Almost Live From Arequipa Peru

This time I am coming to you from beautiful Arequipa Peru. Arequipa is Peru’s second most populous city with 861,145 inhabitants, as well as its second most populous metropolitan area as of 2016. The city was founded on 15 August 1540 and is called the “White City” due to the buildings being made from volcanic rock which glistens bright white in the brilliant sunshine. Arequipa is located in the southern part of Peru.

The city is located  7,638 ft of elevation above sea level, with the lowest part of the city being at 6,696 ft above sea level in the area called Huayco Uchumayo while the highest is located at 9,220 ft above sea level.

The central part of the city is crossed by the Chili River from north to south; to the north and east of Arequipa are the Andes mountains, while to the south and west there are minor mountain ranges associated to the Andes. A series of volcanic cones dominate the city skyline: Misti, and the extinct volcanic groups Pichu Pichu and Chachani. The western slopes of the Andes in the region feature thick layers of volcanic lava that cover large areas. Always a wonderful climate in this beautiful and active city yhroughout the year, temperatures do not exceed 25 °C (77 °F) and rarely drop below 5 °C (41 °F)

 

 

Remember…look to your future and not to the past, learn to live in the grace of God and love much, forgive always and hold no bitterness toward anyone

Balancing Grace and Faith

Grace and faith work together but they must be in balance.

How do I receive the blessings of God in my life? This is a common question I hear a lot. When people are saying this to me and others normally the next statement is, “I have been reading my Bible, and I’ve been going to church and I tithe, and I have been praying, but still I am not seeing any results”

Well, ‘question asked question answered’ because the whole root of the problem is right here: They have somehow gotten the idea that God’s response is linked to their performance. And the reason they have this idea is because they do not understand the balance of grace and faith and the relationship of the two.

What does grace mean? The definition of grace is unmerited, unearned, undeserved favor. So, what does that mean? That means we have some really good news, grace has nothing to do with you. Grace existed before you ever came into the picture. Here’s another way of saying it, grace is God’s part.

Now that we have a good definition of grace, what about faith,? I like to define it this way, ‘a positive response to what God has already provided by grace’. In other words, faith is your positive response to God’s grace. You see faith only appropriates what God has already made available to you and to anyone who will receive through faith. Therefore, faith is our part.

Grace and faith work hand in hand with each other, and they must be in balance.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, ‘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.’

Often we read very familiar scriptures and we don’t really read them. We start reading and then, subconsciously, we think “Oh, I know this.” But in this verse a very strong and great truth is revealed. It says, ‘we are saved’. That word alone is huge, but we are saved ‘by grace through faith’, not just by one or the other. It takes both working together, grace (God’s part) and faith (our part) to receive salvation. This word salvation is a tremendous word that effects every detail of your spiritual life. (I have a whole teaching on the word salvation.)

But let us go on. It must be understood that salvation is not dependent on grace alone. This type of thinking breeds universalism, because if salvation was dependent on grace alone then everyone would be saved and going to heaven, because God’s grace is the same towards everyone. God has given His great gift of salvation to everyone through the Lord Jesus Christ. But, it is by faith that a person receives that which Jesus has done on the cross. That is why he said, “It is finished.” (to read more see my teaching “tetelestai”)

The popular teaching today is that we need to ask God to forgive us of our sins in order to be saved, but that really is not what the Bible teaches. I know that is the most popular belief but let’s believe the Bible regardless of how we have always believed or been taught.

To believe that we need to ask God to forgive us our sins in order to be saved then we must believe that Jesus did not die for the whole world. If we look at 1 John 2:2, we can readily see it states that Jesus was the atoning sacrifice for the whole world. Jesus didn’t die for just a few or for only the ones He knew would accept Him, He died for every person who has ever lived, every drug addict, prostitute, liar, every sinner and He did it before you or I ever committed one single sin…’while we were yet sinners Christ died for us’ (Rom. 5:8).

Here is a radical truth and it will rub some the wrong way, and this truth would probably keep me from going into most churches and teaching: Sin is not an issue with God! How can I say that you may be asking. Well, the Lord is not waiting for us to ask Him to forgive us of our sins. I’ll just let that sink in a minute because I know that is a radical statement.

The sins of the entire world – past, present, and future – have already been forgiven. Even the vilest men that have ever lived had grace

extended to them! Jesus loved them and paid for their sins just as He did for you and me. God is not a respecter of persons (Rom. 2:11).

God has already done all that He is going to do. He has done His part and it is now up to each individual to do their part. Paul didn’t tell the Philippian jailer to ask Jesus to forgive him; Paul told him to believe on what Jesus had already done and he would be saved (Acts 16:31). We confess the Lord Jesus, not our sins, to receive this gift of salvation (Rom. 10:9).

You may be asking at this point, “are you saying then that everybody in the world is already saved?” Certainly not. We have to receive forgiveness by faith, but I am saying, The Lord has already forgiven everyone’s sin, (1 John 2:2). That’s grace. And now we have to put faith in what God has provided by grace to be saved. (Eph.2:8)

Our part is to receive that truth by faith and make it real in our lives. In other words you need to open your gift and say with your mouth “I receive Jesus as my Lord and I receive His forgiveness of sin” 

Jesus is the lamb of God, the one that John the Baptist spoke of in John 1:29 who came to take away the sins of the world!

Do you know that people do not go to hell for committing adultery, stealing, or even murder. Those sins and all sins have already been paid for. But the church often misinterprets John 16:8 and teaches that the Holy Spirit is here to convict you of all your sins. Well, I am here to tell you that that is not what the Holy Spirit is here to do. He is here to convict you of the single sin of not receiving Jesus as your Savior. The only conviction is that of believing in Jesus Christ.

The Bible plainly teaches in John 16:8-9 that the only sin that is going to send people to hell is the sin of rejecting Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. So, stop magnifying sin in your life, and start magnifying the righteousness that He brought. The message that much of the church is teaching does only one thing, it causes people to become sin-conscious instead of conscious of righteousness or as I like to say righteousness consciousness. Being sin-conscious causes us to link our performance.. Bible reading, praying, going to church.. to all the other blessings of God. See Rom. 3:19-22

Look at this statement by Andrew Wommack:

God’s grace has provided not only for salvation but also for every need of your life. That provision is not based on whether you are reading the Bible enough, praying enough, going to church, or even paying your tithes. Before you ever had a financial need, God created the provision. Before you were sick, God, through grace, provided your healing (1 Pet. 2:24). Before you ever became discouraged, God blessed you with all spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3). God anticipated every need you could ever have and has met those needs through Jesus before you existed. That’s grace.

In truth Jesus hasn’t done anything to save, heal, deliver or prosper anyone, not a single person, in the last 2,000 plus years. I say that because what God provided by grace over 2,000 years ago, when mixed with faith, becomes a reality in the believer’s life today. Remember our definition of faith, Faith appropriates what God has already provided. I say over and over again, faith does not move God, faith does not make God do one thing for anybody. But grace and faith work together. Our part is to accept what God has already provided by grace, just like we did when we were born again. When we were born again we did one thing, we accepted what God had done through Jesus on the cross and received the gift of salvation. Grace must be balanced with faith.

It is not the truth that sets you free; it’s the truth you know that will set you free (John 8:32). What truth am I talking about? The fact that we must put our faith in what God has already done, not in what you think you need to do. Healing, forgiveness for sin, prosperity and everything else provided for in the atonement must be appropriated by one thing and one thing alone, Faith.

God has finished His part, all He is going to do. His part was sending His son, Jesus. His grace has provided for whosoever will (John 3:16) through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. No mixed signals here, no hidden meanings in this message and in what God has done. The news that every person needs to hear is in fact Good News. Actually Paul said it was “almost too good to be true news” because there is absolutely nothing we can do to earn it and nothing we can do to lose it. We are not talking about the act of rejecting Christ, we are talking about losing something like a one loses a set of car keys.

