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Sermon of the Week 
Wednesday, June 27 2018

You got married, now what… You had your first child, now what… You got a new job, now what… You moved to a new area, now what… You retired, now what…. Life is full of “Now Whats”…When you come to the end of one thing and the beginning of another!

Hebrews 10:35 “Do not throw away your confidence, which has great recompense of reward (mis-thap-od-os-ee'-ah…compensation for loss or harm suffered or good faith effort made). v36 For you have need of patience, that, after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise.”                                                                                                           I came across this little diddy and thought it was cute…It’s a child trying to remember her bible stories. “In the beginning, which was close to the start, there wasn't anything except God, darkness and some gas. The Bible says, "The Lord, thy God, is one," but I think He has to be much older than that. Anyway, God made the world and then He said, "Give me some light," and somebody gave it to Him. He split an atom and made Eve. Adam and Eve didn't wear any clothes, but they weren't embarrassed because God hadn't invented mirrors, yet. Adam and Eve sinned by eating one bad apple and they were driven out of the Garden of Eden. I'm not sure what God drove them in, it must have been made from a tree like in the Flintstones. Adam and Eve's son, Cain, hated his brother as long as he was Abel. After a while, all of the first people died, except Methuselah, who lived to be, as old as God”.                                                           Speaking of remembering your bible stories….                                                            Did you know that there are three occasions where someone spoke and a terrible storm at sea, that was threatening to sink the boat where everyone was in great danger of perishing, immediately ceased, and the waters became calm…. Yuup, there’s three different accounts….                                                                                              Of course, we all might think of the one where Jesus woke up from a sound sleep as everyone was crying out in terror, and spoke to the storm and it ceased, and they were all amazed.                                                  Then, there is also the account where He walked on the water….

But there is a third account and we are told that when God told Jonah to go to wicked Nineveh and rebuke the evil and perverse people for their degradation and sin…. He went in the opposite direction, to Joppa and while he was sound asleep, a terrible storm came up which threatened to sink the ship. The sailors cried out in terror and began to throw everything overboard to lighten the ship. They woke Jonah up to find out who had cursed their ship. Jonah admits it was him, and said throw me overboard. They did and immediately the sea was calm!

So, in two of the accounts, someone was asleep in the boat, a terrible storm came up which threatened to sink the boat. The crew cried out in terror, a person spoke, the storm immediately calmed…. And you know how with Jonah, God went fishing and used Jonah as bait to catch a big fish!!!

In two of these stories, the storm ceased because of a righteous, obedient person.. But in the story of Jonah, the storm ceased when a disobedient person who was in rebellion against God, got caught. 

Some storms won’t stop until rebellion and disobedience stops!

Sometimes God will move to honor obedience and sometimes He will move to correct and recompense disobedience. So be careful that you don’t try to save them from what God is doing or you’ll be pulled into their storm!!!…..When disobedience is recompensed, it is so that they might receive the promise that is attached to God’s will for their life that they are running from! 

What’s interesting is that Jonah’s name means “Son of Faithfulness”… So the covenant he had with God was based on his name, but God had to bring him full circle in order to bless him by the name he had as a covenant sign between himself and God. 

Listen, there are a lot of children like Jonah, who have gone in the opposite direction, from the covenant that is upon them, and run right into a storm, because of the faith and prayers of a Mom and Dad…. That covenant is taken very seriously by God….

When I was a kid, I couldn’t get away with nothing! Other kids could slide and never get caught…. I always got caught and God always had someone there to stop me short! I complained to God about it, and one day my adopted mom sat me down and told me that shortly after she had taken me, God spoke to her as a new Christian and said. I have given you this one to raise for me. Bring him up to know me and to know my ways. Be more diligent with him, even than your own two children from birth. 

I was in every church meeting, Sunday school, Sunday AM and PM service, Wednesday service, Friday youth meeting, and if we had a two week revival, I was there every night! I was caught in a covenant!

God knows how to catch a Jonah, and bring him around to the covenant that is his God ordained destiny!                                                                        Someone had to do the will of God in order for Jonah to get back into the will of God…. The folks who threw Jonah out of the boat did the will of God…. Because Jonah wasn’t supposed to be on that boat anyway!

My prayer is that none of my family will fail to see the covenant fulfilled that I have with God concerning their lives and their destiny. No matter how many boats they have to be thrown out of!

Let me insert something which I believe is very important here while I’m on the subject…..
The titles “Mom”, “Dad”, “Son”, “Daughter”, “Brother”, “Sister”, “Husband”, “Wife”, and “Grandma” and “Grandpa”, are powerful titles which declare that you are authorized by heaven and have legal authority spiritually, to speak into and to influence the lives of those who are in the family covenant. So understand and appreciate the power of these titles which are terms of permission and jurisdiction which your family members use all the time… without realizing it, they are releasing your God given covenant authority in their behalf…. (How many here are included in one of those titles)

Just believe and stand on Acts 16:31 “And they (Paul and Silas) said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and all your  house”. 

Acts 11:13 “And he (Cornelius the Roman Centurion) shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood there and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter. v14 Who shall tell you the words, whereby you and all your house shall be saved”. 

God has a covenant with every believing family member for their entire household! We need to understand the power of family covenants.                                           Little Johnny was confused about it…. At church they shared how God created everything, including human beings. Little Johnny seemed especially intent when they told him how Eve was created out of one of Adam’s ribs.Later in the week his mother noticed him lying down as he experienced some pain in his stomach, and she said, ‘Johnny, what is the matter?’ Johnny said, ‘I think I’m going to have a wife.’

Here’s a family covenant for you to stand on….1Corinthians 7:13 “And the woman which has a husband that does not believe, if he is willing to dwell with her, let her not leave him. v14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the believing wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the believing husband, otherwise the children would be unclean, but through the believer, they are holy”. (That’s covenant)

This is describing the influence which believing family members in covenant relationship, have with God for all of their family!

And please, don’t feel that you have no faith if you are being beaten, abused, and being used as a door mat….and say “No More”.. In the next verse Paul says that if they depart they are not under bondage, since every one of us must stand before God for ourselves, not the choices of others. So, remember Paul encouraged us by all means bring some to Christ….. Each person must know for themselves what “by all means” really means!

Let me tell you about Eric… Eric was a man whose life was constantly plagued with poverty, disease, and hardship. He always seemed just within reach of succeeding at something, but just at the final moment, the elusive prize would escape him.                                                                                                                            He never had enough money to get the medical help he needed. He had to work at whatever odd jobs he could, to feed his sickly parents, so he never got an education which would qualify him for a better paying job. 

Twice in his life he was on the verge of being recognized for something significant he had done, which would turn his life around, but both times someone else took credit for his accomplishments, and since he had no credentials, no one believed him anyway. When he died at the age of 75, only a handful of people came to the funeral. One of them, a nephew, was given the task of going through his belongings, which didn’t take very long. 

On a table next to his bed, Eric had carefully placed a book. Taped to the cover was a note from his grandmother. It read: "Here is something to make your life a little better." Just before Eric died, the nephew had noticed the book and asked him about it. He just said, "It’s a pretty good book, but it’s really old. I never finished reading it, It’s something my grandmother left me. She seemed to think a lot of it. You can have it when I’m gone, if you want it."

The day after the funeral, the nephew, in a hurry to leave town, grabbed the book and took it home. Later, he picked up the book and decided to look at it. Something about it seemed unusual. Taped to the back cover was a letter from Eric’s grandmother… a letter Eric had never bothered to open and read. The letter said….

Dear Eric….You have suffered enough. This book is your ticket to a whole new world. This book is the only copy of its kind in the world. It is a never-published work of the greatest author of the 16th century. The last time I checked, 30 years ago, it was worth over three million dollars. May you never want for anything you need again. Love, Grandma.

Tucked inside that note, there was a certificate indicating Eric was heir to a line of royalty in a small European country. All he had to do was appear in person with that certificate and be proclaimed a prince, along with the title to a mansion which by that time, had since gone to ruin. 

Eric lived and died a pauper. His life was a constant struggle to just survive. But it didn’t have to be that way. He was, in fact, a multi-millionaire. He lived and died a nobody. But he didn’t have to. He was, in fact, royalty. He lived and died, a physical wreck. But he didn’t have to. He possessed enough money to get the finest care in the world. 

Eric lived and Eric died. But Eric never appropriated or appreciated who he was or what he had. He was filled with dreams and hopes of glory, he ended up defeated, depressed, and destroyed. Why? Because he never was willing to open up the one book that held the key to his inheritance and his destiny. Rather than face reality, he lived and died owning everything and yet having nothing. 

What a sad story. But I know an even sadder one. It’s the story of those who, every day, all year long, never take hold of the inheritance that is rightfully theirs. 

God’s covenant with them and their family is that they are joint-heirs with the King, the treasures of heaven are theirs. The title-deed to royalty is recorded neatly within a book; a book left behind as part of their inheritance. But somehow, they live and they die without ever fully grasping just what a treasure they have been given.

