach them some great lesson. Christians are in "survival mode" when they should be in "battle mode." James 4:7 instructs us to "resist the devil and he will flee from you." Are you still resisting him? Or are you assuming that his acts of terror in your life are really divine attempts to "teach you something?" I have been accused of "blaming the devil" too many times. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I am not going to blame God for the horrible things that happen in my life. Jesus draws a HUGE line in the sand in John 10:10. If anything falls under the category of stealing, killing or destroying IT WASN'T GOD! The devil has duped us into believing that God teaches people through tests and trials and pain and suffering and tragedy. He does this because he knows we will fall for that lie and, as a result, we will stop fighting him. You must "be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might... and having done everything, to stand" (Ephesians 6:10, 13b). You are commanded to stand and fight in the power the Lord has given you. Do it.

What about Job and his suffering? First of all, let us make one thing very clear: you are not Job. You are not going through a "Job-like" experience. Let me tell you why. First, you have an advantage Old Testament men and women of God never had. You have the blood of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit working inside of you that equips you to overcome the works of the devil in your life. Job never had that. Secondly, the devil was out to force Job to curse God to His face, because Job was so close to God that God was bragging about him. Are you really that close to God that the devil cannot even see you? (see Psalm 91) Thirdly, you know the devil is out to get you; Job didn't. Job and his friends only knew about God; therefore, they unknowingly blamed Him for the devastation going on in the life of Job. Job unfairly blamed God for losing everything (Job 1:21) even though the book clearly states that God did not do anything to Job. Job's friends were latter chastised by the Lord for the things they said (Job 42:7). Don't make the same mistake.

"James says we should rejoice for our trials!" No, it doesn't. Read it here, here, and here. It says to "consider" it joy, because you know something: that you will win and be Blessed all the more because of it. Trials, testings and temptations test your faith. They put your faith to work. They produce the force of patience within you. Patience is not used in this New Testament in the way we teach our children. It does not simply mean you are to wait out the difficulty. It literally means "constancy." You are to remain consistently, constantly the same throughout - developing the character of Jesus within you. When you read on to verse 13, you see the exact same word translated "trial" in verse 2  translated as "temptation." What that says to us is: God is not sending hard times on you; it is contrary to His very nature.

The same greek word found in these two passages is used in 1Corinthians 10:13. This is a verse people use in their attempt to prove that whatever circumstance they have at this moment is directly from God. Again: it is not from God. Just because God allows something does not mean He is the author of it. There are multiple reasons for our circumstances. It may well be our fault. God put spiritual laws into the physical realm we live in. Our words have power to shape our lives. Our actions dictate the course of our existence. Our mistakes can wreak havoc on our destiny. You have a lot more power in your life than you think. You may have easily given the devil license to operate in your life without even knowing it (Hosea 4:6). What gets missed in this verse in 1Corinthians is that God has planned a way out. Go back and read it again: "but with the temptation [He] will also make the way of escape." He has a way out for you. If you will give Him the time to explain it, you can be free from the traps the devil has set in your life. You can be free of poverty, sickness, terminal illness, you name it. You have an enemy who is out to get you every single moment of every single day. He will never stop "shooting" at you. He studies you. He plans for you. He is crafty. The devil only comes to steal, kill and destroy. "The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil" (1John 3:8b). If Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, how can He also use them intentionally as tools to teach us something? That would make him the author and minister of sin. "...Is Christ then a minister of sin? May it never be!" (Galatians 2:17b) 

29 August, 2011

Just Like Jesus

Your first assignment is to read Philippians 2:5-8. Go ahead; I'll wait...

How does this reflect your attitude in daily life? Do you, as a Christian, model your life after the Master to this extent? I really enjoy how the NKJV puts this passage, because it says that being in equal standing with God is not a twisted mindset. The Scripture quite frequently tells us that we are "joint-heirs" with Jesus. That means we are on equal footing with the King of Kings. However, tell that to most Christians these days, and they will cringe and tell you that your are taking the Bible "out of context" for supposed selfish gain. While it is true that there are people in the world that have done this, it does not take away from what the Scriptures say: you are in equal standing with Jesus before God - get used to it.

However, we are given the example of how to treat and view this position: with humility. Read this same passage in the NASB. The attitude that we are to mimic is to understand that our standing in Christ is not meant solely for our sordid gain. Jesus did not use His position of power expressly on Himself. He willingly gave up His deity to help you. He was willing to do anything, to die - in the worst way. Please notice that it never says we are required to die. The focus of this passage is on the attitude that Jesus had, that you and I are to imitate. Be willing to do anything the Lord may ask of you, even if it requires lowering your "station."