Let me recommend to articles here for greater clarity: Redemption and the other one is Eternal Life

It is very simple: We respond to God’s grace by faith and receive what He has already accomplished for us. But as simple as that is and as simple as it sounds, most Christians don’t understand it. They still want to fight and do spiritual battle or perform some good work. They want to tie reading the Bible, praying, going to church, or even paying their tithes to appropriating God’s favor and blessing, when clearly we can see that God has freely provided every provision for this life and the life to come:

2 Peter 1:3 (KJV) According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

Ephesians 1:3 (NLT) All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.

Philippians 4:19 (NKJV) And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Many emphasize grace and that is their focus. Others look at only faith and put the emphasis on that, but we balance grace and faith. Very few do that. Grace with a positive response of faith won’t save you, and faith that is not in response to God’s grace will bring you into condemnation. But if we put our faith in the things God has already done (finished) for us, then we have the victory that overcomes the world.

1 John 5:4 (KJV) For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

I Have Been Alive and I Have Been Dead……Dead Is Better Because It Made Me Alive

Alive and then Dead

Romans 5:15
15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

Romans 6:4
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

I know it can seem confusing but it really is not. You must understand what kind of death and what dead means according to scripture and when it is good and when it is bad because all death is not bad. When I was younger and did not know Christ Jesus and had no understanding of God and lived my life in way I wanted to I was alive to my will but I was really the walking dead. So how did this happen and why and just how did I get dead to begin with? All very good questions to be sure and ones that really do have an answer and a clear one at that.

As our verse above states the offence of one caused many to be dead. It’s like an illustration I read not too long ago that showed how this happened. In this illustration the man said he was driving his family to have a family outing where they were going to eat at the park and enjoy the day. Sounds great, right? But, unfortunately, the man made a wrong turn and went a long way out of the way from the park they were to be going to. Now he made the mistake…one guy… but the bigger problem was that he had his family in the car and through no fault their own they all ended up at the wrong place because they were all in the car together. Through one man’s misdirection the whole suffered.

It is the same for mankind.

I know you may be thinking, “That stinks! How did this happen?” Glad you asked. Let me show you right here in the book of Romans.

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.

The idea that the sin nature was inherited is a totally new concept to many Christians, but it is a fact none the less. The majority of people believe it’s what they do that makes them sinners. But this verse clearly teaches that sin entered the earth through one man, Adam (also see Romans 5:15-18), and death is a result of that sin (Romans 5:15). It is not our individual actions of sin that separate us from God (separation from God is spiritual death). It’s that sin nature that separates us.

Our sins don’t make us sinners. We were born sinners (remember the car story) and we sin because that is our nature. Paul said this in Ephesians 2:3 “And were by nature the children of wrath.” This is why we “must be born again” (John 3:7). We received our sinful nature through our natural birth, and we only receive a new nature through a spiritual birth. You are saved by grace through faith! Paul makes this very clear and he also made a comparison of just how great this grace was in its working in Romans 5:7.

Paul, in an effort to show just how great this love of God is and how it is shown to us through grace, makes an illustration. One of the greatest expressions of love a human can do is to lay down their life for another. But then Paul went further still and illustrated that yes, it is possible to image people giving up their lives for others, that happens and has happened many times. But the shocking thing and the thing that is inconceivable is that a person would give up their life and lay it down for a sworn enemy. And yet this is exactly what God did as we can read here in Romans 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And because this is the case of what was done for me and for you let me ask you, how could we ever doubt the goodness of God towards us? (Wommack, 2015),

At this point where Paul was making those comparisons, he made another to make the same point. Many teachers do this. They say the same thing only in a slightly different way as to bring more understanding to the subject. And in so doing he added as it were a parentheses and inserted Romans 5:13-17 and to really get a clear picture of what Paul was saying it is very helpful to skip this parenthetical section of Romans 5:12 to 5:18 and read it like this.

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Romans 5:18 – Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

I Have Been Alive and I Have Been Dead……Dead Is Better Because It Made Me Alive
Part Two

In other words, Paul is saying that in the same way that we all inherited the sin nature independently of our own actions (we were passengers in the car), we also inherit God’s righteous nature, not because of what we have done but through the new birth provided to us through Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross. We became sinners through what ONE man did and we become righteous through what ONE man has done. We see in 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And in being a new creature in Christ Jesus we became alive in Christ and dead to sin hence the title of the article: I Have Been Alive and I Have Been Dead……Dead Is Better Because It Made Me Alive

Maybe this will help like a timeline:

• Alive to sin – I was born with the nature of sin
• Dead to God (separated/spiritual death)
o Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses. The death spoken of here is spiritual death resulting from sin. People without Christ may be physically alive, yet they walk around in the state of spiritual death. Scripture describes this condition as being alienated from the life of God, controlled by the old nature, having no hope, being by nature the children of wrath, and controlled by the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:1-6, 12, 4:18; and Galatians 5:19-21).
• Alive to God (new birth) – Being quickened, or made alive, with Christ reverses the effects of spiritual death. All that had once alienated us from God is gone, and we are now seated with Christ Jesus in the very presence of God (Colossians 3:1).
• Dead to sin – Romans 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Also see Col.3:3
o (which made me)
• Alive to God through Christ and made righteous and my life is hid in Christ, Colossians 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Galatians 2:19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.

Paul was saying that his deliverance from the Law (which is the strength of sin – see I Corinthians 15:56) is not through unlawful means. The Law demanded death for sin because the wages of sin is death, Romans 6:23 (Ezekiel 18:4 and 20), and Jesus fulfilled that requirement by dying in our place. Now it would be unlawful to punish us once our debt has been paid. That would be double jeopardy. So then how do we live? We live the same way that Paul, who was alive then dead then alive again, lived. (Wommack, 2015)

Looking at Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

And again in Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Please look at a very important word here, although it is a small word it has big meaning. “OF” Paul said he was living by the faith OF, not faith IN, the Son of God. Now don’t take me wrong I do not believe it is wrong to say we place our faith in the Son of God, but Paul was clear here saying that he was living by the faith OF Jesus and again repeated it in Gal. 2:16 as seen above. We use the faith OF Jesus and where do we get it? Well, the same place as Paul and as every born-again believer gets it from, the Word of God, Romans 10:17 Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Most of the oldest transcripts read, ‘faith comes by hearing the word or message of Christ. ( See examples below)’ We heard the report and faith came to be born-again, we continue to hear the message and in hearing we do and faith is, therefore, the doing.

And so we as believes are alive and full of the life of God and we live by the faith of God who loved us and gave His life for us. And as Paul wrote in Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened (made alive) together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses. And looking a bit farther into His Word we can see even more and this is really exciting because we can see such a great truth here (but I must warn you at this point, if you are still wearing your religious glasses take them off now so as not to incur religious action that could cause blindness to the truth…..)

Hebrews 10:10-14
10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

This is speaking of past, present, and even future sins. All our sins have been dealt with through the sacrifice and atonement of Christ. And if you are saying, “Wait! Future sins can’t be forgiven,” you better think again. Jesus died for our sins 2,000 years ago, before we ever committed sins. If you think sins cannot be forgiven before they are committed, then your sins aren’t forgiven. Keeping in our minds and hearts 2 Timothy 2:11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him. As a Christian we will suffer some hardships and failings but God is so good that even when we fail, He remains faithful to us (2 Timothy 2:13). Paul used a series of opposites to put our hardships in perspective. If we die, we live (this verse). If we suffer, we reign (2 Timothy 2:12). Though we falter in our faith, God never will. Always remember the rewards are greater than the sacrifices. As a child of God we can’t lose for winning. (Wommack, 2015)

Missions The Heart of God…

Missions: The Heart of God, really not so catchy title, so that means if you are reading this article it is either because you have a heart for missions or you are a missionary or you just like me so you read what I write, “Thank you” and there are a few who don’t like me and they read my blogs to try to find something to support their bitterness. None the less you are reading this and for that I thank you.