We can study it, teach it and even memorize it, and still not grasp what it is that we hold, when we hold God’s priceless book. We may even acknowledge that its author is God Himself. We may keep it in our homes, even buy books that tell us what others think about His book. 

But somehow the real power of it escapes us. Somehow, the authority of it escapes us. Somehow, even as we acknowledge our need for it, we do so with a “when I get around to it” attitude and we never do.

We live and we die, with the greatest treasure ever deeded to fallen man in our possession, yet we treat it so casually, we deny it the power to do in our lives what God intended it to do. This covenant book was in force before the world began and it will still be in force when time is no more!

So as my message says “So, What Now”? The good news is that God will do everything possible to honor His covenant which He has made with every believer, with earth and heaven, time and eternity!                                                                            

Genesis 6:18 “But with you (write your name in there) I will establish my covenant; and you shall come into the ark (which is the covenant), you, and your children, and your wife, and your children’s spouses with you.

Genesis 9:9 “And I, behold, I establish My covenant with you, and with your children after you.”
How do we know this will happen, and can we count on this?....

Nehemiah 1:5 “I beseech You, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keeps covenant and mercy for them that love Him and do His Word”.

A mother was talking about her son. She pulled out a photo and mentioned what year he was in high school. She said that her son was voted most valuable player on the football team, as she beamed all over. She mentioned his grade point average. She said her son was very popular at school. When she was asked if her boy was a Christian, she looked around and finally said, "Well, I don't know about that. You'll have to ask him." The most important information of all was not important to her……What does it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul, or what will a man give in exchange for his soul…..                                                                                                              A contract is an agreement that can be broken by either party. A covenant, on the other hand, is an agreement that is binding for as long as the originator of the covenant lives. Since all the covenants in the Bible originate with the Lord, then they are forever!  

There are generations, some yet unborn, that are depending on your covenant which you have with the Lord!

Don’t be like Bobby, He got to the football game late. His friends asked him, "Why are you so late?" He said, "Well, I couldn't decide between going to church and going to the football game. 

’So I decided to toss a coin," "But that shouldn't have taken too long." said the friend. "Man, I had to toss it 50 times before it landed on the correct side”. 

How many times must we flip the coin before finally surrendering in God’s favor!

My grandmother prayed every day for her kids, she died not seeing some of them come to Christ and changing their lives. But at her graveside, two of her boys who had continued to rebel up to her death, bowed and gave their lives to Christ. She was dead, but the originator of the contract was still very much alive…..Hallelujah!

Steven Curtis Chapman wrote the words to a song….”So What Now”

“I heard the voice of Jesus, Gently whisper to my heart, Didn’t you say you wanted to find Me? Well here I am and Here you are, So what now? What will you do now that you’ve found Me? What now, what will you do with this treasure you’ve found? I know I may not look like what you expected, But if you’ll remember, this is right where I said I would be. You found Me, so what now?”

There was a church in Denmark where every time the worshippers would enter this little Danish church, they would turn to the right and bow toward the wall. An observer asked why this was done. The only answer he got was, "We've always done it this way." After researching the history of the church, he found that it used to be a Catholic church and that a painting of Mary used to be displayed on that wall. When the church was remodeled, the wall was removed to increase the seating but the people continued to bow toward the wall that was no longer there. After many years, the reason for the practice was forgotten, but the tradition continued. It had become nothing more than a ritual with no meaning. 

Flesh, will break it’s promises, religion will fail, but covenant will endure forever! Our covenant with God the originator, is a fresh, living covenant, which is in force this very moment in which we live, and will remain.                                            

Psalm 89:34 God says, “My covenant will I not break, nor change the thing that has gone out of my mouth”.

Psalm 105:8  “He remembers His covenant for ever, the word which He commanded is to a thousand generations”.

Oh Yes, we must include this…… Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever”. 

Covenant is not about who we are but it is about who He is!

When faith is weak, covenant is still strong. When hope is withering on the vine, covenant is still strong. When our patience and endurance has come to an end, covenant is still as strong as ever.

When we can see no way, covenant finds a way!!!                                                                                    The believer sees the covenant as done, not something to be done.

God told Moses He would make a covenant with the Jewish people, to bring them out of Egyptian bondage…..Moses went into Egypt, believing it was a done deal!                                                                                                         That covenant brought plagues upon the land so that when Pharaoh said “No Way”….. God said “Yes way” …That covenant brought them to the Red Sea, and the armies of Egypt, said “No Way”…. God said “Yes Way”…. And He made a path through the sea…  That covenant brought them to a place where they had no food and no water…. The people said “No Way”… and God said “Yes Way”… and He brought manna, quail, and water from a rock. That covenant defeated their enemies, opened Jordan, brought down the walls of Jericho, and defeated the giants of the land…. They all said “No Way”… but God said..  “YES WAY”!!!

And having said all that, there are people and circumstances and doubts and fears that are saying to you…. “NO WAY”…. BUT WHAT IS YOUR ANSWER….. “YES WAY”!!!!

So we quote the word and let God speak. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord of covenant, delivers them out of them ALL”!

So many folks live as though their Christian faith is only one compartment ofall the compartments they are juggling. There’s the work compartment, therecreation and entertainment compartment, Then there’s the family and home compartment, the church compartment, The friends compartment, oh yes, and there is a life fantasy and day dream compartment….. and what’s left over is my Christian Faith compartment…

HELLO"! This isn't a fire-drill! This isn't a dress-rehearsal! This is the real thing! The past lies behind you; and eternity is set before you! The time is short! The supreme Event of history is around the corner! Jesus is standing at the threshold of returning again! It’s time to put all our stuff in the Christian life compartment, without delay. 

Now is the time to get dressed up….. (put on the garments of praise, put on the attitude of gratitude, put on the Spirit of worship, put on the towel of the servant, and put on the fruit of the spirit, against which there is no law!

Now is the time to rise up! Go to the next level in discipleship, (whatever that may be from where you are now)…. Rise up and get over yourself, it’s not all about you….(Paul said “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain”) Rise up and step into your God given authority and power (you shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover, raise the dead, cleanse the leper, cast out devils in my name) Rise up and move beyond the fears and doubts and resistance to the Spirit’s voice. 

Now is the time to stand up! Paul says “having done all, stand therefore and see the glory of the Lord”. If we spend all our time apologizing for serving the Lord, we will never be able to stand for Him. If we spend all our time worrying about offending someone, we’ll never stand for Him. If we spend all our time fearful that there may be a price for being identified as one of those Christians…. Forget about it, you got tagged as soon as you walked in the doors…. 

GET DRESSED UP, RISE UP, AND STAND UP…..

400 years ago, a pastor in England named Richard Baxter said…. “Oh, then may we have a clear conscience, that can say, 'I lived not to myself but to Christ; I spared not my pains; I hid not my talents; I concealed not from them the way of their recovery.' If you would prepare for a comfortable passing and a great and glorious reward, then see the harvest before you. Gird up the loins of your minds, and quit yourselves like men, that you may end your days with these triumphant words: 'I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me in that day.' If you would be blessed with those that die in the Lord, then be diligent now, that you may rest from your labors then, and know you’re your works shall follow you, and you shall not be alarmed when it comes time for your review”.

Only one life, will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last!

There are no U-haul trailers being towed behind the hearse we will ride into eternity.

A young preacher went to see a great evangelist, to get some advice about being more effective as a minister. He told him, "Before you will be able to preach Jesus, you must fall in love with Him yourself -- fall in love with Him so personally and so intimately that He becomes the most real and wonderful Person in your life; so real and glorious that you will preach Jesus, live Jesus, sing about Jesus, and witness to the marvelous miracle of His grace in our lives wherever we go and whatever we do."  We must be completely and totally convinced of the truth ourselves before we can ever convince others. We can’t be like the Ford salesman who drove a Chevy!

I close with this….One of the dramatic sights in Yosemite National Park is the moment the "fire falls." Each evening there is a huge wood fire built at the top of Glacier Point. And after dark, while hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people are gazing up from the valley, someone cries out, "Let the fire fall!" And that huge, brilliant mass of fire is pushed off the precipice and begins to cascade down fourteen hundred feet to the valley floor. That sight is always dramatic, inspiring, and unforgettable.

Against the gathering darkness of our day we desperately need to cry out to heaven, “Let our souls be set on fire in a fresh, powerful way. Oh let the fire of heaven fall upon us in a new demonstration, inflaming our souls and sparking our torches and sending us out as flaming witnesses across our sin-blackened world. May the cry go up…from the churches, the homes, the work place….LET THE FIRE FALL!

Posted by: AT 08:41 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, June 19 2018

Jesus spent much of His earthly ministry confronting the bondage which religious laws had brought the people under. But His approach was veryunique. Though He knew the demanding weight of all these laws, He taught the people that there was a higher law that superseded these laws of men. As He guided them in the law of the Kingdom, which is the higher law of love, He showed them by word and example that love went further and way beyond what was demanded by these laws of the land. 

Fathers in Jesus day, had total rule in their homes, and their word was law. This empowered harsh discipline and severe punishments to wives and children. Of course, as it always does, power corrupts and becomes misused and abused. I have met many good Christian men, who attempted to be the absolute ruler in their homes and expected their word to be unquestioned as the king of their castle. They were strict and readily gave out severe punishments when their word was disrespected. 