Also, I would like to point out that Jesus "was made in the likeness of men." You know what that means? It means He lived a perfect life - as a man. "Yeah, but that was Jesus" is no longer an excuse we can use when examining His life in comparison to ours. While He does not expect us to live perfect like He did, He expects you to come very close. As you grow in maturity, you should become less and less susceptible to sin. So, stop declaring how sinful and lowly you are all of the time. Understand that you have been made the righteousness of God because of Jesus (1Corinthians 5:21). You are disciples of the Master, which means you are to emulate Him more and more. With the help of the Holy Spirit, through constant communion with the Father, Jesus lived a sinless life - as a full-blooded human-being. He expects you to strive for the same thing. While none of us will reach Christ-like perfection this side of Heaven, we can get much closer than we think.

25 August, 2011


Fun revelation for the day: God will never put you in a position where you will not have to use your faith. Think of whatever difficulty there is in your life. What would be necessary to make it all go away? If God were to miraculously make all of your life's struggles suddenly vanish, I assure you that you would still be in a position to use your faith. For anyone out there praying, "Lord, please talk all the problems away from me forever" I recommend you stop. The only way you will ever get to that point is to die.

Now, do not mis-understand me; life is not meant to be a series of difficulties meant to "strengthen" you. It is quite the contrary: Jesus came so that we might be saved. The word "salvation" comes from the greek word soteria, which means, "wholeness, deliverance, victory, prosperity, health and welfare." The Hebrew word, yshuwah, found in the Old Testament echos that: "deliverance, victory, prosperity, health, and welfare." That is what Jesus bought for all of us. That is what it means to be saved. But, if we were suddenly free from everything, with the ability to simply say the "magic words" to get anything we wanted instantly, then we would no longer need faith. God will never allow that. There is always another level with God; a level that can only be reached through faith in God.

In 1Corinthians 10:13, we see that we will never go through anything that we cannot overcome. Many translations use the word "temptation" in this verse. The greek word used here implies adversity. Simply put, you will never go through adverse conditions that God does not know about and has not already planned escape from for you. You have to remain faithful. You have to put your faith to work. He planned the escape, you have to execute the plan. In Philippians 1:6, we see that God will never stop working on us in some area of our lives. There is never a place where you will not have to use your faith.

I have dreams of very large sums of money coming into my hands, so that I can do grand things in the kingdom of God and for the ones I love. And yet, even if god were to drop millions in my lap at this very moment, there would still be areas for me to use my faith. the devil would still be out there watching me; this world would still be broken; there would still be more work for me to do. God will never put anybody in a position where they would not have to continue to press in to Him and use there faith. It is a ridiculous notion to believe God is sending trials in our lives in order to work something in us. James 1:13 outright refutes it. Yet, Scripture also says that faith is tried as gold is by fire (1Peter 1:6-7). What a fun balance we all get to work out. In order to have victory you have to fight something. God gave us the devil to practice on...

24 August, 2011

Outside Influences

A quick challenge to you all: don't match the Word to your thinking; match your thinking to the Word. If there is one thing I have come to notice in myself and many other Christians, it is that we base what the Scriptures say based on your life's experiences. The Word makes it very plain what God desires to do in our lives, yet we have et religious doctrines and ideas steal those promises from us. Many of these ideas come as a result of somebody not seeing the manifestations of the Biblical promises in their own lives. How many times have we heard Christians claim to have "tried" something, only to have it not work out? Does this mean it was not God's Will to come through on their behalf? Of course not. How can we trust the Bible if it only proves to be true some of the time? You might as well discontinue using it and go play outside.

Unfortunately, many Christians are already doing this, and, as a result, they are not seeing the manifestations of the Biblical promises in their lives. There is very little faith in God's Word, thus there is little "Fruit." Then, when troubles arise in the lives of others, they are quick to give their "advise" which is rooted in their failures. That's when we hear phrases like, "If it's God's Will..." Scripture is emphatic on what is and is not God's Will. That does not mean that we see it happening every minute of everyday in every Christian's life. Many Christians are moved more by their past or present experiences, rather than what the Bible says. It changes their perspective on Biblical truth. Those perceptions change how they think about the Word. How a person thinks is how they become (Proverbs 23:7). Don't take what you or another person has experienced and use it to change what the Bible says regarding your circumstances. Take what the Word says, and change your circumstances.