There is a word that is used quite a bit today as I hear people talking and the word is mandate. I hear it from people of all walks of life, many from the Bible college I graduated from speak of a mandate that has been handed down to them by the founder of the school while others feel they have one of their own.

But what is a Mandate? Well according to the dictionary it is defined this way

 

  1. a command or authorization to act in a particular way on a public issue given by the electorate to its representative:
  2. a command from a superior court or official to a lower one.

 

It is very often used as in political circles, such as when a particular party wins by a huge margin you will hear somebody say that this party has received a clear “mandate” or a clear message to enact the things that they have pledged to do. So a mandate is seen as important and rightly so, also a mandate is given, as our definition states as “a command from a superior court or official to a lower one” it is an authorization for a superior person or persons that have and can give this authority to another to act for them on their behalf.

Now in order for this mandate to have any bearing on the person or group it is given to it must be recognized as something valuable and the importance of it must be understood otherwise the mandate is just another set of rules handed out to a group that has no understanding of the value of the order and authorization by which it was given and places it in a position of a “good idea that should be done someday by somebody”

You see. I believe that before a person will give prayerful and financial support to something, it has to be seen as important and valuable and relevant for today. And that my friends is why people like me and other missionaries around this world have to constantly write and travel back to our homelands to raise funds in order to maintain the work that has to be done in the places where God has called us to, because many don’t see the value and importance of missions and do not recognize the “Mandate” sent out by the superior court of heaven to go and make disciples. I know some won’t like what I just said, and believe me I am not trying to make anyone angry, in my position I cannot afford to anger people but the truth is sometimes hard to swallow easily.

THE MANDATE OF MISSIONS

If we are believers, then we believe the Word of God, if we believe the Word then we have to believe the mandate. If we think the commands given by God in His Word are optional, then it only stands to reason that we would believe our responsibility to the command is optional as well.

But we can clearly see in His Word, spoken by the head of the Church Himself, Jesus Christ, just a short time after His resurrection and subsequent ascension back to His Father in heaven, He clearly spoke to us His body in the earth in this verse of scripture.

Matthew 28:18-20 (KJV)

18  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Jesus made the mandate clear and without any question as to what He meant when He said he had received “all authority in heaven and on earth” and then He authorized us to go and teach all nations. And in turn the blessing and presence of Jesus would be with the disciples there and with us now, because the words “to the very end of the age” are used pertaining to us.

So if you find yourself complaining about missions and those missionaries and missions Sundays, be careful because for one, it shows what you are valuing and two you are complaining about the very thing God has approved and even commanded. I mean if it were today and on television then it could go something like this.

The add would come on and Jesus would be in the background in front of a group of people, perhaps holding signs pro Jesus signs and He says “All power is given to me in heaven and in earth and I am authorizing you to go and make disciples in my Name and to teach them to observe and do all the things I have taught you” as the camera zooms in on Jesus, He looks squarely at it and says “I am Jesus Christ and I approve this message”.

What I am saying is that the mandate of Missions is C L E A R and we should be honored to carry that message ourselves and walk in the authority we have been given and to support those who have answered that call.

 

THE IMMEDIACY OF MISSIONS – Lord here am I send me……but just not immediately….

I live is a very large city and things are always moving, people are in a hurry to get things done and things are never fast enough. Yet at the same time we are surrounded by procrastinators and procrastination. And often we fall into that trap ourselves and put off doing those things that we really need to do in favor of doing those things from which we receive momentary satisfaction or fulfilment from and those things that are of greater lasting value, well they often don’t receive the attrition they deserve.

In all probability if you were to go and ask 10 people during the Christmas rush why they are in such a hurry, the answer would not be that they are trying to rush to their accounts office to and get there Financial Planner in order for an early retirement. And you probably hear any say they are rushing to the dentist’s office to be the first in case there is a long line. No more often than not we avoid and put off till tomorrow, or a better time, or after this or that but then all to soon the things we put off show up at the door much sooner than we planned.

Kind of reminds me of a story I once heard where a man made a deal with death, he said “Death now I will go when you call without a fight, but I want you to do something for me, death replied and said “what is it you request”? Well says the man, before you come for me you have to warn me well in advance. Death smiled and said “Ok you have a deal” So many years passed and the day came when death came to the man’s door and said “Old man, it’s time” NOW wait just a minute, says the old man we had a deal that you would warn me before you came. Death, laughed and said old man, do you see those wrinkles in your face, and the gray in your hair, and do you feel the cold in your bones and that slower pace by which you walk and those eyes are not as clear as they once were” The old man answered and said yes but what does that have to do with our deal, for you to warn me before you come? Death says “Why old man I have been warning you for years”

For missions to become important to us, we must allow the Spirit of God to open our eyes and heart to the immediacy of the need today. We can plainly see in the Bible that Jesus taught us that the time is now and the harvest is waiting to be brought in.

John 4:35 (KJV)
35  Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

The Jew’s harvest came in around the end of March. Therefore, Jesus must have made these statements around the end of December or the first of January. Jesus was saying the physical harvest very well may be four months away, and not to focus on that but to look at the spiritual harvest that is before them right now. This was when the Samaritans dressed in their everyday robes which was a white linen, were beginning to pour out of the city to come and meet this Man who had told the woman all the things she had ever done. Jesus was saying, “Look at the spiritual harvest that is ready to be picked right now.”

And none of us wherever we live in this world, a small town or large city, none of us can live there very long without realizing that the need is great and that the need is still Right Now. People are lost and without hope and dying, and going to a devils hell without Christ a place that was not meant for them. Just like the old man and death no one knows the day or the hour that they will die and no one knows the day or the hour when Christ will return.

The need is now, and today is the day. Let me just pause here for a moment and say if you are reading this and you have not took the time to accept Christ Jesus as your savior and Lord, do it now, there is no better time. Just look at what God is saying in 2 Corinthians 6:2 For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

 The point that Paul was making in this verse is that God’s grace is in vain if people refuse the acceptable time, the day of their salvation. What Paul is saying is so powerful, People cannot just come to the Lord whenever they get ready. Jesus said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44). There is an acceptable time of salvation, and people need to respond when the Spirit of the Lord deals with them. You cannot just count on a more convenient time, on your own terms. (Acts 24:25).

I am telling you now is the time of God’s favor and grace, now is the right time, and now is the day of salvation. The NEED is now, the TIME is now, and He is calling all of us to do something NOW.

Now we are going to talk a little about a word that is not so popular among us but it is a common word for many and a familiar word for those who live on a mission field, and that is the word Sacrifice.

THE SACRIFICE OF MISSIONARIES

Now those of you who know me and Donnia know we do not tell sad stories nor do we talk about the sacrifices we have made and try to make you feel sorry for us in order to get support, quite the opposite can be said I do believe. But, there is sacrifice required to go and do what we are called to do and this is an article about missions and not just about our mission but missions in general.

While it is true that we live in an instant age and can receive messages and phone calls and with things like Skype and FaceTime we can both see and hear our friends and loved ones even though they are hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles away. And because of the internet the world is in fact a “shrinking globe” With airplanes and automobiles we can reach our homes many times in just a few hours.

But there is still no replacement for the hug of a child or the joy of being at the graduation of a grandchild or the need to be at the bedside of a family member who may go home soon or to make a few memories around the “Thanksgiving table”. While others take those times for granted and even with a bit of disdain for having to take the time when other things might seem more desirable, Donnia and I can only hear about those special days and wish we could be a part from time to time.