I think about the guy who got married and after the honeymoon, he sat down at the breakfast table and announced to his wife, “I am the king of my castle, and my word is the law around here, and you will obey”….   Two   weeks later he was telling a friend how he had laid down the law. The friend asked him how it worked out. Well, he said, I didn’t see or hear from her for a week, then the ringing in my ears and the swelling in my right eye went down enough so could see just a little bit!!!

Jesus told the men… “He that is greatest among you, is the servant of all”… Wow, without attacking or criticizing the law, he was calling His followers to go above and beyond the law… and operate in the higher law of love. 

I call this “Father’s Love Goes The Extra Innings”….                                 In the message today about Fathers who go above and beyond, I want to begin by sharing 3 examples which Jesus gave to His followers which challenged them to go above what the law of the land required and be radical revolutionists who choose to operate as Kingdom people, and in doing so, require more of themselves than others around them required. They are never content to do just enough to get by….

So Jesus tells them in Matthew 5:38 “The law tells you “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” v39 But I say unto you, do notresist evil, but whosoever shall smite you on your right cheek, turn to him the other cheek also”. 

If you’ve seen the movie “First blood” with Sylvester Stallone, You know this is not the way he did it! His approach was “take no prisoners”… Leave nothing standing! Do worse to them than they did to you! Our bad self wants the wrong doer to bleed! (cut me and I’ll cut you) is the terminator’s approach!                                                                                                                                                          It has been well said that if the only tool you have is a hammer, you will treat everything as though it were a nail.

When I was a kid, we were all watching the good guys shooting up the bad guys on our black and white TV… bullets were flyingand bombs were exploding, when my brother got so involved, he got his BB rifle and shot the TV… The thing blew up and we all sat there looking at the hole in the screen… (it was a great shot… dead center) but it was a foretaste of what was to come in his life…..

Today we see it in the form of “road rage”… “it was temporary insanity that made them pull the trigger”… “child abuse” has become too common…. “The Hatfields and the McCoys” couldn’t even remember why they were fighting, but someone had to pay for whatever it was that somebody did to somebody!

The problem with retaliation is that the other person will take it to the next level and it starts a domino effect of retribution. 

When you’re making an important decision, don’t let your emotions have a vote in the matter….Jesus in this teaching, is talking about ruling your emotions and not letting your emotions rule over your life. He’s talking about self-discipline instead of always choosing the path of self-gratification. Retribution is the total opposite of forgiveness and the message of grace. (I owe a debt of forgiveness, therefore I WILL forgive because I have been forgiven)

Without forgiveness our lives will be governed by... an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation. You haven’t seen that person for 20 years but you still label them by the incident that happenedmany years before…

One of the signs of a mature person is that they don’t only see how THEY feel, but they have become aware of the feelings of others around them. 
They not only see how things effect THEM, but they see how others are effected as well. We call it empathy or compassion.                                           Listen, some people are so confused about how thing actually are, that they will stay up all night studying….in order to pass a blood test. 

Mathew 7:2 “The judgment that you judge others with is the same judgment that shall come back to you again. v3 And why do you focus on the splinter that is in your brother's eye, but don’t see the 2x4 that is in your own eye? v4 Or how can you say to your brother, Let me pull out the splinter from your eye, and ignore the 2x4 that is in your own eye? v5 Don’t be a hypocrite, first get the 2x4 out of your own eye, then you can see clearly to get the splinter out of your brother's eye”. 

The flip side of this coin, is those folks who can’t forgive themselves. They drag around this huge emotional ball and chain, which holds them back and keeps them from ever achieving their dreams, until the dream dies and they lose their purpose, their joy, and their faith. They become like a caged bird, whose song is soon snuffed out and never really lives because it is in a prison of it’s own making.                                                                          Stop treating yourself like an emotional second classcitizen. If God forgives you, accept it and let yourself go, let yourself live, come forth and take off the grave clothes! It’s a terrible thing when a person becomes their own enemy and begins to oppose themselves. It’s called assured self-destruction. 

Turn your sad sack into “Happy Shack”… Stop slapping yourself and stop the punishment and release the love…. Look in the mirror and Shout it out.. “I love me, because God loves me”! And the punishment stops here and now!!! You can’t truly love others, if you can’t love yourself….

So Jesus is telling us to rule over our “out of control” emotions!                     Next, He tells them and us, about the above and beyond rule of the kingdom…. He says in Matthew 5:40 “And if any man will sue you in court, and take away your robe, let him have your cloak also”. 

Now, to get the impact of this, You have to understand a little bit about the Jewish wardrobe to understand this teaching. You see, a Jew who was living in Jerusalem at that time, had a standard wardrobe.

He had several tunics, which in this case refers to their, “fruit of the looms”, which was worn under his robe, made of a soft material that was pleasant to the skin. Then came his robe, but usually, he had only one outer garment, his cloak. It was made out of heavier material & was a very important piece of clothing. Not only was it his coat, it was also his blanket at night. It kept him warm & protected him from the elements.

In fact, his cloak was so vital to him… the law said that you can’t sue a man for his cloak. You can sue him for his fruit of the looms, because he has more of those, and he usually has more than one robe.

But you can’t take away his cloak because then he would be cold & unprotected. So the law said that all he was required to surrender was his robe and his underwear (or tunic).

But Jesus said, "Let’s suppose that you have made a deal. But something goes wrong, & a payment comes due & there’s way too much week at the end of your money… So they hire a lawyer & sue your shorts off….

So, You go to them & say, "To show you that I am a man of integrity, to show you how concerned I am that I’m not able to meet my obligations, I’ll not only give you my tunic, I’ll give you my cloak, too. I’ll give it all." Jesus is saying it’s better to lose everything materially, than to lose your values and compromise your integrity! This man fell on hard times and things happened beyond his control but it didn’t destroy his faith that something better was ahead if he did the right thing.  

He’s telling us that no matter how bad it gets, you always have a choice about how you will live your life. You can always choose to live with integrity and not allow your situation to compromise your faith. It’s always the right time to do the right thing.                                                         Let me fit in some Father’s Day quoteshere….

~Robert Frost…The father is always a Republican toward his son, and his mother’s always a Democrat. 

~Cindy Garner….Why are men reluctant to become fathers? They aren’t through being children. 

~Reed Markham….Being a great father is like shaving. No matter how good you shaved today, you have to do it again tomorrow. 

~Umberto Eco…. I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us.           We are formed by little scraps of unintentional wisdom.

A little girl got home from church, told her dad, “Daddy, the Preacher’s sermon this morning confused me.” The dad said, “Why is that honey?” The girl replied, “Well, he said that God is much bigger than we are. Is that true?” “Yes, that is true,”. “Well, He also said that God lives in us. Is that true, too?” Again, her dad said, “Yes, that is certainly true.” “Well,” said the girl. “If God is so much bigger than us and yet He lives in us, shouldn’t He start showing all over the place?” (there you go!)                                                  In scripture, the word “righteous”… is supposed to describe those who have chosen to let Christ shine through their Christian lifestyle.                                                             The word righteous is actually about consistently doing the right thing, regardless of what others are doing around you. To do the right thing because it is right, according to the values and standards which operate God’s kingdom. There are tremendous benefits for those who choose to do the right thing, even though you are being wronged by others. Here’s an example of a few of those…(and there are many more)

Psalms 34:15 The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.  Psalms 34:17 The righteous cry, and the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. Psalms 34:19  Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivers them out of them all.  (Now that’s a pretty good deal)

We are all where we are now... because of the way we reacted to what happened to us where we were before we got here. (is that right)

So the Lord is telling us that we can take matters in our own hands, or we can choose to do the right thing, and let Him take care of the outcome. In fact, all of us can be as close to God as we want to be, we just need to choose to be!

Then, Jesus went on to tell a third principle…. Matthew 5:41 “And whoever shall compel you to go a mile, go with him two miles instead.” v42 Give to him that asks of you, and from him that would borrow from you, turn not away”.                                                   

And once again, you have to understand the background. Whenever the Roman Empire conquered a town, a Roman yoke was put at the entry to the market place or over the main entrygate to the city.

It was a constant reminder to everyone that they were required to give devotion, obedience, tribute, & many other things to the Roman Empire.

Part of this subjection of the population, involves what Jesus is using as an example here…

Whenever a Roman soldier or official wanted you to carry his pack for a mile, or run an errand for a mile, or guide him for a mile, you had to drop everything & do it. It was a Roman law. It stipulated that by this law, no one would be required to go farther than a mile. To make sure that no Jew did more than the law required, they would measure out a mile in each direction and drive a stake in the ground to mark that exact spot and not an inch more.

Just for a moment, picture this group standing around Jesus, as He drops this bomb shell on them, that they should cheerfully go the first mile and then go another mile beyond the stake they had carefully put in the ground to mark the limits of their obedience. 