18 August, 2011


According to Scripture, Jesus is the Head of the Body - which is the church (Ephesians 1:22-3). We know that all power and authority in heaven and on the earth has already been given to Him (Matthew 28:18). Jesus is running the show; so why is everything such a mess? Some would propose that every hardship, test, trial and disaster that comes upon the human race is some aspect of God's Plan to bring good in to one's life. If that is the case, Jesus is a jerk.

I contend that Jesus is not a jerk (I find Him to be quite a gentleman, actually). he warned you that things would happen, but He also told you He already overcame those things, and that they no longer have the power to harm you. If something is harming you, it is a violation of your Covenant in Jesus' blood. So, why the mess?? It would be simply to just blame the Democrats and et it over with, but it goes much deeper than that. Why is it that the plans and purposes of God are not coming to their fullest manifestations in the earth? Simply put: we have paralyzed Jesus in the earth.

Jesus has all power and authority in Heaven, and in case you haven't looked, things are going pretty well over there. Jesus has been given all authority on the earth - and this place sucks. That is because He has given each member of the Body as task, and many of us are neglecting that task. Paul paints this illustration more deeply in 1Corinthians 12. There we learn that the church is organized the same way the human body is organized: with various parts, seen and unseen; small and no so small. Jesus is the Head. He is the Authority. Take a person who is paralyzed: their head still functions. They can think, speak, move above the neck or waist. Yet, though their mind and brain are fully functional, the body is not moving. Something broke along the way that renders the head useless in its functioning. The same is true throughout the church. Jesus is the Head, but if His people do not function in what He has called them to, then He is a head sitting on a table screaming, "HELLOOOOOOOO!" That ought not be.

This is the way He has set it up. This is God's goodness and power and might on display. Rather than simply take over, He invites us to be part of His dealings in the earth. In 1Corinthians 12:18, we see that we all has a specific part to play in the things of God. There is no such thing as an insignificant human being without a calling. But He won't do your part for you. Paul echoes the same sentiment in Ephesians 4:15-6. If everybody took the time to learn their place, to operate in their grace, to know the things of God, this world would be in a much better condition. God's will is heaven on earth (Matthew 6:10). He needs you to accomplish His plans. Religion does not teach that, but it is true. Because that's the way He wants it. Without you, Jesus is paralyzed in the earth.

03 August, 2011

More on Religion's Enemy: Wealth

I read Colossians chapter 2 today, and was struck by a passage that I must share with the nine people who read this thing.

Looking at this passage (you know, the one in the hyper-link up there?), I was struck at the term "wealth." I think a lot of Christians hate wealth, because it is so contrary to their natural, religious mind. They think they are being greedy. There is a simple solution to this problem: don't be greedy. This passage goes hand-in-hand with many others I have looked over the past few months. Here, we see that wealth is wrapped up in our knowledge and understanding of Christ (the Anointed One and His Anointing). In Him are hidden (for us) all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom. Let's expound on this part, and we will back-track from there.

Proverbs 8 explains to us some of the characteristics of Godly Wisdom. One of these aspects is found in verse 18: wealth and riches. Godly Wisdom possesses wealth and riches, and if Jesus is the One in Whom all wisdom is hidden... Anyone make the connection yet? Good.

The "issue" with knowledge has been taken care of for us, as well. 1Corinthians 2:16 explains that one for us nicely. What part of "have" is so difficult for us to comprehend? We may not feel like we have Jesus' mind in our heads, but we do. That is why we are told (yes, I am saying it again) to renew our minds - see Romans 12:2.

Now that both of these characteristics are covered, we most grow in confidence in them. In Hebrews 10:35, we learn that this confidence is essential to all that God is endeavoring to accomplish in each of us. How is it that we grow in this assurance and confidence? Take a look at Romans 4:17 for the answer to that one. Worry is a result of constantly meditating on the problems; faith is a result of constantly meditating on the Answer. Pick one, and stick to it (I'm going to here about that from my wife later...).

Without love, none of these other principles even matter (Galatians 5:6). I like how one of my favorite author/speaker in the faith, Kenneth Copeland, puts it: "Love is to faith, like air is to a tire." Without love, your faith simply won't work. All that wisdom and knowledge will go to waste; your assurance won't matter. As a result, your wealth (regardless of whether or not you are greedy) will never come to pass.

I am sure there is more to it than all this, because if there weren't, my bank account would already be much larger. However, I am going to take these principles to heart, and I hope the nine of you in Internet Land will too. The Body of Christ needs to walk fully in the prosperity Jesus bought for us. Again, I want to give Him "top dollar" (for lack of a better term) for His sacrifice - and I don't care what religion has to say about it.