No, there is nothing quite like having to say good-bye to people we love who are close to us, especially those friends and close family.

There is nothing like having that person we love in our presence.

We are so blessed, unlike those missionaries of yester year, who when they said good-bye to friends and family it may be years and perhaps for the rest of their life they would not see them again, nor could they call or send an instant message.

Matthew 19:29 (KJV) And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

Missionaries I know have dedicated their whole life to one city or one country. I know of one missionary, that if they had one disciple and baptized one person, in the country they were ministering in, in a single year, it was a great success. Now if you are the type of person that only looks at the bottom line, or counts success by the masses that were saved you may not think they had done a whole lot. But what really matters here is not the great numbers or the huge campaigns, no what the bottom line is here is, did they remain faithful to the call of God.

I read a story and I have heard it told but I think it bears repeating, about an older missionary couple coming home from the mission field….

An old missionary couple had been working in Africa for years and were returning to New York to retire.

As the trip began, they discovered they were on the same ship as President Teddy Roosevelt, who was returning from one of his big-game hunting expeditions.

No one paid any attention to them. They watched the fanfare that accompanied the President’s entourage, with passengers trying to catch a glimpse of the great man. As the ship moved across the ocean, the old missionary said to his wife, “Something is wrong.”

“Why should we have given our lives in faithful service for God in Africa all these many years and have no one care a thing about us? Here this man comes back from a hunting trip and everybody makes much over him, but nobody gives two hoots about us.”

“Dear, you shouldn’t feel that way,” his wife said.

He replied “I can’t help it; it just doesn’t seem right.”

When the ship docked in New York, a band was waiting to greet the President. The mayor and other dignitaries were there. The papers were full of the President’s arrival. No one noticed the missionary couple. They slipped off the ship, disappeared in the crowd, and found a cheap flat on the East Side, hoping the next day to see what they could do to make a living in the city.

That night the man’s spirit broke. He said to his wife, “I can’t take this; God is not treating us fairly.” His wife replied, “Why don’t you go in the bedroom and tell that to the Lord?”

A short time later he came out from the bedroom, but now his face was completely different. His wife asked, “Dear, what happened?”

The Lord settled it with me. I told Him how bitter I was that the President should receive this tremendous homecoming, when no one met us as we returned home. And when I finished, it seemed as though the Lord put His hand on my shoulder and simply said;

“You’re not home yet.”

 The greatest reward for the missionary is not here on this earth, oh yes we do get to experience a glimpse from time to time but the reward of the missionary is out of this world. In my Father’s house are many mansions, and He is preparing one for me and for you.

And that brings us to our next thought about Missions…..

THE SATISFACTION OF MISSIONARIES

Funny isn’t it that while talking about sacrifice it is an easy transition into satisfaction. I mean almost as a simultaneous thought sacrifice/satisfaction, that’s because when serving God as a missionary whether it be around the world, or in the United States or wherever the homeland of the person there is a huge amount of satisfaction as we know we are in the center of Gods will doing what we are called to do.

I remember when I was a younger man before I went to bible school or pastored a Church, missionaries would come to the church I attended and to other churches around me and bring their slide shows and dress in the attire of the country they worked in, and I might add I really looked forward to those meetings. And on the inside of me I knew that one day I was going to be a missionary, but it did make me wonder “how would I live, and would I have to spend my life in suffering and poverty on the premise that one day after a while I would have my reward, in the sweet bye and bye.

But I learned and now can say with experience, that yes there is a great deal of sacrifice but there is also a tremendous amount of reward in the future and also right now. I could not think of doing anything else, even with all the sacrifices and problems and sometimes danger. Because there is nothing like being in the center of God’s will there is nothing more satisfying than that. Think of it in the terms of food (yes, you knew I work food in here someway) But actually Jesus is the one who brought this example into the satisfaction of being in Gods will when He said “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me” really let me show you.

John 4:34-35 (NIV2011)
34  “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.
35  Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.

In all truth, if you feel called to missions or being a pastor or any one of the ministry rolls, don’t try to ponder how it’s going to work out or if you will be happy, honestly being in the will of God is all that matters and what it is really all about. There is a complete satisfaction that goes with the job in spite of the sacrifices and difficult times that will arise. When contemplating the call of God on your life don’t try to factor a “misery” level into it as if we have to suffer some in order to please God. No! God wants us to be fully satisfied and happy and full of joy in His service no matter what challenges my come.

 

THE INDIVIDUALITY OF MISSIONS

One of the things we see about Jesus is that he had a large ministry, filling some of the largest areas in his country. Just think about it we know of a least twice where he spoke and ministered to over 5000 men not including the children and women whom he also fed. (Matthew 14:21) He had a huge healing ministry, and partners who helped him and a staff that he supplied for and fed and their family’s every day, the ministry was large enough that Jesus had a treasurer.

But Jesus’ ministry was not only to the masses but we can see Him in many individual encounters as well. And I really enjoy looking at these one on one interviews Jesus had with people. Now we have talked about the woman who came to Jesus at the well and because of that encounter an entire city was changed. And then we can see Nicodemus, who came to him at night, this “Nic at Night” episode brought the questions that led to the powerful response from Jesus that “ye must be Born again” And who can forget the woman who reached out to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment defying the laws that could have had her killed but because she did we see that Jesus felt that touch of faith even in a crowed so large they were pressing in on him from all sides, He still stopped for her.

You see every individual is important and He has time for all and desires that all people take time for Him, because it is not the will of God for any to perish in any part of their life.

2 Peter 3:9 (KJV)
9  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

In this world we live it is easy to get lost and begin to feel like we are just another number in the billions, yet Jesus is still all about the one. Something else to note about this scripture that is most interesting. This this verse brings out that God’s will doesn’t always happen. That sounds like heresy to the extreme “sovereignty of God” people, but there is no denying that is what this verse is saying. He is Lord but He doesn’t control everything. And even though God is all powerful, but He doesn’t choose to use His power in a way that denies our right to choose. It is not His will for anyone to perish, but we know many do. Why? Because of their choice, not God’s.

There are those folks who teach that nothing happens unless it is Gods will but they are totally wrong. Those who teach God allows things to happen are only correct in the sense that God gave mankind authority over this earth and over their own lives.

Yes, we need the big arena meetings and the mega Churches and the mass meetings. But the greatest part of the work is done by the Missionaries and all of us who see value in the one to one meetings with individual people.

A young man, walking along the beach at dawn, noticed an old man ahead of him picking up starfish and flinging them into the sea. Catching up with the man, the youth asked what he was doing. The answer was that the stranded starfish would die if left until the morning sun.

“But the beach goes on for miles, and there are millions of starfish,” countered the young man. “How can your effort make any difference?”

The old man looked at the starfish in his hand, and then threw it to safety in the waves. “It makes a big difference to this one,”

Don’t be caught up in the attitude of the day in which we live that “if we can’t deal completely with the problem, then we will just do nothing at all” Once, when I was pastoring I wanted to buy a church bus so I sent out letters and ask people to buy one tire or one seat, I never ask anybody to buy the whole bus and this is the way we get things done today, one person at a time.

That’s why Jesus is a personal Savior….

 

THE OBEDIENCE FACTOR OF MISSIONARIES

There is one outstanding fact that every Missionary that preaches the gospel of the Lord Jesus has in common, we did not call ourselves to the job. No Missionary goes to the field of his or her own will, you must be first called by the Lord. Not a mission board or a group of people in need or by a Pastor somewhere. We are called by a loving heavenly Father who has only good in store and knows exactly who the best one is to fill the need in a certain situation and He also knows the best time and at what intersection of life you need be where you’re going.

Remember the guy whose job it was on a certain day to be in a certain place holding a pitcher? Luke 22:10 timing is everything with God, at just the right time the baby cried and the basket was opened and baby Moses was found.