Sometimes we miss the fact that God will use our enemies to teach us things we would never learn otherwise. Sometimes it’s the negative things, and the bad things that bring us to truth. Most of us probably learn as much from folks that teach us what not to do and how not to live as we do from those shining examples of living life well.                                                                                       Esau was the one God used to force Jacob to face his own deceit….

It was Paul the persecutor of the church, who showed the apostles how to tear down the walls of prejudice and include the gentile world. 

Had it not been for the Roman empire, the apostles would not have been driven out into all the world with the gospel…. They would have stayed near Jerusalem and what was familiar and kosher….                                     

Would America have become the center for the spread of the gospel to the world, if it were not for the oppression that happened in Europe which caused the pilgrims to flee and seek religious freedom .                           Sometimes we can have our minds so made up, so that we miss the bigger picture that God is trying to show us. We get to the place that we are no longer sensitive to His voice because of our traditions and our mind sets. Jesus is telling us that we should be more willing to go the extra mile for God’s kingdom than we are for this world’s kingdoms. That we shouldn’t wait until the above and beyond service is required or demanded, but we should anticipate it and initiate it voluntarily !                                               Trying to change your outer world without adjusting your inner beliefs and attitudes, is like believing that a merry go round is actually going somewhere. 

A bad attitude is like a flat tire, you won’t get far unless you change it!

Jesus is guiding us with Holy Spirit insight, to help us see how radical love behaves itself. How it goes beyond what is usually required, how It does the extra-ordinary…. How It goes the second mile.

It’s true that we speak the loudest without words, we speak with how we live this thing out, called the second mile.

The hard, callused Roman Centurion standing at the foot of the cross, had studied Jesus now for several hours. He watched Him when He was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. He saw Him as He stood before Pilate. He watched them mock Him as they put a crown of thorns on His head & a reed in His hand, & a purple robe on His shoulders. He heard the terrible things that were shouted again & again. He watched Jesus being beaten with a cat-of-nine-tails. He watched carefully and even supervised as Jesus carried His cross up the Via Dolorosa, to the top of Golgotha & he saw and heard as the nails were driven into His hands & feet. He heard Jesus cry out, "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing." And he watched as Jesus breathed His last breath.                               Then that hard, callused Roman Centurion cried out,                                                       "Surely this was the Son of God."

He saw Jesus turn the other cheek. He saw that when they stripped Him of His robe, He didn’t try to retaliate. He watched Jesus carry his own cross, with no complaint and no anger towards His tormentors. He heard with all the rest, when they crucified Him, as Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them…”

It was that powerful demonstration which caused his soul and spirit, to respond with a powerful conviction and confession. We know that it did not end there because later this same Centurion whose name was Cornelius and all his household turned to the Lord and were filled with the Holy Spirit as Peter shared the gospel with them.

Look at it…. Acts 10:44 “While Peter yet spoke these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. v45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. v46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, v47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we did? v48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then Cornelius invited him to tarry there (and teach them)”. 

I know it doesn’t make sense sometimes, when the Lord asks you to go above and beyond what is required, but know this, the second mile is the point of break through.                                                                                             It is tipping point where all you’ve prayed for, and all you’ve been believing for begins to overwhelm the distractions, the barriers, and the strongholds that have stood in the way. 

As I was praying this past week, I saw legions of angels moving into the area, to fight through, and drive back the forces in heavenly places, that have hindered the answer, the solution, the open heavens that we’ve stood in faith and believed for. You can’t expect breakthrough without a second mile attitude…. What we do here will be amplified in the heavens! I believe the Father has let me know that help is on the way!!!                                                                             This Father’s Day, I believe God is calling on the men to lead the way, in our homes, in our community, in His church!!! It was on Father’s day that one the most significant revivals of this era took place in Pensacola Florida. I believe God was spot lighting the importance of Godly dads…

This is not the time to let up, to give up, to hold back…. It’s the time to press in, to give it the extra effort, to go beyond what is simply required, and step into the second mile. To believe that no matter how bad it looks, God will use it to work out for your good and His glory!

Let’s have men, (not just fathers) come, and let us gather around them and bless them, that God will use them in a mighty way in this hour, in His time and His way! We do not stand alone or fight alone… reinforcements are even now entering the battle to change the outcome!

Posted by: AT 08:38 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, June 11 2018

Most women with a closet full of clothes, have said at one time or another…”I have nothing to wear”…. My daughter Karen used to pull everything she had out in the middle of the floor, then sort through the pile, to come up with an ensemble for the day. (used to drive Winnie to distraction)

The Seeker Friendly movement has changed the way we dress for church. (I like it) I was looking through some old family photos, and dressing for church was so different than now. We wore suits and ties to church, as a matter of fact men wore ties just about everywhere. (I can’t prove it, but I believe when God cast Adam out of the Garden, He said go forth and work and sweat and wear a tie)

If you look at different people groups in our beautiful world, fashion can be very unique to each culture. And you can normally tell a lot about a person by the fashions people gravitate to. 

Clothing can let others know which sports we play, or which athlete we like. Sports fans will wear the colors and logos of their team, and some get really fanatical about it. Folks that follow certain rock bands, will wear clothes that let you know which bands and entertainers they are big fans of. 

Nurses and doctors have their fashion statement. When you need one, it’s a great relief to know that they are on the job and trained and ready to care for you. 

Police personnel and firemen can be easily recognized by their uniforms.  a police officer in uniform, or a judge wearing a robe, let’s us know immediately that they have an important role to play in our community.  

Now some fashion statements are by choice and some are mandatory.                     We have a large number of people that are with the military in our area. You can quickly see that they are Navy, Army, Reserves, Coast Guard or Border Patrol, by their uniforms. That uniform, with it’s bars, stripes, stars and other insignia… tell us about their rank and level of authority.  

So our clothing says a lot about us…. The military uniform is not a suggestion, it is mandatory. It declares that your life is now governed and ordered by a higher authority. When you’re in the military and the bugle sounds at 5 am… it is not a suggestion to get up, it is a mandate!

When it comes to Christians, we don’t have to run around wondering, “what shall I wear today, what will fit the occasion”? Just as all the other uniforms we mentioned are mandatory, we too are given a mandate, not a suggestion about what we are to put on! Paul tells the Colossian believers… you need to take off some things and put on some things….

Colossians 3:8 “But now, put off all these.. anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and off colored language. v9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old man with his deeds, v10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created you. v11 Fromnow on, there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. v12 So then, put on as the elect of God, holy and beloved, mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. v13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive one another, if any man have a quarrel against any. Even as Christ forgave you, forgive them also. v14 And above all these things clothe yourselves with pro-active love, which allows us to live together in harmony.. v15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, for as those who are called into the body of Christ, you are called to live in peace, and be thankful. v16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. v17 And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him”. 

If we broke it down to a fashion statement, it would be… “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ”…. Paul is not talking about outward apparel as he writes to the church of Colossi…. He could be writing to Eagle’s Rest and saying “Here’s the way we dress”….Think about what it says…. Can we do whatever we’re doing and say whatever we’re saying, and then say at the end, “In the name of Jesus”? That’s quite a challenge isn’t it? You know… (I’m going to cheat on my wife, in the name of Jesus) (I’m going to do some dope, in the name of Jesus) How about, I’m going out and get myself drunk, oh yeah… “In the name of Jesus” I’m going to have a total melt down and cuss and scream and spit, “IN THE NAME OF JESUS”!

A teacher asked her class to describe love….one young student, describing love said, “When someone loves you, You know that your name is safe in their mouth.”

Another child said, “Love is what makes you smile at each other—even when you don’t’ feel like smiling.”                                                                            A little girl said, “Love is when mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure he will like it.”        And last, A boy said, “If you want to learn to love a lot better, you should start with someone that you don’t like to play with.”

I think a great definition of love is when you don’t deserve it, I will love you anyway….True love is willing to make a sacrifice in order to love….

Romans 13:14 “Clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself be only focused on ways to indulge your fleshly desires”.

Paul is giving us the “Why” that we need to get dressed up…. Let me say here, that everyone has to make the choice of how far they want to go, we can’t make that choice for them….

The “why” is about showing compassion for the pain and suffering that others are going through in their lives because it could be us.

The “why” is showing kindness in reaching out to those who are wounded & struggling with real life issues.

The “why” is showing humility as we realize that we are completely dependent upon the Lord and He loved us when we didn’t deserve it.

The “why” is showing meekness and letting others see that we are all in the same boat, so we are willing to grab an oar and help them row..

The “why” is to show patience and not giving up on those that maybe others have given up on.                                                                                                         

The “why” is showing the ability to endure with others, when everything in us screams for us to walk away and just leave it alone.

The “why” is about showing the same forgiveness we needed when we were hurt, or mistreated, judged or persecuted.

What do all of these things look like? They look like Jesus. When we put these garments of His character on, we are looking more & more like Him and as His truth enters us, we are becoming more & more like Him.

Jesus said “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Don’t take it personally… they haven’t worked through their crazy stage yet, but they will….. hopefully! Just be there when they’re ready!

I’m sure most men have gotten that tie or shirt, that you would never have chosen in a million years….(get em while they last)…You ladies have gotten perfume you wouldn’t put on a pig… Take a deep breath and Relax, Paul is telling us in Colossians, that the Lord would never ask you to wear something that He did not personally approve… and Hey!.... He is the master designer and creator of fashion and good common sense!

So it would be good to Get to know him well…                                                          A Polish immigrant went to the Department of Motor Vehicles to apply for a driver's license and is told he has to take an eye test. The examiner shows him a card with the letters: C Z J W I X N O S T A C Z … He says "Can you read this?" "Read it?" the Polish guy replies, "I personally know the guy!!"That’s what I say when they say God is dead or there is no God.

Well we need to get on a personal level with our Holy fashion designer!

Yeah, that’s right… the rainbow was His idea and how about those glorious Key West sunsets…. And have you been on the water when it was so still and clear that you couldn’t tell where the water ended and the sky began….! If you dive in the ocean, you see His splendor, and if you fly up into the heavens in an air plane, you see His creative touch….

He’s the master designer!

Isaiah 61:3&7 “He shall appoint unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be established in righteousness, that He might be glorified. Instead of shame and dishonor, you will enjoy double honor. You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours”.

Now those are the kind of garments He has for us! They’ve been given to us by God to identify that we belong to Him! They’re not ragged, mismatched, random articles of clothing that aren’t worth wearing out in public. No, they’re beautiful garments… made by God, given to us from God, to identify us as children of God, the people of His presence.                                      All the garments that Christ provides are stitched with love and held together with love.

On Monday I was using Super Glue…. Have you used that stuff? It says “quick drying”…. YEAH… I would say…as soon as it hits the air! I was gluing a handle and when I was done, I couldn’t get my thumb and pointer finger apart…. I finally had to leave a layer of skin from my thumb still stuck to my finger…. That stuff is strong…

The tube says it will fix just about anything…. Plastic, glass, wood, paper, metal, and my thumb and pointer finger!

When you get all dressed up… don’t forget that it’s love that makes it all work and holds it all together! It can fix anything and will hold up to any kind of force that would tear it apart!                                                                                                                                          God chose love as His glue, to hold everything together… and it’s more powerful than Super Glue if we will apply it!

You know the description… 1Corinthians 13:4 Love suffers long and is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud v5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. v6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. v7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. v8 Love never fails”.

When I read that boastful and proud part….I thought of this Texan, who is on holiday in Israel and meets a Jewish farmer. He asked the man what he did for a living. He said "I raise a few chickens, you see, I'm a farmer.” Well, So am I. How much land do you have?” asked the Texan. “Well, we make maximum use of every foot of ground, I have Fifty meters in front, and almost a hundred at the back.”  Then the Jewish farmer, asked the Texan…. “You’re from Texas, so what’s the size of your farm?" 

The Texan tells him, "On my farm, I can drive from early morning until late sundown and not reach the end of my property." "Oh, That's too bad," says the Jew. "I once had a car just like that." (love does not boast)

So back to this love garment we are told to put it on and try it for size…. Oh, by the way…. One size fits all! (It comes in that universal size)

This God fashioned love garment, will take you beyond the fuzzy feelings, it will take you way outside of your comfort zone….You’ll rearrange your schedule at a moment’s notice…You’ll do crazy stuff like forgiving your enemies, and doing stuff for people and expecting no reward!!! You’ll find yourself doing weird stuff that the world can’t understand, like tithing, and helping in children’s church and visiting prisons and old folks homes…. Man, it will take you way over to the far side right now!!!!

Someone said that if you are always expecting something in return when you do something for someone… you’re only doing business, not love!

If we love what God loves, we will understand that everyone whom He sends across our path may be on their way to hell, unless we love them enough to show them the God kind of love. 

Sometimes God will nearly overwhelm you with those He sends your way to love. But please understand that He has said that all you have to do is love them with His love, not your own limited love. Your love will fail, but His love will never fail. 

It’s easy to allow ourselves to get overwhelmed, because we often judge by what our limited love can do. But this day, I declare that you are going to put on the garment of His love….

Speaking of being overwhelmed…. A cab driver had just picked up his first passenger of the evening. After about 5 minutes of driving, the passenger suddenly tapped him on his shoulder to ask him a question. He screamed, lost control of his taxi, nearly hit a bus, went up onto the pavement and stopped just inches from a shop window. 

For a second, everything went very quiet in the taxi, then he said, "Look man, don't ever do that again. You scared the living daylights out of me." His passenger apologized and said, "I didn't realize that a little tap could scare you so much." The Cabbie replied, "That’s OK, it's not really your fault. Man, today is only my second day as a cab driver - I've been driving a hearse for the past 25 years."                                                                           Jesus was willing to take a ride in the hearse so we could take a ride on eagles wings….

Listen, if you’ve been doing it in your own strength, you’ll be shocked to see what can happen when you begin to put on His strength!!!

Oh, hear me, scripture tells me that we (the church) are the bride of Christ, and one thing the bride is to do, is to dress to please the groom. She doesn’t dress for Jimmy Grabby, or sweet talkingSammy… She dresses for her one and only. 

Winnie always gets dressed and then comes up to me and asks, “How do I look”…. I am no dummy…. I say, “Baby, you look amazing”…. My point is that she dresses to please me first!                                                                 Listen to the voice of the bride speaking in Isaiah 61:10 “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, Mysoul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, for my bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and His bride adorns herself with her jewels.” 

Listen, I pastored a church where folks who sat on the right side of the church would have nothing to do with the folks who sat on the left side of the church and visa versa….. They would not cross the central isle of the church if it meant being anywhere near those people….. We know where revival is not coming! But is badly needed!                                                                                     That’s a bride that needs some serious fashion advise… That’s a bride that never bothered to get dressed and put on Christ!!!.... I’m sure you can guess why a lot of people never came to that church!!! THEY DIDN’T GET DRESSED UP!

Let me tell you what, when I was dating my black haired beauty, you couldn’t keep me away from her home with a stick. I would get off from work at 9 at night and though I was bone tired, needed a shower, and had not eaten dinner… I drug my sweaty, dirty, hungry self to her home and my love for her, was greater than my sweaty, hungry self! 

John 13:34-35 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." 

A fella was thinking about how good his wife had been to him, and how fortunate he was to have her. He asked God, "Why did you make her so kind hearted?" The Lord said, "So you would love her, my son." "Why did you make her so good looking?" "So you would love her, my son." "Why Well Lord, why did you make her such a good cook?"…"So you would love her, my son." After thinking about it, he said, "Lord, I don't mean to seem ungrateful or anything, but why did you make her so stupid?" And the Lord said "So she would be able to love you, my son."

Until you are able to love the worst of these, you haven’t loved. Until you have loved a Ray Webb, you probably haven’t loved….Let me tell you about Ray Webb…..

Ray Webb was an upper classman and I was a freshman at Blackstone High School. (I was much cuter than this picture)…Every opportunity he had, he loved to humiliate me, and there were plenty of opportunities. We road the same bus the 6 miles to school and back every day. He would walk back to my seat and push me down on the floor and rub my face in the floor. He would catch me in the bathroom and shove me up against the wall with his fist in my face and keep me there while the other guys laughed. I worked on my grandfather’s farm and he got a job during harvest, and would threaten and bully me there. I couldn’t get away from this guy. Me and Jesus talked a lot about Ray. And about 20 years ago, I was visiting my mom, and Ray came by….                                                             He shook my hand, hugged my neck and said, if you would ever think of starting a church here, I would be your number one man. I am a born again Christian and I serve on the deacon board of our church. You say the word and I’ll do anything I can to help you!

Do you have a Ray you need to love? Because you just don’t know what God’s love can do when your love runs out! Let’s get dressed up! Do you need more patience….let’s get dressed up! Do you need to put on some mercy, some kindness, some humility, some gentleness…Let’s get dressed up!  

Let’s put on the garments of Christ, and start loving with His love! Can I shock you for a moment…. If we don’t love the least likely person there is to love… we don’t love the Lord Jesus!

Matthew 25:45 “Then the King shall answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me”.

Have everyone stand up…. When a person graduates from college with a degree, they receive a mantle… The mantle which the Lord wants to put on us is the mantle of love, mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

We’re getting dressed up this morning! Yeah, put it on!

Posted by: AT 08:24 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, June 05 2018

Who we really are is what we do and how we behave when no one is watching. 

Many folks who have come to Key West for Fantasy Fest, and they get caught up in the festivities and the low moral standards which have become synonymous with Fantasy Fest, and they say that they would never ever act like that back home where everyone knows them. Now, that reveals a problem in the integrity department. 

It’s the old saying, “when I’m not with the one that I love, I love the one I’m with”…. 

If you spell “INTEGRITY” the first three letters are “I.N.T.” They stand for “I Need Truthfulness”…..

James 3:10 “Out of the same mouth proceeds blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. v11 Can a fountain send forth both sweet water and bitter? v12 Can the fig tree, bear olive berries? Neither can a vine, bear figs. Likewise, no fountain can yield both salt water and fresh”. 