God still calls people, regardless of who they are and what talents they have or don’t have and it is not based on their recommendations and resume. It has been said many times but still bears true “whom God calls, God equips.” But with that call there must be obedience on the part of the one being called, because if they are not obedient they will never have the satisfying life fulfilled life and ministry they were intended by God to experience.

We can readily see example after example of people who were called by God to some type of service for Him, some followed and some did not. There is Paul on the Damascus road and the disciples, from different vocations in life from fisherman to tax collector. There was the young rich ruler who chose his wealth over the call of the master and went away sorrowfully and then as we spoke of earlier there was Moses, who tried to convince God He has chosen the wrong man for the job and of course that mighty man of valor Gideon at least that what the angel called him when he found him hiding from the enemy.

And the examples can go on and on, but one example that really shines and stands boldly is found in Isaiah – Isaiah 6:8 (KJV)
8  Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

One Pastor puts it like this, and I think it is well for me to state it here in this article, “Every time, a Missionary stands in our pulpit to preach the Word, or share their burden, you are seeing an answer to prayer, as well as a person who has responded in obedience”.

 

THE NEED OF MISSIONS

So obedience on the part of the Missionary to the call of God is wonderful, but all the obedience in the whole world would count for absolutely nothing unless there were willing and obedient people who will also catch the vision for Missions by responding both prayerfully and financially to the need of the Missionaries and not just when there is an emergency but a regular consciences of them or on a more personal level us. The local Church must be missions minded, both home missions and foreign. One man said it like this

“Any church that is not seriously involved in helping fulfill the Great Commission has forfeited its biblical right to exist.” – Oswald J. Smith

We get asked all the time “is there anything you need” and the simple answer is “Yes, Money” the need of the Missionary can be many things, but think about it the Missionary living on a forging field today needs finances. When we travel it costs for taxis if we had the funds we could buy a car of our own, if we hold a seminar in another country, then we must fly there and rent a building. When administrating a new Church or school there is a cost involved and beside all that just as those who live and are able to work a paying job have to supply for electricity and water and a place to live, the Missionary on the field has the same needs only they don’t have a weekly paycheck coming in most of the time.

That is why great partners are so vital to a Missionary. So what does a great partner look like? Well here are some examples that Missionaries have given of great partners…..

Great Missions Partners:

  • Let us know they received our correspondence and are praying for us. They are committed to give to missions and let us know how we can pray for them. They visit us on the field and invite us into their homes when we are on furlough.
  • Are faithful—in their giving, praying, and communicating. They remember the kids on their birthdays. They make sure their missionary has personal money at Christmas.
  • Are known by their love. They just believe in us and the call that God has given us. They pray for us and give as the Spirit leads them. The best partners are great lovers before they are great prayers or givers. Our best partners are individuals rather than churches.
  • Understand the cost of missions and give thousands to keep us on the field so we don’t have to travel to raise money. (We prefer to be workers on the field, not professional fundraisers). We are thankful for churches who focus significant care and support on one or two missionaries, rather than spread themselves too thin over many missionaries. This makes more of an impact for the Gospel
  • Remember us every month. They’re people we can count on for support. If they have to discontinue regular support, they let us know as far in advance as possible. (They don’t just stop giving without any warning or explanation.)

Now there may be some people that might say, well perhaps the good Lord should have thought about this a little more in detail. Calling people to the mission field, I mean, He should have dropped thousands of dollars in their bank account to make sure all went well and that everything gets done. Well that would have been wonderful and if He would have dropped the language in as a bonus so it did not have to be learned that would be awesome.

Yet, God does just that, through the combined efforts of churches and individuals all around the world who generously give to the work of Missions.

In reality Missions is an area where people don’t “have to give, but get to give”

I have found that many times the average pastor views his church as a local church with a missions program; while he ought to realize that if he or she is in fact pastoring a church, it is to be a global church with a mission’s purpose.

As the Missionary that is supported by churches and people like you goes, so you go as well. I know it is said often but none the less stands true, when you send us the reward is counted as well to you.

And finally I want to add one more item to this topic.

THE SAVIOR OF MISSIONS

So here is the real heart of this whole article and lesson. It’s not about money or planes or houses or all these other things, it is not even about Missionaries who see the world or churches and individuals who feel better about themselves because they support these efforts. It is first and foremost about the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

And it all goes back to the very first item motioned a “Mandate” we still have the “Great Commission” we still have a command that we go into all the World with the Good News of the Gospel. Jesus never said this is for your four and no more, so just keep it to yourself, no we were commanded to do all and occupy till he comes until the whole world has heard the Good News that a savior has come and He offers to whosoever will blessings and an abundant life not only for now, but for eternity to come.

In reading the article that this article you are reading was adapted from the author/Pastor quotes a man and I think it is fitting to place what he said here in this article again…

Charles Malik, former Lebanese ambassador to the United Nations, asked in a speech: “What has been the greatest American contribution to the rest of the world? Has it been money? Has it been food? Has it been medical skill? Has it been military might? Has it been industrial know-how?” Then he answered, “The greatest thing to come out of America has been the American missionary effort: the quiet, selfless men and women who have left the comfort and security of their homeland to bring the gospel of Christianity to less favored nations.

Mandate

Immediacy

Sacrifice

Satisfaction                               = The Great Commission Matthew 28:18-20

Individuality

Obedience

Need

Savior

Will you prayerful consider becoming a Missions Partner with us today, just click on this link and now and fulfil what God has called you to do by helping send us as your hands and your voice in Peru.

AMI in Ica Peru – Mission Team Video LWWC

Well here we are in Ica Peru with a great team from Living Way World Church. The team ministered in several Churches and everyday in the market places and in the local hospital. Then at the end of the week we had some great fun, FUN! did you say fun I thought this was a spiritual mission trip? Well yes I said fun, when on a mission trip we work hard all day going from early morning to late at night but then it’s good to just enjoy some of the things God has for His kids to just enjoy…..

Watch the video and pray about bringing a team of your own to Peru…..

Secure In The Love of a Happy God

I was invited to be a part of the 100% FREE seminar held in Arequipa Peru on September 8 & 9. These meetings were in connection with LatinFe Ministerial International founded by Pastor Jim Andrews.

The seminar included 6 area churches that are part of LATINFE working together in the city of Arequipa. The speakers included myself, Pastor Jim Andrews and Pastor Christian Burgos.

We encourage you to watch more from this seminar. You can do so by going to 100% Free.

Pastor Darrell Alexander would like to recognize and give a special “Thank You” to Mrs. Ximena-Maya Dean for doing such an excellent job of translating for me.

 

If you prefer not to hear the first couple of songs my message begins at about 11:02

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look to your future and not to the past, learn to live in the grace of God and love much, forgive always and hold no bitterness toward anyone.

(Video) Taking It To The Streets In Huancayo Peru with LWFC Mission Team 2017

Below is the mission update I promised from Huancayo,Peru. It is our hope and desire that you will be blessed by this video and all that the Lord has done and is doing here in Peru.

From the 27th of August till September 2 we were honored to host the mission team from Living Word Family Church in Naples, FL. We met the team at the airport, along with Pastor Billy and the volunteers from La Comunidad Carismatica de Lima Church (who translated and worked in various ways).

 

Look to your future and not to the past, learn to live in the grace of God and love much, forgive always and hold no bitterness toward anyone.

If You’re Waiting For God To Heal You, You’re Wasting Your Time!

I image there have been some double takes from those who have read the title of this message and hopefully you are reading this because I have peeked your interest on some level. Let me just tell it like it is right from the start, ‘God is not going to heal you! He’s not going to bless you and He’s not going to save you! Now before you get too overwrought and upset and write me a letter or comment you may regret later, read the entire article!

Why do I say God is not going to do these things? Because He has (past tense) already healed us (1 Peter 2:24) and saved us (Ephesians 28 & John 3:16) and blessed us (Ephesians 1:3) over 2000 years ago. Yet, I still hear believers today praying and asking God to heal them or to heal a loved one. I hear ministers proclaim with a loud voice as they lay hands on the sick say, “we just ask you, Father, in Jesus’ name to please send your healing power now.” It makes me sad and angry all at the same time. Why? Because it sends a confused message to the body of Christ and a confused message to the world. When believers are continually waiting on God to heal or to bless in some way or other, continually waiting on a deeper revelation or greater understanding so that they might obtain their healing they completely miss the simple truth of the gospel of Christ, and try to get Jesus to do something that has he has already done and said was finished.

What does that mean? It is finished! That means God has completed His part or done His part.  When Jesus cried out in (John 19:30), “It is finished’, He really meant what he said. His work on earth was done. The Atonement for sin, sickness and disease was complete. He provided everything we could ever need. We aren’t waiting on Him to give, He is waiting on us to receive. People are always trying to find out what their part is. Well your part is to R-E-C-E-I-V-E. Receive what? To receive the healing that belongs to you, to receive the blessings that belong to you, and to receive the salvation that is yours.

Let’s look at some scripture starting with the Ephesians 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” do you know what the word “spiritual” here means? In the original Greek text, it is pneumatikos, which in this context means having properties and characteristics belonging to the Spirit of God.(emphasis mine). Paul in writing the book of Ephesians he wrote it by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit from the perspective that all things are ours in Christ. Any blessing you or I have or need is not something we must strive and fight to get. It is something we already have! Listen, God provided for us before we had the need. It is just a matter of receiving what has already been provided or what has already been done.

Nothing Yet To Be Done

This is so important! I cannot emphasize it enough! The understanding that any blessing you could ever need or desire from the Lord is done, and when this is understood it brings an assurance that is enormous. It completely destroys legalism and the performance mentality, and takes all the pressure off. Why? Because how are you going to doubt that God our Father will do something for you if He’s already done it!

Let me illustrate it this way:  When I was going to Bible school, before I started I found out I had to pay $1100 on the day of orientation, and I did not have any of the money. So I did the only thing I could do, I went to the Lord about it. On the night before school was to start I still did not have the money needed. I had ask already and had it settled in my heart that God wanted me to go to this Bible school and I figured if He wanted me to go then He would have to supply what was needed.

Now, if you think I did not have any opposition from the devil, oh boy, it was intense or if you think I had no doubts about it, you would be wrong. The devil fought me saying ,“you’re never going to get the money” and  “what kind of a man are you, you brought your whole family out here to go to Bible school and you will not even get to go”… on and on Satan harassed me. That night I was at a friend’s house and his roommate, who I had never met, came home. He had been visiting family. He was also a student and was to start his second year. As we talked and got to know each other he happened to ask, “so are you all ready to start in the morning?” I said, Yes, I was ready. Then he asked, “Do you have all your money for orientation?” I said not all. Well, how much do you lack yet? He asked. I said, “Well, all of it.” At that point he kind of laughed and said, “I have enough to cover it, and will give it to you if you can pay me back in a few weeks” and he did and I did.

So the next morning I paid the $1100 to the school for my tuition and the moment I did every doubt, every harassing thought, and every negative thing disappeared from me. You’re probably saying, “Well, of course they did! You had it, no need to wonder if you are going to get it now! That would be dumb” and you would be 100% right and that is my point. Have you ever prayed to be healed and then in your next thought wondered if you would really get healed? If you said yes, I can tell you why. Because you don’t view healing as something that has already been done but as something that has yet to be done or accomplished in you or for you.

If You Were, Then You Are

Now quickly let’s look at 1 Peter 2:24 and see how it applies to our life today.

1 Peter 2:24 (KJV): Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sin, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. First, we must understand that when Jesus died for our sin, it was not a token gesture. He did not take a sample of sin and use it as an example. No, when He died the Bible teaches us that Jesus became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). He took every sin for every person (the entire human race) for all time into His own body on the cross. You know the scripture teaches us that His face was so disfigured, more than any man and He didn’t even look human. You would scarcely recognize Him as a man. (Isaiah 52:14). Sin and all the toll it takes on mankind (sickness, disease, age, and pain) came into the sinless body of Jesus, who had never ever sinned or had His body ever know the effects of sin and corrupted it. Jesus knew this was going to happen and that’s why He ask His Father to, ‘let this cup of suffering pass from Him’. It was not only what was to happen to Him physically but He did not want to become sin. But Jesus, our Pure Holy Savior, knew this was what He came to do. Truly the religious leaders who fought to have Jesus crucified said when they were taunting Him “He saved others; himself he cannot save….” (Matthew 27:42). If he would have saved himself, we would be forever lost.

This is a very interesting verse and so packed with truth we could teach on this one verse for weeks, about righteousness and what it means to be “dead to sin” and much more. But that is for another time. But this verse does put the healing that Jesus obtained for us in a very special place. It puts it in the past tense. What does that mean to you and me? It means it’s a done deal, a completed fact of the agreement, it’s in the will and it belongs to me! It means if we were healed then we are healed and we are not waiting for it to happen or for God to heal us. That’s why it is really incorrect to pray for healing. Instead, we are supposed to just receive the healing that the Lord has already provided. We are not waiting on God to heal us. He’s already done His part. He is simply waiting on us take what He has provided for us and command His healing power to manifest in our bodies. I am here to witness I have done this so many times and it works. You and I must understand there is a fight but there is a difference between fighting to get our healing and fighting because we have already been healed. And that is the difference between success and failure.

How are we saved? Did it just fall on us like ripe cherries off a tree? No, Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves.” We are saved by grace, but not by grace alone, we are saved by faith but not faith alone, it is the combination of both. Faith is not true biblical faith unless it’s used in receiving what God has already fully provided for us by grace. Grace is the unearned, unmerited favor of God that He has provided to us, independent of any worth or work or value on our part. If it is in any way attached to some goodness of ours, then it is not true grace. God, on His own or by grace, has already provided all the things we will ever need.

Because the word saved or salvation has been called the great inclusive word of the Gospel (see my article “The Ultimate Word) (The Hebrew, and Greek, “sōtēria”, meaning “safety”, “preservation”, “healing”, and “soundness”), it gathers to itself all the redemptive acts, such as justification, redemption, grace, propitiation, imputation, forgiveness, sanctification, and glorification. We could say:

 

  • For by grace are ye healed through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, Not of works, lest any man should boast.
  • For by grace are ye justified through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, Not of works, lest any man should boast.
  • For by grace are ye redeemed through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, Not of works, lest any man should boast.
  • For by grace are ye sanctified through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, Not of works, lest any man should boast.
  • For by grace are ye glorified through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, Not of works, lest any man should boast.
  • For by grace are ye safe through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, Not of works, lest any man should boast.
  • For by grace are ye sound of mind through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, Not of works, lest any man should boast.
  • For by grace are ye preserved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, Not of works, lest any man should boast.

So you see my point here! God has a master plan and it is all of His doing for us whom He loves with an eternal love. What I am saying is this, if God has not already moved or supplied by His grace, then we can’t make Him or force Him by our faith. (After all, where do we get the faith from in the first place?) No, faith simply appropriates what God has already provided for us by His grace. So if He’s already provided all these things for your needs and my needs by His grace, then as one man has so aptly said, “faith is just our positive response to what He has already done and not something we do to get God to respond to us.