In the tradition of the mountain region of Tibet, if you met one of the locals, you would give a proper Tibeton greeting to them and they would return the same to you. The proper greeting was to stick out your tongue as far as possible. The reason for this strange greeting was to show the other person that there were no harsh or bitter words on your tongue. There was nothing that would be against them or that would hurt them. You greet them with friendliness, encouragement and hope. I like that. (Let’s all try that now… Give your neighbor the Tibet greeting)!

One of the most effective ways that we will win folks to the cause of Christ, is a life that is lived with integrity.

Integrity comes from the Latin word ‘integer’ which means whole and complete. So integrity requires an inner sense of ‘wholeness’ and consistency of character, or “internal consistency”. Would you turn to someone and say… “Oh, I. C., Internal consistency”!                                                 When you have integrity, people should be able to visibly see it through your actions, words, decisions, methods, and outcomes. When you are ‘whole’ and consistent, there is only one you. You bring that same YOU wherever YOU are, regardless of the circumstance. You don’t leave parts of yourself behind. You don’t have a ‘work you,’ a ‘family you,’ and a ‘social you.’ You are YOU all of the time.

Proverbs 11:3 "The integrity of the upright preserves them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their double minds."                                                                                             So, why a golf picture for this scripture….in 1925 Bobby Jones accidentally touched his ball and moved it just a fraction of an inch during the U.S. Open golf tournament. No one saw or knew of the incident but even though no one saw it, he notified an official and received a one stroke penalty. That one stroke cost him the U.S. Open championship… he lost by one stroke. He was willing to put a greater value on his integrity than he put on winning the U.S. Open. Most professional golfers will say, he had the most integrity of any golfer of all time.

When the New Testament gives the account of the church selecting its first deacons to assist the apostles in ministering among the people… look at one of the most important qualities the Holy Spirit directed them to look for in….Acts6:3 “Wherefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business” (filling the gap between the apostles ministry and the people’s daily needs). 

Here are some things that people of integrity will do consistently as they live out their lives….

They will always remain true to their core beliefs and values in their behavior and their decisions. They reflect those values and beliefs in a deliberate and intentional manner as they sense how it will affect and impact those who look to them as an example. 

When Psychologists measure the level of maturity in an individual, they ask questions which will indicate whether or not the person is aware of the impact of their actions on others around them. Just as a boater must be aware of the impact their wake will make on other boats anchored in the harbor. 

If you have ever seen the program on TV called “Monk”, you can understand why I can only take so much of his character. He’s a brilliant detective, but his social skills and awareness of his actions upon others is totally dysfunctional. The captain is constantly having to intervene in his behalf, because everyone wants to stone him or at least get away!!!.

A teacher was helping her student with his spelling words and asked if he knew the difference between “conscious” and “conscience.” He said, “Sure, ‘conscious’ is when you’re aware of something; ‘conscience’ is when you wish you weren’t.”

When a person has integrity, they say what they mean and they mean what they say. When they say they will do something, you can count on it, even if it is not easy. 

Daniel in the bible, was a good little kosher boy who was taken captive by the Babylonians into a strange land with different customs, a different language and different religions than those that he had grown up under, as a young man. He was raised to fear the God of Israel, to obey strict Jewish dietary, social and religious laws.                                                                                                                                  In one day, everything changed. He could now do all the things he was forbidden to do before. He no longer had to pray three times a day, he could eat anything he wanted, drink anything he wanted, with no priests, or parents to run his life. No one was looking over his shoulder, no one was looking!                                                                                                                                                                                                          

We live in a changing world and sometimes we find ourselves away from those that might normally pressure us to do the right thing. We go off to college, move to a new town, or start a new job. You can "relax and let your hair down" with your new friends and work associates. You’re in a place where no one is looking.                                                                                                     There are some choices we must make and some things we must settle within ourselves, way before we get to the place and the circumstances that we have to make some of those decisions.                                                                              Integrity means that we will honor the promises we make, even though we may not like the direction it may take us because we care aboutsomeone else and what they care about. 

The flip side of this is, that if you live your life to please others, and you live based on what others think, then you will fall apart and crash and burn when you are criticized by those same people that you lived to please.

We will all get from life what we are willing to give back to life.

It is the little things we are faithful in, that prove we can be trusted in the bigger things. 

Folks who always show up late, whose lives are always in disarray, and whose lives always seem to be out of control… and live from one emergency to the next…. Listen, they don’t have a planning or scheduling problems, they have an integrity problem. There is no consistency of character, or internal consistency, so it is constantly reflected in their outer environment… They are surrounded by upheavel, unrest, unsettledness, and chaos….

The truth is that our lives are constantly reflecting our values and showcasing our integrity or it is revealing our lack of it.

We hear of many who have experienced love at first sight, because they want it and they want it NOW….and then realized they should have taken a second look.  How many young peoplehave finally met their perfect match, until they get to know them better. 

A couple went into a crowded KFC and ordered a picnic box to go. In the rush of customers a clerk handed them their order, accepted payment and went on their way. But what no one realized was that in all the rush,  the clerk had accidentally handed them the picnic box which the manager used to put the days finances for bank deposit. He did this each day because he was fearful of being robbed and the KFC picnic bucket offered perfect camouflage.                                                                                   Well, when the couple got to the park and opened it, they saw all the money instead of chicken. Someone had made a big mistake. Now many folks would be tempted to thank God for the blessing and go on their way, but this couple jumped back in the car and returned to the restaurant, asked for the manager, and handed him the money.                                             You can just imagine how relieved and grateful the manager was to see them and the money. He was so grateful that he asked the man to stick around because he wanted to call the newspaper and have them come and take pictures and write an article about this honest man who had such integrity. The man threw up his hands and said…No, No, No, please don’t do that” Why not, the manager asked him. “Oh, sir, I would be in such trouble that you cannot imagine…. The woman I am with is not my wife.” (S0 much for honesty and integrity)

Once you make your decision to take a stand, no matter what others may do, prepare to be tested.

Daniel 1:8 “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself”.

So you have 4 Jewish boys, Daniel, Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego, (one child called him “to bed we go”) .. who took a stand and told the prince of Eunuchs who was in charge of them. They said, let us eat bread and water for 10 days, then compare our health to those who have eaten sumptuously at the King’s table and see who looks better. (you see, at the king’s table, they would eat and drink until they threw up and then eat and drink some more, etc, etc.) It was over-indulgence in all things simply because you could! 

This is the kind of atmosphere that Paul addressed when he said in 

1Corinthians 10:23 “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things do not edify”. The word edify in the Greek is “oy-kod-om-eh'-o” which means enlarge, build up, strengthen, and inspire to greatness!

(turn to someone and say…”Integrity looks mighty good on you”).

If you were to go to New York Harbor, one of the things you would see would be the small tug boats gently and slowly pushing, pulling and guiding the giant ocean liners. They are small in size but big in their influence on the much larger vessel because of their consistent force. They come along side and influence the path of these huge ships without fanfare or applause. They are consistent in their influence and as a result they are able to achieve huge outcomes and accomplish amazing results.

This week, you will find yourself alone where no one is looking. It is in that moment of time, that you find out what you really are like and who you really are. Will you follow God’s opinion, or the opinion of others who you have allowed to influence you.

A little boy asked his mother, "How did we all get here?" The mother told him…"Well, you see, God made Adam and Eve and they had children, and so all mankind are descended from them." Two days later, the boy asked his father the same question. The father answered, "Many years ago, there were monkeys and through the process of evolution, the *…..human race evolved." The confused boy returned to his mother and said, "Mom, how is it possible that you told me the human race was created by God, and Dad said they developed from monkeys?Without a pause, the mother answered, "Well, dear, it is very simple. I told you about my side of the family and your father told you about his." (if we will go to the right source for the answers, we will get the right answers to live by and we will not be deceived by Satan’s counterfeit)

So what’s the big deal about integrity…..Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt, because she lacked integrity… Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden because the serpent found a fatal flaw in their integrity… Judas will forever be known as the betrayer because he lacked integrity… Lucifer the crown prince of heaven, became Satan because he lacked integrity!  

On the other hand, Jacob, the deceiver, regained his integrity at Bethel when he wrestled with the Lord (I actually believe it was his own self that Jacob was really in a battle with)… Saul transformed his reputation and his name was changed to Paul, as he encountered the risen Christ… and I think of doubting Thomas, who went from being double minded to being a radical apostle for Christ after he reached out and touched Jesus….The demon possessed man of Gadara was set free and became an evangelist for the Lord after his encounter with Christ!

It's about what we will do starting right now!

Regardless of how or when they got off track, over and over again we can see that it’s never too late for a life to turn around and get it right. No matter where they’ve been or what they’ve done, if they’re willing to allow that transformation to deeply reset their core values. Don’t give up, just keep doing the next right thing and you will reap if you don’t faint!

Paul tells the church of Rome, Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God”. 

Then for the rest of the 12th chapter he describes what a life of integrity should look like…. Look at it when you get home today…. It’s a powerful discourse and teaching which every Christian should use as a guidline for their lives.