These things have become more and more real to me of late, and I am seeing more of the manifold blessings of God not because of something I have done to deserve or earn them. These come by revelation from the Holy Spirit.  He makes these truths come to life on the inside of us. One thing that has helped me tremendously, though, is the study of Spirit, Soul and Body. As I understand more that I am a spirit, that one third of me is full of the Holy Spirit of God, wall to wall and tree top tall,  the more I understand and meditate on these truths of who I really am in Christ ,the more the Holy Spirit, our teacher, brings revelation.  My prayer is that you will bathe yourself in His word and let the washing of the water of His word (John 15:3) overtake you and be thoroughly furnished unto every good work (II Timothy 3:16-17).

 

Remember…look to your future and not to the past, learn to live in the grace of God and love much, forgive always and hold no bitterness toward anyone

 

Reference works include

Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary

Strong’s Concordance

Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of New Testament Words

King James Bible

Alexander Photos

What Does His Blood Deserve

Often people judge their ability to receive from God based on their worthiness or their behavior of the preceding days. Another way of saying it is, they expect from God based on how spiritual or good they have been. And in that frame of mind they tend to think they either deserve or don’t deserve a thing. Perhaps a couple on the way to church on a Sunday morning engages in a dispute and by the time they reach the church they are quite angry with one another and entering into the service one or both of them are thinking, “Well, I am not going to get anything from God today!” Their reasoning for this is because they are or were in an argument and may still be upset so therefore how could God bless them this morning because they don’t DESERVE it based on their performance.

People sometimes get sick and often think they are in that condition because of something they have or have not done and God is disappointed with them. They somehow feel that they deserve what they are having to deal with, sort of an ‘I made my bed hard so I will just have to lie in it” mindset, judging themselves to be unfit or unworthy or undeserving of the blessings of the promises of God. They apply this way of thinking to every area of their life.

Questions will start to arise: How do I receive healing? …..How do I receive prosperity? …..How do I receive the things I need so badly? …..What am I not understanding? …..What am I doing or not doing that is causing me to not be on the blessing side of things? And what is really being said here is, “I judge myself as unworthy.” This is a mentality called Sin Consciousness and is prevalent in Christianity today throughout the body of Christ, I am sad to say. This kind of thinking leads to depression, steals ambition and causes sickness and will even break apart good families and friends…. Sin Consciousness is a killer.

With this type of thinking what we are really doing is judging Jesus as unworthy. Now I know this is a bit of a shocker but none the less it is true.  Look at Acts 13:46 – Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. You see, they (the Jews) judged themselves as unworthy to receive God’s grace and blessing and mercy and benefit. Because they judged Him and His sacrifice as unworthy or unacceptable for them on their behalf they judged his sacrifice as unable to redeem them. This type of thinking is keeping many, many believers in the body of Christ today away from the goodness of God and His great love and the benefits he has already provided for them. I firmly believe many stop going to church, not because they don’t love God, but because they feel they cannot live up to the rules and standards placed before them that say, “This is what a good Christian looks like and acts like, and if you don’t look like this and act this way you aren’t a good Christian…and on and on and on” and they leave because they judge themselves as unworthy and refuse to be a part of something they feel they cannot attain to.

This verse makes it clear that these people passed sentence on themselves. It wasn’t God’s will for them to perish (2 Peter 3:9), but God only provided one way of salvation (John 14:6). No one will ever be able to stand before God and point the finger at Him and accuse Him of being unfair. Those who reject God’s Word send themselves to hell. (Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary)

We can also add that those who reject Christ and what He has done are keeping the blessings of God from being active in their lives. Why? Because, by not recognizing that Jesus is our supreme sacrifice and substitute, we negate in our lives all that was finished on the cross. You see we are not worthy in and of ourselves! Our OWN righteousness is as a filthy rag. But we are not receiving and operating based on our own righteousness. We are receiving and operating based on HIS righteousness and His obedience and His worthiness.

What Does Jesus’ Blood Deserve?

When we begin to look at every aspect of our life in the light of what Jesus’ blood has done for us and what His blood has secured for us we begin to understand that it is not a matter of what the standards and rules we impose on ourselves and others can do for us based on our performance of those rules. When we finally look at the great salvation in the light of what He has done and what His blood deserves, we can then begin to be truly free and live an abundant life in Christ. That’s when we understand that Jesus’ Blood Deserves:

Miracles

Healings (1 Peter 2:24)

Captives set free

Family members brought into the body

Devils defeated

Blind eyes opened

Dead raised

Financial breakthroughs

Abundant life lived

Promotions

Freedom from condemnation

Released from guilt

Judgment satisfied

Because all of God’s judgment was poured out on Jesus (John 12:31 – Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32 – And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.) Notice that the word men is italicized. This means it was added by the translators. The context of the verse is talking about judgment. What Jesus was saying here is, if He is lifted up then He will draw all judgment to Himself, not necessarily drawing all men. Although this is a scriptural truth, it may not be what is meant here. Jesus was saying that when He is crucified, He would draw all of God’s judgment upon sin unto Himself. And yes, He did bear our judgment so we would never have to be judged. Jesus was judged and punished for us. So by accepting Him we are accepting that we are not the recipients of God’s punishment for sin but Jesus was.

His Blood Deserves…… It is not what we deserve but it is all about JESUS …….

We Receive From His Hands

I heard a great illustration from Pastor Franklin:

A little boy came into a candy shop and walked over to a big jar of candies and stood looking at it. The boy’s clothes were worn and he was a bit unkempt and it seemed obvious he could not buy what he desired. So the shop owner said to him, “Go ahead and reach your hand into the jar and get what you want and I will not charge you for it.” But the little boy just stood there looking at the jar of candy. So again the shop owner said, “Go ahead, son, put your hand in and get as much as you can grab and you can have it for “free!” But again the boy just stood staring at the candy jar. Finally, a little frustrated, the shop owner reached in with his own hand and pulled out a big handful of the candy. When he did the little boy smiled and held out both hands, then looking up at the shop owner and said, “Thanks, your hands are much bigger than mine are!”

You see, Jesus’s hands are much bigger than ours. His reach is much greater than our reach and His ability is beyond what we can do. When we receive from His hand, of what He has obtained for us, then we will have more than what we could have asked or thought (Eph. 3:20) The only problem is we can limit what God can do, because of our unbelief or by counting ourselves unworthy to receive what Jesus has procured for us.

We Must Get Out Of This Performance Based Religious Thinking

So what is the answer to the question, “What does His blood deserve?” His blood deserves every good and perfect gift, every benefit, every victory. Why? In Revelation 5:12 it says, ‘Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.’  You are worthy to receive because Jesus Christ was and is worthy. Not by works of righteous which we have done, but by grace through faith we are saved. Trust not in your performance and your standards and your abilities but solely in Christ Alone. Understanding redemption, the complete forgiveness of your sins, is foundational to understanding the New Covenant and how God deals with us today. He deals with us in light of what Jesus has done, and the work completed on the cross, all the debt has been paid.

 

Maybe you could have raised your kids better. Maybe you did mess up with adultery and went through a bad divorce or had a child when you were unmarried and still in high school. Perhaps you see where your children are just like you and this keeps you from praying and believing that God’s favor is on your life. But all these things combined and more are not enough to negate what Jesus has done for you and all who will accept Him as Lord and Savior! You see, I once belonged to a group that was sensitive to sin, had high “standards” to attain to and placed a lot of emphasis on how we dressed, where we went and many other things. We feared God. Not in a wrong way, but with a reverential respect of God and who He is. But what happens many times is those who are sensitive to sin to stay away from it (and that’s a good thing), find themselves being manipulated by the devil because the very standards and sensitivity that can and should be an attribute and asset can also be used as a liability working against you. Because you did not keep that standard one day or you sin, you count yourself as unworthy because your performance was not up to par. We begin to look at others with our standards and because they are not living according to our expectation we disqualify them and look down our sanctified noses as if we walk on a higher plane. Then one day we find ourselves unable to live up to our own standards and our performance is not what it should be and we think we can no longer go to God boldly because we have judged ourselves “unworthy” and we then negate what has been done for us through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

Every false religion—even religious Christianity—puts the burden of salvation back upon the individual. “Salvation” is then based upon your performance. If you live holy enough, do enough good things, observe all of these rituals and rules, your own standards of what makes a “good” Christian then you might be able to be saved. The problem is—and the book of Romans makes this very clear—that none of us can live up to those standards. We can’t save ourselves!

Only Jesus is worthy and because He is we are…………

 

Reff:

Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary.

Jentzen Franklin Ministries

KJV Bible

Message Bible

 

When Did God Start Using The Devil As His Messenger Boy?

James 1:2–4 says:

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

When did God start using the devil as His messenger boy to do His dirty work? Seems like an odd question I know just looking at like this, but the sad truth of the matter is many people, Christian’s included and preachers think this! They think this way when trouble, hardships or sickness comes. As a matter of fact there are whole denominations that believe God sends sickness or calamity to teach us something.

Ever heard this quote, “Well, if you don’t pay your tithes, God will get what belongs to Him one way or another”? This is a normal conversation between two believers about the need to tithe. Sort of reminds me of another quote I have heard, “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” This statement was made by Don Corleone to Johnny Fontane about Woltz in the movie “The Godfather”. Now don’t get me wrong I believe in tithing but God is not a gangster.

If you do not understand what God is doing and what the devil is doing, then you won’t know how to resist the things you need to resist or how to yield to the things you need to yield to. I see it and read it from people who are believers and many that are ministers. If you don’t understand the truth of God’s word about this then you will most likely not see the power of God brought forth in your life or in the life of others through you.

If you are thinking that God is the one that has allowed or even caused tragedies in your life, and if you are teaching people that the things they are going through like sickness, disease, death of a loved one or some other hardship is for the purpose of God teaching them or correcting them, then you are teaching people and believing that we should embrace our enemy. There is a problem with that! When you think bad things in life are coming from God then instead of resisting them you will embrace them, because if you resist then you would be resisting the will of God.

The above verse has been twisted and misapplied and misinterpreted so much that even someone that does not attend church thinks they know this verse and will quote it. People use this verse to try and teach that God is in control of everything in your life, and that is simply not the case. If someone hadn’t already been prejudiced with the thought that this is what this scripture was teaching, I am convinced they wouldn’t see this verse in that light. James 1:2–4 does not say that God puts troubles in your life to give you patience, or to teach you some kind of a lesson. Yet much of the Church world spreads this from pulpits across the world, “if you don’t want trouble or tribulation then don’t ask God for patience because tribulation works patience… hahaha.” That is about as funny as a train wreck.

Some will ask, “Ok, so how do we get patience then”? And “I have learned some things out of these hardships. I mean doesn’t the good book say that God will chasten his children?”

The scripture says, For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? (Heb 12:6-7)

And how does He correct and discipline? With His word! Just like everything else He does, He does it by His Word. What does the scripture teach us about where patience comes from? Look with me at this word in the book of Romans:

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:4

It is plain to me that patience comes from the word of God. One man said it like this “Patience is simply faith applied over a prolonged period of time. Instead of a momentary faith, patience is prolonged, enduring faith. Patience is when you just believe and keep believing.” We as believers freely quote Romans 10:17 which says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” So then if faith comes by the word of God than patience according to Romans 15:4 also comes by the word of God, and both of them are the Fruit of the Spirit. But the fruit of the Spirit is…long-suffering [patience], …faith. Galatians 5:22

Intellectual Knowledge vs. Experiential knowledge

Problems are not given by God to make a person better or to make them more holy or more patient. If we think they are then we will welcome those things as being from God and we will embrace things like cancer or poverty and other hardships as being from the Lord and won’t resist them. Then Satan will use them to kill you and others who have confidence in you.

I have family members in the military and they have been trained for conflict. They know there is an enemy that wants to kill them. They have had training to fight and resist the enemy. They have intellectual knowledge about how to shoot and fight and use the weapons they were given. They learned this in basic training but they had no experience with actually being in combat. But they know enough to not go and find the enemy and embrace them or get into a battle so they could gain experiential knowledge. If they embraced the enemy it would not make them a better soldier.  Doing that would get them killed!

When the enemy did come they used the training and knowledge they have to resist and fight, not embrace, the enemy. True, they then gained experiential knowledge, which helps them, but no soldier goes looking for the enemy to gain experiential knowledge. You become a better soldier when you are attacked and have to put your training into practice. Likewise you became a better soldier in the army of the Lord when you resist the devil and put into practice what you have learned from God’s word. But if you don’t recognize that the problem is from the enemy and you think it is being sent from God to teach you, then you will embrace it and when you do it will destroy you.

So when the enemy is attacking you say, ‘I am going to fight this’, and when you win and overcome it does make you stronger because you put what you knew into practice and that is the whole point of what James is saying. Problems don’t come from God to make you a better Christian, they come from the enemy to destroy and kill you. That is how you know they are not from God because John 10:10 teaches us that God came to give us life, and the devil, Satan, comes to kill and destroy.

God Does Not Send The Devil To Do His Dirty Work For Him.

 

Years ago one of my favorite artists wrote and performed a song called, “The Package.” I have added the words below. Not really any comment needed as it speaks for itself. If you would like the link to hear this song, I have added it here.

THE PACKAGE – by Don Francisco

I was wakened in the morning’ by a knockin’ on the door
So I got up and went to see what all the knockin’ was for
There stood the Devil with a box addressed to me
He said “Boy, I’ve got something here I think you oughta see

I said, I know that I don’t want it if it’s anything from you
‘Cause I hate everything you say and don’t like anything you do
But then he pointed with his finger and he smiled kinda sly
‘Cause the package said “from God” there in the corner, way up high

So I said, “if it’s from God, then why’d He send it here by you”
He said, “He always sends me when there’s dirty work to do”
And this box is full of misery, poverty and shame
To perfect you thru your suffering ’till you’re worthy of His name

Well, I’d been pretty patient, but that last line took the cake
I just couldn’t take no more, I’d taken all that I could take
So I told him what I thought of him and all his filthy lies
Then I fired a shot that got him right between the eyes

I told him “Jesus took my sickness and my poverty away
You nailed Him to the cross yourself when you murdered Him that day
The suf’ring that I do will be for love and not for shame
I’m already worthy by His blood, to wear His name

And I know my Father loves me and has only good in store
So you just take that jive and get away from my front door
You can write my name on packages until I’m ninety two
But every single one I’m sending back to Hell with you”
Go on get out of here

If we being a natural father would not abuse our children or sicken them them to teach them a lesson, then why would we believe that our loving Father our “Abba” would? The term “Abba” is an affectionate term that a young child calls his father, we would say “daddy.” It is a word used to express intimacy and shows the kind, gentle and loving nature of our God, a word that express affection and fondness. It removes the idea of God as a strict hard law and order judge and carries the image of Him as a loving Father who cares, understands, and is our best friend.

So much more I would like to write, about this topic and actually did but deleted it. Many today would be shocked to find out that they have become as religious as those they talked about being religious years ago.

Remember…look to your future and not to the past, learn to live in the grace of God and love much, forgive always and hold no bitterness toward anyone

 

Works Cited

AV, K. J. (1611). King James Version .

Francisco, D. (n.d.). The Package [Recorded by D. Francisco]. On The Package.

Strong, J. ((1996, 1997)). The New Strong’s Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words. Nashville: Thomas Nelson. Retrieved from www.geverett.org

Wommack, A. (1997-2012). The Living Commentary. Andrew Wommack Ministries. Retrieved from www.awmi.net