We can always trace everything back to the choice we made to live within the boundaries of integrity or violate the sacred bond and grieve the Holy Spirit’s inner voice… Ministers have fallen, governments have collapsed and Nations have been destroyed because of this thing called integrity….

Lot could have chosen to pass on by Sodom and look for another city…. David could have chosen to look away when he saw Beth Sheba bathing on the roof top… Eve could have walked away from the serpents offer and we would all be in a different place….

Someone has suggested that Adam and Eve had the ideal marriage. He didn’t have to hear about all the men she could have married--and she didn’t have to hear about what a good cook his mother or his ex-wife was. 

Integrity can save your life….

The bible tells us that as the nation of Israel were being led by Moses from Egyptian bondage to the promised land, an entire generation of people died in the wilderness because of a lack of integrity. I was shocked when I realized that two and a half million people left Egypt and we are told that only Joshua and Caleb entered the promised land out of all of that number… Wow!

Numbers 26:65 “For the LORD had said of them, They shall surely die in the wilderness. And there was not left a man of them, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. 

That tells me that integrity is not very popular….and when it is found it is a priceless treasure….

Faith is the victory that overcomes the world, the flesh, and the devil, but unless faith, is anchored in integrity, it is useless…. I’m talking about God’s integrity…. Without a God of integrity, faith would have no foundation upon which to anchor itself ….

Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. v2 For by it the elders obtained a good report. v3 Through faith (in God’s integrity) we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. v4 By faith (in God’s integrity) Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaks. v5 By faith (in God’s integrity) Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. v6 Butwithout faith (in God’s integrity) it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is (a God of integrity), and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him”. 

Many have lost their due north in the midst of the storms and pressures of life. They have fixed their gaze on the wrong things and have ended up in a place where they don’t know where to turn…. There are issues that have caused them to run up on the rocks and shipwreck…

1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is”.

That’s the key…. To see Him as He is, with everything else stripped away! That’s what transformed Paul… it’s what gave Peter and Thomas a second chance…. It’s what changed the disciples from fishermen to fishers of men…                                                                                                        When we see Him as He is, THE CURSE WILL BE LIFTED….. THE POWER OF TEMPTATION & SIN WILL LOSE IT'S GRIP….ALLSICKNESS WILL BOW AND DECLARE HIM LORD….DEATH AND THE FEAR OF DEATH, WILL BE SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY….. DISAPPOINTMENT AND DISCOURAGEMENT WILL EVAPORATE…. LUST, GREED, MALICE, JEALOUSY, & HEARTACHE WILL LOSE THEIR GRIP AND BE GONE.                           We live in a time in history, when reading the newspaper is like reading the book of Revelation!...                                                                                          Luke 21:28 “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption is drawingnigh”.

Through this living hope I have in Christ, I can declare daily….”I am free, I am happy; I am abundant in mind body and spirit, I am loved, and I am loving, Life is such a beautiful thing…I am surrounded daily with the beauty of life, I am one with God the Creator, I am fully present and in agreement as His Creation. Through His grace and mercy, I am guilt free, and I am shame free. Everything is working for my good, I trust in God's greater purposes in all things, I now choose to expand myself and my life, I now choose to be successful and happy, I now choose to be unafraid, as I move forward, I now choose to know myself fully and discover New dimensions of God's plan for and through me, I now choose wholeness and acceptance, I now choose to understand unconditional love…”

Scripture tells us to examine ourselves….Let’s take a moment today and if you’ve messed up in the integrity department, just settle it with God, and make it the next right thing you do. Pray with me today…. ”Lord, I repent and ask your forgiveness. I allow Holy Spirit to make this a learning experience and a defining moment as I process my experiences through the lens of Your truth. Let Your truth now flow through me and cause me to be strong in Your power and might. I receive the transforming work in my life now, in the name of Jesus!

Posted by: AT 09:24 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, June 05 2018

                                                                                               In a time when the world is full of saber rattling, our nation can only stay strong and prepared, if we get real about our motto… “In God We Trust”…. 

Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. v11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. v12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, (it can’t overwhelm you if don’t give it permission) against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. v13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, (one of the words used here is “panoply” which is the full scope of what God has available) that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand”. 

Since it is Memorial Day Sunday and a time of remembering those who have fought to defend our liberties and the freedoms of other people groups who are our allies and friends in the world. The message I want to share is from an ancient account in 2 Kings chapter three. 

It is about 3 kings who formed an alliance in order to face a common enemy (Moab) who was out to annihilate them from the face of the earth. In this account, we see two kinds of people, there are those who represent the folks who look for whoever will tell them what they want to hear…. (That would be The king of Israel and the king of Edom).

It reminds me of the three guys that are out fishing and having a great day just hanging out together, catching fish and spinning yarns, when the lord appears to them. The first guy says, “I’ve suffered from back pain for years. Can you help me Lord?” Hetouches the man’s back, and the guy feels instant relief. The second guy points to his thick glasses and begs for a cure for his poor eyesight which is degenerating. When the Lord tosses the lenses into the lake, the man gains 20/20 vision.                                                                                                          As the Lord turns to the third fellow, he instantly recoils and loudly says, “No, no please, don’t touch me! I’m on disability!”

We will only get what we are willing and open to receive…..

So, as we get into this story with the day of battle drawing near, we find that the king of Judah is a Godly king who is desiring to lead his people in the ways of God. But he has been persuaded to join himself with two kings who have lead the people away from God and towards the worship of and sacrifices to idols and false Gods. (if you’re not careful, you can get pulled into something you don’t even believe in, just to please someone else) 

I recall when I dropped out of the rock band I had started as a teen, and made a commitment to more fully follow the Lord in my life… the rest of the band hounded me non-stop to continue and to keep the band together, they didn’t care about my choice to follow the Lord. A lot of pressure was put on me, but I just dug more deeply into the word and prayer. 

Sometimes you have to be like the boy who fell into the rapids. While they prepared to get rescue equipment together they were concerned that he would get hypothermia and wouldn’t be able to hang onto the rocks long enough for them to save him. When he was rescued, they asked him, how were you able to hang on with all that force of the water pulling against you… He said, “the harder it pulled, the tighter I clung”… THERE YOU GO…. (the harder it pulls, the tighter you cling)!!!

Anyhow, these three kings and the troops who are following them, have ended up in a place without water and other supplies, and the animals are dying for thirst and the troops are barely able to go on. Because they didn’t consult God in their ventures, they have found themselves in a very critical place. 

It is in this very critical condition, that they are going up against a very powerful enemy that is better equipped and with plenteous supplies. 

Only one king is willing to call on someone who will tell them what they need to hear, even if it’s not what they don’t want to hear….  persuaded the others to call on the prophet Elisha. Elisha’s greatest quality is that He heard from God. This made him the coolest guy in the region!

Listen, you may think no one is noticing, you may feel like the person that no one sees, the most uncool person around. Prophets lived an isolated, lonely life…. No one wanted them, until they had run out of options, then it was cool to be a prophet!

2 Kings 3:12 “And Jehoshaphat (king of Judah) said, The word of the LORD is with Elisha. So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him”. (many folks feel that turning to God in a sincere act of obedience is a step down) It says “they went down to him”)indicating that if all else fails, then try God…..

Listen folks, we need to be careful about making God our last resort. It’s like…. “I’ve tried everything else, so I guess I’ll try God”. You might find yourself like the guy who was trying to swim….. Oh, yes, a definition of trying to swim, is DROWNING!!!(I know, I’ve been there)

God is not a back-up plan…. He’s not the spare tire that you put out of sight until you get a flat…. Matthew 6:33 “But you need to seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these other things shall be added unto you”. 

I heard someone say, “God plus nothing equals everything”!!!

Where is God in your plans, because it’s pretty risky to think you actually know enough, have enough ability, and think you’re cool enough without God…. You can never be cool enough to out-cool God!

It’s like folks who exercise religiously, that means they work out on Easter and Christmas….

I know a young lady who started attending one of the churches we pastored. Her first service she knelt at the front and committed her life to Christ. Her life of drugs, drinking and sex, totally turned around. She was excited about the word of God, and excited about church. She got involved in Youth meetings, home groups and wanted to be there every time the doors were open. 

Her parents were not Christians and were alcoholics and were upset at the change in her. They forbade her from attending and even punished her at times. She stopped coming and soon returned to her old ways. (but I’m sure when she ended up in jail, or was on a stretcher, hovering between life and death, her parents were calling out to God)

When people finally come to the end of their rope and there is nowhere left to turn – that’s when most will finally remember that there is a God in Heaven who has the power to turn their circumstances around and answer their cry. It’s too bad that people have to sink so low before turning to Him!

I can tell you that there are some folks that I’m actually praying for God to bring them to the end of themselves, because that’s the point where they will let down all their defenses and all their excuses and allow God to show them who He truly is… (anyone know what I’m talking about. Praise God, He knows how to bring them to that place!

Sometimes you have to fight like the third monkey trying to get on the ark, but be willing to let God decide the outcome!

2 Kings 3:14 “And Elisha said, As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not even give you the time of day, or even see you”.

One God fearing king, made all the difference. Thank the Lord, this is telling us that just like God was willing to spare Sodom and Gomorrah for a few righteous, your influence with heaven counts for much, even when you are in the minority. Don’t believe the devil’s lie, that you can’t make a difference. It is our arms God hugs with, it is our words He speaks with, it is our feet he walks with, it is our hearts he uses to show compassion… 

You probably aren’t aware that one man saved all of our lives. Now that’s making a difference! Stanislav Petrov, was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Soviet army during the Cold War. In 1983, Petrov was on duty in a Soviet missile base when early warning systems erroneously detected an incoming missile strike from the United States. Protocol dictated that the Soviets immediately order a return strike. We were one decision away from nuclear war. But Petrov didn’t push the button. He reasoned that the number of missiles was too small to warrant a counterattack, and he chose todisobey protocol. If he had ordered the required nuclear strike, there’s at least a reasonable chance hundreds of millions would have died. The two countries may have ended up engaged in an all-out nuclear war, leading to billions of deaths and, potentially, the end of civilization as we know it. If we’re being conservative, we might quantify his impact by saying he saved one billion lives. But even that could be an underestimate, because a nuclear war would also have devastating long term fall out. Scientific, artistic, economic and all other forms of progress would be destroyed, leading to a huge loss of life and well-being over the long run. He was only one man, but one man that might have saved the world!

Have you ever felt like the little Dutch boy, who is alone with his finger in the dike, and no one else is even conscious that the dam is about to break….or the boy who kept crying wolf, wolf, and no one was listening till the wolves showed up at their door…..                                             There was a guy who went through an entire day with no one noticing that he even existed. He began to think he was invisible, so he called to try to get an appointment with the doctor, but no one answered. He went to the doctor’s office and the receptionist heard his request, and asked the doctor if he could fit the guy in. The doctor didn’t help matters at all, because he hollered out, Tell him I can’t see him, I can’t see him!                        

Satan has lied to a lot of people that they just aren’t important. Don’t believe the devil’s lies that you aren’t important and valuable.

So, Don’t let the barking dogs make you stop marching to the beat of another drum….or praising, or dancing, or shouting or continuing to serve with the beat of a different drum…. 

It reminds me of the story about a young man who went into the military. He trained and trained and one day was chosen among those who were to march in Washington to commemorate Memorial Day. The young man's mother came out to watch that day and as her young son's battalion was practicing, she was heard to proudly say to her friend. “O, look, look, there’s my sweet Johnny. And just look at all those soldiers that are out of step except my sweet boy.”

The way our country has supported and promoted the Special Olympics and many other events that are similar, is just awesome! It’s a statement that every life is valuable and important. I was shocked to hear that in New Zealand, pressure is put on women to have abortions if they find they are carrying down syndrome babies…. Red and yellow, black or white, they are precious in His sight!

God loves special needs children with a special kind of love!                                Listen we all enjoy the Power Of One through the advances of modern society because of one here, and one there and all the individuals with their unique skills who have made a difference.

We’ve all heard of individuals who have single handedly had a huge impact, upon science, technology, health, physics, religious life, and government.

Hey, Some would call it luck – but we believe that God had the right people in the right place at the right time, allowing them to have an impact that they might not have otherwise had. 

The signature of Rembrandt on his paintings, and Michelangelo’s name on a sculpture or Michael Jordon’s signature on a basketball or Ty Cobbs signature on a baseball, makes it valuable. The signature of Jesus by His blood, on your life, makes you very, valuable and one of a kind!

Jesus marched to the beat of a different drum… and He calls us to do the same. Jesus could have come to earth and ruled the world, but instead he wrapped himself in a towel, took a basin of water, and washed the feet of others. When asked by one of his disciples about who was the greatest, Jesus replied In Mark 9:33, that “whoever would be great among you must be the least, he who would lead must be servant of all.” 

The highest calling of any Christ follower is primarily to be what God calls them to be, to give back to Him, the gifts they are given… God calls some to be leaders and some to be followers, some to be managers and some to work in the office, some to be foremen and some to be laborers, some to chair boards and some to carry boards. God calls some to be ministers and some to be prime-ministers, some to serve him in a full-time capacity and some to support that call.

It is challenging to hear the world's clamor so loudly and then try to hear the drum beat of heaven the midst of it all. It's challenging to lead and to serve at the same time, to gain riches but be generous, to be successful but not compromising. 

Let me return to my text in 2nd Kings, as we look at what God told them to do, that defied all human logic and human reasoning….

OK, so, there was no water to drink, cattle and people are at the point of death, They are far out numbered and out equipped….it is a challenging time and a great time of need…

2 Kings 3:16 “And it came to pass, that the hand of the LORD came upon Elisha. And he said, Thus says the LORD, Make this valley full of ditches”. 

Now I don’t know about you…. But I’ve found when it looks the worst, God is doing His best work. And when we feel like digging ditches the least, is when it probably counts the most! I need to stay open to the voice in my spirit that is a lot more accurate than my mood swings, my self-pity, my denials or my soulish attraction to compromise…..

We’ve all been to that place where our spirit is “drier than cracker juice” if we spit, dust would come out, and our heart feels as dead as last year’s spider’s web?

But Lord I just don’t feel like visiting Mrs. Big Mouth…. I don’t feel like inviting Gladys Gossip to lunch… I just want to watch my soap operas, and Lord, American Idol is on tonight. 

Those are the times when you will see your greatest victories, so pick up that shovel, and get going!

Sometimes prayer is ditch digging, sometimes taking groceries to a hungry family is digging ditches… 

But if you are going to get ready for God to come in His fullness, give Him something to fill!!!

Here’s the rest of the story….2 Kings 3:17&18 “For the LORD says, Youshall not see storm clouds and wind, neither shall you see rain, yet that valley shall be filled with water, that you may drink, both you, and your cattle, and your beasts. And this is but a light thing in the sight of the LORD. He will deliver the Moabites also into your hand."

Remember when Elijah was sent to the widow of Zarephath , she got the miracle of the oil and the meal, and it kept multiplying as long as she kept pouring…she ran out of pots to pour in and when she stopped pouring, the oil and meal stopped multiplying

There are times when we are called upon to prepare something for God to fill up….and it’s usually In some of the hardest places of our lives. Notice that what the widow woman needed for a miracle was right there in her house, but she didn’t know how to release it. She saw insufficiency but God was wanting her to see plenty!

There was no rain, there were no clouds, and there was no wind, but the next morning, the ditches were filled with water…. And everyone had more than enough to drink…. Full measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over!!!!

Now notice that the blessings of the Lord are two pronged…. They bless you, while at the same time, they conquer the enemy of your blessing! God said, this blessing will also defeat the Moabites! 

Proverbs 6:31 “When the thief is found, he shall pay sevenfold, he shall give even unto all the substance of his house”.

The same thing that blesses you will defeat your enemy….                                                  Good will overcome evil, Kindness will overcome callousness and indifference, Love will overcome hate, Faith will overcome doubt, Godliness will overcome wickedness….

Hebrews 10:35 “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which has great recompence of reward. v36 For you have need of patience, that, after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise”.                                                          

The word recompence here is the Hebrew word “mis-thap-od-os-ee'-ah” which means (to give back or repay all that was lost or taken)

I believe my neighborhood is blessed and better off because I live there, I believe your job is blessed and a better place because you work there, I believe your home is blessed because you are in the family, and I believe that your friends are blessed because you are their friend. You need to declare that through your neighborhood, your job, your home and with your friends…..they are all better off because you are there. 

Isaiah 32:2 “And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land”.

You need to tell someone “I do believe pastor is talking about me”

The battle is the Lord’s and the victory is yours! You are more that conquerer… that means that Jesus won the battle so you could enjoy His victory… I used to work 3 jobs when I was younger. I would get my check and I would turn it right over to Winnie. I was conquerer but she was more than conquerer! And that’s what the Lord has made each of you this morning…. YOU ARE MORE THAN CONQUERERS!!!!

Father, in the Name of Jesus, thank you for special blessings today. Open supernatural doors in our lives today. Save and set free! Give us a double portion of your Spirit as we take back everything that has been stolen, delayed or blocked. 
We receive the blessing of Emotional Health, Physical Health, Financial Health, Healthy Relationships, Healthy and Thriving Children, Fulfilling Jobs, Happy, Joyful Homes, and Successful Marriages. 
We cancel every plot, plan and scheme the enemy has devised against us in the MATCHLESS NAME OF JESUS. And we declare that NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST US WILL PROSPER. We speak LIFE into every dead situation. And, we thank you that nothing is over until YOU say it's over! We speak prophetically into the lives and situations yet to come. Our households are blessed and our health is blessed.          

Our marriages are blessed; Our finances are blessed; Our businesses are blessed; Our jobs are blessed; Our children are blessed; Our grandchildren are blessed; Our parents are blessed; Our siblings are blessed; Our ministries are blessed; and, Our decisions are blessed. Husbands are on the way, and Wives are on the way that are of Your choosing. Mortgages are paid and debts cancelled; Our hearts' desires are on the way; according to YOUR perfect will and plan for our lives. IN JESUS NAME! AMEN!!

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